Women aren’t the only ones who complain about their body. Men also fret about body image. Like women, men want to look good. Negative body image is a serious issue among men and women alike. Negative body image is also a key risk factor in development of eating disorders. Men searching for the “perfect body” often find themselves sliding down the slippery slope into an eating disorder.
According to a recent study done by the Centre for AppearanceResearch at the University of the West of England, four out of five men confess to being unhappy about their body. The study involved 384 British men with an average age of 40. The biggest body issue was the “beer belly” followed by "lack of muscles." About 60% said that their arms, chests, and stomachs were not muscular enough.
Their solution? To eat a high protein diet! Sorry guys. Eating a steak for dinner will not create bigger biceps by breakfast. Hard exercise builds muscles. You need to go to the gym and lift weights. And in order to have the energy to lift weights, you need to fuel your muscles with carbs.
Eating a high protein diet will not lead to fat loss (unless you knock off calories when you knock off carbs). To get rid of the beer belly, you need to get rid of the beer – or at least some of it—and consume fewer calories each day (or most days of the week). By cutting out two beers a day (300 calories), you can theoretically lose 30 pounds a year. Cutting out just one beer a day (150 calories) theoretically contributes to 15 pounds of fat loss a year – assuming everything else if your diet stays the same.
Sounds simple? Yes. Fat loss should not be hard. But if you want professional help with sculpting your body, I suggest you consult with a sports nutritionist for personalized advice. To find a local sports nutritionist, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.
Most weight reduction diets are targeted towards women. What are the keys to weight loss success for men? Does the same diet advice apply to men as for women? That question was addressed by research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in June.
In a study with 65 overweight or obese men (average age, 36 years), the keys to weight loss success in men were:
• choosing smaller portions of foods
• eating fewer high fat foods (particularly snacks and take away foods including meat pies, hamburgers, chocolate, chips, potato crisps and ice cream).
* cutting back on sugary soft drinks
• consuming less alcohol.
By making these small changes, about one-third of the men lost more than 5% of their body weight within 6 months. (That means, a man who weighed 200 pounds lost about 10 pounds, or about a half a pound a week.) They did not deny or deprive themselves of their favorite foods, they just ate less of them.
Although the dieters knocked off some “junk food’, they did not increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. This contrasts to dieting women who tend to munch on lots of salads and eat fruits for low-calorie snacks. This means you can lose weight even if you don’t want to eat like a rabbit! You can still eat your “man food” – just less of it!
Losing weight does not depend on eating more fruits and veggies. Yet, the goal of weight loss should be to invest in health and not just reach a lower number on the scale. That’s where food choices that include fruits and veggies offer the winning edge.