As a guy, you already have some factors in your favor when it comes to losing weight. You’ve got more muscle mass than women, who have about 5 to 7 percent more body fat than men. Muscle burns more calories than body fat. Just sitting on the couch with your girlfriend, watching the tube, you’re burning more calories than she is. (Not that we recommend that as a weight-loss strategy!) And while female bodies produce a tiny amount of testosterone, male bodies produce much, much more. And testosterone makes it easier to lift weights and build even more calorie-burning muscle. It can be a virtuous cycle. No wonder men tend to lose weight faster than women and that, too, can be motivating.
That’s not to say it’s easy, of course. Obesity is as common in men as it is in women about 35 percent of both genders are obese. But men can use their natural advantages in the struggle to slim down. They tend to approach weight loss differently, anyway. “Women tend to focus on the details of losing weight counting calories, reading labels, and weighing themselves several times a day, while men often focus on the big picture,” says Jim White, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an American College of Sports Medicine-Certified Health Fitness Specialist. “They may cut down their portion sizes and start working out more, and they don’t get caught up in the details. For men, if their clothes fit looser and their stomachs flatten they know they are losing weight.”
8 Ways to Start Now
Here’s how to build on these natural advantages and lose weight successfully:
1. Eat breakfast within one hour of getting up.
Researchers at Rockefeller University and elsewhere have found that people who don’t eat breakfast or who eat a late breakfast, are at risk of overeating throughout the day. One reason: You’ll produce more of a chemical called Neuropeptide Y, which turns on carbohydrate cravings in the brain. It rises in the morning and when you skip meals. Eat a breakfast that combines whole-grain carbohydrates (such as whole-wheat toast, bran, or shredded wheat cereals, or oatmeal) with lean protein (from low-fat milk, for example, or eggs or egg whites, example). You’ll rev your metabolism, burn more calories, and stave off carb cravings.
Read More: Healthy Breakfast For Men
2. Create a “business plan” for your eating.
“Schedule your meals and snacks for each day just as you do your business meetings,” says White. “Men often don’t realize how much weight they can gain by mindless eating, which can result from getting too hungry. A meal should sustain you and keep your metabolism up for three hours and a healthy snack should sustain you for two hours.” If you’re having breakfast at 7:30, plan to eat a snack at 10:30, lunch at 12:30, your second snack at 3:30, and your dinner close to 6:00, and possibly a 9:00 snack if you’re going to bed late. Examples of healthy snacks: 15-20 almonds; a small unsweetened Greek yogurt with a piece of fruit; five tablespoons of hummus with sliced raw veggies. For meals, says White, “Fill half of your plate with whole grains, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with vegetables.”
3. Eat enough protein.
The amino acids in protein help to build and repair muscle, and muscle helps your body burn the energy from food. “At every meal, try to include protein-rich foods such as eggs, chicken, fish, and lean cuts of meat that are boiled, broiled, baked, or lightly sauteed rather than fried,” says White. Adult men should consume about 56 grams of protein per day, according to the Dietary Reference Intakes. It doesn’t need to be meat vegetarian protein sources are fine. A cup of beans, for instance, has 16 grams of protein.
4. Eat at least five vegetables a day.
“Vegetables are the one thing men often miss out on,” says White. “They shouldn’t because they’re losing out on vital nutrients.” A serving is one cup of raw vegetables or half a cup of cooked. Eating a salad and another vegetable at dinner or lunch, having some sliced raw vegetables for snacks, and tossing veggies into your morning eggs should cover you for the day.
5. Don’t overeat fruit.
“Try to eat three to four fruits a day, but know what a serving size is,” says White. “One large banana is two servings of fruit. A two-inch diameter apple is one serving, but some apples are four to five inches in diameter.” Include fruit in a smoothie, as a snack, or as a dessert.
6. Watch out for sat fat traps.
You’ve stopped eating fatty cuts of meat and switched from butter to olive oil. But if you’re still throwing two slices of cheese on your burger or pouring cream into your coffee, you may be getting more saturated fat than you realize. Dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein but choose low-fat options: reduced-fat cheese and milk, fat-free half-and-half, low-fat yogurt, and cottage cheese. “After a workout, skim milk — even skim chocolate milk — can be a great source of calcium, water, protein, and electrolytes,” says White.
7. Get game.
Keeping food and/or exercise journal is a great way to set diet and fitness goals and keep them. If a gaming approach sounds more fun than journal writing, try an app such as Myfitnesspal or Lose It.
Yes, we know, it’s your genes. But guess what: Exercise can at least partly overcome a genetic predisposition. The key is staying consistently physically active throughout life. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers in Finland tracked 89 pairs of twins for 30 years. Twins who had been consistently physically active over three decades gained an average of 12 pounds less — and four fewer inches in their waist circumferences — than their less active twins. Shoot for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily such as walking, jogging, tennis, swimming, biking, etc.
Read More: Ways to lose Weight
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