There is no longer any doubt that there is an obesity epidemic– walk on any street and you are more likely to see obese and overweight individuals outnumber thin people. And sadly a great majority of these people are men. Obesity is not a benign syndrome, and with time it can lead to arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and even reduced self-esteem. Let’s not forget that along with obesity and its risks come increased healthcare costs.
While losing weight is a goal for many people, many men have unrealistic expectations in terms of the time it may take to achieve the goal. It is important to appreciate that if it took you several years to put on the extra weight, it may take just as long to get rid of it. Additionally, while there are many diets out there that promise quick weight loss, the weight loss may come quick in the beginning but sustaining it will take time, effort, commitment and sometimes a high price tag.
To achieve sustained weight loss that is durable, you need to change your lifestyle- permanently. This does not mean that you immediately sign up with a gym for the next 3 years- because in many cases, your visits to the gym will be frequent in the beginning and then diminish as your enthusiasm decreases over time. Unless you are absolutely dedicated avoid the long term commitment until you have proven your ability to be self-accountable and committed to your goal.
Exercise-Keep it Simple
The most important fact men should know is that no matter which eating plan you follow, consistent exercise is not optional if your goal is weight loss. While some people are able to lose weight simply by following a strict eating plan, most people have a hard time staying disciplined enough to count on nutrition alone. Any exercise is better than no exercise so remember that every step counts. There are thousands of exercise programs available online, TV, DVDs, and in gyms that promote weight loss but in reality, there is not one type of exercise that is better than the other for everyone. Since you have a different lifestyle, different interests, limitations and schedule than anyone else, it’s up to you to figure out what works best to help you stick with it. A fancy exercise program isn’t required since even walking is a great exercise that can make a difference if you do it regularly.
Many men who are overweight or obese likely lead a sedentary lifestyle; so walking is perhaps the best exercise to start with. You do not need any fancy equipment, it is free, you get to enjoy nature, and it is very safe (as long as you aren’t texting while walking). If you walk briskly for 1 hour a day you can lose up to 300 calories which is approximately 2,000 calories a week, which is more than half a pound of weight loss. And while this may not sound a lot, but in 12 months, you can lose up to 28 pounds– without having spent a dime on gym fees.
In addition to exercise, you need to limit your intake of junk food- this means avoiding fast and processed foods. Most of the calories you acquire from these sugary foods are junk and they only add to your waistline. Make a point of eating more fresh vegetables and fruits by making at least half of your plate come from plant based foods. Limit your intake of red meat which is high in saturated fats and instead of choosing soda, choose water (since it contains no calories) or unsweetened tea. Since men typically eat more than women, you may feel that you need to finish your plate at home or at the restaurant since other people assume you will eat more. Control your own intake of food and push the plate away when you feel full. This will help you to control your portion sizes even if you aren’t the chef. Instead of eating three large meals a day, eat many small snacks throughout the day to help control your hunger all day.
Losing weight is a tough process and requires commitment and dedication. However, if you want to improve your quality of life and avoid dying a premature death from chronic illness, or having a low quality of life as you age, then start changing your lifestyle today. There is no magic bullet for losing weight- start moving more and making better choices at the table. Remain active and consider a new hobby that keeps you active—perhaps a new sports league or men’s hiking group for example. You can do it!
Contributor: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness. Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. Visit www.milehighfitness.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org