Women are well known for being body conscious and watching their weight, but it's not just the fairer sex that are counting the calories these days. If you're a man looking to ditch the beer belly or simply aiming for a fitter, healthier look, celebrity endorsed or fad diets may not do the job. Here are our top tips for chaps who want to slim down.
While many women are only too happy to discuss the details of their latest foray into the world of dieting, men often don't feel very comfortable with the term itself. If that's the case, forget about the word 'diet' altogether and focus on the basics of healthy eating.
Chow down on plenty of fruit and veg, wholegrains, lean protein like chicken or turkey, a couple of weekly portions of oily fish, and ditch the processed, fried and fatty foods, while opting for low-fat dairy. Eating well is half the battle and if you think of your diet this way, you'll be much more likely to stick to it than if you feel as though you're depriving yourself or constantly counting calories
Eating the right foods will certainly put you on the right track to weight loss success, but even that will do little good if you're munching too much. Portion control is essential for male slimmers, who often have a bigger appetite than women and feel cheated if the plate looks half empty. Big portions are still possible, however. Try bulking out meals with lots of fruit and veg, or go for a winter warming soup or stew, where the high water content but low energy density combine to give you a satisfying but guilt-free portion.
Another trick that really does work is the 'little and often' eating regime. Tucking into smaller meals regularly throughout the day means you'll be stoking the energy fire frequently, but avoiding the mid-afternoon snack temptation.
Make sure each meal contains plenty of protein (boiled eggs, peanut butter on oatcakes or slices of apple and cooked chicken strips make good snacks), and make sure carbs are slow release to keep you fuller for longer, such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and pasta.
Sorry guys but you will inevitably have to cut back on some of the more calorie-laden treats. Alcohol should be your first consideration when it comes to cutbacks, particularly when you consider that your average pint of beer or cider contains 250 calories.
Takeaways are another diet danger, but you can still enjoy the odd fast food treat as long as you make better choices - simple changes such as boiled rice instead of fried with your Chinese, a small burger instead of the double cheese, and a chicken shish in the place of that doner meat and garlic sauce can all make a difference. And to help you to avoid the temptation altogether, eat a healthy meal at home before you head out for the night.
Feel the burn
Settling down to watch the football or rugby of a Saturday afternoon is all very well, but if you love your sport, why not hone your own skills? Exercise doesn't have to be about pumping iron or endless hours on the treadmill. Instead, make it a social event by getting a few mates together for a kick around in the park or a game of five-a-side, giving all of you a cardio workout and a laugh of a weekend. If sport is not your thing, even simple changes such as parking further away and taking the stairs instead of the lift will all help to get your heart rate up and keep your weight down.
Have you managed to ditch your excess weight? Tell us how you did it below...