5 Things Men Need to Know About Weight Loss

Men And Weight Loss

First things first: Your sex and gender don’t determine your weight.

“Men and women both face similar challenges to weight loss, and their response to the challenges vary as much by individual personalities as by gender,” says Stephen Devries, MD, a preventive cardiologist and executive director of the nonprofit Gaples Institute. 

But, he continues, “men tend not to recognize that having excess weight is as much of a health concern as women generally do.” For instance, obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes. More than 37% of men are prediabetic compared with fewer than 30% of women, and men are more likely to get diabetes at a lower weight than women.

Fortunately, “even small positive changes can yield substantial health benefits,” Devries says. For overweight people, studies show that losing just 5% of their initial weight can be enough to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 50%. 

Sure, maybe thinking about your health isn’t as compelling as how your clothes fit or whether you can keep up with your kids on the basketball court, but whatever your motivation, these male-approved insights and tips can help you on your way to achieving your weight loss goals.

1. Think of your body as your business

Especially for guys who feel work keeps them too busy to stick to healthy habits, Devries says to approach your health like it’s your job. “Check your numbers frequently, evaluate opportunities and obstacles, use consultants as needed, and reassess regularly to see if further changes are needed,” he says. “I tell patients that if they don’t approach their health with as much seriousness as their business, they risk falling into ‘health bankruptcy,’ a condition for which money, sadly, cannot help.”

2. Try rewarding yourself for your progress

One 2020 study found that incentives can help you meet your weight loss goals. About 100 men were enrolled in an online weight loss program that encouraged participants to make six 100-calorie changes to their typical daily diet. Half were paid a small sum every week they lost a pound or more. The incentive group lost, on average, more than twice as much weight as those who didn’t get monetary rewards. Consider setting small goals and treating yourself for meeting them, with a round of golf, say, or that new pair of earbuds you’ve been eyeing.

3. Go easy on the beer

Research finds that beer seems to have a direct effect on weight gain in men, and increases their waist size (while the same doesn’t seem to happen to women). More than a pint a day has been shown to make it harder to lose weight. Swapping one beer a day for a glass of water may make it easier to boost weight loss.

4. Be picky about programs 

While a higher proportion of men than women are overweight or obese, fewer attempt weight loss and many avoid structured weight loss programs. Part of the reason may be that many programs seem targeted toward women. But rather than scrap weight loss intentions entirely, take the time to find a program that does fit. 

You want “an approach that really makes sense to you and that you firmly believe in,” says Ronald Levant, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Akron and an expert on the male psyche. Being picky about a program pays off. In fact, studies show that when men do commit to weight loss they tend to lose as much or more than women and keep it off longer.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

While not all men conform to tough-guy norms, many men feel pressure to be self-reliant and are reluctant to reach out for help, says Levant: “They simply feel they must do it on their own.” But weight and obesity are health issues, and there’s no reason to go it alone. “Obesity is a disease,” Levant continues. “Whenever any human has a disease, they should consult a health care professional — a doctor, nurse, psychologist, dietitian or nutritionist” to help them on the path to better health. Talking to your health provider or joining a weight loss program, isn’t admitting defeat. It’s taking decisive action for your health. Treat it as a win. 

Related Articles