So you’ve been trying to get rid of your shapely potbelly for a while, but the dastardly thing just won’t budge. Perhaps you’re simply making one of these all too common dieting mistakes that guys are prone to fall for.
1. Man-sized meals
It’s kind of obvious, but you need to remind yourself of it every now and again: the more you eat, the bigger the chances of your weight going up. The most important watch-phrase is ‘portion size’. Rather than eating one humongously large plate of food once a day, go for more frequent, smaller portions.
And, no, eating large portions of health food isn’t going to help – a large portion is a large portion. Gradually cut down on the amounts you eat and you’ll find that your body will soon get used to less. Also: stop having seconds and polishing off everyone else’s leftovers. What you’re aiming for is a well balanced diet of regular healthy meals in moderate portions.
2. Liquid diet
Guys, our favourite dieting ploy of replacing food with a couple of pints of draught is flawed! Guess what? Beer has calories, too. Disappointingly plenty, in fact. To make matters worse, alcohol tends to lower your inhibitions. Let’s be honest: how often do we find ourselves ordering a plate of greasy pub grub with that extra bottle of lager.
And if you’re hoping to drink yourself slim with fizzy sodas, energy drinks or even fruit juice, think again. They all tend to contain loads of sugar and won’t do wonders for your waistline. The most appropriate drink for the thirsty man on a diet is a regular glass of delicious chilled water, which plays a crucial role in your body’s metabolism of fats.
3. Exercise is not enough
You can’t keep on pigging out on mega-burgers and family-sized pizzas and expect to remedy the problem with the odd extra gym session. Don’t get me wrong, regular exercise is important, but if you’re really serious about losing weight, you’ll have to adjust your diet.
This is especially true for men in their 40s and older. As your body’s metabolism slows down naturally with age, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to keep up with poor eating habits by just exercising.
4. Eating on the run
Many guys think they’re so busy all day long, they can only fit in high-speed meals between meetings and other more important bits of their lives. But the stress associated with such rapid-fire eating sessions can contribute to weight gain. If you’re always in a hurry, you’re less likely to make healthy food choices and it’s bad for your digestion, too. Make mealtimes a calm and enjoyable part of your daily routine and you’ll help your digestive system process everything you send its way.
5. You’re no Jamie Oliver
For many a man the main stumbling block en route to a good diet is the fact that he can’t cook to save his life and is forever dependent on fattening, highly-processed junk food. Cooking may be a little intimidating at first, but once you get into it, it’s great fun. Extra bonus: women tend to be really impressed by men who can cook.
Buy yourself a nice entry-level cook book or two, find some delicious-looking, healthy dishes and get cracking. You might even want to try cooking classes designed specifically for guys.
6. Skipping meals
Thinking that missing out on meals during the day will help you lose weight is a fallacy. Quite the opposite is true: the practice tends to slow down your metabolism and encourage your body to store fat, most of it in your belly. So moderately-sized, healthy and balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner it is.
7. The weekend binge
After keeping on top of your diet all week long, you might be tempted to think you have a free pass for an indulgent weekend, but this will only slow down your efforts to shed weight. Try to find healthier weekend food options rather than undoing all of the disciplined dieting you did during the rest of the week. The same goes for late night ice cream binges!
8. Diet pills and fat-burning supplements
Drugs definitely are the lazy way out of the dieting conundrum. But don’t kid yourself. You can’t get into shape through supplements and pills alone. While they tend to suppress your hunger by lowering your metabolism, they also encourage your body to up its rate of fat storage as it snaps into survival mode because you’re depriving it of calories. Once you go off the pills and return to your normal eating habits you’re likely to put all of the lost kilos back on again and more.