Just reading or hearing the word “diet” makes most men cringe. It conjures up thoughts of a torturous restriction on foods, getting a degree in mathematics to count calories and never being able to eat your favorite snacks or meals again. But, what if I told you that things are not that gruesome and there are some easy changes you can make to clean up your diet and lose weight?
As men, we have a knack for overcomplicating things at times. When it comes to dieting, we tend to make things more difficult and/or lack the motivation to show some restraint at the buffet line. If you are trying to drop some pounds and get rid of fat, then check out some of these easy changes that you can make to your diet today.
Drink More Water
The most common rule on how much water to drink is the 8×8 rule. Simply put, it’s drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Now, pause for a moment and think about whether or not you even drink that much water. If you don’t, then start consuming more.
For those of you who already drink that much, have you ever tried drinking more? If you are regularly exercising then your body requires more water to stay hydrated. The same can be applied to those of you who work physically demanding jobs or outdoors in the heat.
Additionally, and this is something you should all pay attention to, drinking more water can also act as an appetite suppressant due to its natural filling of the stomach. Your satiated feeling can aid in controlling how much food you consume in a meal or throughout the day.
Portion control is something that even a 5 year old understands. Sadly, as men, we tend to think that portion control doesn’t apply to us anymore. And, we are wrong! Do you really need a piece of pie that’s bigger than the plate? Do you seriously have to finish off a bag of chips in one sitting?
Examine the foods you eat and how much you eat. If a food item is larger than your fist, then you should decrease it. This is a general rule that most men can apply to any meal and any food. Exercise some common sense here. It’s ok to use your brains when trying eat healthier.
Frequently Eat Smaller Meals
This subject has been highly debated and examined over the years: three large meals a day versus smaller meals at a frequency of 4-5 times per day. The goal is to first identify what a meal looks like in your life. If you eat the traditional three large meals then you might want to consider how to reduce the size of those meals and add some snacks in-between. Eating smaller meals throughout the day keeps you more energized, less hungry and can prevent you from gorging on food later. It also makes it easier to reduce the temptations of grabbing fast food, fatty foods and lots of junk food throughout the day.
Limit the Bad Fat
It really is a shame that many of the tasty foods are high in unhealthy fats, but that’s life. There are many recommendations by reputable organizations regarding how much fat you should consume in your diet. And, for some of you, all of those numbers can be overwhelming. But, let’s simplify this a bit so that you can make the necessary changes.
First, it’s important to understand why you need to reduce the consumption of bad fats. A large consumption of these fats can lead to an increase in weight, higher levels of bad cholesterol and can increaseyour chances of heart disease or cancer. Bottom line – high consumption of these fats can be deadly in the long run!
So, skip the morning donuts every day at work and eat a piece of fruit instead, replace the bags of chips with almonds or cashews and stop eating those french fries every week. Start reducing the amount of fried, greasy foods you eat per day or week and stop treating every day like it’s Halloween.
Reduce Sodium Intake
An excess amount of sodium in your diet can wreak havoc on your body. High levels of sodium have been linked to increased risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney problems, cancer, bone issues and weight gains. Some easy ways to reduce sodium intake is by eating fresh meats instead of packaged ones, consume more fruits and vegetables, reduce some of those seasonings that you add to meals and reduce the amount of salt you add to your foods.
Include More Fruits and Vegetables
It’s so painfully obvious as to why we should eat more fruits and vegetables that it really becomes mindboggling as to why we don’t. Eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables not only reduces the amount of unhealthy foods you eat, but it also ensures that you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain healthy sugars and fats which our bodies also need.
In regards to weight loss, fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense and lower in calories. So, eating a few servings of fruit and vegetables per day is less calories than a few of those Girl Scout cookies that you shove in your mouth.
As men, we all love meat. But, some of us might love it a little too much. We’re not saying that you need to eliminate meat from your diet. What we are saying is that you need to reduce the amount of fat that’s on that meat. Choosing leaner slices or cuts of meat can drop the overall amount of fat and caloric intake per meal or day. This is vital to your health and to dropping those extra pounds.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Who doesn’t enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine after a long day of work? However, it’s when those evenings go from one beer to a six pack or one glass of wine to half a bottle that we need to focus on. You might not know this, but alcohol has a significant impact on trying to lose weight and body fat.
Alcohol prevents the body from efficiently burning fat storages, which means our bodies continue to store it instead of burning it off. Alcohol also has twice as many calories as carbs and protein, can lower testosterone, has a detrimental effect on organs like the kidneys and liver, increases appetite and can lead to making bad food choices. Bottom line – alcohol is not our friend when we are trying to burn fat, lose weight and get in shape.
Start Small and Be Consistent
For some of you, these changes may seem like daunting tasks. But, really, they are nothing more than small tweaks that we already should be doing. Start with a few of these changes and slowly work up to the incorporation of them all. It’s important to learn how to maintain these changes throughout life. The last thing you want is to make these changes, lose weight, burn off fat and then go on a binge eating frenzy and gain back all of that weight. Start small and be consistent.
American Heart Association: Trans Fat http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp
LiveStrong.com: What are the dangers of eating too much fat? http://www.livestrong.com/article/403584-what-are-the-dangers-of-eating-too-much-fat/
LiveScience.com: Why is too much salt bad for you? http://www.livescience.com/36256-salt-bad-health.html
Bodybuilding.com: 5 ways alcohol hinders fat loss https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/5-ways-alcohol-hinders-fat-loss.html