By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Obesity taxes each bodily system and represents one of the roots of many disease processes. Many men possess plenty of motivation to lose weight; however, self-sabotaging behavior thwarts their efforts. Area experts offered ways to be more effective in losing wieght.
‘Changing your routine is huge’
“Many are not paying enough attention to nutrition. Nutrition and exercise work hand in hand. They complement each other. Oftentimes, guys who want to lose weight go to the gym five times a week. If they addressed nutrition, they could go three times a week, and would be better off.
“I also see guys do drills they did in high school but they weren’t meant to help them lose weight. They were drills to enhance their sports performance.
“You don’t want to work out hardcore every day for weight loss. You don’t want to exercise at the expense of your joints. A half hour walk you can do daily. You need to balance high and low intensity so your body reaps the benefits.
“Some guys are stuck in the same routine they did 10 years ago. The importance of changing your routine is huge.
“Trying to take too many supplements is a mistake.
“Be patient and have discipline.”
— Cameron Apt, a certified athletic trainer with UR Medicine Sports Medicine.
‘Not eating often enough slows the metabolism’
“Not a lot of them eat regularly. Their dietary patterns are to eat when they can. They think they need protein shakes and do tons of weight lifting, but not eating often enough slows the metabolism.
“A lot of guys are still learning about how to cook healthfully. It’s still something they’re not very comfortable with.
“Alcohol is something a lot of people still enjoy to relax, but a couple of beers at the end of the day or glasses of wine are not conducive to weight loss.
“As our metabolism slows down as we age, a lot of fat storage is in the midsection. That is a big concern for men.
“It’s about making sure you’re persistent but self-compassionate. It’s not all or nothing.
“There’s no magic diet. The more you go to one extreme to eliminate things, the more likely you will be to not be able to stick with it. Extreme diets can jumpstart your diet, but it’s not sustainable.
“It’s the same with exercise. Find something you’ll stick with.”
— Physician Joanne Wu, certified yoga instructor and integrative wellness coach, board certified in rehabilitation medicine and holistic medicine specializing in wellness, Rochester.
‘Picky eaters: Don’t limit yourself”
“Male clients don’t cut back enough on alcohol. There’s the calories and the lower inhibition. They eat more. When you’re around people who are eating bar food, you’ll likely eat bar food.
“Men who are bachelors, it’s usually very hard for them to plan food. It’s a disservice that men aren’t given the skills to plan meals for themselves.
“What you do to change, you have to do it all the time: a dietary pattern you can live with the rest of your life. Many times, a person makes big transformation but they can’t keep it up.
“Some call themselves ‘picky eaters’ and I say ‘Don’t limit yourself.’
“Fathers often finish their children’s food. Don’t do it. Use a smaller plate and don’t serve your kids a big portion.”
— Carol Plotkin, registered dietitian and owner of On Nutrition in Rochester
‘Under-eating can hurt you’
“We focus on My Plate, not trying to cut things out, although cutting back on sugar and processed foods is good. When cutting out food groups and focusing on high fats, your body tends to freak out a little bit.
“Cut out sugary drinks and drink more water. Whenever I go to the gym, I see men with all sorts of protein shakes. Who knows what’s in those massive jugs? Drink water over sugary sports drinks or energy shots.
“Lots of men overcompensate with food. You don’t need tons of food after a workout.
“Under-eating can hurt you as well. Studies show that not eating enough can cause you to gain weight. Find that right balance that works for you.”
— Jessica Kouzan, nutrition educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County
‘Most men don’t drink enough water’
“In general, men are less likely to reach out for help for weight loss or any health reasons. I have many more women than men clients.
“Men want to just go to the gym and lift, rather than approach it from a health perspective. Therefore, they should consult an expert about weight loss support.
“Men are less likely to read labels and read about food. News sources men read aren’t heavily health-based. Their magazines are about eating protein and lifting weights. They focus on putting on weight and not eating a balanced diet.
“Some men drink diet soda all day to keep them awake. Or a quick- bagel or doughnut in the morning. Quick acting carbs spike blood sugar and then take it back down. Don’t have it be a constant in your meals.
“Most men don’t drink enough water. I have people purchase a water bottle. It saves plastic and there are ounce marks on there. Oftentimes, men say they’re not thirsty. But their body has adapted to not having water throughout the day.
“It’s not about not eating, but making a little more health friendly so you can enjoy what you love. Use whole wheat bread instead of white, or pork tenderloin instead of chops, for example.”
— Berit Young, registered dietitian and owner of The Cupcake Dietitian in Rochester