Have you ever wondered why guys drop pounds so damn quickly?!?
One of the most frustrating things your husband can say to you: “I need to lose 5 pounds — I’ll cut out the beer.”
That’s because you could forgo beer forever and still never get close to squeezing into your skinny jeans. It’s not fair, but men are natural losers. We women may think we know every weight loss trick in the book, but men have some distinct physiological advantages.
For one, men’s bigger muscle mass helps them burn 30% more calories than we do. Women generally have more body fat and are biologically more inclined to store it; men also get a free pass from the monthly hormone peaks and valleys that leave us grumpy, bloated, and craving anything chocolate. Finally, in the gym, men like to hit the weight racks and do routines that pack on metabolism-boosting muscle, while women miss out on those benefits when they’re tied to the treadmill.
But all is not lost (pun intended) 🙂 If there’s no way to beat men at the dieting game, women might as well join them. Here are 7 guy habits that can help you slim down, get strong, and be healthier too.
1. He doesn’t crave sweets
Both men and women have cravings — but his work to his advantage.
While your comfort food is more likely to be sour gummy bears or double-chocolate chip ice cream, his is a thick, juicy steak. A Cornell University study found that women seek out sweets to ward off the blues but men turn to meat when they want to indulge. Why this gives him a weight loss advantage: He’s eating protein, which will help fill him up (and curb overeating later) far better than your coffee cake will.
If cravings for desserts and candy are your diet downfall, try protein first. Have some hummus and veggies, turkey and cheese roll-up, or cottage cheese mixed with some cut-up fruit. If you can’t skip a sweet, combine them with some protein. A small handful of dark chocolate chips and almonds will satisfy your sweet tooth but keep your blood sugar level and your hunger at bay.
2. He doesn’t get upset when he screws up
Okay, you blew it. A ridiculous project lands on your desk at 4 PM, and the vending machine beckons…
What do you do next? If you’re a woman, you throw up your hands, tell yourself what a bad person you are, and reach for your quarters. Then you wallow in self-loathing for days. And what does a guy do? “He feels okay, maybe even good, and really enjoys that snack,” says emotional-eating expert Edward Abramson, PhD, a professor emeritus of psychology at California State University and author of Body Intelligence . The guy also climbs right back on the weight loss wagon — no harm, no foul.
To avoid this diet-busting mentality, apply his 80-20 rule. “Most guys avoid anything that even smacks of perfectionism,” and that applies to dieting, too, says Prevention advisor Pamela Peeke, MD, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “When women start a diet, they go from zero to 100 — they become ‘perfect’ overnight, which is a hallmark of failure.” Just try to stick to your healthy meal plan 80% of the time, and the other 20% is left for the odd chocolate bar or glass of wine.
3. He lifts weights
Women are catching on to strength training, but some experts think women ought to approach weights more like men do. Lifting weights and body weight strength building exercises done for as many reps as you need to feel true fatigue, meaning you literally can’t phyically perform one more rep, will result in building muscle in less time.
So if you’re about to hit the treadmill or your favorite Zumba class yet again in the hopes of losing some extra pounds, think twice.
4. He doesn’t use food as a therapist
Women are twice as likely as men to binge because they’re depressed. We are also twice as likely as men to become depressed, which makes for a lot of eat-a-thons. Worse, after a binge, a woman is likely to feel guilty, feel even more down, and soothe herself with more food. But guys don’t think they can boost their mood by mainlining chocolate. You shouldn’t either.
Break the habit by identifying what’s behind your need to feed. Rank your desire to eat on a scale of 1 to 10, recommends Santa Barbara, CA, psychotherapist Gloria Arenson, author of Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing . “If it’s an 8, then look at what in your life was an 8 that day. Your boss yelled at you? Your dog ran away? Your kid got into trouble at school?” By matching your numbers — the craving and an equivalent stressor — you’ll soon learn how to determine whether you’re hungry or medicating a bad mood. With practice, most people who use the rating system stop themselves before taking the first bite, says Arenson.
5. He acts out his anger
Here’s another reason why men’s emotions don’t drive them to the fridge.
Guys are more likely to do something physical to dissipate their negative emotions, like go for an extra-grueling run or pound nails in the garage. Women on the other hand, tend to swallow their feelings — sometimes with an entire row of Oreos. So when you get mad, get moving. Take a Spin class, do some yoga or go for a head-clearing walk.
6. He makes time for himself
Women, especially moms, very rarely say, “I need to take the day off and get pampered”. We do for others but so often put ourselves and our need for self care on the back burner. For many women their only source of gratification and reward is food. Starting today, snag an hour just for you. And give yourself something inedible to look forward to, whether it’s a Saturday morning antiquing or a monthly girls’ night out for pedicures at a spa.
7. He doesn’t give up favorite foods
When women diet, we deprive ourselves of all those luscious “forbidden foods” until we can’t stand it any longer.
Then we fall like starved dogs on year-old Halloween candy stuck to the back of the freezer. Austrian researchers, looking at gender differences in eating and dieting, found that “men’s approach toward nutrition is uncomplicated and pleasure-oriented.” They’ll still eat Doritos and guacamole while watching the Super Bowl, but they’ll have a third less then they usually do. Studies by University of Toronto obesity researcher Janet Polivy, PhD, found that restrained eaters — that’s the average female dieter — are more likely to not only overeat after dieting but also to gorge themselves if they just think they’re going to go on a diet. Scientists call it “the last supper effect.”
So don’t ban your favorite food — nothing can scuttle your good intentions like feeling deprived. I order my clients to have something they love every day, whether it’s a portion of ice cream, a small cupcake or a glass of Merlot.
And choose something fun to distract you when cravings strike. So many times we are told, “If you feel like you’re going to overeat, distract yourself by cleaning the house”. That’s like torturing yourself! No man in his right mind is going to do chores to keep himself from overeating. A guy will find a more hedonistic distraction, like shooting hoops in the driveway or playing his guitar. Take a cue from him and look for something enjoyable that engages your hands and mind.
Bottom line is that weight loss is as much about attitude as it is about aptitude. Adopting a male mind-set, at least in this arena, can make you a leaner, more in-control woman.
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