Follow these top weight loss tips and you’ll soon swap that beer belly for a six-pack…
To calculate your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metres) squared.
If you have a high percentage of muscle, your BMI might be higher than this without you actually being too fat so measure your waist circumference to see if you need to lose weight. A waist measurement of 37 inches (94cm) means you are at increased risk of health problems; a measurement of 40 inches (102cm) means you are at a high risk.
Getting your percentage of body fat measured will also give you an idea of whether or not you need to shape up. Between the ages of 20 to 39, you should aim for 8-20% body fat; between 40 and 59, you should aim for 11-22%; and between 60 and 79 years, between 13-25%. Most gyms will be able to measure your body fat.
Listen to what your mates say
Most blokes don’t hold back telling each other that they’ve ‘got fat’ or developed a beer belly. If your mates take the Mickey, don’t take it as a compliment. Instead, take it as an indicator that you need to shift some weight.
If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of going on a ‘diet’, don’t go on one
Instead, focus on ways in which you can improve your eating habits – for weight loss that will last. There’s less stigma attached to eating healthily and you won’t feel as deprived; for example have a green smoothie made from vegetables rather than the traditional fruit version.
If you have a partner, ask them for help
Most women will be delighted and only too happy to serve up healthier meals and smaller portions.
Get to grips with the basics of healthy eating
As a rule:
- eat more fruit, veg and wholegrains
- have fish twice a week (including one serving of oily fish like salmon, mackerel or fresh tuna)
- opt for low-fat dairy products
- choose lean sources of protein like lean red meat and chicken
- go for fresh, natural, unprocessed foods; eat fewer fried and fatty foods
- cut back on salt and sugar
- watch portion sizes
- don’t drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol in a day
Large amounts of red meat, eggs, cream, cheese, butter and fried food might seem appealing but diets based on these foods are usually loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat – and men are already at an increased risk of heart disease compared to women.
Carbs are actually friends to weight loss rather than foes, especially if you opt for wholegrains such as wholewheat cereals and pasta, brown rice, wholemeal breads and porridge, which will all help to fill you up – and keep you fuller for longer.
Eat five portions of fruit and veg each day
Fruit and veg in dishes all count towards this target. It’s as easy as having a fresh fruit smoothie at breakfast, an apple mid morning, adding a tomato to your sandwich at lunchtime and having lots of onions and mushrooms in a spaghetti Bolognese for dinner.
Eat fewer takeaways and choose healthily
For example, if you love kebabs, opt for a chicken skewer rather than donner meat; go for a chicken or small burger rather than a double cheeseburger; choose a thin crust Hawaiian pizza rather than a stuffed crust pepperoni one; and have boiled rice rather than fried or pilau rice.
Eat a healthy, balanced meal before going to the pub so you’ll be less likely to grab a takeaway on the way home. If you don’t have time for a proper meal, opt for a wholemeal sandwich or soup and a roll.
Drive to the pub…
so your mates won’t keep encouraging or forcing you to have pint after pint.
All alcohol is packed with calories, but men tend to drink pints and pints tend to be the worst option – and the stronger the lager or beer, the more calories it will contain. A pint of ordinary strength lager contains around 165 calories, while strong lager contains 250 calories – possibly explaining why you never see James Bond with a pint in his hand!
Single measures of spirits with low-cal mixers like diet cola or slimline tonic are the best choice with just 50 calories each.
And remember, if you’re staying tee-total, you still need to stick to low-cal drinks to gain the benefits. A pint of orange juice and lemonade contains around 160 calories while a pint of regular cola contains as many calories as a pint of strong lager – around 240!
Don’t be afraid to tell a white lie…
if any of your mates start questioning you about what you’re eating and drinking. If you’re off the booze tell them you’re on antibiotics; if you’re skipping the burger and fries tell them you have high cholesterol and the doctor has told you to cut down on fat; or if you’re eating more wholegrain carbs, fruit or veg tell them you’re in training for a sporting event such as a half marathon or triathlon.
Don’t just watch sport…
from the comfort of your armchair or local pub. Instead, get off your butt and start playing it.
Think back to what you loved at school – football, cricket, rugby or running, for example – and consider joining a local club. Or have a go at learning a new sport, such as golf – an hour at the driving range might not give you a great cardiovascular workout, but it’ll certainly burn more calories than sitting in front of the TV.
Arrange social events around playing sport, too – for example, get a group of mates together and go for a kick around in the park at the weekend. And if you have a gym membership, make sure you’re using it.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until you’ve been diagnosed with a health problem before you take action! Weight loss will give you more energy and help to improve everything from your health and looks to your confidence and love life!