Eating more and moving less has led to the average British male weighing over a stone more in 2000 than he did in 1986, reflecting a rising trend in obesity in the UK.
This was the conclusion of a study funded by the British Heart Foundation and led by Oxford University’s Dr Peter Scarborough.
The study found that 25% of men in England were classed as obese in 2008, compared with only 7% in 1986/87.
We’re eating more
The researchers analysed the increased availability of food, along with waste levels, to determine how much more we eat now, compared with 1986.
They found that the average woman had gained 12 lbs in weight – a figure that is in line with the extra food consumed.
However, the 17lb weight gain saddling the average bloke couldn’t be explained by eating more alone, leading the researchers to believe decreased activity was also a factor.
Phil Morgan, Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and an expert in male obesity, said that many men are “in denial” when it comes to their weight. “They are less likely to self-identify that they are overweight,” Morgan said. “Men are less likely to go to a doctor, less likely to ask for directions, and this independence applies to weight loss too – men are less likely to enrol on a weight loss program.” When they do, they tend to prefer the online type over the traditional group-based sessions, he said. “Men prefer access to information rather than counselling.”
Weight loss tips for men
The male equation
The “epiphany” moment for most men comes when the penny drops about the energy equation – that the energy we put in via food must be less then than energy we expend through exercise, physical activity and metabolic activity for us to lose weight. “Lack of knowledge about healthy eating is a real barrier to male weight loss,” Morgan said. “Simple changes can produce enormously successful results for men.”
Strategy: Signing up to the Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club and using the online diary can empower you. It will give you a good understanding of the calories in the foods you crave and the exercise you would need to do to work them off. For the best results, complete your diary at least four times a week. Learn how the diary and menu plans helped Michael lose 4st 4lbs!
Men are made for muscle
Men have greater lean muscle mass, whereas women naturally carry more subcutaneous fat beneath the skin. Muscle burns more energy at rest than fat, which means that men have a faster metabolic rate and burn calories quicker than women. Add testosterone to the mix, and there’s a distinct advantage.
Testosterone helps male bodies respond well to exercise, building even more muscle, and giving them a real head start in the weight loss stakes. “Once men commit to losing weight, they tend to have excellent success,” Morgan said.
Strategy: Harness the calorie-burning potential of your muscle. Build more muscle through weight training and you’ll use energy even when you are watching TV. Replacing just one pound of fat with one pound of muscle, will increase metabolism by six-to-eight per cent, meaning the body will burn calories faster even at rest. As a member of our Diet Club, you will get access to hundreds of weekly workout programmes and step-by-step exercise guides, to keep you moving more, so register now. Get a sneak peak of what’s on offer, with a few free workout programmes. Complete the form and we will send you some free training guides for the next three days to get you exercising more!
Men eat less emotionally
It may sound like a stereotype, but a recent study has shown male and female brains respond differently to food and cravings. The brain imaging study by U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory found that while the brains of both women and men ‘lit up’ when showed tempting foods, only the men showed a relative decrease in brain activity when they were asked to inhibit their responses.
“The finding of a lack of response to inhibition in women is consistent with behavioural studies showing that women have a higher tendency than men to overeat when presented with palatable food or under emotional distress,” Gene-Jack Wang, lead author on the study, said. “This decreased inhibitory control in women could be a major factor contributing to the observed differences in the prevalence rates of obesity and eating disorders such as binge eating between the genders, and may also underlie women’s lower success in losing weight while dieting when compared with men.”
Strategy: Make simple changes to your diet that you can stick to long term and you’ll see big changes. Swap fizzy drinks for water, cut down on high-sugar snacks and increase your activity through simple, every day acts. Get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to heaps of nutrition and health articles, not to mention easy-to-follow food plans to help educate you in healthy living.
Men compete. Women compare.
Women like to compare and share their weight-loss ups and downs; they are encouraged and motivated by other people going through a similar journey. Men tend to go it alone, but they like a challenge or an incentive to keep them motivated. For example, US studies have found that men perform better than women when they earn money for every pound lost.
Strategy: A bet between mates or a corporate weight loss challenge tends to work extra well for men. Or join our entourage of male members, and take part on our competitive leaderboard. Could you take the weight loss top spot?
Watch how Martin lost 7st!
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