Obesity is an increasing problem for men of all ages in America. According to a recent study, it is estimated that nearly one-third of adult males are overweight. Men tend to gain weight around their midsections, and are also at greater risk than women for developing heart conditions. Too much fat — especially around the waist — increases the risk for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack, heart disease and stroke. If you're an overweight male, the good news is that it's never too late to start losing weight to positively impact your health.
How Weight Loss Improves Male Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and being overweight places you at increased risk. Obesity, caused by taking in more calories than are used up in physical activity and activities of daily life, can cause blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels to rise, raising the risk of heart disease. Weight loss is about more than just looking great, it's about your health and wellness too.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, affecting 90-95% of those who have the disease. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and many may have insulin resistance, but not know it. A person's weight is a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes; almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Losing weight can help to improve diabetes management and heart health by lowering blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The resulting improvements in blood sugar levels may also help to prevent diabetes. A recent clinical trial showed how losing 5-10% of body weight helped improve blood glucose and lower blood pressure levels in those with type 2 diabetes. What does this mean? Even small changes to your lifestyle can help prevent these diseases.
Lifestyle changes may also improve your love life. Obesity can impede blood flow to the organs, and this can contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED). It is estimated that four out of five men with ED are overweight or obese — and the more excess body fat you have, the greater the risk. ED can be a side effect of the medications prescribed for a heart condition such as diuretics or antihypertensives. Recent research showed that healthy weight loss in obese men with ED resulted in significant improvements in sexual function. In other words, losing weight can result in better health for you and for your relationships.
How Do You Know if You're Overweight?
The easiest way to know if you're at risk of weight-related problems is to measure your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, while adults with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.
Calculating your BMI is quick and easy. Use our free BMI calculator to find out.
Weight Loss For Men
If you have a spare tire, don't despair. With patience and a plan you can manage weight loss and reap the health benefits. Whether you're trying to reduce your waistline or decrease the fat from another area, the basics of healthy weight loss remain the same:
- Follow a nutritious, reduced-calorie menu to allow for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It is also important to limit your saturated fat intake as well as high-fat dairy products. Use this guide on a healthy diet for men to help reach your weight loss goals.
- In conjunction with eating healthy, it is crucial to focus on portion control. When you are eating at home keep your portion size small. If you go out to eat sharing a meal or only eating half is a great way to stay on track with your diet.
- Aim for 30 minutes of exercise or activity on most days of the week, either in one block of time or in 10-minute spurts. Engage in moderate and vigorous aerobic activity each week as well as incorporating strength training or weight training into your routine.
- Receive the diet support that works best for you, either from friends and family, through weekly meetings with your consultant or online.
As you can see, there are many benefits of weight loss for men. If you don’t know where to start, a diet change is a good place to begin. A healthy diet for men includes eating a variety of healthy foods including fruit, vegetables, and protein. By making little changes to your routine it may help you shed those extra pounds and start you on a journey towards health.