6 things men need to know about food, nutrition and getting in shape
Carrying a few extra kilos can be uncomfortable and can rob your vitality. Getting your metabolism back is an excellent goal for a health and fitness program. You have probably heard that a yearly weight creep carries health risks (type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and some cancers), but you might not know that losing just a few kilos, 5 to 10% of your starting weight, is enough to improve your health and well-being. Research shows why young men might want to eat better or lose some weight.
The most common reasons were to improve their health and to look better. You go to the gym at least twice a week. You only have a few beers and eat fast food here and there. You think you’re eating reasonable portion sizes, but you just can’t lose the beer belly. Men tend to have more lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories than body fat, even during rest. Men can burn more energy (calories or kilojoules) during exercise and when men and women cut the same number of calories, men usually do lose more weight. Regardless, there are some things related to food and kilojoules men need to know.
- Find out how many kilojoules you need in a day
To maintain a healthy weight, the average adult needs around 8700 kilojoules a day. However, our individual requirement depends on our age, gender (men generally need more energy than women as they have more muscle tissue) and everyday activity levels as well as our weight, height, body composition and genetics.
To lose or gain weight, use your ideal body weight in the calculator below. This will give you an estimated daily kilojoule requirement to help you meet your weight loss (or gain) goal. You can find your ideal body weight for your height by using this BMI calculator (a healthy weight range for an adult is a BMI between 20 and 25).
- Know how many kilojoules are in the foods you eat
Once you know how many kilojoules you need a day, spend a bit of time working out where your kilojoules come from. You do this by keeping a food journal. The food and drinks we eat provide energy, which is measured in kilojoules. How much energy they provide depends on the amount of carbohydrates (sugars/starch), protein, fat, and alcohol the food or drink contains, as well as the portion size.
Different ingredients in food and how they are prepared mean some have more kilojoules than others. Larger serving sizes also mean more kilojoules. We know drinks contain energy (kilojoules), but because liquid is not as filling as food, we often don’t realize how many kilojoules we are consuming from drinks. Some drinks are surprisingly high in kilojoules.
- Discover how much exercise you need to do
The type of exercise you need is dependent on how much fat you need to lose. For example, a burger has around 2,200 kJ. You need to jog for 52 minutes or walk the dog for 2 hours to burn that many calories. If you want to save time in the gym, then swapping high-kilojoule choices for healthier, lower-kilojoule options is worth the effort.
- Avoid fad diets
If your goal is to eventually develop healthy eating patterns, then stay away from fad diets. A survey from the Dietitians Association of Australia found young adults were more likely to try fad diets compared to older adults.
Fad diets become popular because they sometimes work for a short time – weight does come off, but it’s usually from loss of water or lean muscle. While you may lose a decent amount of weight initially, the restrictions imposed by fad diets are unhealthy and unrealistic to maintain – ultimately leading to failure.
- Be cautious of distractions
There are a lot of distractions for young men when it comes to eating (and drinking). From beers with mates to just one more sausage at the bar. Using “burn-boost” where you plan ahead to manage these challenges, is better than trying to rely on willpower.
- Plan ahead
The challenge is planning ahead, especially when working or studying long hours and having little time left for other things. The trick is to plan your meals ahead. Make a list of the ingredients for a week’s worth of meals before heading to the grocery store.
Set aside a couple of hours on Sunday evening, cook and prepare one or two of these. Store in containers and freeze. When you get home late and tired, all you have to do is reheat the meals you already made. It is an easy method to avoid settling for high-carb foods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is less about short-term dietary changes and more about developing healthy lifestyle choices. That includes nutritious eating, regular physical activity, and balancing calorie consumption with the number of calories your body uses. Eating whole, healthy foods, having treats in moderation, and adding more activity to your life will go a long way toward helping you obtain and maintain a healthier lifestyle.