Weight-loss expert Andrew Dickson shares information and advice for men who are wanting to lose weight.
I work with blokes who want to manage their weight better, and I've found they share a common belief: the amount of energy eaten on a particular day minus the amount of energy burnt equals how much fat they lose. But the science isn't that simple.
In my experience, men often apply this half-truth by skipping meals (usually breakfast) to try and reduce their total intake of food over a day. I certainly did this when I weighed over 130 kilos. Unfortunately, this makes weight management almost impossible, as it causes the metabolism to slow down to prevent starvation. Eating like this actually stops you burning energy.
If you skip breakfast and eat your evening meal at around 7pm, the body has been without fuel for more than half the day – 7pm to lunchtime the next day is 17 hours or 70% of a 24-hour period. This means you actually eat most of your total energy intake in about seven hours. During the 17 hours without food, your metabolism slows and your body shuts down many non-essential functions. When you do eventually eat, your body will store as much as it can to try and compensate for the starvation time. This starts a dangerous cycle of starve-store-starve, and results in more body fat and lower performance.
An alternative is to try and eat a third of your daily energy intake between waking and lunchtime – breakfast and morning tea. Get another third of sustenance between 12pm to 6pm – lunch and afternoon tea. And get your final third of daily energy intake between 6pm and bedtime – dinner and a supper-time snack. This is ideal, and what I have adopted over the past two years.
And it all starts at the beginning of your day – just add breakfast. This increases your total energy intake but incredibly, you will likely lose weight. I have seen success from this simple change in eating habits in the blokes I am helping.
Top tips for blokes
- Never skip breakfast. Even if it is a couple of pieces of toast with Vegemite or a meal replacement drink, breakfast kick-starts your metabolism.
- Eat regularly. Work out when during the day you need to eat by dividing the amount of hours you are awake by six.
eg. wake at 7am, sleep at 10pm = 15 awake hours.
15 ÷ 6 = 2.5 hours. This means don't leave more than 2.5 hours between eating.
- Snacking is good. Eat three main meals and three substantial snacks every day.
Great snack ideas
- Morning tea: Fruit with a decent amount of protein like bananas, berries, kiwifruit or avocado and about 25 grams of nuts like Brazil nuts.
- Afternoon tea: A pottle of yoghurt and a wholemeal Vegemite sandwich.
- After-dinner snack: Frozen yoghurt and a couple of gingernuts.