Weight-loss tips for men: Size is everything (yeah right!)

Weight-loss expert Andrew Dickson has advice for men on why ‘man-sized’ portions are not ideal.

There was this TV ad promoting a very large ice cream doing the rounds recently. The ad involved a comedian slapping a normal-sized ice cream out of a large bloke’s hand implying he wasn’t being a ‘man’ eating this ‘normal’ ice cream. He was then given the new ‘man-sized’ ice cream – packing a whopping 1470 kilojoules (an average ice-block has about 200 kilojoules).

This ad made me cringe. Once again, here was someone promoting a gratuitous picture of what is considered a reasonable portion size for a New Zealand bloke.

Most men do not need to eat what the food industry calls a ‘man-sized’ or ‘super-sized’ portion. The exception is the elite athlete or marathon runner who may need to eat this total quantity in a portion, but it’s a sure bet he will choose something substantially more nutritious, otherwise his performance will suffer.

The cold hard truth is men just don’t need to eat that much more food than a woman of the same height and weight – perhaps a little more to cater for a body which has slightly more muscle, but a ‘man-sized’ portion in today’s society is simply a myth.

  1. Make a rule not to buy anything which draws attention to its own generous size. Behind the ‘value for money’ marketing ploy is often a heap of pointless kilojoules. It isn’t value for money if you have to spend more on slimming schemes, gym memberships and healthcare down the line. (Trust me – I learnt the hard way!)
  2. If you do not know how much is the ‘right’ portion size, try listening to your appestat. Neuroscientists believe the appestat is the part of the brain which tells you when you are full. One way to learn to listen to your appestat is to take your normal meal, remove 25% of the food from the plate, and stick it in the fridge. Eat the rest slowly (over 10-15mins)… wait 5mins… drink 500mls water… wait another 5mins. If your stomach is still rumbling, eat the rest.
  3. Next time you are at a barbecue, try and imitate the eating behaviour of a woman you know. Observe the woman’s eating and drinking pattern and copy it. You can substitute the glass of wine for beer. You will probably feel just as satisfied and will end up consuming fewer kilojoules.
First published: Jan 2009

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