First off, real men don’t diet, right? Actually, real men do diet; it’s just usually called something else, like “building muscle,” “bulking up” or “watching carbs.” You get the picture. “Men don’t tend to diet as much as they tend to go for a hard workout routine when they want to lose weight,” says Christine Avanti, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist, chef and healthy weight-loss specialist. “Typically men eat a lot heartier and are mostly concerned with getting enough solid food and meat in every meal.”
And what’s the best way to slim down to a toned, swimmer-like version of you without sacrificing hearty meals? Well, most trainers and nutritionists say a combo of regular exercise and eating healthy foods in modest proportions is the answer. Avanti advocates a “pro-body builder style” involving four to five modest meals a day, cooking at home, and eating proteins, carbs and fats in her online nutrition plan. And while all this could work, it’s easier said than done. There are factors like stress, genetics, social drinking, inconveniently located pizza shops and so on that can mess with your results.
Almost all diets use a strategy that involves restricting some form of food as a simple way to cut calories. While most are backed by scientific research, often paid for by the same company that deems them effective, many are short-term solutions that ultimately fail once you stop following the plan. “Any kind of deprivation diet usually lasts about three days before the cave-in,” says Avanti. “For men, the cave-in is usually a big burger/fries meal or possibly a pizza-delivery pig-out. This undoes all the previous days’ weight loss in one meal as the body catches up on the missing carbohydrates.”
It’s obvious that less energy in and more energy out makes you thinner. That said, the human body is complex, everyone is different and the same diet and exercise that work for one guy might not work for you. (Otherwise, we would all be on the Cookie Diet, and yes that is a real thing.) Does this mean you should experiment with a gazillion diets until you find the one that works for you? No. It’s all about what you can do long-term. And chances are you’re more likely to stick to a diet or workout routine that’s more “you.” To help, we’ve broken down some of the most popular weight-loss plans. Read on to plan your route to success and to recognize a common misstep in the journey to the perfect body.
Next: The Atkins diet