Losing weight is no easy task, and all the misconceptions out there can make it even harder. From super-restrictive diets popping up every week, to that ‘one thing’ promising big losses without having to change the way you eat – there’s enough fake news to make your head spin!
It can be even more challenging when you’re a man, because sometimes it feels like we live in a culture that actively discourages men from tackling their weight. Slimming World’s Machobesity Report revealed that men are encouraged to see fatty foods and beer as ‘manly’ and attempts to lose weight as ‘feminine’.
With so much conflicting advice out there, it’s no wonder some men think Slimming World wouldn’t work for them. But Slimming World’s healthy eating plan not only fills you up, no food is off the menu. Food Optimising is based on over 50 years’ experience of helping people to lose weight and keep it off for life, combined with the latest scientific research. It’s designed to be easy to follow, realistic and achievable for everyone. In fact, our research shows that men can actually lose weight faster than women when they join their local group!
To help cut through the confusion, we’ve busted five common male myths about weight loss:
Male myths about slimming: busted
Myth: “Going to group is for women, not men”
If the fear that you’ll be the only man in the room is holding you back, you’re not the only one. A survey for The Machobesity Report found that four out of five men said they expected group to be female-focused. As our 60,000 male slimmers will tell you, that isn’t the case! In the unlikely event that you do find yourself as the only man, you’ll soon see that everyone in group has been through the same struggles and experiences of losing weight and want to support you through your journey. So whether you’re male or female, you’ll never feel alone.
Vincent Taylor was sceptical about joining Slimming World, but after his weight loss surgery failed he decided to give it a try – and now he’s 8st lighter. He says: “I was nervous about joining – I felt embarrassed, thinking ‘blokes don’t do this’. I couldn’t have been more wrong, though. My Consultant made me feel so welcome and, to my surprise, it was great. We all had a good laugh, and I wasn’t the only man there.”
Myth: “Exercise is the best way to lose weight”
How many times have we heard this one? Great news for anyone who hasn’t worn a gym kit since school (my hands are up!) – you don’t have to break a sweat if you don’t want to. While regular activity is great for your health and improving fitness, when it comes to weight loss, evidence shows that changing your diet is far more effective than exercise in helping to reduce your energy intake and burn off calories. And there is strong evidence to show that regular exercise can help maintain your weight loss – so being more active while Food Optimising is a real win-win.
When you are ready to move more while losing weight, our Body Magic programme will help you find an activity that suits your level of ability and fitness. If you’re just starting out, you can take it slow by adding gentle activity into your day. And if you’re ready for something more challenging, we’ll help you to kick your activity up a notch. Daniel (@danny_mann_sw_lifestyle) has lost 10st 8lbs and gets his fitness fix by walking with his family.
He says: “Can’t beat good weather to get out and do some Body Magic with the family after work, and have a walk up to Stoodley Pike this time, instead of normally cycling up there. The kids loved it. Exploring the monument, and seeing the brilliant views of the Calder Valley, just makes a brilliant end to the day.”
Myth: “Man food is deep-fried”
The Machobesity Report also found that eating large portions and eating everything on the plate was seen as masculine along with terms such as king size, jumbo and supersize. As our post on the science behind Food Optimising shows, our healthy eating plan enables members to eat larger amounts of lower energy dense foods to help them reduce calorie intake without having to cut down down on portion size. Because there’s no counting calories and you can eat until you’re full.
The Report said that a full English breakfast – along with ribs, meat pie and fried chicken and chips – is seen as one of the manliest meals around. If giving up your weekend fry-up has put you off slimming in the past, the great news is that no food is off the menu when you’re Food Optimising. By making a few slimming-friendly tweaks to the way you eat, like cutting the fat off meat and frying with low-calorie cooking spray instead of oil, our members can enjoy all their favourite meals while losing weight – which is all the more important as we know that feeling hungry and deprived are the most common reasons why people give up on a weight loss attempt.
That’s why we encourage members to fill up on Free Foods to help them feel fuller for longer. And if your favourite food isn’t Free, you can use your Syns to enjoy it in a controlled way and without a shred of guilt – so you’ll never feel deprived. Barry (@bazjones_sw) has lost 6st 9½lbs and loves that he can still enjoy a big plate of steak and chips.
If you fancy finding out how good a healthy fry-up tastes, our full English has all the best brekkie bits – and it’s Free!
Myth: “It’s all about willpower”
I bet someone has said this to you before – and if you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, you’ll know it’s about much more than being ‘strong enough’ to resist temptation. Trigger foods, danger zones, our own emotions… there are lots of things that can throw us off the weight loss wagon. Through the support of your Slimming World group, we’ll help you learn who you are as a slimmer. We’ll listen and support you as you uncover the reasons you gain weight, we’ll help you identify your personal danger zones – and give you the tools and strategies you need for lasting success.
Jon (@vidlerjon_sw) knows losing weight is about so much more than simply ‘wanting it’ – he’s lost over 20st with the support of his group and Slimming World Consultant.
Myth: “Talking about weight isn’t manly”
I’ll admit it, I’m rubbish at talking about the things that are on my mind – and I know lots of other men are like me. Our study found that many male slimmers suffer in silence for five years before sharing their weight worries. As much as we may want to look like the ‘strong, silent type’, by bottling up our worries and avoiding problems we can actually put ourselves at greater risk of health concerns further down the line. Whether you join a group or become part of our online community, you’ll be surrounded by fun, friendly people who understand what you’re going through – and have likely been through the very same struggles themselves. Because our members can empathise with your experience, they’ll support you and suggest strategies to help when things aren’t going so well – with absolutely no judgement or humiliation.
Mark Smith, who lost 6st 3½lbs, hid his eating habits from his wife, Sarah, until his doctor told him that his weight raised his risk of having a heart attack. He says: “I also had prediabetes and fatty liver tissue, and my cholesterol levels were unhealthy. When I joined Slimming World, I gave up my secret takeaways, cut back on the cans of lager and made healthy, satisfying dishes with lots of help from Sarah. Now I have a clean bill of health, a new-found love of cooking and the outdoors, and Sarah and I have more in common than ever.”
Many of our male slimmers – like Phil Kayes, Aaron Snares and Dave Lancaster – tell us that they were nervous about joining Slimming World, and then quickly found that they had absolutely nothing to worry about. Male or female, if you’re feeling inspired to take that first step towards achieving the weight you want, we’re waiting to help.