by Erika Townsend
Now that 2009 is in full swing, some of those resolutions that we made a few weeks ago have fallen by the wayside. One resolution that we can’t escape is weight loss. With all the ads for Jenny Craig, American Family Fitness, and the YMCA, the guilt can become overwhelming. Before you throw in the towel, consider making it a team challenge with your mate, versus going it alone.
Everyone’s fitness needs are different, and it would be wise to consult a doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise routine. You can still support each other by going to the doctor with one another to insure that your mate sticks to the prescribed routine. Another benefit of going to the doctor with one another is to see the vast physiological differences that impact weight loss between men and women. For instance, a man can have more alcoholic beverages than a woman while dieting because they need a higher caloric intake. This means they can also get away with larger meal portions than women, and that can be a source of frustration when dining together.
It may sound like women are getting the short end of the stick, but men face some challenges as well. For example, according to research conducted at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a few extra pounds can wreak havoc on a man’s fertility. It takes just ten extra pounds for a man’s testosterone levels to drop. Also, a waistline of 34 inches or more doubles a man’s chances for impotency, and men tend to gain weight in their abdominal region. The same study revealed that this extra belly fat also increases a man’s risk of strokes, heart attacks and diabetes.
Since I have added a side of fear to go along with a heaping helping of guilt, here are some tips for around the kitchen to make things easier.
- When preparing food, it is best to grill, bake, broil, steam or roast your food. Even microwaving your food is better than frying it.
- Instead of potato chips, try baked chips, whole grain chips like “Sun Chips,” pretzels, or fat free microwave popcorn.
- Dips are great for your snacks (fruits and veggies included) but make sure they are yogurt, lowfat sour cream or salsa based.
- Eat breakfast together. It is the most important meal of the day and a little quality time with your mate is the best way to start your day.
- Preplan your meal portions. Make your plates and refrigerate the rest immediately. Out of sight, out of mind!
- When he enjoys a beer and you are close to your caloric max for the day, try mixing half a glass of wine with seltzer water. It is a light, refreshing drink that is also light on calories.
Dieting and changing how you eat is only half the battle. Working out really takes weight loss to the next level. When working out together it is important to keep a few things in mind.
- Just because you go to the gym together doesn’t mean you have to work out side by side.
- He may make a great boyfriend or husband, but that doesn’t make him a great trainer. Leave it to the professionals.
- A little friendly competition at the gym can lead to drama at home. Focus on encouraging one another.
The next time you see another weight loss ad, there is no need to feel guilty. With a little effort, you and your partner will be fitness masters!