I can’t tell you how many times one of my male patients will ask me for the best diet advice to address all his particular issues, weight, cholesterol, hormones, etc. They want to know what they should eat, what they shouldn’t eat, when, how much. Maybe you’ve been researching various types of diets and wondering the same thing. Here’s what I tell my male patients.
MEN’S DIETS: ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
The truth is there isn’t one magic bullet diet plan that will address all of your health or lifestyle needs or desires. Rather, what I tell my male patients is that they should aim for a diet that’s successful for them.
A diet that’s a personal success for you may be quite different from one of your buddies or what you’ve read or heard on television. After all, if you don’t like what’s included in your diet plan you’re trying to follow every day, you likely won’t stick with it long enough to meet your goals – be it weight loss, lowering cholesterol, maintaining good testosterone levels, etc.
There’s a LOT of pre-fab diet plans out there, most of them geared towards weight loss. Atkins, South Beach, Dean Ornish, Weight Watchers, and NutriSystems are some of the more popular diets that men go on. Indeed, men who have stayed on these diets long enough are successful at losing weight as it may be easier to just simply follow the rules.
However, other aspects of male health, like cholesterol, optimal hormone preservation, or building/preserving muscle, aren’t always taken into consideration on these plans. You may be like my male patients who wing it and try to adapt some of these commercial plans to include other health needs. And that’s really the key – adaptation to meet your needs.
How To Design Your Own Successful Man-Diet
Creating your own successful diet will take a little effort, and a little research on your part but it will be well worth the time spent. Creating your own, personalized diet not only addresses your particular health needs as a man, but it is one that you can stick with every day. It stops being a “diet” that has a starting and stopping point, rather it becomes your personal lifestyle.
Of course, you can consult a natural health consultant or nutritionist who can create this plan for you for a reasonable fee that may include any possible food allergies or intolerances, but here’s a quick way to at least start your own perfect diet.
- Write down your health goals such as lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase testosterone, improve memory, become fit.
- Make a list of two columns of food – ones you truly like to eat and ones you don’t. Be sure to include foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
- Next, out of the foods you like to eat, move all the unhealthier ones like french fries, fast food burgers, pizza, beef jerky, chips, beer, ice cream, candy, etc, into one column. Then move 7 items from this list that you absolutely can’t live without into their own column.
- Now make 4 columns labeled breakfast, lunch, dinner. Out of the “foods you like to eat” list, choose reasonable portions and place them into their corresponding categories. For example: From foods you like, you chose steak and eggs and toast for breakfast. Reasonable portion would look like 4 oz of steak and 2 eggs, 1 slice whole wheat toast with ½ tsp of an olive oil or other heart smart spread, or 1 tsp low sugar jam. This is a good breakfast for lowering blood sugar, weight loss, muscle and testosterone maintenance, but if you are also trying to lower your cholesterol, you will want to adapt this by replacing the eggs with 2 servings of egg substitute or egg whites. If fast food burgers is one of your “can’t live without”, have one, but limit it to 1-2 times per week. Try to order a healthier version of it by limiting it to 1 patty, 1 slice of cheese, up the tomato, lettuce and pickles, mustard, and ditch the mayo if you can. See how it works?
- Snacks. Out of your “can’t live without snacks” list, choose one, reasonable portion of snack per day. This might be 1 scoop ice cream, 2 beers (try the Ultra Lites at 60-90 calories, and low carbs/bottle) or 2 oz popcorn (try Skinny Pop, only 50 calories/cup and tastes like “real” popcorn), or 1 commercial size bag of chips, a 2” square of chocolate cake.
You will want to do a little research on the best foods to accomplish your specific goals then go back to your lists and see if any of your foods are included. If not, you will want to broaden your diet to include at least some of these foods 1-2 times per week, choose fortified foods, and/or find supplements that will support your goals. Consider these helpful guidelines:
- Weight loss: Research shows that high protein/low carb/low glycemic diets yield faster, larger fat loss than low fat diets. Also supports healthy blood sugar, muscle building, healthy testosterone and triglyceride levels. Forego your higher carb snacks until your weight is normal, then consume in moderation. Try lower carb mixed nuts as a snack.
- Testosterone building: Include high zinc foods like nuts, oysters.
- Cholesterol lowering: Aim for 200 level. Too low sabotages testosterone building. Oats and high fiber foods lower cholesterol. Omit trans fats. Keep saturated fat levels lower.
- Muscle building: Increase protein levels, 0.5 grams per lb of body weight. If you weigh 200, eat 100 grams of protein a day.
There you have a few simple ideas to create your own personal lifestyle diet. The idea is to incorporate foods you love with foods that will help you meet specific goals. Like I said earlier, it’s all about adaptation of your personal needs and desires. That’s what truly makes any diet plan successful!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Diet Plans For Men, http://men.webmd.com/guide/diet-plans-men?page=2
How To Lower Your Cholesterol Fast, http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/11-tips-to-cut-your-cholesterol-fast
Photo Credit: presstv.ir