Ready or not, the holidays are here.
For some men, that phrase rings bells of gastronomic joy. For others, it means dread over a battle of self-control versus guilt, tastebuds versus blood pressure, eggnog and cookies versus “Could you pass the pretzels?” But the holidays can go hand in hand with preventative weight loss without asking you to be a food Scrooge or to disappoint Aunt Marge when you don’t try her pumpkin pie.
What weight loss means, and what it doesn’t
Weight loss doesn’t mean finding the right fad diet. It doesn’t mean never enjoying food. It doesn’t mean plugging into a different “magic” formula or buying expensive exercise equipment and supplements every few months.
For some people, their weight loss commitment may include some of these elements. But it’s the commitment to change that’s key. And that self-control and commitment are exactly what will help you enjoy family dinners and work parties.
If you are using a weight management plan, you can take control of those moments. You feel better and look better and are ready to indulge when the time is right.
Commitment to health and holiday parties
When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady toward a goal wins the race. This means:
- Lifestyle changes (may include a whole household)
- Commitment to the process (staying patient as you explore what works)
- Physical exercise (cardio and muscle-building; even moderately, helps)
- Forming new eating habits (amount, kind or sources of food; ways of cooking)
- Regular physicals (staying in the loop with your physician to track progress)
Finally, it means knowing when to indulge. Enjoying the holidays definitely takes some measure of self-control, but with a preventative weight loss plan, celebrating with friends and family can be part of the plan.
This is not the time to become even more unhealthy than you’ve been all year. But if weight loss means, first and foremost, looking at the long game and knowing when to say No, then a healthy lifestyle typically includes times of saying Yes. An effective, balanced preventative weight loss plan includes special occasions. So don’t worry. For most men, the rum cake, the cheese tamales, and the hot toddy still have their place.
Why weight management is vital for men today
Until recently, it wasn’t healthy foods that were more expensive and harder to come by, but the more indulgent “feast” foods, high in fat and sugar, that now feel common: dairy, red meat, pastries, ultra-refined flours, candies, and undiluted beers, wines, and liquors.
Holiday food is not the enemy. The problem is that most humans’ holiday food now tends to be our everyday food.
Life today is full of stress and sedentary work, which also contributes to weight gain. Genetics, lifestyle, and traditional food cultures that no longer come with a correspondingly high level of physical activity also “weigh” in.
Put these contributing factors together, add the natural aging process and metabolism reduction, and weight gain is just all too easy. Weight loss and management is a vital part of a modern man’s life.
What does weight loss “prevent?”
Weight management isn’t just for the guy going through the drive-thru every day in December for a candy cane milkshake. It’s a regular part of preventative care for all men.
Weight loss prevents unnecessary illness and stress. It extends life, cuts down on chronic pain, boosts mental state, and adds to the quality of life.
Weight loss prevents and reduces serious health risks, such as:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal issues
Weight loss can also prevent and reduce:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Chronic pain
- Joint and spine issues
- Bad moods
- Low self-image
Preventative weight loss just means achieving a weight that sets you on track for a longer life — a life in which you feel good, are able to be there for the people you care about, and can do the things you want to do, like enjoying the holidays with family, friends, and co-workers for years to come.
Keeping someone on your side
For most guys, this means getting some help, both personal and professional. Weight loss works best when you have a supportive network of friends and family who will respect your food and lifestyle choices. Weight loss is not easy to tackle on your own.
It’s also best to keep your primary care doctor in the loop about all your major health decisions. A doctor can help you pinpoint appropriate goals and meet them in a balanced way. A doctor can also help you identify where you may need extra medical assistance, such as food allergy testing, physical therapy, or vitamins and supplements.
Finally, it helps to have a professional on your side, keeping you on track. It adds extra accountability and helps you track your weight loss hand-in-hand with other (weight-related) health concerns, such as blood pressure, sexual function, and heart health.
For the vast majority of guys, preventative weight loss is not about looking like the cover of Men’s Health. It’s about getting healthy, staying healthy, knowing your limits and goals, and obeying them the best you can — during the holidays or at any time.
Assess goals, plan choices, and take control with affordable medical coaching for men at Men’s Best. And enjoy the holidays!
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