Testosterize Your Weight Loss Efforts

Many of us around here have suffered the indignity of attempting weight loss at the same time as one of our male friends/lovers/spouses/whatevers and were quickly left–sweaty, hungry, and cranky–in the proverbial dust. Lucy Danziger, editor of Self magazine, recently offered her take on why most men lose weight faster than most women. My digest:

  • Men eat real food. No 100-cal snack packs or “diet” foods in ManWorld.
  • Men have a one-track mind. They pick one or two things and focus on those.
  • Men lift weights, usually free weights. Only 17% of women in the gym pump iron.
  • Men jump in and do. Women build plans.
  • Men stroke their own egos. Among other things. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Women fret over small slip-ups.
  • Men are oblivious to what others think of their bodies. Women worry.
  • Men eat foods because they taste good. Women attach emotions or emotional support to foods.

Obviously, these are all sweeping generalizations and aren’t true for everyone, male or female. But when I look at this list of seven items, I see that five of them are similar to (or exactly) the shifts I made in my own thinking four years ago that freed me from the diet cycle and got me on the path to lasting (so far) weight loss.

  • I dropped the low-cal, low-carb, low-fat, low-taste foods and began to focus more on nutrition. I confess to still buying the occasional new 100-calorie treat (purely for research purposes, you know), but it’s very rare.
  • Instead of trying to overhaul my whole life in a week, I focused on accumulating gradual changes.
  • I began strength training, and even when I wasn’t losing pounds, the inches were dropping faster than I could buy new clothes. Seriously!
  • I focused on my actions, not my plan, nor my results–only what I had to do.
  • I celebrated small successes, sometimes by treating myself to new downloads or other joys, sometimes with a simple and silly happy dance. But I celebrated! And the slip-ups? They’re yesterday’s news.
  • I quit worrying about everyone else and made sure that I lived up to my expectations. Most of the time. I’m still working on this one, but I’m better than I was! *pause for happy dance*

So maybe Lucy Danziger is onto something. Maybe not.  I do know that taking all the external factors (fashion/style magazines, targeted marketing, family & social influences, etc.) out of the equation and focusing on what I do and how I feel about what I do helped me stay true to myself and to my cause.   I didn’t (and don’t) think of it as a male or female approach. Just a successful one. :)

And you? Recognize any of your own habits or patterns in the list, or any you’ve outgrown?

23 thoughts on “Testosterize Your Weight Loss Efforts

  1. But then there are the men like my dear husband who feel that they should not have to deprive themselves so cannot give up some very unhealthy foods that should long ago been given up! Oops, little rant there, sorry.

  2. This is such a true post, Cammy. Even as a fitness pro, I am totally disgusted by the fact that a man can just eat less and he will lose weight while we have to bust ass. Not fair. One thing I noticed though when I moved in with Scott, is that I can eat the same amount of food as him day in and day out. He is 6’4″ and 220 lbs and I am shorter and weight less. He is a busy contractor and does physical labor for 8-10 hours per day while I sit behind the computer for the same time. We obviously don’t need to eat the same amount of calories. So, my trick is that I always eat less than he does. I look at what he puts on his plate and I try to do 1/3 less. If I really need more I go back for more but that rarely happens.

  3. I am proud to be in that 17% that lift!

    I do need to worry less about what people think of me. I am better at it, but I always find that when I start wondering what other people are thinking, I automatically start self doubting. Linked? Me thinks so.

  4. This such a great post! Thank you for translating the article here…
    And for reminding me how great it is to start with weight training.
    I definitely think the “Real food” element is a biggie for me.

  5. Great post! I enjoyed reading this.

    I think one of the biggest ones out there is that women tend to get emotionally attached to food in a way that men don’t – they tend to view food more as fuel and as taste. Not EVERY man and woman will feel that way, but MOST do.

    I find it funny (and frustrating!) that my boyfriend works out and then loses weight like crazy (when he’s more interested in gaining muscle and would much rather GAIN weight), whereas I either workout loads or try to reduce my food intake and my weight just stays the same (and I would LOVE to lose 10 lbs). Sighs!

  6. I don’t think it’s true to say that men are oblivious to what others think about their bodies. Maybe we don’t fret about it as much, but we do care.

    And, that “stroking” you mention. it’s all calories burnt, and don’t they say you should look for exercise you enjoy?

  7. Love this post! I recognize stress as a major factor is keeping the weight around my midsection.
    Not anymore! I know that men stress alot less than women, about alot less things. It’s time for me to clean up my act and give stress a push out the window!
    Thanks for the inspiration today, I needed it!!


  8. Cammy, I am so with you here.. I found a few on that first list too from back when… I did not eat the 100 calorie packs but it was all about salad & nothing else when I first lost my weight.. I was not eating real food. And you know I love the weights!!!! I am still working on that beating myself up stuff….

    Great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Boy, did I need to read this today. My guy just started going to the gym as I requested….he is dropping lbs like crazy….while I am *stuck* in the lbs department. We just had a discussion about the scale this AM! That list fits just about all the areas we covered in that discussion.

  10. Men don’t have the emotional baggage. Their self esteem is not wrapped up in how cute they are.

    Having way more lean mass doesn’t hurt either :)

  11. In our constant effort to blame ourselves for our inability to lose weight (or great difficulty doing so), we always forget to name the elephant in the room: muscle. Men, no matter how overweight they are, have a higher muscle to fat ratio than women. Women naturally have more fat than men, simply because a certain level of fat is necessary for menstruation and fertility. Both exceedingly thin women and very heavy women often have fertility problems.

    The right level of body fat plays a crucial role in female fertility.

    Unfortunately for women, muscle burns more calories than fat. So, right out of the starting gate, a man will lose weight faster than a woman. Studies also show that women have a greater tendancy to crave sweets than men. And let’s not forget the intense physical and mental cravings associated with our monthly menstrual cycles. Oh, yes and then there’s all the additional muscle we lose so easily after menopause.

    It’s fine and dandy to change your attitude and think more like a man, but you can’t change the physical attributes associated with gender.

    • Not only muscle, but we are built to carry babies, and thus our bodies really don’t want to be that lean. That’s two strikes, regardless of any psychology or emotional causes (which I’m not really buying, anyway)

  12. Very interesting! Yeah, I can’t imagine seeing a man with a 100 calorie pack. I have changed and done some of those things too. Sometimes I forget, though, and this is a good reminder.

  13. I think there’s a lot of truth to this… Mmm, interesting! Sometimes we tend to intellectualize the thing far too much instead of just getting on with it.

  14. I love LOVE this post. I forget to cut myself a break for small slip-ups. I also fret far too much over what other people think. Having said that, I’m not going to go all balistic on myself. It’s been a rough few months, after all. I’m going to take a cue from you and quit worrying…or at least work on not worrying. Thanks, Cammy :)

  15. Great post with lots of helpful information. I think turning within and finding a plan that works for you and tuning out all the “external noise” is critical! I actually believe that the reason many women fail at weight loss is that the most touted popular programs take a “masculine” approach and what women need is a feminine approach that takes into account their desire for pleasure and being nurtured.

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