June is Men’s Health Month. If there’s ever a time as a male to think about your personal health, now is the time to do it. Over the next month we’ll be discussing men’s health issues and what you can do to improve.
In our first Men’s Health Month post, we talked about why you should get a regular check up with the doctor. Last week we discussed excessive sugar consumption and why you should cut back. This week’s subject is stomach fat.
When you look down, can you see your toes? Or is your stomach fat getting in the way?
We might love our bellies, but it’s a sad truth that our fat bellies aren’t loving us back. Stomach fat is actually really dangerous to our health. It wraps around our internal organs and leeches poison into our bodies. It also greatly increases our chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. You can see if you are a healthy size by measuring around your waist. This should be less than half your height. If it’s more, that’s how many centimetres you need to lose.
A number of factors contribute to stomach fat. Dietary habits like eating too much sugar, refined grains and saturated fat play a big role, as well as an inactive lifestyle. Physical inactivity is the primary reason men gain weight, which has become much more common since most lifestyles have become sedentary.
There’s a number of things you can do to lose the extra centimetres:
- Stay hydrated. Sometimes we feel hungry when our bodies are just craving water. Water also helps us digest our food. Carry a big water bottle with you and drink a couple of litres a day.
- Quench your thirst with water instead of fizzy drinks and so-called energy drinks. They’re packed with sugar so are hard to resist if you’ve got a sweet tooth, but sugar makes you fat and rots your teeth. If you’re going through a 1 litre bottle of Coke a day, that’s 27 extra teaspoons of sugar you don’t need.
- Think about why you’re eating so much. Is it boredom? Is it to make you feel happy? Figuring out the answers to these questions can help you break the overeating habit.
- Eat smaller dinners than you normally would. When starting out, some people find it helps to dish up a normal size meal, and then remove a quarter of it. Take that part for lunch the next day.
- If you’re in the habit of buying most of your meals, make an effort to cook a meal at home using fresh ingredients a couple of times a week.
- Don’t keep bad foods in your cupboards. If it’s not around you’ll be less tempted.
- Try putting less sugar in your tea and coffee. It’ll taste bitter at first but after a few days your taste buds will adjust. Try it.
- You might want to try getting a calorie counting app for your phone. By entering what food you eat each day, you will quickly identify what foods you are eating that are packing on the pounds.
- Exercise will speed up the rate at which you lose centimetres. And it’s good for your heart health too.