Understanding Weight Loss For Men
The face of weight loss is more often than not that of a woman's. And we’re guilty of that too—just poke around this blog and you’ll see plenty of pictures of ladies. However, wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is something men should—and do—strive for as well.
For both men and women, healthy weight loss stems from the same place: eating a healthy and balanced diet and exercising regularly. There’s no evidence men need a different weight loss plan than women. However, there are some key differences to consider when approaching weight loss for men:
While women tend to have high body fat percentages, men are more likely to store fat specifically in their abdomens. This type of fat is known as visceral fat or bad belly fat. Because visceral abdominal fat surrounds your organs, too much of it can put you at higher risk for conditions like type 2 diabetes or heart disease. The good news? Visceral fat can often be reduced faster than fat beneath the skin during weight loss.
People may joke that an abdomen with a lot of visceral fat is a “beer belly,” but drinking excess amounts of any alcohol can cause the weight to add up. Recommendations for men are no more than two alcoholic drinks in one sitting, but consider taking a break from the bar by switching to low-calorie, non-alcoholic beverages (or even a mocktail).
Men on average need to consume more calories than women due to, on average, larger builds. However, more factors go into considering your recommended caloric consumption for weight loss, including age, activity level, and body composition. You can calculate your daily caloric needs using an online calculator or by speaking to a registered dietitian.
However, both sexes need to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Men are more likely, on average, to have higher muscle mass than women. While both sexes can benefit from weight lifting and strength training, men may start at a higher baseline. This extra muscle mass helps men potentially burn more calories at rest and they may lose weight faster (especially at the beginning of their weight loss journey).
Having a lot of muscle and fat is also not atypical for men—think about bulky NFL players who are big guys despite being athletes. However, unless you’re worried about needing the extra padding for football, the goal for men should be to prioritize lowering their body fat percentage overall while maintaining muscle mass.
Men and women have different levels of hormones, and those hormones fluctuate differently over time and can impact weight loss. For example, men have less estrogen and more testosterone than women, who tend to have proportionally more body fat and less muscle mass on average than men.
Higher testosterone levels are connected with higher muscle mass and lower body fat, whereas higher estrogen levels in men are connected with the opposite. However, excess belly fat can lead to increased estrogen in men. This can potentially have negative health effects. Exercising regularly and keeping a healthy weight can help keep hormones (and fat/muscle distribution) balanced.
Long-term weight-loss success depends on healthy habits like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. While men and women share similar weight loss pathways, however individual needs, anatomies, and biological makeup will play a role in each person's weight loss journey. Talk to your healthcare provider for personalized guidance on reaching weight loss goals.
Weight Loss Medication for Men (and Women)
For those for whom diet and exercise alone are not enough to reach their weight loss goals, CONTRAVE is indicated for both men and women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or adults with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) with at least one weight-related medical problem. Ask a healthcare provider if CONTRAVE may be right for you.
You can also read about the experiences of Brian and Kalan, two of the guys who found success with CONTRAVE, in the Success Stories part of the blog.