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Men, that big belly isn’t cute

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Things are changing in Nigeria, slowly but surely. A while ago, having a big belly was seen as a sign of good living, of affluence, this was the myth of the Nigerian male. If you lost weight then something was wrong, being slim was a sign of poverty! Guess what the life expectancy of the average Nigerian male is, anyone? It’s 52 years old; maybe this myth has to change.

The best way to measure a man’s fitness level is by either his BMI (body mass index), or by his waist size. Your belly is the first thing to increase in size as you put on weight, and the last thing to shrink as you try to lose it. Why do you think abs are such a statement of fitness, they are the toughest things to achieve. I see many men who lift weights with no cardio and no healthy eating, they are all around us; big arms, big chests and even bigger stomachs.

I’ll be fair, it’s not an easy path to be on, and the men you see out there that you envy, the ones that are committed to healthy living, I assure you they are working hard, and it’s not luck or genes. You will not be able to shift that beer gut overnight, especially if you’re still knocking back beers every night, but I can give you some tips to start on your journey. Remember what this is for, remember life expectancy, remember that guy in your office that looks so trim that you hate him.

Don’t stuff your face post-workout
Don’t use the fact you’ve been to the gym as an excuse to eat more. You may feel you’ve worked hard but a typical hour-long cardio workout will burn less than 600Kcal. To get the fat off, your diet has to change, along with exercise. Take your battle to the kitchen as well.

Put rest to work
Try to get eight and a half hours sleep every night to stop yourself from snacking. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that students restricted to just five and a half hour of sleep ate significantly larger amounts of high-carb snacks during their waking hours than those sleeping for eight and a half hours a night. You just have to quit that late night snacking. Basically when it comes to weight, you snooze you lose.

Snack at three o’clock
A nutritional boost between lunch and dinner wards off fatigue and keeps you from over-indulging later. Just don’t gobble down a bar of chocolate, or a meat pie. Try yogurt and fruit, or eat an egg (hard-boiled) or an apple washed down with a bottle of water. It will give you long-lasting energy.

Smoothly does it
If you want your metabolism to run like a high-performance V8 rather than a ‘tokunbo okada’, keep it well lubricated. Try giving your motor a metabolic oiling by juicing fruits and vegetables. I will explore the benefits of juicing in another article, but you can research in the meantime.

Go green
Giving up beer will help your weight loss, and not just because of the calories in each bottle. When we drink a lot we experience an outpouring of insulin stimulated by the ethanol in beer. This causes hypoglycemia, a reduction of sugar in the blood, which stimulates the sensation of hunger, leading to a desire for high-carb foods.

Try drinking green tea for a month instead. Its catechins (antioxidants) spur on the body’s metabolism. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition men who drank green tea daily had significantly smaller waist measurements than those in the control group. Four cups a day should see you benefit in no time.

Vary your routine
Your body gets used to the workout you do, so transform it to push your muscles harder and burn more fat. Try playing basketball, hill walking or fitness classes to shock your body into shedding more pounds.

Cheat and indulge
Treat yourself once in a while. Not feeling bad about an occasional indulgence is an important factor in sticking to any eating plan. So whether your poison comes in a bowl or a bottle, consume it wisely and it won’t be a problem. With ice cream we advise eating it after dinner when you have fewer hours to allow one bowl to turn into three or four.

Take a gamble
Picturing yourself slim is one motivator, ‘betting’ yourself thin is another. Men are more committed to weight loss when it becomes competitive. Bet a friend you’ll shed a certain amount before the elimination stage of the Champions League, that way if your team goes out you could still win. Unless you’re an Arsenal fan of course…


In this article:
Maje Ayida
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