In the brunt of summer weather, we hit the gym more often to trim our bikini bodies for beach season. In an act of desperation to drop the pounds, we become more vulnerable to fad diets that promise dramatic results but seldom live up to their claims. Now, Jim White, a dietitian, personal trainer, and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Va., suggests women have got dieting all wrong: We should “eat like a man” to lose weight.
“Eat like a man,” may sound like patronizing advice for women, implying we should copy men’s eating habits to sort out ours, but White’s key messages may have some merit. His advice stems from the theory women are constantly dieting, which encourages yo-yo weight loss and gain — the endless cycle of gaining, losing weight, and gaining weight again — by choosing foods that don’t do enough to keep us full.
In an interview with Fitness magazine, White cites research from the University of Toronto to support his belief, explaining: “Restrained eaters are more likely to overeat before starting a diet and binge after they end it than ones who don't go on restrictive diets.” Counterintuitively, depriving yourself is one of the worst things a dieter can do when they are trying to lose weight. On the other hand, White mentions guys rarely ever “diet.” “Sure, they might try to eat healthier or cleaner, but that's about it. No D-word, no all-or-nothing mentality,” he said.
Men and women are built differently, so following a man’s eating regime won’t necessarily yield the same results, and blindly “eating like a man,” may have the opposite effect. Women naturally have a higher body-fat-to-lean-tissue ratio than men, and body fat naturally increases with age, says the NYU Langone Medical Center. Now, while it is known men lose weight faster than women due to testosterone, the male hormone, women should still adopt “man eating habits,” according to White.
The dietitian and personal trainer’s guidelines have received praise from fellow nutrition and fitness experts in the community. Matt Townsend, a New York-based personal trainer, agrees with White’s advice, especially when it comes to eating proteins for a better workout. “I've found great success with women eating more animal proteins on days they do heavier weights for workouts, followed by eating like a vegetarian on days where more cardio intensive workouts, traveling or rest days are on the schedule,” Townsend told the Daily Mail.
Rather than patronizing women and saying we need to “eat like a man,” it’s best to highlight White’s key points in dieting that will work for men and women, from focusing on the quality of ingredients we’re eating to keeping a good balance of fats, carbs, protein, and greens. Healthy eating and exercise are key to living a healthy lifestyle.
1. Eat More Protein
When we diet, we tend to order a salad and skip out on the steak, but White believes the former is the wiser weight-loss option. Low-calorie foods often lack fat and protein, which is known for keeping us full, and instead are loaded with extra sugar and sodium to add flavor lost by the fat. They tend to be completely unsatisfying.
2. Drink Beer
Ladies, we may think we’re making smart choices opting for mixed drinks like margaritas, but we’re actually loading up on more sugar. Beer, on the other hand, can make us feel fuller, making us less likely to snack.
3. Boycott 'Low Fat' Foods
Men don’t tend to bother with microwaveable low-fat meals and portion-controled snacks, according to White, because they tend to be completely unsatisfying. Since these foods are generally low in fat and protein, they can actually make you want to eat more by the day’s end.
4. Guzzle Water
Drink more water to prevent hunger pangs and from getting tired from dehydration. “Prioritizing hydration, which might actually be more important for women than it is for men,” White said. Women tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of dehydration, including fatigue, which can make us want to eat more to gain more energy.
5. Eat Quality Ingredients
Consume foods that have balanced proportions of protein, carbs, and fat. If you eat meat, consume a little less but better quality.
6. Eat Constantly
While most guys appear to look like “constantly running garbage disposals,” they are actually boosting their metabolism by keeping it high and burning calories. Going four hours without eating will trick the body into thinking it’s starving, which will make it respond by slowing down your metabolism and hanging onto any calories it can. Portions and meals should be kept small.
7. Don’t Diet
Remember, restraining yourself means you are more likely to overeat before starting a diet and then binge after it ends. Rather, opt for small portion-controled indulgences, and avoid binge fests and cheat days. Instead, follow a healthy lifestyle with healthy meals and exercise.
It’s important to take White’s advice with a grain of salt.