Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is hard, isn’t it?
Especially when you’re surrounded by temptations every time you step inside a supermarket.
For women, temptation tends to rear its ugly head in the form of cakes and ice cream or an insatiable desire to main-line chocolate.
The male of the species, however, tends to gravitate – although not exclusively – towards more savoury foods, like steak and cheese.
(Unless it’s a Yorkie chocolate bar, of course – because they’re ‘not for girls’.)
Whilst perfectly OK in small amounts, the savoury foods we crave tend to be very high in saturated fats, which can lead to all manner of health complications when eaten too often.
But why is it that we’re more likely to reach for something savoury and more substantial – or is that just a gender stereotype?
Are our cravings biological or psychological – or do we just feel ‘a bit more man’ chewing on a chunk of barbequed (#standard) meat, caveman-style?
And what can we blame for eating a family-sized bag of Doritos as a mid-morning ‘snack’?
We have hormones too, don’t we?
Well, the truth is – particularly in the case of women who are at the mercy of their fluctuating hormones – there are some physiological reasons for food cravings. Some women, for example, experience fatigue at certain times of the month, which can cause their bodies to crave foods that provide lots of energy, quickly – like chocolate. And the same is kind of true for men, too – although not related to hormone fluctuations. But similarly, if you don’t get enough sleep and don’t eat a healthy, balanced diet the resulting lack of energy can cause you to seek-out high-energy, calorie-dense foods to get you through the day.
In most cases, however – regardless of whether you’re male or female and the specific types of foods you crave – food cravings are driven by a psychological need for comfort. We call this emotional eating. But there is another pirate at work too – trying to sabotage your efforts to lose weight and that is: temptation. And it’s the number one reason why most dieters fail.
So, if you want to continue eating all your favourite foods – without gaining weight, and in fact lose weight. The main thing you need to overcome is temptation. And the easiest way to do that?
Here are five of the foods we believe to be the most tempting for men – along with the associated damage they do to your waistline (and any hope you have of ever seeing your abs again):
This traditional Friday night staple may be the perfect tonic after a heavy drinking session, but the average kebab contains around 2000 calories (nearly 80% of your GDA) and almost double your daily salt requirement. A good compromise is to opt for a shish kebab rather than the usual doner as it has more protein, less fat and fewer dodgy added extras. You should also load up on as much salad as possible to ward off fatigue, improve digestion and add important nutrients.
Whether you’re down the pub or sat at home watching TV, crisps and nuts are always hard to resist and are often a go-to snack. These moorish morsels come with a price, however, as they are usually incredibly high in saturated fat and contain massive amounts of salt. Eating just one pack of crisps a day is the equivalent of drinking FIVE LITRES of cooking oil a year! If you must choose a bar snack munch, opt for nuts as they are far healthier for you and contain heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid salted varieties if possible and flavoured nuts as a no-go.
Cheese is the perfect accompaniment for nearly everything. I mean what doesn’t taste better with a little cheese? – Cauliflower cheese, bolognaise, cheesy chips, toasted cheese sandwiches and even the humble cheese and biscuits. Cheese goes perfectly with nearly everything. The problem is that when consumed in high amounts, cheese can be particularly bad for you. This is because cheese is a high-fat/high-calorie food and has a very high salt content. Always look to keep your cheese consumption to a minimum if you want to keep your waist size down and avoid major health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Ah the humble British chip, how we adore you. Whether on their own with salt and vinegar or combined with just about any meal you can think of. Chips always taste great, which is why they are the nations favourite food. The problem is when we eat too much of them, chips are a low nutrition snack, but high in calories, which means they are not recommended as a healthy food option. If you must eat them, choose oven chips rather than fried as they contain about five per cent fat. Sweet potato chips are way better for you.
Another weekend staple for the British male and one you wouldn’t think would be that bad for you, but an average Indian takeaway can contain more saturated fat than your recommended daily allowance. A chicken tikka masala, with pilau rice and a plain naan for instance, contains on average around 1,338 calories. That’s before you even get to the side dishes. Not only that, but curries also tend to contain lots of oil that can be potentially hazardous for your waistline. But there is a way to control the calories still. When choosing a curry, go for tomato based sauces as these tend to have fewer calories than richer, creamier kormas or Pasandas. Sacrificing a calorie laden naan bread for a tasty chapatti also cuts the calories. The average plain naan contains 455 calories, while a chapatti has a much lighter count of around 110 calories.
How to lose weight while eating a bit of what you fancy
Our Living with Pirates weight loss programme is different to anything you’ve tried before; There are no gadgets, gimmicks, pills or potions. And there are no food restrictions of any kind, either.
We simply teach you how to become a naturally healthier and consequently slimmer person – by working through some of the psychological obstacles that have prevented you from succeeding to lose weight in the past. There’s no nonsense, either – just straight-forward, tried-and-tested, practical exercises and daily emails for you to work through at your own pace.
So, what are you waiting for? This time next year you could be gearing up to appear on the cover of Men’s Health, reducing your risk of a heart attack or diabetes, or breaking out the Speedo’s.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, we can help you get there.
PS it’s free for a short time to as part of our ‘Making A Dent In The Universe’ trial too.