Men's Health: New Year's Resolutions for Men (cont.)
Low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets limit intake of particular grains, rice, potatoes, pastas, fruits, and starchy vegetables. They sometimes encourage meat and fat consumption to promote weight loss.
Studies show low-carb diets do help people lose weight in the short term. After a year, however, researchers found no difference in weight loss between the low-carb diet and the standard low-calorie diet.
Experts are still waiting for long-term data on low-carb diets. Critics fear the diets will have negative effects on the heart, particularly since fatty foods have been shown to raise risk of heart disease. Many of the restricted foods on the low-carb diet, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, have also been shown to prevent cancer, and lower risk of heart disease.
To lose weight, Taub-Dix recommends a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. She says three servings of low-fat dairy can also be beneficial. Besides improving bone health, some studies show calcium may make it easier to shed pounds.
Instead of a beefsteak, try tuna or salmon steaks. A turkey burger could replace a beef burger. There are also vegetarian meat substitutes.
If this does not sound appetizing, try mixing healthy items into the meals you normally eat. For instance, a beef dish could be mixed in with tofu. "So you can get some of what you want, but not enough to hurt you," says Bonhomme.
New Year's Resolution No. 3: Go to the Doctor
Do you have a twisted ankle, back pain, blood in the urine, an enlarged mole, or unexplained sadness lasting more than a couple of weeks? These are all good reasons to see a physician. Yet plenty of men simply don't do it.
Men make 130 million fewer visits to the doctor than women do, and that's not including childbirth visits, says Armin Brott, author of Father for Life. He says men tend to discount pain and see themselves as indestructible, especially at younger ages. He says this general thinking stems from ideas promoted in childhood -- that big boys need to be tough and they don't cry. As men grow up, they are raised to think of themselves as providers and protectors.
"We're supposed to be taking care of our families, and we just don't have time to take care of ourselves," says Brott, noting a great percentage of the time men go to the doctor because their wife sent them. By the time they go, however, their condition could have progressed to more troublesome stages.
Promise yourself that if something doesn't feel right, you'll go to the doctor, Brott tells men.
Besides treating ailments, a medical practitioner can screen for potential problems, and keep a record of normal fitness levels. Health exams can give doctors a baseline for things like blood pressure, and cholesterol. If a man does not go to the doctor, it becomes harder for physicians to determine the severity of a problem.