Dads: Lighten up the Ego, and Your Weight

June 15-19 is Men’s Health Week at

man diet denialMost men would rather die than diet. In my days as Senior Editor at, men always constituted a small percentage of our customer base. The reasons aren’t necessarily mysterious, but it’s not easy to pin on one culprit.

The male ego can be an odd and curious thing. Why do men think dieting is not “manly”? It’s true, dieting has often been associated with femininity. It’s also often done in a community-support environment, like Weight Watchers. And guys just generally don’t want to get together and discuss their weight and emotions. Now, if you’re talking about how many pounds we can lift on the bench press, that’s another story.

Guys, when it come down to the brass tacks of the matter, heart disease and diabetes are pretty good reasons to get over the stigma of dieting. I’ve always been a proponent of dieting as a temporary thing that leads to permanent lifestyle changes. Do whatever style of legitimate dieting works for you. But it’s likely that you won’t do it forever. You need to think in terms of changing who you are and how you relate to food and drink. Otherwise, after you finish that fast, flush, detox, or low-carb diet, you will end up back where you started.

One of the worst parts of dieting culture, and I think it may even turn men off more than women, is the idea of demonizing food. Should you ever eat a Twinkie? I don’t recall the last time I did. I certainly don’t advocate eating the never-spoiled yellow cake, but if you splurge a few times a year when you’re on a road trip… what’s the big deal? And that goes for less-extreme examples such as bacon, or decadent desserts. Some people can be dietary saints, but for the rest of us mere mortals, we are much better served eating the “bad” foods in moderation rather than beating ourselves up over it.

In the age of the Internet, it’s so easy to diet in anonymity. If you would like support from nutritionists and others struggling with their weight, but feel it’s not the manly thing to do, now there’s no excuse. There are several diets for men that exclusively work online. Besides, what kind of excuse is good enough for sacrificing your health and not living a long and happy life for you and your kids?

Happy Father’s Day! And when you go out for dinner on this special occasion, don’t think twice about ordering that juicy steak. You can have the grilled chicken salad tomorrow.

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