The exercise excuse
The minority of men gets a healthy amount of exercise, but many are either "couch potatoes" or compulsive exercisers.
Since childhood, men have been brought up with vaguely unpleasant attitudes toward exercise, unless they are gifted, natural athletes. Lots of jocks develop a "positive addiction" and continue to exercise as they get older. However, those who do not start the habit early often do not start at all.
Exercise is addictive for some people. They train ostensibly for good health, but emotional factors are usually at the root of their obsession, and they are often plagued with injuries from overdoing it.
About as many men want to increase weight as want to lose it. However, they are not merely after more pounds -- they are specifically interested in lean muscle mass. To put on weight beyond the set point requires a combination of increased caloric intake and strength training, not simply aerobic workouts. Most of the advice given for increasing muscle mass, which is promoted in strength training and bodybuilding magazines, remains unproven. Many bulk-up programs are much like diet fads--satisfying quick results followed by lack of progress.
If you want to add pounds of muscle, set reasonable and attainable goals. Aim more for an increased percent of body weight as lean muscle rather than simply gaining weight.
Weight and health
Using weight as an indicator of obesity is problematic. To define "normal weight" as an exact number of pounds for a given age and height is as silly as stating that tallness and shortness are abnormal conditions. The current, preferred diagnosis of obesity disregards weight and is primarily concerned with an excess of body fat the fat burning kitchen program burn excess fat in your body.
Although weights have gone up, death rates from heart disease and strokes have decreased 30 percent in the last 20 years. Society confuses weight with fatness, and there is much evidence that "overweight" is an unfairly critical and scientifically meaningless term. The real issues are fitness, nutritional intake, self-esteem, healthy body image, size acceptance, and happiness.
While the popular belief is that being overweight is medically dangerous, that may be erroneous. As statistics for overweight continue to rise, life expectancy increases. A person's weight may have little to do with how healthy he is. For example, one popular myth that is promoted by diet plans, as well as too many physicians, is that men should stay permanently at their college-age weight. To the contrary, studies have found that a mild, gradual increase in weight over time may be the healthiest weight pattern and compatible with the longest life. Lack of fitness, lack of lean muscle mass, smoking, and saturated fats are the problems, not mild weight increases with age.
A general guideline in comparing male versus female body fat is that women have fat on them, while men have fat in them. The meaning of men having fat "in" them is that excess body lipid in men tends to be located in their internal organs, especially in their coronary arteries. Extreme abdominal fat is much more dangerous than weight stored in the hips and gluteal area, because it is metabolized more quickly into the blood and is more easily deposited in the coronary arteries.
Things to avoid
Weight-loss drugs are not quick fixes--they have been found not to be safe or effective. Large studies have shown that one year after people stop taking weight-loss medicine, they weigh more than comparison groups who were on a behavioral program of food moderation and exercise.
A healthy outlook
The more you know about the body's mechanisms of hunger, satiety, and weight maintenance, the clearer it will be to you that striving for weight loss is futile.
Living comfortably within his own body, respecting it enough to develop its potential, but not letting himself be limited by what nature has given are essential goals for a man today. The man who is best off is at peace with himself and is not relentlessly unsure of his appearance. He understands that his body has a neurobiological organization designed for survival in a previous era. He accepts the genetic predisposition of realizes what he can and cannot change.
The real challenges of "making weight" are:
· Developing a personal identity including, but not based exclusively on, your size and shape
· Finding a balance between ignoring and worshipping the body
· Taking stock of what nature has given you
· Choosing healthy patterns of eating and exercise
· Enhancing self-esteem and body-identity
· Developing meaningful, close relationships
· Becoming comfortable with masculinity in a secure, non-threatening manner
· Being able to distinguish true scientific and medical information related to body weight, shape, and eating from commercial pitches and "snake-oil" products
· Celebrating the male body, the male mind, the male contribution to society, but also the male's responsibility to, deal with people as people and objects as objects, not the other way around.
· Do not smoke or abuse other drugs
· Do not consume much saturated fat.
· Do not diet or take diet drugs.
· Avoid excess, whether it is food, exercise, alcohol, or work.
· Do not feel powerless to make healthy changes in your life.