We can all relate with the difficulties of trying to lose weight. Not only does it seem to be a constant battle but do you find it hard to get into the right frame of mind? To finally buckle down and take action? Well apparently this is because men and women are motivated by different factors to lose weight.
According to a study from GutBusters on men’s weight-loss programs, the motivation for men to lose weight is worth noting. This information dates back a few decades but it is important to reevaluate, especially since obesity rates continue to rise. This insight may affect how you and your partner approach future weight loss programs.
To start with, men view weight-loss as a one-off job instead of a continual process like women. This directly impacts the tactics that should be used to engage men in any weight loss program.
For instance, men use their spouse or doctor as a reason or ‘excuse’ to pay attention to their health. Many men feel it is a weakness to admit to having a weight problem, so they use the advice (nagging) as a reason to start the process. This means it is even more important for doctors to be proactive and prompt men to take care and control their weight. Otherwise it is common for men to procrastinate and keep an advertisement or weight loss pamphlet for upwards of 9-12 months before considering taking any action. Often the final trigger is the death of a friend, a personal health event or spousal pressures. The constant reminders from a health care provider are impactful.
Once prompted into action, most men are prepared to take substantial measures in their weight loss program. It’s common to go cold turkey with certain foods, whereas women are more likely to view weight loss as a gradual change but have breaks from the regiment. As well, weight loss for men is usually part of greater health changes, such as commitment to overall better health. For instance, if a man experiences some success with weight loss, they are more likely to stop smoking following this attempt.
Another indicator of motivation for men is social pressures: men feel encouraged to change their behaviour if they see others doing it. Clinicians need to create a supportive group environment where men are provided with the right information to get started. Men don’t seek counselling about the process like women do but rather want direct information to get started. The changes in diet and physical activity usually do lead to almost instant rewards in their weight loss. Clinicians should be aimed at achieving even small improvements because the immediate rewards are encouraging for men. They’re motivated more by how they feel than how they look, unlike body image ideals that women tend to focus on. The discomfort of excess weight is a motivator for men; this is likely caused by the sensation of carrying fat stores on the abdomen in men compared to the more gluteal female fat stores.
Finally, men are motivated by humour and self-deprecation, especially Australian men. It’s an effective way to overcome the threat of dealing with one’s weight. Though the issue of weight is serious, men are quite good at laughing at the situation whereas most women would be offended by this approach.
The evidence from the weight-loss study from the 90s is still relevant today. Clinicians can play a large role in this process by considering the motivating factors in men – a little nudge can go a long way.
Tell us, what motivates you to lose weight? Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy body weight?