Joining a weight loss group such as LighterLife is the most effective way for men to lose weight, according to new research.
Fewer men join weight loss programmes but those who do generally stick to them and see success, according to researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Stirling and Bournemouth.*
Researchers found that men who eat less tended to lose more weight than those who simply tried to burn off calories through exercise.
In particular, it stated that fat reducing diets, some with meal replacements, combined with physical activity and behaviour change training, gave the most effective long-term weight change in men.
Addressing the issue
Speaking to BBC News last week, chief investigator Professor Alison Avenell, a clinician from the Health Services Research unit at the University of Aberdeen, said: ‘More men than women are overweight or obese in the UK.
‘But men are less likely to see their weight as a problem and engage with weight-loss services, even though obesity increases the risk of many serious illnesses.
‘This could be because dieting and weight-loss programmes are perceived as being feminine activities.
‘While more research is needed into the effectiveness of new approaches to engage men with weight-loss, our findings suggest that men should be offered the opportunity to attend weight loss programmes that are different to programmes which are mainly attended by women.’
A ‘project’ approach
LighterLife Counsellor Andy Conroy has experienced this first hand. He lost 5 stone 2lbs with LighterLife and since joined the organisation helping others to reach their weight loss goals. He hosts groups for both men and women in Dunstable.
‘It’s not always cut and dried, but men tend to view weight loss as a project, with numbers and a series of tasks. Women, on the other hand, often experience it an emotional roller coaster of a journey,’ said Andy.
‘You often hear that men find the programme easier and they lose more weight more quickly (statistics might well show that too) but once the men are comfortable in their surroundings, trust the programme, the process, the counsellor and where they are in their own journey, they’ll soon embrace the emotions of this very sensitive subject’.
Researchers agreed that ultimately, what really helps men and women to keep weight off in the long-term is recognising and addressing their behaviour around food.
‘While conventional slimming groups are a great way to help people lose weight, behavioural change is the key to long-term weight management – and that’s what LighterLife is all about,’ explained Dr Matt Capehorn, Medical Director at LighterLife.
‘Our groups have a proven track record of helping patients with severe or complex weight problems because they don’t just don’t just focus on the physical changes of weight loss but also help people to recognise the emotional reasons why they overeat – which is what will help create long-term change.
‘By focusing on lifelong change, rather than short-term gains we see a significant increase in the number of people who keep the weight off long-term’.
If you need support losing weight, LighterLife groups can help – our expertly-trained LighterLife Counsellors have been helping people to lose weight for over 20 years. LighterLife will help you to explore why you eat in the way you do so that you have the tools to lose weight and keep it off in the long-term. For more information, call 0800 2 988 988 or visit www.lighterlife.com
*Source: Systematic reviews of and integrated report on the quantitative, qualitative and economic evidence base for the management of obesity in men, Robertson C, Archibald D, Avenell A, et al, Health Technology Assessment, Volume: 18, Issue: 35