For men, when you’re on the road to getting leaner, you may not need to take the exit that says, “celery sticks and cottage cheese.” A non-dieting strategy often works better for men, argues board-certified internist and author John La Puma, M.D. whose popular books have pioneered food as medicine. His motto: Men don’t diet, men refuel.
Dr. La Puma’s newest book takes aim squarely at your gut: REFUEL: A 24-Day Eating Plan.
RELATED: Indoor Fitness Tips from an Ironman
The approach promises not only to help you lose weight but gain testosterone — naturally — and turning your muscular strength up a few notches. That’s especially important, argued Dr. La Puma in a recent op-ed in The New York Times, given the growing evidence that testosterone supplementation may increase heart health risks in men.
Here’s his 6 step plan:
1. Measure Your Waist and Your Weight
By being honest with yourself and knowing where your start-point is, it will be easier to envision your finish line. Set waist and weight goals by writing down where you want to be realistically in 24 days.
2. Man the Kitchen
According to Dr. La Puma, learning how to cook brought him back to the pleasures he had previously neglected, renewed his confidence, and gave him profound satisfaction. He says a man who can cook is a self-sufficient, capable provider…and that’s just about as masculine as it gets. In REFUEL, he outlines basic cooking techniques, describes what to eat, and also provides 15 recipes which any man can and should know how to make.
3. Stop Converting Testosterone Into Estrogen
There are certain swaps every man should make in the kitchen to avoid the production of the female hormone, estrogen. Highly-processed refined carbohydrates and sugar, as well as saturated fat, increase your body’s production of aromatase, an enzyme that among other things promotes belly fat and converts free-floating testosterone into estrogen. Instead of chips, Dr. La Puma suggests, snack on nuts; instead of saturated-fat-laden mayo, guacamole, loaded with monounsaturated fats; instead of sugary sodas, juices and energy drinks, drink water.
4. Move It
It’s vital to stay physically active and keep the blood flowing. In addition to cardio, workouts including pushups, burpees, jumping jacks, lunges, and planks will help keep your muscles in tip top shape.
RELATED: Fitness Apps Men Love
5. Let Yourself Sleep
Just before you start dreaming, and enter the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, your body produces both testosterone and growth hormone, Dr. La Puma writes. That’s one reason why he emphasizes the importance of getting adequate sleep (between seven and nine hours per night for most of us) while staying physically fit. By letting yourself rest up, you are supporting the growth of your muscles and increasing the production of testosterone.
6. Keep the Feminine Energy on Your Side
If you live with a woman, let her help you achieve your health goals, rather than deter you from reaching them. By allowing yourself to hold your lady’s hand through the process, you might be doing yourself a world of good in terms of your health and your relationship. You may approach healthy lifestyles differently, with separate goals and strategies, but you can support each other.
More from KnowMore: