OVERWEIGHT &OBESITY IN MEN
SMART & LIGHT
Men have not escaped the scourge of overweight and obesity, and if the average numbers are slightly lower than in women, the incidence of obesity is alive and well. However, the problem is not as widely discussed for the simple reason that men tend to talk less than women. Also, they may be better able manage the condition on a psychological level than women.
I have worked with many men over the last twelve years and know they face just as many challenges as women, but have different concerns. Fortunately, they are just as motivated to change.
Working together, we found the methods that were essential to their progress at the start of their weight loss journey, and all of them, without exception, were successful in achieving their goals. Men are generally more aware of the dangers they face due to overweight and obesity. They are very good at participating in the Smart and Light program because they have less nostalgia about the lifestyle changes that need to become their new habits. I’m always excited to watch their rebirth and see them reclaim their youth and vitality.
Nevertheless, the overweight or obese man is exposed to the same risks as women as well as certain health problems that do not exist in women, such as cancer of the prostate.
Physical discomfort is perhaps easier for men to deal with as they are better able to cope with excess weight. They find their body image to be less disturbing because they often associate a larger body mass with strength and virility; hence the extra weight makes them feel more powerful.
However, on a professional level, men find obesity to be more of a challenge because they experience discrimination in the workplace, especially in areas such as sales where presenting a good image is important.
Also, in a society where being slim is a major criterion of beauty and desirability, big men are obviously playing a losing game. It’s at the age when they first begin dating that rejection in love affects them the most. If the little fat boy failed to lose weight despite the taunts and jeers of classmates, he will be persuaded, through frustrated attempts to achieve success with the opposite sex, to be more motivated to act. Frustrated sexual impulses, emotional rejection and love are all good reasons to take charge.
And if his abundant charm has not prevented the obese teenager or young man from wanting and having normal relations, he will likely experience discrimination in the professional arena, which can present a real obstacle to hiring.
For many employers, it goes without saying that a candidate’s obesity reflects his personality: a weak individual with a lack of will to control their own compulsions, therefore unlikely to exhibit the expertise, responsiveness, autonomy and professionalism the company wishes to portray.
Obese employees are also sick more often than those at a normal weight; hence they represent a loss of profitability for the company.
Risk factors for men:
Risk factors linked to obesity in men are, for the most part, the same as for women. In addition, they may develop cancers of the prostate, a loss of fertility, and experience erectile difficulties as their organ may get lost in pubic fat, thus causing complications with the sexual act if not rendering it impossible altogether.
But men, who are generally less resistant to pain and stress than women, are more likely to experience the symptoms of fatigue and discomfort brought on by their excess weight: shortness of breath, headaches, migraines, lower back and joint pain, heaviness in the legs, dizziness, flushing, excessive sweating, and a debilitating sense of fatigue.
Men are also more reluctant than women to heal, (for they are a little shy) and thus have a tendency to put on even more weight due to a lack of information and self-care. They experience heart attacks more often than women because men are more likely to be smokers and drinkers as well. Due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, men exercise less, if at all, so they’re not using up the excess calories they’re consuming.
As is the case with women, they also develop depressive disorders due to overweight, but find it more difficult to get help by talking to a psychiatrist because psychiatric counseling, for them, denotes a weakness in character.
Obesity is a contributing factor in the incidence of prostate cancer.
The larger size of the prostate in obese men makes it harder to perform accurate cancer screening. In the obese man, biopsies do not extend over the entire prostate gland; hence, diagnosis becomes more difficult. Prostate cancer is the second-most common form of cancer in the US, after skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2005, 232,000 American men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and over 30,000 of these have since died. Recent studies show that excessive consumption of dairy products is to blame. Now, the recommendation is to replace cow’s milk with soy milk, and to eat more tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato juice, and strawberries, foods which contain lycopene, a nutrient which reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
Proper diet and regular exercise reduce the risk of prostate cancer by up to 30%. Hence, a low-fat, high-fiber diet in conjunction with regular exercise can reduce the incidence of prostate cancer dramatically.
Gentlemen, please eat more healthy foods, even if you eat out or in your workplace. Forget your endless sandwiches and pizzas, and instead opt for fish, chicken, meat, vegetables, and fruit. Put aside the bread and the beer, reject all that is fat and sweet, and get some exercise!
Drink lots of water and eat as many times as you like in a day, but be sure to eat healthy foods.
Social and Professional Discrimination
In our society, discrimination against the obese is a shared reality for both men and women, yet the employment bias affects mainly men. The French are aware of this with 74% of respondents considering that an obese candidate has a lesser chance of being hired than another who is equally qualified.
Obese men are also discriminated against when it comes to access to jobs involving contact with the customer.
Obese candidates, on average, are two times less likely to land a job interview. The obese receive three times fewer positive responses for a position in the trades … and 24% fewer positive responses for jobs in telemarketing! Laws against discrimination are required because some recruiters select job candidates based on a photo and assumed weight. However, using physical appearance as a selection criterion is discriminatory in the same manner as a bias against one’s ethnicity, gender, or religious affiliation. Whether it’s a sales position or a job as in telemarketing, discrimination due to one’s physical appearance is just as illegal.
The discrimination in access to employment experienced by obese people particularly affects disadvantaged groups. In Western countries like France, these links are well known. Discrimination in recruitment is most likely to affect candidates who already experience difficulties in finding employment because of their gender, country of origin, skin color, being raised in a disadvantaged neighborhood or lack of schooling.
Obesity is a contributing facture in academic failure and the marginalization of many young boys. The situation is then compounded by direct and indirect discrimination at various stages of their lives, unfair, yes, but practically inevitable. I will say that this injustice towards men is of the same order as that against women, in terms of societal pressure to emulate some unrealistic “ideal”, which puts many of them at a disadvantage on the “desirability” market. To each his burden, and his share of misery.
The Emergence of Male Complexes
There once was a time when the reassuring big man and bon vivant was highly appreciated by members of the opposite sex, and never would such a man even consider having complexes. We loved these men for being big, funny and friendly, and we respected the authoritarian who was big, strong, and impressive, as he generally represented power and/or money.
But, those days are gone and being big, whether one is nice or not, is no longer fashionable. The big man is no longer looked upon with respect; he has lost his “sex appeal” and his manhood. The big teddy bear, soft and comforting, will have to change his ways if he wishes to please. Meanwhile, the big man who’s severe and grumpy can go bang his fist on the table elsewhere.
The fat man, because of his weight, seems older, less dynamic, less responsible, less manly, and less “in”. Women today do not seek to attract a mate who will be a burden to them, especially one that doesn’t cut a good figure.
What is new when it comes to male obesity is the emergence of the male complex.
Today, too big equals not sexy, no fancy clothes, no girlfriend, no social life, no confidence, no respect from others, no credibility, not getting hired, no job, no money, no vacations, no entertainment, no bank credit, no life insurance, no place when taking public transport …
In short, everything a man needs to exist.
And it is so difficult for these men to open up and talk about it. Difficult as well because there is virtually no self-help group for obese men and nothing else is offered that is relevant to their problems.
Gentlemen, know that I sympathize with that feeling of loneliness because when I was an obese girl living in France, so many years ago, I was an isolated case. So, I know first-hand what it’s like to experience obesity in this lonely way.
However, also know that the situation is the same for obese women, and that you have the power to change your fate.
I highly recommend to these gentlemen that they read this book by Anthony Robbins, one of the greatest coaches of our generation: “Awaken the Giant Within”.
Anthony Robbins was once obese, ill at ease, and very lost before discovering the awareness that led him to be, today, not just a “playboy”, but an extraordinary speaker as well as the biggest healer of all time.
Give yourself the means to change and change the course of events.
You’re up to the task and we need you.