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At this time of year, many of us may be attempting to shed a few pounds in the post-holiday period. This can be particularly challenging as we wrestle with cold weather and the January blues. It’s not always conducive to hitting the gym at 6am or swapping bacon rolls for rice cakes and cottage cheese.6 am

For men who are trying to lose weight to address a health issue such as erectile dysfunction ED), the stakes can feel even higher, and slips in resolve can feel doubly discouraging. There’s so much advice out there about how to diet, but not all of it is realistic or easy to stick to. Here are some straightforward do’s and don’ts that may be helpful.

The dos

Do plan your meals in advance

If you wait until you are feeling hungry before you cook, you are more likely to reach for unhealthy options and prepare larger portions. Instead, plan your meals out in advance so that you are less likely to stray off course. Batch cooking at the weekend and freezing portions to eat during the week is a great way to keep your healthy eating goals on track.

Do drink plenty of water

Sometimes, we can mistake thirst for hunger, particularly when we are eating fewer calories than we are used to during the course of the day. Drink plenty of water to keep your appetite in check. Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. If you dislike plain water, add a few drops of orange or lemon juice to give it some flavour.

Do practice mindful eating

It’s not just about what you eat, but also the way that you eat. Read up on mindful eating techniques, and teach yourself to savour the aroma, appearance and texture of the food in your mouth, as well as the flavour. Eat slowly, chewing each mouthful carefully and avoid distractions from a screen. 

This can help you to feel more in tune with your body and to recognise when you have eaten enough.

Do combine your diet with physical activity

There’s no need to embark on an ambitious gym programme, but upping your levels of activity each day will help to burn off calories faster, as well as being good for your general health and wellbeing. 

Simple steps, such as taking a ten-minute walk every lunchtime, getting off the bus a few stops early, or doing a 15-minute home workout each morning can soon start to get great results. 

If you struggle with motivation, finding a workout buddy or joining a group or class can be helpful. Pick something that you enjoy rather than fighting against your natural inclinations. For example, if you enjoy being alone in the fresh air, cycling might be for you. If you thrive in the company of others, then a walking group or fitness class might be for you.

The Don’ts

Don’t crash diet

Avoid extreme diets that involve fasting or eating a severely restricted number of calories. These can send your body into starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism and making it more difficult to burn calories in the future. You may lose weight initially, but much of this will be down to a low water balance. 

In the long term, all the evidence shows that crash dieting leads to short-term weight loss followed by a rapid rebound, often resulting in gaining even more weight in the long run. 

Don’t cut out everything you enjoy

Eating is a pleasure as well as a necessity, and if you suddenly deprive yourself of all of your favourite treats you will soon start to experience cravings. This makes it much more likely that you will be tempted to break your diet and become completely discouraged.

Instead, plan to have a limited amount of foods that you enjoy, regardless of how healthy or not they may be. For the rest of the time, plan swaps for unhealthy snacks with an alternative that you quite enjoy, such as a handful of dried fruit in place of a biscuit or crisps.

Don’t ignore drinks

Fruit juice and carbonated drinks are loaded with sugar that has low nutritional value and so is quickly stored as fat. Swap them for low calorie versions or plain water. If you can’t bear to drink unsweetened tea and coffee, use artificial sweeteners. 

Alcohol also contains a lot of calories, so keep an eye on your consumption and seek out low-calorie alternatives wherever possible. 

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