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5 Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Men

Experts share their thoughts on the top 5 things men can do to get healthy in the new year
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New Year's Resolution No. 1: Get Fit continued...

To get rid of the flab and pounds, Jean Bonhomme, MD, MPH, a member of the board of directors for the Men's Health Network, suggests choosing an enjoyable physical activity, even if it is not a traditional workout.

The idea is to move the body, doing anything from running, hiking, walking, or martial arts.

With any new or renewed activity, it is important to start slowly, gradually raising intensity. Starting out at a level that is too aggressive could cause pain, injury, and a sense of dejection.

New Year's Resolution No. 2: Watch What You Eat

Meat and potatoes have somehow been associated with manly men. "For some men, it's a macho thing to eat a lot of red meat," says Bonhomme. "We're supposed to be the hunters, and we bring home the deer and the elk."

There is certainly nothing wrong with a juicy piece of steak, but overindulgence can be a problem, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Diets that promote large amounts of protein and fat, like the low-carb diets, are really not the way to go. Men have a tendency to do that more," she says.

Low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets limit intake of particular grains, rice, potatoes, pastas, fruits, and starchy vegetables. They sometimes encourage meat and fat consumption to promote weight loss.

Studies show low-carb diets do help people lose weight in the short term. After a year, however, researchers found no difference in weight loss between the low-carb diet and the standard low-calorie diet.

Experts are still waiting for long-term data on low-carb diets. Critics fear the diets will have negative effects on the heart, particularly since fatty foods have been shown to raise risk of heart disease. Many of the restricted foods on the low-carb diet, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, have also been shown to prevent cancer, and lower risk of heart disease.

To lose weight, Taub-Dix recommends a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. She says three servings of low-fat dairy can also be beneficial. Besides improving bone health, some studies show calcium may make it easier to shed pounds.

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