Putting Down the Manwich
We’re men. We burp and fart and fight and eat things that we killed with our bare hands. We leave Diet Coke, yoga, and salads for the women, because all we need is a flag football game and an MGD 64 to get our weight back on track. And if you’re caught ordering a turkey burger on a wheat bun you might as well be punching Sly Stallone in the face and signing up for ballet.
So why, with all of that testosterone flowing about, are diet companies seeking out men like never before? Maybe because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out with a study showing 30 percent of men over 20 are overweight . . . the same obesity rate as women. In fact, if projections hold, men will soon make up a larger portion of those fighting the battle with the bulge. And thankfully, advertisers are finally dropping the idea that every male specimen wants a deep-dish pizza instead of a shrimp tostada.
Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and Jenny Craig have all come out in recent months with commercials specifically targeted towards men. Some explicitly tell viewers that it’s okay to diet and still keep your “man card.” Others put tough guys like Charles Barkley or Terry Bradshaw in the spotlight, assuring those watching at home that there is nothing wimpy about being healthy. And while it’s surely a hope for company expansion, these marketing teams are making it cool to be healthy, even for the manliest of us.
Now I played tennis in college, moved to New York and then Los Angeles to write, and have worn tights and makeup professionally on a multitude of occasions . . . so it’s not exactly like I’m the modern day Gaston. If you don’t believe me, Google that Gaston reference. But even I have trouble talking about my healthy lifestyle with the guys. When we’re watching football or finishing up a game of hoops, it just doesn’t seem right to talk about my new “meatless Mondays” or “15 miles a week” rule. There truly is a stigma.
That stigma, however, is shrinking.
Men are taking to social media with their diet plans, pro athletes are endorsing foods that would have gotten me beat up in high school, and even beer companies – usually the most archaic and misogynistic in the business – are making it cool to drink low-calorie beer.
So if you’re a guy that could stand to lose a few pounds, or at least get a little bit healthier, then look around at your options. From trying a meatless diet for one day a week to giving yoga and Pilates a real shot, this is the time to experiment with what makes you a more fit and happy person. Hell, you won’t even have to blame it on your wife or girlfriend this time, because nothing is off the table in 2012.
Except maybe that Manwich. That should probably be off your table.