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Dudes Count Calories, Too

Gabi Duncan |
September 30, 2013 | 10:57 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Men can be just as susceptible to body image issues as women (Twitter).
Men can be just as susceptible to body image issues as women (Twitter).
In today's society, it's not uncommon in the least to hear girls complain about counting calories, avoiding carbs and restricting sugar. Girls everywhere feel pressure to diet and take special care of what they eat. 

As a girl, it would be an extreme letdown to be out with a guy who ate less than you, but lately it seems that men are also asking for their dressing on the side. Why are the dudes all of a sudden more outspoken about their restrictive eating habits?

In a Cosmopolitan poll, 70 percent of women said that their boyfriends or guy friends admitted to dieting. This may seem surprising considering the stereotype that guys do not need to obsess about the foods they eat. They have faster metabolisms and don’t store fat as easily as women.

Seriously, how many times have we witnessed that scene in the movies in which a guy chows down on a cheeseburger while his date pushes around her Caesar salad? Not surprisingly, 31 percent of women reported that being around a guy on a diet makes them feel fat. It is embedded in our society that dieting is a feminine thing, while men don't need to watch what they eat if they work out.


Men care about their weight and appearance just like women do, and they are becoming less shy about admitting their insecurities. Men's Fitness and Men’s Health websites have entire sections dedicated to diet and weight loss strategies for the fellas.

What caused this rise in men's dieting habits? Understandably, men want to look good, too, and therefore take control of their bodies. Sometimes, exercise alone doesn't produce the results they're looking for, so dieting can help achieve those goals faster.

Insecurity and self-consciousness could also be a contributing factor. Our society is obsessed with physical appearance -- body scrutiny has reached an all-time high. And while women get scrutinized ruthlessly, men also feel the pressure. Celebrities like Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum strut around shirtless on the big-screen, portraying the ideal that big biceps and six-pack abs is attractive, even necessary. The G.I. Joe effect is the name for the phenomenon where men feel compelled to emulate the traditional action figure's physique. 

While there is nothing wrong with men who care about their bodies and want to eat healthy, it gets tricky when it becomes an obsession. Orthorexic is the unofficial term used for individuals who constantly fixate on eating the “right way” so they don’t gain weight. Male dieting may seem harmless, but it could also be a mask for more serious issues, such as bigorexia, the obsession with getting buff, and eating disorders. 

Ladies, don't fret if you're out with a guy who would rather eat kale when you're craving a big bowl of pasta. His healthy inclinations could be a positive influence on your life -- and your waistline.

However, it is important to remember to indulge every once in a while. A little Fettucine Alfredo and some breadsticks (in moderation) never killed anyone. Diets, for both girls and guys, are most successful in the long-run when you allow yourself some treats.

But beware if he starts to turn into an intense foodzilla and sends you on a guilt trip every time you reach for the potato chips. It may be a sign that you should find a new dinner date.

Reach Staff Reporter Gabi Duncan here. Follow her on Twitter.



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