Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Male Weight Loss


When it comes to dieting most men are wimps. They wouldn't be seen dead picking up a pre-packed diet meal at the supermarket or choosing the low fat options from the biscuit shelf. When it comes to eating out they'd be embarrassed if their friends heard them ordering half a grapefruit, a piece of plain grilled fish, a salad with no dressing, a bottle of mineral water, black coffee and skip the pudding.

When men need to lose weight they have to do it without appearing to be on a diet in order to preserve their machismo. Real men don't diet and no matter how overweight they are, or how much of a health risk this poses, they have to be lured into weight loss by subtle trickery. Over the years I've found the most effective way of getting men to make changes to their eating habits is the 'Switch Method'. It's very simple, all you have to do is to switch from your normal choice to a healthier eating option. Of course what you choose depends on where you are, so here are some guidelines.


An ever-growing number of men leave home without breakfast and stop off on the way to work at the nearest greasy spoon. Now's the time to start your day as you mean to carry on and make your first switch. Instead of bacon, fried bread, sausage, fried egg and chips, have two poached eggs on wholemeal toast with baked beans, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. Half the fat and half the calories - add a glass of fresh orange juice and you're on your way to losing your first couple of pounds.


What you choose depends on where you're eating but you can always make a weight-losing switch without anyone guessing that you're on a diet.

The sandwich shop - you may think that cheese and pickle sounds pretty healthy but it's full of fat, most of it the worst kind of saturated fat, contains 60 percent of your safe intake of salt for the whole day and two teaspoons of sugar. You'd have to go swimming for an hour to burn off the calories.

Switch instead to a wholemeal pitta bread filled with humus and salad, only two thirds of the calories, one third of the fat hardly any of it saturated lots of fibre, half as much salt, lots of slow release energy and twice as much iron as the cheese and pickle.

The burger bar - burger, fries, apple pie and cola are a real disaster providing almost half your calories for a day which will take you six hours of fast walking to burn, a whole day's safe amount of fat and salt.

Make your switch to a fish burger, but hold the tartare sauce, a small portion of fries, a piece of fresh fruit and a cup of tea or coffee. You'll get less than half the calories, half the fat virtually none of which is saturated, and plenty of essential iodine and vitamin C.

The canteen - shepherd's pie is a perennial favourite with the men but it does contain lots of fat and usually a whole day's dose of salt in a portion.

Switch to fish pie for the same amount of protein, three-quarters of the calories and only a third of the fat - none of it saturated.

The restaurant - you're out to lunch with colleagues, you start with pate, go on to steak and kidney pie and finish with bread and butter pudding or chocolate gateau. Twice as much fat as you should eat in a day, two thirds of your day's calories, and enough salt to push your blood pressure through the roof. You'd need two hours on the squash court to burn off this meal.

Switch to a lean grilled steak or any form of game, rabbit, pheasant, partridge or venison are all extremely low in fat but don't eat them with rich creamy sauces. Plain roast or casseroled in wine with plenty of vegetables and mashed potatoes, not chips or roast. Start with smoked fish or melon and say no to desserts if you want a meal with one third of the fat and just over half the calories.

Parties - most of the finger food served at cocktail and office parties is disastrous as it tends to be very high in both fat and salt. The sausage rolls, vol-au-vents filled with cream sauce, salty nuts and nibbles, sausages on sticks, fried chicken wings - it's amazing how quickly you can munch your way through a thousand or more calories and massive amounts of fat which together pile on the pounds.

Switching is not always easy at this type of party, so the best thing is to eat something healthy before you go. If not, keep your eyes peeled for the unsalted nuts, olives, mini smoked salmon sandwiches, and if you're lucky prawns with a tomato dip. Talking of dips, go for the tsatsiki, humus or guacamole rather than the garlic mayo or cream cheese. If you are hosting the party, do yourself and your guests a favour by providing much lower fat alternatives like miniature vegetarian samosas, falafel, crudites (strips of raw peppers, cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, celery) with low fat dips.

You can still be macho man and manage to lose weight slowly and sensibly with this simple Switch Plan. Once you get into the habit you'll find it gets much easier. Don't wait till after you've had your first heart attack because you won't feel very macho lying in a hospital bed. You can't expect to be really successful unless you carry this concept into your home and if you're cooking for yourself you'll have to make a bit of an effort. If your wife or partner is doing it for you, you're very lucky, so don't shout at her when she gives you a healthy alternative to your Sunday morning breakfast fry up.


Some of my books...

Sign up for my e-mail newsletter:


10 Day Detox With Kim WildeMichael Van Straten's 10 Day Detox With Kim Wilde

"In this video, we will take you through a series of easy to follow and achievable steps. You too can safely and effectively lose weight as well as significantly increase energy levels".

Not Sleeping?


NiteHerb® Valerian tablets.

NiteHerb® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety exclusively based on long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.

tickA natural solution to a good night's sleep

tickWake up revived - not groggy!

NiteHerb® 30 tablets normally £6.12
NOW £5.20 - Save £0.92.
Multi-buy deal also available.

» For more information visit www.niteherb.co.uk

De-stress and Energise!


Vitano® Rhodiola rosea tablets.

Vitano® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety, based on traditional use only. Always read the label.

tickHelps revive both mental and physical performance

tickBalances a hectic lifestyle... naturally!

Vitano® 30 tablets normally £13.27
NOW £9.90 - Save £3.37.
Multi-buy deal also available.

» For more information visit www.vitano.co.uk

Migraine Misery?


MigraHerb® Feverfew capsules.

MigraHerb® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the prevention of migraine headaches exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.

tickLessens frequency and severity of migraine attacks

tickFor people who have a doctor's diagnosis for this condition

MigraHerb® 30 one-a-day capsules.
Normally £8.16
NOW £6.90
Save £1.26.

» For more information visit www.migraherb.co.uk