Lifestyle choices can have huge implications for general health; lifestyle choices can contribute to a number of serious physiological health conditions as well increasing the risk of psychological issues. Making a few simple changes to the way you live your life could make a dramatic improvement to your general health.

Diet and Obesity

Diet is one of the most important component parts of a healthy lifestyle and it can make a real difference to your general health. Eating a healthy diet provides the body with all the nutrients it needs to function properly; missing out on nutrients can cause health conditions and eating too much of the wrong food can cause weight gain, which contributes to a whole host of health issues.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables; these foods are high in fibre, low in fat and packed with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients the body needs to function as effectively as possible. A healthy diet should also contain complex carbohydrates (to fuel the body) protein (for muscle growth and cell repair) and a moderated intake of fat; fats should be high in ‘good’ cholesterol (high density lipoproteins, such as oily fish and nuts) and saturated and trans-fats should be controlled carefully. Experts recommend that men consumer around 2,500 calories per day; this is a guideline, men that are extremely active or have physically demanding jobs may require more calories. It is best to use fresh foods when cooking as they are often filled with more nutrients; try to eat a range of fruits and vegetables, plenty of wholegrain foods, plenty of lean mean and lots of fresh fish.


Obesity is an increasingly common problem in both men and women; half of men are now categorised as overweight. Obesity is caused by the body taking in more calories than it burns off; excessive weight gain is usually associated with eating too much food and doing too little exercise.

Effects of obesity

Obesity can be extremely dangerous; it has been proven to contribute to a number of different health conditions, some of which are potentially life-threatening. Men are accustomed to gaining weight around their middles, which puts extreme pressure on the vital organs. Some of the most common effects of obesity are listed below:

  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of strokes
  • Increased risk of some types of cancer
  • Increased risk of sleep apnoea
  • Increased risk of arthritis and joint pain
  • Decreased life expectancy
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Increased risk of infertility
  • Increased risk of impotence
  • Increased risk of depression

Making the changes

Making a few small changes to your exercise and eating habits can help you lose weight quickly and healthily. Reducing the number of calories you consume doesn’t mean you need to eat less food; if you eat the right foods, you can actually eat more than you were eating before because the calorific value of healthier foods is much lower than fast food and foods that are high in saturated fats and sugars. Try to make sure you get your 5 fruits and vegetables each day, try and introduce a range of fresh fish and meats into your diet and stick to wholegrain pasta, bread, rice and cereals; these foods are often lower in fat and salt and higher in fibre. Allow yourself treats but make sure these are limited.

Try to exercise regularly and gradually increase the intensity as your body gets fitter; you should notice the changes to our body almost immediately. Exercise helps to boost confidence and reduce stress as well as improving muscle tone and burning fat. Losing a large amount of weight requires a lot of willpower and a commitment to want to change, but it can be done and you’ll realise it was worth all the effort when you look and feel great at the end of it. Your GP will be able to help you draw up a healthy eating and exercise plan and you can also visit the NHS website for details, links and information.

  • Drinking

The number of men that drink more than the recommended 3-4 units per day is shockingly high; however, many people do not realise they are drinking too much and think that only alcoholics are at risk of health issues. Research has shown that men that drink more than the recommended amount on a regular basis are at risk of a number of health conditions, including:

  • Increased risk of liver cirrhosis
  • Increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Increased risk of infertility
  • Increased risk of impotence
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Increased risk of kidney failure
  • Increased risk of cancer (especially throat, bowel and mouth cancers)
  • Increased risk of heart problems
  • Increased risk of skin conditions
  • Increased risk of obesity

Stopping drinking

If you want to cut down the amount you drink try to avoid your normal routine and take a break from spending time with the people you usually drink with for a while. Try taking up new hobbies instead of going to the pub; social drinkers often consume far more than the recommended amount by going for a few drinks each night after work. If you think you are alcohol dependent, there is a huge amount of help available to you; consult your GP and then you can get started on a programme to help you give up drinking. If you don’t want to talk to anyone face to face, you can go to the NHS website for information, advice and links to organisations that provide an anonymous, confidential service.


The number of men that smoke is decreasing year on year but there are still millions of men that smoke. Smoking is extremely dangerous as it contributes to number of serious health conditions, such as:

  • Cancer (the risk of cancer is significantly higher in those that smoke than those that don’t)
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory illnesses (such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema)
  • Increased risk of infertility
  • Increased risk of oral health problems
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Increased risk of strokes

Smoking can also have harmful effects on people around you; children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of passive smoking and are more likely to develop conditions such as asthma if they grow up in a household where somebody smokes.

Stopping smoking

You will feel the benefits of stopping smoking in all areas of your life, not just in terms of your health. Giving up smoking dramatically decreases your chance of suffering from the conditions listed above, as well as allowing you more money to spend on other things and improving the environment you and your family live in. If you want to stop smoking, contact your GP; they will be able to give you all the information and resources you need and they will explain what support is available to you. The NHS has ploughed millions of pounds into helping people stop smoking and you can attend local stop smoking groups, as well as making the most of all the information, advice and tips they provide in leaflets and quit packs, as well as on their website; you can also call their Quitline for help.

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