Pick up any Cosmopolitan magazine from the past month and chances are you’ll see two teasers: 1) “75 Sex Moves Men Crave” and 2) “4 Steps to a Flat Belly.”
Now turn to the past 20 issues of GQ. While there’s the occasional “Amp Up Your Sex Appeal” article, not one cover story addresses dieting.
So with 22 percent of the male student body having dieted, Country Day seems to be setting a trend.
Junior Ryan Hoddick began the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet after his annual checkup in February.
“It turns out I’m fat,” he said. “(My doctor) showed me a graph with my height and weight, and up until the last year (my weight) was fine, but then it just skyrocketed.”
Sophomore Manson Tung first dieted in eighth grade for similar reasons.
“I looked at a photo of myself and I had like nine chins. It didn’t matter what clothes I wore.
“I felt like I was going down the path of my mom and sister who are on the heavier side,” he said.
And while both dieters have been successful in losing weight, their new lifestyles have been somewhat difficult to maintain.
“One of the hardest parts is that I can’t eat hamburgers with buns anymore,” Hoddick said. “(The hamburger) was pretty much my go-to for any meal.”
Junior George Cvetich, who is on a similar low-carb diet, shares Hoddick’s predicament.
“It’s weird not to eat a sandwich for lunch,” he said. “I just eat straight salami and cheese now.”
So far Cvetich’s diet has been successful, as he’s lost about 15 pounds since December without exercising outside of school sports.
“I don’t really have a goal,” Cvetich said. “I guess just until I’m satisfied.”
In one month of dieting, Hoddick has also made progress, losing 12 pounds toward his 30-pound goal. Hoddick mainly attributes his weight loss to both hockey and lacrosse.
However, Tung has also ramped up his workout routine, lifting weights about three times a week at 10-minute intervals.
Tung’s greatest challenge in dieting hasn’t been avoiding food, but instead, he has difficulties feeling full.
“To fill myself up, I have to drink tons of water before I go to bed,” Tung said. “Otherwise, I just sit in bed awake because of hunger.”
Junior Grant Miner, another low-carb dieter who lost 20 pounds in three months, finds the most difficulty avoiding advisory snack.
“Snacks abound because every classroom is full of sugar and carbs,” he said. “Also, french fries are really good and hard to avoid.”
Miner stopped dieting last summer due to his volunteer trip abroad in Paraguay.
“There definitely weren’t many low-carb options there,” he said.
However, Miner started dieting again in February to lose the weight he gained over the summer.
Tung is also on his second round of dieting. After his father’s death, Tung resorted to more comfort foods and also gained his weight back.
But since he began in December, Tung has lost 15 pounds in three months towards his 30-pound goal.
And Tung has changed his approach. Instead of limiting portion sizes, he is limiting carbs in conjunction with eating more vegetables.
“I think (this) diet is going to work better,” he said. “It’s way healthier. The first (diet) was effective, but the process was more painful.”
All four dieters say they recognize that dieting is stereotypically more associated with women.
Hoddick attributes the stereotype to male culture.
“I think it just depends on whether guys are willing to talk about it,” he said. “(For me), it’s not too personal or anything. It just doesn’t fit into normal conversation.”
Similarly, Cvetich said that he doesn’t talk about his diet.
“I don’t really care,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. I just don’t think it’s really relevant to bring up.”
Alisha Harris, a personal trainer, said that some men are uncomfortable with the feminine association with dieting or fitness.
“Guys will have issues with workouts that are too dancy,” she said.
“So I sort of try to sneak core strength exercises in without making them feel too feminine.”
Miner agreed that there’s more of a dieting culture with women.
“They talk about (dieting) more. It’s something that they do in pop culture,” he said.
But Miner said that these stereotypes are changing.
“Gender roles (in dieting) are meshing,” he said. “It’s no longer as polarized.”
“I think the biggest thing that makes dieting not a girl-boy thing is that it’s not just to lose weight,” he said. “Losing weight is a side effect, but it can also be about being healthy.”
Miner does assert, however, that men and women diet for different reasons. “Guys generally diet to live more healthfully, while girls have historically dieted to lose weight,” Miner said.
On the other hand, Harris has found that teenage boys tend to diet for two main reasons.
“Girls have always had this pressure to be body conscious,” Harris said. “Boys usually work out first for athletic reasons, and as they get older they sometimes do it to attract girls.”
Tung agrees and finds that he, too, is sometimes affected by the media.
“You see those jacked guys on GQ, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness at the stores, and you feel like you just have to look like that,” he said.
“I’ve had times when I’ve loaded up on ice cream, chips and crap. Then I see the magazines and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to eat this crap!’ ”
In the end, while men’s magazines might not overtly promote weight loss, perhaps the muscular, “jacked” models are enough to encourage dieting.