I'm not dieting, 'I'm doing it for science': Masculinities and the experience of dieting

Anna Mallyon, Mary Holmes, John Coveney, Maria Zadoroznyj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Despite heightened concerns about levels of obesity and overweight in Western societies, there is a relative absence of sociological research into the subjective experience of dieting, especially for men. This paper focuses on findings related to the male participants from a qualitative study of fourteen volunteers (six female and eight male) drawn from a larger clinical trial comparing two diet conditions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in two stages to gain an in-depth understanding of the experience of dieting, and found that these men understood and practiced their dieting in different ways from the women, but also from each other, depending on their notions of masculinity. Some were eager to reframe their dieting in 'more manly' terms. The social support or sabotage received from friends and family is significant to these experiences of dieting. This paper discusses how men understand and practice dieting within the framework of gendered discourses and gendered relations that can make healthy eating hard to sustain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-342
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Dieting
  • Gendered habitus
  • Masculinities
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Sociology


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