You did your best. You put as much time into exercising as you could, but you still aren’t losing the pounds you hoped. Before you give up on weight loss entirely and say goodbye forever to the man you used to be, it might be time to try the one thing you don’t want to do … go on a diet.
Weight loss and dieting get a lot of attention when it comes to women’s health and fitness, but diet plans for men are not as widely publicized. Despite this, men can benefit from changes in diet as much as women can, especially when it comes to losing weight.
Men gain weight differently than women do, and it may come as no surprise that they lose it differently as well. Men looking to lose weight will want to take into account some unique dietary needs, such as higher levels of lean protein needed to maintain and grow muscle mass.
Making sure you are cutting back on overall calories will help you lose weight, but you need to do it in a way that still ensures you are going to get the nutrients you need. There is a stereotype of men wanting to just dig into a slab of meat for any meal, and while a weight loss diet may include lean protein, you are going to have to eat your vegetables as well if you are going to start dropping pounds.
A balanced diet filled with a wide variety of plant-based foods and whole grains like quinoa and buckwheat will be key to losing weight fast. You may get to keep your favorite lean cuts of meat on your plate, but that flank steak is going to be sharing space with a salad.
Portion control is one key to many successful diet plans. The difference between just enough and a few too many extra calories can be very slim. Especially in America, we are used to eating too much food for nearly every meal if we can afford it. Cutting down the size of the meals you eat is going to have an immediate positive effect if you are trying to lose weight.
If the only dietary research you did to stave off obesity was to have a look around on social media, you would think dieting is all about choosing what you can’t eat. Many diets popularized recently focus on the benefits of avoiding certain foods like carbohydrates or dairy. This might get you thinking dieting is going to be culinary misery, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Rather than avoiding certain foods outright, it can be more beneficial to replace some of the unhealthy foods in your diet with healthier alternatives. Before you try to dump carbs altogether, consider switching out products made of processed white flour for versions made with whole grains. Switching to brown rice instead of white rice, adding in healthy fats like olive oil and avocados, as well as swapping out some simple carbs for whole-wheat breads or pastas will all help.
Getting closer to a raw, natural diet with fewer preservatives and more plant-based ingredients is going to help reduce the sugars, preservatives, and unhealthy fats that contribute to weight gain. Some of the foods you will want to be hunting down at the grocery store are similar to the following:
What you eat is only part of the battle. How you eat it, and where, is also a major part of the battle. Much of the struggle to keep on a weight loss plan is won at the grocery store. If you can avoid buying unhealthy fats, sugar, and refined carbs, then you are well on your way to being able to keep to a weight loss diet that will work for you.
Studies have also shown that preparing more of your own food, rather than eating out or buying pre-packaged dinners, has a positive correlation with losing weight. Not only does it help you avoid a lot of unhealthy ingredients, but it also allows you to be more aware of what you are putting in your body. Not everyone has the time to spend hours a week in the kitchen working up wondrously healthy dinners, but every bit of time you spend being intentional about the food you eat will pay dividends down the road.
Once you sit down to eat these healthy meals you have planned and prepared for yourself, be sure to give yourself the time and space to eat slowly and mindfully. Many of us cram food down quickly while thumbing through our phones or answering email. This can lead to overeating as you miss the signals of satiety your body is trying to send you. Eating more slowly and avoiding your phone or the TV while you dine can help speed up the rate at which you lose weight.
If you are serious about fast fat loss, you will want to be working out as much as your schedule and physical conditioning will allow. To begin with, this might not be much more than some body weight exercises to start building core strength, but as time goes on, increasing the intensity of your workout routine will start to put wear and tear on your body.
Especially for men, working out is a crucial part of any weight loss routine. Men can usually pack on muscle faster than women if they start spending time in the gym, and this is key. Lean muscle mass burns calories faster than fat, which means the more muscle you can build, the better your body will be at burning calories.
Everyone thinks that cardio is the way to go to burn away belly fat, but that is far from the whole story. Gym workouts, especially HIIT workouts and strength training sessions, also have the benefit of keeping your body burning calories faster for 12 hours or more after you leave the gym. Even though these workouts are brief compared to some cardio workouts, they still have a positive impact on your base metabolism.
Incorporating strength workouts, particularly if you have a body type that can put on muscle mass quickly, can initially make the reading on the scale go the wrong way. Don’t let this discourage you. Muscle weighs more than fat, but it burns calories faster. While your overall weight may not go down as quickly initially, you are setting the stage to speed up fat loss down the road.
If you are working out, though, you are going to need to be eating the right food. Building a meal plan packed with lean protein and fresh veggies will help ensure you can avoid injury and build muscle back as fast as possible. Many diets, especially those that have tight restrictions on what you can eat, can prevent your body from healing as quickly as is necessary. Building a diet around the nutrients you need, rather than the treats to avoid, is a better plan for long-term weight loss success.
The only way you lose weight fast is by taking in far fewer calories than you burn. The more calories you burn off by exercising, the greater the chance you will lose weight—unless you are upping your calorie intake to keep pace. In addition to exercise, make sure you are avoiding junk food, eating a balanced, high-protein diet packed with veggies and whole grains.
Take in too few calories, though, and you could be doing more harm than good. The problem with losing weight too fast is you can put yourself at risk of many different health problems. A wide range of consequences from constipation to hair loss can all occur if you try to lose too much weight too fast.
It is also important to remember that lasting weight loss comes by changes in lifestyle rather than quick starvation diets. Weight you lose on a fad diet often tends to come back. Studies have shown that radical weight loss plans tend to quickly lead to weight gain as you have not had time to build in the habits that will keep you at a healthy weight. This up and down cycle can severely stress your body, and could even put you at a greater risk of heart disease and other medical problems.
One exception to the rule about diets that tell you not to eat specific foods is the ketogenic diet. Keto diets are designed to put your body in a very specific metabolic state that has been proven to lose fat fast. Research is light on the long-term effects of staying on a keto diet, and there may be negative effects on your blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health if you continue on this high-fat, high-protein diet for too long. This is a very specific diet, though, and consulting your doctor and possibly a dietitian before beginning it is advised.
The best diet for losing belly fat is one that reduces refined and processed foods and replaces junk food and trans fats with veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein, all in portion sizes that keep you in a state of caloric deficit. Beyond that, the best diet is going to be one you can stick to. Keeping track of your daily calorie count is more important than avoiding all carbs or dairy products unless you are on a special diet such as keto.
No matter what you eat, the real goal is to keep moving as much as possible. Staying healthy and active is going to help build lean muscle mass, which burns fat fast. A high protein diet backed with healthy fats will help give you the energy to keep tackling cardio and HIIT workouts that are proven to help burn away belly fat.
Nutritional planning for weight loss is not rocket science, but getting the particulars right does take planning. You also need to know what is going to work for your body based on your history, physical condition, and overall body type.
Getting started on a diet for weight loss can be particularly hard if you have been fighting obesity for a long time. You may have to start your diet and exercise plan slowly to ensure you don’t put yourself at an increased risk of injury or heart attack. If this is the case, you may need to be particularly careful about your diet to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need while you start down the path to a new life. Working with a dietitian may be the extra boost you need to start losing weight as fast, and as safely, as possible.
At True You, we started our medical nutrition therapy program for just this reason. For some people, the struggle against obesity involves taking very serious measures. We offer a range of services such as endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty or the ORBERA® Managed Weight Loss System for those individuals who truly need to take bold steps to find freedom from excess body weight. For others, though, all that is required is a bit of careful guidance and direction to ensure their weight loss journey starts, and continues, in the right direction. If you are interested in learning more about what True You Weight Loss can do for you, request a consultation today.