How to start a weight loss journey for men
Many men, just like women, may previously have been in great shape at some point. However, it’s easy for things to go downhill over time. Challenges arise as you get older, as responsibilities stack up, energy plummets, and time becomes limited and scattered between priorities.
These challenges may be universal between men and women; however, it is essential to point out that losing weight can differ between men and women. Therefore, men are built differently and have different requirements for overall calories and protein when it comes to weight loss.
Call to all men, when beginning your weight loss journey, keep in mind a few key factors to help you stay on track towards your weight loss goals.
Remember your why
What does losing weight mean to you specifically? For many men, the answer may be more complex than just wanting to get rid of some pesky unwanted fat. Think about what inspires you to want to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Having the right mindset will help keep you motivated and on track. Write you why down, and share it with someone who will cheer you on and support you and your health goals.
Ignoring this mindset component is often a mistake and will lessen your chances of reaching your goal.
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet!
When it comes to weight loss for men, changing your diet will give you the best results in the fastest amount of time. Most diets that you embark on will require you to lower your daily caloric intake if weight loss is the goal. This study found that fast weight loss helped motivate people and keep them engaged with their weight loss program. This is where the hCG Australia 23 or 42-day program for men shines. Getting fast results with your weight loss can be excellent for your motivation. There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a diet but not getting any results for your hard work.
Keeping blood sugar under control is also a significant consideration, especially if blood sugar dysregulation has been an issue for you.
Leaving long periods between meals or skipping meals may cause you to overeat. Eating several smaller meals can be difficult on a busy day, takes a lot of preparation, and there is potential that eating several small meals a day could also cause you to overeat.
Free apps such as MyFitness Pal are easy ways to log your food and water intake to get a perfect idea of how much you are eating in a day and how many calories this equates.
Ensure that meals contain a balance of protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats. An example of the perfect plate for weight loss would look a little like ¼ of your plate being filled with lean protein, i.e. eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef. The rest of your plate should be filled with vegetables emphasising leafy greens. In addition, add a small portion of healthy fats, as they help reduce inflammation and control hunger. Good sources of healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, small amounts of nuts and seeds and oily fish.
If you are hungry between meals, snacking should consist of fruit, including organic berries or grapefruit, as they are lower sugar fruits and delicious to boot. Chopped raw vegetables with hummus or avocado dip are also a must.
Speaking of vegetables, although I am sure that you know the benefits of eating plenty of vegetables, remember that they have the additional benefits of filling you up, providing fibre and having very few calories. If adding more vegetables to your current way of eating is challenging, try starting each meal with a salad. This will help fill you up to eat less overall and fill you with the additional nutrients required to satisfy the nutritional requirements needed for a healthy body. Vegetables have many benefits, including aiding digestion, lowering cholesterol, and improving blood sugar.
Cut the Carbs
I feel that there is quite a lot of confusion around carbs. The type of carbs to avoid includes processed and refined carbs found in packaged, processed foods responsible for insulin resistance and obesity.
Low-carb vegetables should make up the bulk of your carbohydrate sources, e.g., Spinach, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, broccoli, and asparagus.
Don’t mistake altogether avoiding all carbohydrates, as not getting enough of these nutrients will affect your metabolism and weight loss.
Ditch The Sugar
Sugar is one of the most significant contributors, if not the biggest, to weight gain and increased belly fat in men. If you are drinking soft drinks and consuming foods with additional sugars, you must remove them from your diet. I know this can be easier said than done; however, switching to sparkling water or still water and adding some fresh lemon or lime juice will significantly reduce your calorie intake.
Other standard drinks that trip people up are flavoured coffee, lattes, energy drinks, even smoothies and juices loaded with sugar. Consider how much exercise you would need to do to burn off the calories consumed in one of these drinks, e.g., it may take up to an hour of walking to burn off the calories contained in a tiny fruit smoothie.
Many men are not getting adequate protein, primarily from lean animal sources such as turkey, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, or oily fish such as salmon. If you find it challenging to eat enough protein, a good quality protein shake is always a good option. Protein is a building block for our cells and is necessary to grow and repair muscle, connective tissue, and skin.
It is effortless to slip into habits like having a beer after a stressful day at work; it is essential to remember that alcohol, like sugary drinks, equates to empty calories. Yep, you guessed it means that alcohol contributes to excess weight gain over time.
For our body to function optimally, we need water. Sadly many of us are dehydrated and don’t drink anywhere near enough. Dehydration is a significant cause of headaches, tiredness, lack of energy, concentration, and mood changes. On the positive side, water also plays a part in acting as an appetite suppressor helping to make you feel fuller for longer and helping remove toxins from your body. This study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism states that drinking 500 ml of water increases metabolic rate by 30%. Virginia Tech University study found that giving people 2 cups of water before each meal resulted in more significant weight loss after 12 weeks. If you are unused to drinking water and don’t like the taste, try adding some lemon or lime juice for flavour. It’s incredible how quickly you will get used to the taste.
Note that the amount of water consumed is subjective as it depends on the individual, with size, exercise output, working outside or in a physical role all being a factor. Try aiming for 2 litres a day minimum, and listen to your body. Is it telling you that you need more?
This is an interesting topic as I’m sure you have read and heard many differing opinions or thoughts around exercise and weight loss. The main thing that you have to remember is to move. You don’t have to embark on complicated workouts to see significant weight loss results. Focus on something that you enjoy, which gets you moving and slightly out of breath. This is a great way to burn excess calories and reduce belly fat while at the same time increasing cardiovascular health.
A nutritious eating plan comes first and foremost when weight loss. However, daily activity and exercise are still an essential part of the structure required for weight loss for men. Aim to start with 30 minutes of daily activity, don’t forget incidental exercise such as gardening, housework, walking the dog or the kids to school is movement. Heading into an intense exercise regime will only put additional stress on your body that isn’t needed when you are coping with a new way of eating.
Many men may not realise that muscle mass is a crucial foundation of metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories are burned. This doesn’t mean that you must spend hours at the gym trying to break any bodybuilding records. However, increasing your muscle mass makes you a more efficient calorie burner. This can be achieved through using weights or bodyweight. If you are not an experienced exerciser, embark on a routine 3-4 times a week and include resistance activities.
It may be worthwhile seeing someone who specialises in this area if you are unsure of where to start.
Get enough sleep
Another health and weight loss area that many men haven’t connected the dots with is the importance of good quality sleep. This remains one of the hidden causes of weight gain for men. If you are a snorer, likely, you are not getting a great night’s sleep. Sleep is super important as this is a repair time for your body. During sleep, essential hormones are regulated, and muscles undergo growth and repair.
Without good quality sleep, your body is experiencing another form of unnecessary stress, and you will be less likely to stick to your diet as self-control plummets after a poor night’s sleep.
Track your progress
This is important for everyone when it comes to weight loss and how quickly we forget. One of the greatest motivators, believe it or not, comes from being able to track your progress. If you are not tracking your progress, how do you know if you are progressing? By monitoring your results regularly, you can adjust and make changes if you aren’t quite hitting your goals.
Slow Your Stress
We live in a crazy, busy world and many men today are under very high, constant stress when it comes to their work and family commitments. Having heightened cortisol levels has been linked to increases in weight and belly fat gains. Some great ways of de-stressing include mindfulness and meditation, and there are some great apps available to guide you in this area.
Don’t forget to Reward Yourself
When talking about diet and rewards, our mind often goes straight to the treat meal, which does not have to be the case. As many of us know, indulging in the treat/reward meal can lead to the spiralling of cravings and self-doubt. Alternatively, you could look to reward yourself with some new clothes, a massage, something that you would typically not indulge in but will keep you feeling good about yourself and what you have achieved.
Exchange plastic containers with glass
This is the best way to store your food, and the environment will also thank you. Plastic containers may contain estrogen-like Xenohormones that can lower testosterone levels. As most of you would be aware, it is critical to find ways to increase, not decrease, testosterone! As a man, it’s a good idea to minimise the amount of estrogen you put into your body.
Weight Loss can be frustrating if you’re a man trying to lose weight fast. But hopefully, some of these science-backed weight loss tips will help you. Now that you have some weight loss tools, you need to put them into action to achieve your desired results.
Adv Dip Health Science Naturopathy, Nutrition