You’re 2 weeks away from going on holiday and you promised yourself at the start of the year you’d try to get in shape. Angry with yourself you look online for advice on how to lose belly fat fast and are met with loads of nonsense supplements, diet advice, and dangerous fads like water fasting. No need to fret. It’s possible for you to cut the fat quickly without damaging your body.
Sometimes, we let ourselves go a little too far with our eating habits and we need a big overhaul to our ways of eating. Other times we just want to have a better look for our holiday or to lose belly fat and start looking sexier. The most important thing to remember is that when you’re trying to lose weight, your dietary habits can make or break your success.
“Each step you take reveals a new horizon. You have taken the first step today. Now I challenge you to take another.” ~ Dan Poynter
How to Lose Belly Fat Fast for Men
Before getting started it’s important to understand the relationship your body has with calories. We’ve all heard of them, and we know that too many are bad for us, but did you know that some calroies are worse for you than others?
The worst offenders are sugar and processed foods, alcohol too in some cases, and reducing these alone will cause rapid changes in your body.
Sugars gives your body fuel it can use for vital functions, but regularly indulging in foods high in added sugars may cause you to gain excess body fat quicker and more drastically. When your body receives a lot of sugar it will eventually turn into fat in the body, as it’s very easy to turn into energy. So, if you’re inactive and consume sugar it’s just going to go straight to your waistline. Sugary foods can also make you hungrier more quickly, due to the changes in blood glucose, so if you’re snacking on chocolate you’re likely to end up eating more throughout the day.
If you want to lose weight fast, instead of reaching for junk food when you’re hungry, focus on consuming fiber, protein and low GI complex carbohydrates to help your body get the nourishment it needs and keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day.
Foods that add the emptiest calories with solid fats and added sugars, according to the USDA, include:
- Cakes, cookies, pastries, and donuts
- Fried foods
- Ice cream
- Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs
- Soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks
Choosing foods that have some, few or no empty calories or added sugars is the best option to start losing fat quickly. There is a reason that a large percentage of Americans (and the world) are obese. Processed food and added sugar has become a huge problem for Western countries, which is why you don’t see large rates of obesity in Asia.
What Should You Eat to Shed Weight Quickly?
If you completely eliminate simple carbs from your diet then you’ll lose weight. If you eat only lean or fatty meat you will also lose weight (Atkins). You can eat only veggies and you will lose weight (Vegetarian, Vegan). You can eat a combination of both and you will lose weight (Paleo). People have eaten like this for thousands of years before the post industrial age, and they tended to be a healthy weight. Just watch any old movies or documentaries from around WWII.
The best diet for losing weight fast, however, is the keto diet. Especially for men. High in fat and protein and extremely low carb, it causes changes in your body’s ability to convert fat to energy and instead of using sugar for fuel it’ll start feasting on your fat supplies. The results you can get from this diet are incredible, but it’s not for everyone.
Ultiamtely, the goal is to eat natural foods that are recognizable in their natural form. Avoid labels as much as possible. A Cheeto is not cheese. A potato chip doesn’t look like a potato. A chicken finger doesn’t come from a chicken’s breast. The more the food has been modified in a factory or some other place, the less it’s going to be like real food.
A healthy diet can help you shed pounds even if you don’t have time for a vigorous workout schedule, and — on the flipside — even the toughest workouts can’t compensate for a bad diet. Including enough protein in your diet is the key when you’re trying to lose weight, and protein offers a slight calorie-burning benefit over other nutrients. But eating solely protein is a mistake — one that’s likely to leave you feeling drained and tired. It might even put your health at risk.
Keeping protein intake high is incredibly important for losing weight fast. It’ll keep you fuller for longer, it’ll stop your muscles getting smaller, and it’ll keep you feelings strong. Here’s a list of some great protein sources you can incorporate into your diet, and try to opt for fattier cuts where possible (thighs, lamb etc.):
- Meat: Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, etc.
- Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, shrimp, etc.
- Eggs: Whole eggs with the yolk are best.
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
You can eat massive amounts of low-carb vegetables without going over 20–50 net carbs per day. They’re also great for keeping you satiated so you’re more likely to avoid snacking. Eat greens to your hearts content!
It was demonized for years due to advertising campaigns, but now fat is finally getting the recognition it deserves. As long as you’re eating high-quality sources of fat like those below, it’s going to be difficult to eat too much of it. Add it wherever you can to your diet and watch the pounds fall off your waist.
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Whole milk/cheese if you can tolerate it
Drink Lots of Water
Water transfers nutrients throughout the body and keep many important processes running smoothly. It helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals. Plus, if you’re not drinking water, you’re probably quenching your thirst with another, less healthy drink such as alcohol or soda.
Aim for half your bodyweight in pounds of fluid ounces per day. So, if you’re 180lbs you’d consume 90 fl oz or 2.6 litres of water each day. There really is no downside to it (except for needing to pee more!)
The Importance of Sleep When Trying to Lose Belly Fat
It’s also important that you get 8/9 hours of sleep and you don’t suffer lots of stress (easier said than done!). “Good sleep is the dream recipe to lose weight,” reported the Daily Express. People with around 8 hours of sleep at night, and also with reduced levels of stress, are able to lose weight more than twice effectively as those who don’t.
Your body composition is determined by your hormones. Lack of sleep or chronic stress can cause cortisol (the stress hormone) to be released. Cortisol can cause insulin resistance via gluconeogenesis which leads to fat storage. No mention of calories here!
The Best Workouts for Men to Lose Weight
In addition to helping you lose weight, exercise has been linked to many other benefits, including improved mood, stronger bones, and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases.
You might hate it but anything worth doing is always going to be hard. You can lose weight just by running if your routine boosts your activity level beyond what it was before. So if you never exercise and you start running—even just around the block every day or running for 30 minutes or doing short HIIT workouts —you’re going to burn more calories and drop some weight. However, avoid going overboard with cardio otherwise you might hit a plateau and stop losing weight. The best thing to do is incorporate some light cardio or walking alongside a weightlifting routine to avoid going into a catabolic state.
This means you’ll switch from burning fat to burning muscle. That’s right, you keep the fat and lose all the muscle. Worst case scenario. While doing cardio can help your fat-loss goals, in a lot of ways weight training is more effective and will also give you a more toned body shape.
Lifting Heavy Weights
Picking up heavy things off the ground is far and away the best thing you can do for fat loss. Not only do you burn more calories, but as you build muscle mass this will in turn make your body burn more calories naturally. It’s basically two bonuses for the price of one. And if you just want to lose fat and don’t want to get hugely muscular, don’t worry, that takes a lot of concentrated effort and won’t happen just by showing up to the weight room a few times a week. One of the worst side effects of dieting is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode.
If you want to prevent this mode you have to do some sort of resistance exercise such as lifting weights. Studies have shown that lifting weights can help to keep your metabolism high and prevent you from losing your muscle mass, the more muscle you have, and the more calories you burn.
This is is a great low-impact exercise for people looking to lose weight. It may help you to improve your flexibility and reduce also risk factors for various diseases, and it was one of my favourite exercises to do when getting started on my journey of becoming a fitter, healthier, dad. It’s also a great way to spend more time with the kids!
Surging in popularity in recent years, yoga is an surprising but nonetheless fantastic addition to this list. It’s a great fat loss and muscle strengthening exercise that can be done nearly anywhere. Research shows that yoga can help in a weight-loss routine because it can boost your flexibility, increase your mental focus, and yes, burn fat. It not only burns calories but also teaches you mindfulness to help you resist food carvings.
Last but not least is cycling. I really love this because, you can do it outdoors on a bicycle or indoors on a stationary bike. It has been linked to various health benefits, including increased insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases.
Further reading: 10 Best Fat-Burning Exercises for Men in their 40’s
Intermittent Fasting for Rapid Weight Loss
There are so many different ways to fast we’d have to dedicate an entire book to them. Remember, before you try it always drink plenty of water during fast, otherwise dehydration and other serious problems could occur if you’re not careful.
Fasting is quite simply the act of not consuming anything except water for an extended period of time. Stop asking “can I put milk in my tea?”, or “does lemon juice count?” and keep things simple.
You need at least 12-16 hrs of zero calorie intake for your body to start looking for calories in your stored fat. When you regularly fast for 12-16 horus a day, it’s called intermittent fasting. It’s becoming much more popular as time goes on and is an incredibly effective, and simple, way to lose belly fat at an increased rate. Give yourself a specific time window in which you’re not going to consume anything. For example:
- Eat all calories between 12pm and 6pm
- Skip dinner each day and eat between 8am and 2pm
I’d recommend not doing heavy workouts after an extended fast, however working out in the morning is okay if you consumed a good dinner the night before. And, to add to this, you should consume more fat and protein in your meals to keep your hunger levels down. It might sound scary at first but it gets much easier after just a few days!
7 Quick Hacks for Burning Fat Faster with No Effort
- Round up calories when calculating your intake to make it seem like you have less remaining
- Repeat positive thoughts to yourself, like. “I will lose weight.” “I will go out and walk today”. “I won’t eat junk food after dinner.” Also using meditation can be another tool, it has been shown to help reduce binge eating and emotional meaning.
- Instead of using regular dinner plates that range from 10-14 inches, serve your main course on smaller salad plates (about 7-9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, you can return to the old 8-ounces glass and 6-ounce coffee cups. This way you will be discouraged from stuffing your plate, and your stomach. Use smaller plates and you’ll eat smaller portions
- Eat high-fiber, high protein for breakfast. No more cereal! One study found that people who ate oats or bran-based cereals had a lower risk of obesity compared with those who did not.
- Eat out less. If you eat out, you are tending to eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods compared to eating at home. Todays restaurants serve such large portions that many of them have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them. See if you can ask for smaller portions next time you go out.
- After breakfast, drink only water. No other beverages filled with sugar or any snacks until you have lunch.
- Ditch the TV. One study has found that the more someone watched television, the more they ate. And of course the more unhealthy foods choices they made. So watch one less hour of tv, instead you can go for a walk or spend some quality time with your kids.
The final and most important thing of all is quite simply living a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s dropping a few pounds now, a lot of pounds over the next year, building muscle, or something else, it needs to be made a lifestyle. This is more mental than anything else, but it has a profound effect on your ability to remain consistent in your effort, the prime adversary in any endeavor, including losing weight fast in your next 30 days.
Read next: Losing Weight Fast After 40