You may be searching for the best weight-loss diet plan for men or the best fat burning, muscle building diet. And while the goal isn't to burst your bubble, some words from Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, ring true.
In an interview with Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. Kaplan explains that "everything works for some people, but no treatment is equally effective for everyone." There are low-carb diets and low-fat diets. There are diets that focus on calories and others that say they're not important.
In other words, there's no single diet plan or weight-loss menu that will work best for everyone all the time. You have to experiment with different methods. That being said, there are some general "rules" and tips you can follow to help you lose weight in the next 30 days.
Weight-Loss Diet Plan for Men
To help you design your 30 day weight-loss diet, there are some basic nutrition "rules" you can follow. One of the major rules from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is the more veggies — and the more variety in those veggies — the better.
Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, the perfect combination to promote weight loss and help keep you full, especially as you're adjusting to your new plan. As an added bonus, vegetables provide lots of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that can help fight off inflammation and keep you healthy.
In an article published by the Cleveland Clinic in January 2017, Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD, points out that it doesn't matter whether you choose a paleo, vegan, keto or low-fat diet since nonstarchy vegetables fit in nicely with almost all diet plans. You can choose from vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus and cabbage. Fill at least half of your plate with these types of veggies and try to incorporate as much variety as you can.
Another "rule" is to be mindful of your carbohydrate intake. Even if you don't choose a low-carb diet plan, it's a good idea to be choosy with your carbohydrates. In the Cleveland Clinic article, Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, a licensed dietitian, recommends avoiding any carbohydrates that don't contain fiber.
This automatically eliminates things like white bread, desserts and soda — a simple swap that can contribute to significant weight loss, especially you're used to eating or drinking a lot of carbohydrates. Other guidelines you can follow to help you lose weight are:
- Add foods that contain healthy fats, like avocado, olives, olive oil and coconut oil. These foods can help keep you full and reduce cravings.
- Fill one-fourth of your plate with lean protein, like chicken, fish, grass-fed beef, eggs or nuts.
- Eat slowly and mindfully. Pay attention to your hunger cues and try to stop when you're full, instead of automatically reaching for another helping because the food tastes good.
- Cut back on sugar as much as you can.
- Limit processed foods and choose whole foods whenever you can.
What About Calories?
While you don't necessarily have to count calories for the whole 30 days, especially if you're closely following the proper nutrition guidelines, it might be a good idea to count them for a week or two until you get the hang of meal planning to see where you stand.
This is also a great way to familiarize yourself with proper serving sizes. What you might think is one serving of meat might be two or three. For example, one serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, while a serving of pasta is approximately the size of a tennis ball.
The exact number of calories you need depends on your age and activity level. To maintain weight, sedentary men need between 2,000 and 2,600 calories per day. For moderately active men, that number jumps up to 2,200 to 2,800 calories and active men need 2,400 to 3,000 daily calories. If you want to lose a pound a week, you'll have to create a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories.
That means that if you're a sedentary man, you'll have to stick to between 1,500 and 2,100 calories per day. If you're active, you can eat between 1,900 and 2,500 calories and still lose weight.
Read more: Men's Daily Nutritional Requirements
Other Things You Can Do
In addition to following your personally designed weight-loss diet plan for men, there are some other things you can do to lose weight over the next 30 days. One of the most important is exercise. While you can lose weight just by changing your diet, a review that was published in the American Journal of Men's Health in July 2017 reports that adding exercise into the mix can boost your results significantly, no matter what type of weight-loss diet you're on.
Read more: Best Ways to Burn Fat for Men
Dr. Kaplan also recommends finding some type of support program, especially if you're easily discouraged or you find it hard to resist food temptation.
A meta-analysis that was published in Patient Preference and Adherence in August 2016 backs up Dr. Kaplan's advice by stating that, according to the results from 27 weight-loss studies published between 2005 and 2015, social support and supervision during a weight-loss program significantly increase your chances of success. The same report points out that when someone tries to lose weight on their own, it's often unsuccessful.
Creating a support network could be as simple as finding a group or weight-loss buddy on the internet, or you can go to in-person support groups or hire a qualified nutritionist to design a meal plan for you and help you stick to that meal plan. Getting more sleep and lowering your stress level are two other often overlooked, but extremely important, pieces of the weight-loss puzzle.
Keep in mind that while your goal may be to lose as much weight as possible in a 30-day period, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that people who lose weight at a rate of about 1 to 2 pounds per week are generally more successful at keeping it off for the long term. Be patient with the process, adjust as your weight-loss or muscle building diet plan as you go and you'll reach your goals in no time.
- Patient Preference and Adherence: "Weight Loss Intervention Adherence and Factors Promoting Adherence: A Meta-Analysis"
- American Journal of Men's Health: "Clinical Effectiveness of Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance Interventions for Men: A Systematic Review of Men-Only Randomized Controlled Trials (the ROMEO Project)"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The 7 Best Weight Loss Tips You’ll Ever Read"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Losing Weight"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Serving Size vs Portion Size Is There a Difference?"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Healthy Eating Plate"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Find the Weight Loss Plan That Works for You"