Excess belly fat may hinder your self-confidence and puts you at risk of developing health problems in the future – such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.
Fortunately, following a diet plan to lose belly fat combined with the right workout gets rid of unwanted abdominal fat, improves your physique, and helps you gain the confidence you deserve. Try the Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) program for busy men over 40 to shed unwanted pounds, burn fat, and boost lean muscle mass.
To get a feel for what the FF30X program is like, sign up for the Fit Father Project free 1-day meal plan and free fat-burning workout and get started on your journey toward a happier, slimmer, healthier life today!
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What is a Diet Plan to Lose Belly Fat?
A diet plan to lose belly fats involves careful dietary planning, usually calorie restriction, and regular workouts that focus on fat burning and muscle building. Use the following guidelines when burning belly fat is your goal:
1. Control Calories
A diet plan to lose belly fat in men often contains fewer calories than your usual intake. Try reducing your current energy intake by about 500 calories daily to get started. Adjust calorie intake as needed to meet weight management goals.
Shedding excess abdominal fat for men might mean eating about 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day, suggests the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. You may need more calories than this if you work out regularly.
2. Limit Carbohydrates
Studies show that reducing carbohydrates often leads to weight and fat loss, especially abdominal fat. Healthy carbohydrates provide your body with much needed energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
However eating too many carbohydrates, especially from sweets, added sugars, sugary drinks, white bread, and white rice, can pack on pounds in unwanted areas – especially in your midsection. Instead, fill a portion of each plate with fiber-rich starches such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Dry beans
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
These carbohydrate-rich foods are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals – and many of them provide fat-burning protein.
3. Focus on Fiber
Your body doesn’t fully digest or absorb fiber, but fiber-rich foods help keep you full nonetheless. A 2012 study published in Obesity found that fiber, especially soluble fiber, helps reduce belly fat. The researchers found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber, abdominal fat accumulation decreased by almost 4%. Eating soluble fiber combined with exercise decreases belly fat even more. Foods rich in fiber include:
- Other legumes
- Whole grains
Taking fiber supplements also helps reduce body weight and belly fat, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients. Men should aim to eat 30 to 38 grams of fiber each day. Always check in with your doctor before taking dietary supplements.
4. Increase Protein
Like fiber, protein is also a fat-burning nutrient, according to a 2016 study published in Nutrition Reviews. Researchers found that during weight loss, adults retained more lean body mass and lost more fat during weight loss when they ate higher protein diets. Protein also helps your body burn extra calories throughout the day. When following a diet plan to lose belly fat, choose the following healthy protein foods:
- Skinless chicken breast
- Skinless turkey
- Egg whites
- Low-fat Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Reduced-fat cheese
- Low-fat milk
- Plant milks
Consuming about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily is a good rule of thumb when fat loss is your goal, but ingesting 1.5 grams of protein per pound of weight may offer additional fat loss benefits, say researchers who conducted a 2015 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
A 2018 review confirms that eating 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of weight is adequate when participating in regular resistance training workouts, especially when following a low-carb eating plan. If you weigh 180 pounds, aim to ingest about 180 to 270 grams of protein per day to shed excess fat.
5. Don't Forget about Healthy Fats
Low-fat diets were once popular for burning belly fat, but recent research indicates that higher-fat, lower-carb meal plans appear to be more effective.
According to a 2018 review, research doesn’t support low-fat diets for weight loss – and low-carb (higher-fat) diets actually lead to greater weight loss and higher calorie expenditures.
The researchers found that high-fat (ketogenic) diets can cause weight loss of 10 pounds in two weeks, boost fat loss, spare lean muscle during weight loss, and help prevent hunger during calorie restriction.
When following a diet plan to lose belly fat, make sure to include healthy fats at each meal and snack. Choose from the following heart-healthy fats:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Other plant-oils
- Fish oil
- Nut butters
Nuts and seeds are especially useful for fat loss in men as these plant foods are rich in fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats. In fact, a 2018 study published in Nutrition and Metabolism found that nut consumption is related to reductions in body mass index (BMI), body weight, and waist circumference.
Choose almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, walnuts, pistachios, flax seeds, chia seeds, or any other favorite nuts and seeds.
A Sample Diet Plan to Lose Belly Fat in Men
When following a diet plan to lose belly fat in men, focus on eating the foods listed above and steer clear of refined carbohydrates, sweets, sugary drinks, fried foods, processed meats, and animal fats. Examples of daily fat burning menus for men include:
|Example #1||Example #2||Example #3|
|Breakfast||Steel cut oats|
Egg white omelet with veggies and avocados
|A whey or pea powder protein shake with peanut butter and bananas||Ezekiel toast with eggs and avocado|
|Snack #1||Cottage cheese|
|A whey or pea powder protein shake with strawberries and almond butter|
|Lunch||Grilled chicken salad with leafy greens, veggies, artichokes, olives, and boiled eggs|
Italian dressing or olive oil
|Chili made with chicken or lean ground turkey, beans, olives, and tomatoes|
Leafy green salad with veggies and avocado
Italian dressing or olive oil
|Baked cod or salmon|
|Snack #2||Celery sticks|
|Dinner||Roasted turkey breast|
Cooked Green beans with slivered almonds cooked in olive oil
Baked sweet potato
|Grilled chicken breast|
Mushrooms and zucchini sautéed in olive oil
|Taco salad made with lean ground turkey, leafy greens, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, or additional veggies|
|Snack #3||A whey or pea powder protein shake with cashew butter and Mango||Cottage cheese|
|Protein-fortified almond milk|
How to Fill Your Plate at Meal Time
Recommended portion sizes vary based on your individual calorie needs for weight loss, weight maintenance, or muscle development (depending on your goals). A good rule of thumb to burn belly fat is to drink about 2 cups of water before meals. Then, fill each plate:
- 1/2 full of non-starchy vegetables
- 1/4 full of fiber-rich starches (starchy vegetables or whole grains)
- 1/4 full of healthy protein foods
*Add healthy fats at each meal and snack.
Examples of non-starchy vegetables include leafy greens, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery. Starchy vegetables include peas, corn, dry beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, and squash.
Aim to eat about 2 to 3 servings of dairy foods OR calcium-rich plant-based dairy alternatives – such as soy yogurt, protein-fortified almond milk, or soy milk.
Exercises that Complement a Diet Plan to Lose Belly Fat
Working out regularly is just as important as a diet plan to lose belly fat when you want to lean out and increase muscle definition. Cardiovascular exercise combined with resistance training is an effective approach. Fat burning exercises to burn belly in men fat include:
- Full-body resistance training
- High-intensity interval training
- Metabolism-boosting resistance training
- Circuit training
To get started, sign up for the Fit Father Project free fat-burning workout today. You’ll learn about the best fat-burning resistance and aerobic exercises for men over 40, and how to use proper form when completing each workout. Be sure to work your back and shoulder muscles regularly to help frame your body, trim your midsection, improve posture, and enhance your physique. Examples of back and shoulder strength exercises include:
- Standing shoulder press
- Seated shoulder press
- Incline seated shoulder press
- Cable crossovers
- Lateral raises with dumbbells
- Front raises with dumbbells
- Lat pull-downs
- Seated rows
- Upright rows
- One-arm dumbbell rows
- Bent-over reverse flys
Complete abdominal exercises most days of the week to shed excess abdominal fat, strengthen your core, and improve posture. Examples of fat-burning ab exercises include:
- Plank jacks
- Traditional plank holds
- Side planks
- Shoulder touch planks
- Leg raises
- Leg raises with a stability ball
- Mounter climbers
- Stability ball abdominal pull-ins
- Hanging knee-ups using a pull-up bar
- Medicine ball Russian twists
- The bicycle
For best results, change up your abdominal workout routine regularly and combine ab exercises with other strength training, cardio, and stretching workouts.
Considerations for Taking Dietary Supplements
Despite following a healthy diet plan to lose belly fat, you may not be getting the right amount of all essential nutrients your body requires on a daily basis. Nutrient deficiencies can drain your energy and hinder fat loss. Consider taking some of the best dietary supplements for men over 40, such as:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Whey or pea protein supplements
Men’s multivitamin supplements often contain essential vitamins and minerals in recommended amounts for men, but if you’re deficient in any nutrients you may require higher doses of certain vitamins or minerals. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to find out which nutrients your diet lacks, if any.
Additional dietary supplements that might be useful for weight loss or fat loss, according to the National Institutes of Health, include:
- White kidney bean extract
- African mango extract
- Conjugated linoleic acid
- Green coffee bean extract
- Green tea extract
- Fiber supplements
Always check in with your doctor before taking dietary supplements to make sure the one you'd like to take is a safe choice.
Additional Fat-Burning Tips and Tricks
Following a diet plan to lose belly fat and completing regular workouts are two of the most important components of effective weight and fat loss. However, additional healthy lifestyle tips and tricks can enhance fat loss even more and include:
- Drink water before meals
- Sleep at least 7 hours each night
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcoholic drinks
- Give up diet drinks
- Reduce stress
- Avoid processed meats
- Limit red meat
- Make sure hormone levels are balanced
- Decrease time spent sitting down (move more)
- Track daily food intake
- Drink coffee or tea
Low testosterone and thyroid problems can hinder weight loss and make burning belly fat challenging, so check in with your doctor regularly to make sure your hormone levels within normal ranges.
Studies show that recording what you eat in a food diary or app keeps calorie intake under control, and is an effective tool for weight and fat loss – especially long term. Researchers found that weight loss often stalls during certain times of the year, such as the holiday season, for people who don't consistently track food intake.
Get Started Today
When you’re ready to begin a diet plan to lose belly fat, sign up for the Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) program today to receive fat-burning diets, fat-burning exercise programs, weekly newsletters, daily motivational support, and much more.
The Fit Father Project for Life (FF4L) program helps you keep lost weight and body fat off for a lifetime. Fit Father Project programs are specifically designed for busy men over 40 who are ready to improve their health and physique, reduce disease risks, and look and feel their best.
Writer, The Fit Father Project
A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info to create a diet plan to lose belly fat.