As men over 40 we face different challenges especially when it comes to a “lose weight over 40 diet.”
That junk food we could eat in our teens and twenties now easily sits on our waist if we choose to eat it, no longer can we get away with eating all those foods that seemed to get burned up doing “nothing” when we were younger.
Couple that with a diminishing hormonal system especially testosterone and it’s no wonder that men over 40 are finding it increasingly difficult to shift excess weight.
As our testosterone declines, it becomes harder to build and preserve lean muscle and the more muscle we lose the more our metabolism drops encouraging body fat accumulation.
Men over 40 need to take a different approach to their nutrition habits than guys in their twenties and thirties if they’re to be successful in losing fat and getting a lean body.
In this article I’m going to share some over 40 diet basics that will get you well on your way to losing fat over the long term.
Avoid fads and fallacies
My first recommendation is to avoid anything that sounds too good to be true, that means diets or supplements that promise quick fixes. Everyone wants results overnight and I get it, but as it took you a while to gain fat in the first place it’s going to take some time to lose it as well.
The relatively slow route to losing fat i.e. no more than 1-1½ lbs per week is the FASTEST route to permanent fat loss.
There’s no shortage of diets telling you fast weight loss is possible, but if you look more closely they always cut out one of the important macronutrients i.e. carbohydrates so you might experience fast “weight loss” but the majority of that will be glycogen from the muscles and liver as that’s where your body stores it’s carbohydrate source.
It’s true fat loss you want, not just “weight loss” and holding onto your lean muscle or better still, increasing it as you drop fat is the best way to permanent fat loss.
Your body will drop fat without any supplements whatsoever if you consume the right number of calories and break up those calories into the correct macronutrients.
Increase testosterone through diet
As men over 40, the more testosterone boosting foods we can eat, the better. Unfortunately, from about age 30, testosterone naturally starts to fall 1-2% per year.
That means a 10% testosterone decline every decade, so by age 40 our T levels have already taken a big hit.
Thankfully through eating and training correctly, you can still go a long way in increasing and maintaining peak testosterone levels into your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.
Here are a few examples of foods that have testosterone boosting effects on the body:
A super food that packs in first class quality protein and a whole host of quality vitamins and minerals. It’s the yolks in eggs that contain healthy cholesterol that boosts testosterone levels in men.
Although eggs contain cholesterol, it’s the “good” HDL kind, that won’t affect your cholesterol levels in a negative way.
I always eat my eggs boiled, I don’t recommend frying them.
As men over 40 it’s important we get a good supply of fats into our diet, but there’s a difference between fats that will help you stay lean and fats that will make you fat.
Most of the fats you consume should be mono-unsaturated, these have many health benefits than the saturated kind.
Most mono-unsaturated fats aren’t solid at room temperature, the more natural occurring they are, the better. Fatty fish such as salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to boost testosterone and help keep joints supple.
Extra virgin olive oil
Another great fat that has profound health benefits and many antioxidant properties in the body. Extra virgin olive oil has strong anti-inflammatory benefits and the research is clear that it has a direct effect on the male hormonal system.
Lean cuts of beef
I recommend getting meat that’s grass fed, the healthier the animal the healthier the meat is going to be. If you’re a meat eater you’re less likely to suffer from zinc deficiency which has a direct effect on testosterone levels.
Beef is a great source of protein and natural creatine that will help you recover well from your workouts.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and kale don’t boost testosterone levels directly, but they help rid the body of the female hormone estrogen.
Keeping testosterone at peaks levels comes down to eating testosterone boosting and estrogen eliminating foods.
How many calories?
Knowing how many calories you burn at rest is an essential part of the fat burning diet equation for men over 40.
If you eat too many calories you’ll still gain fat even if those foods are “clean” and if you eat too few your body will sense a famine is around the corner and down regulate your metabolism, holding onto fat as a survival mechanism.
It’s much easier to lose fat with a higher calorie intake, in fact if you’ve been “dieting” for a long period of time, increasing your calories to maintenance could be just what your body needs to kick start fat loss once again.
Eat fewer bigger meals for fat loss
Over the years I’ve experimented with eating more frequent meals only to find it made no difference whatsoever to my body composition.
In fact, it wasn’t until I started eating bigger meals and less frequently that I noticed my strength was improving, I was no longer obsessing about body composition and I was still losing fat.
When I investigated what was happening, I learned that when our body goes without food for a longer period and then calories are suddenly introduced, testosterone and growth hormone go through the roof!
Our body uses more of the “sympathetic” nervous system when we eat less frequently, there’s really no need to be eating small meals every few hours if your goal is to lose weight.
The research is clear that it’s not the number of meals you eat every day but the total amount of calories you consume that has an impact on whether you’ll lose fat or gain fat.
This way of eating is what I talk about in the nutrition portion of Ripped Abs Over 40 and it works extremely well for fat loss.
Set your macros correctly
Eating in a calorie deficit and setting your macros correctly is crucial for losing fat consistently.
You need to be getting enough daily protein, up to 0.8g per lb of lean body weight per day and enough carbohydrates and fats to support energy requirements and keep testosterone at peak levels.
Restricting any one of the major macros is a bad idea, it doesn’t speed up fat loss, encourages binge eating and just plain hinders your weight loss journey.
Stick to 2-3 main meals per day and use strategic snacking i.e. fruit, natural yogurt or nuts to stave off appetite.
Fresh coffee is very beneficial for fat loss and is the only stimulant I’ve ever used to really get down to the single digits of body fat.
Keep a food log and record everything from calories to how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you’re consuming daily, then when you look back you can see if you’re on track or where you went overboard.
Remember, being consistent with your nutrition and losing no more than 1-1½ lbs of fat per week is the fastest way to permanent fat loss.
To your success in fitness and health.