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Throughout middle age, most adults gain 1 to 2 pounds every year. These small shifts in the scale can add up, leaving even men who never struggled with weight control with body mass indexes that fall under the overweight or obese categories. Changes in body composition and metabolism can make losing weight after 40, 50 and 60 challenging for many men. However, it is still possible to achieve weight loss goals with the right approach.

Challenges of weight loss for men by age.

Men in their 40s, 50s and 60s face varying challenges when it comes to weight loss. Understanding how losing weight for men varies by age can help you make an informed decision about your approach to weight loss.

Losing weight after 40

Many men begin to pick up weight in their 30s and 40s. In fact, by the age of 50 most people tend to weigh an average of 30 pounds more than what they weighed in their 20s. This statistic is true even for men who follow a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Research into the causes of middle age weight gain are ongoing, but early findings suggest that increases in an enzyme called DNA-dependent protein kinase or DNA-PK may be at least partially to blame. Levels of this enzyme increase in your 30s and 40s and are believed to slow down your metabolism, making it more difficult for your body to burn stored fat.

In addition, levels of a chemical called leptin decrease as you get older. This chemical is responsible for signaling to your brain that you’re full so that you can stop eating. Natural decreases in this chemical may leave you feeling hungry even after you’ve eaten.

In your 40s, these metabolic and neurological changes are underway, so you may need to reduce your calorie intake and increase your physical activity just to maintain your weight. As a result, losing weight after 40 means making even more dramatic changes to your eating habits and lifestyle.

Losing weight after 50

After 50, many men begin to notice changes in their body shape that occurred due to weight gain in their 30s and 40s. Specifically, men at this age often have more body fat around their midsections. Not only does this middle age spread detract from your appearance but it can also negatively impact your health. Multiple studies have shown that people with a high waist circumference are at an increased risk for:

These findings indicate that a top priority of weight loss after 50 should be losing belly fat for men.

Men focused on losing weight after 50 face even greater challenges than those in their 40s. The metabolic and neurological changes that affect younger man are usually even more pronounced in your 50s.

Losing weight after 60

Often, men begin to naturally lose weight around the age of 60, partially due to reductions of the sex hormone testosterone. Unfortunately, loss of muscle tone and bone density also account for some of these changes in weight. Reductions in height play a role as well with the average man losing around 1 inch of height by the time they reach 60.

If you find yourself losing weight after 60, you will likely still have excess belly fat to contend with. That’s because any pounds you naturally shed are likely due more to changes in your body composition than fat burning. As you lose muscle mass due to age, body fat replaces it, and fat weighs less than muscle tissue.

Components of a weight loss plan for men at 40, 50 or 60

Whether you’re in your 40s, 50s or 60s, the best weight loss plan for men includes a variety of interventions and changes to lifestyle.

Dieting for weight loss for men

Calorie counting is the method most frequently recommended method of losing weight for men. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that men in their 40s and 50s consume 2,200 to 3,000 calories per day and that men 60 and over strive to consume 2,000 to 2,600 calories per day.  

To lose weight, men must burn more calories through exercise and daily activities than they take in. The number of calories that you need to consume to create this deficit depends on how active you are, your metabolic rate and your current weight. Many men over 40 need to eat fewer calories than the USDA recommends to efficiently lose weight.

Although decreasing calories-in through diet and increasing calories-out through exercise is a proven way to lose weight, men shouldn’t just focus on the quantity of food. The quality of what you eat matters, too. To support losing weight, men should:

  • Reduce intake of or completely avoid processed foods
  • Eat a diet rich in lean meats, whole grains and fruits and vegetables
  • Consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods
  • Cut down on refined sugar
  • Avoid soda, including diet options
  • Drink alcohol in moderation

Effective weight loss workout plan for men

Increasing physical activity is an important factor in losing weight for men. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week to support overall health and well-being. If you’re not following these guidelines, engaging in aerobic exercise for just 30 minutes five times per week could contribute to weight loss. Men who are already active can complement their weight loss diet with extending the length of their exercise periods or exercising more frequently.

On top of increasing the number of calories burned, aerobic exercise has been shown to be the best way to lose belly fat for men. A systemic review of clinical studies revealed that aerobic activities like light jogging and stationary cycling are necessary for burning belly fat. In addition, the review concluded that the more aerobic exercise a person engaged in, the more belly fat they burned.

In addition to doing aerobic exercise to get rid of belly fat, men should focus on building muscle mass. CDC fitness guidelines include two to three strength training or resistance training workouts per week. Strength-training exercise will make your body more likely to burn fat instead of muscle during aerobic activity. This is especially important for men who are losing weight after 50 or 60.

Best weight loss supplements for men

There is a lot of buzz about weight loss supplements for men, and so far, no scientific study has proven that any so-called fat burner herb works as a magic pill for weight loss. Still, men may require some supplements during weight loss in order to avoid dietary deficiencies that are common among older adults.

For example, your doctor may recommend that you take calcium and vitamin D to support strong bones or B-complex vitamins like B6 or B12 for metabolism support. Because no two people have the same dietary needs, primary care providers should determine the best weight loss supplements for men based on diagnostic tests and assessments.

Lifestyle changes to help men lose weight

To lose weight fast, men can support their diet and exercise plans with healthy lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep: striving for 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep at night may increase the success of your diet plan. Studies have found that people who don’t get enough rest are at an increased risk for obesity and that a lack of sleep may increase appetite and cravings for caloric processed foods.
  • Reviewing your medications: weight loss is a side effect of many drugs. Talk to your primary care provider about whether medications may be affecting your weight. You may be able to switch to adjust your treatment plan to support weight loss.
  • Moving more: every step you take contributes to calories burned. Find ways to add more movement to your day. Making simple changes like parking further back in a parking lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can lead to big payoffs.

Mental and emotional men’s weight loss support

Losing weight for men requires the right mindset. You can increase your chances of attaining and maintaining a healthy weight by:

  • Establishing goals, monitoring your progress and celebrating your successes
  • Rewarding yourself in ways that don’t involve food or alcohol
  • Having a trusted family member, friend or medical professional hold you accountable
  • Seeking behavioral health therapy to learn strategies
  • Taking the time to think about why you have the urge to eat before you indulge
  • Reducing stress through deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness and other methods

How Forward can help you achieve lasting weight loss success

The fastest way to lose weight for men depends on many factors, including your lifestyle, age and overall health. As a result, a customized program is the best choice. As your primary care provider, we can create a complete weight loss program tailored to your individual goals and needs. Our 12-week, doctor-led Weight Management Program includes diagnostic testing and evaluations as well as goal-setting and motivational support to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight no matter what your age.

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