Unsightly stomach fat is one of the foremost concerns for men looking to complete a diet. Often, they remember a time when they could eat nearly anything they wanted and not put on unwanted pounds. But the body's metabolism slows, and the accumulation of body fat steadily increases until one day we are surprised by the person in the mirror. However, there is hope.
No matter your age, you can generally lose substantial amounts of fat within 3 to 6 months of beginning a regimented diet. However, for men, stomach fat is some of the last to be lost. Whereas women tend to store stubborn fat on their legs, hips and glutes, men tend to store it in their abdominal area. Excess fat storage tends to make the body more resistant to insulin, a fat storage hormone. So for those looking to shed fat, managing insulin is crucial. And the best way to keep the body's insulin levels under control is lower-carb eating.
Low-carb does not mean no-carb. It just means that you have to strictly monitor the types of carbs you ingest for the duration of the diet. To that end, the 7 Habits of Effective Nutritional Programs by Dr. John Berardi provide a good jumping-off point for those looking to lose their love handles and become reacquainted with their ab muscles. The 7 Habits:
- Eat smaller meals every 2 to 3 hours, for a total of five to eight small meals per day, every day.
- Eat a lean protein source with every meal (meat, chicken, fish, eggs).
- Eat fruits, vegetables or both with every meal.
- Make sure that almost all carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure that at least 25 percent of your calories come from fat sources, including animal fats and oils (flax, fish, coconut, and olive).
- Drink only beverages that have zero calories. Stick to just water and green tea if possible.
- Eat only whole foods (as opposed to liquid nutrition).
This might seem similar to many other low-carb plans you have seen, but keep in mind that the 7 Habits encourages carb intake from fruits and vegetables. So while you still can't have that muffin or burrito you crave, you can still get a fair supply of daily carbohydrates--which alleviate many of the complaints people have about no-carb diets (such as brain fog and lethargy).
Deciding on the diet is the first step toward regaining your health. But this is not a system of eating that should be discarded immediately after you reach your goals. As you continue to age, the body will tolerate fewer deviations from a healthy lifestyle. Understanding that will allow you to make the 7 Habits a way of life. And accomplishing that will do wonders for all aspects of your life as you reach old age.