According to the National Health Statistics Reports, the average body mass index of men ages 40 and older falls within the category of “overweight,” meaning a BMI of 25 to 29.9. As men age, their metabolism slows down and they require fewer calories each day to maintain a healthy body weight. Calorie control is the most important component of successful weight loss for men over 40.
Most men over 40 need about 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for effective weight loss, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Some active men might need more than 1,600 calories to lose weight without feeling hungry. A good rule of thumb is to reduce your current intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Boost Fruits and Veggies
Because fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, they are a low-calorie option that can help men over 40 feel full during weight loss–and fruits and veggies help prevent constipation, which is more common in older adults. Unfortunately, many Americans fall short of meeting fruit and veggie requirements. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, men following weight loss diets of 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day need 1 to 1.5 cups of fruits and 1.5 to 2 cups of vegetables on a daily basis.
Get Adequate Protein
According to at study published in a 2010 edition of “Physiology and Behavior,” increasing your protein intake is effective for weight loss and weight maintenance. Protein will not only help you feel full from fewer calories, it can actually help reduce the loss of lean muscle associated with weight loss–and aging. Although Harvard Medical School reports that most healthy adults should aim for 15 percent of their daily calories from protein, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s sample weight-loss menus contain about 20 percent of the calories from protein, or about 60 grams per day for a 1,200-calorie diet and 80 grams of protein per day when using a 1,600-calorie weight loss plan. Examples of healthy, high-protein foods include lean meats, seafood, skinless poultry, low-fat dairy foods, egg whites, soy products, seitan, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Limit Refined Grains
Replacing refined grains with whole grains will boost your fiber intake—which increases satiety—and provide you with extra vitamins and minerals. In fact, a study published in a 2012 edition of “Advances in Nutrition” reports that a higher intake of whole grains is associated with a lower body mass index–which is beneficial for men over 40–and reduced risk for obesity. Try replacing white rice with brown rice, or white bread with whole-grain bread, for example.