Real Food. Real Men. Real Flat Abs.
Just Another New Fad Diet? Or, a Real Game Changer?
As a "desk jockey" for my whole professional life and now approaching my late 40s, I've often struggled with losing that extra 15 pounds. I've tried a variety of weight loss methods: professional weight loss programs based on portion-control like "Weight Watchers for Men"; DVD home work out programs such as P90X and T25; and even the latest weight loss supplements (think garcinia cambrogia). The first two provided mixed results, the last I found to be useless. Because I've tried these various routines, I usually pay attention to new weight loss fads being promoted.
I followed up and discovered the Flat Belly Diet for Men! Lose Up to 27Lbs in Just 32 Days on Amazon. Intrigued, I decided to buy it and read it.
About the Flat Belly Diet for Men! and Its Premise
The Flat Belly Diet for Men! is from Liz Vaccariello, Editor in Chief with input from D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD. It's based on the New York Times best-selling diet "The Flat Belly Diet" from the editors of Prevention.
The premise of the book is directly related to the success of the original Flat Belly Diet from 2008 which was created and used primarily for women. So many women succeeded with the diet that the editors ultimately realized the need to produce a similar diet for men.
Let's face it, me can be just as self-conscious about their bellies and their weight as women can be. While men may not verbalize these feelings in the same way that women might generally do, men can still be bothered about their weight struggles. Most of us guys know that belly fat not only wreaks havoc with our self-esteem and confidence, it leads to serious health problems associated with carrying so much extra weight.
The new Flat Belly Diet for Men! is a revising of the original diet plan and it's been adapted to men's needs and appetites so that we can flatten our bellies once and for all.
The Overall Approach of the Flat Belly Diet for Men!
The author's approach to weight loss is science-based. It basically focuses on the "fat-burning" nutrient "Monounsaturated Fatty Acids" (or MUFAs as they are called throughout the book). MUFAs are found in certain oils, olives, nuts and avocados.
In 2007, it was shown that eating a diet rich in MUFAs can actually help stop weight gain around the gut. Using this research, the writers designed a weight loss plan that incorporates a MUFA into every single meal and snack.
The program takes 32 days, which studies show is enough time to make dietary changes a part of a person's everyday lifestyle. It's broken down into a 4 day "Kickstart Plan" which provides a very specific meal-by-meal plan with 3 meals and 1 snack a day, each of which is limited to 400 calories. This 4 day Kickstart is intended for dieters to see immediate results and to motivate them to continue (it's also described as a sort of "mindset" time to get you ready for the remaining 28 days). According to the authors, men lost on average 3.75 lbs and 2.91 inches doing the Kickstart plan.
After that, you then begin a 28 day journey during which you eat 3 filling 400 calorie meals and 2 satisfying 400 calorie snacks every day. Every meal and snack on the program includes one MUFA. Following the full 32 week program, panelists lost an average of 13.35 lbs and 8.86 inches total, 2.81 inches of which were around the waist.
The Pros and Cons of the Flat Belly Diet for Men!
After reading the book I found several positive aspects and just a few negatives. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I have NOT tried the diet and program. My insights are related on my reading of the book and a lifetime of trying to lose that extra 15 lbs I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Immediately on the "plus" side, the book is a quick and easy read. I finished it pretty quickly in a morning or so. It's also written in easy to understand terms and I didn't find it boring. Also of value, the book includes success stories of "regular guys" who tried the program and give some helpful tips for the reader.
The book also provides a meal-by-meal program for the Kickstart program so that you don't need to think about what you'll be eating for 4 days. This makes it easy to buy very specific ingredients to guarantee that you stick with it for the four days. The book then provides a number of different 400 calorie recipes for the rest of the 28 day program. The recipes are nice because they break each ingredient down into the number of calories contributed to the meal.
Interestingly, exercise is not required for success on this diet. The authors do emphasize the health benefits of exercise in your general life and point out that it will speed up your results. Finally, if you follow the diet, it seems like you're going to lose weight in a short period of time - 32 days to be exact.
On the sort-of negative side: while there appears to be science behind the MUFA concept, when you come down to it, the Flat Belly Diet is just another portion control diet plan. Meals and snacks are limited to 400 calories each, so if you stick to it closely you'll only be consuming 1,600 calories a day in the Kickstart plan and then 2,000 calories a day for the remaining 28 days. I've found that to be the standard way to lose weight in most weight loss programs.
Despite this fact, though, this isn't one of those "extreme" fad type of diets like the "no carb, all protein" types I've seen on the market, or the meal-replacement-with-a-shake programs that "guarantee" weight loss. The Flat Belly program is a life-style change program that incorporates real food and which you could continue to follow even when you've reached your goal weight.
The only other "con" I found was more personal in nature: I'm a picky eater and I'm not a huge fan of some of the MUFAs that are listed. For example, I cannot stomach avocado and some of the nuts are very unappetizing to me. (I can't imagine how someone with nut based allergies would fare on the diet either). However, I think that with modifications, I can overcome some of these personal dislikes and could make necessary changes to follow the "spirit" of the program.
All in all, I like the Flat Belly Diet and its concepts. Because I have a special event coming up in one month and I'd like to trim off some extra pounds, I've decided to work a MUFA into every meal and to work at keeping each meal and snack down to 400 calories each. I'll see how it works.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle without having to radically change the food that is in their pantries.
The Flat Belly Diet! for Men
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Aug 29, 2015)
The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook Could Add Variety to Your Diet!
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Aug 29, 2015)