Reader Question: "I Can't Lose The Dreaded Belly" - Dean McMenamin

Reader Question: “I Can’t Lose The Dreaded Belly”

Got a lot of responses from last Friday’s email.

I answered some questions about a reader’s struggle to shift the midriff flab.

Lot’s of other reader’s responded with similar problems.

(I’m quite enjoying this Q&A type email. If you want some help with anything or have questions about your goal? Just reply and I’ll get to it).

Anyway, so here’s another I got recently:

“I have dropped about 3 stone over the last 18 months by increasing my activity – through bike riding, and have consistently kept to a strict calorie budget.

I am finding now (for the last 4 or so months) that irrespective of the training I do, or how disciplined I am with my eating/calorie intake. I am just not seeing any further weight loss but more importantly for me a change in shape. I religiously stick to circa 1600-1750 calories per day and track everything I eat/drink in an app. (Noom) though I only use the food log not enrolled on the program since dec2020.

Losing my belly and getting body confident is the most important goal for me joining your program- I don’t necessarily want to drop any more weight, (though have set myself a target to drop to 12stones, currently now exactly 13:0 stones) but gain strength and lose that dreaded belly I just cannot move.”


So first, well done on your weight loss and hard work so far, brother.

It’s great you’re exercising a lot and controlling your food intake.

A couple of problems are jumping out to me.

And these mistakes are really common…

1 – No resistance/strength training.

The most effective way to lose any amounts of fat is building muscle.

Simply because it RAISES your metabolism.

Muscle costs a lot of energy to maintain.

If you lose muscle?

Your metabolism lowers (amount of energy needed to sustain muscle mass).

And people who lose weight through cardio only have shown to lose just as much muscle weight as fat weight.

The problem is, building muscle is a slow burner with no immediate result.

If you’re doing things well, you can expect to gain around 6ish lbs of muscle in 6 months.

And 6lbs spread across your whole body isn’t massively noticeable.

But the higher metabolism benefits at that stage start to really kick in and then you’ll start experiencing better belly fat loss.

Most people make the mistake of measuring all their progress on the scale.

Which, if you’re restricting calories and doing a tone of cardio, you’ll feel quite successful at first.

But as we can see, it leads to a lot of muscle loss.

Plus, another thing that wastes your muscle mass is eating too little.

And 16-1750 calories per day is way too little for a guy who does a lot of exercise.

Next problem…

2 – Eating Too Little

“Move more, eat less” is something I see many ‘internet fat loss experts’ say.

That might work for weight loss.

But that’s not the same as getting in good nick.

I see you mentioned food and calories.

But no mention of nutrients like protein, healthy fat, carbs, or veggies and fruits.

So this is where I’d recommend switching your focus to.

  • Get 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight from lean meat, fish, eggs, beans & legumes, protein powder, etc.
  • Eat veggies and/or fruit at every meal.
  • Get a minimum of 5 colourful veggies and fruit/day.
  • Add a tiny amount of healthy fat eat each meal (like a thumb-size of nuts, oil, avocado, etc) to help nutrient absorption and hormonal health to build muscle.
  • Fill the rest up with smart carbs like whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Calories DO matter.

But equally, so is getting enough nutrients.

Let’s summarise…

If you want to lose the belly AND look like a guy who works out?

1 – Build muscle.

2 – Eat enough nutritious whole foods.

3 – Especially get enough protein, veggies and fruits.

4 – Consuming too many calories will stop fat loss, but consuming too little will ruin your results too.

5 – Patience. It takes time.

So that’s all I’ve got today.

I hope you found it helpful.

Get after it!

– Dean

PS – If you haven’t already, pop your email address in any of the opt-in boxes on this site to get my free guide: The Busy Dad’s Body transformation Package.

It’s had over 9000 downloads from men all over the UK and Ireland.

Hopefully it can help you, too.

About the Author Dean McMenamin

Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and body transformation coach to every day men all over the UK & Ireland. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.

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