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Weight loss for men: How to approach it sustainably

Losing weight is a journey and it can be frustrating — here's how we can help.

Written by
Imogen Kars
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
May 14, 2024
min read
Weight loss for men: How to approach it sustainably
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From setting realistic goals to eating well and watching your portion sizes, there's a myriad of ways to sustainably lose weight.

But, it's understandable if it feels anything but straightforward — losing weight is a journey and it can be a frustrating one at that (especially if you're doing all the right things but still experiencing weight gain).

With this in mind, we're here to dive into the realm of losing weight in a way that works for you — so you'll be able to achieve your weight loss goals and improve your health.

Why losing weight fast isn't the goal you should be aiming for

While it's always exciting to achieve your biggest life goals in short succession, sometimes it's not the best approach.

After all, sustainable weight loss for men involves a lot more than just kicking belly fat to the curb — it's more important to make healthy lifestyle choices that you can maintain over a long period of time.

Losing weight is a gradual process that involves a lot of small steps.

And, although approaching it in this light may not give you immediate weight loss-related satisfaction, you're more likely to see long-term weight maintenance and better overall health when you approach it with care.

Some of the ways that losing weight quickly can harm you include:

A loss of muscle mass

When you're on a weight loss journey, you want to lose body fat — specifically visceral fat, aka the most dangerous kind.

But did you know that losing weight rapidly can result in a severe loss of muscle mass?

A study compared 25 people who were on a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) of 500 calories per day for 5 weeks, versus 22 people on a higher-calorie diet of 1250 per day for 12 weeks.

By the end of the study, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, but the first lost over 6 as much muscle as the latter [6].

This muscle mass loss (along with hormonal changes that commonly happen with VLCDs) can greatly affect your metabolism — causing you to burn fewer calories per day and making it trickier to kick weight to the curb over a longer period of time [1].

Nutritional deficiencies

Yo-yo dieting and restrictive fad diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies that negatively affect your overall health and potentially lead to issues like:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weak bones

Reduced energy levels

Many people who want to lose weight quickly start eating a severe calorie deficit while exercising intensely and a lot.

This combination can greatly impact your energy levels, making it harder to stay active and prioritise exercise in the long run.

In fact, a review of 14 studies on the impact of rapid weight loss in athletes found that it caused their fatigue levels to increase significantly — and it also suggested it can cause mental fatigue as a result of dehydration [7].

Keeping up your water intake is one of the most important elements of losing weight, so the fact that fast weight loss can cause men to experience dehydration makes this approach an instant no-go [2]

Mental health issues

Speaking of mental fatigue, losing weight too quickly isn't just detrimental to your physical health, but it can impact your mental well-being in several ways.

For one, rapid weight loss can cause you to isolate from your friends and family, as you try to avoid certain foods and drinks.

It also becomes easy to develop an unhealthy relationship with food — where you see some foods as good and others as bad (which isn't a thing!).

And because rapid weight loss isn't typically sustainable, and your chances of gaining the weight back are high, when that starts to happen, you may experience feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.

How to achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss

Looking for weight loss tips that won't leave you hungry or hopeless? Luckily, Pilot has your back. Losing weight in a way that works is sustainable and consistent.

By using a combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity and a positive mental approach, you'll find weight loss success in no time.

Set realistic goals

The most important thing you can do when beginning your journey to weight loss is to set goals that work in your favour.

Forget the fast and furious ideas of burning excess body fat — all it does is evoke unnecessary pressure to perform.

Instead, aim for a sustainable weight loss goal of 0.5kg-1kg per week [3]. You'll likely find that chopping your goals up into smaller bits makes them feel more achievable and less overwhelming.

Eat a healthy diet

When it comes to losing weight, we all know how vital it is to make healthier food choices. But making healthy choices and consistently consuming fewer calories makes all the difference when it's done sustainably over a period of time.

Adopting a healthier approach to eating that includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats can take your weight loss efforts to the moon.

Eating a high-protein diet is particularly important for those wanting to drop kgs, as this essential macronutrient is highly satiating, meaning it helps you feel fuller for longer.

Consider trying meal replacement shakes

Meal replacement shakes can help kickstart your weight loss and ensure you're getting a balance of protein and fibre.

Pilot's Weight Reset Shakes are formulated to cater to your dietary needs while also keeping you feeling satisfied and encouraging weight loss. Our Weight Reset Shakes are packed with good stuff including 20 vitamins and minerals, high-quality whey protein and fibre.

Plus, more than 40% of your daily vitamin needs for immunity and overall health are taken care of with 1 shake.

Be mindful of your portion sizes

While eating well is important, how much you eat is a vital consideration, too.

Eating slower and savouring your food can also help you to develop a healthier relationship with food, which will support the maintenance of your weight loss too.

You can practise portion control by:

  • Using smaller plates
  • Plate up instead of eating straight from the package (you can always go back for seconds if you're still hungry)
  • Measuring your food with cups or a food scale
  • Using an app or food diary to keep track of your calorie intake

Drink plenty of water

While it might seem simple, drinking enough water can make or break your weight loss journey. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it also keeps you full which can prevent overeating.

If you struggle with drinking enough water every day, consider:

  • Drinking a glass of water before every meal
  • Keeping a reusable water bottle with you
  • Setting reminders on your phone or calendar
  • Flavouring water with cucumber, lemon and mint (or any other fruits you enjoy)
  • Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up

While we're on the topic of drinks, drinking too much alcohol can easily cause you to gain weight.

Whether you prefer beer, wine or spirits, alcohol is high in empty calories and it inhibits your body’s ability to burn energy. And let's be honest, what are the chances of cooking (or even reaching for) a healthy meal when you're hungover the next day?

If you're hoping to lose belly fat and weight, it's best to either give up the booze for a while or make smarter choices about what and how much you drink.

Get moving

Ready to shred the calories and burn excess fat while you're at it? Incorporating regular exercise into your life can change the way your body burns fat for good.

If you're new to exercising, you can start with moderate-intensity exercises like brisk walking and make your way up to high-intensity interval training if you're up for it. Weight training is another great option, especially if you want to build muscle while losing fat.

Incidental exercise is also super important and can make a big difference to your daily step count.

Prioritise sleep

When it comes to losing weight, you'll want to catch up on your sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night can greatly boost the effects of weight loss and stop you from overeating to boot [4].

Stay connected

Weight loss for men can be a challenge so consider connecting with others for an emotional boost.

Joining an exercise club or a weight loss group can make a huge difference when it comes to making your move. You'll have other people around you who can help motivate you when you need it most and celebrate all your wins with you (and you can do the same for them!).

What to avoid

You know what to do to achieve a healthy body weight, so here's what you should avoid:

Overly restrictive diets

It can be tempting to jump straight into the deep end, but one of the best things you can do for your body is to avoid restrictive diets.

While they might be able to promise immediate weight and fat loss, you'll pay for it when it comes to nutritional deficiencies and a lack of energy (or in some cases, hair loss!).

Focusing only on the scale

While watching the scales change is incredibly motivating, it shouldn't be the only point of focus on your weight loss journey. Tracking your weight is a helpful tool for monitoring progress but it doesn't reflect the whole picture of weight loss.

For example, the number you see when weighing yourself isn't a good indicator of the body's overall composition — it only reflects the total body weight and there's no consideration for the individual elements of fat, muscle and tissue in the body.

You might be losing weight and converting it to muscle, but the scales would never show that.

Plus, there are a number of other non-scale victories that can happen including losing centimetres around your waist or noticing your clothes are looser and these are all just as important for motivation.

Get support through health coaching

Depending on your struggles with sustaining weight loss, you might also like to engage the help of a health coach.

A valuable tool for folks looking to achieve their goals in a sustainable way, health coaches can boost benefits by:

Goal setting

Setting realistic goals is the key to sustainable weight loss. Health coaches can support you with the creation of meal plans, the development of exercise routines and setting milestones to track progress.


We all know how easy it is to get sidetracked — that's why the accountability of a health coach can work wonders.

From staying motivated, on track and accountable, you'll be kicking weight loss goals in no time.


There's a whole world to explore when it comes to information on staying healthy and it's understandable if it feels overwhelming.

A health coach can boost your knowledge in this department by keeping you up to date on nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle factors.


One of the major reasons that people find it tricky to lose weight is because they believe there's a one-size-fits-all approach. In truth, each body is vastly different and deserves personalisation.

From your nutrition needs to the best way your body burns fat, a health coach can help you to make realistic and sustainable changes that work for you.

Weight loss programs that work

Feeling a little over your head? Maybe you'd like a helping hand? Pilot's healthcare team is here for you.

In fact, Pilot's Metabolic Reset Program was created to help those who have long struggled to lose weight.

This program includes clinically-proven treatments — which work to decrease your appetite and keep you feeling fuller for longer — with community support from our medical team and health coaches, while also connecting you with a supportive community of like-minded men to help keep you motivated and accountable to your weight loss goals.

Pilot has helped over 6,500 members lose over 16,800kg with the Metabolic Reset Program.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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