Question:

I am 54 and I am 6’3″ and weigh 365 pounds. I have been strength training for 4 months with the help of a trainer. I need some guidance as to what to eat to lose weight. My training has been building muscle and strength but not much weight loss. I don’t always have much flexibility for dinner in what my wife cooks but I do control breakfast and lunch. I wonder if I am eating too many carbs and not enough protein. I could use suggestions for healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

– Tom O.

Answer:

Given your anthropometrics, age and an assumed exercise routine of 2-3x per week, your anticipated energy needs for weight loss are in the range of 3,500-4,000 calories per day. That may seem like a lot, but it’s just as possible you are maintaining with more as it is you’re maintaining with fewer calories. Your calculated resting metabolic rate (RMR) is close to 2,600 calories and you should consume that amount at minimum daily. To start, I’d take the mid-point of about 3,000 calories (half way between RMR and lower range of total energy needs) to work with.

Saving 1/3 of that figure for your evening eating gives us 2,000 calories to work with. I’d suggest dividing that between 2 meals of 750 calories each and 2 snacks of 250 calories each. Your goal isn’t to count calories exactly, but to eat a volume of healthy foods that represent those amounts.

Here are some meals and snack suggestions for you:

750 Calories 

Option #1

  • 3 whole wheat waffles
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 2 egg Denver omelet (peeper, onion, ham)
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese
  • 8 fl oz nonfat milk

Option #2

  • 1.5 cups oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 dates, diced
  • 3 oz Canadian bacon
  • 1/2 medium grapefruit

Option #3

  • 8″ sub/hoagie roll
  • 5 oz turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • sliced tomato, cucumber, and peppers
  • 1 cup broccoli cheese soup

Option #4

  • 5 oz grilled salmon
  • medium sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1/2 cup coleslaw
  • medium banana

250 Calories 

Option #1

  • 4″ oatmeal raisin cookie
  • 8 fl oz soymilk

Option #2

  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 medium apple

Option #3

  • 1/2 cup tuna salad
  • 6 Triscuits

Option #4

  • 4 oz bean and cheese burrito
  • 1/4 cup salsa

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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