Question:

I have been eating a lot less, not meeting requirements, gaining weight, and noticing muscle loss. I’ve noticed a lowered metabolism and inflammation from stress. What can I do to fix these things?

– Angela M.

Answer:

That is surely a mixed bag of concerns, Angela. Address the first problem you mentioned based on why you think you are eating a lot less. Time constraints? Opt for healthy convenience foods like prepackaged bowls. Depression/anxiety? Engage with others during mealtime and include a few favorite comfort foods. To meet micronutrient needs at least, you can add a daily multivitamin/mineral to cover your bases until your intake improves. Physical activity is the main option to stimulate metabolism. While resistance exercise builds muscle, aerobic exercise burns calories to tackle both your physique concerns. Incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods to combat the effects of chronic inflammation.

These include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, berries and citrus fruit.1 Lastly, practice good stress-management techniques. In addition to exercise, you can step away from the stressor, smile & laugh, reach out to a trusted friend, and meditate.2

References:

  1. Foods that Fight Inflammation. Harvard Health Publishing, June 2014.
  2. Five Tips to Help Manage Stress. American Psychological Association. Accessed May 28, 2019.

– 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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