Question:

Hi, I was wondering if you would be able to help my girlfriend with her diet.  We’re both LA Fitness members.  She’s an avid swimmer and eats pretty healthy (usually eating far less than what I normally intake). She has a thyroid issue and suffers from GERD, acid reflux. She was swimming several times a week and doing weights, yet not really losing any weight. And, if she can keep food down it’s a good day for her. She takes stuff for GERD but stopped taking her thyroid medication as she wasn’t getting any change. She was going to try one of the app diets, but her mom passed away this year and canceled on that. So, I was wondering if there’s a diet you would recommend for her, to first get her stomach back on track and possibly help her to lose the weight she wants to drop. Thank you for your help. 

– John B 

Answer:

It’s imperative that your girlfriend follow up with her physician on an appropriate course of action regarding her thyroid condition since she stopped taking her medication. Thyroid function determines cellular metabolism and doctors test hormone levels, not body weight, to indicate medication effectiveness. 

I’ll assume she requested your assistance, otherwise advice offered by you regarding her diet and weight may not be accepted! (Always a good idea to be clear on a significant other’s intent in sensitive matters.) If she already eats healthy and has had a recent stress, then simply reducing portions may be reasonable versus following a structured diet plan.  

For gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the International Foundation for Intestinal Disorders* recommends a diet that includes non-citrus fruits, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables except tomatoes and onions. Low-fat dairy foods, non-mint chewing gum, and small amounts of oils, avocado and nut butters are generally well tolerated. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages and chocolate.  

There is no specific menu plan to follow for losing weight with acid reflux. If your girlfriend is absolutely ready to begin new eating habits, then she may resume her intention of using an app and make adjustments for GERD accordingly. Consumer Affairs recently posted their top 10 weight loss apps of 2019 based on user ratings. And last year Kaiser Permanente shared their reviews of 10 nutrition and diet apps of 2018. That’s twenty apps for her to choose from though not all offer meal plans. 

Best of luck to both of you for 2020 from Living Healthy! 

* https://www.aboutgerd.org/diet-lifestyle-changes/diet-changes-for-gerd.html Accessed 11/22/2019 

– 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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