Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Question:

I cannot lose fat despite exercising 4x a week which is cardio and lifting. I’m not sedentary either except at work sitting 8 hours. I overdose on veggies and eat very high fiber and lean. Hardly any bread/starch. I am 51, 6″2, somewhat muscular, but 225 lbs. I should be 210-215 as I was 5 years ago. I can’t get there.

– Gordon K.

Answer:

My guess is that perhaps your body is adapted to maintaining at your current intake and exercise level. Often after increasing activity, people experience a subtle increase in appetite which causes compensatory intake. In other words, calories consumed go up. Usually in healthy vegetable-based diets this could be in nuts/seeds, pesto, avocado, dressings, dried fruits or beverages. It only takes about 100 calories per day to forestall a weight loss of 10 lbs. in a year.

Try altering your workouts by increasing time, duration or intensity. To find hidden calories, I’d suggest tracking your intake for a few days and using dietary software with a comprehensive database for analysis. It might reveal where you have room to improve. Don’t forget that proper hydration and adequate sleep are also key to successful weight loss.

– 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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Which Is Better: A Protein Drink Pre or Post Workout? | Q+A

Which Is Better: A Protein Drink Pre or Post Workout? | Q+A

Question:

Do you recommend taking a protein drink after working out or before? I’m also taking creatine with my protein shake. Should I take creatine before work out or after? I am a woman body builder 62 years old.

– Yvonne B.

Answer:

You are right to take your protein and creatine supplement in close timing of your workout for the most benefit. This is because of increased blood flow and therefore increased transport of amino acids and creatine to skeletal muscle1. There is a window of opportunity surrounding a workout for maximum impact of nutrients, but the overall intake during the day also matters.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position stand on protein and exercise2 in 2007 mentions that the timing of protein ingestion should be before, during and after exercise. Their latest 2017 position stand on creatine did not mention timing of supplementation, only daily dose.

Protein consumed during recovery helps recovery. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library for Athletic Performance Nutrition3 from 2014 summarized that “Ingesting protein during the recovery period (post-exercise) led to accelerated recovery of static force and dynamic power production during the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) period and more repetitions performed subsequent to intense resistance training.” The International Sports Sciences Association website’s article Nutrient Timing for Bigger Muscle4 indicates protein timing depends on previous meals. Protein shakes are suitable before training in lieu of a recent meal, and protein can be consumed right after a workout to boost gains within an anabolic window of 3-4 hours.

Specifically looking at creatine, a small 2013 study examining the timing of creatine use among recreational male bodybuilders over a month-long period suggested that creatine monohydrate is more effective immediately post-workout5.

As you have no doubt found, depending on the body building source, recommendations for protein and creatine timing vary. I’d say it depends on when you are exercising and when your meals are. Fill in the gaps so that you are consuming protein every 3-4 hours.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Sources

  1. Timing of creatine or protein supplementation and resistance training in the elderly. Candow DG, Chilibeck PD. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2008. 33(1): 184-190
  2. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-4-8
  3. https://www.andeal.org/topic.cfm?cat=5053&evidence_summary_id=251754&highlight=protein%20recovery&home=1
  4. https://www.issaonline.edu/blog/index.cfm/nutrient-timing-for-bigger-muscles
  5. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Jose Antonio, Victoria Ciccone.  Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:36

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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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Holly, Jolly & Healthy

Holly, Jolly & Healthy

A round belly that shakes like jelly may be desirable for Old Saint Nick, but not the rest of us. Did you know that holiday weight gain may be slow and subtle, but it can take up to 5 months in the new year to lose those pounds? Any gain retained can contribute to “creeping obesity” that gradually accumulates over the years. Start making changes now to your normal festive food routines to avoid an extra “gift” in your midsection after the holidays. Here are our top tips to stay slim and trim this month:

Gifts to groups

  • Be a role model – Don’t bring edible goodies to share, unless it’s fresh fruit or individually-wrapped mints.

Candy bowls

  • Limit yourself to 1 piece for each hour since your last meal.
  • Keep a pile of your wrappers in plain view as a visual reminder of how much you’ve eaten. You’ll be less likely to indulge again with the evidence in front of you.

Bakery trays

  • See a donut or brownie you want? Leave the room for at least an hour and tell yourself you can have half of that particular one the next time you pass by. Chances are it may not still be there!

Drinks

  • Dilute sugary fruit beverages with sparkling water.
  • Split deluxe coffee drinks in half and fill with plain coffee.
  • Alternate an alcoholic beverage with water or a virgin drink.

Celebration meals

  • Use an Air Fryer for those traditionally decadent fried foods like latkes.
  • Limit yourself to 2 starches of any kind. (Ex: a roll + scoop mashed potatoes; or a corn cob + scoop noodles)
  • Do most of the cooking from scratch. You have more control over the ingredients, plus you burn calories working in the kitchen!

Buffets

  • Make just one trip through a buffet, taking only a single entrée, side and vegetable.
  • Keep portion sizes small and choose items that have been baked, steamed or grilled.

Other    

  • Focus on conversation and the festivities by playing games, dancing or taking a walk instead of eating mindlessly.

Good intentions only go so far. Write out your action plan to stay on track and keep your waistline trim. What are your ways for preventing holiday weight gain? Share them in the comment section below!

Reference:

Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries. Helander EE, Wansink B, Chieh A.  The New England Journal of Medicine 2016 Sep 22; 375(12): 1200-1202.


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Inexpensive Meal Prep | Q+A

Inexpensive Meal Prep | Q+A

Question:

For as long as I can remember, I struggle with the food portion of getting low body fat. I feel like I have the workout part down but my problem is I always seem hungry. This isn’t a huge problem because if I’m constant with my workout I can usually overcome my calorie intake. Unfortunately, lately I seem to have less and less time and money. Any suggestions of things I could get that aren’t that expensive and or good recipes to meal prep for the week?

– Caleb Z.

Answer:

Hi Caleb, my advice is to think like a grandma – be resourceful and use a slow cooker! You can combine just about any land animal protein and vegetables with a starch in a Crock-Pot® to cook for the day, anywhere from 6-10 hours depending on the recipe. This is not only economical time-wise, but in reducing dishes to clean afterward as well. You can easily achieve high quality meals for less than $5 each by cooking in batches. Invest 30 bucks in a slow-cooker and it will pay for itself in under 5 uses.

My personal healthy favorites are herb-rubbed pork tenderloin with root vegetables, chicken thighs in chile verde sauce (makes great pulled chicken), Thai tofu curry, and sweet potato black bean chili.

Consider cook time and liquid in your choice of protein source. Half-pound chicken breasts will take longer to cook than broken up ground beef. Leaner meats like flank steak need a little extra liquid, but only use enough to just cover the meat. If leaving everything all day, I’d suggest wild rice, corn or beans as your complex carbohydrate over pasta or white rice that will dissolve and turn your dish mushy.

Use whatever vegetables you have or like – just prepare/add them based on the type of vegetable. Starchy vegetables like carrots, baby potatoes, and cubed turnips can be added first at the bottom of the pot. Crisp watery vegetables like onion, celery and bell pepper have flavors that disperse, so chop or dice based on your texture preference. Watery and leafy vegetables like cherry tomatoes, zucchini and kale and should be added in the last hour or so. Everything in between like green beans, asparagus and mushrooms can go in whole at the start or diced toward the end of cooking.

Don’t be intimidated, Caleb!  Anything new takes practice, just like with working out.

– 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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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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The Baby Boomer Diet | Q+A

The Baby Boomer Diet | Q+A

Question:

I am a 75-year old female in excellent physical condition – take no drugs, now about 5′ 2 1/2″ 132 pounds. I would like some advice on what would be an ideal diet for me. I work out with weights for 1 hour and/or walk 3 miles about 5 days per week, otherwise am mostly sedentary.

Current diet is: Breakfast with supplements – one slice bread or equivalent, a handful of strawberries and blueberries and 4 ounces of sugar-free yogurt and a cup of tea with milk. Lunch: one poached egg, equivalent of a slice of cheese such as one stick and meat such as two slices of roast beef or 2-inch piece of sausage – shoot for 20 grams of protein. Snack: about 1/3 bag of microwave popcorn with a handful of nuts and about 6 small chips. Dinner a large bowl of mixed multi-color raw vegetables and 4 -6 ounces of chicken or fish or white lean pork. End of day a good-sized bowl of low calorie ice cream – about 300-400 calories.

My concern is I am not consuming protein – I cannot digest most protein drinks. Any suggestions? (Please do not tell me to cut out the ice cream!)

– Dana M.

Answer:

Wow – your diet is great! Thanks for sharing. I can tell you are very regimented in your diet. I’d estimate your protein intake to be about 95 grams total, giving you nearly 1.6 gm/kg body weight, which is above the recommended range of 1-1.2 gm/kg for your age*. Quite adequate!

But you asked about an “ideal” diet. Your described intake may fall short in vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, iron, thiamin and fiber. Perhaps your supplements cover the micro-nutrients. Fiber is one you may want to increase from foods. Be sure your bread provides at least 2 grams per slice; 5 grams is considered “high fiber”. Perhaps sprinkle some flax seed on your morning yogurt and swap the chips for rye crisps at snack. These changes should keep calories consistent.

Keep up the good work and incorporate lots of variety to round-out your micro-nutrient intake.

* Protein for Fitness: Age Demands Greater Protein Needs. Densie Webb, PhD, RD. Today’s Dietitian April 2015, Vol. 17, No. 4, P. 16.

– 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.


Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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