Stressful Day Nutrition Advice 

Stressful Day Nutrition Advice 

Question:

I wake up at 4 am to be at the gym by 5am, work out until 7am, and then I work 10 hours. My job is stressful so I forget to eat, and I want to eat healthy. Which foods are best and at what times throughout the day should I eat? My goal is to lose abdominal fat. 

– Mike

Answer:

Hello Mike. It seems to me that if you’re forgetful, stressed out or not hungry which results in not eating during your work day, I’m not sure that making precise recommendations will make a difference. Start with a regular eating routine by setting reminders at set times or regular intervals. Employ sticky notes or smartphone alarms if you have to! Having ready-to-eat food on hand may make the difference between grabbing a bite and not eating altogether.  

You only need a microwave or refrigerator for temperature acceptance (rather than food safety) for the following: pop-top cans of chili and tuna, aseptic packaged chocolate milk, and shelf-stable ravioli.  Dried fruit, nuts/seeds, protein bars, turkey jerky and veggie chips make for easy dry snack options to have on hand. Don’t forget a convenient refillable water bottle! 

Of course, eating in the morning surrounding your workout is crucial to your performance in the gym and success losing abdominal fat. Are you drinking a protein shake as soon as you rise or before you leave the door? At 7:00 after your exercise you should be fueling up on a major breakfast given the 2-hour workout and long duration before your next meal. 

– 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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Fitness and Nutrition Advice for Soon-to-be-Brides

Fitness and Nutrition Advice for Soon-to-be-Brides

Question:

I heard over the radio at the gym today that we can ask for nutrition info through this email. I am trying to lose weight. I am 25, weigh 170.4 pounds (last time I checked), and the body fat scanner at the gym says 30.2% with a 25.9 BMI. Since January, I go to the gym an average of 5 days a week but I haven’t lost any weight. My eating habits are the same. Right now, I am trying to keep to about 1,600 calories per day with a low carb, moderate fat, and high protein diet.  

 I am not perfect with my food (never have been) but I am always making conscious health choices and it seems like what I am doing isn’t working. I can tell I am getting stronger and my endurance is getting better, but I am not seeing fat loss results. I feel like I am just building muscle under the fat. I drink a lot of water, drink almond milk, and keep my dinners at home simple with just a meat and veggie. I only eat boiled eggs for breakfast and usually have a 310-calorie nutrition shake and a tuna packet for my lunches.  

I was wondering if you had any suggestions on the cals/macros I need to do. The trainers at the gym say what I am doing at the gym sounds good, but they aren’t sure why I am not seeing results. I was hoping to lose weight for my wedding on June 2 and I am getting depressed that it seems I am putting in all this time and effort and not going to hit my goal!  

– Jessica M.

Answer:

Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! From everything that you’ve described, it sounds like your current intake is lower in energy than what’s predicted for quick weight loss (your estimated resting metabolic rate is ~1890 calories). It’s great that since you’ve increased calories and activity, you have not gained weight and are getting healthier. However, your diet is low in fiber – a diet high in fiber can help you feel full longer and clear your bowels to reduce abdominal bloat. Getting rid of any excess water weight will bring out more definition and reduce your waistline. 

Since your wedding is just around the corner, at this point you might want to focus on combatting bloating for a slimmer look while incorporating unsaturated plant fats to nourish your skin for that bridal glow. Keep sodium low (goal under 2,400 mg) while boosting potassium (goal 4,700 mg) by eating more bananas, beet greens, juices (carrot, orange, pomegranate, and prune), yogurt (non-fat and low-fat), potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and tomato products, and white beans. 

Here’s what you might tweak for the next couple of weeks: 

Breakfast 

  • Vegetable omelet w/ salsa 
  • ½ grapefruit 

Lunch 

  • Green tea smoothie* 
  • Tuna packet 

Dinner 

  • Salmon 
  • Brussel sprouts 

* Green Tea Smoothie: In a high-powered blender mix 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 teaspoon powdered green tea, ½ avocado, ½ banana, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and ½ cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth. 310 calories, 5 gm protein, 39 gm carb [6 gm fiber], 755 mg potassium, 160 mg sodium. 

– 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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Pre-Workout Snacking

Pre-Workout Snacking

Question:

If I eat 1 package of sugar-free instant oatmeal with 16 blueberries for breakfast at 6 am, is it okay to eat 8 whole wheat crackers and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter an hour before I work out with my trainer at 10 am?

– Michelle

Answer:

Yes! The early morning meal restores glycogen and primes blood sugar, while the pre-workout snack would help maintain a constant fuel supply. However, together they may provide less than 500 calories to sustain you for 5 hours (6 a.m. – 11 a.m.) which may not be enough to really push through a tough workout. I’d recommend a post-workout snack such as a yogurt cup, hard cooked egg with pretzels, or hummus with pita and carrots unless you’re going straight for an early lunch. Good options would be vegetarian chili, a turkey sandwich or salad niçoise (greens, tuna, potato and string beans).

– 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!

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Weight Loss for Diabetics

Weight Loss for Diabetics

Question:

I’m 67 years old and weigh 208 pounds. I would like to lose a lot of weight. I’m a diabetic and take insulin 4 times a day. I can’t afford the trainers at LA Fitness. Any advice would be appreciated.

– Candace B.

 

Answer:

Ask your endocrinologist for a referral to a certified diabetes educator (CDE®) which may be covered under a health insurance plan. These specialists help you understand how medication, exercise and diet all play a role in weight and blood sugar control and can provide advice tailored to you.

In general, I will say that regular exercise helps lower blood sugar so that less insulin may be needed. It’s like training your cells and tissues to be more metabolically active and efficient. In combination with a mild to moderate reduction of intake and shift to lower glycemic load (blood sugar response) meals, an increase in exercise should induce weight loss. Raw, unprocessed fruit, legumes, popcorn, non-starchy vegetables and whole grain products tend to be lower glycemic carbohydrate foods. By switching to these in managed portions and incorporating nuts, lean meats and healthy fats, you can lower the glycemic load of a meal.

The American Diabetes Association is a host of information on meals, recipes and fitness tips. Check out their resources at www.diabetes.org. In addition, www.diabetes.ca and www.diabetesaustralia.com.au are credible sources offering nutrition and healthy living resources in English.

– 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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Healthy Suggestions for Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks!

Healthy Suggestions for Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks!

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.

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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