Why am I Gaining Weight Despite Diet and Exercise? │ QA

Why am I Gaining Weight Despite Diet and Exercise? │ QA

Question:

I’m 69 years old, I work out 3 times a week for 2 hours, 2 of those days are dedicated to upper/lower weight workout and the 3rd day strictly cardio on the treadmills and bike. I had a personal trainer for 6 months and I learned a lot of methods to workout. I’m careful with my intake and do not overindulge with high calorie or fatty foods, I’m frustrated when I get on the scale at the gym and at home, I gain pounds vs. seeing the numbers go down. It could be my metabolism (as one ages it drops drastically), just looking for answers, tips, suggestions. Thanks! 

– Lydia C.

Answer:

I understand your frustration, Lydia. Total pounds are easy to measure but won’t reflect body composition improvements. Ideally, you’d have tracked body fat percentage over the last 6 months. A tilt toward lower fat and more lean body mass indicates your metabolism should keep up. As body fat is reduced and muscle is gained the scale may not change (or go up). There is water stored with every pound of muscle, due to increased glycogen capacity. 

Another approach is to monitor waist, hip, and thigh circumferences by breaking out the tape measure. Reflect on how your clothes fit. If you’ve got any more wiggle room than 6 months ago – success! Also note progress in fitness level… strength, endurance, and intensity level. All these observations are better indicators of improvement than total weight.  

It makes a difference whether your weight workouts are focused on heavy weight with lower repetitions or more repetitions with less weight. The latter helps develop strength and muscles’ functional output while the former is intended to build up muscle (thus may increase weight). Once you tolerate a level of cardio (time, intensity, duration, or frequency) you’ve adapted to it and need further increases to promote greater fat burning. In the same regard, if your diet is good, but no better than before, then physique change is less likely.  

In summary: focus on body composition, not scale weight, and look to where you can refine your diet and exercise regimen. Keep up that dedication! 

– 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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How to Eat When You Have Type II Diabetes | QA

How to Eat When You Have Type II Diabetes | QA

Question:

My name is Martin and I have Type 2 Diabetes. My A1C is very high and I struggle with a good diet plan or what to eat. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you

– Martin 

Answer:

So glad you realize the importance of controlling your diabetes, Martin. The best advice will be directly from a Registered Dietitian that you can sit down with and go over your particular diet and daily blood sugar levels, not only your Hemoglobin A1C. Preferably that person should also be a Certified Diabetes Educator® (carries the CDE® credential) who is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes prevention, prediabetes, and diabetes management. 

Top recommendations for Type 2 Diabetes from such experts address weight control and balanced meals, including the following advice* 

  • Research supports the use of a low-fat, plant-based meal plan as therapy for Type 2 Diabetes success. 
  • Eat vegetarian all day, one to two times per week. 
  • Each meal should contain healthy carbohydrates, fat, protein and ideally vegetables. Healthy carbohydrates are those that are rich in fiber (contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving) like whole grains, legumes and fruit.  
  • Eat protein first, add some vinegar to your food twice a day and have a good helping (about 15 gm) of resistant starch. 
  • Make the right snack choices (fruits and vegetables), reserving starches for your main meals. 
  • Prepare (even if simply assembling) meals at home as much as possible. You’ll generally eat more vegetables, smaller portions, less fat, fewer total calories. 
  • Use weekend or evening time to chop; chop fruits and vegetables in bulk. You’ll be more likely to eat more servings of these healthy foods.  
  • When you eat restaurant meals, practice portion control from the point when you order. Get less food placed in front of you to eat less and to consume fewer calories.  

*taken from Burns, J. “Lifestyle & Healthy Eating Tips For Diabetes Type 2” The Diabetes Council (2018, Oct. 17) https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/lifestyle-dietary-tips-for-diabetes-type-2/ 

– 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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Food Safety and Sanitation – Podcast Ep. 41

Food Safety and Sanitation – Podcast Ep. 41


Welcome to the 41st episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.  

This episode is a bit unconventional. COVID-19 is affecting people on a global scale and we are no exception. So, this episode is recorded and brought to you from Andrew’s home office (aka his living room).  

Today, Registered Dietitian Debbie James phones in to bring us her expert opinion on food safety and sanitation, along with information on how you can eat well if you have to shelter in place.  

You can continue to expect more podcast episodes from the Living Healthy Blog over the next several weeks. So stay tuned, and we hope to see you in the gym in a few weeks! 

How Are We Doing? 


This podcast 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.

Timecard Markers – Food Safety and Sanitation – Podcast Ep. 41

Intro  

 0:01  

Introduction of Today’s Guest: Registered Dietitian Debbie James 

1:05 

What Do We Need to Bear in Mind in Terms of Food and Illness with the COVID-19 Virus? 

2:15 

What Kind of Foods Will Get You the Needed Vitamins? 

3:40 

Should I Stop Eating Out? 

6:08 

Are Canned or Frozen Foods Safer Than Fresh Foods Right Now? 

9:08 

Do I Need to Wash My Food and Cook Everything? 

11:23 

What are Good Sanitation Practices in the Kitchen? 

12:56 

Plastic vs. Wood Cutting Boards – Which One Should I Use? 

14:43 

If I Need to Shelter in Place, What Should I Eat First and Save for Last? 

18:13 

How Can You Still Eat a Balanced Diet if You’re Sheltering in Place? 

21:50 

What are Healthy Foods to Have in an Emergency 3-Day Supply? 

24:40 

Actionable Advice 

27:07 

Outro  

28:47  


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

High Energy Workouts for a Head Start on Swimsuit Season

High Energy Workouts for a Head Start on Swimsuit Season

Getting Fit for Swimsuit Season 

For a solid high-energy workout, you’ve got to put in the work! Even if you’re not keeping up with the class or if you’re running a slow mile compared to someone else, putting in the best that you can do means you’re getting an amazing workout. 

Your body is always competing with its own personal best. If you are challenging yourself in a way you haven’t been challenged before, then you’re doing things right! This can mean that you’re doing one more pushup when you thought you were ready to quit or running your mile a couple seconds faster than you did the last time. Strive to outdo yourself in bits and pieces and you’re bound to get more out of your workout! 

That being said, we know it’s easier to give that little bit extra when you have a game plan. Here are some options to help keep you moving until the last second of your workout! 

Circuit Training

Circuit Training tasks your body to perform a series of exercises back to back before a brief period of rest. This workout model is intense, not only because it works multiple muscle groups over the course of the workout, but because it requires you to keeping moving all the way through. If you’re really feeling ambitious you can even throw in some cardio before you start your circuit. 

A sample workout could look like this: Complete 8 to 15 reps performing the Leg Press, then the Chest Fly, then the Glute Kickback, and end with Bicep Curls. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times. 

View this circuit, and additional samples of this training model, here. 

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises can be upper body or lower body focused. It’s all about building up your movement from slow and controlled to explosive and powerful. Plyometrics are great for generating speed, but to accomplish this, your body will need to expend a lot of energy to move the way you’re asking it to 

Lower-Body PlyometricsThese are exercises like box jumps, jump squats, and switch jumps. The sudden explosion of energy required to jump is what makes these exercises plyometric movements. You can even add a medicine ball to increase the intensity. Click to view some medicine ball plyometrics. 

Upper-Body Plyometrics – These focus less on jumping and more on generating power from your upper body. An example of this would be a clap push-up or a medicine ball wall throw and catch. You can view these and more upper body plyometric workouts here. 

Drop Sets

A drop set is several repetitions of the same exercise that you perform until failure. You are essentially pushing a single muscle group as far as it can go. To help pull you through this kind of workout, drop sets are designed to allow you to drop the intensity of your movement with each set. For example, once you’ve done as many as you can do at a certain level of resistance, you allow yourself to continue by decreasing the resistance and performing another set.  

The best way to perform these is on machines because you can more easily manipulate how much weight you’re carrying, and you’ll have a safe way to release the weight when your muscles finish their last possible rep.  

View some sample drop set workouts here. 

For more articles like this one, and to keep up to date on our fitness, nutrition, and wellness articles, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, today! 

How Laughter Improves Your Health

How Laughter Improves Your Health

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” is widely known, but how did it come about? What are the reasons behind its presumed healing properties? Apparently, there’s some science behind this old saying. Laughter really does have the ability to boost your wellness! Not only can it improve your mood, it can also encourage blood flow, heighten your immunity, increase your intellectual performance, and set you up for a better night’s rest.1 

Tomorrow is National “Let’s Laugh” Day. Make some time to go down to a comedy club or to watch your favorite comedy at home. As you’ll soon learn, a little joy can go a long way! 

Blood Flow Benefits

Laughter can actually impact your physiology. To examine this, the University of Maryland Medical Center invited volunteers to watch funny and disturbing movies. While watching the movie that produced mental stress, the group developed a reduction of blood flow from the narrowing of their blood vessels. The opposite reaction was observed when they watched a movie that made them laugh. Their blood vessels dilated which increased blood flow. 

The endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels that is expanding or constricting, plays an important role in cardiovascular health. It’s plausible that laughter can help keep it healthy which, in turn, can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.2 

Immunity 

Stress is known to lower your body’s ability to protect itself. Positive, stressreducing thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses.3 In addition to that, a study on laughter therapy found that laughing increases the number and activity level of natural killer cells that attack viral infected cells and even certain kinds of tumor and cancer cells.4 This means that laughter can naturally beef up your body’s defense mechanisms. Those are some powerful benefits!  

Intellectual Performance

Have you ever sat down to an exam, a difficult assignment, or a meeting, and felt too anxious to really give it your best? Laughter can help you improve your intellectual performance because it helps relieve your anxiety! In an experiment that tested this concept, participants who were exposed to funny cartoons before a mathematics exam performed better than participants who did not have this exposure.5 When anxiety cannot impair your thinking, it is easier to perform intellectual tasks. 

Better Sleep

Because laughter stimulates blood circulation and helps your muscles relax, physical symptoms of stress are allowed to dissipate.3 Reducing your stress levels can help your body reach the state of relaxation it needs in order to fall asleep and to sleep more restfully. A key finding among studies that examined laughter therapy and its effects on depression and sleep was that once a week was insufficient. Laughter therapy provided more than twice a week was shown to improve both depression and quality of sleep in participants.6 

It seems the old saying has some merit! Even if some of its effects are minor or gradual, there’s no doubt the body can benefit from a good laugh. Read up on more interesting health topics and stay in-the-know by subscribing to our monthly newsletter! 

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