Keeping the Weight Off

Keeping the Weight Off

Question:

I have had a weight problem for most of my life. For the first time, I weigh less than 200 pounds (currently 175lbs). I don’t know how to manage my weight and keep it from ballooning because of comfort or pain/stress. I walk almost every day but my diet is horrendous because I forget to eat, and by the time I realize it, I’m overeating….help 

– Tenesha P.

Answer:

Congrats on your current status, Tenesha! It seems that you’re looking for guidance on managing your weight and preventing regain with a healthier diet. Make meals a priority by planning, shopping and preparing items you can have on hand to eat. Perhaps you also miss meals then overeat because you don’t pay attention to hunger cues. Use a hunger scale* to evaluate your hunger and satiety levels so you can be more mindful to react to signals sooner.  

I’m glad you acknowledge self-soothing with food as a response to stress. We all do it from time to time! Identify and develop alternate strategies for stress reduction that can be your first line of action before you turn to comfort food. Keeping problem foods out of sight (or the house/office) while stocking healthier options up front and center will allow you to more easily reach for nutritious foods when the urge hits. 

You’re a stranger to me, but I’d suspect that your “horrendous” diet isn’t due to lack of nutrition knowledge. Since you say you’ve had a life-long weight problem, you probably need motivation and accountability, not facts or macronutrient charts. Consider investing in a reputable weight loss program so that you’re not going it alone. After assessing the reasons contributing to your weight issue, a good counselor will tailor a diet plan to your needs and support you along the way.  

Finally, keep your chin up and celebrate the success you’ve had so far. Recognize where your strengths are and identify specific areas to improve. You have the power to overcome your reactive eating and replace it with healthier habits! 

* Kristina Larue, RD, CSSD, LDN “The Simple Tool That Can Help Prevent Overeating.” MyFitnessPal blog. https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/the-simple-tool-that-can-help-prevent-overeating/ Nov. 22, 2017. Accessed 10.21.2019 

– 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.

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 Train Like a Football Player

How to Train Like a Football Player

November 5th was American Football Day. This year, the regular football season runs from September 5th to December 29th. Your favorite players have been training hard, and whether you’re a die-hard fan or you watch only for the half-time show in February, it’s easy to appreciate the feats of athleticism that take place in every game. 

Football players need an impressive amount of strength, cardiovascular endurance, stamina, speed, and agility. If you want the physique and athleticism of a football pro, you’ll need to train like one!  

Here are 5 exercises that will work your muscles hard and test your physical limits. 

5 Workouts That Test Your Limits 

Exercise 1 – Sled Push/Pull 

The most recognizable exercise we see football players do in training is the sled tackle. You may not need to be tackling anyone, but the principle of the movement is to learn how to dig deep and use your legs to drive your body forward. A Prowler Sled can be loaded up with weights to intensify your workout and focus your energy without the impact of a tackle. 

Alternatively, you can pull the sled with a rope attachment, much like you would pull on a rope in tug-of-war. This flips the focus from your lower body to your upper body and helps you develop a killer grip-strength. For catching a football, rock climbing, scaling a ladder, or opening a jar, having a solid grip is an indicator of good, overall strength.

Exercise 2 – Rows 

The Golden Rule of Equation Solving, and what should be the golden rule for exercise: What you do to one side, you must do to the other. Many people will focus only on ab workouts thinking that’s how they’ll get a shredded six-pack. Your back muscles, however, are very much a part of your core strength and stability. Having a strong back enables you to perform other exercises more safely and with more strength and power. 

Rows are pretty versatile and can be done with a rowing machine for cardio, or with a barbell or TRX cables for strength building. For total-body fitness, make sure to focus on all the muscles in your body instead of just the ones that receive a lot of hype (like abs, biceps, and glutes). Football athletes don’t want to have any weak points so they can take a fall or a tackle and get back up to go again. Your weekly training regimen should aim for the same comprehensiveness.

Exercise 3 – Agility Ladders 

Put your speed and agility to the test with agility ladders and do a lot of great things for your ankle strength as well. This is another easily recognizable drill. You may have seen it in training sessions for football, soccer, rugby, and other sports that require quick and precise maneuvering.  

An agility ladder is a flat ladder with evenly spaced rungs. You essentially use it to mark the space on the ground where you will step in, out, and around the lines as quickly and as accurately as possible.

To zero in on the agility component, you’ll need to make a point of targeting your ability to stop, start, and change direction with a high response time. This can make for an interesting and focused workout if you have someone calling out direction changes and various instructions to keep you literally “on your toes.”

Exercise 4 – suicide Sprints 

If you can do a pull-up with added weight, doing a pull-up without it is a whole lot easier, right? Athletes practice under the same principle. In training, they put their bodies through the toughest conditions so that game day feels like child’s play.  

One of their most important assets is their cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. The ability to run up and down that field with the added weight of all the padding and gear, takes a lot of serious conditioning! 

Suicide Sprints involve sprinting to and from a series of spaced markers. The idea is to sprint to the first marker, touch it, and then sprint back to your starting point. You’ll immediately, sprint to touch the second marker, and then back again to your starting point. You continue doing this until you’ve run to and from all the markers. You can increase the difficulty by adding more markers or setting them farther apart. After giving this exercise a try, you’ll understand the reason for its grim naming. 

Exercise 5 – Walking Lunges 

Another great cardio exercise is walking lunges. With your legs doing most of the work, the work of this large muscle group will have you sweating in no time. This exercise hones-in on your quads and glutes and will teach them to endure prolonged use.  

To focus more on strengthening your leg muscles, you’ll need to progressively increase the amount of weight they need to move. You can do this by holding dumbbells or wearing a weighted vest as you go. 

For tips on getting your mentality into gear for your workout, read about how you can Approach Your Workout Like an Athlete at Practice. Or, hear from Matt Harrison, LA Fitness member and an elite athlete, on Episode 12 of our Podcast. He shares what changes he made to his lifestyle to go from ordinary to extraordinary. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Regaining Weight in Older Adulthood

Regaining Weight in Older Adulthood

Question:

My wife is 86. She has lost a lot of weight. How do I get her weight back? Are there any super foods in terms of calorie count? Are there any additives, like whey powder, that can help her gain weight? She always says she can’t eat another bite! I give her Nutrament and ice cream to get some calories in her, but this is liquid. She has been given an appetite enhancing pill (Dronabinol 2.5 mg) but it has not shown any effect.

– John

Answer:

Thanks for reaching out John. Glad that you are on top of her nutrition and have sought medical attention first. Certainly, there are very high calorie foods to incorporate I’ll address below. However, I must say in my experience with geriatric nutrition and long-term care residents, the body’s ability to process and assimilate the calories consumed is often the limiting factor. There may be impairments anywhere from gut digestion and absorption to cellular uptake and utilization. 

You’re right to focus on solid foods as weight gain supplements should be given between meals not as a replacement. Nutrament by the way, is marketed as an energy drink for active persons and it’s half sugar1! [360 Cals, 10 g Fat, 47 g Sugar, 16 g Protein] If you’re trying to stay away from medical weight gain supplements, then a comparable 12 fl. oz. of Carnation Instant Breakfast High Protein2 would be more suitable (330 Cals, 9 g Fat, 18 g Sugar, 22 g Protein).  

Cheese, avocado, fatty fish (salmon, trout, sardines, herring), full-fat yogurt, nut butters, olives and coconut (meat and milk, not the water) are the richest in calories. Incorporating eggs, beans, olive oil, potatoes and whole-grain starches will provide additional protein and energy. Meal and snack suggestions include: eggs benedict, pudding, nachos with guacamole, mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, pumpkin mousse, yogurt + fruit smoothies, shepherd’s pie, avocado on toast, peanut butter on crackers, bisques and chowders, olive tapenade with crostini, granola, and trail mix. 

Several condiments can be used to supplement additional calories and protein, such as: syrups, gravies, cheese sauces, creams, spreads, butter, icing/frosting, honey, jelly/jam, pesto, tahini, hummus, and tamari. Use these to coat, cover, top and soak into the main foods (e.g. whipped cream and maple syrup on French toast).  Additional food preparation tips are available from the Institute on Aging, the Dietitians of Canada, and the Cleveland Clinic.  

Regarding medications24: Dronabinol has been available for three decades and is effective for stimulating appetite in the majority of elderly HIV and cancer patients who take it, although some don’t respond to it. The liquid solution form is showing promise over the capsule form for a quicker onset of action. For people experiencing loss of weight and lack of appetite in the absence of conditions like HIV or cancer, Megace is the drug typically prescribed, though it has limited effectiveness. 

References: 

  1. “Nutrament Home Page.” Nutrament Home Page, Harvest Hill Beverage Company, 2019, www.nutrament.com/. Accessed 10.21.2019

  2. “Carnation Breakfast Essentials® High Protein Ready-to-Drink.” Carnation Breakfast Essentials®, Société Des Produits Nestlé S.A., 2019, www.carnationbreakfastessentials.com/products/carnation-breakfast-essentials-high-protein-ready-drink. Accessed 10.21.2019

  3. Wilson MM, Philpot C, Morley JE. Anorexia of aging in long term care: is dronabinol an effective appetite stimulant?–a pilot study. The Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. 2007 Mar-Apr;11(2):195-8. 

  4. Badowski ME, Yanful PK. Dronabinol oral solution in the management of anorexia and weight loss in AIDS and cancer. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 2018;14:643–651. Published 2018 Apr 6.

  5. Persons RK, Nichols W. Should we use appetite stimulants for malnourished elderly patients? The Journal of Family Practice. 2007 September;56(9):761-762 doi:10.2147/TCRM.S126849 

– 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 Like Running – Podcast Ep. 34

How to Like Running – Podcast Ep. 34


Welcome to the 34th episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, we speak with Greg McMillan, Founder and Head Coach at McMillan Running and former National Trail Marathon Master’s Champion.

Having trained everyone from new runners to Olympians, Greg understands what it takes to run for the first time and what training looks like for those looking to up their game. Listen in to learn some things you may not know about running, to bust some misconceptions about its effects on your joints, and to hear a gross bug story from Andrew. 

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 – How to Like Running – Podcast Ep. 34  

Intro 

 0:01 

Introduction of Founder and Head Coach at McMillan Running, Greg McMillan, M.S 

2:08 

What Makes You So Passionate About Running? 

2:34 

What are Some Reasons to Add Running to Your Routine? 

3:49 

The Shared Experience Among Runners 

6:07 

What Would Help New Runners Get Started? 

8:21 

Is it Difficult to Get into Running in Baby Steps? 

11:19 

Is it Important to Find Out What Kind of Runner You Are? 

13:42 

Do You Need Special Shoes for Distance Running? 

15:38 

What is a Good Distance to Start with If You’re Training for a 5K? 

16:33 

Stride and Cadence to Increase Pace in Long Distance Running 

17:35 

Recommendations for Hydration Before and During a Run 

19:02 

If You’re Not Well Hydrated, Should You Avoid Running? 

21:43 

What are the Right Shoes for Sprinters? 

22:30 

Are Intervals the Right Way to Train for Sprinting? 

23:19 

What is a Good Starting Routine for Beginners? 

24:17 

What Is Running’s Physical Toll on Your Body? 

25:09 

Is Running Good for Losing Weight? 

26:32 

What is Good or Bad Running Form? 

27:32 

Can Music’s BPM Enhance Your Cadence? 

30:58 

Should You Stretch Before or After Running? 

32:41 

Myth Busting: Will Running Cause Your Skin to Sag Over Time? 

36:36 

Actionable Advice 

39:00 

Outro 

41:19 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

Are Egg Substitutes Better Than Real Eggs?

Are Egg Substitutes Better Than Real Eggs?

Question:

Hi – Could you please give me your thoughts on Low Cholesterol Egg Substitutes (like egg beaters)? Are they better than regular eggs or should they be avoided because they are artificial? Thanks for your help. 

John E. 

Answer:

I’d usually say that the whole food is best. If you are following a saturated fat + cholesterol-restricted diet, then my recommendation would be to switch to egg whites. Two egg whites can be used to replace a whole egg.

If the appearance of what you’re cooking necessitates that golden yellow color of scrambled eggs, then a product like Egg Beaters® works because of the natural beta-carotene colorant. The binders (xanthan gum and guar gum) aren’t native to eggs, of course, but are natural ingredients.

Better’n Eggs® also includes the additive sodium hexametaphosphate, which I don’t believe is found in nature but is created by processing. So, either stick to egg whites and add turmeric for color or use a quality replacement occasionally. 

Sources: 

  1. http://www.allwhiteseggwhites.com/products/ Accessed 10/7/2019.
  2. https://www.eggbeaters.com/products/egg-beaters-original Accessed 10/7/2019.
  3. R Link. Is Guar Gum Healthy or Unhealthy? The Surprising Truth. Healthline September 27, 2019. Accessed 10/7/2019. 

– 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.

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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