Keeping the Weight Off | QA

Keeping the Weight Off | QA

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.

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Regaining Weight in Older Adulthood | QA

Regaining Weight in Older Adulthood | QA

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!

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Are Egg Substitutes Better Than Real Eggs? | QA

Are Egg Substitutes Better Than Real Eggs? | QA

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!

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Is it Possible to Lose Weight While Gaining Muscle? | QA

Is it Possible to Lose Weight While Gaining Muscle? | QA

Question:

Can you give me some help and suggestions to reach my goal? I’m 6’0 and around 220 to 230lbs. I’m honest with myself and have given up the dream of being a rippedup monster; I just want to live a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight is probably my number one goal and if I can gain muscle at the same time, that’s great. I work overnight so it’s difficult to be consistent at the gym, but I can be consistent with what I eat. So, I’d love to hear back from you and hear your views.

-Erik L. 

Answer:

Your realism is admirable, Erik. Yes, it’s possible to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously with the proper exercise. One diet can help you with both. You’ll need to moderately reduce calories by reducing portions slightly and cutting out alcohol, added sugars and excess fat. Meanwhile, switch the bulk of your consumption to whole nutrient-rich foods like vegetables, beans, poultry, fish, grains, nuts & seeds, fruit and low-fat dairy that are minimally processed. 

Take a look at these two menus/plans to see the kind of changes to make: 

2600 Calories (Before)

2200 Calories (After)

111 gm Protein; 46%Carb/17%Pro/34%Fat 

123 gm Protein; 47%Carb/22%Prot/31%Fat 

 

 

16 fl. oz. fruit smoothie  

6 oz. plain nonfat yogurt 

½ cups strawberries 

2 Tbsp. granola 

 

 

2 cups spaghetti & meat sauce 

2 cups spaghetti & meat sauce 

3 pieces garlic bread 

1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese 

Caesar salad 

2 Tbsp. regular dressing 

2 cups spinach 

½ cup white beans 

2 Tbsp. low fat dressing 

 

 

Egg, sausage, potato, cheese burrito 

Vegetable frittata: 2 scrambled eggs + ½ Cup zucchini/tomato/onion cooked in 1 tsp. oil 

Whole wheat pita 

 

 

1.5 oz. chocolate covered peanut butter energy bar 

Small banana 

1 oz. almonds (about 12) 

 

 

6 oz. grilled salmon 

6 oz. grilled salmon 

1 cup white rice 

1 cup brown rice 

½ cup broccoli 

1 cup broccoli 

 

* Calculated by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist using www.NutritionData.Self.com’s MyTracking function. Findings were used along with RDN’s professional judgment. 

– 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 Fiber Options for Your Daily Diet | QA

Healthy Fiber Options for Your Daily Diet | QA

Question:

Hello, my name is Elizabeth. I exercise at least three times a week, but I am more concerned about my nutrition because I know it comes first. I would like to know what the best fiber diet is, or the most important food to eat to get plenty of fiber. I do not eat red meat or pork, only seafood, chicken, and turkey. 

Thank you 🙂

– Elizabeth Z. 

Answer:

Good news! Your animal protein preferences won’t impact reaching the recommended intake of fiber, since it is only from plant foods. Beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts & sees, and raw fruits and vegetables have the most fiber. Did you know popcorn is naturally a whole grain snack?  

The 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggests 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories consumed as an adequate daily intake. For most people that translates to 25-30 grams of dietary fiber per day. The Dietary Guidelines offers a table to see how several foods compare. 

Adding fiber to your diet may be as easy as replacing juices or canned fruits and vegetables with wholesome produce or switching from white flour products to more whole grain ones. Of course, increasing intake through larger portions or adding food is an option if your energy needs allow. On the flip side, if you’re looking to lose weight, check out our recommendations for a low-calorie high fiber diet. 

My favorite way to get 15 grams of fiber in one sitting is to have a grain bowl with kale, avocado, chick peas and grated carrot, similar to this recipe from Cooking Light. For breakfast, I’ll opt for rough cut oats, topped with pecans, dried cranberries, chia seed, buckwheat groats and hemp seed to get 12 grams of fiber. 

– 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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