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Muscle loss from diet

I’m a 23 yr. old female. I cut all bread wheat and potatoes out of my diet. I really don’t eat starches at all besides black beans. I eat a lot of veggies and some fruit, mostly tomato. I occasionally eat red meat but mostly shrimp. if I just eat shrimp with a meal I make sure to eat some cheese with it for some fat. the only dairy I eat is cooking my food in butter and a little cheese. I feel weak a lot and am concerned about losing muscle mass. I drink some water and take fish oil pills. my skin feels tight and dry. I don’t know what to do or what to eat. I don’t leave my house a lot and don’t exercise a lot, I don’t have a car anymore. do I need something for fiber or a whey protein

Answer:

Hi, firstly is there any reason you cut all wheat and potatoes from your diet. If there isn’t a specific medical reason or allergy, I am not a fan of completely cutting foods out of your diet. In the long term it can be difficult to sustain. From your description of dry tight skin and the diet you outlined I suspect that you have cut too much fat from your diet and more specifically the good fats. For good skin health its very important to consume healthy fats such as Omega-3’s from fish and Olive Oil. Evening Primrose oil which contains Gamma Linolenic acid and has anti-inflammatory benefits. I would suggest when cooking or making salad dressings you use olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil which is right in Omega 6’s which we consume in excess and promote inflammation. If you can afford it you may want to consider using Udo’s oil. It is a excellent blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 plus GLA. It can be used on salads and cooking but not for frying. Consuming oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines in olive oil will also provide the fatty acids you need. Consuming walnuts and flaxseeds can provide a rich source of good fatty acids and some fiber. Regarding vegetables, I would try and consume more that just tomatoes as your vegetable, because in fact tomatoes are a fruit despite being considered a vegetable!! Eat some darky leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, these are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber too. I would recommend that you do try and exercise, as exercise helps optimise hormone levels which can also have a benefit on your skin as well as your strength. Even if you are able to do five minutes of exercise every day at home this will be of benefit. To aid in building muscle try and do your exercise before you are about to have a meal. Make the meal a protein rich meal so that following your exercise bout your body will make best use of the protein in that meal to build muscle.

My nutritionist told me to eat 2.5k calories a day

My nutritionist told me to eat 2.5k calories a day and gain weight because my growth chart is way behind the curb, my body is and has steadily been 4-5 years behind my actual age (I’m 17) I want to gain muscle and start working out, but wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of eating all those calories, for my height (5,4) I am at a healthy weight, but when I gain weight I want to be taller, So can I Workout and burn calories and fat, and still get taller, if so what should I do

Answer:

Working out will not have an effect on you getting taller. At your age there is no need to work out with very heavy weights but certainly exercising regularly will be of benefit. Working out will utilise some of your calories but exercise and good diet will help your overall development. I should also point out that not everybody develops at the same speed, you still have a number of years to grow, making sure you eat well, exercise regularly and get good rest will ensure you are doing all you can to ensure you develop to your best.

Trying to build muscle but not working

I lost 20 lbs of fat with Medifast plan. Now losing muscle instead of gaining it, although getting more than enough protein via meat, Greek yogurt, Pure Protein bars, Whey protein powder. Working out with weight machines 3x a week, and 2 more days a week cardio. What am I doing wrong? Keeping weight the same with set amount of calories/day.

Answer:

Firstly well done for successfully losing fat on your diet! Regarding the loss of muscle mass, unfortunately this can happen when dieting. This can be down to a number of things, over training, insufficient protein to aid in recovery, over dieting / insufficient calories to support your muscle mass. In your case it does sound like you are consuming more than adequate protein, and from your profile you have a healthy balanced lifestyle. Firstly you mention you are already consuming additional protein, if not already doing so, I would make sure that you are consuming your protein bar or shake directly following your workouts. If the whey is a sugar free formula then I would suggest along with the protein you consume a carbohydrate source such as a banana or some honey mixed in with your drink. By providing protein and carbohydrates directly following your workout, you are minimising the risk of your body going into a catabolic state and losing muscle. Additionally the carbohydrates will stop your body trying to use muscle to provide energy. Initially try aiming for a 1-1 ratio of carbs to protein, so if you are consuming 10 grams of protein then aim for 10 grams of carbs. If you are still losing muscle mass you can increase this of 2-1 carbs to protein. While is beneficial to exercise on an empty stomach for fat loss, providing a small amount of carbohydrates prior to your workout can help you workout harder as well as protect your muscles from being catabolised for energy while working out. Intense and long duration cardio vascular exercise can result in loss of muscle mass, as the body cannot provide fuel fast enough from regular blood sugar and fat stores, so the body breaks down muscle as well. If you engage in high intensity cardio, consider changing to lower intensity where your heart rate falls within the 60% category for optimum fat loss. If you are on a restricted calorie diet, you may also want to introduce a cheat day to allow your body to reset its hormone levels, as certain hormones involved in your metabolism can become suppressed. Start by making small changes over the coming weeks to see how your body responds, as you want to keep the fat off that you have lost.