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Middle Age Spread

I eat shred wheat or fiber one and milk for breakfast. 2 coffees. Lunch I eat half a sandwich and a cup of ginger ale and cranberry. Dinner I make a protein a vegetable and a starch with water. I have yogurt and wheat thins and or a cup of ice cream. This is my families usual meals and I am getting the middle spread I am not overweight just feeling uncomfortable around the middle I have never had a problem there. I also walk for exercise. I am 49 yrs old.


Thanks for your question. The middle age spread is something that most people suffer from. Unfortunately this slow weight gain creeps up on you even thought you don’t seem to have changed anything in your diet over the years. As part of the aging process, our metabolism slows and we lose muscle mass. These changes mean we are not able to process the same amount of calories as well as we could in the past. Currently you are walking for exercise. Whilst this has some health benefits it does nothing to combat age related muscle loss. After the age of 25 we lose approximately 0.5-1% of our muscle mass per year. Muscle is very important for maintaining our metabolism and burning calories throughout the day. By the age of 50 you have lost 25% of your muscle mass. When you lose this muscle your bodies requirement for calories is reduced and you don’t need as much to sustain your current weight. I would suggest that you engage in some resistance training to help combat this. You don’t need to join a gym, but doing some simple whole body exercises such as press-ups and body weight squats can help combat this muscle loss. Reading your profile I noticed that you do consume 2 servings of sweets every day and 1 soda a day. Both of these are sources of empty calories which only contribute to weight gain. Whilst it is still nice to have a snack and the odd treat try to have it as an occasional rather than twice daily treat.

Weight loss supplement question – counteraction/compliment

I’ve been trying to do my own research and can’t seem to find an answer to my question. Would it be safe to take Garcinia Cambogia Extract along with Shaklee Metabolic Boost? Would it be too much or not necessary? Do the two products have different benefits or work together to do different things? I’m trying to figure out if these two would counteract or compliment each other or is it not wise to take the two together? It appears the only thing the Garcinia Cambogia has in it is 150mg Calcium, 150mg Potassium, and 1600mg of Garcinia Cambogia Extract HCA (no fillers, binders, etc) that one would take twice a day. The Metabolic Boost, one would take three times a day.


Hi, thanks for your question. Garcinia Cambogia has some evidence of being useful for fat loss, however the bulk of these studies were in animals and not humans. To date I am not aware of any significant studies that say it is effective for fat loss in humans In addition in those animal studies one of the side effects was testicular toxicity. Regarding the other product, I am not familiar with it, but taking a brief look at the ingredients, there was nothing that would contribute to accelerated fat loss. Green tea supplements have not shown to be effective and have not provided the health benefits that drinking real green tea has either. From a cost, health and efficacy perspective I cannot recommend either product.

Physical Education and Obesity

Do obese people have themselves to blame?


Every case is different, I don’t think obese people necessarily have themselves to blame. Whilst everybody has a personal responsibility to themselves, there are many factors that can lead to someone making the wrong decisions in terms of their diet. Many cases of obesity develop during childhood where a child’s parents have made ill informed decisions regarding their children’s diet and are providing low quality food and regularly. This often spirals out of control and an obese child becomes and adult and has little knowledge or ability to resolve their situation. The food industry and fast food companies also have very slick marketing campaigns and again many of which target they advertising at children. Children cant always make informed decisions and this can often be where the problem starts. Modern day society in many peoples cases is based around working in an office, driving to and from home or using public transport, this is not what the human body was intended to do. We were meant to work physically and be active. Food was never readily available 24/7 like it is today. As we can see across the developed world obesity is on the increase, these levels of obesity that we see today didn’t exist years ago. So the question is what’s changed, is it the people and their attitude that has changed or is it our environment. I would say that obesity is a product of our modern day environment. Whether an obese individual choose to resolve their situation or not, is ultimately down to them.

hormone imbalance

I am 60 years old and am consistent in my yoga workouts. However, I am unable to lose the weight around my waist. Could this have to do because of a hormone imbalance? I refuse to take ambirin. Thank you for your advice.


Losing weight around the waist is often a difficult task for people of all ages. It is possible that your weight gain is menopause related fat gain, especially if it is only your belly. This type of fat gain is hormone related as it is due to the reduced levels of estrogen and increased levels of testosterone that your body produces post menopause. This type of fat is often referred to as visceral fat which accumulates inside your body in the belly area around your internal organs. This is difficult stubborn fat to reduce and will require changes in both your diet and exercise routine. Firstly you only outlined yoga as your current form of exercise. Yoga is excellent and great for maintaining flexibility but will not significantly help fat loss. If not already doing so I would include some form of medium duration, medium intensity cardio exercise, say 20-30 minutes at 65% heart rate which is optimal for fat loss. You should not be exhausted when doing this and be able to hold a conversation whilst exercising. This will help reduce the visceral fat. Secondly I would introduce some foods into your diet that can help balance and regulate your hormone profile. A number of different good fats have been indicated to be of benefit pre and post menopause such as gamma linoleic acid and Omega 3’s. The benefits of adding good fats to your diet are numerous and I would suggest using a blend of Omega 3,6 and 9’s such as Udo’s oil or any other available product. This also contains Evening primrose oil and can added to salad dressings, mixed in with yoghurt or taken alone. It should never be heated though. I would also include Broccoli and other members of the cruciferous family vegetables such as kale, cabbage and cauliflower. These vegetables particular broccoli contain antioxidant compounds known as sulforaphanes. One theory has it that they contain detoxification enzymes, called sulforaphanes which help balance the hormonal estrogen balance. Finally I would look at meal timing, try to consume the bulk of your calories early in the day, whilst I appreciate this is difficult for most people, try having a few days a week where you don’t eat anything after 4:00pm. You will find that having a few days with a reduced calorie intake particularly during the evening period should also help lose some of the stubborn fat.

Losing weight on medications

I go to the gym 5-6 times a week for an hour and I have cut my meal portions down. In addition, I am taking the medications Losartan, Bromocriptine, Meloxicam and Vitamin D but I do not seem to lose any weight. Do you think taking all these medications are hindering my weight loss


Its difficult to say as when combining many medications people can react in different ways. I think it would be safe to say that the Vitamin D is not the cause as there are various studies that have suggested Vitamin D may be beneficial for weight loss. Bromocriptine in some studies, although mainly in animals, that it may cause some weight loss. The other two medications I cannot comment on, indeed they may be a cause of your issue, however I would not suggest discontinuing either medication. It may be worth discussing this with your doctor, to find out if there any possible alternatives or options to identify whether one or both of these medications are the cause. Reviewing your profile I noticed you are currently partaking in only Aerobic exercise, whilst this is of great value, I would recommend considering some form of resistance or weight training. If you don’t have any medical issues that prevent you from weight training, and you have clearance from your doctor, I would suggest including some light resistance training at least three times a week. Weight training is a great way to increase your metabolism, as your body needs to burn calories throughout the day to aid in the recovery of your muscles, something that aerobic exercise doesn’t really do. By engaging in this three times a week with a break in-between, will help further elevate your metabolism and will hopefully assist in your weight loss.

Midsection weight loss

I’m 67 years old and as of about 7 or 8 years ago, my midsection is out of control. No matter what I do, I cannot lose weight there. I’ve counted calories, fat grams, carbs, to no avail. I exercise regularly to include aerobic, weights. Because I’m 5’1 1/2, 135 lb. Would very much like to lose 10 lb.


Thanks for your question. Unfortunately there is no way to lose fat specifically from one area, such as the midsection. In women the midsection can be particularly problematic, as they go through the menopause, changes in hormones affect how fat is stored. This can lead to the body storing more fat on the abdominal area instead of the hips and thighs. Other factors are age-related muscle loss. Age-related muscle loss begins early in life, at 60, the process accelerates dramatically, doubling from 0.5% muscle loss per year to 1%, then 2% at age 70, 4% at 80. Muscle uses calories throughout the day, even when you are sitting in a chair, the more we have the more calories we burn. The more muscle we lose, the less calories we will utilize in a day. So building and maintaining muscle is very important to keeping out metabolism up and keeping the fat off. Additionally due to this age related weight loss your total requirements for calories are not much less than they were previously. Whilst the RDA for women is 2000 calories per day, for you it would be 1500 and closer to 1200 if you are looking to lose weight. So it is important to base your total calories on those figures. Rather than concentrating on losing fat, my recommendation would be to firstly focus on building muscle. building muscle first will help you lose fat easier in the long run. I don’t know what your specific routine is, but you listed that you do both cardio and weights daily. I would suggest that your prioritise your weight training first focusing on that and when you have finished then do your cardio afterwards. If you are a member of the gym, I would recommend getting one of the instructors to create a program for you, where you separate the different body parts and train them on different days. This way you wont end up training the same muscles every day, which is counter productive. Alternatively you could do weight training, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and do cardio on the days in between. After you have finished your weight training, I would suggest you eat a protein rich meal, ideally within one hour of your training session. Feeding your muscles with a protein rich meal will allow them to recover and build strength more effectively. Lean chicken, turkey or white fish would be ideal along with a small serving of rice or pasta. Avoid any sources of fat in this particular meal as it slows the rate of digestion and recovery. After each weight training session try to eat this meal. I would also recommend that you try to eat as early in the evening as possible. before 18:00, ideally 16:00. The earlier you can eat you last meal of the day, the better, your bodies requirements for calories gets less the later in the day, so eating early will prevent your body storing food as fat.

Plateaued after significant weight loss

I am a 23 year old female who used to weight about 265lbs at 5’4. Over the course of a year and a half, I was able (thank God) to lose 100lbs. For most of it I did a low-carb, high-protein diet of whole, natural foods. I also Zumba-ed everyday. Once this stopped working I experimented with a few other diets to try to get my metabolism going again (all-meat, no-meat, vegan, etc.) I lost the rest of the hundred pounds slowly. Now I am eating a pescatarian diet and doing cross-fit training, and I feel like my body has just shut down. I cannot lose anymore weight for the life of me. I only have about 25lbs left until I reach my goal and I just can’t get that deep-seeded fat that has been there for years to budge. I’m thinking about trying a dietary supplement like Hydroxycut or Vyper. Are these supplements safe/could they help? If not, do you know of supplements that would? I am almost positive there is nothing more in the diet realm that I can try that I haven’t already. Thank you so much.


Congratulations on your weight loss! Your inability to shift any more weight, is a very common situation in people who have successfully lost a large amount of weight. Unfortunately the body is very clever at trying to hold onto fat wherever possible as its a survival mechanism, and as you have found, you needed to change and alter your diet to trick the body into losing more weight. The fact that you have plateaued sounds like your body may have gone into starvation mode, where it is doing its best to hold onto every calorie you consume. You may have become leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone released mostly from fat cells and it signals your brain about your fat stores, effectively letting your brain know “we have fat, and we have reserves”. If your fat stores diminish, your leptin decreases. If your calorie intake decreases, your leptin level decreases. When leptin decreases, it can trigger the starvation alarm. In response, your brain sends out signals to decrease your metabolic rate so as to preserve fat stores. What you need to do is “reset” that mechanism by letting the brain know that calories are in abundance and its ok to burn fat. Introducing a cheat day into your diet is a great way to achieve this reset. Having one day a week where you allow yourself to eat anything you want, resets this mechanism, so the following days when your dieting and exercising the body starts to burn fat again. What also often happens with people who successfully lose a lot of weight, is that they also lose a significant amount of muscle mass. In doing so they reduce their metabolism, as its muscle which is responsible for burning a lot of your daily calories consumed. You say you are now doing cross-fit, which is an excellent way to develop all round fitness and strength. However without the right nutrition it can also be catabolic and cause you to lose muscle mass if you are not consuming enough protein and getting adequate rest and sleep. Making sure that following your cross-fit workouts you consume a rich source of protein along with some carbs will help prevent any muscle loss and keep your metabolism elevated. Regarding the use of supplements such as fat burners/stimulants. I would recommend against them for a number of reasons. 1- Safety – There have been a number of cases where people have suffered serious/fatal medical consequences because of their use. 2- Contamination – there have been cases where the product has claimed to be natural, but pharmaceutical substances have been found in some of these products. 3- Effectiveness – many of these products are nothing more than very large doses of caffeine combined with a few miscellaneous herbs that have little genuine scientific evidence to back up their effectiveness. A similar effect can be achieved drinking a few strong cups of black coffee prior to a workout. If you are looking some alternative ways to induce some fat loss going beyond following a standard diet, there are cheaper safer ways to do so. For example, grapefruit or its juice has been shown to inhibit the absorption of dietary fat when consumed with a meal. If you consume either the juice or the fruit itself with each meal you will prevent your body from absorbing a certain amount of calories in each meal. Consuming rich sources of fiber such as Oat bran can also have a similar effect, the fiber in the Oats binds with fat in your diet and simple caries it out of your body without being absorbed in your digestive system.

Is the diet I am trying healthy and sustainable?

I am trying the following diet to help with anxiety and all around feeling better: Breakfast = Special K Maple Crunch Oatmeal w/ quinoa and walnuts and a banana; Lunch = Wendy’s half size grilled chicken Caesar salad without croutons and with one packet of lemon garlic Caesar dressing; Snacks = 1 cheese stick or a 100 calorie pack of almonds and walnuts (dry) or one hard boiled egg with a small V8 or a chobani 100 calorie greek yogurt (usually one of these options in the morning and one in the afternoon); dinner is either chicken, pork, steak or tilapia (parmesan crusted) with veggies (occasionally whole grain past or whole grain hamburger helper); and dessert is a sugar free pudding with a dollop of canned whip cream


Thanks for your question. Looking at the diet you have outlined I would say you have made some small steps towards a better diet. It is good that you have included healthy foods such as nuts, yoghurt and fiber rich foods such as whole grain pasta and quinoa. However you are consuming quite a few processed or canned foods such as the Special K, Wendy’s Caesar Salad, cheese sticks, sugar free puddings and canned cream. I recommend avoiding processed foods wherever possible as they are usually either high in salt, sugar, fat or artificial ingredients. For example the Wendy’s meals, contains approximately 45% of your daily allowance for saturated fat. Once you add in snacks and your other meals you may well be exceeding your daily allowance. I don’t know the specific brand of sugar free pudding you are referring to, but many that I have seen contain a lot of fat to make up for the fact they have reduced the sugar. So whilst its low in sugar its high in fat. Sometimes they are loaded with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or Acesulfame K. In recent studies, artificial sweeteners have been recently shown to make the brain react as if it has eaten sugar and behave the same way, causing the body to store fat. If possible I would avoid artificial sweeteners where possible. If its essential to your diet I would consider using either natural Stevia or xylitol. If you have a busy lifestyle, it is easy to become reliant on convenience foods. I would suggest rather than buy items such as these Special K cereal pots, is to make your own cereal mix in bulk. Buy some big packs of all bran, rolled oats, raisins and nuts and then mix them together in a large plastic container. You can buy a couple of small plastic containers that you can take to work and fill them with your own cereal mix every day. This will last you a long time, be cheaper and most importantly be more nutritious. In terms of the anxiety you mentioned, there are many different foods you can include in your diet. I would recommend that you include eating oily fish three times a week, fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines are all good sources of Omega 3’s. Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in mood regulation and may help to cope with stress. I would drop the Tilapia from your diet as it tends to have very low amounts of Omega 3 and when choosing fish, avoid farmed fish where possible. Farmed fish are often low in Omega 3 because they are not eating a natural diet and consuming commercial fish feed. Eat foods that are high in tryptophan. This amino acid can reduce anxiety by promoting better sleep. Examples include cheese, chicken, eggs, tofu, fish, milk, turkey, nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seed. Avoid Tea and Coffee along with any other caffeinated drinks and swap them for calming herbal teas such as Camomile or Lemon Balm, both of which have been shown to have calming properties. Finally as mentioned above artificial sweeteners have been linked to have a number of side effects, including behavioural side effects. I would avoid them if you are experiencing bouts of anxiety.

Losing weight but not slowing my metabolism

I am 20 years old and 5″4 weighing 121 pounds. I am a distance runner and want to lose 10 pounds to run lighter and get my PR. If my BMR is 1,908 calories, and I am cutting my calories to 1,200 a day to lose weight, but also going on distance runs, will this slow my metabolism? I need to lose the 10 pounds by the end of the summer, but I want to do it safely and the healthy way. Do I have to “eat back” the calories that I burn during my runs?


Based on what you have outlined in your question, I don’t think it is necessary to specifically “eat back” the calories that you have utilized. However you should take steps to ensure you optimise your recovery and protect your muscle reserves. Combining intense exercise and a low calorie diet can result in eventual stagnation of fat loss. I would recommend that you include one possibly two cheat days per week, where you allow yourself an excess of calories from whatever foods you want. When following an intense program such as yours, adding a cheat day is a good way to “reset” your body into thinking that food is in plentiful supply, so that it doesn’t go into starvation mode. You should also make sure that following your long distance runs, you have a meal rich in protein and carbohydrates and a small amount of good fats. Providing adequate protein to preserve your muscle mass is important, as its easy for distance runners to become catabolic and burn their muscle mass which in turn can lower metabolism and reduce the rate of fat loss. Consuming oily fish is particularly useful so as to get some anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids which can also help your joints following long distance runs.