nutritionist

Stalled

Recently I had a phone appointment with a nutritionist. My doctor thought it might help me with my stalled weight loss. I gave her the short version of my weight loss history, how I lost the weight the first time and gave her samples of some recent day’s eating. I also told her my typical workout schedule.

She was really nice but the whole thing was kind of disappointing. After I read her four days worth of my food and exercise to give her examples, she was silent. After a long pause, she said, “Um…..I don’t really have any suggestions for you….”

What???

She went on to say that I’m already doing “everything right.” She said that my food choices are good and healthy. She liked how much protein and vegetables I get in my daily diet. She asked me about micronutrients and I told her what MyFitnessPal recorded…she said that my carb intake was decent. She said she didn’t really recommend eating less carbohydrates that what I currently eat because I’m at a good number on average.

“Based on estimated needs and reported intake pt should be able to lose some weight if she is consistent with this intake. Diet is well balanced with a lot of fiber, protein and vegetables. Moderate portions of carbohydrates. Unclear why she isn’t losing weight. Suspect she may need to aim for lower end of range ~1600/day most days.

Anthropometric data – BMI is ~25 with reported weight.

Activity – Pt is active 5-6 days/wk.”

The only suggestion she had was to try experimenting with my calories. She suggested that I try to cut my calories down to 1600 for a few weeks, and if I don’t see any progress then I should experiment with eating MORE calories to see if that changes anything.

“Options to consider discussed with patient: Discussed the option of experimenting with calorie intake. Try a couple weeks or more of upper end of range and a couple weeks of lower end. Says she already tried lower end. Discussed different macronutrient distributions for weight loss. She could try focusing on more balance with meals, especially dinner having a starch with every meal.”

She recommended adding brown rice to my dinners. Michael and I don’t eat a lot of “carby” things…Like we rarely eat pasta and eat rice maybe once or twice a month. If I eat those things they are usually in a Lean Cuisine at lunchtime. I do like rice a lot, so I’m okay with adding that back into dinners. We used to eat yams and sweet potatoes with dinner but haven’t done that in years, either. I started eating them again with lunches and I’ve enjoyed that.

She tried to be helpful, but wasn’t really. ūüôĀ It’s not like I was expecting a miracle or a magic pill but it was disappointing to hear that “you’re doing everything right, you should be losing weight” when you AREN’T losing…She suggested I use the “plate method”:

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I don’t know that I agree with the above photo. I think the milk and dinner roll are unnecessary calories. Especially if you are already having a carb (like rice or pasta) on your plate. I like how large the serving of veggies is in this photo:

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And if I’m going to add dairy to the plate as they suggest, I would rather it be cottage cheese.

I told Michael about the phone appointment and he said that maybe this is where my body is going to be just naturally. It’s very sweet of him to say that but I am frustrated about it. And to have my doctor and the nutritionist dismiss my concerns with “well you are getting older” seems like BS to me. That’s not an okay excuse. Being older does NOT mean you can’t lose weight. I refuse to accept that as the “answer” and to just give up. I am not giving up.

Then I got sick and took a big break from working out, and the back injury made my fitness levels pretty low already (just swimming and the elliptical). Taking prednisone for a week added about 3 pounds to my number. I weighed myself last week and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. But it was still not a good number for me.

After all of these setbacks I’ve decided to try and reduce my calories a lot more than I ever did when I was losing weight the first time. At the very least, my hope is that it will jump-start my body into losing weight again.

I started to analyze my behaviors and I came to the conclusion that using My Fitness Pal I was eating back a lot (if not most) of the calories I was burning in the gym. I think it is entirely mental, too. I would see the green “calories remaining” and think OOOH I can eat a little bit more today because I worked out! Here is an example of a few days:

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Since I’ve been sick and not working out as much this isn’t the best reflection of how my calories usually go but it’s close. I TRY and have 150-250 calories left over after gym days but many days I can’t. I just don’t make that benchmark and I wish I could. But analyzing it I started to wonder if it was mental. I see the “Green Light” and think I have more calories to eat and eat them back. I need to be creating a deficit otherwise I just maintain (which is where I have been for months). I’m not really gaining but I’m not losing either.

So I changed the settings in My Fitness Pal to “lose 2 pounds per week”. I know I won’t lose 2 pounds per week, but it reduced my caloric goal each day from 1510 to 1230. That’s low for me, but I’m going to try it for a few weeks and see if it helps. I don’t know yet if I still need to create a deficit–or if simply reducing my calories to 1230 each day will kick my body into losing mode. I am going to experiment and I will let you know!

For now…I am trying to get the most nutritious and filling food into that calorie goal.

Nutrition: Who to Trust?

Weight loss fads have been around for a lot longer than we think.

    • There were¬†corsets¬†to¬†cinch those waists
    • The “vinegar diet” in the 1800’s
    • In 1925 there was a cigarette diet (In 1925, Lucky Strikes cigarettes encouraged dieters to “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.”–wow!)
    • Low carb
    • Low fat
    • The Cookie Diet (come on!)
    • The Grapefruit Diet
    • The shake weight
    • The weight loss belt

CORSET

The list of ridiculousness goes on and on. Fast forward to more modern times and you have South Beach, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig,  Atkins, Slow Carb, PhenPhen, and Paleo. Hundreds of years of wacky diets and fads and the truth still remains: there is no quick or easy fix, there is no magic pill. 

In addition to all these fads, there’s also the hype around food itself. Nutritional facts seem to change almost daily. One day eggs are bad for you, the next they are a superfood. Don’t eat chocolate! Wait, chocolate has benefits, eat it! Sugar is bad for you, don’t eat it! On second thought, fake sugar can cause cancer! Eat the real stuff!

Is your mind spinning? I know mine is. It’s so confusing when you’re trying to¬†navigate¬†through fads, hype, scare tactics and bullshit. Add to that the very scary realities that are slowly coming to light about GMO foods, and truly scary stuff we’re finding out about food. I don’t care how anyone tries to spin that Monsanto is a good company, it’s not. They are engineering food that is going to kill us all. I’ve read many books about the scary food that’s out there; for example: The End of Food. It detailed how modified just about everything is. From our tomatoes to our chickens to the seeds we use to grow corn. I also expressed my desire to go off the grid and grow my own food to avoid the GMOs.

This post isn’t a rant about Monsanto, though, it’s about my confusion as to who to trust. Can you trust your doctors? Can you trust newspaper articles? Will you get good advice from a Nutritionist? (I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me their nutritionist told them to eat less than 1200 calories a day! What?!) What about advice from bloggers who are showing some classic signs of disordered eating? What about Doctor Oz?

My answer is this: do what works for you.

I do what feels good. My body lets me know when I’m not doing the right things. One thing I noticed doing the gluten and dairy-free diet was how much MORE processed foods I was eating. I didn’t like that and my body didn’t like it either. I was trying to find substitutions for foods I was craving but couldn’t eat (i.e. chocolate chip cookies that have both gluten and dairy!). The fake cookies weren’t satisfying. While I was doing the diet I also looked for recipes that would fall under both gluten and dairy-free. What I found more often than not was an ingredient list with things I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone find in a grocery store. I’m sorry, but I think I’d rather skip the treat than eat something with weird chemicals in it.

What are my basic needs?

This is a good question for everyone to ask. What do you REALLY need? Doritos definitely don’t fall under that category! The apple I eat for a snack almost every day is something that fulfills my basic needs: it curbs my hunger until lunch, it’s not fake, it’s sweet but not candy, it has fiber and other nutrients I NEED.

Going gluten-free seems to be the newest fad. Michael remarked the other day that he’s now “THAT GUY”– the Portland-Guy-Riding-A-Bike-Gluten-Free-Guy. They are all over Portland! But it’s true! That seems to be the new thing. I feel badly for anyone who truly has a sensitivity to gluten because I know people that are and it wreaks havoc on their bodies. But what about the people that are doing it just to lose weight? Is it a healthy diet for them or just a fad?

(Check out this awesome post I found: 10 People You Can’t Trust For Diet Advice)

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A few things to keep in mind when researching your own nutrition. Consider the source.¬†Is this person reputable? I don’t watch Dr. Oz but apparently he’s a cardiologist–so why is he giving food advice? If you’re seeing a doctor/nutritionist, do they have a license or degree? Are you surfing the internet? Then beware of what you find!

The best way to figure out which nutritional information is right for you is to experiment on your own. For me it was going gluten and dairy free for February. In doing so, I did my own experiment and concluded that there was no drastic change that told me I needed to completely eliminate these things from my life. Michael, on the other hand, noticed a huge change eliminating gluten from his diet! It reduced the swelling in his¬†esophagus¬†and reduced his snoring! That’s an awesome change that will positively effect his life and healthy. It worked for him.

So, be careful who you take advice from. Each body is different. Do what works for you and makes your body feel good.

QUESTION: Where do you get your nutritional info and advice from?