Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Can I Gain Weight?

I've being trying to gain weight for most of my life and have been unsuccessful. I have always been underweight and I'm finally gonna try another way of gaining. I've started to take whey protein and would like to know whether this will help me gain weight because when I read about whey protein it's used to lose weight. so basically I would like to know whether it will help me gain weight?

Dear Jeff,
The only way to gain weight is to eat more calories than you burn. I'm not sure how old you are when you say you've been trying to gain weight most of your life. Usually once people get into their late 20's they don't have that problem anymore: I don't believe it's as much an effect of physiology as it is lifestyle--when we're young we are often very active and even 'forget' to eat sometimes.
Whey protein does nothing magical to promote weight gain--it may contribute extra calories to your intake. Beware of consuming too much protein (more than a gram per pound of body weight) which could be stressful on your kidneys (which have to remove the unused nitrogen from your body--you can only use so much protein in a day!)

I have always recommended Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink as a supplement. You mix a package of powder with a glass of milk and--presto--nearly 250 calories added to your diet (depending on whether you use whole milk or low-fat). Do this twice a day and gain a pound a week.

Friday, March 20, 2009

How Can I Lower My Triglyceride Level?

I am a 43 yr old woman who recently had a blood test and my cholesterol is fine but my Triglycerides are 316. My doctor wanted to put me on medication but I would rather try to lower this number naturally. I am 5ft 6inches tall and weigh 220. I have lost 40 lbs in the past year and am continuing towards my goal of 145lbs. I am doing this by watching what I eat and exercising. I am obviously doing something wrong as my Triglyceride count is too high. What controls Triglycerides levels? How many carbs am I allowed to eat each day? I thought 200 carbs was ok but searching online it seems it should be 130 grams. Also the fat allowance is fairly wide as well. I am very confused and want to adjust my diet to improve my count but am not sure what to do. Terry

I'm glad you are trying to control your triglyceride level with your diet. Congratulations on losing 40 pounds in the past year! That is a great rate of loss and I'm nearly positive if you do that again this year your triglyceride level will be much lower!

First, be sure you are completely fasting when you get your triglyceride level drawn--it is extremely sensitive to anything you've had to eat or drink over the past 12 hours.

Triglycerides are the form in which fat travels in your blood before being stored. (It's also the way your body fat is stored, but these stored compounds are not reflected in your blood test). Shortly after a person eats more carbs than they need, the body converts the digested sugars to fat (in the form of triglycerides) for storage to use later for calories. So triglycerides are largely affected by your carbohydrate intake. Moreso by sugary carbs and by alcohol; and even by fruit juice (so limit this to just 4 oz a day at the most).

I think 200 grams of complex carbs a day is a great target for you! 130 is a minimum number of carbs for a healthy diet, so that may explain where you've seen that number. In a balanced diet, nearly 50% of your calories should be from carbs, so if you are eating a 1600 calorie diet for weight loss (which would be very sensible) then 800 of those calories should be from carbs, and that is 200 grams! perfect :)

Exercise should help as well, as it will mobilize the triglycerides to be burned as fat energy instead of storing it! Good luck keeping up the great work!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How much weight can you lose, safely?

Dear Tony,

That depends so much on the individual: your height, weight, age, current diet, and whether or not you are on a supervised program (like the pre-packaged meals, where you can lose 5 or 6 pounds a week, or "the biggest loser" where you can apparently lose 10 or 12!).. But the canned answer is, about 2 pounds a week for men who are overweight.

The slower it comes off, the more likely it is to stay off!

And the way to lose fat is to eat 500 fewer calories per day for each pound you want to lose (and/or exercise to burn off 500 calories each day for a week, which takes nearly an hour a day). For most people it would be hard to exercise for longer than that, or to cut more than that out of your diet and still be eating a healthy diet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm trying to lose weight, but I feel like I can't eat any less!

There seem to be lots of diet articles out there about "just cut this one thing out of your diet (soda, egg yolks, butter on your popcorn, etc)" but what advice do you have for diet pros who've (for example) gone through weight watchers and the like and have already integrated low fat/low cal subsitutions for everything they can think of? You know, where they've streamlined their diets so much that it seems like there's nothing left to substitute, yet no more weight is coming off. Kind of like the person who's trying to save money, but they already make coffee at home and use bagged lunches, yet the "most useful" advice they're finding is "Don't buy coffee at starbucks! And stop getting take-out!"

One of my WW friends and I were talking about this last night, how we feel like we've gotten to the point of no wiggle room because we've substituted everything we can think of and already think a 1pt brownine and a 0 point pickle is a good snack.

Rebecca S.

Well, Rebecca, speaking from personal experience, I think for those of us who are always watching our diet and eating everything low fat and low cal . . . we sneak treats in because we deserve it because we've been so careful watching our diets!

I know this was the case with me ...I was sooo careful, but the weight just kept going up, and then I realized I was rationalizing those high calorie foods: "I can have a donut since this is a special meeting (unusual circumstance) and I never eat donuts"; "I can have this pizza since it's a social event and not normally something I would do at home"; "I can drive through the fast food restaurant window for a burger and fries since I'm in a hurry and I heardly ever do this," etc., etc, on vacations and at parties, and just because I felt like I hadn't had a candy bar in forever! I "once-in-a-while"d myself up 20 pounds in less than a year!

How do you get it to stop? Write down everything you eat... you'll realize when you are allowing yourself these little treats and see how often you've been eating more points! Keeping a food diary works to help people lose weight almost 100% of the time, so give it a shot for 10 days and see what happens :)

Don't forget the other side of the balance equation either: exercise. We also fool ourselves into thinking we get plenty of exercise walking up and down the office hallways or the very large parking lots to get from our car to buildings where we work or shop. Try clipping on a pedometer and count the number of steps you take in an average day. The recommended goal is 10,000 steps a day. If yours is much lower, try adding another 1000 (about 1/2 mile) every few days.