Weight Loss
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Trying to lose weight but have gained instead what am I doing wrong?


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I workout with weights at the gym 5 days a week, nothing heavy just light weights to build lean muscles my trainer told me to eat 5 small meals a day to fire up my metabolism. So instead of taking supplements I eat a oatmeal breakfast bar then after my workout I drink a protein shake 190 cal drink, then 2 hours later I eat 1oz lights salted peanuts then 2 hours after that I eat a boneless skinless grilled chicken breast, then 2 hours after that I eat either a  pack of wheat crackers or some yogurt. Then I eat dinner when I get home and I eat nothing after 6 pm. I drink 16 oz of water 8 times per day maybe more. I work at a job that requires me to be outside in the sun walking climbing and pulling on a hose that weights 20 pounds I do this 5 days a week. But instead of losing weight I have gained 15 pounds. What am i doing wrong? Should  I be taking a fat burning supplement? Or some type of pill to boost my metabolism? If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I need all the help i can get I am getting frustrated. 

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The usual reason for weight-gain is 'eating more than you think'.   If you take in more calories than you use up, you'll gain weight.   So the place to start is to have a good idea how many calories you use up each day and the CC calculator isn't a bad resource.  If you have a very active job and you work out on top then you'd qualify as 'very active'....

The next step is to look at your total calorie intake.  For that you'll need to keep an accurate food diary of everything you eat and drink.  The CC food log is a good resource there.  Try not to guess at portions but always check-weigh.  If the calories in are higher than the calories out you have your answer.

As I commented in a previous thread, your food choices are pretty terrible.  A poor low-cal diet doesn't necessarily result in weight-gain but it won't do your health any good.

The basics for a healthy diet are

  • At least five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables - you don't get any until dinnertime by the look of it.  Fruit and vegetables are required to make sure you're getting a good range of vitamins and minerals.  Build your meals around fruit and vegetables...
  • Less than 50g added sugar per day... Nutri-grain bars contain 18g each so you're getting 54g right there.  There is probably sugar in the protein shake as well.   Too much sugar can be problematic in the long-term.  Try replacing those with some porridge oats (oatmeal) and eggs in the morning.... it would be much healthier
  • More than 30g dietary fibre.... this you get from fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods such as wholemeal breads, pastas, brown rice, pulses (beans, lentils), nuts, seeds, oats.   Too little fibre in your diet means your body will struggle to keep your digestion moving and that's not a good thing. 
  • Lean proteins with each meal.   Protein shakes are a poor substitute for real food.  Good quality natural proteins are things like eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, tofu, pulses, low-fat dairy products.  Team them up with complex carbohydrates to get a good balance to meals.... a chicken breast on its own is not a good balance.

Hello,

Well, firstly, I assume you lower your body fat percentage. To lose weight itself is easy, but to maintain your muscles while losing fat can be somewhat tricky.

Secondly, it depends on WHAT you eat. I would cut out all processed foods. Instead of an oatmeal bar, just have regular rolled oats. I don't know which bars you eat, so it might shoot your insulin levels up, which is not good. Make sure to eat all your complex carbs before pm. I suggest you have complex carbs for breakfast and for the 2nd meal. Make sure to eat carbs, proteins and fats with every meal. Only then you'll have a complete meal. Also, try to follow a certain ratio, f.e. 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat. Just try out and see which one is working best for you. Personally I prefer 40/40/20, but there are no magic numbers. Everyone is different.

Further, you can eat after 6pm, f.e. you can have a protein shake before going to bed, especially if you work out 5 times a week. Make sure your shake has minimum carbs and is not high in fat. Mix it with water instead of milk. I suggest you try EAS Myopro Whey. And cut down on those crackers and yogurt. Have a low fat cottage cheese instead. And make sure that breakfast is your largest meal and reduce meals gradually towards the evening.

Most importantly, establish your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Calculate your activity level and then you'll have a caloric amount, which is required for you to maintain your weight. Then reduce it by 15% - 20% max. Don't cut calories too drastically. You have to be in a caloric deficit, but if it is too high, then you get into starvation mode. The less you eat, the more you'll gain. Sound contraversial, but it is the truth. Don't starve your body.

To your workout: you said you try to build lean muscle mass lifting light weights. I must disappoint you that you won't be able to see any increases in muscles while being on a fatloss diet. You either bulk to gain muscles following a different nutrition plan and different training approach, or you lose fat and try to maintain the muscles (meaning that your body doesn't use the proteins from your muscle tissue as a source of energy). As for weights: lifting light weights is not really going to get you anywhere. Choose weights with which you can perform 8 - 12 reps. Don't be afraid. 5 times a week workout is not necessary. 3 - 4 times are enough. I assume you are not a body builder. Cardio is also very important. I suggest you perform your cardio on an empty stomach, the first thing you wake up. Also, you might want to try a HIIT (high intensity interval training - just go on google.com and look for an explanation). If you cannot do cardio first thing in the morning, you still can do it after your weightlifting session.

Lastly, supplements are important, but they are important as SUPPLEMENTS, not as food replacement. Forget about fat burners. To boost your metabolism, just try to follow the steps I've told you and you'll be good off. What I'd suggest you take are EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids, f.e. 1-2 tablespoons of Organic Coldpressed Flaxseed Oil) and CLAs (you can buy them in capsules). Those fatty acids promote fatloss. They won't make you fat. Other than that, it's ok to have a protein shake, either post-workout and/or before going to bed (depends on whether your calorie amount allows it.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a pm.

 

Good luck and keep up it up, don't get discouraged!

Mary

Thank you for your response. I am not sure but you suggest eating complex carbs, what exactly are complex carbs. i.e I am thinking about for breakfast eating 1 boiled egg with 2 pieces of bacon that totals 161 cals what should i add to that for the carbs or should I eat something else for breakfast. I drive a fuel tanker so it is hard to actually eat I have to eat and drive at the same time so I need something easy. Any suggestions?

I have been in the same boat.  I would not understand why I wasn't losing weight because that was my goal, right?  I did the exact same thing as you - post. But I wasn't logging my food. I was just using this forum for support. But then I got on here and actually started logging everything I ate. It put things in perspective for me.  This was back in March and April I started to "diet".  I really was uncomfortable being the largest I had been - ever (216). I had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. My joints ached and I am only 32. That's crazy!

First I did the same thing as you - I exercised and ate healthier foods. I didn't lose weight. In fact, I gained (if I recall correctly). I was upset. I cried that whole morning. I felt defeated.

But I got on here to vent. My husband is uber skinny and hyper and can eat junk food all day long and if he gained a bit you really would never be able to tell because it would all come off anyway the second he moved or stopped eating junk. So I had to talk to others who were in the same boat or who had been here and done this provided sanity for me.  Because really, when you start this jouney, you can feel isolated. All my friends seem to want to eat junk and are not aware. I wasn't (still working on it) as educated about what to feed my body. But I am reading and learning. So my support seemed lacking. It's not like I really want to get rid of my friends, but I needed someone who had already is or has been going through similar. 

I refused to give up, though. I was taking supplements (acacia, slim quick, you name it). Still nothing. I made my body an experiment ground. I was still hungry. I needed food. I knew the rule: consume less, move more.  But how could I do it if I were hungry. I would article after article. I fuond that if I removed certain things from my diet, I craved them. I cheated on the amounts I would eat. I added extra ingredients. I had to be honest with myself. After I had a long talk with myself about what I needed to do different, I realized the changes were up to me to make. No one, not even my DH, could make these changes.

I had (have) to assert myself, as sometimes my DH loves to go to the grocery store with me. I realize that the outward changes needed to start from within. There are factors that are within us that need to change, otherwise I am not going to change.  I know it sounds hokey, but there are factors within us that brought us to this point that we aren't paying attention to ourselves but to those around us and to our environment. I found I had to rewire my thinking, if you will. I had to change my relationship with myself and start caring for me better. I had to listen to my needs because I am working on the adage, "I can't give what I haven't got."

Also I recommit the minute I get out of bed each morning (which has become a lot easier to do - getting out of bed).  If I overate the day before, that was fine because I am committed to changing my LIFE not my DAY.  Each day I commit that I will eat better and feed my body the food it needs. 

Next, I realized that the beginning of the journey was just as important as any other part. Right now you are learning to eat better. When you go to the store to get food, you are learning how to live better. Those are goals that should be commended. The old habits are going away. When you go to the gym to work out and you seek help for YOURSELF (yeah you) you are changing for the better. Those will make a difference in the long run.

Finally, weigh yourself less. I was weighing either everyday or every other day. I realized that my body weight fluctuates daily (hourly). I measure myself around the belly as another determinant to make sure that fat is going away. It hard to keep up with those changes. Had I done this to start with, I think I would have seen I was changing more. Celebrate a reasonable weight loss as well. If you lose a half a pound that's victory. Weighing yourself once a week or even once a month (I read) is better because it will allow you to see the actual changes over time. All the outward (and inward) changes, you are learning, will come.

Congratulations on all the changes you have made to take care of yourself! I want to encourage you to keep going at it. Don't give up. Just keep making the changes you need to get to where you are going. CC is a great tool to use to help you make those changes that bring a healthier you.  The "side effects" (i.e. losing weight, smaller clothes) will come. But it's what you today that affects your tomorrow.

 

Oh and one more thing on your second question here are some ideas since you are a trucker because I used to be a fast food junkie and I am always on the go (i have a bunch of kids).

I went to a dietician as well...

Complex carbs include (but not all)

whole wheat (get the label that 100% whole wheat) it has to say this rather than just wheat bread, pasta, or tortillas, according to the dietician.

Vegetables

Potatoes (most people see this as a veggie, but it's really a starch).

Your body recogized and breaks down three things:

Fat, carbs (simple and complex), and protein.

Carbs

Veggies, breads, pasta, starch, rice etc.

An all protein breakfast is fine. It actually will pervent hunger but your stomach will break down protein faster than it will veggies. What (I think Jane) is trying to say is that if you eat carbs (like that thing you eat after work out) you should eat "better" carbs that make you feel full longer and that won't cause your body to have higher insulin spikes.  Also you need to be using those carbs early on in the day, therefore you should eat them sooner. They are your body's most immediate source of energy. Then once thats gone, you burn fat (a more efficient form of energy).

When you read the food labels look for things with less sugar in them (as far as carbs go).  Sugars are simple and cause that insulin spike which is just plain old bad for you. Simple sugars, like in sodas, have empty calories and can actually store on your body as fat if you eat more than you need and can actually make you feel hungry even like you're starving the reason is because you are. Empty calories means there in little to no nutritive value in your food.  Look for foods with a higher fiber content on the label.

Complex carb ideas for on the road:

Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, whole wheat bread, baby carrots, celery(maybe with all natural peanut butter on it), raisins, orange slices...it sounds like rabbit food but eventually you will start craving this stuff (it sounds insane but remember that habit thing). You actually will start craving what your body becomes used to.  Salads. Avoid high fat foods at fast food restaurants. You may want to read up on what to look for.  Beware: Salads at fast food joints are loaded with latent fat and calories. Many times they add dressings and toppings that have high fat. A lot of people think they are doing great by ordering the "Asian Salad" and don't realize the "extras" easily add up 1000 cals and over 50 fat grams.

Proteins :

Eggs, meat, nuts, cheese, beans etc.

Look for leaner meats (chicken breast, fish, low fat cheese).

Ideas for on the road:

string cheese, precooked chicken breast - lunch meat, nuts, boiled eggs

Protein helps your muscles funtion.

Fats

2 kinds: good and bad

Good examples: olive oil, avacado, nuts

Bad: margarine, trans fat.

I mentioned peanut butter earlier. In all natural peanut butter the oils are not emulsified (broken down into smaller fatty acid chains). The oil sits on top in natural peanut butter because it isn't broken down. This costs a bit more, but if you can (and like it) I recommend it. But do pay attention to the serving size.

The dietician gave me a simple rule as far as fats go 3 grams of fat per 100 calories.

Ideas for on the road snacking:

nuts, peanut butter, oils added to salad dressing.

I recommend (if it's possible) getting most of your food from the market, versus allowing someone else to make it and have in a cooler.  Look online for recipes that you like that are easy to make that you like. Pay special attention to the ingredients. See what you can do to make them healthier (i.e. whole wheat bread instead of bleached flour). White flour, pretzels, and other snacks are usually empty calories. When you eat, make sure you make your calories count nutritive wise. I find myself spending more time in the fruit and veggie section than the snack section (as I was before).  Our store also has a health food section where you can buy in bulk. So I like to go see what snacks are wholesome I can try.  I also keep soups with the pop top lid that are okay for those times when I am in a bind. I try to avoid as much as possible (and it can be difficult) restaurants now. If you cannot avoid restaurants, try to plan which ones you can stop at that offer you better food choices and don't add a lot of the extras. Most chain restaurants will provide thier nutritive content online to help you make a better decision. Look for (and write them down) which restaurant will offer you what. Write down a couple of ideas that are workable for you.

Also, if you can't log what you eat right away, write it down and how much you ate.

You list all your earlier food but just say "dinner". Are you eating like a bird all day and then having a big dinner? That's an easy way to feel deprived most of the time while still eating too much.

I think a good breakfast should be at least 2/3 the size of you dinner. Your proposed "one egg with bacon" is a bit skimpy. Also, I wouldn't have bacon every day: the nutrition is modest and bacon is loaded with saturated fat. But it's OK for a treat sometimes.

Here's what I'm having for breakfast today; it's about 500 cal.

Oatmeal porridge with 1% milk

1 egg, sunny side up

2 slices of bacon (I'm having a treat)

1 slice whole wheat toast

1/2 cup orange juice (this is loaded with sugar, a simple carb, but it's full of vitamins).

---------

The oatmeal and the toast are complex carbs, which take a while to digest.

I notice I'm the 3rd person to recommend oatmeal:)

Are your measurements getting smaller?  It's possible that you are gaining muscle and losing fat.  Muscle is denser and more compact than fat, so your body would look trimmer.  Muscle also burns calories, so it's a very good thing.

I eat only power foods listed in the abs diet. it gives you plenty of options without having to measure of count anything. eat about 6 times a day. as much fibre as you can, and you taking in to much refined carbs.

I circuit train 20 minutes 3 days a week

light cardio like walking or biking 3 days a week

sunday is the day off.  you may be over working out

your muscles need plenty of rest.  I've heard of people over working out and not losing and sometimes gaining weight. then they stop working out and the pounds start to drop

 

abs diet 12 power foods

almonds and nuts- never smoked, alway intact with skin and no salted ones either

Beans- soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans,
     - navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans

spinach and other green veggies

low fat dairy products

instant oatmeal

eggs

turkey and lean meats

peanut butter- natural

olive oil

whole grain breads and cereals

extra protien ( Whey powder )

raspberries and other berries

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