Mostly Vegetarian, Very Active - Can't lose weight
This is my first time posting in a forum, so thank you in advance for your help. I am a 27 year old female living in Shanghai. I am 163cm (about 5"4'?) and 61kg (about 135 lbs). At my heaviest, I have been 64kg, and at my lightest, I have been 39kg--drastic, because I used to have an eating disorder between about 2003-2007. I am getting married in December, and I would like to lose about 6-8kg by then, but nothing seems to be working. I am mostly vegetarian (I occasionally eat chicken--never fried, usually grilled or roasted). I eat very healthy, nothing fried or too oily. I tend to like sweets sometimes, and I eat alot of fruit (oranges, pears, apples). I run about 30-40 minutes about 4 times a week, and I've been maintaining about 4 km each time, give or take a bit. I work from home, so I tend to snack a bit, but on things I think are healthy, such as raisins or almonds. I eat oatmeal for breakfast, usually boil vegetables for lunch, or I make myself an egg-white omelette. Dinner I'll eat normally, but again, mostly vegetarian, nothing fried or oily. I eat a bit of carbs, but I've restricted myself quite a lot recently. Could anyone suggest anything? I know I have a bit of time before the December wedding, but I'd like to do this right, do it healthy, and be able to maintain my weight after the wedding. I don't want to resort to crash dieting or extreme methods, but I've been living like this for a few months and haven't seen much results.
Healthy foods can be unhealthy if eaten in the wrong quantities. Do you know how many calories you eat in a day? I really think you should look into your caloric intake and see where you are.
Perhaps you're getting too many calories. Fruit is amazing, but you really shouldn't get more than 3 serves in a day as they tend to have a lot of sugar. If you have a lot of higher fat dairy, that's a lot of calories. Same with almonds- they're a good source of fats and protein, but if you eat them by the handful that could be too much. BUT, it's also possible you're not getting enough calories (seems to be a very narrow good spot to loose weight). One thing I want to ask is about your protein- are you getting enough? Do you eat a lot of fish? Fish might be better to replace some of your chicken with, especially ones high in omega 3's like salmon and mackeral. There are lots of sites, including this one, that can give you a good idea of where you are as well as where you should be.
Another suggestion is to add a different form of exercise or adding more exercise. Running is great, but what about the rest of your body? Perhaps you can add 20 minutes aerobics workout to work on your abs or upper body. It's suggested to work out between 30 minutes to upwards of 2 hours for 4 to 6 days a week. So, assuming you're as fit as you sound, you should be able to add more exercise without doing your body harm or stressing it out.
Hope I helped some, just remember you've still got time. Weight doesn't go away overnight but 6 kilos by December is very manageable. I will warn you though 8 kilos sounds like a little too much weight to loose- I'm 5'5" and my ideal weight is at 55-56kgs. You might want to talk to a dr to make sure this wouldn't be harmful. Also all that exercise will add some weight, so look more at your measurements then the scale.
Thank you for your comment. I do try to watch my caloric intake, but after what you said, I will try to do a better job of calculating it. How many calories SHOULD I eating a day? And yes, I've been told time and time again and although fruits are "healthy", they are high in sugar, so as painful as it has been for me, I have definitely been trying to cut down.
I do try to eat fish, but I can only eat very little (I'm talking one or two bites), because I've found that I feel very sick after eating fish. My stomach hurts, and sometimes I feel like vomiting afterwards. I don't know if it's because I've been vegetarian for so long, but my body just doesn't accept it. Chicken seems to be the only thing I can eat comfortably.
Thanks for your suggestion on exercise, I will add aerobics to my routine as often as possible. I do a bit of weight lifting for my arms, and I do alot of abs exercises, but I don't get the kind of results I used to. I know I should switch it up every 6-8 weeks, so I'm wondering if I should start doing Yoga/Pilates, even though it is much less active than what I'm doing now.
Personally I was told by Jenny Craig to be at 1430 calories until I get under 70kgs (I started at 103) and then down to 1320 until I get to my ideal. 1430 drained me of all energy so I put it up to 1450. However you're a bit more active then I am and Jenny Craig is just an estimate to go off of. I think you should try about 1400-1430 calories, if you're already doing that maybe cut out about 50 calories. But make sure you listen to your body. If you start feeling tired, weak, and brain fogged then don't be afraid to grab a small snack.
If you can't handle fish, don't worry about it. I only suggest it because it's lower in fat than chicken. If you can handle them though you might want to look into fish oil tablets. I'm unsure of what brand would be best for you but they omega-3's they have are good for your heart, hair, nail and brain power. Just make sure you get a very small amount until you know how your body handles them. No point in getting 1,000 tablets only to see they make you sick as easily as fish does.
Also I just remembered you said something about oatmeal. I was eating 1/3 cup of oats with blueberries for about 6 months and just didn't feel alive in the day until lunch came around and I got fat and protein. I started adding 2 tsp of almond meal and it's made such a difference with my energy in the morning. So that might also be something to look at if you're feeling sluggish in the mornings. I also think it's good to have fats balanced throughout the day so the body isn't trying to handle too much at once.
Personally I love yoga. Yes, it's a complete different kind of work out. Yes, it's "low impact", but if you're doing it right you get a real work out from it. LOL- the first time I tried yoga I needed a shower and I'm not usually one to sweat. It's also really helped me deal with my stress (especially when I gave up smoking), but that's a whole other story. Anyway, I'm a big fan of yoga.
Actually, depending on your bone structure, you may not be overweight at all and losing weight may not be the best thing for you.
Here's a bit of a height/weight chart, that corresponds to your height:
Small Frame Medium Frame Large Frame
5'4" 114-127 124-138 134-151
Be sure that you really need to lose weight. It may be that all you need to do is tone your muscles. For that, yoga is one of the best exercises you can do, plus as ducky says, it helps manage stress.
I agree with limiting the amount of fruit you eat because of the sugar, but there are some types that are okay to eat more of. Those would be the high fiber fruits, such as apples, pears, etc.
In my opinion, you're good to go with your chicken, as long as you stick to the white meat/breast, dark meat has more calories/fat. A tidbit of research shows the following:
6 oz of chicken breast has 150 calories, with 3 grams of fat (27 calories from fat)
5.4 oz salmon has 280 calories, with 12.5 grams of fat (113 calories from fat). The upside of the fish is that only 1.9 g is saturated; 5.0 g are polyunsaturated and 4.2 g are monounsaturated.
The poly and mono unsaturated fats are the "good" fats, but they're still a lot of calories.
If eating fat makes you sick, maybe you should have your gall bladder checked.
Since you like to snack, you might be better off to opt for celery sticks, with a bit of peanut butter; the celery sticks are "free" caloriewise and the peanut butter will give you the fat and protein to make you feel more satisfied. Even a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread would be good.
Thank you both! I think I'm doing pretty well in terms of eating, I've stopped snacking as much, and have been keeping calories down. I've been mixing aerobic activities (which makes me whole body sore) with my running. I'd like to know more about how to work out "smartly". Since January I've lost about 1.5 kg (about 3 pounds) and I'm hoping I can keep working on this. I know in a few weeks I'll need to switch it up again in terms of exercise, so hopefully when the weather warms up I can start doing more outdoor activities.
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