OK, I disagreed with my doctor today about weight loss strategies -- your own thoughts?

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    Jun 16, 2010 10:54 PM GMT
    So I bicycled quite a few miles up to my doctor today, in near-90 degree weather, arriving drenched. I thought she'd be impressed, since she's the Medical Director for the 165-mile charity bicycle ride I'll be doing again this November down to Key West.

    And I told her all my bike riding (about 90 minutes a day) wasn't resulting in any weight loss, I'm still near-obese. And she asked me how often I ate a day. I told her evening dinner only, and maybe a bite or 2 of leftovers during the day.

    She told me if I ate breakfast I'd lose more weight. I countered that my dinners, around 6 or 7 PM, were lavish. Tonight we're having Snow Crab claws at home. Last night at a restaurant I had 2 Maine lobster tails, with raw oysters for an appetizer, along with a conch chowder, the night before that more Chinese than I could eat, and so on. I'm hardly starving, nor do I eat very fatty foods, or much carbs.

    But she claims my body thinks I'm starving, because I don't eat 3 meals a day, which causes my metabolism to go into shut-down mode, and not burn enough calories, despite my daily biking. Well, I don't ever feel hungry, nor weak, so I'm a bit skeptical.

    What do you guys think? Do I need to eat a breakfast, and if so, what kind? Should I lessen what I eat in the evening? I never eat within 4 or 5 hours of going to sleep, I know that's deadly, but what else should I do? I'm really getting depressed about this... icon_sad.gif
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    Jun 16, 2010 11:12 PM GMT
    Wilton said
    But she claims my body thinks I'm starving, because I don't eat 3 meals a day, which causes my metabolism to go into shut-down mode, and not burn enough calories, despite my daily biking.
    Yep. You don't have to "feel" hungry for your brain to "think" you're hungry.

    I fight this issue too, because I don't like to eat breakfast. But I have noticed that eating breakfast tends to speed up progress tremendously. Then cutting dinner in half puts it into overdrive.
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    Jun 16, 2010 11:16 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidYep. You don't have to "feel" hungry for your brain to "think" you're hungry.

    I fight this issue too, because I don't like to eat breakfast. But I have noticed that eating breakfast tends to speed up progress tremendously. Then cutting dinner in half puts it into overdrive.

    Thanks, this is the validation I need to hear, to convince me I should go in this direction. I find her advice counter-intuitive, but if guys tell me it's actually worked for them, I'll be persuaded.
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Jun 17, 2010 1:53 AM GMT
    Pretty much every day there's someone in this site saying that you need to eat frequently to keep the metabolism going. Esp breakfast. Make your body go too long without eating and it goes into fat store mode.
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    Jun 18, 2010 4:09 AM GMT
    Yeah, I can't believe this is the first you've heard this. You aren't being sarcastic are you? You absolutely must eat breakfast, as well as multiple other small meals throughout the day if you want to lose weight. What you are doing is actually the worst possible thing you could do to lose weight! Make your breakfasts lavish, not your dinners... you can still splurge for dinner, but limit yourself to a couple nights a week. I know eating breakfast can be hard, but once you start, you quickly adjust, and soon will wake up really wanting to eat. It's science and your doctor knows what she's talking about.
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    Jun 18, 2010 6:56 PM GMT
    Wilton saidSo I bicycled quite a few miles up to my doctor today, in near-90 degree weather, arriving drenched. I thought she'd be impressed, since she's the Medical Director for the 165-mile charity bicycle ride I'll be doing again this November down to Key West.

    And I told her all my bike riding (about 90 minutes a day) wasn't resulting in any weight loss, I'm still near-obese. And she asked me how often I ate a day. I told her evening dinner only, and maybe a bite or 2 of leftovers during the day.

    She told me if I ate breakfast I'd lose more weight.[...]

    But she claims my body thinks I'm starving, because I don't eat 3 meals a day, which causes my metabolism to go into shut-down mode, and not burn enough calories, despite my daily biking. Well, I don't ever feel hungry, nor weak, so I'm a bit skeptical.

    What do you guys think? Do I need to eat a breakfast, and if so, what kind? Should I lessen what I eat in the evening? I never eat within 4 or 5 hours of going to sleep, I know that's deadly, but what else should I do? I'm really getting depressed about this...


    What your doctor is saying is common knowledge to those who exercise and diet efficiently. Whether you feel hungry is irrelevant to this- the important thing is the natural physical body reaction.

    If you sincerely, I repeat, sincerely, wish to loose weight and save your own life (and keep your partner happily partnered), Do What She Tells You so that it doesn't interfere with any meds or health conditions she knows you have. Further adjustments, such as eating 5 small meals throughout the day and drinking (lots) of water throughout the day will give results by changing your metabolism to be efficient. It would also be desirable to know what your daily caloric intake is so that after you start loosing the weight (due to 5x daily eating) you'll know how much more and what kind of food might be preferably cut from your diet in order to loose more weight.

    You are an intelligent man. If you don't care for yourself, how can we respect your encompassing wisdom?
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:03 PM GMT
    So you wouldn't believe a medical doctor, but you'd believe dudes you don't know on the internet?
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:05 PM GMT
    Bad boy, no sucker for you! lol

    Ah she is quite right, you do need to eat, because if you don't eat much the body goes into storing mode, and it will be very difficult to lose weight.

    Working out of course is important as you know, and the best thing. Walking is good, so is bike riding. Also doing things your body can't become used to, because once your body becomes used to a certain thing, it becomes a bit more difficult to lose weight, and gain some muscle. I'm not saying go to the gym and lift to be a hulk, but if you gain some muscle you'll burn more fat.

    P90X would be awesome, and you're definitely not too old or anything to use it. There is also this stuff called Univera, its absolutely amazing all natural stuff, supplements and all. A friend of mine I knew started using it, and when I had seen him again he looked completely different. He looked stronger, even a bit younger, before he started using he looked like he was about to die, and he was in horrible shape.

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    Jun 18, 2010 7:31 PM GMT
    she´s right. You are eating in the BEST way to conserve fat. Well done!

    That was your goal, wasn´t it? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:37 PM GMT
    Yes, guys, I've heard this before about the body going into starvation mode and then burning less calories. But I honestly thought if I exercised enough the body was tricked back into burning calories again. I thought that starvation thing only came into play if starving yourself was all you were doing to lose weight, without doing any exercise at the same time.

    Your advice, as I understand it, is that I have to eat regularly under all circumstances, in order to keep my metabolism in high gear, so to speak. Now second question: what are the best foods to make that happen, to keep my metabolism going, but still not be eating so much, and the wrong things, that I'm consuming more than I'm burning?

    I presume lots of protein and few carbs? And just very small portions? I'm honestly not a big eater anyway, never have been. But I hope this doesn't involve counting calories, I have no patience for that.
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:41 PM GMT
    As others have said, your doctor is absolutely right. Your eating habits are the opposite of what will promote fat loss. Three meals a day, with breakfast as the biggest, is the minimum. Five is better (meals #2 and #4 can be smaller healthy snacks, like low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers, fruit, or celery & carrots with a little peanut butter).

    Also, Chinese food, particularly in large amounts, is not a good dietary choice. Too much grease and fat, too much sugar, too much white-flour-based carbs. Your best bet at a Chinese restaurant is ONE low-sugar meat-and veggie dish and a half cup of BROWN rice, not white. And don't even dream of touching those fried noodle-things some restaurants put out on the table before you've even ordered! icon_smile.gif

    Furthermore, it would be good if you didn't rely exclusively on cardio, but also added in some weight training. You don't have to live in the gym. 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week would be sufficient. Adding muscle increases your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn -- even when standing still!

    It may be hard to believe, but once you get into the habit of doing that, and eating frequent small meals, of the right kind, at regular intervals throughout the day... not only will you come to look forward to both the exercise and the meals, but your body will become a fat-burning FURNACE.

    Also, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day, especially in the morning. A gallon a day is a good ballpark figure.


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    Jun 18, 2010 7:44 PM GMT
    The fewer the meals you eat a day, the more likely your body will store energy as fat as a result of being in starvation mode for long periods of time. Eating more often (for example, breaking a 2500 calorie diet into 6 meals about 2-3 hours apart instead of all at once for dinner) allows your body to maintain a higher metabolism throughout the day as it is constantly dealing with the food you eat. This paradigm of eating makes it a lot harder to store food as fat.

    There's a lot of internet reading you can do on the subject. I found this particular eBook to be particularly informative: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/lobliner25.htm
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:45 PM GMT
    Keep the carbs in, but keep them healthy. You want to limit your processed sugars, and increase your whole grains (not just grains, but WHOLE grains).

    Your breakfast should be a fairly large meal. When I'm motivated I'll typically have a 3 egg omlette with low fat sausage, sweet potatoes, green peppers, and onions, and a little sharp cheddar for taste, a cup of yogurt, and couple slices of toast with peanut butter. This is around 8 AM, then I'll have a gainer shake after my work out, and eat a small snack again around 2:30, followed by lunch at 4, another snack at 6, and finally a small (serving of protein and a serving of grains) dinner around 9:30.

    When I don't eat like this, but keep my activity levels the same, I notice I tend to put on fat.
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:45 PM GMT
    I’ve been struggling with some fat around my belt line. As long as I’ve been working out, I couldn’t get rid of it.

    A trainer at my gym told me to keep my metabolism burning like a furnace. He said metabolism has dips and peaks, and trying to keep the wavelength close to even is best

    He told me to eat a snack between breakfast and lunch (between 8 and noon). The same for afternoon…between 2 and 6.

    He said that will help speed up your metabolism and help burn some fat. He also told me to keep building muscle. When you gain 5 pounds of lean muscle, that helps burn calories naturally; even while they are resting.

    I have lost the fat on my sides, now its time for the fat around my navel!

    I hope that helps.

    Edit: Mensch said what I wanted while I was typing...icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:45 PM GMT
    Wilton, the only way I have the energy to stay lean is to eat (snack) throughout the day. Breakfast is a must, if I expect the day to go well...it comes after the deficit I acquire when I sleep.

    After adjusting my diet and regimen, I've retained my 40-lb-plus weight loss from 6 years ago. Before then, I operated a little more like you are now.

    Our bodies are not analogous to an automobile (gas in, thrust out).

    Incidentally, fuel and building material (sugars--acquired through complex carbohydrates--and protein) are necessary for building the muscles you're tearing down while cycling...and they should be available to your body before and just after the exertion. In exchange, these muscles add to your lean body mass, burn fat while you sleep.

    Getting plenty of sleep too?
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    Jun 18, 2010 7:56 PM GMT
    Wilton said[...] Your advice, as I understand it, is that I have to eat regularly under all circumstances, in order to keep my metabolism in high gear[...]. Now second question: what's the best foods to make that happen, to keep my metabolism going, but still not be eating so much, and the wrong things, that I'm consuming more than I'm burning?
    I presume lots of protein and few carbs? And just very small portions? I'm honestly not a big eater anyway, never have been. But I hope this doesn't involve counting calories, I have no patience for that.


    In your case I suggest a certified responsible dietitian who will listen to what you normally eat (like/dislikes/allergies/medications etc.) and build the most appropriate diet plan specifically for you. If your dietitian is right for you have him/her count the calories for you, but you'll have to give him/her the information.

    Decide what is best for you- the vision of better all around health (= even happier life) or lack patience (personal self inflicted suffering and causing your partner grief). It is up to you and the clock is ticking.
  • Geoedward

    Posts: 657

    Jun 18, 2010 7:59 PM GMT
    Wilton, I have to agree with your Doc and the guys. I used to not eat breakfast and couldn't figure out why I wasn't losing my gut. After listening to the guys on this site, I decided to give it a try. I eat breakfast everyday now and I have gone from a 36 to a 32-33 waist in about a year. I couldn't be happier about it. I am still trying to convince my partner. He says if he eats breakfast he ends up hungry by around 9AM. He says if he eats cereal he is hungry in no time. He says oatmeal has the same effect. So he doesn't eat breakfast and complains that he isn't losing his stomach. It is the only area that he is overweight. Listen to you doctor and your friends here at RJ.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Jun 18, 2010 8:02 PM GMT
    I agree with the "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" mantra. Experts say it jump starts your metabolism.

    If what you're doing isn't resulting in weight loss, then you need to try something else, right? Why don't you give her recommendation a try for 4-6 weeks. By that time you should start seeing some results.
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    Jun 18, 2010 8:09 PM GMT
    My gastro also told me that oatmeal or raisin bran are best for breakfast. It helps with digestion, and keeps the furnace burning clean.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Jun 18, 2010 8:27 PM GMT
    You are on what is called a "sumo diet".
    In order to bulk up sumo wrestlers will eat little throughout most of the day then have a very large meal at night. Instant bulk.

    Yes, what you are doing is ridiculous.
    There's the whole "body starving thing - change metabolism" aspect. But you can even ignore that.

    If your body takes in food it can do 3 things with it
    (1) Burn it
    (2) store it as glycogen
    (3) store it as fat

    # 1 & 2 are capped. In a given amount of time you can only burn so many calories and only store so much glycogen (mostly relevant if you've used up your stores recently anyway)

    # 3 however, is closer to limitless.

    So. If I have 2000 calories in one sitting maybe I'll lose 700 calories to #1&2 and store 1300 as fat.
    If I have 2000 calories in two 1000 calories sittings, I'll lose 700 calories each time to #1&2 and store a total of 600 calories as fat.

    Getting rid of the fat calories is a lot harder (not least of all because, as your doc said, your body is starving during the rest of the day and thus resistant to expend energy).


    So yes, your doc is right.
    But, really, you should eat more than just 2 meals a day.
    6 would be great.
    3 small meals + healthy snacks would be very good.
  • Geoedward

    Posts: 657

    Jun 18, 2010 8:36 PM GMT
    Wilton, neos is correct.
    I went from eating just lunch and dinner to eating about 7 times a day.
    A good breakfast at around 6:30
    A healthy snack around 9AM
    A good lunch at 12PM
    A healthy snack at 2PM
    A pre work out snack at around 4PM
    Dinner at 7PM
    A healthy snack at aroung 9PM.

    It has taken a while but I feel better and am thiner then I have been for a very long time.

  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Jun 18, 2010 10:51 PM GMT
    Oh, saw you also asked what kind of breakfast.
    A lot of people seem to have moderately strong to strong opinions on this. Usually something along the lines of most of your fat should be in the morning because you have longer to burn it (I'm not honestly sure if that makes much sense - though I understand where they're coming from) or something quickly burnable because you've been starving overnight.

    I don't sweat it too much. The same general principles of healthy ratios of complete protein -to- healthy fats -to- slow burning carbs apply. If you're lifting you probably want some quickly digestable protein, but otherwise I'd just worry about something that's (a)healthy, (b)fits your schedule (quick vs. slow mornings), and (c)fits your appetite (some things just don't sound appetizing in the morning =).

    Me: I love whole oat oatmeal (little less water to get a thicker texture) add milk - great. And eggs/egg whites.
    I'd stay away from bagels, muffins, and most cereals though if you can -- they tend to have a lot of simple carbs, which are rarely a good idea and don't give you much protein.

    [Suggestion to try: You can actually cook your eggs in your oatmeal (just plop eggs/egg whites on top of oatmeal, add water, throw in microwave). Can eat it with or without milk and with or without seasoning (salt, pepper, cumin, whatever).
    I know it doesn't sound appetizing, but it's actually really good ("savory" oatmeal is a thing)! And it's also really quick way to get a good breakfast.]
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jun 18, 2010 10:56 PM GMT
    Remember, it's not just what you eat, but how you eat is just important.
  • maximumrisk

    Posts: 799

    Jun 18, 2010 11:07 PM GMT
    Wilton saidSo I bicycled quite a few miles up to my doctor today, in near-90 degree weather, arriving drenched. I thought she'd be impressed, since she's the Medical Director for the 165-mile charity bicycle ride I'll be doing again this November down to Key West.

    And I told her all my bike riding (about 90 minutes a day) wasn't resulting in any weight loss, I'm still near-obese. And she asked me how often I ate a day. I told her evening dinner only, and maybe a bite or 2 of leftovers during the day.

    She told me if I ate breakfast I'd lose more weight. I countered that my dinners, around 6 or 7 PM, were lavish. Tonight we're having Snow Crab claws at home. Last night at a restaurant I had 2 Maine lobster tails, with raw oysters for an appetizer, along with a conch chowder, the night before that more Chinese than I could eat, and so on. I'm hardly starving, nor do I eat very fatty foods, or much carbs.

    But she claims my body thinks I'm starving, because I don't eat 3 meals a day, which causes my metabolism to go into shut-down mode, and not burn enough calories, despite my daily biking. Well, I don't ever feel hungry, nor weak, so I'm a bit skeptical.

    What do you guys think? Do I need to eat a breakfast, and if so, what kind? Should I lessen what I eat in the evening? I never eat within 4 or 5 hours of going to sleep, I know that's deadly, but what else should I do? I'm really getting depressed about this... icon_sad.gif


    Well, theory is pretty easy. Burn more calories than you consume and your body will burn fat instead for energy, but its not that easy. If you eat at 7- 9 pm. Your body is not going to be able to burn what you ate since you are going to sleep a few hours later. Therefore converting the rest into fat that you burned the rest of the day. So there is basically no change. The only way would be to eat early in the day and feel hungry when going to bed. This may be painful to some, but this way it is at least productive.
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    Jun 18, 2010 11:11 PM GMT
    There's the old saying...

    Breakfast like a King (kicks up your metabolism)

    Lunch like a prince

    Dinner like a Pauper