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Old 04-21-2010, 09:19 AM   #1
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A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Hi there,

I have a couple of general nutrition questions, but I think it would be appropriate to provide some background first. I'm about 6 feet tall, and I weigh about 290 lbs. I've lost about 30 lbs. in the last 3 months, as a result of exercising daily and eating smaller portions. By "smaller portions", I just mean that I was eating less quantity of the same old junk food that I've been eating for my entire life. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a sincere effort to eat healthier quality foods.

Here's my typical day:

I wake up at about 5am, weigh myself, and then have some fruit (such as a banana or some strawberries,) along with a cup of fat free milk. Then I'll do some moderate exercise for about 45 minutes or so (all of my exercising consists of playing Wii Fit, which includes minor strength training, yoga, cardio, and balance exercises.) I consider this the half-way point, so I'll usually have another peice of fruit, like an apple or a couple of clementines. After another 45 minutes of exercising, I'll have my breakfast. This includes 2 cups of fat free milk, 2 scrambled eggs with hot sauce, and a multigrain English muffin (with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light and raspberry jam.)

After getting ready for work I'll start my commute, which is typically about an hour. Shortly after I leave, I'm struck with incredible fatique. I just get really tired and my eyes start to blink very often. I realize that it's dangerous to drive when I'm this tired, so I'll roll down the window and let the cool air keep me alert. By the time I get to work, I'm no longer tired. So, my first question (finally,) is: What can I change about my breakfast in order to provide me with more energy? I would not like to add coffee to my breakfast. I used to drink 2-3 liters of caffeinated soda each day, and I'd like to avoid caffeine in the morning.

For lunch, I'll have 2 oz. of steamed green beans, 3 oz. of raw carrots, 3 large stalks of celery, 4 tablespoons of peanut butter, and a chicken sandwich. The sandwhich contains 2-3 oz. of chicken breast, a slice of processed American cheese, and 2 slices of multigrain bread. I'll also have another fruit, like an apple, banana, or a couple of clementines. For an afternoon snack, I'll have about 10 pecan halves.

Dinner will consist of an 8 oz. steak, a baked potato with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (Light) and fat free sour cream. I'll also have a cup of sweet corn, and a can of Coke or Pepsi.

Since I've been making an effort to eat healthier, my weight loss has ceased. Is there something particular that I'm doing wrong? I don't mind if I only lose 1 or 2 pounds each week, so long as my body gets all of the nutrients that it needs in order to function efficiently. I do realize that the peanut butter and soda are bad for me, but do they really make THAT much of a difference? I really cannot justify the can of soda. I'd like to eliminate soda completely, but it took tremendous effort just for me to cut it down to that. At least the peanut butter is a source of protein. I also read that it contains some of the recommended oil that I should have each day.

I would really appreciate any help that I can get. There are a lot of information sources out there, and it's difficult to make sense of it all. I'm still trying to determine what works best for me.

Thanks!

 
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:50 AM   #2
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Note that "multigrain" breads and muffins are usually mostly white flour with a sprinkle of other grains. Choose those whose first ingredient is "whole wheat" rather than "enriched" or "unbleached" wheat flour.

Actually, peanut butter with no added sugars or hydrogenated oils (the kind where the oil floats up on top) is generally healthy, but high calorie, so it is best used in limited amounts when trying to lose fat. Avoid those with added sugars or hydrogenated oils.

Be careful with butter substitutes -- many of them have unhealthy hydrogenated oils. Indeed, on your breakfast muffins, it would be better to use natural peanut butter over the combination of jam (which is typically mostly sugar) and butter substitute. At dinner time, try putting salsa in your baked potato instead -- less calories, more vegetables.

Your breakfast appears to be mainly fast digesting carbohydrates, which may contribute to the highs and lows you are feeling. You may want to choose slower digesting carbohydrates like plain oatmeal, and increase the percentage of calories from protein and fat (good fat, not unhealthy fats like hydrogenated oils).

Be careful with the steak, since some cuts are mostly fat and have high calories with not as much protein as you might expect.

Of course, cutting out the soda will help, since it is basically just pure sugar calories that are easily consumed without giving satiety.

 
Old 04-22-2010, 09:53 AM   #3
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Thanks for your advice - I really appreciate it. The multigrain bread that I'm currently using lists "whole wheat flour" as it's first ingredient. Does that mean it is whole wheat? The English muffins contain "enriched, unbleached whole wheat flour", so maybe I should look for something else.

For peanut butter, I was just using Skippy. Sure enough, hydorgenated oils are listed in the ingredients. I'll see how I like the taste of natural peanut butter. What is wrong with hydrogenated oils? I'm hesitant to discard butter subsitutes - do all of them contain hydrogenated oil? Is the sugar in jam that bad for me? I only use 1 tbspn, which is 50 calories according to the label. Would low sugar or sugar free be a big improvement, or only slight? I'd rather use the peanut butter to help me eat the celery during my lunch, and peanut butter on a muffin doesn't sound very appetizing to me.

I'll give the salsa with baked potato a try. Is there anything in particular I should know about the type of salsa that I should buy? I can give oatmeal a try as well - I suppose the sugar-packed Quaker Oats flavors I used to eat as a kid would be a bad idea?

Thanks for your concern about the steak, but that's not something I'm willing to compromise. But I'm definitely working towards cutting out soda completely.

 
Old 04-22-2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Quote:
Originally Posted by InvinciBill View Post
Thanks for your advice - I really appreciate it. The multigrain bread that I'm currently using lists "whole wheat flour" as it's first ingredient. Does that mean it is whole wheat? The English muffins contain "enriched, unbleached whole wheat flour", so maybe I should look for something else.
"Whole wheat flour" as the first ingredient means whole grain.

"Enriched unbleached whole wheat flour" is something I have never seen before, since "enriched" and "unbleached" are most often used with non-whole wheat flour ("enriched" means some vitamins added, "unbleached" means that it is not as white as "bleached" flour). Though if it says that it is "whole" wheat it probably is actual whole grain.

Another way to check is to see how much fiber it has. Whole wheat has about 3g to 4g of fiber per 100 calories, while white flour has about 1g of fiber per 100 calories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InvinciBill View Post
For peanut butter, I was just using Skippy. Sure enough, hydorgenated oils are listed in the ingredients. I'll see how I like the taste of natural peanut butter. What is wrong with hydrogenated oils? I'm hesitant to discard butter subsitutes - do all of them contain hydrogenated oil? Is the sugar in jam that bad for me? I only use 1 tbspn, which is 50 calories according to the label. Would low sugar or sugar free be a big improvement, or only slight? I'd rather use the peanut butter to help me eat the celery during my lunch, and peanut butter on a muffin doesn't sound very appetizing to me.
Hydrogenated oil typically contains trans-fats which raise blood LDL cholesterol and lower blood HDL cholesterol levels. Both types of changes increase the risk of heart disease. Note that nutritional labels are allowed to say 0g even if there is up to 0.4g of something (e.g. trans-fats).

There are peanut butters without added hydrogenated oils. There may be butter substitutes without hydrogenated oils. Check the labels before buying.

You may want to try fresh or frozen whole fruit as a sweetener, since it contains more other nutrients and fiber and is more filling than sugary jam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InvinciBill View Post
I'll give the salsa with baked potato a try. Is there anything in particular I should know about the type of salsa that I should buy? I can give oatmeal a try as well - I suppose the sugar-packed Quaker Oats flavors I used to eat as a kid would be a bad idea?
Most salsa is a mixture of low calorie vegetables like tomatoes, onions, chiles, and/or cilantro, but check the labels.

As far as oatmeal goes, stick with plain (not flavored or sweetened) oatmeal. Add fresh or frozen whole fruit if you want to sweeten it.

Last edited by tjlhb; 04-22-2010 at 02:08 PM.

 
Old 04-23-2010, 09:36 AM   #5
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

I suppose the English muffin is legitimate whole grain then, because 1 muffin is 100 calories, and it actually has 8 grams of dietary fiber.

Thanks for all of your great advice.

Last edited by mod-anon; 04-23-2010 at 12:12 PM. Reason: removed quote

 
Old 04-24-2010, 07:22 PM   #6
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Maybe I missed it, but what is your question?

 
Old 04-25-2010, 07:21 PM   #7
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Quote:
Originally Posted by titan38 View Post
Maybe I missed it, but what is your question?
I don't blame you if you stopped reading. It was a long original post.

"...So, my first question (finally,) is: What can I change about my breakfast in order to provide me with more energy? ...Since I've been making an effort to eat healthier, my weight loss has ceased. Is there something particular that I'm doing wrong? I don't mind if I only lose 1 or 2 pounds each week, so long as my body gets all of the nutrients that it needs in order to function efficiently. I do realize that the peanut butter and soda are bad for me, but do they really make THAT much of a difference? ..."

 
Old 05-03-2010, 12:02 PM   #8
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Bill,

Lunch: I'd just like to comment on your "slice of processed American cheese". I would eliminate that from your lunch. That's not a healthy food, it's a highly processed food.

Dinner: An 8 ounce steak is way too much protein and you didn't say how big the baked potato is. Then you have a cup of sweet corn in the same meal with the baked potato. That's way too much starch for one meal. And the soda just compounds the problem.

Your dinner needs some changes. Here's an example: 1) A four ounce steak 2) A small baked potato 3) green vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts or asperigus 3) a piece of fruit instead of the soda.

The dinner, as you stated it, is a recipe for gaining weight. It's way too much protein, way too much starch and a soda. If anything, you need to fill up your stomach with a variety of colored vegetables. Yes, yellow is a color but corn happens to be starchy and fattening. Potato is a vegetable but also happens to be starchy and fattening.

Last edited by JohnR41; 05-03-2010 at 12:04 PM. Reason: word change

 
Old 05-05-2010, 05:38 PM   #9
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

Congrats on the progress you have made so far.

I'd encourage you to switch to full-fat dairy products. Low-fat products aren't hyped up as they are meant to be. For one, low-fat products aren't satisfying enough and some individuals consume more of it.

Instead of soda, try sparkling juice instead. Swap processed cheese for real cheese.

Eat more leafy greens. One popular way of getting vegetables into your diet is green smoothies where you would blend leafy greens and fruit together to drink.

Last edited by mod-anon; 05-05-2010 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Please use the Quick Reply button instead of Quote Reply.

 
Old 05-06-2010, 08:07 AM   #10
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Re: A Couple of Basic Questions about Nutrition

One of the reasons you feel sleepy in the morning is probably low blood sugar. Another thing is you may be slightly dehydrated. I know you drink milk in the morning, but are you drinking any water? You might want to include drinking water on your way to work and see if you feel better.

Are you calorie counting? I approximated the calories of the meals provided and I came up with about 2,700 calories/day which is way too many for losing weight. You should be keeping your calories to no more than 1800/day. The peanut butter alone is 420 calories. Also, how you cook your foods can add more calories. For example, if your pan frying your steak or adding substitute butter to cook your eggs.

Also, the problem with hydrogenated oil is the chemical structure has been altered to increase shelf life. The medical community feels this can have negative health effects as the body doesn't recognize this form of trans fat.

Last edited by Mari526; 05-06-2010 at 08:17 AM.

 
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