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Old 01-08-2009, 07:37 AM   #1
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Routine advice?

Hey everyone, I'm new to this board. The past month or so, I've been trying to eat better and exercise more in an attempt to get down to a lower weight. I hear conflicting advice all the time on how to lose weight, what to eat and how and when to exercise, so I was wondering if someone could look over the routine that I've been following and see if you notice anything that needs improvement or anything that could be hurting, rather than helping me. I don't want to be doing anything to lose weight that could potentially be doing the opposite.

For extra information: I am a vegetarian (for non-health related reasons), I have a full time office job and I am a full time student, so I spend a lot of time sitting down (not by choice). Also, I work at Whole Foods so as far as lunch and breakfast I have quite a wide variety of healthy options available. I'm 23 years old, 205 pounds and I'm about 5' 11". Ok, on to the routine:


Breakfast: I usually eat some fresh fruit. This morning I had an apple and half of a banana. Sometimes I'll mix it up with a mango or an orange, but it's usually an apple and banana.

Lunch: I've been eating mostly salads and I've been doing my best to cut out out unhealthy additives such as cheese and croutons. Lately I've been eating a mix of lettuce and spinach with shredded carrots, a raspberry vinnigarette dressing with almonds.

Snack: I usually don't snack but when I'm feeling hungry I grab an apple.

Dinner: I've been trying to eat a light dinner, usually a bowl of vegetable soup or something with tofu for protein. My breakfast and lunch are usually the same every day, salad and fruit, but my dinner really varies. Often I end up skipping dinner, not to starve myself but because I'm not hungry and I don't want to eat when I'm not hungry. Is this bad? Should I eat dinner even if I'm not feeling hungry?

Exercise: I usually exercise in the evenings, around 5:00PM, before dinner. I bring my dog and we run through the neighborhood. According to mapquest it's 2.5 miles but some of that is walking for warm up/cool down. My schedule is kind of hectic so I don't get to do it every day but it's usually at least 3 or 4 days a week. I've also started curling with a barbell to start working out my arms a little bit, though my goal is not to gain muscle (though I know muscle helps burn fat).

For more on my diet, I've cut out cheese, pasta and bread from my diet almost completely. I used to be really bad about eating a lot of cheesy pasta, or cheese pizza, or sandwiches so that's one thing I've been trying to stay away from at all costs. When I do eat cereal (usually a Kashi cereal) I use low-fat soymilk. Other than a couple of weekends, I've been staying away from alcohol and I don't drink anything other than water. No sodas, juices or anything.

Advice? Opinions? Any glaring mistakes I'm making? Any help will be appreciated, all of my friends eat whatever they want and never gain a pound so I really don't have anyone close to me to turn to for advice.

If anyone see's anything I need to change, please let me know. Thank you

Last edited by snkngshps; 01-08-2009 at 07:40 AM.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:52 AM   #2
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Re: Routine advice?

Unless you are adding legumes of some sort to your salad, you need more protein. It's hard when you cut out cheese and meat to get enough protein in. And yes, you should eat a minimum amount a day whether you are hungry or not. Eating too little will cause your body to store fat in order to meet its needs. On WW they tell you you have to eat the minimum amount of points per day. And some days Ijust wasn't quite that hungry but would try to find a way to get them all in - like a small portion of something "bad" to
just get the points in.

 
Old 01-08-2009, 08:55 AM   #3
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Re: Routine advice?

You may want to include more protein, such as nuts and beans, in each of your meals. If you eat eggs, those are also inexpensive protein sources (but keep an eye on your blood cholesterol levels -- most people are not really affected, but a minority of people get high LDL cholesterol from eating dietary cholesterol from eggs and such). Skim milk and skim milk yogurt will add protein from milk without the saturated fat from milk. Some grains (such as oats and wheat) have significant amounts of protein, although they are mostly carbohydrates (choose whole grains over refined grains).

Weights wise, you may want to look into several other exercises that use bigger muscles instead of just the small bicep muscles used in curls. E.g. pullup, pushup, dip, deadlift, bench press, squat, etc.. The pullup, pushup, and dip are body weight exercises that can be done at home with minimal equipment, though if you are not strong enough to do a pullup, the gym (do you have access to a gym at school?) may have an assisted pullup machine (with counterweights so that you can work up to your body weight).

Can you run, walk, or bicycle to work or school, effectively overlaying your cardio onto necessary commuting (effectively saving time)?

Last edited by tjlhb; 01-08-2009 at 09:00 AM.

 
Old 01-08-2009, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: Routine advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlhb View Post
You may want to include more protein, such as nuts and beans, in each of your meals. If you eat eggs, those are also inexpensive protein sources (but keep an eye on your blood cholesterol levels -- most people are not really affected, but a minority of people get high LDL cholesterol from eating dietary cholesterol from eggs and such). Skim milk and skim milk yogurt will add protein from milk without the saturated fat from milk. Some grains (such as oats and wheat) have significant amounts of protein, although they are mostly carbohydrates (choose whole grains over refined grains).

Weights wise, you may want to look into several other exercises that use bigger muscles instead of just the small bicep muscles used in curls. E.g. pullup, pushup, dip, deadlift, bench press, squat, etc.. The pullup, pushup, and dip are body weight exercises that can be done at home with minimal equipment, though if you are not strong enough to do a pullup, the gym (do you have access to a gym at school?) may have an assisted pullup machine (with counterweights so that you can work up to your body weight).

Can you run, walk, or bicycle to work or school, effectively overlaying your cardio onto necessary commuting (effectively saving time)?
I try to eat beans for the protein but I always feel guilty because they are generally pretty fattening. Every now and then I get some vegetarian chilli, which usually has textured soy protein in it. Maybe I can start adding tofu to my salads? I do have access to a gym at my school, but I've only been a few times. I prefer to run through my neighborhood rather than on a track or treadmill. I will start adding pushups to my routine though. I am looking out for a decent bike so I can start biking to school but my work is too far away. I guess overall I need to add more protein, it just always makes me nervous eating nuts or beans because they are also fattening.

 
Old 01-08-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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Re: Routine advice?

Although beans have a higher calorie density than leafy vegetables, they would not necessarily be fattening if your total calorie intake is not in excess of your daily calorie burn. The same goes for other foods, although if you eat high calorie density foods like nuts, you may have to be more strict about limiting them to stay within your calorie budget.

With respect to the gym, since you get cardio by running around the neighborhood, you may want to focus on the weights. Although most gym-goers seem to do cardio in the gym, the weights are probably the most value-added, since weight equipment is not commonly found elsewhere, while cardio can be done in lots of places outside the gym. You can run to the gym, do weights in the gym, then run home, for example.

For a bicycle to commute on, be sure to get one that is the correct size. For road use, a road or hybrid bicycle with smooth tires will work better than a mountain bicycle with knobby tires. When bicycling on the road, it is safest (and required by law in US states) to assume the rights and duties of a vehicle driver with respect to traffic laws. Meaning ride with traffic (never against it), obey traffic signs and signals, choose lanes appropriate to destination, and use a headlight at night.

 
Old 01-09-2009, 05:01 AM   #6
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Re: Routine advice?

Thanks for the replies! I'm going to work on getting some more protein into the diet and a little more weight training. Another question I have is, is it ok to eat just fruit for breakfast and snack? I've heard some say that fruit has too much sugar, even though it's natural sugar, and really isn't that great to have for breakfast. Is this true? What would be a good alternative if so?

Also, is it bad to fall into a diet routine? For example if I eat fruit every breakfast and a salad every lunch and something light and healthy for dinner would the benefits decrease? I feel like I've got a good diet going, I like the food, I am able to get full, but it's still very healthy and light but I don't want to eat the same things every day if it's not beneficial.

 
Old 01-09-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
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Re: Routine advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snkngshps View Post
Another question I have is, is it ok to eat just fruit for breakfast and snack? I've heard some say that fruit has too much sugar, even though it's natural sugar, and really isn't that great to have for breakfast.
Whole fresh or frozen fruit is ok as part of a breakfast, since it contains fiber and other good stuff along with the sugars (which are not that highly concentrated, since fruit contains a lot of water plus some fiber). Fruit juices, on the other hand, are not so great, since they concentrate the sugar while leaving out the fiber, making it too easy to consume a lot of sugar calories quickly without feeling full (if you've ever squeezed oranges into orange juice, you'd realize how many oranges go into one cup of orange juice). Dried fruit may be appropriate for weight gaining, but calorie density is quite high, so people losing excess body fat may not want to eat much of it.

But fruit by itself is rather unbalanced as your entire breakfast, since it is very low in protein. Skim milk, soy milk, skim milk plain yogurt, beans, or eggs may help in the protein department. So would smearing peanut or almond butter on your fruit.

Last edited by tjlhb; 01-09-2009 at 09:00 AM.

 
Old 01-09-2009, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: Routine advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjlhb View Post
But fruit by itself is rather unbalanced as your entire breakfast, since it is very low in protein. Skim milk, soy milk, skim milk plain yogurt, beans, or eggs may help in the protein department. So would smearing peanut or almond butter on your fruit.
Thank you! I'll try adding soymilk or peanut butter in with it. What are your thoughts on a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter as an alternative to fruit? Would that have too many carbs or is that fine?

 
Old 01-09-2009, 11:42 AM   #9
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Re: Routine advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snkngshps View Post
Thank you! I'll try adding soymilk or peanut butter in with it. What are your thoughts on a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter as an alternative to fruit? Would that have too many carbs or is that fine?
Bagels are relatively calorie-dense, so you may want to check to see if they fit in your calorie budget. Another more balanced, but less calorie dense, choice could be oatmeal with whole fruit (berries are good) and soy milk or skim milk.

You may want to use a basal metabolic rate formula or calculator to find your calorie consumption from just living. Then add calories from activity to get your expenditure. Eat less (about 500 calories per day less is the usual recommendation) if your goal is to lose body fat. Based on that, you can figure out how to choose foods within your calorie budget.

Last edited by tjlhb; 01-09-2009 at 11:43 AM.

 
Old 01-09-2009, 11:56 AM   #10
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Re: Routine advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snkngshps View Post
Thank you! I'll try adding soymilk or peanut butter in with it. What are your thoughts on a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter as an alternative to fruit? Would that have too many carbs or is that fine?
A regular-sized bagel might fall out of your particular calorie range, but if you really like bagels (like myself), an alternative would be a mini-bagel. I've seen whole wheat mini-bagels from Thomas's and Pepperidge Farm...both are roughly 110-120 calories each. Thomas's also makes a 100-calorie mini-bagel, but it isn't whole wheat..it's plain white.

 
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