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Not Losing Weight - Should I Work Out Every Day?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm 18, female, 5'3" and 135 lbs. I'm working out 4 days a week for a half hour and riding my bike around campus most days, but I'm not losing any of the 5-10 lbs I want to lose. Should I find time every day to work out?
Signed: Not Losing Weight - Should I Work Out Every Day?

Dear Not Losing Weight - Should I Work Out Every Day?,

 

In calculating your BMI based on your age, gender, height and weight, you have a BMI of 23.9. This puts you at the 75th percentile for girls your age and indicates that you are at a healthy weight. That said, before knocking yourself out to lose another 5-10 pounds, FX suggests you speak with a medical health professional about your desire to lose more weight. In meeting with you and looking at your exercise/eating habits, as well as your overall body type and medical history, a doctor can assess whether your weight goals are realistic or not.

If your doctor does determine that it would be safe and healthy for you to lose between 5 and 10 pounds, FX recommends that you start by speaking to him/her about your current exercise and eating habits to find out what you can do differently that would help you to lose weight. You can also speak to your doctor about the following considerations:

·         What are you drinking? If you are looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it is best to stick to drinking mostly water, along with the occasional low- or non-fat milk. People who are drinking things like sodas, juice, smoothies, shakes, sports drinks, and specialty coffee drinks on a daily basis should consider how many calories they are taking in through beverages. And while you are underage, it sounds like you are on a college campus and so it is possible you have opportunities to drink alcohol – while there are many reasons not to engage in underage drinking, don’t forget the number of calories that are in alcoholic beverages and how they can contribute to weight gain.

·         Are you eating filling foods? Foods high in fiber and/or protein are great choices because they fill you up so you are less likely to snack or eat larger portions of food. Think about eating eggs for breakfast as opposed to a bowl of cereal – generally the eggs will keep you full longer and you will need to eat less of them to feel full then you would of cereal. 

·         What are you snacking on? Try and steer clear of foods that are high in sugar, in saturated fats, cholesterol, trans fats, salt, and/or foods that are processed with lots of additives. Fruits and vegetables will serve you much better when you need to nibble on something between meals.

·         What are the portions? When you do eat a meal or snack, consider the portion size of what you are eating. One easy way to overdo portions is to eat directly from the bag or packaging, as opposed to taking out one serving size of food and placing it in a separate dish.

·         What are the proportions? When you sit down to dinner, for example, what is the proportion between protein, grains, and vegetables? Ideally, you want 1/2 of your meal to be vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ grains (preferably whole grains).

·         Rethinking unhealthy eating habits. Take a look at any unhealthy eating patterns that may need to be changed. These might include: eating too fast, always finishing everything on your plate, eating when you are not hungry, eating when you are on the go, always needing dessert, skipping meals, and eating when stressed or depressed.

·         If you don’t already, speak to your doctor or an experienced trainer about adding some weight training to your workout routine. Building up a little muscle can help you in burning more calories.

·         Consider weight training or exercise like pilates to tone your body. Weight training and/or pilates exercises can tone and shape the body in a way that simply losing weight doesn’t. Check with your doctor about whether these types of exercises would be appropriate for you.

·         It certainly might be helpful for you to do something physically active every day, but remember that you don’t have to knock yourself out doing it. Also remember that working out every day is only going to do so much if you have problematic eating habits that could use some adjusting. If you are doing slightly more intense cardio workouts 4 days a week, it would be fine to just go for a walk on the other days. It is important to maintain a balance with your workouts and not to get to a place where you are over-exercising.

 

For more information on eating healthy and losing weight in a safe way, you can go to ChooseMyPlate.gov. You can also read some TeenHealthFX.com answers to other reader’s questions under Eating Healthy and Healthy Ways Of Losing And Gaining Weight.

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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