I'm doing intermittent fasting to lose weight and gain muscle. A dietitian said to eat more carbs and be less restrictive.
- A 47-year-old woman submitted an average day's eating to be reviewed for Insider's Nutrition Clinic.
- She told Insider she wants to lose weight, gain muscle, and have more energy.
Jen, age 47, says she wants to "lose five to seven pounds and gain muscle."
She told Insider that an average week of activity involves running three to four times, pilates two to three times, high-intensity interval training twice, and PiYo (a low-impact workout combining pilates and yoga) twice, plus walking on nonrun days.
"I take rest days when I need to, typically every 10 days," Jen said. "I really enjoy working out but find myself burning out or running out of steam most days."
Jen also does
Jen submitted her eating and exercise schedule for Insider's Nutrition Clinic, where qualified dietitians and registered nutritionists offer advice on readers' eating habits.
The registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Alix Turoff told Insider Jen is probably over-exercising, doesn't need to do intermittent fasting to lose weight, and could benefit from eating more
"I would try to program in one rest day per week or at the very least, an active rest day where she's just getting in a walk," Turoff said.
Jen starts eating at noon, but intermittent fasting isn't necessary for weight loss
Jen said she usually starts eating at noon with a banana, then 30 to 40 minutes later she has oats with apple, 2 teaspoons of almond butter, and cinnamon. She drinks two cups of coffee with collagen powder.
On weekends she eats "normally" and has one "indulgence" a week, she said.
Turoff said Jen should reflect on why she's doing intermittent fasting, especially if she wants to eat before noon and isn't doing it on the weekend.
"Is it something that really works for her lifestyle, or is she doing it because she thinks she has to?" Turoff said. "There's nothing inherently better for weight loss about intermittent fasting, so I would probably encourage her to try being less rigid with that."
Jen could start by eating a banana earlier in the morning, Turoff said.
Eat more carbs in the afternoon and evening for energy
Jen has an afternoon snack of plain Greek yogurt with blueberries, and for dinner she controls her portions and eats "whatever is on the menu, typically meat and veggies, no starches."
Turoff said she might benefit from eating more carbs throughout the day to help with energy levels, especially if she doesn't want to decrease her exercise.
"Her first meal is really the only carbohydrate she's getting in the day, and depending on the portion of oatmeal, it sounds like she's getting about 80 grams of carbs earlier in the day and then the second half of the day is very low-carb," Turoff said.
Replace protein powders with real foods to feel more satiated
After an afternoon workout class, Jen has a protein shake.
Turoff advises eating whole-food protein sources rather than relying on protein and collagen powders.
"She's still getting the protein in, which is great, but she might find she's much more satiated if she incorporates other sources of protein into her meals (chewing is more satiating than drinking)," Turoff said.
Restricting during the week can lead to weekend overeating
Every evening, Jen said she has one low-calorie hard seltzer.
Being strict with a
"I want to know what her 'one day for an indulgence' looks like," she said. "This can be totally fine, but often, I'll see people be very restrictive all week only to go totally off the rails on the weekend when they have more 'freedom.'"
Not only is this a bad mindset to be in, but it can affect your fitness results as well, Turoff said.
The advice in this article isn't a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis or treatment.
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