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Wellness Center

Need to lose 30 lbs

03/28/2007

Question:

I am small-boned, always on the thin side until my 40s. I know age is somewhat a factor, but I deal with depression as well, and I am on medication for that. I know antidepressants can add to the weight.  I was in the hospital recently and was given some medication that caused me to gain 15 pounds in 2 weeks. I have been exercising for the past 4 weeks and have not lost a pound. Is there such a thing as exercising too much? I have barely lost anything - a very small amount of an inch in fat, but no pounds. I have changed my style of eating to more salads, always water to drink, meat that is lean, fruit (1 banana a day) and I try to eat veggies. I battled anorexia in my younger years and to weigh this much is a heart-felt daily struggle. I have no idea of what is healthy and what is not. Saturated fats and trans fats - no idea which is better. Good carbs and bad carbs - no idea. I don`t want a diet, I want a new way of life that can help me attain an approximate weight of 130. I felt most healthy at that weight.

Answer:

Thank you for your question. I do not believe there is such a thing as too much exercise, unless you are exercising to the point of obsession. There are many benefits from regular physical activity, including that it has been shown to help fight depression. Your brain produces a hormone that gives you a good feeling, which increases when you exercise.

You could be losing inches and not necessarily pounds from exercising and gaining lean muscle mass. Exercise and larger muscle mass increase your metabolism, which naturally slows as we age.

Saturated fats are most often found in animal products that are solid at room temperature, such as butter, cheese, fatty meats, etc. Trans fat is formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. Studies have shown that eating both saturated and trans fats can raise your LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk for heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires food manufacturers to list trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels. Unsaturated fats ("good" fats), such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, do not raise LDL cholesterol.

Carbohydrates are classified as either simple or complex. Table sugar, regular sodas, and syrups are examples of simple carbohydrates. Whole grain foods, such as whole grain breads, pastas, etc. are examples of complex carbohydrates, as well as starchy vegetables (lima beans, corn, etc). These foods are more complex structurally and take longer for your system to digest, thus the name complex carbohydrates. Refined/simple carbohydrates provide calories, but lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Such simple sugars are often called "empty calories" and can lead to weight gain.

To increase complex carbohydrates and healthy nutrients, eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, rice, breads, and cereals and eat more legumes (beans, lentils, and dried peas). If you feel your weight gain is related to your antidepressant use, talk with your doctor. There are a number of different options available that do not have weight gain as a side effect.

Remember, a healthy weight is not necessarily what a scale or a chart tells us. There is no such thing as a "perfect weight." Your healthy weight is one that is right for you; one that allows you to do the things you enjoy and remain healthy.

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Response by:

Jaime  Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD Jaime Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD
Extension Nutrition Associate
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University