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Aerobics/Gaining weight despite exercise



I am 29 years old, female with no children, and very obese. I used to work third shift and ate only a frozen meal and 3 soft drinks a day, and was still gaining weight. When I lost that job, I went through a phase of depression and lazed about like a slug, and ate sugary junk food, and didn't care. I started loosing weight with that, and discovered that I was actually eat a decent number of calories, whereas before, I wasn't.

2 months ago, I started a new job, and adopted a black lab puppy. They are high activity dogs, and I figured that with him being little, we could work our way up. Started with 5 minute walks (which left me panting and gasping), and tonight completed a one mile walk in 21 minutes.

However, I'm still gaining weight. I've been careful to make sure I eat a decent number of calories (1200 a day), and am walking with the pup for exercise, but I've put on 40 pounds in the last 3 months, and my clothes are tighter than ever. I'm about frustrated with everything!

I do have COPD, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, anxiety, osteoarthritis in my ankles, hips and knees (mostly from a lifetime of being overweight), and am on several medications to cope with that. As of last week, I was weighing in a 252 lbs.

Currently, I walk the dog a mile to a mile and a half twice a day, every day but Saturday (I carry mail for the post office on Saturdays), which is the day I let him wear himself out at daycare. Any suggestions for how to fix this weight gain?

Thank you so much for your time.

Hi Amanda,
I'm sorry to hear about your health issues.  There are a few things I would suggest.  

First, I would talk to your doctor about the medications you are on.  With rheumatoid arthritis I would imagine you may have or are still taking prednisone which can cause significant weight gain.  Other medications can cause weight gain as well so I would talke to your doctor about anything that can be done with medications, possibly checking your hormone levels as well as thyroid testing.  

Second, I would suggest keeping a diary of EVERYTHING you eat and drink. If you still continue to gain weight, having a professional look at your diary would be very beneficial.  1200 calories is a bit low and I definitely would not encourage going any lower than that. You said when you started eating more that you were eating junk food and lost weight.  The reason could be that you added calories to your diet where as previously ate very few calories.  However if you are still eating junk food, even it is within the 1200 calories than this can be one of the problems.  I would focus on eating lean protein, lots of vegetables, and some fruit.  Also what you are drinking can be detrimental and can be calories that are not counted.  Anything other than plain water you should write down, including milk, juice, soda, and/or alcohol.  I suggest drinking plain water...if needed then flavor the water with some lemon/lime juice, or use carbonated water with the lemon/lime juice.  Eating a healthier diet will give you more energy and might help you exercise more efficiently.  Check with your doctor for any restrictions.  A sample I would give someone without restrictions would be:

Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal a tablespoon of peanut butter (without added oil or sugar) and cinnamon. You can add stevia for sweetner.  I like to add a scoop of vanilla protein and sometimes a cup up apple or banana. Or I can make a protein shake with a low carb vanilla protein powder, with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, half a banana, frozen blueberries, fresh pineapple and fresh kale and spinach. If needed you can use stevia for a more sweeter taste.  Measure all the fruit to make sure you get accurate calories.  I use about 1/2 cup blueberries, and just a few pieces of the frozen pineapple.  I fit as much greens as I can as that is filling and very low in calories but very nutrient dense.  

Lunch could be a salad, with romaine, red/green leaf lettuce, kale/spinach (as much of those green leaves as you want), 3-4 oz of chicken breast, with a lite vinaigrette. I add a tbsp of mccormick salad toppings (dried chives/sesame seeds) and I use 2 tbsp of Ken's Sesame/Ginger Vinaigrette.  I measure EVERYTHING. I have a small kitchen digital scale along with all sorts of measuring tools (measuring cups, tsp/tbsp).  I make my salad in a big Tupperware dish so I can put the lid on and shake it up to get the dressing on everything in my salad.  I'll bring a banana or apple with lunch and a tbsp of peanut butter with added cinnamon for dip.  

Dinner is usually a 3-4 oz chicken breast, fish fillet, lean steak with sauted veggies. My go to is just cut up zucchini, yellow squash, diced tomatoes, with garlic sauteed in coconut oil. Not necessary to measure the as much as you want and it fills you up.  Most times I cut up my meat and through it all in and maybe add some black beans.  I top it with maybe 1/4 of feta cheese for a nice flavor.  

If I feel like I need dessert then I get another fruit with peanut butter (or any nut butter).  I wouldn't eat 2-3 hours before you go to bed.  

As far as the exercise.  It's good walking your dog for a mile but make sure you are getting your heart rate up to where you are breaking a sweat.  Depending on your limitations (make sure you have discussed options with your doctor) you can try walking faster, maybe carry a weight and alternate hands with weight in one/leash in the other.  If you can't get your heart up pretty good while walking then talk to your doctor about exercises at home.  Sometimes, with your health issues, physical therapy is a good way to start.  Your physical therapist can then tell you what exercises you can do at home to best get your heart rate up.  

Again, make sure you discuss all of this with your doctor before trying anything out.  I hope this helps and good luck!  


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Kristina Shane


Many women struggle with losing weight and I was once one of those women. Now I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and I've spent many years researching the best way for women to get healthy, lose weight and maintain it. I hold a BS in Sports Management and Iím currently working on my MS in Health and Physical Education. I can answer any questions on women's fitness.


Having struggled with weight all my life as well as many health problems such as Lupus and Crohnís disease Iíve researched all my adult life on how to lose weight and keep it off and how to stay healthy when you are sick. I have my own personal training company, KrisCross Training, and Iíve been helping men, women and children get healthy and stay healthy for years. Check out my website,, or my blog

IDEA Health and Fitness Association Sharecare Elite Trainer AllExperts Expert in Strength Training, Womenís Fitness, Aerobics and Living with Obesity


BS in Sports Management-Fitness and Nutrition Track-California University of PA Certified Health and Physical Education Teacher

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