Nutrition & Dieting/weight loss
I am 48 years old. I am 5ft 2" and 197 pounds as of today. I recently bought an eliptical exercise machine and I would like to know if I started just cutting out some of the fatty foods and exercising on my machine daily (30min) how fast could I begin to see a change in my weight. I just started a water pill because of newly diagnosed hypertension. I really want to start to make heathy changes and I don't want to take pills all my life. Also I am African American and I don't want to live with health issues if just a few changes will help me. I would be grateful for any suggestions.
Thank you very much
First of all I just wanted to commend you on wanting to improve your health and get off any pills. Too many people live their life on pills and act like its a regular way to live. So you're already on the right track.
As far as how fast you can see results, it all depends on how you eat vs. how you change your diet. For instance if you're eating a lot of simple carbs, processed foods, or fast food, then cleaning up your diet will give you some great changes right away. Its actually much easier to lose weight when you're over weight and eat bad. The body adjusts to change very well, hence the difference you can see. Realistically if you eat clean and work out 30 minutes at least 4 days a week, then you can probably see a change of 2-3 pounds in a week or 2 time, maybe more. For example, I knew a guy who was over 300 pounds. He completely changed his diet and exercise habits and in 12 weeks lost over 60 pounds.
While 2-3 or more pounds is realistic, don't get fixated on a number. The scale can be a great tool, but also the enemy. It is fine to look at the number on the scale, but also look at how your clothes fit. A lot of people say "the scale stays the same yet my clothes are looser" Well in this case who cares what the scale says? If your clothes fit looser than obviously you're on the right track.
As far as cutting out fatty foods just be careful what you cut. A lot of people think fat free or low fat foods are the key to weight loss. This is wrong. Foods that are reduced fat or fatty foods made to be "fat free" usually contain extra sugars. Food manufacturers don't want to sacrifice flavor, and fat equals flavor. So they compensate by adding sugar. The exception are foods that are naturally low fat or fat free.
What you want to eat are good fats, those like monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats from olive oil or almonds. Aim for about 50-55 grams of fat per day in your diet. This averages out to about 450 calories from fat each day. It sounds like a lot but isn't. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. The right fats can help you feel full longer.
Aim to eat 5-6 meals a day, spaced about 3 hours apart. Never go more than 4 hours without eating. Take your current weight and multiply by 12. That is your target calorie intake. However don't get fixated on counting calories.
Try to eat 3 main meals with 2 snacks between. Snacks should be 200-300 calories.
Try to avoid the following: Sugar, white flour foods, white rice, most packaged food. Look out for trans fats. Read food labels, if the ingredients say anything about hydrogenated, that translates to trans fats. These are man made fats that can lead to heart disease and even cancer. While trans fats are hard to avoid 100% just be cautious. Labels can legally say "Trans fat free" or "Sugar free" yet still contain these. anything .5 grams or under can be claimed as 0. Kind of foul isn't it?
Stick with lean protein like: Chicken breast, fish, lean beef(sirloin), low fat dairy, protein powders and shakes.
Fats: Almonds, walnuts, natural peanut butter, olive oil, canola oil, avocado.
Carbs: Whole wheat flour (bread/pasta), brown rice, quinoa, oats, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, fruits.
With the carbs just try not to over do it on starch. Starch is the breads and rice. Reserve these foods for earlier in the day. As the day goes on limit your starch and stick with more fibrous carbs like vegetables. Fruit is good but also contains fructose (sugar). Fruit is best eaten at breakfast and early snacks. Look for high fiber fruits like berries.
Also consider adding some resistance training to your cardio workouts. Working muscles uses up more energy than cardio, hence burning more calories. 15 minutes 3-4 times a week is fine. Even if you are not looking to build muscle, its still good to lift moderate or even body weight. As we age muscles break down. Resistance training keeps them strong. This helps you avoid stuff like degenerative conditions, loss or strength, etc.
You don't have to join a gym. Even using something heavy like a light dumbbell or water bottle is fine. If not, exercises like push ups, dips, and crunches are great. If you can only do a few to start that's fine.
Hopefully this helps you. Feel free to write back though with any other concerns.