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Eating Healthy and losing weight.

  1. Oct 24, 2005 #1
    During the last year or so, I've dramatically changed my diet.

    I never used to have a taste for many vegetables, and recently, I've developed a taste for them. I used to replace entire meals with things like cookies or potato chips, and have totally cut out behavior like that, and have dramatically cut the amount of junk I eat in general. Due to this, over the last year, I grew about an inch and lost 2 or 3 pounds.

    Just one problem.

    I'm now 6'3" and I weight just over 150 pounds.

    It's scary, some of my pants that used to fit me fine without a belt I now need a belt for.

    But what am I to do, start eating massive amounts of junk again and give up low-calorie things like vegetables?

    Besides working out to build muscle mass or eating unhealthily, is there any way a twig like me could gain a few pounds?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2005 #2
    Relative to typical calorie restrictionists, you are overweight at 150 lbs. Would you like to become even more overweight by 1) gaining fat or 2) gaining muscle? At what level is your current daily protein intake? What are you eating as sources of protein? What are your fat and carbohydrate sources?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2005
  4. Oct 24, 2005 #3
    If you'd like to put on some bodyweight without gaining much fat, the only way is exercise. If you'd like I can help you set up a basic weightlifting program.
  5. Oct 24, 2005 #4


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    I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous advice to suggest he's overweight at 150 lbs and 6'3"! That is at the very low end of normal for BMI, which is only a rough indicator, but is a good starting place without knowing his body composition (if it's mostly lean body mass and not fat, then it could be unhealthily underweight).

    First, I would suggest seeing a physician. Find out if you're a healthy weight for your body type. Some people really are naturally that slender, and as long as it isn't causing health problems or isn't caused by a health problem, all of which can be ruled out by a physician, then you might want to just focus on maintaining weight rather than gaining back weight.

    If in consultation with your physician you determine that you need to gain some weight back, then please don't add the junk food back. It's great that you've adjusted your diet to something more healthy. You may just need to include more sources of fat and protein that are healthy sources rather than "junk" calories. You might gain back a healthy amount of weight with as little as having an extra half sandwich, bowl of cereal, or glass of milk a day; sometimes it doesn't take much.

    Are you working out along with the reduced calorie intake? You don't need to "bulk up" if you don't want to, but can just tone up muscles and improve your cardiovascular health. If you haven't been exercising, increasing your activity will need to be balanced by an increase in caloric intake if you wish to gain muscle mass. If you have been exercising, then continue to do so.

    This site contains some basic informatin about body composition:

    And this one includes a nice table to help interpret body fat percentages:
  6. Oct 24, 2005 #5


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    Amplification: BMI is used by the military as a first step to determine if someone is a healthy weight. If someone falls outside that, then their actual body fat % is measured. Generally, below 6% or so is considered unhealthy - and, ordinarily, extremely difficult to achieve (your body will start eating your muscles when it gets low on fat).
  7. Oct 24, 2005 #6
  8. Oct 24, 2005 #7


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    Which is considered unhealthy. About 6% body fat is considered essential in men for normal function, and around 12% for women (lower body fat than that and menstrual cycles will cease). I don't know what sort of point you were trying to make with that data, but the low heart rate and blood pressures are consistent with anorexic patients.

    There is even a term introduced for athletes who reduce their body fat to unhealthy levels: anorexia athletica.

    So, if you have a point, make it, otherwise there's not much value in interjecting random information from websites that don't have anything to do with the question being asked, which is how to gain weight in a healthy way.
  9. Oct 24, 2005 #8
    Morelife and healthy body weight and composition

    A major focus of the Morelife site is health and the techniques — including dietary manipulation and others that affect body weight and body composition — that might help achieve and maintain it.
  10. Oct 24, 2005 #9


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    There is nothing in the link you provided that addresses that point. When I go to their main site, there isn't much useful there, and if anything, while they don't outright make many claims, they seem to be reporting on scientific studies in a misleading way (i.e., without clearly defining the terms as they are used in the studies or making it clear that they are only rodent studies).

    Since you brought up calorie restriction in your first post in this thread, I wanted to address that further. The claims on calorie restriction prolonging lifespans are based primarily on rodent studies. However, one must be aware that "calorie restriction" in rodents is not the same as dieting or reducing caloric intake below required levels, but rather not ad libitum feeding. The aged rats in such studies are not becoming grossly obese as lab rats usually do when permitted to eat ad lib, and instead, their weights in old age are similar or only slightly greater than in young adulthood. They are certainly not underweight for a rat.

    There's also a mixed bag of results on that. For example, while there are reports that apoptosis is reduced in neural cells by caloric restriction in rodents http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16198026&query_hl=19 there are also reports of reduced motor function in rats by caloric restriction http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16045945&query_hl=19 and reduced survival following influenza infection in calorie restricted aged rats http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15983169&query_hl=19 and in monkeys, interestingly, there was a greater decline from middle age to old age in the volume of the striatum in ad lib fed controls than calorie restricted monkeys, but the volume itself was greater in controls, casting doubt on how to interpret age-related changes http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14749137&query_hl=19

    One study attempts to address the weight vs caloric restriction issue, but unfortunately falls short because all the groups that had lower body weight at the end of the study also began the study with lower body weight. A group that began with higher body weight and ended with lower, and a group that began with lower body weight and ended with higher would have been needed to be more conclusive regarding this matter. Nonetheless, it's a good paper to read if for nothing else to look at the graph of body weights on the calorie restricted diets to see what is really meant by that in rodents. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14724654&query_hl=19 It also includes a balanced, albeit necessarily breif, review of the pros and cons of the literature in the introduction regarding caloric restriction on longevity and other health parameters in rodents. This study also points out a remaining caveat, which is that they do not measure body fat or body composition, just body weight.
  11. Oct 24, 2005 #10


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    It sounds like wasteofo2 understands how building muscle mass can help gain a few pounds, but perhaps is reluctant to go that route.
    I'd like to relate a true life story of someone who did take that approach. I have a friend of east asian descent who was tall and thin. He had learned several different martial arts and gained proficiency in each, improving flexibility and muscle tone. But he still considered himself skinny, perhaps accentuated by the fact that he was also tall. So he decided to weight train to increase muscle mass. After a few months he increased some muscle mass and then hit a really flat plateau (no additional increase in weight). His diet was well balanced and complemented the amount of exercise he was doing. After some research on lifting and strength training, he learned that to continue to increase muscle mass, he needed to increase intake of protein. I also found a reference on this:
    This fellow then added high protein drinks, protein bars and more lean animal protein to his diet. The end result; he blew past that plateau and continued increasing muscle and body weight. He realizes that he will probably not have the muscles of a bodybuilder and doesn't really want to. He's just pleased to have good results. He no longer looks skinny but muscular and healthy.
  12. Oct 24, 2005 #11

    Les Sleeth

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    I wouldn't even consider disputing all the fine advice offered you so far, but I can relate my experience to you.

    Almost 3 1/2 decades ago I stopped eating meat. Being a biology student at the time, I studied protein requirements (and all other requirements) and planned my diet very carefully to make sure I replaced calories, nutrients and (especially) protein so I'd reach the recommended proportions recommended at that time. Guess what happened. I lost weight anyway.

    Now, I am (or was most of my life) one of those guys who could eat anything and not gain weight. From the age of 14 until well into my 40's my stats were 5'11 1/2 inches tall and 150 pounds. But within a couple of months of laying off meat, I lost weight and body bulk, yet I was still eating the same amount of protein, and calories too.

    Since that time I have guided many people who wanted to get off meat, or reduce the amount they ate. I don't think I can remember a single case when someone didn't lose weight and inches despite maintaining calories and protein intake.

    My theory?

    I think the body "cleanses" when you alter the proportions of meat and non-meat food you eat. That cleansing of toxins relieves you of weight and inches as well. I noticed the same thing when for eight years I stopped eating even dairy products. I lost weight and inches regardless of being very careful to keep all my nutritional stats within recommended ranges.

    So, my suggestion is to study your protein requirements and make sure you meet that. You might need to eat more dairy products, or if you still eat meat, increase that.

    Also, there is the "complimentary protein" option. That is where you eat vegetable foods, which when combined with specific other vegetable foods, form complete proteins. The general rule is, a bean or legume combined with any grain forms a complete protein. So, for instance, a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread is a complete protein. Beans and rice are complete. Split pea soup with garlic bread is complete. A baked tofu sandwich is complete. Add a little dairy, and you really kick it up. :smile:
  13. Oct 25, 2005 #12


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    But were they useable calories? The caloric content of the food can be the same, but if they are in a form your body doesn't readily digest, you won't be able to use them, so your actual caloric intake would need to be increased to maintain weight.

    See my above statement. The whole "cleansing" notion is prevalent in society, but has no scientific basis.

    As for the rest of your suggestions, I have no argument, they all sound reasonable. I don't know if waste has gone completely vegetarian or has just replaced junk food with more vegetables, but it's a good point that if he has given up meat, he needs to be sure he's getting complete proteins in his diet, and the complementary foods suggestion helps assure that.
  14. Oct 25, 2005 #13


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    If I had to guess, I would say that someone switching over to a non-meat diet greatly increases the proportion of their caloric intake that is composed of non-digestable dietary fiber. Not that that's a bad thing, but it does need to be replaced with something the body can metabolize.

    This is pure speculation, though. I have nothing to back it up and could easily be completely wrong.

    To Waste, I've been 6'3 since I was 15 or so and I was only about 130-140 lbs. back then. Even now, I'm only just under 170 and I've almost never been any heavier, pretty much regardless of what I do. The highest I ever got was 185, and that was after four months of heavy weightlifting (I injured my back and haven't gone back to it since). You may as well get used to it. Some people are just thin and there's nothing necessarily wrong with it. Just do what Moonbear said and see your physician. Chances are, you are healthy.
  15. Oct 25, 2005 #14
    Morelife - his and her anti-senescence data

    The link documents health parameters, including weight, BMI, and body-fat ratio, over time. There are links at the bottom of the main health page leading to detailed information about the results of his and her blood tests. Altogether, the information might be taken to indicate or to counter-indicate that the regimens, BMI's and body-fat ratios are healthy.

    The Health portion of the Morelife site provides current and historical detailed information about two (his and hers) aggressive anti-senescence regimens and current and historical health data for the two individuals on those regimens.


    The NtBHA page seems to mention rodents in every study that uses rodents. Where did the Morelife site fail to identify rodent studies as such?
  16. Oct 25, 2005 #15


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    Which makes it nothing more than anectdotal story telling. I can just as easily find examples of two people who drank and smoke their whole lives and lived to ripe old age; it doesn't make it good advice or the least bit scientific.
  17. Oct 25, 2005 #16
    I expect that your extra inch isn't due to your diet change but to your genetics and age. (IOW, I expect you would have gained the extra inch anyway. ) I've never heard of diet affecting height after someone has reached their adult height, I've only heard of malnourishment stunting growth in third world countries. But I doubt potato chips and cookies qualify for that....

    So, if you're still growing (or have just finished), then your body is probably not done reaching its adult proportions anyway - and your twigginess may correct itself over the next year or so on its own.

    As far as weight specifically, yeah, you probably would be heavier if you had stayed on the junky food. If you want to gain weight but stay healthy - you kmnow, just select healthy foods that are more calorie dense. Like ... eggs and toast for breakfast, steak and potatoes at dinner ---

    I dunno, that's not much help, it's just an idea that seems to make sense.
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