Weight Loss and Slow Metabolism " Karen a busy mom of two "

Case study ( 2642 views as of December 14, 2018 )

Karen is a busy mom of two who works from home as an editor. She has been following a strict eating and exercise plan that she copied from a popular TV health show but has not been successful in her weight loss efforts. Her goal has been to lose 15 lbs and 3 inches from her waist.

Her current measurements include a weight of 163 lbs, height of 168 cm, and a waist circumference of 38 inches.

Karen ensures that she eats within 30 minutes of waking up and then eats a small meal or snack of 200-300 kcal every 3 hours. She eats yogurt and a granola bar for breakfast, has fruit or air-popped popcorn for snacks, various soups for lunch, and a small portion of protein with vegetables for dinner. Karen keeps her total caloric intake to 1500 kcal per day.

Karen goes to the gym 3 days a week and focuses on cardio activities such as the elliptical trainer and recumbent bikes. With her sedentary job, she is always looking for ways to increase her activity through the day. She ensures she gets up every hour and tries to do 10 minutes of stair climbing, walking or dancing at each break. She also wears a step counter to compare her daily activity.

Karen recently saw her family physician who suggested that although she is doing everything right, she may be battling a slow metabolism. After testing her thyroid levels and finding normal results, the physician suggests speaking with a dietitian to re-assess her diet and provide tips to help stimulate her metabolism. In addition to dietary changes, the physician also suggests seeing a personal trainer to provide some muscle building activities into her workout plan which will further boost Karen's metabolism.

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Conversation based on: Weight Loss and Slow Metabolism " Karen a busy mom of two "

Weight Loss and Slow Metabolism " Karen a busy mom of two "

  • @MichelleKaarto I agree with your concerns about making everything "lighter". Eating more chemicals might help with weight loss but it's not going to make you healthier
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    • @MichelleKaarto I don't think it's wishful thinking. I think with the obesity epidemic and the rise of food allergies, we will see a return to eating real foods
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    • A really interesting point, especially when you consider what manufacturers have to compensate with to make their products "light" (low-fat, low-calorie, etc) but still taste good. The majority of the time sugar and/or salt will be added in excess to maintain the flavour that gets lost by reducing fat/calorie content.
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    • I think one of the main problems too is that we look at all of these foods which are labeled fat-free or low-fat, and it encourages us to meet more of that food. By going back to whole foods and following Canada's Food Guide, perhaps we could somewhat reverse the obesity epidemic that we see today. Wishful thinking?
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  • I was listening to a radio spot the other day for a diet book that was talking about the importance of getting back to eating like our grandparents did. It was something that really resonated with me. Eating more regular meals, more real food does seem to make more sense to lose weight
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    • I feel like our whole society has shifted too much toward convenience foods and also those with empty calories. It's like there's a 'lighter' version of everything out there, and I still don't understand all of the effects of artificial sweeteners on our bodies. I think that our focus on diet and light or fat-free is negatively affecting our ability to lose weight and keep healthy metabolisms.
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    • It makes sense because they did not put food in a box in a shelf for three months and then take it out and eat it. Food changed for everyone with the invention of the can and preservation in packaged food. Remember the old scurvy problem with long distance sailors dying from lack of fresh fruit.
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    • It doesn't surprise me that there have been success stories from following Canada's Food Guide. It's formulated to take into account the needs of healthy people of all ages, and provides suggestions that are sustainable in the long run. A lot of the time people who just want to lose weight adopt eating patterns that they can't keep up simply because their body needs more than what it's getting - that's usually where a lot of diet frustration comes from. Having adequate proportions of protein, carbs, and fat goes a long way when it comes to fuelling your body properly and maintaining a healthy weight. Canada's Food Guide is a great resource to have to make sure you're getting those proportions right.
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    • @Michelle Kaarto I've heard of people having real lasting success using the Canada Food Diet as a diet plan
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    • Agreed - just losing weight is not motivation enough on its own sometimes. Rather a whole healthy lifestyle for life can have better results.
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    • I like this way of thinking @K.Michael. What if we tried to follow the Food Guide in an attempt to reach weight loss goals - would we be successful? I think the problem lies in that we often look to restrictive diets to try and lose weight. There must be an impact on our metabolism the more we follow the 'dieting cycle'.
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  • Perhaps Karen needs to step back and think about where her motivation is coming from in order to lose the weight. So many of us get trapped in this desire to lose weight and go on a diet, and then we keep cycling through the phases of doing well, losing weight, and then gaining it back. A wellness coach could help Karen channel her motivation to be healthy and start breaking her lifestyle changes into small steps with specific goals that she can use to monitor her progress and plan for any obstacles along the way.
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    • In some 40 years of continues working out the only thing that truly works for me is to never really miss a day. It seems as soon as you go a couple of days not exercising the need to go becomes significantly less. I recognize that I do not always go as hard on some days but I focus on regularity as it has effects on food an caring about my health across lots of boundaries I cross every day.
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  • Karen needs to understand her body and may need some pointers on what may work for her. She needs to see a dietitian to discuss ideas that will assist her. A program that is designed for someone else will not work for her. If she is not eating enough and exercising her body will not respond properly.
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    • She definitely needs to seek some professional guidance in her weight loss efforts. A personal trainer or nutritionist could be helpful.
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    • If you could watch TV and follow a diet program losing weight would be easy. Instead it's very hard and a lot more individual than people realize
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    • I agree @Shirley. The cycle of repeated diets is also a problem, and unfortunately can really mess up your metabolism if you are following restrictive diets. We always see a goal of 1200-1500 calories a day for women trying to lose weight, however this goal could be totally off the mark for Karen. I would definitely want her metabolic needs considered and factored into a weight loss eating plan.
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  • It is important to realize that as you take on new dietary and exercise habits, your body adapts to these changes in a way that will ensure it still stores enough energy in case you go through a time of food scarcity. As a result, maintaining the exact same diet and exercise patterns may only produce results for a short period of time before your body becomes used to your new habits, and essentially figures out how to maintain your current weight. Karen may benefit from introducing more variation in both her diet and exercise routines, @SarahWare would you agree?
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    • I would absolutely agree @Allie, and definitely support Karen switching up her exercise routine. Especially with resistance or strength training, your muscles get used to the same exercises over and over, and there are many ways you can add variety to your program. For weights, you can adapt your routine to target building strength or endurance, you can work out different muscle groups together to challenge yourself, and you can also play with the number of sets and the type of moves you are doing to fatigue your muscles in different ways. Those are just a few examples of ways that you can adjust your exercise program.
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  • Definitely the kinds of foods matter a lot in regards to if you are solely looking at total calories in the day.
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    • This is a good example of how confusing it is to lose weight. One person says 3 meals and snacks, another 5 small meals, another 3 meals no snacks. It's so hard to figure out what works for your body
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    • Karen could really learn a lot from her dietitian in terms of the macronutrients, fibre, and fuelling properties of the foods she is choosing.
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    • I would even go so far as to say when in the day you eat the majority of the calories. The old saying of eat like a king in the morning does not apply anymore. No its eat five.small meals a day so that your body can digest what you feed it.
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  • 1500 calories seems fairly low considering that she is busy and doing regular exercise. However it does sound like she has a metabolism issue because she should be losing weight just based on simple math alone!! She should definitely seek some outside assistance.
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    • The issue lies too if she's eating too few calories her body can hold onto her weight instead of letting it come off. This will not enable her to reach her goals, and she needs to be aware of the danger of restricting her calorie intake further in an attempt to lose weight. Disordered eating patterns could be a risk for her, especially given that she seems motivated to reach her goals. Asking her dietitian about the warning signs of eating disorders could be helpful to Karen.
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    • One thing that I've found about losing weight is that the combination of foods I eat matters just as much as how much. I wonder if a dietitian would be able to help Karen discover what the best combination of foods are for her metabolism ?
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  • The case study indicates that Karen is following the diet from a popular TV show. I wonder part of the reason she's not seeing weight loss results is that the food on the show is exactly prepared and it's difficult to duplicate that at home. A nutritionist or dietitian can also help if that's the case.
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    • She would be better off to find someone to help her with a program tailored right for her and her healthy lifestyle goals.
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    • You're right K. Michael. She is following a diet that was tailored to another person and if it's from a TV show, is likely a bit extreme and restrictive to a certain degree. She needs to figure out her own metabolic needs, factor in her activity level, and start building a well-rounded eating plan from that which will support her weight loss goals.
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  • Karen definitely needs some support determining what her caloric needs are. 1500 kcal is a common daily goal used by women trying to lose weight, however you need to consider Karen's metabolism and her exercise efforts. Consulting with a registered dietitian can help Karen identify if she's eating the right amounts of the right foods, to stimulate her metabolism and to also help her fuel her exercise efforts.
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    • Following the blanket recommendations for daily calories is not advisable. You've got to follow the right plan for your body and metabolism when trying to lose weight. Working with a dietitian is the best way to understand your needs.
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    • I agree with this. My sister was on a strict 1500 cal diet, including exercise. Her weight was staying the same and she was getting frustrated. She saw a dietitian who increase her calorie intake to 1650 and gave her some suggestions on exercise. She did this for 3 months and went back to the dietitian with great results. She maintained this for another 3 months and then reduced her calories back to 1500 on advice of the dietitian. She is doing well with maintaining her weight and she is at a place where she feels happy with her body.
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    • I agree. I know a number of women who found that they had more success with their weight loss once they increased their calories to take their caloric burn in to account.
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    • I agree with Michelle the right combination of good advise from a nutritionist and seeing a qualified exercise specialist can really help her understand the end goal of better understanding how to get her metabolism moving.
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