Are there specific foods that I can improve to get my metabolism going again?


I was wondering if you had any nutrition tips as far as what a good balance of food choices would be.

I am a 41-year-old female and take testosterone injections every 3 weeks to maintain balance. I have high blood pressure for which I take medication and currently weigh 223 pounds. I have lost weight down from 260 pounds but have reached a plateau. I do exercise, weekly if I can. I just never seem to go down in weight. I drink water mainly with hot tea so I am not drinking my calories.

Are there specific foods that I can improve my nutrition to get the metabolism going again? Thank you!

First congrats on losing 37 pounds. Well done.

Second, while your metabolism will decrease during weight loss as you do not have as much weight to support, it is still working unless your doctor diagnosed a thyroid hormone issue for which he would have prescribed thyroid medication. Talk to your doctor about your thyroid hormone levels and whether they should be tested. What helps maintain a higher metabolic rate is any exercise which keeps your metabolic rate higher for 15 hours after exercise.

A plateau in weight loss like you are experiencing happens because you don’t need as many calories to maintain your lower weight as you did at your higher weight. For example, without any exercise, a woman with a height of 5 feet 5 inches (estimated as you did not provide) weighing 260 pounds would need 1,850 calories to maintain her weight. At 223 pounds, this same woman would need 1,682 calories. So if you are eating 1,682 calories a day, you would not lose weight unless you exercised at least 500 calories a day. What people need to do is adjust their weight loss calorie goal after every 10 to 15 pounds of weight loss to continue losing weight. The issue is of course that you should not eat less than 1,200 calories a day.

You can also increase the time you exercise. With your doctor’s permission, aim for 60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. I appreciate the challenge of exercise for people with a higher weight. Swimming or water aerobics are good exercises that don’t put extra stress on ankles, knees, and hips. Yoga can help to improve flexibility. Try group exercise for yourself and don’t worry what anyone else says as you won’t know them anyway. Walking is a great exercise and walking at least 20 minutes provides an aerobic effect. So ask your doctor about exercises they would suggest for you.

To help you with adjusting your calorie goal to continue losing weight after every 10-pound weight loss, try my Healthy Body Calculator® and select the option to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. HBC will not calculate a calorie goal less than 1,200 calories because below that, you are unlikely to eat enough food to reach 100% of your RDA for protein, vitamins, and minerals. Look about Your Nutrition Facts for any calculated change in your weight loss potential.

Good food choices would be a variety of meat, poultry, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy, vegetables, fruit, whole grains (bread, rice, pasta, dried beans, peas, lentils, starchy veggies), and healthy fats. It helps to have a plan of what to eat. Have you tried my HELP Healthy Eating for Life Plan®? HELP will create a personalized healthy eating plan after you copy your HBC calorie daily value into HELP.  Then choose what type of milk, meat, beans or not, snacks or not for your eating plan. HELP will spread the calories and food groups between 3 meals and I would suggest you eat every 4 to 6 hours so that you do not feel hungry. Your HELP plan has a small food database linked from your plan that you can use to plan menus.

Decreasing calories in order to lose weight can be a combination of eating less and exercising more. Consider eating 250 calories less and exercising 250 calories more. The benefit of this approach is you are eating more food so you are less likely to be hungry which can result in eating what is handy rather than what is planned. Second is exercise will increase your metabolic rate.

As far as how much water to drink, look at the color of your urine during waking hours.  It should be light yellow and without odor unless you ate asparagus.

Tho you didn’t ask about what to eat for high blood pressure, I would suggest not eating salty foods (ham, bacon, lunchmeat, sauerkraut, salted snack foods, etc.) and ensure you are eating good sources of calcium as found in dairy products (milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, etc.).

Lastly, I question why you are taking testosterone injections and whether your doctor prescribed them? While testosterone helps maintain muscle mass for males who have low testosterone, there are side effects for women that go beyond facial hair from taking testosterone. Please talk to your doctor about why testosterone injections are needed and how long you need to take them.

Write back and let me know about your success.