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Schoolday diet help


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#1
Kalphite
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Hi, I'm Dominic, I'm 16, 5'4", and weigh 134 lbs. I realize I'm not overweight and I have a healthy BMI, but I am still self conscious about my flab and would like to finally do something about it.

I'm not asking for routines or anything yet, because I do not have enough time currently to be able to invest in a workout and be able to stick to it due to advanced classes and after school programs, nor do I have the money or driver's license required for a gym membership. Currently all I am able to do is run when it isn't icy out. Because of this, I'm interested in trying to simply make my diet healthier to try to lose some of this extra weight.

Breakfast:
Normally I eat a serving or two of sweetened cereal in skim or 1/2 % milk with a glass of water for breakfast. Some days I make myself a breakfast sandwich (just an egg and a slice of cheese between two pieces of toast), though this is not frequent. I know the cereal is way too sugary to be healthy, but really I don't have any other ideas for a breakfast.

Lunch:
Lunch I normally have to eat out of a bag on a bus, without access to any cooking equipment aside from a microwave (I go to a magnet school for half the day and normally have to eat on the bus as we dont have a lunch hour). I normally have two servings of fruit (oranges, bananas, apples, or grapes), a serving of carrots (not sure what other vegetables could easily be eaten on a bus), some sort of carbohydrate (pretzels, wheat thins, cheeze-its, not normally chips though) and a sandwich (just bread, cheese, and either balogna, salami, or occasionally turkey when my family has it, no condiments or vegetables.

Dinner:
Dinner is really a mixed bag for me. When my parents cook its normally rather healthy, a lot of vegetables and normally turkey or chicken or pork. However, half the time they order fast food, which I otherwise try to avoid or at least talk them into ordering subway. However, there are still some days that they bring home McDonalds or pizza or the like, in which case I eat it as I really don't know how to cook for myself. I really don't know what I could change about this.

I don't normally snack outside of these three meals, and if I do its normally either another fruit I had not already had at lunch, another small bowl of that cereal, or a small cup of the carbs I talked about for lunch.

Beverage-wise I stick almost exclusively to water aside from the milk I have with my cereal. I know that juice and pop are bad, though they basically have the same amount of sugar as my morning cereal.

So what I'm asking is, how can I improve this to lose some more weight? Keep in mind that any suggestions for lunch have to be transportable via paper lunch bag. Thank you!

#2
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Honestly, you diet seems fine. You don't actually need fancy stuff to exercise with - pushups, situps, and the plank work well. Google plank exercise for help on that one. Um, try to get your parents to buy lots of salad and eat some every meal? At least supper, maybe breakfast, see if they can get less sugary cereal?

Honestly though, from your diet is seems like all your really lacking to get rid of whatever flab you think you have is exercise.

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#3
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Sit ups are good - for your hip flexors.

Some other stuff you could do at home are pull ups on a door and dips
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#4
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To be honest, you diet is fine really. You don't appear to be eating crap food often, and what you do eat often is good food. In terms of breakfeast, you could probably have eggs more frequently. Don't listen to the bull [cabbage] that eggs are bad as the clog your arteries because of cholesterol, because it's good cholesterol, if that makes sense.

All I could really recommend is that you do some cardio work, such as running, cycling or similar. That should help you with weight loss.

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#5
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Sit ups are good - for your hip flexors.


Flutter kicks do well or hip flexors as well.

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#6
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Your diet seems ok, maybe learn to cook some simple stuff (stir fry for example) and have that when your parents are having the fast food but otherwise it's pretty decent. The main thing you're gonna have to do if you want to improve is exercise. If you just want to lose weight then combining running with stuff like situps will help you but if you want to gain muscle, pressups, pullups, dips etc are all fairly easy and effective. Personally I'd say at your age it's probably best to stay away from the gym as you're probably still growing and it can be easy to get carried away and do yourself some damage so just keep active and take it easy on your body for now.
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#7
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There would be absolutely zero problems with a 16 year old going to the gym
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Your diet seems fine, the only thing I can think of is watch your portion sizes, or switch to foods that give you bigger portion sizes with less cal/carbs/fat. I would suggest seeing if you can get Cheerios or Chex, as both cereals are pretty decent tasting and a little better than sugary cereals (depending on which sugary cereal you're eating). If you're not a big fan, you could always try putting cut up strawberries or bananas in your cereal.

Also see if they can get turkey or chicken for lunchmeat rather than bologna. If they get pizza, to cut fat/carbs, you can always take off the pepperoni/sausage or get veggie/cheese. Fast food is perfectly okay in moderation; you might want to take a look at McDonald's' [or whatever place they get frequently] nutritional info (probably on their website, or you can go into the restaurant and ask for a brochure) and pick something that is 'healthy' and see if they can order you that when they get fast food. I don't recall the best-for-you-stuff, but not eating fries easily cuts like 40g carbs and a fair amount of fat (dunno how much) for a small-med fry. I also find that you don't have to get a lot to be full; I can get a McDouble and some chicken nuggets and be fine for the rest of the day... So watch and see if you're actually hungry before you eat something just because it's there. You don't drink pop/juice, which is good; do you drink sports drinks or any of that? If you do, look at the nutritional info and check that they're not just saying it's good for you; often (like the Vitamin Water 10) they have a lot of carbs for just being 'water'.

Maybe for dinner, if you're not willing to learn to cook (I don't blame you) make up some kind of sandwiches... I find toasting bread, then putting meat and cheese on it and microwaving it for like 30 secs makes a sort of panini thingy that's pretty good. You could eat cereal as a snack/dinner as well if you really wanted to.

#9
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If you're trying to lose weight, the bottom line is eat less. THIS DOESN'T MEAN STARVE YOURSELF THOUGH. Don't go skipping meals or anything stupid like that
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THIS DOESN'T MEAN STARVE YOURSELF THOUGH. Don't go skipping meals or anything stupid like that


Quoted for emphasis. If you're starving yourself, then you're losing weight yes, but you're becoming unhealthy. With your diet, it's fine the way it is. Starving yourself is not an acceptable compromise to lose some weight, especially when you're not in any great need to.

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There would be absolutely zero problems with a 16 year old going to the gym


This is true. I don't understand why anyone would think going to the gym at 16 would do damage. At all. In fact it would help you.
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There would be absolutely zero problems with a 16 year old going to the gym


This is true. I don't understand why anyone would think going to the gym at 16 would do damage. At all. In fact it would help you.


The popular misconception that hitting the gym stunts your growth because of younger kids hitting the gym and been giving steroids and the such by parents to become mini-hulks.

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#13
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you could try eating less carbs and maintaing a lower-calorie diet to lose weight without exercising

#14
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you could try eating less carbs and maintaing a lower-calorie diet to lose weight without exercising


Thing about just doing that though is that yeah, you'll lose weight, but you won't look any more muscular or anything. If his goal is just to lose weight, then yeah, eat less. (multiply body weight in pounds by 14, that is the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight. Eat 500 less calories a day and see how it goes for a couple weeks/months, then readjust if needed)
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you could try eating less carbs and maintaing a lower-calorie diet to lose weight without exercising


Thing about just doing that though is that yeah, you'll lose weight, but you won't look any more muscular or anything. If his goal is just to lose weight, then yeah, eat less. (multiply body weight in pounds by 14, that is the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight. Eat 500 less calories a day and see how it goes for a couple weeks/months, then readjust if needed)


yeah but he said he's not exercising yet. so either way he's not going to be looking any more muscular. cutting carbs will burn away his body fat.

#16
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Thanks for the advice guys, sorry for taking a while to respond. But anyways, if it seems sort of unclear what my goals are: I won't really have time to do real workouts until at least may after AP tests are done, when i'll have my lisense and I might be able to get a gym membership. Until then though, I'm just trying to fix my diet enough to lose maybe 10-15 pounds by then. Its winter now, so the sidewalks are pretty terrible right now for running. Once it starts warming up again I'll start running, which will help.

Your diet seems fine, the only thing I can think of is watch your portion sizes, or switch to foods that give you bigger portion sizes with less cal/carbs/fat. I would suggest seeing if you can get Cheerios or Chex, as both cereals are pretty decent tasting and a little better than sugary cereals (depending on which sugary cereal you're eating). If you're not a big fan, you could always try putting cut up strawberries or bananas in your cereal.

Also see if they can get turkey or chicken for lunchmeat rather than bologna. If they get pizza, to cut fat/carbs, you can always take off the pepperoni/sausage or get veggie/cheese. Fast food is perfectly okay in moderation; you might want to take a look at McDonald's' [or whatever place they get frequently] nutritional info (probably on their website, or you can go into the restaurant and ask for a brochure) and pick something that is 'healthy' and see if they can order you that when they get fast food. I don't recall the best-for-you-stuff, but not eating fries easily cuts like 40g carbs and a fair amount of fat (dunno how much) for a small-med fry. I also find that you don't have to get a lot to be full; I can get a McDouble and some chicken nuggets and be fine for the rest of the day... So watch and see if you're actually hungry before you eat something just because it's there. You don't drink pop/juice, which is good; do you drink sports drinks or any of that? If you do, look at the nutritional info and check that they're not just saying it's good for you; often (like the Vitamin Water 10) they have a lot of carbs for just being 'water'.

Maybe for dinner, if you're not willing to learn to cook (I don't blame you) make up some kind of sandwiches... I find toasting bread, then putting meat and cheese on it and microwaving it for like 30 secs makes a sort of panini thingy that's pretty good. You could eat cereal as a snack/dinner as well if you really wanted to.


Thank you for the ideas. Also, I don't drink sports drinks or anything either, just water for the most part.




you could try eating less carbs and maintaing a lower-calorie diet to lose weight without exercising


Thing about just doing that though is that yeah, you'll lose weight, but you won't look any more muscular or anything. If his goal is just to lose weight, then yeah, eat less. (multiply body weight in pounds by 14, that is the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight. Eat 500 less calories a day and see how it goes for a couple weeks/months, then readjust if needed)


yeah but he said he's not exercising yet. so either way he's not going to be looking any more muscular. cutting carbs will burn away his body fat.


I'm not necessarily trying to look muscular yet; I'll start working towards that when I'm at a place with proper equipment and stuff to be able to do most exercises (all I have access to at home are a 10 pound and 25 pound dumbell...). I was thinking I would lose the extra fat, and then start adding muscle. However, if my end goal is to eventually start putting on muscle, would it be better to just maintain my current calorie intake and do the exercises listed here with what I have available rather cut it down 500 calories?

#17
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i would say just do some bodyweight exercises if you don't have equipment for now, and definitely start cutting carbs and eating fewer calories.

#18
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You don't need a gym membership. You can buy some cheap equipment (some dumbbells, maybe weight bench, doorway pullup bar, or even resistance bands to do everything). If you can't purchase the equipment, nothing wrong with working out with no weights. You won't get huge, but you'll burn some fat and you'll at least hit a plateau of muscle without weights, which is better than what you're currently at. Pushups (and variations), crunches (and variations), flutter kicks, squats, lunges, wall sits, etc. As for the running, you can jog in place, do jumping jacks, plyos, anything to get your heart rate up will help boost your cardio for now, then once the conditions outside can get better, then you can do actual running.

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#19
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You don't need a gym membership. You can buy some cheap equipment (some dumbbells, maybe weight bench, doorway pullup bar, or even resistance bands to do everything). If you can't purchase the equipment, nothing wrong with working out with no weights. You won't get huge, but you'll burn some fat and you'll at least hit a plateau of muscle without weights, which is better than what you're currently at. Pushups (and variations), crunches (and variations), flutter kicks, squats, lunges, wall sits, etc. As for the running, you can jog in place, do jumping jacks, plyos, anything to get your heart rate up will help boost your cardio for now, then once the conditions outside can get better, then you can do actual running.


From my experience, it's cheaper to actually get a gym membership, than too buy equipment for home use. At least at the gym you have a vast amount of different machines, than just a few.

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#20
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Yeah there's absolutely no room in my house for workout equipment aside from dumbells. Also pull-up bars are pretty expensive not counting those other things. I'll look into those other exercises you mentioned though.




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