I need a meal plan

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I exercise moderately and would be grateful if you could send me a meal plan with Jamaican foods to help me maintain my weight. I am 46 years old, weigh 145 pounds, and my height is 5ft 5 inches.

At your age, I am very glad that you are exercising moderately and you want to keep your weight under control. Being overweight is definitely not good. Carrying excess weight is definitely a risk factor for many lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

There are some questions to which I would appreciate answers. First of all, what is your present diet like? What kind of exercise are you doing, and how often are you exercising? Even a slight difference in what kind of exercise you are doing can determine the kind of food you should be eating.

If you are doing more muscle-building types of exercise you should be keeping an eye on your protein intake in addition to your other nutrients. Protein is important in the repair and building of muscle cells and tissues. Also, the kind of exercise you are doing will determine whether you will continue to lose weight. For example, doing more cardio exercises will allow you to burn more fat and build muscles.

It should always be noted that muscles are more compact and denser than fat, so doing more muscle-building exercises can increase your weight, at least initially. In your situation, the main idea is to maintain your weight by balancing your calorie/food intake with your calorie output. The calorie output would be the total amount of calories you burn in exercise plus the calories you use for your daily activities and your metabolic processes.

So again, in order to maintain your weight you will have to strike a balance between the calories you take in from your food and the calories you burn. However, it is also important that your diet is as healthy as possible in the process. It should be interesting to know whether you are losing weight or your weight is stable at this time.

However, in the absence of all the information I need, I am still going to give you a general meal plan that might be helpful.

Breakfast

Take one option only:

1. Steamed vegetables with food

2. 12 oz of meal replacement shake

3. Yogurt with 2-3 fruits

4. Green juice

5. 12 oz porridge

Mid-morning snack

1 fruit or 1 cup yogurt

Lunch

Take 1 option only:

1. Lean, animal/vegetarian protein plus vegetable

plus 1-2 carbohydrates

2. 12-20 oz soup

3. 12-18 oz meal replacement shake

4. Steamed vegetables with food

Afternoon snack

1. 12 oz coconut water/1 fruit

Dinner

Take 1 option only:

1. 12- 20 oz of soup

2. Protein plus vegetable plus carbohydrate

3. Lean protein plus raw/steamed vegetables plus

4 oz pasta

4. 12-16 oz meal replacement shake

5. Steamed vegetables with food

It should be noted that if rice is added to meals, it is better to use brown rice. And remember to keep your water intake up. Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight, or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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