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‘If I don’t eat three square meals a day, can this cause unhealthy weight gain?’

‘If I don’t eat three square meals a day, can this cause unhealthy weight gain?’

Jim, 27, is concerned that he’s overweight. He weighs 250 lbs, and a lot of his family has developed type 2 diabetes after 30. He’s tried everything from exercising to dieting to cutting back on alcohol consumption, but nothing seems to be working. What should he change about his lifestyle to get back into shape?

My advice:

Jim, you say you have a 48-inch waist, which, for your height, is a big deal. You should aim to get this down to about 40 inches or below, which means losing about 40 lbs. I know that’s not easy — but with your family history of diabetes and current weight, you’re going to die early or suffer from a wide range of diseases if you don’t lose the weight.

There may be a couple reasons you’re having difficulty. So, I want you to go to the doctor and check your PSA, cholesterol and testosterone levels. It’s especially important to get your testosterone tested, because extra weight acts like a testosterone sponge, soaking it up and affecting everything from your heart to your sex drive.

Now let’s see what we can do to get you back in shape. The kinds of exercises you’re doing: running on a treadmill and lifting weights, aren’t cutting it. Instead, I want you to exercise three times a week, and not too aggressively. You want to raise your heart rate but you don’t want to exhaust yourself.

As far as your diet goes, cut down on the junk. My philosophy is, avoid breads, pizza, pasta, cookies and cake. When it comes to losing weight, it’s all about the calories — especially those high-carb processed foods. To lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn off. If you do this slowly, you don’t have to feel hungry all the time.

In your case, I think the best thing you can do for your body is to not just change what you eat, but also when you eat. A lot of overweight people are not eating regular meals. They eat nothing during the day, and then tip the refrigerator into their mouth at night.

Even if your job is demanding, you need to find ways to eat regular meals of nutritious food. Don’t let your job ruin your health! Aim for a nutritious dinner (a salad with grilled meat would work well), but also make sure you eat a decent lunch. For breakfast, try eating oatmeal and nuts. Make sure to also drink a lot of water throughout the day and exercise a couple times a week. Jim, I know losing weight is hard—but this is a tough goal that is definitely worth the effort of achieving it.

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