T Nation

Help! Fiance Doesn't Eat


#1

I would greatly appreciate any help from the wise people at T-Nation.

My fiance is by no means fat, but she is unhappy with her weight and the way she looks and would like to tighten up a little after having a baby 2 years ago. She has fallen into many of the weight loss traps that people fall into, and is definitely not eating enough.

Her diet the other day was a coffee for breakfast, a protein shake for lunch, and a little less than half a pound of teriyaki chicken with veggies for dinner. I know she is well below the 1000 calorie mark and in a couple of days like this she has gained a half pound.

Her diet when not trying to lose weight is minimal at best, and I feel she has not eaten enough for the better part of her life. Anytime she eats a more normal amount she starts gaining weight. She asks me for help, and the only thing I know is that she is not eating enough.

I want to help her, but I need a plan of action and I need to know what to expect. I know I need to get her eating more, I need to get her on a strict plan, and I need to get her weight training so that added calories can be in muscle and not fat.

I'm not sure what kind of calories to get her on. My thoughts are to get 1800 calories a day with minimal carbs and high protein, while putting her on a simple 3 day a week beginner program. I was thinking stronglifts 5x5 because it is what I started with, and I know it isn't too difficult so that she will give up, and I know with her dwindled muscle mass from not eating that she should respond well to anything really.

Would 1800 calories be too much to start with? Would I be able to get her losing fat relatively soon, or should I expect lots of gaining before I can even think of returning her to fat loss? Any experiences, advice, or ideas would be more appreciated than you can imagine. I hate to see her so upset about it, and will do anything to help her.


#2

Frankly getting her started on ANYTHING to start will be a vast improvement. Initially I also wouldn't discount carbs. If she was on a 40/35/35 of protein, fats and carbs respectively she should do well for a while. I'm also not sure how motivated she is, but if she isn't constantly bugging you to work in when you're squatting I'd be wary of busting her ass with a 5x5 program to start. I'm going through this same thing with my mother right now. What I've done is just had her monitor her calories (she has an app on her ipod) and provide her with input when she feels she needs it. Baby steps are my plan with her. Once she has made some progress (maybe 20 pounds lost) I am going to start her on light weight training a few times per week to compliment her walks. You want to make sure you have a place to progress to when things stall. If you drop her calories and have her do cardio 6 days per week and lift she'll make tremendous progress initially, but might stall shy of her goal because her body adapts. So to recap: Make sure she's eating a balanced diet, whole foods, have her monitor her intake with a program or journal, start her on light walking most days of the week, weight training after she shows consistency. Then manipulate these variables as necessary to continue progress.


#3

Also, has she had blood work to check how her body is functioning? You might want to have that done to make sure there aren't and underlying problems that you can't see. Like thyroid issues.


#4

...would be eating 110%


#5

You should be doing everything at %110.

You probably eat something like 40/30/30 or 50/30/20, don't you?

Slacker.


#6

its really important that SHE believes that working out and eating 1800cal is going to get her what she wants. if she doesn't believe it she will not want to eat that much or lift, ever.


#7

Get her thinking big-picture and how her current approach just isn't sustainable over the long haul.

edit - unless she's sedentary. then it might be decent enough, though not ideal


#8

Ha fuck....right. That's what I meant.