I got problems, ya'll. So, it's a long story, but I'm a 27-year old New York transplant to Seattle, WA, living with my girlfriend (31, fairly fit), her mother (50-something, overweight) and stepfather (50-something, not in great shape, but weight not "an issue"). I'm trying to help my girlfriend's mother lose some weight (she is at an unhealthy [and undisclosed] weight and has been diagnosed with heart disease).
I am a T-Nation convert for about three or four years now. I've lived a very carb-reduced life since coming to T-Nation. I've done some Crossfit and I believe strongly in circuit training at intense intervals for fat loss. I have lost 75 lbs, but I am still about 20 lbs of fat away from my own fitness goals. (Current program "Real Fast Fat Loss.")
Some of my biggest fat-loss tenets are:
1. Least amount of carbs possible per day
2. NO CARBS after 7PM (earlier, say, 5PM if possible)
3. Only lean meat, green vegetables, and low-carb protein shakes (From Biotest - shameless plug!) after 7PM.
4. High Intensity Interval Training for fat loss 3 days per week (with proper peri-workout nutrition - also featuring high quality Biotest supplements!) and proper rest periods
5. High protein intake (6 +/- meals per day, including at least 3 low-carb protein shakes) aiming for approx .8 grams of high-quality protein per pound of body weight.
6. More green vegetables (3-4 servings per day, not including superfood style supplements, at least 2 servings should be uncooked if possible)
I have tried to impart all of these tenets to her in order to help her move towards better fitness (although for injury reasons, she cannot engage in HIIT training, nor would I necessarily recommend HIIT for the beginning lifter seeking fat loss, I just recognize it as pretty much the best form).
Some big problems in this situation:
1. My GF's Mom (let's just refer to her as "mom" from here on) has very poor health: she has all sorts of injuries (knee, back, and neck) and stomach problems (making dietary stuff problematic at times).
Mom has very poor nutritional information. She doesn't realize the importance of eating as few carbs as possible and never to eat them late at night and that "a little bit of chocolate" is still sugar and carbs!
My girlfriend thinks that my demonization of carbs borders on fanatical (which it...kinda does...but I'm right!). She's not 100% behind my crusade to eliminate carbs in her mother's life in order to help her lose weight.
Mom is picky. She has one brand of protein powder (Spirutein,14 grams protein, 11 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber per serving - this doesn't meet my high standards for low-carb protein shakes), which she says that she likes the flavor of and "digests well." She claims to be lactose intolerant. I have heard reports that some high quality whey proteins do not cause adverse reactions in people with lactose intolerance. Can anyone substantiate this for me? I'd really like to get her on Biotest GROW! ASAP. Mom is also picky about the foods that she will eat in general, and she leans on the carbs.
Mom's husband (we'll call him "dad") is clueless: Dad is in his 50s, techy, doesn't care much about his physical form, isn't in good shape, but isn't dangerously overweight or sedentary or injured or anything, he's just clueless about health and nutrition, etc. and therefore can't really help Mom on her journey towards fitness. Furthermore, he goes food shopping with her and grabs carby stuff off the shelf, then they buy it, and he may or may not eat it, but either way, now it's around the house and it finds its way into Mom's mouth. (this whole "buying carby crap" thing has to go).
Mom's son (who is a totally great guy!) is about my age, but in better physical condition - he's been working out longer than I have, has a great frame, and really applies himself. The problem is, he doesn't have a ton of experience losing fat, so his only real data is about developing and maintaining muscle, and his information doesn't go very deep. He's dropped some information around her about periworkout nutrition (needing sugar and protein, which is all well and good and fine), but she's not doing any work right now that is hard enough to necessitate highly specialized periworkout nutrition (I'd personally like to see her drink 30 grams of Grow! protein with a handful of BCAAs before her workouts and that's it).
Mom doesn't make "working out" (which, in T-Nation tradition, I call "training," which often causes people to ask "training for what?" to which I reply: "fuck you.") a priority. Most days, if it even crosses her mind, it's at about 9:30 at night. The gym closes at 10.
If you've made it this far: THANK YOU! I definitely needed to get that all off my chest. If any of you have any stories, information, advice, or direction to offer for this situation, it would be greatly appreciated.
The following are some initiatives which I would like to see her undertake in order to contribute to her fat loss and overall health and fitness goals:
- 45-60 minutes treadmill/elliptical/walk, at a brisk pace, preferably on an empty stomach, at least 4 times per week, immediately upon arising for the day.
- No bread, potatoes, chocolate, sweets, etc. (basically all the stuff we think of as no-brainer type stuff for fat loss, but other people need to be told not to do).
- Food log - time, amounts, etc. in detail.
- Activity log - time, amounts, exercises, weights.
- Resistance training 1 - 2 times per week (goal of three times per week, eventually). [oh, another problem - she's got this resistance training thing stuck in her head like she's going to gain a ton of muscle and start burning massive amounts of fat any time soon, and she just needs to get it into her head that it's going to be a long arduous process with very little short-term gain/benefit and a lot of pain and sacrifice - and that's the GOOD news).
I would like her weight training sessions to consist of six exercises, two to four sets of each, ten to twelve reps per set, always with the option to increase weight, or do a drop down set towards the end. Rest intervals would be timed between each set. Periworkout nutrition would consist of Spirutein to start, then Biotest GROW if I can convince her to use it, then eventually SURGE (but that's at least 6 months down the road, if not further). Can anyone give any suggestions for exercises that they have used with people like Mom? I will work with her personally to determine which exercises she can accomplish safely and for maximum effect.
6. No carbs at night.
7. More small meals (at least 2 protein shakes per day).
Again: any advice, direction, or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks for indulging me.
*****Please keep in mind that I'm always a total gentleman about all this stuff: she's asked me multiple times to show her exercises at the gym, and I've agreed, she just never makes it a priority to get there when we would actually have time to get it done. I've also undertaken most of the cooking duties in the house, favoring lean meats and fish (hello, salmon!), so I'm doing my best to help her keep on the right path*****