Ask Stew – Work Hard With No Weight Loss

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Even if you are highly active with a manual labor job, after a certain age it is difficult to lose that stubborn 10-15 pounds that lingers around the mid-section of the body. Here is an email about the difficulties of losing weight even with a physically demanding job.

Hi! I was reading a few of your diet and exercise books and what you had to say about overcoming doubt really spoke to me. I thought I'd shoot you an email and ask a quick question:

I eat well, stay hydrated, and work on a farm so I'm doing physical work 8 hours a day. However, I've never been able to get to a healthy weight. I'm always 15lbs over. What should I do? - Mary

Mary - I too eat well and was pretty disciplined with my diet – so I thought. But, I did not really notice why I was not losing weight (when I was trying to) until I wrote everything down that I ate / drank for 3 days – I usually recommend a week, but I figured out my problem in 2-3 days.  In those 3 days, I noticed I scooped too many helpings of peanut butter as a "healthy" snack.  Well adding 500-600 calories to my day made losing weight impossible at nearly 50.  BUT I stopped it and started dropping with a regular workout routine I was doing. I also noticed that even though I was eating steak, chicken, fish, salads, fruits and vegetables primarily with very little if any snacking, I was eating too much.  It came down to simple portion control to be honest.

Also, a little more sugar control has helped push the weight down too. I actually eliminated sugar and focused on smaller meals and only snacking on nuts or a piece of fruit. By not consuming the entire meal or using smaller plates and saving some for left overs the following day, not only am I losing weight (10lbs in a month),but saving money. Sometimes you can eat too much steak / grilled chicken and foods that are good for you...making it hard to lose weight.  See related article I just wrote on a few weight loss methods that truly really come down to discipline with food intake and daily activity. I think with your daily activity of working on a farm - some monitoring of your diet will do the trick for you. If you want to add a 20-30 minute cooldown cardio section to the end of the day or first thing in the morning to wake up and get the juices flowing, that is not a bad idea for additional calorie burn options in the day.  This can be walking, jogging, or biking or any other cardio activity available to you to include swimming, rowing, cross-country skiing / elliptical gliding. You can keep it simple with little to no equipment or take the cardio activity inside with one of the many machine options.

Make sure you are drinking water throughout the day as well. That will help you feel less hungry as you start to decrease your portion size to someone who is not a teenager any more. I really do think that is one of the worst habits we have as Americans. As we age, we do not evolve from our eating habits that we had when we could eat everything in sight and not gain a pound. Eventually, we all need to learn that you can no longer outwork your diet after a certain age. For me it was around 40 years old, even though I am highly active (near 1.5-2 hours a day of workouts).

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