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At the present moment, I am 5'8", 17, and weigh 210 pounds. At the beginning of the summer, or maybe a little before, I started to pay more attention to what I ate and how I exercised. Though, it is a month now, and I still don't feel like I'm doing enough. I did this in the hopes to lose weight (I am sorry if this is a stereotype of a question), and also, because I generally don't feel good. I went to get a physical last week, and my doctor pointed out I need to lose weight, which made me question if I was doing enough.

I always feel fatigued and tired. I believe some of it has to do with depression and boredom, but, I believe a good amount of it may be with what I eat. Everyday, for breakfast, I eat a bowl of cheerios, and skim milk; or I make an three - egg - omelette, and put two slices of ham, and two slices of cheese in the eggs. I also add a little milk in the egg, before it is cooked, to change the texture. After whatever I eat, I have a protein shake, it contains 30g of protein. I work under the assumption I need 70 a day.

I do have a bad habit of eating whatever snack food I can find in the morning, before I cook breakfast.

For lunch, I usually eat a sandwich. The sandwich will consist of two slices of wheat bread, two slices of ham, two slices of cheese, mayonnaise, and I put a small pack of chips in the sandwich as well. If I do not eat that, I usually have yogurt. If I do not have either, I usually don't eat. Many times, even after eating lunch, I'm still very hungry, and don't feel too good. My head and my stomach hurt a lot. I don't know why.

For dinner, I eat whatever my mom cooks for me. She cooks either sphahetti, chicken, steak, pork chops, hamburgers, tacos, or macaroni and cheese (which consists of Velveeta cheese. I understand these things generally are not good for me. However, my mom isn't into cooking, and those are my options, when she cooks. If she is not home, I have to cook. I eat whatever I can find. Sometimes, I eat another sandwich, sometimes I cook one of the aforementioned foods, sometimes I order food, though not often, and sometimes I don't eat. It depends on circumstance. After dinner, I have another protein shake.

At times, I snack on things as well, though, mostly, I believe it is because I'm bored. I try to eat whatever fruit we have, we have grapes, mangos, and kiwis currently. There are also cashews and granola bars. On the other hand, there are chips (In my kitchen, the chips are currently the Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream) and M & Ms. If I'm sitting in my house for a long time, I usually go to eat some, and then return to whatever I was doing. we used to have cookies as well (when we go grocery shopping, I get one thing that I consider as desert).

The only thing I drink is water. There usually aren't other drinks at my house. We have two 50 oz glasses, that I fill with ice water, and I drink them whenever I'm thirsty throughout the day. I don't keep track of how much water I take in.

As for exercise, I try to walk outside every day. If it's nice out, I try to walk two times around my neighborhood or I go to the park, sit down for a bit, and walk back. I also walk to church, there and back, which is about half an hour, every week. Sometimes, when I don't have lunch, I will walk to the store. It will take an hour or more. I ride my bike as well, but it doesn't seem like an exercise to me, since I don't pedal constantly. I ride around the track at my local college, 5 times, every few weeks. I believe it is one mile, but I'm not sure. Walking and riding my bike are my means of transportation.

Also, I run every two or 3 days. I jog for 10 minutes, in my house, and then I run fast for 15, I take a small break, and then run fast for another 15. I used to run fast for 30 minutes altogether, in one unit, but one time, I fell to the ground halfway (though, I'm not opposed to doing that again, if need be). I play music when I run, and check my heartbeat after every song. If it 200 bpm or higher, then I say I have done a sufficient job. If it is lower, I say I haven't. I run every 2 or 3 days. I do not do any exercises, which are focused on building muscle.

I hope I have accounted enough of my diet and exercise habits, for them to be able to go under correction. What should I do different? What should I eat, instead; and, how can I improve my exercise habits? What else can I do? Where can I learn? Thank you.

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Congratulations on already getting a good start. You are young and can create your own healthy habits and a lifestyle that will serve you well for the rest of your life. There are some good answers on this site about getting back in shape so I'll refer you to those for more information.

  • Diet is really key.

    If as you say you are eating snacks (junk), then you are likely to feel like junk. You can't put this on your mom, but you can have an honest conversation with her about the junk food lying around. Explain to her that your doctor said that you need to lose weight and that you would like her help and support. Then sit down and work out a menu for the week together.

  • √ Water is great. Avoid sugary drinks that add calories and no nutrition.
  • Many people find low carbohydrate diets helpful when trying to lose weight. Carbs break down into sugars. Start to keep a journal of everything that goes in your mouth so that you can see what you are actually eating and can see how many carbs you are eating. You mention the following carbs: chips, cheerios, bread, spaghetti, macaroni and pasta, fruits, cookies and candy. You also mention that you don't feel well after you eat which is a clue to listen to your body and how it responds to what you are feeding it.
  • Portion Size: Learn to read labels. Take your M&Ms for example. The label says there are only 34 calories. That does not sound like much until you look at the serving size, which is 10 pieces - way less than what you probably eat.

    What you eat is really just a habit. Spend some time and effort to create a diet that serves you well. Then it becomes a habit and easy to follow.

  • Exercise

    Exercise is the second key to getting into good shape. Some type of exercise everyday is healthy. A variety of exercises and activities will help you address all your body's concerns and keep you from getting bored. Keep a log of what you do so you can see how you progress.

    Types of exercise you need in your life are cardiovascular (heart and lungs), flexibility (stretching), strength (resistance training) and relaxation/rest.

  • Cardio - Walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming etc. are all cardio exercise because they raise your heart rate. (See #4 on this question's answer for minimal recommendations of duration and intensity). It sounds like you are already doing cardio. The Couch to 25K podcasts have a nice progression. HIIT is cardio with short bouts of higher intensity effort.

  • Flexibility - A routine stretching program will help you prevent injury. Dynamic stretching (not static stretching) is used as a warm-up before exercise.

  • Resistance Training - Strengthening exercises not only work your muscles, but they strengthen your bones and help to improve your posture. Strengthening exercises are not done everyday so that the muscle can recover. Resistance can be from:

    • bodyweight (planks, push-ups, squats, lunges etc.),
    • resistance bands or
    • weights (free weights, barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells etc.) or machines.

    Bodyweight exercises are probably the easiest way to get started in your living room. More information about bodyweight references here.

  • Measurements

    Keeping track of your measurements will help you know how you are doing and keep you motivated. Weight, as your doctor mentioned, is one measurement. Waist measurements are easy to do and can show rapid progress.

A nice reference site for exercises is http://exrx.net/Exercise.html. That should give you enough info to develop a good program and keep from getting bored. Good luck.

  • You are welcome. As you develop your plan, you will have more questions. Check the search box and if you don't find what you need, just ask. Good luck. You are lucky that you are starting young as these changes are good for a lifetime. – BackInShapeBuddy Jul 6 '15 at 17:37
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THE best way to lose weight is to count calories, it's the best because it always works and because it makes you understand what you should eat and what you shouldn't. A regular mcdonalds cheeseburger is 300 kcal, eat two for lunch and you'll have no calories left and you'll be hungry in an hour!

If you start counting calories, you'll notice that your current diet sucks and that you're very unlikely to lose any weight. The things you eat are just too energy dense to make you full with at the calorie level you should be at.

Your daily calorie need, calculated from your stats is 2344 kcal/day, that's without exercise. Add 160 kcal for every mile you run and 120 for every mile you walk.

Get some calorie counting app (I like lifesum) and start inputting what you eat, having a food scale helps a lot! Aim at eating 500-750 calories less than what you need per day and you'll see steady, weight loss.

What's great about counting calories is that it works no matter what calories you eat, so in theory you don't need to think about that (but in practice, you will learn what's smart to eat and what's not.) Really, the only disadvantage is that it's a bit cumbersome to always write down what you eat.

Water, protein, weight lifting doesn't really matter to weight loss, but are good in other ways.

Also, 200 bpm is a very high level! Aim around 160-180 on average, and do your extreme 200 bmps runs some times.

  • Thank you! However I do have a question... What do you mean by "energy dense?" What makes a food energy dense? – Julian Jefko Jul 6 '15 at 14:26
  • Many calories per unit of volume. Cucumber is not calorie dense, cookies are. Basically one component of feeling full is that your stomach is full of stuff, so eating foods that are high in volume per calorie can be a strategic choice. Even if you don't like salad stuff, there are still examples like regular potatoes vs mac'n'cheese where one choice is better with regard to density. One of my favourites if I really feel I need to chew on something is carrots, they are low density, healthy and tasty. – Mårten Jul 7 '15 at 5:44

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