I'm mostly asking this question to make sure that there isn't something I'm overlooking. I've been eating a fairly specific diet for about the last 6 months - mostly because I like it - and I've gained about 15 lbs over the same period.

Everyday for breakfast I have a Shaklee Soy Powder protein shake mixed with a banana; crushed ice; water; and either blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. (And 2 cups of coffee)

For lunch I have a mixed green salad with cashews, sunflower seeds, and golden raisins, with Ranch dressing. Also - 2 pieces of Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain bread with Country Crock.

And then for dinner I have various things.

I'm asking if there is something in what I listed for breakfast or lunch that would be the culprit.

It very well may be whatever I have for Dinner, but I want to make sure that what I presume to be a healthy diet (that I enjoy) isn't the problem.

Also - additional info: I quit smoking in October. I've never thought twice about my diet before this period - my favorite dessert was a can of Vanilla Frosting. I weigh (now) 216 lbs, 6'1, 37 years old.


I have done a lot of legwork for you here, lets take a look at the meals mentioned in myfitnesspal's calorie checker: Holy cow, that's a lot of calories

I have assumed 2 tbsp of each dried fruit & nuts with lunch. Ignore the goals at the bottom.

If I plug in your height, weight, age into IIMYM.com I get that your BMR is 1961 calories and your TDEE is 2298 calories. If you want a nice gentle cut you need to aim for between 1950 and 1838 calories per day. (I am a 5ft6 Male, 25, aggressively cutting, working out 5-6 times a week doing weightlifting. I redid my target during this and now I have gone from 3 to 6 days a week exercise and am now targeting 1898 calories on a cut)

While my Macros might not match yours, the outcomes from the breakfast and lunch tell a story.

  • 797 calories for lunch is a LOT and doesn't leave you much for snacks and dinner.
  • You are eating a lot of carbs. Banana, Berries, Raisins and Bread are the main offenders. Fruit is great for providing vitamins and minerals but watch out for too much of it in your diet as it contains lots of sugar.
  • You aren't eating anywhere enough protein. Eating more lean mean (chicken, fish) will help you eliminate your appetite. Consider brown rice, chicken and veg for lunch, for example.
  • You are eating too much sugar through fruits, cut down on the sugar intake.




  • Very nice! Protein is even lower than I'd have thought. It'd be hard to catch up with that on dinner (assuming some weight work is being done in the gym).
    – G_H
    May 17 '16 at 8:06

You are indeed eating something that causes weight gain: food. Track it. Weigh what you eat, track it in an application such as MyFitnessPal or any of the alternatives, and make absolutely sure you're using a correct entry (correcting based on the food label as necessary) or using, say, values from the USDA database. For whole foods you can often find this straight away typing something into Google (try "cashews" for example). If you want to be precise in finding out where you go wrong and how much you really consume, you need to track. Ignore the fact that many people seem to do just fine not ever paying attention or thinking much about what they eat (other than "what would be tasty today") because it's not working for you. You've got to be precise and turn it into a science. Measure, correct.

If I'd had to pick out the foods you listed that would be most tricky, it's

  • Cashews. Nuts are very calorie dense. Very healthy and nutritional, too, but lots of calories. 50 grams doesn't look like much but it'd be over 270 kcal.
  • Sunflower seeds. Same thing goes for seeds as for nuts. Good food, but very calorie dense.
  • Raisins. Dried fruits are high in sugar. Easy to go overboard on these.
  • Ranch dressing. Could be fine, but it depends on the dressing. It might be loaded with fats and sugars.
  • The bread. Carb-dense food sources like bread, potatoes, pasta and rice can give a heavy hit of calories for what seems like not such a big amount, and aren't very good for satiety, so you might end up eating more at dinner than you otherwise would.

So, eh, kind of listed your whole lunch there. I think you'd be better of eating a salad with a lean source of protein like roasted chicken breast or shrimps. Or at least lower the amount of cashews, sunflower seeds and raisins, and find out the nutritional values of that ranch dressing. See if there's a lower-calorie option. A "light" variant isn't always great because often what they take out in fat they partially replace with sugar (taste gotta come from somewhere) and if anything I'd say you're worse of with that.


Despite anything learned to the contrary, it is simply a question of physics, calories in v calories out. If you modify the ratio of exercise, to diet, you will either loose or gain weight, or stay the same. The ratio is important, so start eating and drinking less, and do significantly more exersise. Weigh yourself as a rough guide once a week. If it goes up, cut down more on food and drink, and work harder during exercise. If down, keep going until you reach goal weigh. To maintain the desired weigh, adjust ratios so you keep within a kilo a week. Don't over complicate things, don't cheat, and it will work every time.

David from Cornwall U.K

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