Q&A – knee surgery, boring leftovers, and when your MD and RD don’t agree

I got a few good questions this last week and thought I’d knock ’em out in Q&A style.

If you have questions that you’d like Galya or me to answer, let us know in the comments, through email, or via the contact page. Just let us know. Cool? Cool.


Contests and giveaways

Oh, before I start, I want to let you know that we will be having a couple of contests/giveaways in the next few weeks, so if you’re not already subscribed to TheFitInk Newsletter, you could miss your chance. To subscribe, just go to the bottom left of this or any other Fit Ink page and fill in and submit the newsletter signup form. You’ll get the news first, newsletter exclusives, plus if you haven’t downloaded the free workout plan that we announced last week, it’s in there, too.

That’s all I got on the contests for now, so here we go on the Q&A!


Knee surgery

I’m having knee surgery next month, and I won’t be able to run for months, much less squat. I’m worried about getting fat. Do you have any suggestions for exercises?

1. Remember that nutrition plays a huge role in your weight. Calories in and calories out do count, so you’ll have to eat less to maintain. With moving around less, physiologically, you should be less hungry. If your appetite doesn’t go down, then you need to ask yourself if it’s hunger or habit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Still, your recovery needs to be your top priority, so eat the most healthful foods you can and eliminate and minimize those that are less healthy. Our Good Guys, Bad Guys is a good reminder of what to focus on and what to avoid.

2. Talk to your doctor about renting a wheelchair. You still use the crutches to get around, but the wheelchair can be used for actual exercise. One of those racing chairs would be cool, but too expensive, so just shoot for a regular wheelchair. If it’s prescribed, it might be a little more cost effective. You can also check your local Craigslist. I just checked my area, and there were two for FREE and several under $100.

wheelchair for good cardio exercise

Get out there and exercise!

Talk to your gym about suspending your membership for 2-3 months. If you’re paying a lot, then it will help you afford the wheelchair.

3. One of the most boring items in the gym is the arm ergometer, which is like a bicycle crank for your arms. This is the only time you should use this thing. Do intervals or tabatas or something…

4. Use your crutches to take walks, but don’t overdo it. They can put a lot of pressure on the armpits and lead to shoulder pain, blisters, bruises, and even numbness. Make sure they are properly adjusted for you, so you can use your hands as support, in addition to to your pits.

5. Can you swim? Swimming is great exercise. See if your doctor approves of water jogging, which has some weight bearing component, so be careful.

If you do exercise in the water, take a hot shower right afterward and be aware of the appetite stimulating effect that can come from losing some body temperature in the water. Eat, but resist the urge to overeat. You’ll warm up and your appetite will return to normal in a bit.

Let us know how things go!


What gives with my MD and RD?

My doctor recommended that I see a Registered Dietician for help with my diet (overweight, borderline diabetes, and fatigue), but she (the RD) prescribed a low fat, high carb diet, even though he (my doctor) told me to watch my carbs, take fish oil and olive oil, drop the packaged foods, and eat some red meat because my iron is low. What gives?

I’m neither an MD nor an RD, but I do know people in both positions.

1st, both mean well. They each went into their position to help people. Kudos to each.

2nd, Medical Doctors (MDs) get very little nutrition training in medical school. The nutrition education that is taught seems to be outdated, anyway. Doctors have to take it upon themselves to get educated in nutrition, and it sounds like your doctor has done that.

Your doctor should be complimented for giving you pretty good advice. One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to cut back on carbohydrates, which are notoriously easy to overeat, contain empty calories, and are often devoid of much nutrition. In addition, fish oil is wonderful for reducing inflammation and improving mood. To top it off, he recommended red meat, which he knows isn’t bad for you, despite what the media would like you believe. I like this doctor!

3rd, Registered Dieticians (RDs) get a lot of nutrition training, obviously. Still, that doesn’t mean that she’s kept up to date with the research. In fact, I’m writing this in Starbucks, and I’m actually sitting across from someone who I know to be a Registered Dietician. She’s eating a bagel with light cream cheese and drinking a huge soy based iced chai drink with extra pumps of both chai syrup and soy milk. This is not a healthy meal, but she eats something similar every time I see her; a low fat, high carb, sugary breakfast. I know this is just one RD, but my point is that they don’t know it all, and like many people, fall for the conventional wisdom that hasn’t helped our society in the obesity department, despite years of “low fat, high carb” advice.

In this case, your solution is to go back to your doctor and ask for a referral to an RD who’s more up to date. Your doctor probably assumes that most RDs are pretty good about this stuff, and he would likely want to know that it’s not always the case.

If your doc didn’t specifically refer you to this RD, and you found one on your own, you might have to do your own research. The Paleo Physicians Network is one place to look for RDs (plus doctors, of course) that understand how food and nutrition can play a major role in health. Don’t let the word “paleo” scare you; that’s just one of the dietary styles that they understand. Many are merely “real food” supporters, but there’s no “Real Food Physicians Network” to point you to. ๐Ÿ™‚


Leftovers are boring

I’ve been told that a great way to stick to my diet is to make a huge pot of chili or stew on Sunday night, and then eat it as leftovers and lunches all week. I like it the first day, but by day three I leave it in the fridge and go out to lunch, instead. What can I do to make things more interesting?

There are a few ways to approach this thing, so bear with me.

1. Make the big pot of whatever. Say it’s four servings. Put them into four plastic containers, but freeze two of them for next week. Once you’ve done this once, you’ll notice that next week, you’ll be able to take two from the freezer to mix things up. Obviously, you can do this with almost anything, until you have a variety to choose from on hand at all times.

Once they are frozen, it’s hard to tell what they are and when they were made, so write the date and the dish on some masking tape and stick in on the lid, lest you have this problem…

persimmon or pumpkin puree

persimmon or pumpkin puree? Which is which?

2. You don’t have to make a whole dish on Sunday night, you just have to make the foods that are time consuming to cook. I often make a pot roast,pork loin, or whole chicken, but pair it with different veggies and salads throughout the week.

Once you have several meals worth of meat, it’s simple enough to make different dishes, whether it’s tacos, soup, stews, of just meat and veggies on your plate.

If I’m roasting meat, I often toss some potatoes, carrots, turnips, and squash in there to roast alongside. Once these are cooked, it’s very easy to reheat them later on in the week, even if you only eat this combination just once.


pork roast


Have a question?

If you have questions that you’d like Galya or me to answer, let us know in the comments, through email, or via the contact page. Just let us know. We’ll keep it anonymous if you like, “mr hemorrhoid.” ๐Ÿ˜‰



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