MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Sailors who have hit a weight loss plateau, or can't drop the weight despite having a physically active lifestyle, may benefit from a talk with their local dietician, officials said March 28.
"There are three main reasons why increasing exercise and activity may lead to weight plateau or increased weight gain. Being more aware will help you identify and adjust accordingly," said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, registered dietitian, Navy Nutrition, Navy Physical Readiness Program. "It is important to balance the nutrients that you put in your body with what you burn off in activity, whether that is normal daily activity or exercise."
One reason is that adding activity increases hunger.
"Make sure the food you eat will fill you up by choosing nutrient dense foods containing protein, fiber and healthy fats instead of calorie dense foods [including] high fat and high sugar items with few nutrients," continued Wallinger.
Another reason is choosing the wrong foods.
"The body is designed not to starve. If you do not choose lower calorie, filling food, you will naturally compensate for the extra calories burned from daily activity and exercise," said Wallinger. "Try filling up on vegetables before or as part of your meal."
Lastly, exercising can provide a false sense of entitlement.
"People may think, 'I worked out, so I can have or deserve that burger, cheesecake, nachos'...whatever," said Wallinger.
Activity helps you burn calories, but only if you do not eat all of those calories back. Sailors can track their food intake to ensure they are maintaining a calorie deficit to promote their weight management goals.
SuperTracker is available at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/supertracker.html.
While many may think consuming fewer calories is the key to weight loss, that method can backfire. According to Wallinger, a very low-calorie diet will ultimately slow your metabolism and weight loss and will encourage rapid weight regain when higher calorie consumption is resumed. The calories individuals need to lose or gain weight varies based on factors such as weight, age and activity level.
"There is a lot of information out there, some good and some bad," said Wallinger. "Speaking with a dietician can help Sailors identify and navigate the best method for their needs."
Sailors may learn more about healthy eating, nutrition and how to locate a dietician at the Navy Nutrition web site at
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.