Every time I try to lose fat, I end up losing muscle. A nutritionist said to eat more protein and whole grains.

 Every time I try to lose fat, I end up losing muscle.  A nutritionist said to eat more protein and whole grains.

  • A 30-year-old woman provided an average day of eating for a review in Insider’s Nutrition Clinic.
  • She told Insider that she wants to lose fat, keep muscle, and get more energy.
  • A nutritionist said she should eat more protein throughout the day and whole grains in the evening.
  • If you would like to have your diet reviewed by an expert, fill out this form.
  • The advice in this article is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment.

Laura, 30, presented her nutritional routine to Insider’s Nutrition Clinic, where dietitians and nutritionists provide advice on readers’ eating habits.

She told Insider that her goals are to lose fat and maintain muscle. “Every time I tried to lose fat before, I ended up losing a ton of muscle mass and less fat,” she said. “I also like to have more energy because I never feel completely rested even after 7-8 hours of sleep.”

Laura said she’s a cook at a local shelter, so she’s on her feet all day. She also does resistance training or does interval work three to four times a week.

Registered dietitian Kimberley Neve reviewed what Laura eats in a day and told Insider she should be eating more protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

“The main advice when trying to lose fat while maintaining muscle is to ensure you spread adequate levels of protein throughout the day,” she said.

Resistance training along with an adequate protein intake will help maintain muscle while in a calorie deficit for fat loss, according to Neff.

Laura has cream of wheat and eggs for breakfast

Laura said her breakfast always consists of half a serving of cream of wheat made with whole milk and sugar.

She eats cream of wheat with an omelette consisting of a whole egg, plus egg whites, greens, garlic, onions, and mozzarella, all cooked in olive oil with avocado on the side.

Neve had no modifications to Laura’s breakfast, because it contains a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats and plenty of micronutrients.

Laura eats a carb snack in the middle of the morning

At about 11 a.m., Laura said she had a coffee with milk and a snack like brioche or butter cake.

“I’m used to eating small amounts of low-nutrition, high-calorie, processed snacks throughout the day and tons of sugar,” she said.

This means that Laura struggles to eat adequate amounts of healthy meals, and feels “overwhelmed” by “large amounts of clean, whole foods,” she said.

Neff suggested replacing her snack with nuts and dried fruits with chickpeas and vegetables, which provide more energy and slow-release protein.

Raspberry and oat juice

Sipping a smoothie throughout the day can help conserve energy.


Neve said a smoothie made with yogurt, oats, fruits, vegetables, and seeds to sip on throughout the day can also help.

Laura’s use of the term “clean” suggests she can improve her relationship with food, according to Neff, who works with clients recovering from eating disorders.

Neve said there is no such thing as “clean” foods and all foods can fit into a healthy diet.

“If she’s in the habit of restricting certain foods or feeling guilty about eating them, it’s not going to help balance her mind and her overall nutrition,” Neve said.

Laura is often too busy for lunch

Laura’s ability to have a proper lunch depends on how busy she is, and she often ends up grazing on snacks like cheese sticks, pretzels, or bananas.

When she has time, she said, she often eats a sandwich on whole-wheat bread, with either tuna and mayonnaise or peanut butter and jelly.

Tuna provides protein and whole-grain bread provides energy and fiber, but adding fruit or vegetables will provide more nutrients and help them feel full.

Neve said that eating mid-morning snacks that are high in protein should help keep your blood sugar stable if you can’t eat properly until later.

Laura has a salad for dinner

In the evening, Laura eats a salad made of leafy greens and protein such as chicken or boiled eggs with ham, in addition to the sauce.

Neve said Laura’s energy levels would benefit from the addition of whole grains.

“It’s okay to eat carbs in the evening,” she said. “They are essential to overall health and Laura appears to be limiting them, most likely in the pursuit of fat loss.”

You don’t have to cut down on carbohydrates to lose weight – they provide essential B vitamins that boost energy levels, and can aid in fat loss because their fiber helps you feel full.

She recommends whole-grain pasta, rice, lentils, or quinoa, among others.

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