Guest Blog: Vtrim answers re: Maintenance Mode & Getting into the Health Biz

Many thanks to Beth & Heather from Vtrim Online for having guest blogged these past three times on the Healthy Loser Gal blog!!  They've provided us with some great information on losing weight the right way & keeping it off... curing the cravings, moving onto maintenance and so much more!  I am FOREVER indebted to Vtrim and will be a Vtrimmer for life now that I have found a sensible, healthy & proven way to lose the weight I've needed to lose - and more so - to keep it off.  Vtrim Online classes have proven a life saver, literally, for me.  I'm exercising and loving it - I'm eating right and proud of myself.  I think many people look at the up front cost of Vtrim Online and think it is prohibitive, but let me give you my take on that.  I was on Weight Watchers for FOUR YEARS and paid a monthly membership fee of $50+.  I also was constantly encouraged to buy their products, their magazines, their upgrades...  Just for the membership fee alone I was paying $600+ yearly and I wasn't losing the weight I needed to nor was I keeping it off.   In five months on Vtrim Online I have lost nearly 40 lbs. and have had the camaraderie of the other ladies and men in my weekly online classes.   So... the money is a BARGAIN when you look at it realistically.  Plus, and this is a big one to me, Vtrim Online is run by the University of Vermont.  The Vtrim program is backed by 20 years of proven research.  AND THEY'RE NON-PROFIT!! :)  With all this said, a big thank you to the dietitians for their final Guest Blog and answering all our questions! : )
Hi HLG Blog Readers!

It’s Beth and Heather, Registered Dietitians from Vtrim Online, and we’re here with answers to your insightful questions from HLG’s birthday blog post.

We were excited to see so many great questions that indicated you do not take your health for granted. At Vtrim, we also value credible, scientific information – no gimmicks!

Carrie asked the important question about maintenance: “I've met my weight-loss goal, and now want to focus on maintenance. I know I need to up my daily calorie intake, but I'm so afraid of putting back on the pounds that I'm still sticking with my old calorie goal. Any suggestions???”

Carrie, great question about maintenance. Losing weight is the beginning of the journey of keeping it off for life. At Vtrim we teach participants that maintaining a weight loss is all about mindset—what you do to lose weight is what you do to keep it off. This is about a healthier lifestyle, not a quick diet fix. You WILL have to exercise and you WILL have to think about your food choices and limit portion sizes. You WILL have to pay attention to the scale in order to keep your weight in a healthy range. And you WILL have to do this for the rest of your life.

In fact, research shows that two of the biggest predictors of long-term weight maintenance are 1) maintaining a regular exercise program, and 2) weighing yourself regularly—at least once a week. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a great resource of information about successful weight “losers.” And the data from the NWCR show that people who maintain their weight losses typically weigh themselves at least once a week but often once per day. They also exercise about an hour per day or about the equivalent of walking 28 miles per week (2800 calories burned through exercise).

As for calorie intake, for some people the difference between weight loss and weight maintenance is only a few hundred calories per day. But nevertheless, you can likely increase your calorie intake and maintain your weight loss. The best way to avoid overshooting your calorie needs is to continue to journal your calorie intake and gradually adjust your daily goal upwards.

Start by increasing your by 150-200 calories per day. Try that new goal for two weeks (ex. 1400 to 1550 calories) and see whether your weight remains the same. Then try moving your goal up again another 150-200 calories (ex. 1550-1700 calories). There is no perfect way to find your personal energy balance; it takes careful trial and error. Depending on age, size, and activity level, most women tend to maintain their weight between 1500-2000 calories per day. If you want more tips on what is working for successful maintainers, we recommend the NWCR’s website at

Becdanto asked “I have lost 113 lbs and kept it off for three years... I have fallen in love with fitness and nutrition. What would I need to study or major in to pursue a job in this field and to teach others...”Becdanto, it’s great to hear that your personal health journey has sparked your interest in helping others achieve the same benefits you have realized with a healthier lifestyle. There are several options to becoming educated and trained in the field of weight management. Most of our facilitators at Vtrim are registered dietitians, clinical psychologists, exercise physiologists/personal trainers, or licensed counselors. A bachelor’s degree in nutrition, exercise physiology, or counseling is a great foundation for this field of work. Best of luck to you!


Thanks to my two friends on Twitter @CaSuPe15 and @BeautifulBecky for the great questions for the Vtrim Online dietitians! You two both inspire me to get to my healthy weight and then step into maintenance forever mode! :)

And now for the winner of the book giveaway: The EatingWell Diet: Introducing the VTrim Weight-Loss Program: by Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino is...


who wrote me an email to say she left the comment and was having difficulties registering on Yahoo/Blogspot!!

Congrats, Debra! The great folks at Vtrim Online will be sending you off the book in the next week or so!!

Guest Blog: Vtrim answers "How Do I Fight 'the Hungries'?" and more!

I am so happy to have my friends at Vtrim back with another great guest blog post on handling those times when the 'hungries' seem overwhelming and also - how to handle the monotenany of a vegetarian diet & protein needs... they provide valuable info and great knowledge, so please welcome them back! :)

Hi HLG Blog Readers!

It’s Beth and Heather, Registered Dietitians from Vtrim Online, and we’re here with answers to your insightful questions from HLG’s birthday blog post. Thanks HLG!

We were excited to see so many great questions that indicated you do not take your health for granted. At Vtrim, we also value credible, scientific information – no gimmicks! So with that in mind, we narrowed your questions down and merged a few into one response to get more of your questions answered.

Kyra asked, “What do you do when "I want to eat everything in the fridge" strikes. I've been running for my workouts, and sometimes I just get the HUNGRIES!

Many people experience the “hungries” and have days when they feel like a bottomless pit. It happens to everyone! And while it can happen for different reasons (hormone cycles, activity levels, emotional responses, or poor timing of meals) it doesn’t mean you have to throw all caution to the wind. We recommend that whenever you eat, pay attention to your hunger scale to help guide your eating intervals throughout the day (On a scale of 1-10, 1 being starving, 10 being “totally overdid it”). You should avoid the extremes at each end of the hunger scale and aim to eat when your hunger level is between 3-4 (beginning to feel a little hungry or feeling uncomfortable and ready to eat). You should stop eating between 5-6 (comfortable and could only eat a little more or satisfied and feeling comfortable and full). As you keep track of your food choices and timing of meals each day, consider how your hunger level impacts the quality and quantity of what you eat.

By paying attention to your hunger cues, you will determine which eating patterns work best for you to establish your personal healthier routines that avoid large peaks and valleys in your energy and hunger levels.

Additionally, keep in mind that it is natural to need to refuel your body every 3-4 hours to keep your hunger cues at bay. Lean/lowfat protein is the #1 way to fuel up AND manage your appetite. When you do eat, be sure to include healthy, high protein foods.

OMGifatty said “I am getting the vegetarian blues! I am bored with my food choices, and don't really want to load up on the tofu and processed fake meats... I guess my question is, as a vegetarian, what should I be shooting for in terms of protein intake per day, if I am aiming for 12-1600 calories a day, 20-30 fat grams? Is there anything I should be looking out for, as I begin to fiddle with my diet?”

And Risse asked “I get bored of eating the same foods - what are some creative/different ways to get protein?

Chances are that when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, your eating choices could use a little shaking up. Sure there are some great healthy sources of protein out there, but eating the same things day in and day out can get boring. Having some variety is helpful. It’s interesting that research shows that the greater variety of healthy foods you eat in your diet, the more likely you will maintain your healthy habits. But on the flip side, the greater variety of foods in your diet that are high in sugar and fat (those simple carbs and the sweet and savory calorie traps) the less likely you will be to maintain a healthy weight. So variety in your diet with the RIGHT types of foods is important. For those who are looking to get more protein, lean meats/poultry, eggs, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, string cheese or other lower fat cheeses) are quick ways to get it in. But if you’re vegetarian, your choices are more limited.

Whether vegetarian or not, one of the best sources of protein in your diet is the dried bean/legume family (think pinto, black, chili, garbanzo, white, lowfat refried, etc). Not only are they packed with protein, they’re loaded with fiber, too. So they are great appetite managers. Just a ½ cup serving can go a long way. Nuts are also a great source of protein. They are high in fat (heart healthy fats) though so their calories add up, making portion control key. Nut butters are another way to creatively get more protein in. And higher protein cereals like kashi or higher protein grains like quinoa can add some variety to your protein intake.

So how much protein do you need? Typical recommendations are that 15-25% of your total calorie intake should come from protein. That’s 45-75 g protein for a 1200 calorie diet and 60-100 g protein for a 1600 calorie diet. The basic recommendation based on body size is .8 g/kg body weight (kg=pounds divided by 2.2). So for a 200-pound individual, that’s just under 75 g protein/day.