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Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
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What are effective ways to lose weight and ultimately fat in

Resolved Question:

what are effective ways to lose weight and ultimately fat in my stomach. I'm 5'3" and 160 pounds with a waist measurement of 35", and a navel measurement of 37" and a hip measurement of 40". I am trying to lose weight and am not seeing any results...what foods or exercises can I do to lose this stubborn fat?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Valarie replied 6 years ago.

Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer with your question, and welcome.

How many calories are you currently eating?

And what type of exercise (how often) are you doing?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am currently trying to eat between 1400 and 1500 calories. I walk for 45 minutes briskly on tuesday and thursday, do a 10 mile bike ride monday and friday and wednesday is my day off. Usually the bike ride calculates to be about an hour and burning close to 300 calories. The walking is for 45 minutes and burns like 200. I try to keep track of my calories online at
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
in addition i have a bia scale that measures me at 30-32% body fat and ideally I want to be at 25-28% body fat and 130-140 pounds. The most problematic spot is my belly. I definitely have a apple-shaped body
Expert:  Valarie replied 6 years ago.


Lets do the math, sometimes it helps to see where you are as far as pounds you can lose. A pound of fat is worth about 3500 calories of energy. So, to lose one pound in a week, you would have to use 3500 calories more than you eat. By using the calculator I gave you in a prior answer to you (Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Tool), you would need about 2200 calories to maintain your weight.

So, calculate

2200 cal times 7 days/wk = 15,400 calories that you burn per week.

You will need 3500 calories less than that to lose 1 pound.

Which would be: 11,900 calories (divided by 7 days) = 1700 calories per day.

I am sure you want to lose more than 1 pound per week, since with most people, women especially, fluctuations in fluid can cover up that one pound loss. But this is just an example to show you the math. Figuring the total calories you use with the exercise you have described (1300), it calculates to less than 1/2 pound of fat.

So, there a couple of things you can do.

1) Reduce you calorie intake to 1200 calories. But be mindful of the types of foods you eat. It will do you no good to count calories if those calories are the wrong foods. Your body needs a good mix of food groups to work properly, and therefore give you the results you want. Follow the food pyramid guidelines you get from the tool (Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Tool).

2) Change your exercise plan. You need about 60 minutes per day of good solid exercise, and it needs to be a combination of weight training and aerobic. The exercise you are doing is great for general fitness and cardiovascular function. You want to also develop muscle tissue (which uses more calories). The advantage to exercise with dieting also, is that you will not lose muscle mass along with the fat. So, good work on the exercise you are doing---in addition you may want to join a gym and look at some weight training techniques (at least until you know how to weight train without causing injury).

But for now, just reducing your caloric intake and maintaining your current exercise routine will help. That would be a reduction of another 300 calories per day, which in a month is worth 2.5 pounds of fat.

You might want to keep in mind (depending on how long you have been exercising this way)---as you tone and build muscle while losing fat you may not see a big change in your weight. A pound of muscle is much smaller than a pound of fat. So instead of just weight, you might look at inches also. Right now, you are working your legs more than anything else. If you add weights, or some exercise classes at a gym, you can exercise the rest of your muscles as well.

Keep at it. Slow weight loss is much better; you won't be so apt to gain it back as time goes on. Set small targets for yourself along the way to your long term goal.

I really do know how difficult this can be. I still keep track of my calories everyday on a small piece of notebook paper. I have a set number of food "exchanges" that I need to eat daily, and once they are eaten---I'm done for the day. Using online resources like you are will help you learn what foods and how much make a serving, so in time you will not have to do that. But you will probably always have to keep track some way.

It's worth it. : )

I just saw your 2nd reply. Losing fat will eventually help you lose the problematic spot, as well as reduce your %age of body fat. Most people will lose fat all over at first, and if you have more in your belly than elsewhere, this of course will be the last to go.

But, again, exercising muscles all over, as well as in your belly area, will help tone and define your shape over time.

Valarie and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

just thought you'd like to have an update- it has been some time since we talked- do you remember me? wanting to lose weight, evaluate my diet. well now i am 5'3" and 170 pounds and have finally decided i wanted to change- joined anytime fitness gym and here is my first week:

itness assessment went great on monday! we started off with health history, weight,body,body fat measurements, and then current diet and then talked about goals. Then we had about a 30 minute fitness assessment- 5 minutes of cardio warmup on bike eliptical, then strength testing- boy did were my thighs and core sore the next day. I signed up for 2 personal training sessions / week for the next year! Wednesday was my first personal training session with my new trainer and it was great! Strength training with him, with a help with accountability and cardio on my own to make a great equation to 40 pounds reduction, stress and tension headache reduction, and getting in a routine to exercise regularly over a year(those were my goals set out) Thursday i did yoga at home(youtube video and mat) and today i am going again for another cardio session. Then Tuesday starts the week over again. Am i sore, yes! Do i feel great, yes! I am also finding quickly that i need to adjust my diet with fresh fruits and veggies with all this increased exercise. i am finally committed to change!

Expert:  Valarie replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the update! I am thrilled to see that you are doing well, and are committed to helping yourself look and feel your best. You will thank yourself many healthy years from now.
Keep up the good work!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It has been about 8 weeks of fitness. 2 days of 45 min strength training with the Personal Trainer a week and then 2 or 3 days of cardio- bike, elliptical, running on the treadmill. This is requiring more sleep 8-9 hours a nice( very consistent with that) and I try not to have bread/rice/cake products while cooking at home(eating out, I have not mastered yet) after 8 weeks I have lowered body fat by a few % but I have gained 6 pounds :( I know muscle weighs more than fat, but is this normal when fist starting to work out? I am a bit frustrated and need some nutrition guidance. Also, how many calories should I shoot for- 23 female, 175 pounds trying to get to 135 in the next 10 months and sedentary while at work 8-5
Expert:  Valarie replied 4 years ago.
There are a couple of things you need to work on if you are going to meet your goals.
It's been almost 2 years since you first posted this question....and you have gained 15 pounds in that time.

I applaud your commitment to increasing your activity level. However, you still have a sedentary job, so you will need to compensate.
You want to lose 40 pounds in 10 months. This will take some effort and further self-education about what your body needs.

You need to start a food journal. There are various resources online that can help you. Sites like "Lose It", "My Fitness Pal", and others can help you keep track of what you eat. To be successful at weight loss you must keep track of everything you consume. You can use these sites on your smart phone or on your computer. It helps to keep you accountable to your nutritional intake when you use this type of journaling. It will also help you determine where you need to make changes to help you with your goals. You can also enter in your activities so you can see the impact your activity level has on your intake and "output" of calories.

You need to shoot for a calorie intake of about 1500 calories per day to lose the weight you want to lose. And, you need to be more active at least 5 days per week.

While watching your caloric intake, you also need to think about the balance of nutrients your body needs. The original link I gave you for the Mayo Clinic weight loss tool is a good one. It will suggest that you start at 1200 calories per day.....but you can adjust that if needed. You can print out a list of foods to go with the pyramid that will give you guidance on the types of foods you need to be eating. It will also help you when you are eating out, to make better food choices. Keep in mind that restaurant and fast food is laden with extra fat, salt and sugars to make it taste good. So, "eating out" should be kept to a minimum, or opt for restaurants that readily give you nutritional information for each item they offer.

The sites I suggested: "Lose It", "My Fitness Pal" etc are free to use. They also have foods from many restaurants and specific brands you find in the supermarket.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am drinking a lot more water, but also craving ice even with normal hemoglobin levels and I am not giving blood like I was. Today I am counting my calories . One thing I am noting rigt away- I can eat a lot more veggies and feel full and not intake a lot of calories. I will continue to count calories all the time and look at the websites. My fitness pal is downloaded and is being used. Thanks for your advice
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I will have to note that when I started this exercise routine, I was 170 pounds but also 35% body fat and the other day when I was measured at 176, I was 30%body fat- in 8 weeks time
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Update- 1500 calorie diet, 6/week exercise, and I am 155 pounds and 29.5% body fat, 31" waist at navel and 40" hips- plenty of energy and new goal is to get to 135 pounds