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Chowhound on a diet

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It has come to my attention I need (and have needed) to go on a diet. So I was wondering what other Chowhounds do. Do you adapt recipes you already have to meet the criteria of whatever diet plan you are on or do you adapt their recipes to meet your own tastes? How often do you have special, non-diet meals? Once a week, a month, never ever? Thanks

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  1. My DH and I have followed the much maligned (by those who really don't know or understand it) low carb eating plan for 2 years. Our MD suggested it and after many years of following low fat and gaining weight, has been very good for us. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure amazngly enough along with lower weight. You have to find what is right for you.

    We are still pretty careful with carbs and there are somethings we just don't eat anymore or eat very little of and have really found that we do not miss them or have lost a taste for.

    I buy 1 potato a month, we split it. That is one veg in the higher carb group that we find we really do miss. Rice eh! Maybe a taste now and then, the same with pasta. I do make sort of deep dish crustless/noodleless pizza or lasagna individual casseroles. For burgers, it is a burger served on top of a salad. Tonight I did make cornbread sticks. Only 5 and we did not pig out and the stone ground cornmeal has good fiber too.

    We eat a lot of meat and lots of vegetables, but vegetables on the low glycemic index list. We avoid sugar and most white food. Once in awhile we do splurge especially on vacation but we do still try to make good choices.

    Find what works for you and you can live with and good luck. Don't deprive yourself, you will just frustrate yourself and deep six what ever eating style you decide to adopt, and get some more exercise too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Weight Watchers' online program worked for me. It was mainly about portion control. What's considered a normal portion size these days is just too big and I'd lost track of how much I was eating.

      I lost weight slowly, partly because I continued to go out once or twice a week and pretty much eat what I wanted, including wine and desserts. I also regularly ate more than WW allows; it just didn't seem like enough food to me. I did eat less fat and refined carbohydrates. That's not mandatory on the WW program but I find that those things burn through your points allowance fast without being that satisfying. It's still easy to be a chowhound within that framework.

      I agree that exercise is important, but for me, once I got over a certain weight exercise alone was not enough.

      1. re: bibi rose

        I lost 30 lbs and kept it off on Weight Watchers 3 years ago. Learning portion control really helped me. Exercise and drinking lots of water did also. Although I was not overweight my whole life, in my mid-forties I starting gaining and gaining. I had been used to eating whatever I wanted and WW taught me how to rethink my eating habits. BTW, the WW products are full of chemicals...I don't use artificial sweeteners etc, no soda at all. I don't eat much meat, but do eat lots of veggies and probably ( this time of year especially) too much fruit. I find I have MUCH more control over what I eat if I prepare it myself...we don't go out to eat as much as we used to and I never eat fast food or donuts etc. In one of my first WW meetings, I remember the leader saying that restaurants prepare food using lots of fat and calories because that is what people want to eat...that they don't really 'care' about your health...that it is up to you to see that you eat well. That really made sense to me. I used to buy Haagen Das pints and could eat one in 2 days. Now I just don't buy it at all, because I can't resist it. Good luck to you.

        1. re: meagan

          Weight watchers works for me as well (40 pounds lost in one year). I found that exercise did not help by itself, but walking a lot as well as portion control and writing everything down does work (about a pound a week). WW allows for a tiny bit of everything (beer!), so there is never a feeling of being deprived. I have to follow their points pretty strictly at first and then can relax after several months--but after a few years of not being strict enough, it's about time to join up again.

          1. re: meagan

            Fellow WWer here, lifetime member after losing 35-40lbs. 3+ years ago (and keeping it off after pregnancy and delivery!). I'm the same as you. I don't touch their foods (they're truly disgusting chemical laden crap). As I read the different 'diets' that people follow here, I've learned that I really follow many of them, not just WW. I eat only what I think is really delicious, and don't waste calories on crap food that doesn't taste good or make me feel good. I am a fish-a-tarian who prepares most of my food from scratch and tries to buy local produce through my farmer's market. When I eat carbs (which is regularly), I try to eat lower-glycemic carbs by eating those that are higher in fiber. I still eat high glyemic fruits and vegetables, so I'm far from an atkins/south beach dieter. I exercise regularly. I enjoy the occasional excess, but it's occasional. I don't keep stuff around the house that I can't control my consumption of. Like Danna, when I look at recipes, I'll occasionally make a high fat/rich recipe and modify it to make it lower in fat/calories. But in general, I just pass by recipes that are full of 3 sticks of butter, etc.

            Good luck!

            Smokey

      2. I have struggled with my weight my entire life but every 'diet' was just that - a fad, a way to obsess unhealthily about food, a way to feel deprived, a way to deny deny deny myself in order to become something society thought I should be. Several years ago I realized I was seriously overeating and needed to cut back. I cut my normal portions to about half. However....

        Someone recently, on a similar thread, said 'Eat only what is delicious. When it is no longer delicious, stop eating'. It was a breakthrough in eating for me - I started paying closer attention and noticed there is, in fact, a point when it is no longer delicious and I was barreling past it with no regard for whether my body still actually needed the food or not. This is AFTER cutting my portions almost in half several years back - I was STILL overeating.

        I eat mostly organic, fresh food, cooked at home, and lot's of fruits and veggies, chicken and fish - I still eat cream sauces and rice and potatoes and pasta, cooked well and enjoyed thoroughly....I haven't changed a thing except paying more attention to the deliciousness of my food and I feel very pleased with stopping once I notice it is no longer delicious. I realize at that point that I'm done. This has really been life altering for me....it's not a negative 'Oh, I can't have that'...it's 'I can have anything I want, and surprise surprise! I want much less than I've been eating'. It's amazing to know that we have a built in mechanism for eating only what our body needs.

        Recently at a restaurant I found the pork chop stopped being delicious after a few bites and the mashed potatoes after about 1/3 was gone but the collard greens stayed delicious all the way through.

        I have not been able to exercise for over a month because of circumstances, and I gain weight smelling a cookie, but since I've changed to this new 'delicious' way of thinking, I have stayed absolutely steady in my weight. And I never leave a meal feeling unsatisfied. Actually, I feel fantastic because I'm not overeating. And I've been eating whatever I want, at restaurants and even desserts....what a breakthrough when I ordered chocolate mousse on top of a dollop of dulce de leche for my birthday and ate a small portion and realized I was done. I felt fantastic!!

        This is all about trusting your body to know what it needs, being in tune with your tastes and aware of every moment of eating. If I crave something (especially fruits and veggies) I eat them. I'm letting my body know I trust it and I'm listening.

        I'm loving every second of this non-diet diet. Good luck on your journey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: krissywats

          I totally agree that you have to learn to listen to your body...the tendency is to eat whatever is on the plate, just because it is there.
          I always joke about "quality" calories...I'm not going to waste calories on junk when I can have a small portion of something really good. I never eat fast food, I always carry a nutrition bar with me for emergencies.
          I also found that ironically, eating directly out of the ice cream container had me eating less...instead of portioning it into a bowel, I'd actually be satisfied by 3 spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry's.
          I go out for dinner once a week and eat whatever I want for that dinner. Something to look forward to. If you overeat (during the week) it's hard to get the calories burned off (2 days of cutting back for one day of overindulgence).

        2. For me, portion size helps...unfortunately, we Americans are way over the top in our portion sizes...I eat my meals on a sandwich plate rather than a dinner plate...it just works for me. I'm not a big bread eater...makes no difference to me if bread is served with most meals or not, so lower-carbing is easy for me also, though when I do eat bread, I make sure it's 100% whole wheat... I do cut fats and sugars in lots of recipes...I baked Epi's Spiced Pumpkin Bread today for a church function...(ended up bringing 1/2 of one loaf home) WHAT???!!!! 3 cups of sugar??? Easily cut that down to 1 3/4 cups and the bread still tastes great. I try to stay away from red meats intentionally because of family history with colon cancer but don't I CRAVE beef short ribs once in a while??? Oh, yeah, I do! Finding your "moderation" level is important-- everyone's is different. Staying active is also important--I try to exercise each day and I do take the stairs, park further away, etc, to make up for my chowish "sins."

          1. j
            JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

            When going out, eat half, take half home. That way, you get to have a fabulous meal twice!

            And exercise, exercise, exercise.

            1. Work out. The pleasure of eating what you like is too great to give it up. I've tried both and working out is easier. Just don't pig out and go to a gym, you'll lose weight. Diets have never worked for me long-term.

              I'll be damned if I ever give up pie. But I'll sweat it off in the gym.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sir Gawain

                Here here! (Or is it hear, hear?) Anyway, I totally agree, I've been able to maintain my weight even as friends from college confront that middle-aged spread by excerising more than they do. Portion control plays a role as well. But it's great knowing that as i'm eating this piece of cake, I've already "Banked" the calroies by going bike riding for an hour this morning.

                I found that "making up" for overeating by excercising is not as effective as planning to have a piece of cake or pie or whatever and doing the appropriate amount of excercise BEFOREHAND.

                1. re: Sir Gawain

                  I'd like to second this notion as well. You can eat well, but if you don't put in the exercise, you can only go so far.

                  Also important is how quickly you want to lose the weight. If you'd like to lose a ton of weight in a short period, then a diet plan of some sort combined with the necessary exercise is the way to go.

                  I figured I could go about it a little more slowly - if I lost 1-2 pounds a month, that would be fine. So I stuck with eating in moderation, eating a variety of food (as long as there are no allergies involved, nothing is verboten) and a good amount of exercise. Over the past 3 years, I've lost over 80 pounds and it's still melting off slowly but surely.