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eating well to lose weight

I don't eat bad, I just could eat a little better.

I have a big event in about 2 months, and I'd like to drop about 10-15lbs by then if possible.

Has anyone figured out a diet that works well? I usually have time after work to cook a pretty good dinner, although some nights I work late and I have to pick something up.

In the mornings I'm usually out the door with either no breakfast or just a cup of coffee. I know I should probably eat something...are those healthier breakfast bars any good?

Lunch is usually with people from the office or something quick and affordable (which sometimes means fast food). When it is fast food though, I try to stick to a salad.

Dinner is usually something pretty quick, but I can give it more time. I'm thinking I should try to get a lot of fish in. I seem to eat a lot of pasta, just cause it's easy and it's always there...

I guess I'm just looking for a little input and to see how you lost a little weight in a quick amount of time.

As for exercise, I try, but it doesn't always get done. I belong to a gym (acutally I need to renew) and I usually end up starting the week there, but then meetings come up, night events, and by the end of the week I've only made it to the gym once or twice. As much as I hate it I'm thinking about running (at least around the block a few times) as often as possible, but I'm hoping eating right will knock a few pounds off in about 7 weeks.

Sorry if I've been rambling...Any suggestions?

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  1. Yep...cut calories and increase exercise. Make going to the gym as important as going to work. Schedule it and be consistent. Get a personal trainer if you have to...to keep you motivated. Stay away from empty calories..like booze..if you drink at all. Take the time to eat breakfast...get up 15 minutes earlier. Eat something like Kashi with low-fat milk or soy milk and half a grapefruit.

    Be consistent, make it a priority...and it will work.

    2 Replies
    1. re: melly

      Kashi is great stuff. Is a bowl of cereal the equivalent of eating a healthier breakfast bar? Like a Special K bar or a South Beach Diet bar? Those are about 100 calories and a few grams of fat.

      I'm not much of a boozer, but when I do drink it's usually something like a light beer or a mixed vodka drink, but I'll try to keep it at a minimum (lots of work events coming up).

      As for a workout, I'm trying to figure out if I'm staying in my current apt. so I don't want to commit to my gym just yet, but I probably will soon. I'm thinking about running everyday after work around the neighborhood.

      1. re: cincodemayo1

        The running thing is a good idea. I get A LOT of strenous exercise on the bike 3 days a week and run 1 day. Over the last few weeks, out of desperation because summer time is so full of things I want to eat...i have started running the other 3 days of the week. Not a long run necessarily, just 15-20 minutes. It has seemed to make a difference...I've lost a couple of pounds since then.

        Otherwise, try not to eat after 7 o'clock. It's great if you can be a little hungry when you go to bed.

        Beware huge salads w/ cheese, and egg and bacon and lots of dressing. Can be a stealth diet-killer.

        Have you tried Fage Greek yogurt? I have a cup of 2% w/ a little honey at my desk everyday for breakfast, unless I run out, then I eat a Powerbar (2 grams of fat...but a lot of carbs, so it's a good thing I run)

        Coffee is the only drink w/ sugar that I allow myself. Otherwise water. Even exercising, i try to limit my Gatorade consumption. I love Smartwater, it has the electrolytes of a Gatorade, but no sugar (or artificial sugar either, ick)

        Good luck!

    2. Eliminate the pasta and other carbs. This is important.

      I find that when I am feeling blobbish and/or objectively am blobbish, the first thing I need to do is cut out all carbs and stick with fresh fruits and vegetables almost exclusively. A diet of fresh fruits and vegetables will leave you a bit hungry, I won't lie, but the pounds do shed quickly.

      Also, eliminate all sodas (and juices, if possible). I find that a lot of overweight folks--indeed, the most UNhealthy people, regardless of whether or not they are overweight--tend to be the ones who consume sodas, which tend to be empty calories with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. If you need the caffeine, stick to coffee.

      I notice that I tend to eat much healthier when I am exercising regularly. If you exercise regularly, it becomes a welcomed routine. (I actually find myself wanting to exercise and look forward to spending time with a treadmill an hour a day or so.) With regular exercise, you can then sort of ease up on the strict diet.

      Finally, it's always best to combine exercise with a good diet; you can't really do one without the other if your goal is good physical (and mental) health.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pamela

        Vegetables do contain carbs..complex carbs. I do use the new and improved multi-grain pasta or the quinoa pasta's. Very tasty with a low glycimic index (is burned slowly rather than quickly). I agree with fresh fruits and veggies...but really see the all meat and no carb diets to be unhealthy and artery clogging!

        1. re: melly

          You're right. By carbs I meant pasta, rice, bread--the really starchy and calorific stuff.

          With the fruit and veggie diet, I eat all I want (but I end up still hungry).

          I agree with everyone who says that COMPLETELY eliminating anything is unrealistic in the long run, but in the short term, eliminating the starchy stuff works...at least in my experience.

          I think cincodemayo's plan of 10-15 pounds in two months is do-able. However, any "diet" requires an awful lot of motivation. For longer-term goals, however, you really need to combine exercise and healthy eating. Again, the good thing is that healthy eating usually naturally follows with regular exercise. And with increased exercise and healthier eating, you no longer have to deprive yourself of all the wickedly wonderful and "sinful" stuff (desserts, pasta, etc.)

          Good luck, cincodemayo! I'm sure you'll do great!

          I'm guessing that the event is either your wedding or a reunion.

        2. re: Pamela

          I've been trying to eat more fruits and veggies lately, so I'll keep that up.

          Should I try to cut all carbs (meaning sugar and breads) or should I just make it minimal?

          I don't drink soda (occasionally diet) but usually I drink coffee in the morning and iced tea throughout the day.

          What are some good healthy snacks besides the obvious of fruits or veggies?

          Also, I have some One A Day vitamins that I've started taking lately. Should I keep that up?

          Good tips so far. Thanks everybody.

          1. re: Pamela

            Any diet that tells you to eliminate pasta and carbs seems ridiculous to me (maybe it's my Italian background). Truth is, any diet that tells you to eliminate anything completely can't be sustainable. If you're looking for quick, and not necessarily sustainable, then fair enough, but for keeping off weight in the long term you've got to exercise moderation in your eating, and...well, exercise! Eat less, move more, and if you're concerned about nutrition, maybe consult a nutritionist.

          2. Hey - just a little basics in case you don't know (always helps me get my head around it): no matter WHAT you do burning 3500 calories in a week will equal 1 pound of weight loss. As much as it SUCKS try something like fitday.com. Keep track of everything you're eating and your exercise (sorry, it just probably isn't going to happen without it and you're better off for that anyway....the more you exercise the more you can eat, too!) on this simple, free food log and get a feel for where you are going wrong.

            10lbs in 2 months is VERY doable. That's just over a pound a week, meaning 3500-4000 calories or so. Whole grains and lean proteins are your best bet. Good luck!

            4 Replies
            1. re: krissywats

              Fitday was a huge help for me. I lost 55 pounds by keeping track with the free version of their software. That and learning about portion control and cutting out unnecessary things like fast food and soda. In fact, I rarely ever drink my calories other than coffee and milk.

              I also improved what I ate, leaner protein, more grains, fruits and veggies, a lot more water - got rid of bad fats in general and included more healthy ones. Started reading nutrition labels. Stopped eating out as much - that was a huge help - unfortunately had to stop being a chowhound for a good year, that was kind of depressing since I love trying new restaurants but all that hidden butter - yikes.

              Learned to love myself. That was important!

              I did NOT exercise at all and still lost all that weight. I don't recommend you don't tho - I'm just a slug and I'm still trying to fight my way into including this into my life.

              But I have learned finally to eat better, make better choices and I am now able to incorporate being a chowhound into my life again - in moderation. What you are trying to achieve is doable as many have said. You just have to put your mind to it and realize the first week or so will probably be difficult but if you stick it out it will become much easier. Once it starts to become a habit - that's when it all kicks in.

              1. re: sivyaleah

                I've heard about fitday. Do you get a lot of spam, etc. for signing up? Or, is it really a free lunch. So to speak?

                The main thing I'm interested in is being able to plan meals, but then print out a shopping list... Does it do that for you?


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I've never gotten any spam from signing onto fitday. Been using it for many years.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    The upgrade version costs $19.99 and you can do all of those things, I think. If you check it out online they will tell you exactly what you can do. It's great software.

                    i used the online version for a long time and never got any spam.

              2. You need to make an assesment of of your diet, whether more information about how to diet will really help. Eating less and exercizing more will work with moderate tweaks based on your body chemestry. But that knowledge might not help you loose weight. I have lost 70 lbs on Weight Watchers. Up to the point of joining, I had all the knowledge of how to loose weight but my will was not enough to to overcome my eating issues. With a weigh in every week, the accountability made it easier to diet

                You have 10-15 lbs to loose in 2 months. which would work out to less than 2 lbs a week which the experts say is doable expectation. If you are having trouble sticking to your goal make the goals smaller. Instead of the big goal of 15 lbs in 7 weeks try 2 lbs this week and see how it goes and if you are successful with that goal 7 weeks in a row then you have lost 14 lbs.

                There is no quick fix for this issue and it for some it seems an impossiblen task. but if you take small steps and find people who are supportive of you goal, you'll never believe how far you'll get.

                Take care

                - P.

                1. I have just lost 33 pounds, and I did it by going to Weight Watchers. From my personal experience, it's just very hard to do it on your own. There have been a few key things that I felt were essential - write down everything you eat (studies have shown that this is key in people's weight loss success), stick to the plan (WW is very flexible these days, and the "point system" is easy to follow. They now include ethnic foods in the plan, so it's not boring), and go to the meetings (it's essential to find one led by someone you like and are inspired by). I lost 10 pounds in the first month.

                  I did not exercise initially - just ate a low-fat, low calorie, mainly vegetarian diet for the first 20 pounds (and NO booze). After that I found I had to add some exercise to keep on losing. If you hate the gym, go for a walk at lunch-time.

                  1. I also heard that green tea is great to drink, as it speeds up metabolism.. maybe replace your iced tea with green tea?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jayseeca

                      Green tea is good cold. I brew a big pot in the morning. I have a hot cup at breakfast and the rest goes in a jar the fridge. I buy several types of green tea for variety.

                    2. I also find that shifting the main meal to lunch from dinner helps for some mysterious reason. Light breakfast - or, in my case, sometimes none (bad, bad, bad, I know) - then lunch at noonish. This is when I'll consume anything carb-ish or higher fat. Then a much lighter dinner. And nothing - I mean nothing - in the evening except for possibly tea or water. This has helped when I'm stuck.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Nyleve

                        That's an interesting theory...I usually have a light (breakfast bar or nothing) breakfast, and lunch is usually my biggest meal of the day. If I have something pretty lite, like chicken and a few veggies, that just may work.

                        I would totally switch to green tea during the day, problem is finding it places when I go out to lunch with other employees. But at night I'll have a cup of green tea because it's supposed to help and it tastes good!

                        1. re: cincodemayo1

                          I don't know what kind of places you go out for lunch, but if you take your own teabags with you, most restaurants will give you a cup of hot water for you to make your tea. Even if it's not a "sit-down" place, many places will have a container of hot water for tea sitting on the counter next to the coffee.

                      2. I just lost 50 pounds and I did it by reducing my caloric intake and increase my exercise. Not much more science or trickery than that. I had good luck reducing calories by doing a few things:

                        1. I went with water for breakfast, which saved me 150 calories everyday.
                        2. I got rid of a bag of pretzels for lunch and switched to an apple or banana.
                        3. I stopped snacking when I got home from work.
                        4. I started lifting weights, which increased my metabolism.
                        5. I go to the gym 4-6 times per week, including an extended session on Saturdays (when I have more time). I got a personal trainer for a couple days per week to introduce me to all the equipment, keep me honest, and give me a financial incentive to not skip the gym at the last minute.
                        6. I started eating a lot more spinach and other dark green leafy greens that tend to have a lot of fiber and therefore fill me up pretty quickly.

                        Reduce caloric intake and increase exercise -- you'll lose weight.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: glutton

                          That sounds pretty doable too. I'll definitely be drinking more water, but not sure I rule it out completely (I need a morning cup of joe!) But switching to fruit and ruling out snack is definitely a good tip.

                          I'm still debating between the gym and just running on my own (since I'm pretty crazed at work right now.) As much as I tried to make the gym with my just expired membership, work always seemed to get in the way and I couldn't keep it up.

                          But the leafy green idea is a good one too. As much as I hate it, I can deal with spinach, basil, arugala and the like.

                          1. re: cincodemayo1

                            I don't think you have to rule out snacking completely; just make sure you snack on fruits and veggies--and WITHOUT any dipping sauces, etc. I think some nuts are okay too, but go easy on them.

                            I don't think the iced tea should be too much of a problem--unless it's SWEETENED tea.

                            Another suggestion: Don't eat or drink (with the exception of water) after 7 p.m.

                            Since your gym is not in your apartment complex, cincodemayo, getting motivated to just GET to the gym can be a chore. I think it's a wonderful idea to simply run/jog/walk around your neighborhood. It certainly will save you time that way.

                            I don't know where you live in Los Angeles, but if you live close to Griffith Park, that's a wonderful area to exercise. It's so green and peaceful, especially if you're jogging/hiking in the mountains.

                        2. It always facinates me how complicated this issue is... because it really does just come down to simplicity, eating less and moving more.
                          Some pointers and rules that have worked for me:
                          Keep a food diary and BE HONEST with yourself, see just how many calories you are consuming. (Doing this was a big revelation for me, I don't need to record like that anymore because now from practice I know when I'm eating wrong.)
                          Ditch the car, get around by your two feet, or two wheels, but ditch the car, plus...
                          Make daily exercise a priorty, two hours per day set aside for just that.
                          Don't always finish your plate.
                          Let yourself feel hungry once everyday and acknowledge that it is a normal healthy sensation, (but here's the fine line, depriving yourself too much makes one go overboard when faced with food again) Never eat if you do not feel hungry.
                          Remember that a little bit of will power goes a long way.
                          Keep your favorite fruit around to keep yourself from getting too hungry, a grapefruit or apple late in the day will tie you over to dinnertime.
                          Also, others swear by cutting out all sugar and alcohol, but this is my personal weakness. I can adhere to all of these pointers except that one. God, if I'd just pratice what I preach.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Ida Red

                            I agree about letting yourself feel hungry. I think we have forgotten that it's not necessary to eat the minute a hunger pang sets in. All too easy to devour high calorie snack in response to a teensy twinge. This has been a huge revelation for me. As much as I do adhere to Weight Watchers (which has helped me tremendously) I have had to modify it to allow myself to feel hungry occasionally. It isn't going to kill me - it really is a perfectly natural sensation.

                            Another important thing to remember is that hunger is on a time-lag. So if you're still hungry after eating that modest meal, wait half an hour before deciding whether you need more food. By then, your body will have registered that you've eaten and will very likely stop telling you that you're hungry. This is really hard to do sometimes - but actually works.

                            1. re: Nyleve

                              Totally agree about letting yourself feel hungry. It's not the end of the world! I always remember what a Weight Watchers leader said once: "Hunger pangs mean that's when you're losing weight!" I don't know if this is actually true, but I find it helpful to believe it.

                              1. re: Nyleve

                                I am another one on the bandwagon for allowing yourself to feel hungry. I often can stave off a snack attack simply by drinking some cold water and waiting, or maybe eating a Triscuit or two. High fiber snacks are a good idea, I like dried figs for a snack- tons of fiber, a little sweet too.

                                I have found that eating slower is a huge help for eating less. Your stomach and brain can get in sync when you allow for the signals to meet instead of wolfing down food. If I pay more attention to what my body is telling me while I eat I always eat less. Take less food, eat slower and pay attention to your meal. Don't read, watch TV or anything else.

                            2. Agree on a modified low carb diet. A dinner of grilled tuna steak with a side of sauteed or roasted veggies does wonders, just skip the rice/pasta.

                              Evening snacks were my downfall. I started making sure that if I needed a snack I would only have 100 calories worth (use a scale). That's like 10 peanuts, or almost a normal portion of cold cereal. Or a portion of instant sugar free jello pudding. If I got hungry again after awhile, I would again have another 100 calories. Previously an evening snack would be 5 or 6 triscuits loaded with melted cheddar.

                              1. 15 to 20 lbs in 2 months is a lot of weight in a very short time. Don't get in the yo yo diet habit: lose weight quick then gain it back.

                                1. cut down on carb intake and make time for exercise. sub your pasta dinner for lean meats/fish and veggies. half an hour a day of exercise is better than nothing. write down rules for diet and exercise and follow them every day for the next 2 months. no excuses. none of this "i try" business.

                                  1. All good suggestions...

                                    So far today I've had a 100 calorie breakfast bar and a cup of coffee with non-fat milk and Splenda. I'll have a salad for lunch, then I'll probably get some chicken or fish for dinner, with some fresh or steamed veggies. I think that's something I can keep up.

                                    As for exercising, I'm going to attempt to go running tonight if I'm out of work on time (although it doesn't look like that will happen) but at work I've been parking on the 3rd floor of the garage and only taking the stairs. It's also a good walk from the parking garage to my office, so that helps a bit too.

                                    Snacks are a big downfall of mine, but I'm going to try to cut them out completely.

                                    Thanks for the tips/motivation so far...keep it coming!

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: cincodemayo1

                                      What do you mean attempt to go running? Just go running. Do it.

                                      1. re: cincodemayo1

                                        what kind of snacks do you usually eat? i ask because i think i'm somewhat similar in that i generally eat healthy and don't find that all too difficult, but will grab a dark chocolate kitkat or a bag of chips every couple of days. it's all dependent on if i'm craving sweet or salt.

                                        you might be able to make your own replacement snacks to cover each base and then you'll be in greater control of what you're intaking. this diet would likely be more effective if you didn't feel like you were restricted too much and then keeping those 15 lbs off won't be an issue.

                                        also, i would suggest doing absolutely whatever you can to make sure you fit in more exercise. unless people are doing a HUGE diet change for a large amount of weight to be lost... exercise is the biggest key. if you cannot find a friend to go running with, see if one will call you at say 9pm to remind you to go running and call them back once you're suited up and ready to go out the door. at the very least set an alarm as a reminder so you can't "forget". even half an hour on a busy day will make a difference if you do it often enough.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          The snacks I eat are usually something small that my roommate or I keep around. Usually ends up being some tortilla chips or pretzels. Something to that effect. And at the office, usually I don't keep any snacks around (on purpose) but occasionally someone will come around with mini chocolate bars or a cookie.

                                          I WILL start running! Yeah, I agree, I figure even 15 minutes of doing some exercise is better than nothing. The alarm is a good idea...

                                          1. re: cincodemayo1

                                            My favorite snacks are string cheese, a rice cake with peanut butter, a hard boiled egg with mustard, or a half and apple and two good sized pieces of cheddar. If you get in the habit of boiling a half dozen eggs at the beginning of the week, you have salad toppings and snacks. I lost 80 lbs on Atkins, gradually adding fruit and rice back into my occasional eats, and it's stayed off so far, 3 years and counting...

                                            1. re: Notorious EMDB

                                              Those are great snack tips! Making eggs ahead of time is a great idea!

                                        2. re: cincodemayo1

                                          park closer to your office. don't waste time on walking when you can be running.

                                          not sure what your reasons are for skipping out on running after work.. too late where safety would be an issue is the only valid reason i can think of. maybe wakeup a half hour early and go running in the morning.

                                          1. re: cincodemayo1

                                            maybe you should go log onto to Craigslist fitness forum. They will be a lot more direct with you, and will not put up with your "I'll try", "but, but, but" attitude. Sounds like you need a kick in the butt. Sorry, I'm just sayin'...

                                          2. Kashi's Heart to Heart breakfast cereal is really healthy and filling and tastes great. I keep a box at my desk and have a bowl every morning when I get to work.

                                            1. There are lots of good recommendations in this thread so far. I do think eating a healthy breakfast keeps you on track all day.

                                              I've been making a wild rice and vegetable frittata in advance on Sundays. Slice it up and put it in the fridge for all week. (I understand you can freeze it, too, though, I've never tried it.) You can also just hard boil some eggs to take with you on the go throughout the week. When the weather is cooler, I like to make oatmeal (or other grains like quinoa or amaranth) in my rice cooker in the morning--it's easy enough to do while you shower and you can throw some berries in there. It's pretty fast. Non-fat, yogurt, a piece of fruit, and a slice of whole wheat toast is a nice start, too, and very easy to do on the run. Also, it's probably not very chowish, but I like whole wheat toaster waffles with a dollop of yogurt or some jam. Very easy and fast!

                                              As far as "fast food" is concerned, McDonald's apple walnut salad is a pretty good bet for breakfast, lunch or a snack. Basically, it's low fat yogurt and a sliced apple. Also, a small pack of candied walnuts. It's not a bad option and something I'll pick up on the run if I'm desperate. I've heard that Taco Bell's plain bean burrito is a healthy option, though I've never tried it so I don't know if it's any good from a "chowhound" angle. A single slice of thin-crust cheese or cheese and veggie pizza is not an awful choice on occasion, especially if you pair it with a salad.

                                              For for quick and healthy dinners, I like to steam fish and veggies in my rice cooker. You can pair that with polenta is quick on the stovetop and reasonably healthy if you use low sodium stock and don't add a ton of cheese or butter. Also, whole wheat pasta is a good thing to keep around. Just watch your portions. Another quick and versatile meal is to pick up a whole roasted hot chicken from the grocery and make a quick chicken salad, shred it yourself and mix it with the pasta, make your own shredded chicken tacos with a couple of corn tortillas, etc. Of course, discard the skin. :)

                                              If you can switch away from beverages with "empty" calories to drinking water, green tea, non-fat milk (fills you up), and V-8 or tomato juice, it could help.

                                              I think the key is really controlling your portions carefully. As someone said above, once of the best ways to do that is to keep a food log so you are completely honest with yourself.

                                              It's easy to grab a brisk half hour walk over lunch. Or, 20 minutes before work and 20 over lunch. And so on. You'd be surprised how quickly those minutes add up. And, really, the best way to "boost" your metabolism is to build muscle because it burns calories fast than fat. So, try to fit some weight lifting into your exercise routine if you can.


                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                All good idea...I'm thinking picking up a whole roasted chicken and chopping it up throughout the week is a great idea. So is fish...

                                                I don't eat unhealthy, I just think I need to eat healthier, if that makes sense.

                                                Like for the last few years I really haven't changed my weight at all. I've pretty much kept the same diet, and I'll occasionally try to spice things up a bit with a diet here and there, but nothing really changes. I recorded my weight this morning so I'm going to keep track for motivation.

                                                As for running after work, the area I live in isn't horrible, just not so great. Getting up a little early may be a good idea. As for taking a walk during lunch, I work in the valley and currently it's about 100o by lunch time, so unless I was to soak my shirt in sweat that's not really an option. And to be honest, a lot of times I work through lunch or have a meeting to attend.

                                                I rarely drink sodas, and I NEVER drink sweetened teas. Hate the taste. So I'm sticking to coffee and teas and water.

                                                1. re: cincodemayo1

                                                  Sounds like you're on the right track. If you've been holding at a steady weight for awhile, and been eating pretty healthy, in a way, this will be relatively straightforward. As someone previously said, the trick is to create a 3500 calorie a week deficit to lose a pound a week (about 500 calories a day...). And you can do that by diet or exercise or a combination. It sounds like you've got a plan to mix in running, which is terrific. Don't forget the weight lifting. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so, if you build more muscle, you'll burn calories faster.

                                                  Also, one other way to ensure you'll eat healthy(er) is to join one of those CSA's, if you can. (I'm not sure where you live). Basically, you want the program where they deliver a box of fresh, seaonal produce to your home every week. It forces you to cook with lots of vegetables because you know you have to get rid of them all before next week's veggies arrive! Plus, it's kind of fun to see what they are going to deliver this week, because they, not you, pick it out based on what's ripe. You just never know what you're going to get!

                                                  Combine those veggies with lots of whole grains and lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu, egg whites, and watch your portions, and you'll be on the right track.


                                              2. Heartache was a great way for me to lose weight. I lost my appetite, drank water during the day, started drinking 1 -2 beers after work, went for 40-60 min walks in the evening (the beer helped) and lost 20#s in 2 months.

                                                I wouldn't advocate it, but it worked.

                                                That was 3 years ago...now I'm back to being fat & happy.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: OCAnn

                                                  Laughing at OCAnn...sort of. You've got that right. Fighting with a significant other is a TERRIFIC way to lose weight, because you're so distracted and distraught that you unintentionally stop eating.

                                                  Conversely, being in love also is a wonderful way to shed pounds. You're also distracted (but not distraught) that you stop eating.

                                                  1. re: Pamela

                                                    Great advice!

                                                    Any single chowhounds out there?

                                                    I'm a 25 year old male who enjoys long walks on the beach...

                                                    1. re: Pamela

                                                      Yes, sadly the thinnest I've ever been was when I unexpectedly lost my job and my boyfriend. Next thinnest was when I was in unrequited love with my husband. Now married for ten years and gainfully self employed, and all bets are sadly off.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        That's so sweet. The thinnest I ever got was when I broke up w/ my husband-to-be for a while in college. Second thinnest was when we remodled our kitchen one summer and I couldn't cook for 3 months.

                                                      2. re: Pamela

                                                        I don't know, personally, that being in love is good for weight loss, as I was 25 lbs lighter when I got married 4 years ago! For me, stress is what makes me thin. I was at my thinnest when I left a bad relationship, and then again when I was in a high stress job. Now I am happy and content with life and a bit chubbier than I would like. But it's because I am a chowhound, no doubt, and a darn good cook. Now if I could just eat less of the good stuff and stay away from the gourmet olive bars

                                                    2. There are a lot of crazy diet plans around. But really the only thing that works is doing what commons sense dictates:

                                                      - excercising regularly
                                                      - eating regular, high-quality meals (whole grains, lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables)
                                                      - switching from high-calorie drinks (sodas, juice) to water
                                                      - always eating breakfast, and eating something healthy whenever you feel hungry rather than waiting until you are ravenous
                                                      - cutting down on sugary and white foods that just leave you in a slump an hour later
                                                      - getting plenty of sle

                                                      1. Just found this blog about a woman going on a RAW food diet for 30 days - by day 5 she lost 5.5lbs. Not sure if this is a healthy way to do it? Thoughts?


                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: jayseeca

                                                          I ice cream raw? Is peanut butter raw? I'm pretty sure I could find a way to get around loosing weight on the RAW diet.

                                                          Seriously, I suppose raw food has a LOT higher water content than cooked food.

                                                          1. re: danna

                                                            on her blog she says:
                                                            "If one can follow the Raw Vegan Diet for 30 days the health benefits are enormous, and all excess weight should be gone."

                                                            So, its a raw vegan diet! which means no ice cream.. but i don't know if that counts out peanut butter.

                                                        2. I know all these people have great, sane advice...but if you've already tried exercising and eating less, and you're interested in something a little more counter-intuitive, look into the Shangri-La diet. It didn't work for me, but it seems to be working for hundreds of people on their boards. Basically you just drink a tablespoon or two of unflavored oil during a two-hour window between meals twice a day, and many people find their appetite is radically supressed. Not mine though, because I'm a Chowhound. But who knows, it might work.
                                                          I found out about it from another diet site, the No S Diet -- no snacks, no sugar, no seconds. It seems reasonable.
                                                          The only thing that seems to be working for me is increasing my walking/running to five or six days a week.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Chowpatty

                                                            Both very interesting...I'll look into those.

                                                            My sister and a coworker both gave me good ideas.

                                                            My sister said she lost 25lbs by halving everything...meaning if she orders a salad at lunch, she eats half. If she orders a pasta, she eats half. A sandwich, half...you get the idea.

                                                            A coworker suggested doing the Weight Watchers points system. I'm a little hesitent about it because of all the counting, but if you Google "Dottie and weight lost" there's this site made by this woman Dottie, and it's a HUGE database of points, for everything including restaurants. Apparently you give yourself of like 20-30 points in a day and you stay within it. Seems doable as long as you have Dottie on your side.

                                                          2. Dieting isn't great because there is a tendency to go all Bridget Jones and compensate for missing foods by substituting others that are equally as bad.

                                                            Whole grains would be one way to go. I would also cut down on "white" foods like refined sugar, flour, rice, etc.

                                                            It's summer; just came back from a three month trip where I was always on the move. Am now trying to maintain the 10 lb weight loss that went with eating less and moving more.

                                                            1. Another vote for Fitday or Weight Watchers online as a way of practicing portion control, at least when you get started. Portions in the US tend to be so huge that many people have no idea how much food they really need. I never felt as if WW allowed me enough food, and I cheated a lot right from the beginning, but I lost weight anyway. WW does not actively promote wholesome, much less chowish eating, but it's a flexible program and you can eat well on it.

                                                              1. For those who use commercial weight-loss programs (e.g, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.), is the weight loss long-term or temporary? I'd be curious to see statistics with respect to how many people actually regain the weight they lost.

                                                                Personally, I don't like diets at all. To me, "diets" are so repressive. Self-controlling what one eats and exercising regularly do not need to be "diets"; they can simply be ways of life that allow more flexibility (and dignity) than the weight-loss programs.

                                                                Whenever I see an ad for a weight-loss program, I automatically hear the loud ringing of a cash register. To me, the commercial weight-loss programs are all highly exploitative. They also sound iffy to me in many respects. For instance, it seems that a "client" is required/forced to buy packaged food from the program. As I understand it, the food is quite expensive, and the food is not really entirely nutritious.

                                                                Second, these programs seem to emphasize eating portions, but do they even incorporate exercise at all? Just curious.

                                                                I have other (sociological) criticisms of these programs, which I won't get into here.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Pamela

                                                                  Pardon me for using the lingo but Weight Watchers is less about dieting and more about changing your lifestyle. With Weight Watchers there is no food to buy. you attend a weekly meeting and weigh-in for which there is a fee. you can buy a season pass, pay weekly, or pay a little more and not have to be held to every week. The fee works out to between $8 and $14 a session depending on which route you take. when you have achived your goal weight you become a lifetime member and attend meetings once a month. If you maintain your weight, the fee is waved.

                                                                  Weight Watchers does incorporate exercize into the program. If I am given 26 points a day for eating plus 35 bonus points for the week I can add to my total points alotment by exercizing. if I bike 30 minutes a day I can add about 14 points to my weekly alotment.

                                                                  Diets are repressive if you want to believe that you should be able to eat what ever the hell you want with out consequences. For me, eating what ever I wanted had my body weight creeping up to 300 lbs with really high blood pressure among other problems. Weight Watchers is the only thing which has consistantly worked with me. The Weigh ins and the points counting has made me accountable for what I eat and how much I exercise. and the meetings have offered the support of a bunch of people who are all in the same boat as I.

                                                                  If you choose WW, Choose your meetings carefully. For me, the leaders who act like doting mothers drive me nuts. there are some who act like stand up comedians which is refreshing once in a while but over time it losses its luster. The woman who runs my meeting is matter of fact and really good.

                                                                  Weight Watchers is not for everyone. You have to be commited to the task at hand before you go or you will fail. They offer tremendus support, but they are not the solution. Only you can loose the weight, no one can do it for you.

                                                                  Take care and good luck

                                                                  - P.

                                                                  1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                                    To Mattpoisett's comments on WW (which seem quite accurate to me) may I add that many people join WW online and attend no meetings. It's cheaper and the website is pretty good. (And after a few months, it is easy to un-join and create your own record-keeping system to mimic the site's. All it really does is record food intake and activity.) To replace the support of meetings, several online discussion areas have sprung up, including on food and cooking boards. For some reason, WW seems to be incredibly popular among online communities.

                                                                    In principle, I agree with the idea that "diets" shouldn't be necessary. But I walked around for over a year 20 pounds overweight-- still pretty active and eating seemingly healthy food-- and feeling stupid because I couldn't just "eat less and move more" and lose the weight. That had always worked fine for maintenance. To lose, however, I had to introduce record-keeping and portion control into my life. Yeah, maybe I could have done it without a program but it seemed an awful lot easier to buy a little help.

                                                                  2. re: Pamela

                                                                    IIRC, the Wall Street Journal a few years back did a year long comparison of WW, Jennie Craig, Atkins and I think one other. At the end of 1 month the Atkins lost the most but by month 3 (or 6) the weight loss was roughly the same. At the end of the year only the WW people had kept losing or maintained their weight loss. The thought process was because WW was a "lifestyle" change while eating Jennie food or staying on Atkins was something the average person wouldn't maintain for their lifetime.

                                                                  3. Well, I lost 20 pounds on WW and have kept it off for over a year. I do go back to counting points for a while when I feel things slipping, but so far I consider it a grand success-- for me.

                                                                    I'm not really into advocating Weight Watchers to people who already dislike the idea. The information about all these programs is pretty easy to find out. Some of the things you mention do not apply to WW, though.

                                                                    1. everybody's ranting about weight watchers and i would have to agree. i've lost 15 pounds so far, i do the online version because i'm too busy to go to meetings and it's great!

                                                                      the website mentioned a few posts above about a WW database of points (especially great for finding points for almost EVERY restaurant) is dwlz.com

                                                                      good luck!

                                                                      1. To summarize everyone's posts and general advice: eat fewer calories and exercise more.

                                                                        One summer, I went a whole week trying to eat completely raw. This just meant HUGE salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe it was easier for me because a) I love salad, and b) these salads were monstrous. I was never hungry and even lost a few pounds. I did "slip" once in a while and had bites of chicken and stuff, but it was purely salads loaded with cooked broccoli, carrots, cukes, mushrooms, etc with tons of balsamic vinegar (no oil). The thing that kept me going was the strict rule that it had to be raw. I don't know if this is extreme or not.

                                                                        But other than that, eat dinner EARLY (as soon as you come home from work), and make sure you add a HEAP of veggies if you know you're going to get hungry and want a snack later in the evening. Put LOTS of flavor in your food - lots of good vinegar and herbs.

                                                                        Since others covered the nutrition/diet aspect, here's a couple behavior tips:
                                                                        - eat slowly. Cut food into tiny bites.
                                                                        - try not to eat anything that is made of white flour.
                                                                        - replace the typical carbohydrate foundation of meals with veggies. For instance, what I'd do is, if I'm making pasta, I'd put in more veggies than pasta noodles (which would be whole-wheat, of course)
                                                                        - put a picture of someone you think has a hot body at your desk or on your computer desktop. That'll make you think twice about grabbing a snack.
                                                                        - eat a lot of soup. It's incredibly filling, stick to veggie-based soups (definitely no cream ones).
                                                                        - think about volume vs. caloric content.

                                                                        1. One food recommendation:

                                                                          Buy bananas, slice them and freeze them.

                                                                          A couple of chunks of frozen banana are like the best ice cream when you are trying to reduce and yet jonesing for dessert.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: PaulF

                                                                            That's a great idea.

                                                                            My roommate also just got a food dehydrator, and we tried watermelon last night...it comes out like candy! Slice it real thin and it's delicious!

                                                                          2. Stop eating out or when you do order minimally.

                                                                            1. The one thing that I have heard is to look at your plate and divide it in half, fill the top half with vegetables, then divide the bottom half and put your protein on one side and your starch on the other. Most people eat way more protein than necessary. A serving of protein is no bigger than a deck of cards.

                                                                              1. I cannot say enough abouy Kashi Go Lean waffles.They are very high in fiber and very low in calories. I toast one for breaskfast spread with sugar free jam and serve with 1-3 servings of fruit. It is very filling and tasty. You could also spread with a bit of peanut butter.