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Dieting Foodie??? (moved from General Topics)

Let me be frank, I need to drop a few lbs. My husband is gung-ho on the Abs Diet. I'm looking through the Abs Diet book wondering what I could possibly enjoy. I live to eat, but at the same time I don't want to have to be cut out of my house on Springer. Is it possible to be a Foodie and lose weight at the same time? Oh, and anyone w/ Abs Diet advice, I would love to hear from you.

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  1. I've lost 30 lbs this year, so it is possible. Despite what the diet book writers want you to believe, there's no magic to losing weight: calories burned minus calories consumed equals weight loss. Knowing that, the best diet is the one you can stick to!

    What's working for me: keeping a food journal, to cut down on all that "unconscious" eating and prompt better food choices, and keeping on a calorie budget. For what it's worth, I'm told what I'm doing is pretty close to the Weight Watcher's point system.

    What you don't have to do: eat "diet" food or artficial sweeteners, eat weird food combinations, or stay on your "diet" every single day. Give yourself a break occasionally and don't feel guilty about it. Thinking you've "blown" it and thus giving up will derail any diet. Better to give yourself permission to splurge occasionally, as long as you stick to your diet in the long term.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Yes, the Weight Watcher's Flex point system, which I have used (and on which I lost 68 pounds without feeling food deprived) is very effective and does not restrict any foods; the system emphasizes understanding what you eat, managing portion sizes, and balancing nutritional requirements. Exercise also helps, although I think it's more from an attitudinal and general fitness perspective than from actual calorie loss (takes a lot of exercise to work off one pound's 3500 calories!).

      We've found that Cooking Light magazine is a great resource for good tasting meals made with real ingredients - and trying/adding new dishes to our repertoire every month is fun and interesting, and helps make weight maintenance possible. Each recipe has full nutritional info on a per serving basis, which makes it easy to determine point counts. We've also found that using high quality, fresh herbs and spices (love Penzey's for spices) makes an enormous difference in flavor and eating satisfaction.

      1. re: Striver

        I too have taken off 35+ lbs. with weightwatchers and continue to eat at great restaurants all the time. YOu can adapt your at-home recipes to be lower fat and cals, and you can save your flex points for when that is not a possibility-

        1. re: nummanumma

          I lost 60 lbs on WW while also on Chowhound. ;) I always recommend it.

          1. re: dustchick

            my mom lost 40 lbs. and hasn't changed her eating habits significantly. i think the main difference is planning a little more what you will eat? also she eats breakfast now. for me, that is the biggest determinant to whether i gain weight, that and eating a full meal out.

            1. re: fara

              Oh, you just don't know how glad I am to have found this subject! I just signed up on weightwatchersonline last Saturday. I've lost 3 pounds so far but was wondering if I could remain a CH and still get to get yummy food, especially dining out. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the encouragement!

    2. I too am a major foodie and have been slowly, slowly losing weight (20 lbs over a year) by: cutting out "diet" foods & processed foods whenever possible, cooking most of my own food, walking a lot, doing pilates & yoga, watching the alcohol intake - basically making daily choices that are adding up to a more healthly lifestyle. I have officially given up on official diets, I've spent so much money and been so frustrated. I'm not a fanatic and allow myself to have a treat as long as most of my day has been healthy. Life is short, you must enjoy it, not suffer!

      1. I've been doing weight watchers online with a friend for a few months and have been very pleased with the results. I spend all day at a computer, so it is easy to enter what I've been eating. And, for some reason, it has caused me to exercise more. Shocking! Generally, I've cut out a lot of butter and cheese, but when I have them, I make sure I really enjoy them. And I have increased the amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains that I eat.

        5 Replies
        1. re: relizabeth

          Believe it or not, I have lost over 115 lbs on WW. It took me 4 years to lose and I have kept most of it off give or take 15 lbs for 5 years. (I'm in the process of losing the extra 10-15 lbs that I gained back) I like the WW because all you need is a scale and the patience to count your points. I exercise like crazy for those extra bonus points so I can use real butter. Also WW recipes aren't half bad.

          Word of advice...Jenny Craig food is horrible. If worse comes to worse just eat Lean Cuisine. It's better than the WW frozen foods.

          1. re: MrsT

            I agree - I've lost 51lbs this year on WW - it's all about taking responsibility and accountability for what you put into your body.
            We pick and choose between WW, lean cuisine and healthy choice when buying frozen meals - we have our favorites from each one.

            1. re: jujuthomas

              Please tell - what are your favorites? The only lean cuisine I like is the mac n cheese.

              1. re: jujuthomas

                That just begs the question for me. Are WW/ lean cuisine/ healthy choice frozen entrees chowish? I was just reading the ingredient list on my co-workers Salisbury Steak. It doesn't even seem like food, more like "food-like" or "food substitute." I always bring my lunch from home (made from scratch). Lots of veggies (roasted in the winter and salad in the summer - lots of veg variety to choose from) and some lean protein. And I know what's in it.

                1. re: jennywinker

                  WW/Lean Cuisine meals are convenient, and low calorie, but I think your method of cooking from scratch and knowing what's in your meal allows you to put together something that, for the same amount or fewer calories will keep you satisfied longer. Fibre is a great friend to feeling full, and is easily obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables, something the frozen meals are lacking (I feel).

          2. Eat less and exercise more -- you'll be amazed

            3 Replies
              1. track your calorie intake on a site like fitday.com and stick mostly to the abs diet foods and you can lose weight. keep your indulgences (cheat meals) to one or two a week; make them something you really savor instead of the bare minimum. you can still eat well with the abs diet, serve a lot of fish or grilled/marinated chicken or lean beef over any variety of greens and veggies. get flavor from herbs and spices instead of butter or bacon. imo giving up processed junk food ought to be easy for a foodie.

                24 Replies
                1. re: luniz

                  You know, I always get so mad when I read in Shape and Self that these women lost all this weight from eliminating soda and junk food and adding exercise. Don't assume that just because someone wants to lose weight she's a junk food junkie! I NEVER eat junk food, don't drink soda, and exercise very hard 4X a week, plus yoga 2-3X a week... and I don't lose, sometimes gain, weight. For me, I think the trigger is alcohol. While it not only has a million calories, I think it slows my metabolism down and I don't digest it well -- sometimes when I wake up after a night of drinking, I look so bloated and unhealthy. I would suggest you really, really keep track of the drinking. With weight watcher's flex points, you can have 12-14 beers a week if you use all your regular points for food -- and I know I can certainly drink more than that in a weekend (I'm in school and it's football season). I also know that the only times I've lost weight have been when I stopped drinking. Just a thought.

                  1. re: ctscorp

                    Well, there are some alcoholic drinks that are more calorie friendly. Some stand-by's are
                    1) Vodka, water, and bar lime.
                    2) Whiskey (rye if you can access it) and diet ginger ale.
                    3) Rum and diet coke.
                    4) Gin and tonic

                    1. re: pancake

                      I'm a stoli & soda girl, and sometimes red wine, and I still gain. I guess the point is that for some people there are certain "triggers" that are more problematic than they are for others. Like, I have a friend who can't stop eating carbs once she starts, and she's really affected by them -- she gets a sugar high and seems almost drunk. So what I've determined, anyway, is that I have to know what's "toxic" to me and avoid it. I wonder if there's hard science behind this?
                      FYI -- if you're a rye fan, you should try Templeton. Made in Iowa (where I live) and it's delicious. I don't even mess with the ginger ale, diet or otherwise! Just a few rocks....

                      1. re: ctscorp

                        cts, are you in Iowa City? Go hawks! My husband is an alum. :)

                        My problem with drinking & calories is that "one beer" often slides into many, many beers. Which then makes you (er, me) stupid and munchy, which makes me eat frozen pizza at 2 am.

                        Sparkpeople.com is great for tracking (and will even provide you with meal plans, though they are a little weird...) and free. I use cookinglight.com to find healthy recipes for what I'm craving - archives are huge, though its search engine is a little strange.

                        1. re: jnstarla

                          I had a close call last night with that. I drank one beer with my 4 pieces of california roll. As I was watching t.v. last night (alone! very bad judgment!) I was tempted to dive into the chocolate but I managed to resist. Hallelujah!

                          1. re: jnstarla

                            sparkpeople is a good tracking resource and also a good free source of support: you can find an on-line buddy if you want to do so. I haven't paid much attention to their meal plans.

                        2. re: pancake


                          Number 1-3 are calorie friendly (of course if in moderation-as is everything) but a tonic drink is one of the most high in calorie drinks that are out there. Check out the label on the back of Schweppes and per serving is something over 200 calories. I googled "tonic calories" and it says that a serving only has around ten calories-which is a lie!! I worked in a bar that made all it's drinks from cans or bottles, was bored one day and checked out the calorie contents. Boy, was the tonic one scary!! Vodka/soda water is my drink of choice if watching calories.

                          1. re: cocktailqueen77

                            omg...really....thanks for the correction. I was always under the impression it was low-cal. Oops...

                            1. re: pancake

                              Diet tonic is better if you still want that taste. I still don't know why the Google search popped up untrue results, unless there are tonics (besides Schweppes) that really are lower in calories, if there is- sign me up!! But if you were to order a G & T in bar the calorie content can be over 500, typically the bartender is pouring triple the serving size of tonic (plus the calories in the alcohol).

                              1. re: cocktailqueen77

                                Both Schweppes and Canada Dry Diet Tonics are made with saccharing. YUK! There's no way I could do that to my Bombay Sapphire. Then I found a local store brand (Super Valu) that's made with asparatame. I think it tastes great. I don't have anything against artificial sweeteners, and this keeps down the calories on my beloved Gin and Tonics.

                          2. re: pancake


                            G&T is NOT a diet-friendly drink! a standard one will cost you about 280 calories. tonic is loaded with sugar. i certainly wouldn't recommend replacing it with the 'diet' stuff either because it contains artifical sweeteners.

                            switch to gin & soda [or seltzer] and add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

                            you're also forgetting about the best choice of all...


                            you can enjoy a 4-oz glass of your favorite varietal for approximately the same number of calories as a single jigger of vodka.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Also, many places will make a margarita with no sugar -- just lime juice and tequila is pretty good.

                          3. re: ctscorp

                            ctscorp - I agree, I never drank soda or had pizza for lunch everyday, and I still have a weight problem. I, too, hate those articles.

                            1. re: ctscorp

                              I've seen this quite often -- people who eat "healthy" foods, exercise, shun junk foods, etc. but still have problems losing weight. They've told me they were chastised by their doctors for not losing weight even though they've tried very hard. I know there are some people who say they try but are sneaking in Cheetos during the night. There is some imbalance going on with them, with the Liver being involved in almost all the cases (speaking from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective). It's pretty simplistic to say it's calories in versus calories out. Although I would say that Americans in general eat way too much and don't exercise enough.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Well, I don't know about my liver, I just know that it's just as easy to gain weight by eating all healthy, natural foods and very little sugar. I love to eat out, I love to cook, I love butter, beer and wine -- so it's not surprising that although I never go near a soda or a McDonald's, I easily eat more than the paltry 1200 calories or so that my sluggish late 40's metabolism seems to require.

                              2. re: ctscorp

                                Well unfortunately you are correct that drinking alcohol *does* lower your metabolism, or at least reduces the conversion of fat to energy:

                                >American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [4]. Eight men were given two drinks of vodka and sugar-free lemonade separated by 30 minutes. Each drink contained just under 90 calories. Fat metabolism was measured before and after consumption of the drink. For several hours after drinking the vodka, whole body lipid oxidation (a measure of how much fat your body is burning) dropped by a massive 73%.

                                from http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/r...

                                So even if your drinks are "low calorie" they're still sabotaging any effort to lose weight.

                                1. re: luniz

                                  the conclusion/statement that 'alcohol slows down your metabolism' is not entirely accurate.

                                  metabolically speaking, alcohol unfortunately gets preferential treatment in the process...it's the first 'nutrient' that will be broken down. so when you consume it, your body will metabolize the alcohol first, at the expense of any macronutrients [i.e. fat] that may be present.

                                  so it's not that alcohol prevents you from burning that fat, it just temporarily intereferes or delays it...and if, once the alcohol is used, the body no longer requires additional energy from the fat calories. then it stores them.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    I also think it's the 2:00 AM taco binge that does me in after a night of partying! :)

                                    1. re: stellamystar

                                      stella, remind me never to get a drink with you! I am a sucker for greasy food after a few (or a few too many) drinks.

                                      1. re: jnstarla

                                        I also gravitate toward fried egg sandwiches post-booze. Beware. :)

                                2. re: ctscorp

                                  12-14 beers a weight would definitely turn a skinny person overweight. it seems like you've identified why you can't lose weight, is there anything you can do to cut that out? i've noticed i like drinking less as i get older...what about sticking to light beer, even one you find tasteless, if that's what everyone is drinking. you will drink less. if you're able to order something else, i would say wine, i think you will be less prone to have more than one, it tastes better sipped than other alcoh., and it will be less likely to prod you into "what the hell" for another gin and tonic.

                                  1. re: fara

                                    12-14 beers = beer belly

                                    Alcohol is a huge contributing factor to the "Freshman 15;" that along with the out-of-control buffet style, high carbohydrate, all-hours eating... There was one girl from my high school I literally didn't recognize after freshman year, and of course, a couple of my friends that gained all their weight in their gut... beer bellies aren't attractive on men, no matter the age.

                                  2. re: ctscorp

                                    It's not only the calories for me, when I drink, I eat more! No self control. Haven't had a drink in 2 weeks, lost 5 pounds.

                                    Also, I really like WW, lost 35 pounds on WW. Gained some back, which is why I cut off the booze again.

                                    1. re: woodys

                                      Congrats Woodys! I'm only 6 lbs away from my goal. I too have to cut out the booze. I want to fit in my dress for New Year's Eve....but then again an 8 oz glass of red wine is only 2 points :)

                                3. I, too, can attest that it's possible - I lost about 35-40 pounds over the past year w/o really losing my passion for food. Portion control & exercising are key for me, as well as ahead-of-time planning if I'm going to consume heavy meals.

                                  Journaling helps a lot too esp. in regards to "unconscious" eating and for helping you to plan.

                                  Finally don't beat yourself up if you happen to cheat or slip off for a day or even a meal (I think that's where many "dieters" fall off the wagon and give up) -- just chuck it as a bad day and get back on plan the next day.


                                  1. Hi amy,

                                    Personally I don't think fad diets or pills work. Most people I've known have regained their weight after coming "off" the diet/regime. Long term weight loss requires a lifestyle change. For a few months now I've been logging calories on www.calorie-count.com. Its a bit of work at first, but once you've "tagged" your list of fave foods it becomes routine. Just by knowing what calories I've consumed in a day means I won't overindulge. Like Ruth said "calories burned minus calories consumed equals weight loss." I've lost 20lbs after 5 months and my husband, who's frankly better at avoiding sweets, and has been logging his calories for nearly a year - is down 60lbs. (Although for him the doctor read him the riot act so there was more motivation). calorie-count.com allows you to keep track not only of the calories you're eating but how much of it is carbs/protein/fat so you know if you're feeling hungry at the end of the day that chocolate bar you logged as a snack was "empty calories" and it's whats making you feel peckish at 8-9-10 o'clock at night.

                                    HTH ~Erica

                                    1. I love food, but work to stay within 3-4 pounds of my ideal weight. If I get over those 3-4 pounds I "diet" for a week or so. Here are some things I have learned:
                                      1. Diets foods are the path to disaster. If I eat the sugar-free or fat-free version of anything, I eat twice as much and usually eat the "real" thing later anyways.
                                      2. Movement is key and I have to do it first thing in the morning. If I don't, there are too many excuses by the end of the day.
                                      3. Turn off the TV. You'll find other stuff to do that will be more of a calorie burner.
                                      4. On my plate, I eat two healthy foods to every small portion of indulgent food. Last night's dinner was large serving of broccoli, large serving of garlic-spinach, and small portion of creamy, cheesy mushroom lasagna. (Ina Garten's recipe)
                                      5. You must eat some fat or you will feel deprived.
                                      6. Eat in season. The difference between eating a can of mushy green beans and fresh squash is astronomical.
                                      7. A day off is no big deal. People's weight loss goals are not sabotaged in one meal or in one day. They are undone by multiple days of bad choices.
                                      8. Drink lots of water

                                      Good luck.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Honey Bee

                                        Good points -- I particularly liked number 7: you said it much better than I did!

                                        1. re: Honey Bee

                                          Excellent points, Honey Bee, especially on the 'you MUST eat some fat'. I love food and adore sweets but lost 45 pounds on my own 7 years ago. I even registered with a Weight Loss Research Center, so their yearly 'how are you doing?' assessment reminds me that it's a lifetime committment.

                                          I find it exTREMEly difficult, since I am a food addict, to keep the weight off. I too panic at a four pound gain, so I guess that's good.

                                          My biggest piece of advice would be many small meal in a day (for me, seven). I am not able to keep away from sugar, nor do I want to, so moderation, many small meals, taking food home from a restaurant, and giving oneself a break if you overdo it are key to me. I can't exercise as I once did, but exercise and a rabid attention to food (as I said, I don't do that anymore) were central to my weight loss.

                                          Losing it is easy, keeping it off is torture.

                                          Good luck, amy rc.

                                        2. Short answer is yes. As a matter of fact, I watch my weight so I am even more into good food than ever as I don't want to waste calories on something that is not good.

                                          As said by others, dieting is a simple intake vs output. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. If you don't you will gain weight. How many calories and how hard and often you exercise matters a lot more than exactly what you are eating or the amount of time you spend in the gym.

                                          For example, you can eat cake every day and lose weight if you really wanted to as long as your total intake for the day is less than the calories you burn.

                                          If you need the structure of the Abs diet, (not familiar) as long as it is healty, go for it. I personally did not need a structured diet to lose weight. I chose to eat 5 small meals per day (palm sized portions) of whatever and exercize a lot. One day per week (always the same day - switching up cheat days will cause you to break your diet) I would not diet and eat what I wanted, when I wanted.

                                          The hardest part to dieting is actually keeping the weight off once you lost it. Get a scale and weigh yourself every morning no matter what. Vigilance is key.

                                          1. I tried the Sonoma diet last year with good results; unfortunately the stress of losing a long time job, then starting another one undid the loss! The main drawback to Sonoma is that the prep is time consuming, but I must say that the food was quite good. Even my DH was happy despite smaller portions.

                                            1. I am trying to boost fiber. Humans need 35 grams per day and I read that each gram of fiber uses up 7 calories - which is 200+ calories per day if you get your fiber.
                                              Anyone else starting to eat more fiber? I'm trying hard.....

                                              21 Replies
                                              1. re: stellamystar

                                                "Humans need 35 grams per day and I read that each gram of fiber uses up 7 calories - which is 200+ calories per day if you get your fiber."

                                                That solves a mystery for me...whenever I make a concerted effort to eat more fiber, my weight goes down.

                                                I like to dress up high fiber foods and fill my fridge and freezer with them. I just baked a batch of whole-wheat pumpkin mini-muffins made with light olive oil. Whenever the carb craving comes, I can grab a couple from the freezer. Another favorite is a cold lentil salad with lemon, onion, garlic, cumin and olive oil. I'll make a big pot of a hearty veggie stew with sweet potatoes, black beans, and chipotles and keep in individual servings in the freezer. I keep a container of cooked brown rice in the fridge, which can be quickly turned into a stovetop rice pudding with a little lowfat milk, cinnamon and sugar. I find that playing with healthy food can be interesting and fun, and there's no guilt involved with eating your experiments.

                                                1. re: Jocelyn P

                                                  Mmm, those pumpkin muffins sound good. Can you post them in the Home Cooking board?

                                                  1. re: pamalamb


                                                    The recipe is pretty simple. I used a basic pumpkin muffin recipe from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, substituting the whole wheat for white flour, adding extra pumpkin for moisture (and Vitamin A), and subbing light olive oil for veg oil. Sometimes I'll put in walnuts, too. I like to mix the leftover pumpkin with honey to use as a spread.

                                                    1. re: Jocelyn P

                                                      i'm sure you already know this, but i just wanted to clarify [since this is a post about dieting] that the term 'light' refers only to the color & flavor of the oil.

                                                      light olive oil has the exact same nutritional profile as regular or extra virgin, and olive oil is actually a tiny bit higher in saturated fat than canola oil.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Thanks for clarifying the differences between light olive oil and regular and extra virgin.

                                                        I have been reading lately that aside from the many health benefits of olive oil, it also may help redistribute body fat, in a way that most of us favor. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18983643/...

                                                        1. re: Jocelyn P

                                                          be aware that most of the studies have been done on rats & monkeys, not humans.

                                                          there does appears to be some evidence supporting the notion that saturated & trans fats promote redistribution of body fat to the abdominal area...but as far as olive oil being 'responsible' for favorable body fat redistribution, i'm skeptical.

                                                          so often, people take it too far once the media get a hold of any scientific evidence supporting the health benefit of something. yes, the monounsaturated fats in olive oil may help prevent the formation of clots associated with coronary artery disease...unfortunately many people interpreted this revelation as license to start dousing everything with olive oil because 'it's good for your heart.'

                                                          hey, i'm all for moderate consumption of healthy fats...they have a very important place in a well-balanced diet. i just hate to see people get too excited or go overboard with a food or ingredient based on unsubstantiated or preliminary claims.

                                                          i guess all i'm saying is that while some of the research is interesting, i wouldn't recommend that you start tossing back olive oil shots just yet :)

                                                2. re: stellamystar

                                                  Fiber is absolutely critical. If I don't get enough I feel the effects almost within hours. I take two fiber tablets a day and eat as many raw veggies as I can get my hands on. I'm not a cereal or bread nut so I find the supplements are a huge help, and they're supposed to be heart-healthy.

                                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                                    you just have to be sure to drink plenty of water when you take those supps!

                                                    the powdered ones are terrific for sprinkling on/mixing into foods as well. they're great in cottage cheese, yogurt...you can even stir them into dishes & sauces toward the end of cooking and i swear they're completely undetectable.

                                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                                      The fiber bars from The BEst Life Diet (Bob Greene - of Oprah fame) are quite tasty and I think have 6 grams. Just for something quick.

                                                      1. re: stellamystar

                                                        Even better: Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber bars. 12 grams of fiber and pretty tasty. I like the cinnamon raisin flavor.

                                                        1. re: stellamystar

                                                          The "fiber bars" I love best are the FiberOne bars -- each bar is around 150 calories and supplies 35% Daily Intake of fiber -- and it actually tastes pretty good (just a wee bit too sugary, but something I can overlook)


                                                          1. re: AquaW

                                                            i've said my piece about 'fiber one' products before, on other boards. i can't condone eating a cereal [or a related product] that is unnecesssairly sweeteend with aspartame.

                                                            i'm not familiar with the best life diet bars - i didn't know bob greene had created his own products.

                                                            as for gnu bars...at least they don't contain artifical sweetenrs or extra sugar. i can't eat them because i don't do soy, but the nutritional profile is better than most.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I agree w/you completely about Fiber One products, but FYI, Gnu bars don't contain any soy.

                                                              1. re: gansu girl

                                                                actually, they do.

                                                                soy flour is clearly listed on the ingredients panel as one of the components of the "gnu high fiber blend."

                                                                [they also contain psyllium, which is not my fiber of choice...it causes unpleasant gastric side effects in many people.]

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  Wow, this is a revelation, thank you JennS. I tried the higher fiber bread from Costco (the only place I could find really high grams of fiber) and it was disgusting.

                                                                  These bars actually look good and I'll be hunting them down tomorrow.

                                                                  1. re: dolores

                                                                    if you're looking for high-fiber bread and you have a trader joe's nearby, try milton's.

                                                                    rudy's organic, french meadow bakery, and vogel's also make good ones. you can find them at whole foods & wild oats/henry's, or smaller natural foods stores.

                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                For the record, Fiber One BARS do not contain any artificial sweeteners. There's some other stuff in there that keeps me from eating them, but no artifical sweeteners.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  I agree with you about Fibre One products, and anything with artificial sweeteners. I never buy "lite" products because when they take the fat out they (usually) supplement it with corn syrup.

                                                                  1. re: amy_rc

                                                                    jennywinker: you're right, the bars aren't sweetened with aspartame - they contain HFCS instead. just as bad imho.

                                                                2. re: AquaW

                                                                  Yes! that's what they are called - The Bob Green Best Life ones - fiber one. Thanks! I agree - a bit sweet- but nice w/ coffee in the a.m. Better than the Cereal bars i used to eat which had measly 2 grams of fiber!

                                                            2. re: stellamystar

                                                              I didn't know that! I recently discovered the Double Fiber bread from Arnold, which contains 5 grams of fiber per slice. Have a couple of pieces of toast at breakfast and a sandwich at lunch, and you're well on your way to 35...

                                                            3. The Abs Diet is really easy because there isn't much measuring or portioning. It's 12 powerfoods, and you eat them in combinations... 2 at a minimum and max as many as possible.

                                                              The original book and the "cookbook"/recipe ideas are helpful, and these are really just tasty, whole foods, and don't leave you feeling limited at all. You just try and eat as close to the "bulls-eye" as possible! Below, click on each ring to reveal choices there!


                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                I just recently found out that fiber one had aspartame in it and was very surprised. With so little calories, I was so excited. I would eat a breakfast of fiber one, skim milk and fresh fruit but be starving an hour or so later. Fake sugar tends to ignite my hunger. I now realize that if something is to good to be true it probably is.

                                                                1. re: edbk

                                                                  yep, glad you noticed.

                                                                  better to choose a pure, unsweetened fiber cereal and doctor it up yourself. a drizzle of agave nectar, honey...hell, even a sprinkling of turbinado sugar is a much healthier way to sweeten it than with chemicals.

                                                                  one other thing to realize, though...you were also getting hungry because your breakfast didn't contain any protein [aside from the small amount in milk] or fat. you need some of both for long-term satiety.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Any suggestions for "pure unsweetened fiber cereal"? Kelloggs All Bran--isn't. HFCS?? WTF

                                                                    Has anyone looked at the book "Good Calories, Bad Calories"? I think he's on to something.

                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                      neither is post 100% bran.
                                                                      i'd really like it if someone from post could explain to me how a product can be 100% of ANYTHING when it contains several other ingredients...in this case: sugar, processed flour, salt, and fruit juice concentrate...?

                                                                      anyway, here are my suggestions:

                                                                      kellogg's shredded wheat
                                                                      post shredded wheat & bran
                                                                      benefit nutrition simply fiber [available at whole foods & natural foods stores]
                                                                      kashi 7 whole grain puffs [available at most grocery stores]
                                                                      uncle sam cereal [available at tj's & most grocery stores]

                                                                      i love uncle sam. it also contains flaxseeds - since they're whole, they don't provide quite as much nutritional benefit as ground flax, but they offer a nice textural contrast.

                                                                      kashi is another textural departure from typical bran or fiber cereal, because the grains are puffed & light. it's not quite as high in fiber as others, but still unsweetened & 100% whole grain.

                                                                      the other three are just straight bran/fiber.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        If you want something a little less punitive, Barbara's Cinnamon Puffins (not all of them, just the cinnamon) are high figer (6 grams per ounce) and actually taste good. You can get them in some supermarkets and also at Trader Joe's.

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                          good call, ruth. coney had requested suggestions for cereals that are completely unsweetened...but you're right, puffins are lower in sugar than some other sweetened high-fiber cereals.

                                                              2. Exercise. Control portion size. That works for me. No forbidden foods. No counting calories or points. Just sensible eating. Lots of veggies and whole grains. Rarely eat sweets. Exercise. You can eat very well and lose/maintain weight.

                                                                1. Here's an incentive to begin that diet: you may discover food tastes better. I lost 15 lbs last spring and was astonished to experience a heightened (and improved) sense of smell and taste. Scents and flavors became distinct from one another, and took on more dimension. I looked better and food tasted better - that's a win-win situation!

                                                                  1. My $.02 - if you need the discipline of a diet, Weight Watchers is the only one that approaches reality. If you can do it with your SO, friend, family member, even better. It's and instant lifeline.

                                                                    If you want to do it on your own, it's all about portion control. Don't deprive yourself, but also use that magical common sense thing we all have. If you eat a salad loaded with bacon and blue cheese dressing, that's not dieting. Exercise as much as possible. Eat at home more than out. If you must eat out, be in control of the restaurant choice so you know there's something you can eat.

                                                                    And stay off the booze as much as possible. When your blood sugar is messed with, it makes it that much harder.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: harrison

                                                                      I have to say that our (wife and self) daily diets, based on WW (and now in maintenance mode) have always included a glass of wine or two. So far as we can tell (I lost 68 pounds, and have maintained my resulting weight for 2 1/2 years; my wife, who had less to lose, has been just as successful), the wine caused no significant obstacle to weight loss and maintenance.

                                                                      IOW, you don't have to give up that glass of wine with dinner to lose weight (or maintain a loss); it just has to be part of an intelligent, portion-controlled, balanced diet.

                                                                      1. re: Striver

                                                                        True. Total deprivation, imo, is a 'lifestyle change' killer.

                                                                        I know, it's a diet for life, but we're told to reword.

                                                                        To a food addict, it's a diet for life, and it's torture, all the happy yada buzz words notwithstanding.

                                                                        Alcohol, Turkey Hill, I've found that everything in moderation works.

                                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                                          Oh, good. I'm relieved to get some encouragement about drinking alcohol. I'm very much a social drinker on weekends or when dining out so my intake is very low. Only 1 beer or 1 or 2 glasses of wine even when I'm not dieting, so I think my "lifestyle drinking" is safe.

                                                                    2. Calories in - Calories out

                                                                      If you are trying to loose weight, you should be eating 7 calories for every pound you weigh. That means if you weigh 150 lbs, you should restrict your diet to 1050 calories per day. If you work out, then you will probably need to eat more like 12 calories for every pound you eat.

                                                                      You can eat whatever you want- you just have to count calories. It's also good to spread those calories into 5-6 "meals" per day. Good luck!

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: blondie60614


                                                                        recommending that ANYONE consume fewer than 1200 calories per day - particularly when you have no knowledge of their health status, lifestyle, body type or activity level - is irresponsible, and just plain BAD advice.

                                                                        assuming we're talking about a healthy adult, even someone who's trying to lose weight needs a minimum of TEN [10] calories per pound...no matter what they currently weigh.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          Seriously! Even 1200 calories a day is pushing it. No reputable diet plan goes below that, unless it's a medically-supervised liquid diet.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            I have read in several places that getting at least 1200 cals per day is a necessity, but I have found that I can eat very well on less than that and still be healthy.
                                                                            The majority of the time, my diet consists primarily of fruits and vegetables. Naturally these items are not very high in calories and you can really eat very substantal amounts of these foods and still not make it to 1200 calories. I do understand the importance of protein and whole grains, and I make a concious effort to include these things daily, but even so I often only end up with around 1000 calories. I always feel satisfied and never deprived or low in energy. For me it is just a matter of making sure all of my calories are well spent and working to my advantage.
                                                                            Naturally this probably would not be good for most people, but I've found it works well for me and has me feeling energetic and really quite healthy. I should note I have a medical condition that requires me to be aware of what I eat and keep my calorie intake lower than that of most people, but I have still managed to continue in my CH ways w/o breaking the calorie bank., I just have to be careful.

                                                                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                              Wow, I have a tough time making it to noon with 1200 calories being the mark point. Everyones metabolism is different but if my scrawny butt didnt get at least 3000 a day, I might waste away.

                                                                              Whatever works for one is great for them so good for you.

                                                                          2. re: blondie60614


                                                                            That would mean that for the five pounds I'd like to lose, I'd have to consume 868 calories a day.

                                                                            Even an anorexic would die on that one.

                                                                            WHERE did you get that information?

                                                                            1. re: dolores

                                                                              868 calories a day is ridiculous, obviously you don't need to loose any weight!!

                                                                              My recommendation was for someone who is 30+ lbs overweight. Lets not mistake eating disorders with people who have legitimate problems with their caloric intakes. A lot of overweight Americans would get a well needed wake up call with my recommendation- and would be very close to the 1200-1500 calorie "diet" most well known weight loss programs employ (Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig).

                                                                          3. I dont know anything about your abs diet, but I'd suggest, if you want some gourmet-type diet recipes, to check out the South Beach Diet cookbook. (That's the orange one, all recipes, not the green one with the diet in it.) You may or may not agree with the philosophy of the diet, but there are some really good recipes in there that use high-quality ingredients. Some of the baked goods call for artificial sweeteners, which I object to, but that can be worked around.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                              that's surprisingly useful advice from someone who isn't familiar with the abs diet.

                                                                              quite a few of the south beach recipes would be perfectly suited...particularly because many of them feature one or more of the 'power foods.'

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                I agree with the recommendation for the South Beach Diet cookbook. The recipes are quite good and would generally fit in with the Abs diet.

                                                                                I think being your own Chowhound-ish type cook offers a huge advantage when dieting because you control what goes into your food.

                                                                                I have found that I can usually find tons of recipes that are not written for any diet, but that fit the bill perfectly with little or no modification.

                                                                                I generally get frustrated trying to modify, for eg, a fettucine alfredo, into a healthy version... its gets too far from the original to be good. But if I start with recipes that already pretty healthy, you can usually make them with no compromise in taste or even authenticity.

                                                                                I particularly seek out recipes featuring veggies in new ways, eg a hearty authentic minestrone soup packed with veggies and some beans or a ratatouille or zucchini carpaccio - delicious but actually quite low cal and healthy.

                                                                            2. I'm a diabetic (partly, I'm sure to fact that through eating, drinking, and sloth, I ballooned to 250 lbs from 200 when I got married). So, losing weight wasn't a lifestlye choice for me; it was literally a matter of life and death.

                                                                              I used a three-pronged approach. First, I cut down on alcohol. (Note: I did not say eliminate, but I'd definitely let my consumption build up, so I tried to keep it to two or three drinks a night, two or three nights a week.) Second, I increased my exercise. One of the easiest ways to do this was get a bicycle, and use it to run all the little errands around town. Yes, it takes five to ten minutes more to go to the grocery or the bank, but it's not really a big deal. And, this year, I got an electric bike for longer trips - it has a small power motor to help you up hills and long grades, but you still have to pedal.

                                                                              But of course, I changed my diet as well. Besides the obvious (cutting out the doughnuts and pie), I drastically reduced the starch in my diet. This was not just to lose weight; for many Type II diabetics, these starches raise blood sugar alarmingly quickly. However, I found that by reducing rice, noodles, pasta, bread, and potatoes, I not only got my blood sugar under control (and reduced my medications in the process), but I lost the 50 lbs I'd put on, and a bit more. A typical dinner for me will be steak, pork chops, or chicken with a huge side salad; breakfast will be microwaved eggs, bacon, and one piece of whole grain toast; and for lunch, a "naked" burger (cheeseburger with no bun, but lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.). I've described this diet to some, and they reply with horror "what about your cholesterol?!". In fact, my cholesterol numbers have dropped, as have my triglycerides, and they are now well within "normal" limits.

                                                                              I generally have a piece of toast in the morning, but I've cut out rice and potatoes completely, unless we're eating out, and even then, I only have a few bites. I only eat whole wheat pasta or pizza (surprisingly, pizza doesn't affect my blood sugar), and then not more than once a week.

                                                                              What do I fill up on? Salads, lettuce wraps, lots of vegetables, nuts, and apples - I almost never feel hungry (except when I read CH for an hour!). The only foods I really miss are baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and pumpkin pie. Oh, and I do take a fibre supplement.

                                                                              When I looked at the Abs diet, it seems pretty low-starch, except it recommends eating all the whole wheat bread you want. That wouldn't work for me; YMMV. At any rate, I'm leaner and healthier (I've lowered my blood pressure, got my blood chemistry right, and lowered my resting heart rate) than I've been in years. Hope this helps!

                                                                              1. Just wondering if anyone had any other input about the Sonoma Diet...?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: jdream

                                                                                  Diet is the ultimate 4-letter word in my vocabulary. For a long time my doc is telling me my blood sugar is too high and I need to diet to get it under control. Not gonna happen! Then last time she said that I was borderline Adult Onset Diabetic. Well, that got my attention!!
                                                                                  She suggested the Sonoma Diet so I gave it a try and I love it. The basic premise of the diet is this:
                                                                                  There is good fat and bad fat and there are good carbs and bad carbs. You avoid the bad and eat the good. Then there is portion control of course. We bought 9" dinner plates so we wouldn't see empty spaces on a larger plate. No going back for seconds either. Then there is the exercise thing as well of course. No getting away from that.
                                                                                  But, I have to say that there are no real restrictions. Refined grains (white rice, white flour, etc.) are out but I like whole grains and such a variety with lots of tasty and exciting ways to prepare them. I never leave the table hungry and the food is anything but boring.
                                                                                  There is no counting calories. The food is "people" food that everybody can eat and enjoy. It does help if you are handy in the kitchen though. The author offers good advice for eating out but if you are stuck with eating prepared, packaged food you may not enjoy the success I have. I was at a high of 234# in May this year and by October I was at 205" My target weight is 200# and that last 5# is being stubborn but I refuse to be obsessive about it. I am enjoying my food and I exercise (I am a commute cyclist) and I expect to reach my target by the end of the year.
                                                                                  The Sonoma Diet - (as a chef friend said, is that Foie Gras and wine?) I highly recomend it.

                                                                                2. Spotted this a bit late, but my two cents (lost 40 pounds in the past 18 months, much of it walked off, but some from dieting): build a stable of really, really good foods you like that don't pack many calories or much fat, and make sure you treat yourself to them often, even if it means saving up pennies or cooking late after work.

                                                                                  For me, it's stuff like seared tuna with wasabi-soy, swordfish with roasted tomatoes, oysters with lemon & tabasco, thai scallop or steak or pork tenderloin salads (watercress, radishes, glass noodles, mushrooms, etc.), gazpacho with sherry (in tomato season), roasted asparagus with garlic and balsamic vinegar, lots of non-fat fruit sorbets and frozen yogurts with fresh berries.

                                                                                  Deprivation is no fun, but I find that if I'm constantly treating myself with healthy luxuries, I don't crave the unhealthy ones nearly as often.

                                                                                  1. Nothing much to add to the excellent advice here, except to comment on exercise.

                                                                                    Yes, you cannot exercise enough if you have a nice white collar job to meet the calories you take in.

                                                                                    But I find if I don't exercise and only diet, the hunger pangs creep in. Paradoxically, if I get very active during the week (gym every other day, weight training and aerobics), the smaller portions I eat for the whole week satisfy me more.

                                                                                    There's also the fact that resting muscle burns more calories than the same amount of resting fat.

                                                                                    1. I truly think the most critical thing is to not obsess about it but make good judgements (ie dressing on the side) or things like that. Of course, you can never, NEVER have more than enough vegetables, fruit, or other staples.

                                                                                      My biggest dietary need, and now hey, its good for your health - a beer a day. yum.

                                                                                      good luck.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                        I love my new Heineken Light "100 calorie pack."

                                                                                        1. re: jennywinker

                                                                                          My husband and I are on South Beach. And, if anything, it has inspired me to make vegetables and salads interesting again. I used to make them more out of obligation, but now that they are a featured player, I have been really trying.

                                                                                          I'm way into roasted cauliflower right now. I know it seems basic, but I cannot stop!

                                                                                      2. i'd rec that in restaurants you don't assume that the salad is the healthy option, a lot of times it isn't (more fat grams). become a "dressing on the side" person. check out some cool vegetarian restaurants in your area. instead of eating 1 cup of pasta with 1/2 cup of veggies; eat 1/2 cup of pasta with 1 cup of veggies. make a point to snack on raw fruits and veggies every day, avoiding other snacks, even the so-called healthy-power-bar crud. if you feel deprived, it probably won't work. one lady i know lost 100 pounds: she decided that she wouldn't eat anything that wasn't "absolutely fabulous!" so even though she was eating some $2/ea truffles that were absolutely fabulous, she was also eating amazing local fresh produce & healthy, well prepared meats-- and no prepackaged, blah i-don't-want-to-go-to-any-effort foods. and it was fun and fulfilling the whole time.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          that 'absolutely fabulous' concept is interesting. I think its ALL about not depriving yourself as you said.

                                                                                          1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                            That is a good idea. A little healthy indulgence is the best way to keep you motivated. One of my favorite indulgences is the olive tapenade spread from Whole Foods, with some Carr's sesame and poppyseed crackers. And a nice glass of red wine. Or a little bar of Green and Black's chocolate, and some good quality pasta with a good olive oil (white truffle oil is my favorite). Yum!

                                                                                            1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                              my favorites are strombolis, pizza and strong beers. those are the things that keep you sane!

                                                                                              feeling guilty really leads down a bad path, enjoy life and the holidays.

                                                                                        2. Absolutely. I am currently sticking with a low fat, low cholesterol diet (not barring healthy fats like olive oil however) after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and high ldl cholesterol. It is possible to still be a chowhounder and eat healthfully. In my personal experience however, diets don't work long term. The key is to keep everything in balance, eat more fruits and veggies than fats, protein and starch, walk a lot, drink water and be vigilant when ordering food in a restaurant. Weed out any unnecessary added fats where possible, and use a healthy bit of portion control (I find sometimes asking for a takeout bag in advance helps if I'm dining at a restaurant I know serves large portions).
                                                                                          And though I agree that most processed and 'diet' foods usually do more harm than good, a few exceptions can help keep you on the right track. Low-fat frozen yogurt is a prime example. There are some delicious varieties out there that almost make you forget the more calorie and fat-laden desserts (except for chocolate - a little is good for you!) I have lost 20 pounds in just over a month, so what I'm doing seems to work for me.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                            i've lost 40 lbs. since last year...
                                                                                            I went on my own diet. I regulated how much I ate at meal time...i ate less throughout the day, I drank more milk (you need the calcium for your bones and it helps burn fat better)...took a daily vitamin. I still ate whatever I wanted, I just ate less of it. If I wanted dorritos, I'd eat a handful and be satisfied with it...
                                                                                            I call it the Putting down the fork, picking up the milk diet. That's what its about. Its better for me than any diet because it worked! It teaches self control and that's what a lot of people need to learn. You need to be able to say, I've had enough, I'm putting down the fork! it worked for me

                                                                                          2. I made 2 lists - foods I ate on a regular basis that were bad for me, and foods that I ate as treats that were good for me - and I swapped them. I stopped buying cheese and mayo, and started buying a lot of seafood. Since March I have lost about 30lb, with no other changes to my diet. I allow myself cheese about once a month when eating out, and some occasional 'reduced fat' cheese to make quesedillas at home.
                                                                                            My expenditure on food has rocketed, but it's worth it. It is not a 'diet', but a permanent change in eating patterns.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Peg

                                                                                              Yes, I agree the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to learn how to eat better and keep those good habits going, not dieting or depriving yourself.

                                                                                            2. I lost quite a bit of weight this summer by 1) going for a walk or run every day, 2) drinking no soda at all, and 3) cooking through Deborah Madison's Veg cookbook soup section and through the Greens cookbook. I found that I lost quite a bit of weight, tho' I was eating quite a bit of buttery quiche pastry and paninis.

                                                                                              Losing weight in the winter is harder--I eat more cheese, more meat, drink more beer, and eat a lot more pasta & baked potatoes. I'm trying now to do a lot of Thai-style curries so that the bulk of my diet is lowfat coconut milk and veggies and a little meat. We'll see if I can hold on through the winter. I still go to the gym but not quite as often--I am dissuaded easily by a snowstorm.

                                                                                              My advice would be to choose a cookbook that is genuinely foodie in nature but has healthy
                                                                                              ideas, such as Deb. Madison, Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking or one of the Madhur
                                                                                              Jaffrey Indian cookbooks

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: HappyChow

                                                                                                Good luck with the winter, sounds like you are the good track. Walks do wonders.

                                                                                                The best trait someone can have is to appreciate the low fat versions of things. Some are more palatable than others but the differences can be huge- mayo/sour cream/cheeses. But I find that a lot are non-substitutable like ricotta or ice cream.

                                                                                                One book with great recipes is the Canyon Ranch cookbook. Awesome.

                                                                                                1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                                  I have to echo again for Weight Watchers. As much as I like to go it alone, the principle behind WW is rock solid. It really simply involves paying attention to what you put in your mouth, and making wise choices -- or at least acknowledging the unwise ones. For me, there is no way I'm gonna eat low-fat sour cream or fat-free mayo. I'd rather do without. That said, however, I love chevre and part-skim mozzarella and ricotta and Fage and mustard and sriracha and balsamic vin, and WW accounts for these as healthy, natural, delicious choices. So you don't have to fill up on processed garbage. I guess I like to think of it as math. Or nutritional Tetris. I just have to put it all together right! (Plus I can use my flex points for C.G. di Arie Syrah....)

                                                                                                  1. re: ctscorp

                                                                                                    "Nutritional Tetris" - now I understand why WW Online works for me so well! ;)

                                                                                                    1. re: ctscorp

                                                                                                      Daisy Low Fat Sour Cream is actually quite good. No gums or stabilizers.

                                                                                                      1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                        Daisy LF sour cream tastes great - just like the regular one. I thought it would be horrible but we swear by it now. It slashes the calories without affecting the flavour at all (and it's a great substitute for mayo too...)

                                                                                                      2. re: ctscorp

                                                                                                        I love the onine version of weight watchers, too. It suits my personality and the fact that I'm not intimdated by computers like my sister. I love being able to keep track of everything I eat precisely. I think I was trying to eyeball it too much before when I was just downsizing the portions. Even what I think are small are not small enough. Now that my stomach is starting to "shrink" it takes less and less to help me feel full. I have great hopes for myself!

                                                                                                      3. re: yankeefan

                                                                                                        Low-fat frozen yogurt, though not a substitute for ben and jerry's, is a good alternative. If you find a good fro-yo place you hardly miss 'real' ice cream at all.

                                                                                                        1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                          i actually prefer the Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia with frozen yogurt to the original flavour. That is the only instance where I prefer the lower fat version to the fat version.

                                                                                                    2. am curious how the OP is doing now that a few months have passed since this topic started. i'm new around here (as of yesterday?) and ran across the site while searching for healthy recipe ideas for some ingredients i have on hand. i'm a definite foodie, and definitely in need of losing some weight.
                                                                                                      like others have posted, i am not overweight because i eat junk food! most of my weight gain was actually caused by a health problem. and the only way to fight it is to lose weight. glorious. anyway, i am six weeks into my journey to health (how cheesy does that sound?) and have dropped close to 10 pounds.
                                                                                                      important things to keep in mind is that most "diets" cause you to quickly drop water weight and muscle weight, creating a false sense of success. inevitably, that weight comes back! as many others have said, the best thing is to exercise, make healthier choices, and control your portions.

                                                                                                      what i'm doing:

                                                                                                      - i am in the gym, 4-6 days a week, for about 20-30 minutes of exercise (i rotate between working on the weights one day, cardio the next day, etc). building muscle means i burn more calories faster, even at rest.

                                                                                                      - i am making lower fat/sugar choices in my foods. sometimes this is a tough adjustment (skim instead of half n half, for instance) but ive grown used to my alterations and actually prefer some of them now! ive always been a whole grain kinda girl but im taking it further and cutting out things like white rice.

                                                                                                      - ive been having 5-7 small meals a day. three of them are slightly larger, and the others are inbetween snacks. i find i dont need to eat as much because i never get as hungry as i used to. its easier to choose a healthy option when your stomach isnt screaming louder than your conscience!

                                                                                                      - i'm pretty much following the body-for-life method - with portion control, low fat, low sugar, controlled carb choices, and good protein.

                                                                                                      - i allow myself one "cheat day" each week. this helps LOADS with craving control. if that chocolate is seductively calling my name, i just tell it we can have a date on saturday. given the rate i am losing weight, i don't think it's caused me any harm - instead its been a huge help.

                                                                                                      it IS possible to have amazing meals while eating like this. it can be more difficult to find options that don't include fat or sugar, which actually really pushes you to be more creative and will likely expand my cooking prowess over the course of time.

                                                                                                      as someone else mentioned, cooking light magazine is a great source of ideas.

                                                                                                      i love food, yes. but even more, i love the prospect of going to a high-class restaurant in a tiny, sexy black dress and eating good food, guilt-free. or even more importantly, to beat this health problem and prevent worse from happening.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: dani_k

                                                                                                        I used to go to the gym more but get less done, now i really work out while i am there and only have to go 3 days a week to get the same result i used to get when i went 5-6 days a week.

                                                                                                        I eat lots of fruits and veggies (always have) and eat only whole grains and lean protein. My problem has always been my cravings for nachos and pizza.

                                                                                                        For pizza i take a thomas 100 calorie whole wheat english muffin and add tomatoe sauce, veggies and goat cheese. I eat it with a side salad for a quick meal and love it.

                                                                                                        For nachos, I take two corn tortillas and cut them into pieces (100 calories total) and toast them in the oven. I then add black beans, soy jalepeno cheese (35 calories a slice, I usually use 2 slices), and then add lettuce, green hot sauce, jalepenos and plain greek yogurt at the end. It tastes so good, is portion controlled and you get your fix without sabotaging your diet.

                                                                                                        My biggest problem is that I associate the pub with wings and nachos and once i have had a drink (or two) I lose all self control. I have to learn to go to a pub and have a drink without eating, or to eat something more sensible like a grilled chicken sandwhich.

                                                                                                        1. re: dani_k

                                                                                                          I would like to say that I've lost 20 lbs, but, unfortunately I have not. I lost about 10 lbs between the original post and November and I was quite excited that I kept it off and stayed focused over the holidays.

                                                                                                          In late January I was ill for a couple of weeks and when I started eating again I ate everything in sight. Also, when I became sick I stopped working out and had trouble finding the motivation. When I did work out I was inconsistent. By the time I realized it, I gained back the weight.

                                                                                                          I am in the process of re-dedicating myself. I am continuing my gym membership and I just cleaned out my fridge today and re-stocked it with healthy foods. I am also replacing the community candy bowl at work with fruit (hopefully there won't be a mutiny).

                                                                                                          I need to work on staying focused and, even when there is a glitch getting back on track. I also need to keep in mind that healthy living is a lifestyle change, not a short term solution. It is a new life.

                                                                                                          Thanks to all the posters, I adopted many of your pointers earlier. As I re-read through them today I feel inspired all over again.

                                                                                                          1. re: amy_rc

                                                                                                            I know it can be tough, but hang in there. You'll do great!

                                                                                                            1. re: amy_rc

                                                                                                              One week down, but I have to say the fruit bowl at work has been a huge success! My co-workers seem to love it, too, and I don't feel guilty after eating a piece or two a day.

                                                                                                          2. walk everywhere, limit yourself to one "splurge" per day (like dessert or a rich entree), and don't overeat. avoid "factory food", esp. "diet" ones (100 cal packs, snackwells, power bars) because they have lots of artificial sweeteners.

                                                                                                            good luck! :)

                                                                                                            1. I've lost almost 90 pounds over the past couple years, even though I'm very prone to overeating. I've basically plateaued over the last year and am looking to get serious about losing weight again because I still have about 30 more pounds to go.

                                                                                                              What's working the best for me is keeping a food journal and planning my meals ahead of time. If I have to write down everything, eating becomes a conscious decision, and I'm less likely to mindlessly snack.

                                                                                                              Another thing that helps me immensely is planning out my meals for each day. When I feel rushed or I feel like my options are limited, I tend to make much poorer decisions. The same goes for if I wait too long between meals - I almost always overeat if I'm feeling starved, so I've started putting small snacks in my purse just in case (100-calorie packs, although not necessarily the most nutritious, have been an absolute lifesaver recently).

                                                                                                              Lastly, even though I'm trying to limit my calorie intake, it's very important to my success that I not feel like I'm restricted. Since I'm never sure what sort of cuisine I'll be in the mood for, I always keep several options on hand so that I never have a moment when I look into the pantry or fridge and feel like there's nothing there that I would want to eat.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Al_Pal

                                                                                                                Just to add a little something to my above post, another way you can cut calories pretty effortlessly is to still eat what you like, but just leave certain things off of it.

                                                                                                                If you order pasta and normally eat it with parmesan, leave the cheese off (same goes with burgers). You'll save about 100 calories each time you do that. If it's pizza, go with thin crust, easy cheese, or have them leave the most fattening topping off. You can cut calories by basically eating the same things but making small, healthier alterations that really don't change the overall flavor of your meal.

                                                                                                                1. re: Al_Pal

                                                                                                                  This is good advice. I've been leaving the cheese off my turkey sub (from a local shop) and went from the regular size to the kid's size and it's plenty and I don't miss the cheese.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                    I was on vacation in India for 3 weeks and it made me realize how much I love both cheese and mayo. No tunafish sandwiches there. We have so much more variety here which might cause us to overeat. Also, there, I was on a mostly vegetarian diet.

                                                                                                              2. An update on my quest - I have lost 15 pounds since January and am packing to go on the anniversary cruise that sort of started this diet. I'm buying new clothes in 2 sizes smaller than I wore at the beginning of the year. I'm eating lots more vegetables and fruits, less potatoes, pasta, bread and cheese but am still able to have small amounts of the things I love.