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Sep 23, 2007 03:47 PM

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 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.

               is great for tracking (and will even provide you with meal plans, though they are a little weird...) and free. I use 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%.


                                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'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 :)