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Keeping life in moderation...

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OK-so I know that you are all not 350 pounds, but how do you balance being healthy with enjoying wonderful food. Any tips would be appreciated...I'm trying to lose weight for my wedding, but don't want to starve for six months to do it.

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  1. This topic has been covered a lot but for what it's worth, here's my new plan to drop a few pounds and hopefully reduce my cholesterol.
    Basically, during the week I have a breakfast of two egg whites and a slice of Ezekiel bread, with or without jam, with either real butter or Benecol spread.
    For lunch, I try to stay away from the carbs and have some variation of tuna with garbanzo beans and vinagrette over lettuce, or leftover chicken and spinach with garlic, basically protein and veggies. Afternoon snacks are a small yogurt, a small Trader Joe's individual pack of trail mix (just nuts and raisins), and sometimes an apple or some strawberries.
    For dinner, I'm more liberal, but pizza or pasta should be no more than once a week. But I'll have fish, steak, chicken, etc. with veggies and potatoes or rice, Thai food, etc.
    And I must have a glass of red wine every evening for my cholesterol! I'm not that into sweets so I find it pretty easy to get through the work week without them. Then on the weekends, I try more kinds of food for my blog, and might eat some gelato or fried food for research purposes, or make a special dessert for Sunday dinner.
    Also, I've stepped up my exercise from walking/jogging about 4 or 5 miles a week to more like 15 miles, as well as a strenuous yoga class.
    So basically, go very easy on breakfast and lunch, be prudent, yet tasty, at dinner, schedule a treat or two for the weekend and get some exercise, even if it's just a short walk, six or seven days a week.
    Obviously, it's better to never touch fast food, soda, commercial baked goods or most packaged food, all of which I find very easy.
    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chowpatty

      "might eat some gelato or fried food for research purposes,"

      research? ahem...

      all the comments above and below sound wise. as in, I'd rather use one tblsp of a butter than 5 of an alternative.

      eating slowly will also help avoid hiccups.

      I wouldn't recommend it, but I've had food poisoning a coupla times and nothing teaches how little you really need than a week of an involuntary fast.

      breakfast will jump the metabolism for the day and you'll burn all the more for it.

    2. I'm not good at exercise and I am at the high end of normal on the BMI scale. I also eat less than healthy without apology. First, get over food guilt...it's okay to toss food, not clean your plate, etc. Secondly, know your weaknesses...mine are cheese, carbs and wine. Sweets are not big deal for me. My strategy is to not clean my plate, don't eat food I don't love, and skip bread unless it's really GREAT bread. I'll eat less of full fat foods rather than more low fat versions of items (such as cheese). Also, if I know a big plate of carbonara is in store for dinner, I eat less at breakfast and lunch. My typical breakfast is either Kashi cereal, half of a bagel with cream cheese, a slice of wheat toast with peanut butter or an English muffin with butter and sometimes jam. Lunch varies (and I love fast food) but I'll get my main (burger, chicken sandwich, etc.) but no chips or fries and often will leave the cheese off if I have over indulged recently or have plans to. I'm a fast eater and when I am done and others aren't I literally sit on my hands. Also for alcohol, stick with wine and beer or things like gin or vodka tonics in lieu of margaritas, cosmos or froo-froo 'martinis' or other fruity, sweet drinks.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Janet from Richmond

        I second the skip bread unless it's really great bread idea, except for my Ezekiel bread at breakfast.

      2. I exercise 4-5 times a week and try to avoid fast food and overly processed food. We've recently (last 6 months) started cooking at home more often and as such I try to make dishes with less fat, sodium etc. and my wife and I both seem to have lost weight from that in conjuction with less restaurant food. I seem to notice myself gaining a few pounds after having gone out to eat excessively for a week or two as I'm less likely to "behave" at a restaurant than I am at home.

        1. Don't skip breakfast. Try a yogurt and banana. I also once heard that meat and cheese sandwhiches are the easiest way to gain weight. I avoid bread unless it's real french bread. Skip appetizers and go for a full entree. Especially if it's lunch time. That's the best time to eat a full meal. Eat slow and don't be afraid to have small portions as you can always have more. I also avoid dairy when I can. Part of my love of food has to do with anticipation and not always giving into my impulses. It keeps the food special for me.

          1. "how do you balance being healthy with enjoying wonderful food."

            1.Stop worrying about what you eat.
            2.Eat breakfast
            3.Eat a good (hearty) sized lunch
            4.Eat a smallish dinner (if you eat bfast and lunch, you will not want a big dinner)
            5.Eat fruits that are in-season. When you eat the fruits that are ripe, you will want to eat more fruit. Right now, I can't eat enough citrus, yali pears, and fuji apples. I can eat them all day long. In a few months, you couldn't pay me to eat an apple or an orange. They will be out of season, and horrible.

            6.Forget about counting calories. GET TO THE GYM! It's oh so much easier to sweat for a few hours than to not eat good food all day. Once you start really working at the gym, everything else falls into place. Counting calories is for suckers. Exercise is the easiest way to lose weight, and feel better about yourself. Once you start, it's hard to stop. The benefits are far too amazing to be one of the people who "always plans on going to the gym, but gets sidetracked." you MUST devote time for exercise just like you devote time to going to work from 9-5p.

            2 Replies
            1. re: gordeaux

              I agree with going to the gym and doing cardio and weights about 4X a week, but I do not believe in being a gym rat. Spending an hour total there is great. Also, for a large breakfast and medium lunch and dinner with snacks is the right way to go. Breakfast I have eggs with soy cheese on bran crackers with fruit or a yogurt mixed with cereal and fruit. Lunch is a salad or a wrap with protein and veggies and dinner is either salmon with brown rice and veggies or sushi. If I go out to dinner, I try to stick with grilled foods and sorbet for dessert. I love red wine, so I can never cut that out. Just moderation ........

              1. re: gordeaux

                Get exercise - not necessarily the gym.

                It is still snowy here and I am aching to get on my bicycle and ride and ride for hours...

                Lots of vegetables, even if you aren't a vegetarian.

              2. Don't know if you drink it, but give up the diet Coke. I can't tell you how many people I know drop 5 pounds, just cutting that out of their diet.

                Make your meals with fresh food. Also, bring your lunch to work, that way you control the portion size. Portion control is huge. I snack all day to keep the metabolism going. Also, I make my sandwiches with whole grain white bread (can't stand whole wheat) with is better for you than enriched white (they don't strip the grains).

                Oh, I know this may sound really obvious, but I stop eating when I'm full. Not stuffed, but satisfied. If I am out, I ask the waiter/waitress to take the plate when I am done, so I don't continue to pick at it.

                I'm not a big exercise person and hate the gym, so I try to walk 6 miles a week (2 at a time) as fast as I can. Takes me about a half hour to do that and I do it outside. I also take a bikram yoga class once a week, vinyasa if I can get there. It's a great workout, it does wonders for my stress level and it burns a pile of calories because the room is heated.

                I am super lazy and a junk food addict, so if I can do this, anyone can....

                1 Reply
                1. re: deborah24

                  Cannot agree more emphatically about the diet soda. Nice post.
                  I would like to add that I make sure to get all sorts of textures and flavors. It helps curb cravings. If I have a yen for one thing in particular (especially if it is in my house) I eat a very small bit of it otherwise I eat up everything else trying to satisfy the craving. I also keep 100 calorie or below healthy snacks ready in the fridge in case mad hunger strikes.

                  Dieters might want to consider a food diary up front, measuring food until they can safely eye it and identifying times when you eat when not actually hungry. If you have a bad calorie day, no beating yourself up and giving up. Simply resolve to get back to healthful eating.

                  Congratulations to your fiance for finding a lovely woman to marry.

                2. Eat like a hog at the trough whenever and whatever I want ... BUT alternate a run and heavy weights at the gym six days a week, rarely eat out, no fast/junk/prepared foods, cook with very little oil, eat few desserts, no soft drinks, no bacon. This is not discipline; I just don't crave sugary or fatty foods and prefer cooking to eating out.

                  1. You can enjoy wonderful food and eat/be healthy at the same time, you may just need to redefine your definition of wonderful and be mindful of portion size. Make water your beverage of choice, never drink sodas (neither diet nor regular) or fruit juices, avoid or eliminate all food with added sugars (that includes most dried fruits), never, never eat processed food that has high fructose corn syrup or a hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. Note that these last two criteria will eliminate most all breakfast cereals, other than hot cereals (and I don't mean instant hot cereals). (On the subject of breakfast cereals, ever notice that most contain corn or some corn product as one of the first ingredients listed? Keep in mind that corn is what farmers feed pigs and geese for foie gras to make them fat!)

                    Avoid convenience/processed foods. Basically, these dicta indicate a diet of whole, fresh foods: Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh meats/poultry/fish/seafood that you prepare yourself. And avoid most starches, but if you must have starch, make it unprocessed like brown rice rather than white and keep the portion tiny. Avoid ersatz foods that are supposedly healthy substitutes for the real thing - the real thing (like real butter) is better for you anyway.

                    Try to eat regular meals and just say no to between meal snacking, unless you're on the six small meals a day plan. If you must snack, have some raw or salted nuts, a piece of fruit, some celery with peanut butter; some olives or a piece of nice cheese, but never chips, pretzels, crackers or the like.

                    And a bit of exercise every day never did a body harm!

                    You don't need to starve. Just eliminate processed foods, pasta, breads, starches, things with white flour, and things with added sugar. Fat won't kill you, but sugar and starch will.

                    1. If you can, don't use your car. Walk or bike everywhere. And don't eat too late. My friend was finally able to take off her wedding ring after three years. She told me the only change she made was that she wouldn't eat after 7P.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        I have never owned a car,

                        Can't quite agree about 7pm, though, as suppertime was at least 8 when I lived in France and in Italy, and there are far fewer overweight people than among those of the same genetic backgrounds in North America.

                        It is snacking after supper that is bad.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          That is because they go to sleep later. A better rule of thumb is no food 2 or 3 hours before tucking in at night.

                      2. This is a good book to get that can help you make good decisions about what you eat, and where the hidden dangers are. It's "Eat This Not That":

                        http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594868549/?...

                        It is a real eye opener!

                        1. I tend to think it's highly individual to sort out what will work for you in the six months. I know that for myself it was a matter of learning portion control and finding exercise I enjoyed. I grew up, well, to be honest, there was little portion control exhibited in our house. So, that was the first step. Sometimes you have to take an honest look at your habits, maybe even write down your food intake a few days to become aware of how much you're eating. An awful lot of people, no matter how chowish they might be, aren't really aware of their choices. It sounds contradictory, 'cause we sure enjoy food, but many of us are only into the sensations while eating, rather than paying attention to how food makes us feel after eating it!

                          The other part of the equation for me actually came easier. Once I figured out I'm too shy for the gym, exercising got a lot more fun. I do lots of different activities at home or outside, and balance between cardio, strength, and flexibility and balance training, and it's become a real joy in my life. I hope you find the same. Life is too short to do stuff we don't like. So, find what you like and mix it up, stay interested, and it will pay off.

                          1. Jennie, just one more thing. While it is important to you to look good in your bridal dress, it is more important to you and your future spouse that you are healthy and happy. Not only that, you probably have events related to your wedding where lots of food will be a fact of life. No sense in being so restrictive that you are miserable. Eat very tiny portions of caloric things while celebrating and really watch it on quieter days. Exercise with your fiance for a long term bond between you and relax about trying to lose piles of weight in 6 months. You can eat healthily at around 1300 calories and getting exercise and drop plenty of weight without deprivation. Good luck!

                            1. I used to be able to eat anything and not gain weight. My husband is much better with moderation than I would be on my own.

                              1. Over the past few years, I've dropped close to 90 pounds (not easy!), which I jump-started by seeing a nutritionist. She put me on a 1500 calorie diet, which is not nearly as restrictive as it sounds, and I was losing about 3 pounds a week. I know that everyone is different, but here are just a couple things that worked really well for me:

                                1) Measure out all of your ingredients when you cook at home. You'll be surprised at how little pasta is actually in a 1-cup serving or at just how much mayonnaise you get out of 1 tablespoon. Plus, once you've done this enough, it gets easier to eyeball REAL portion sizes when you eat out.

                                2) EAT BREAKFAST. I still try to keep my breakfasts in the 300-calorie range, which is actually extremely easy. Egg beater omelets are a freaking godsend. 2 servings of egg beaters is only 60 calories, which lets you put a TON of stuff in your omelet. Some of my favorite fillings include spinach (fresh or cooked), feta, any kind of part-skim shredded cheese, diced onions and diced tomatoes. My omelets usually range from 160-180 calories, leaving plenty of room for a piece of toast (or a whole-wheat mini-bagel with jelly) and a little bit of fruit. Instant oatmeal contains 100 calories per packet, which I sweeten with cinnamon and a little bit of splenda, and most breakfast cereals are in the low-100-calorie range (I buy the little variety packs sometimes to keep from getting bored). I've also got a great recipe for a low-calorie crustless quiche that I'll be happy to share. I can eat breakfast foods at any time of the day, so I often whip up some of this for a snack or a light dinner.

                                3) Pre-portioned items are some of my best friends. Most snack foods have jumped on the 100-calorie-pack bandwagon, and although they're high in sodium, Lean Cuisines and the like score major points for convenience. One downside is that most of their portions tend to be a bit on the smaller side, so I also found that it's a good idea of keep some frozen veggies on hand to supplement the entrees and help fill you up without adding on a ton of calories. I always keep a variety of frozen entrees on hand, and I usually end up breaking them out after I've gotten home from a bar with friends. I know that's when I'm most likely to overindulge, but if I have some appealing low-cal options waiting for me at home, I'm much less inclined to swing through a 24-hour fast food joint.

                                4) Two words: Shirataki noodles. They're a great stand-in for pasta if you're able to get past the texture (a little bit more rubbery than regular noodles). You can find them at places like Whole Foods in the refrigerated section that houses tofu and tofu-related products. They come in a small bag (two servings per bag, but at only 20 calories per serving, there's no shame in eating the whole thing), and you have a choice of fettucine, spaghetti, and angel hair shapes. I'm partial to the angel hair for regular pasta dishes because it's the least offensive in terms of texture, but I like the fettucine for stir-fry dishes. I would recommend rinsing them right out of the bag and then putting them into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes just to get rid of any residual flavoring from the liquid they come in. I've tried them in several italian dishes, and they seem to work best with a liberal amount of red sauce and some grated parmesan.

                                Lastly, variety goes a long way toward keeping me on track. As a foodie, I pretty much live to eat, so any diet that makes me feel like I'm making too many sacrifices just won't last. On days when you're not that hungry, don't force yourself to eat the full 1500. Those extra couple hundred calories can go toward a special treat later in the week.

                                1. Walk, bike, swim-I'm not much a gym kinda gal.
                                  Fresh is best; fruit, veggies, salads
                                  Protein is your friend
                                  The right carbs can also be your friend
                                  Use small plates!
                                  Naturally limit high fat/fatty dairy/sugars that can ruin all the good you're trying for
                                  Good luck!

                                  1. Jennie,

                                    1. Avoid all sodas especially diet soda. (The asorbic acid increases your appetite.)
                                    2. Avoid processed food like frozen pizzas, hot pockets, etc.
                                    3. Gradually eat less. (Don't finish your plate, especially in modern restaurants that generally plate way too much food.)
                                    4. Drink lots of water and exercise.

                                    You should lose 15 pounds in 6 weeks. This regimine will keep your weight "normal". I cook (from scratch) anything I want with lots of butter, pasta and fat, etc. and have found this approach works.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Walters

                                      This is one of the most practical posts I've read on this subject over the years. I recently gave up Diet Coke and am anxious to see how it affects me. I also have a bad frozen pizza habit at the office for lunches during work and am giving that up. I'm also a bad snicher when I am cooking and I have to stop that and wait for the finished product.

                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                        I'm currently relearning how to be a healthier person. I love to cook but now the first Item I prep is my nibble food. I love cucumbers and apples and will cut up one of either to sit in front of me while I cook.

                                        1. re: BostonZest

                                          That's a great idea. I love cucumbers also. And berries. Nibbing on blueberries is better than nibling on cheese. Whenever I grate cheese I probably 'snitch' a few ounces in the process.

                                      2. re: Walters

                                        You sure about the ascorbic (sic, it's ascorbic) acid? It's vitamin C, and most sodas don't have it.

                                        Maybe you mean phosphoric acid, which is used in many sodas.

                                        1. re: Walters

                                          I think it's a bit enthusiastic to think you'll lose 15 pounds just by doing the above,...i have been following an under 1500 guideline (and most days it's under 1200), for more than 6 weeks, and i still haven't lost 15 pounds. I don't drink diet soda lately, cook all of my own food, measure and weigh everything, and while i'm not a gym rat, i do go for lengthy walks and do yoga...so i'm not sedentary.

                                          Now a lot of males i know could probably do this and lose 15 pounds.

                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                            How much weight depends on so many factors. Males tend to lose weight faster because they've got a lot more muscle than fat (I have a couple of male friends who've got a 3% body fat percentage and they can eat a TON of food). And if you have more weight to lose, you'll take it off faster than somebody who just needs to lose their last 10 lbs.

                                        2. I think you have the right mindset jenniegirl.........starving yourself for an occasion is known to not work for people. While it's good to keep a goal in mind, doing that will have you putting on a few pounds when you rebound after the wedding.

                                          I am also trying to shed a few pounds myself. I still have the very occasional "treat" meal when i travel or on a weekend with friends, but i get right back on track the next day, and also accept that maybe those weeks perhaps i won't lose, but i won't gain (and alot of times i'm still pleasantly surprised.) I still eat cheese, nuts, cook things with olive oil and coconut milk etc, but i watch my proportions etc.

                                          What helps me is the following:
                                          -I cook lots of things that are interesting to me, have wonderful spices and flavours etc, not necessarily non-fat, but not swimming in butter either. I'm always on the lookout for great recipes, and i love a wide variety of foods from different cultures. I freeze leftovers for those rough days when i am SOOOO not in the mood to cook. This is a big one for me as it keeps me from reaching for carby-fatty things out of convenience.
                                          -track your calories, for me an online tracker works well because i'm a bit of a computer geek :)
                                          -measure and weigh what you are cooking.
                                          -stock your cupboards and refridgerator with lots of interesting and unusual fruits and vegetables. The variety helps me loads and keeps things interesting.
                                          -I don't eat meat, but i find that beans and grains are very filling, and help me through the hungry days.
                                          -Personally, i don't eat bread, white sugar, white potatoes, rice or pasta except on very rare occasions. I keep my belly fillers in the "good carb" variety.
                                          -I have the least amount of trouble staying on track while i'm at work through the day. So i tend to save a good proportion of my calories for a supper meal. I guess the point is to know your high-risk times.
                                          -I do NOT eat unrecognizable fat-free freakie foods with a thousand ingredients.

                                          Most of all, if you slip up, don't beat yourself up over it, and also don't let it give you license to say to hell with it, "i've already fallen off my diet-might as well keep going" sort of thing.

                                          1. First and foremost, everyone and every BODY is different and responds to different things. I have always, always, ALWAYS been a plus size. I am small on top and have a big ass. I am a pear shape but I wear it well, for the record. THAT being said, my cholesterol is 171. Yeah, I said it. 171. Not so bad. In fact, there are a few people out there that would kill for it. I drink Diet Pepsi and iced skim lattes with great abandon. I do not go to a gym to work out but I am very active and will shop circles around all of you! I also do not eat food before 11-1130 in the morning and I am up by 5. I simply cannot. It makes me sick to my stomach and I get this gross icky feeling that sticks with me all day so I just don't bother.

                                            I do eat lots of vegetables and whole fruits, no juices or anything with a high glycemic level after being processed.
                                            I grill almost everything I can, unless it is below 20 degrees and the propane won't ignite.
                                            I try (and I say try because produce was INSANE this winter and 4 bucks a pound for red leaf lettuce was a little much) to have a really great salad every single day. In fact, I generally make the salad first and eat mine while I am making dinner.
                                            I don't eat anything from a bag or box, stay away from processed crap and while there are those on the 100 calorie a pack bandwagon, they are garbage. I grab a string cheese, some nuts, a piece of fruit, peanut butter toast, veggies or if all hell and damnation need it, a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine. (I rarely drink so mostly I trade both of those for a beer as a preferential thing).
                                            If I know I am having pizza for dinner I make sure I am having a double huge salad first. If I know we are going for mexican, I eat really well all day and cash out my being good all day for a few fresh hot tortilla chips and forget the flour tortillas with my fajitas!

                                            Every body is different...what works for some does not work for others. You will be fabulous for your wedding regardless of your weight as long as you are happy with yourself!

                                            Congrats!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chelleyd01

                                              just a note, not all the 100 calorie packs ideas are garbage.....just the other day i saw 100-calorie packs of blue diamond unsalted almonds. Not so bad.

                                            2. I am trying to live by...." If everything is special, nothing is special." So true for clutter, food, booze, and other issues.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: stellamystar

                                                This is good advice and one I am taking to heart. April 7th, I hit "the number" I swore I never would and this thread came at that time and by making small (and very doable) changes I have lost 4 pounds in 15 days. I have 12 pounds to get to goal and by doing it slowly and making lifestyle changes, my goal is to be there by my 44th birthday in September. I have given up diet soda and processed foods. I make a conscious decision in regard to everything I eat (no mindless snacking or snitching) and I have upped my exercise.