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Jun 8, 2010 12:04 PM

Is it possible to diet and...

still eat delicious food? What kind of diets have worked for you? I need to lose about 20-25 lbs. But I love food. I am starting by trying to eat more fruits and vegatables and less carbs. I have tried Atkins before and did not like it. I just have never been really successful at losing weight. Have you?

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  1. I am doing Weight Watchers online, and I think that it is really a very easy diet to follow since you can eat anything. It's a matter of portion control rather than strictly limiting any one kind of food. I think it is really more of a lifestyle makeover than a diet, and so far it is working for me. When you do it online, there is a very supportive online community that is helpful too.

    10 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      At one point several years ago, my husband needed to lose weight. He insisted he go on Nutri-Systems (yuck). He lost 60 pounds. Then he decided he could do it without their food. He put the 60 pounds back on. So - now it is my turn to take charge of his diet. I am making healthier meals, using more portion control for him, lots of salads and keeping the carbs low, as well as making sure he gets a fresh vegetable serving for lunch and dinner as well as using whole wheat breads. He is losing about 5 lbs. a week at this point. He also puts in some time on his recumbent bike every morning during the week. And we have some really delicious meals! Its slow progress, but slow is better than NO progress.

      1. re: boyzoma

        I wouldnt call 5 lb a week SLOW progress.. actually, considering that its recommended that you lose no more then 1-2 lb a week, I would call 5 lb a LOT. If he can maintain this weight loss, thats great, and ultimately, what matters most, but don't let him feel like he is moving too slowly.

        1. re: hungryabbey

          Actually, he is the one that feels he is moving slowly. I'm just proud that he is willing to work at it. Its funny - we just saw the Jenny Craig commercial where Jason Richards says he lost 30 lbs in just 18 weeks. So in comparison, DH is doing fantastic!

          1. re: boyzoma

            i think you mean Jason Alexander...i can't even begin to imagine what a morph of George & Kramer would be like! ;)

            but seriously, good for DH, and good for YOU, being so supportive.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              You're right - it is Jason Alexander - well, at least you get the idea! As for loss, it is Dr. mandated and he is also on diuretics, which helps account for some of the loss. But mostly right now, we are working on the "portion control" part of this. So, in my book, he is doing fantastic. And regardless, he is the most handsome man I know! Since we've been through this before, he does very well early on. The harder part is when the plateau comes and getting over that hump. But never fear. We will persevere.

          2. re: hungryabbey

            "considering that its recommended that you lose no more then 1-2 lb a week"
            not true. the "safe" rate of weight loss is wholly dependent on the individual. numerous variables including age, lifestyle, body type, health status, weight and body composition all factor into the equation.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              This is so true, and for those with the most to lose, great changes in habits often produce large, rapid weight losses that are positive. Old dogma dies hard. One size reccos don't fit all.

              1. re: mcf

                You're right. Depending on the individual's size, more or less is appropriate.
                1-2 lb /week is the average recomendation, I should have specified.

                1. re: hungryabbey

                  just making sure :) there's so much misinformation out there!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    DH is following his Dr.'s orders and is being monitored closely. So this is not an issue. I just need to maintain a diet that works for him.

      2. Exercise. Not only does it allow you to eat more, it makes you feel better in every way and is preventative of many diseases. I eat a lot (though generally I eat healthfully) and I maintain my weight easily because of exercise.

        When I started I SO didn't want to, but after a few weeks I began to like it. And now it's a habit I am thankful to have.

        16 Replies
        1. re: visciole

          Totally concur on the exercise point.

          But just be warned that exercising is not an invitation to eat carte blanche.

          Rarely will a typical person exercise enough to burn off enough calories so that the person can eat "whatever they want".

          A typical burger is easily 500 calories. A typical person will burn only about 500 calories/hour running at about 6 mph pace.

          That's hard to do on a daily basis for the typical person -- and that's just for one burger!

          And don't discount the fact that exercising actually INCREASES your appetite, which (while counterintuitive) means that sometimes exercising may impede your dieting efforts.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Yup, it can increase your appetite...You gotta be really careful about what you put in your mouth after a long run. Don't get all entitled, it's easy to do. :)

            Just gotta ask yourself if that burger ipse's talking about is worth that hour run becoming a "break even" routine.

            1. re: WhatThePho

              This is one of the biggest fallacies in the dieting industry.

              Exercise, alone, will not allow a person to lose weight.

              Exercise is at best a necessary condition of weight loss, but certainly not a sufficient one.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                And makes a healthier whole, but agreed: you need a healthy diet.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I used to seriously exercise over three hours per day - five days a week. I was in fine shape, but I was SOO hungry all the time I did not drop one pound - in fact I gained. I think it was muscle mass because my clothes fit better, but the scale said I was usually 5 to 7 pounds heavier.

                  Less calories is the only assured way to drop weight.

                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                    3 hours per day??? Did you work? I find by the time I work my 8-10 hour day at the office, excercise for an hour and pick up the house a bit it's time for bed. woah!

              2. re: ipsedixit

                I would also point out that exercise is what makes you healthy. A thin person who doesn't exercise isn't as healthy as a fat person who does. When you control for all the various factors, it seems that most of the "unhealthiness" associated with being overweight is just that: an association. Being overweight isn't the cause of poor health; it's just another "symptom" of the same unhealthy behaviors (eating poorly and not being physically active).

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Very true. And to get just a tiny bit more off topic :) Same as healthy exercise is essential, a healthy diet, even if you aren't at your target weight, is a key to being truly healthy. Eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods is still my #1 priority, weight control is always 2nd. Chronic disease is more prevalent in our country in anywhere else in the world, and I truly believe it's due to the crap we put in our bodies!

                  1. re: WhatThePho

                    I am jumping up and down in agreement!

                    1. re: WhatThePho

                      I am also in full support of this statement! Preach it, WTP!


                      1. re: operagirl

                        Your blog is beautiful! And I love the topic, of course. :) Go girl!

                        1. re: operagirl

                          Beautiful pictures and lovely recipes for a very prescient blog.

                        2. re: WhatThePho

                          I second this. I don't care about the number. Plus, I find it's all relative, treat your body with respect and it will respect you right back.

                        3. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Ruth Lafler,

                          Of course you are right that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle.

                          But the OP, from what I can tell, is asking a different question -- viz., how does one lose weight?

                          Again, despite popular misconceptions ... thin =/= healthy.

                          My remark on exercise was merely trying to address the OP's question/issue.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Right. I just want to make the point that you can lose weight by reducing calories, but you won't necessarily be any healthier unless you also include exercise. And hopefully being healthier is the reason someone "needs" to lose weight, not just looking better in their clothes! Also, exercising allows you to burn more calories in two ways: the exercise itself, and the higher resting metabolic rate you create when you replace fat with muscle. Of course, how much effect exercise will have on losing weight depends in part on your body type. I'm a mesomorph and build muscle mass really easily, which means exercise is very effective for me, but other body types don't necessarily respond the same way.

                    2. Hi, lilmomma. I've had some success on the Fat Fallacy diet, which attempts to reeducate the (usually American) dieter to approach food as the French do, as something to enjoy, though in moderation and with others, taking one's time to savor it. The more leisurely pace, combined with the social setting, usually result in eating less and feeling satisfied. As I'm trying to lose weight, also around 20-25 lbs, in somewhat of a hurry, I am doing a rather more drastic diet/cleanse called the General Motors diet, which was allegedly designed for General Motors employees in the 70s. It has worked for me before, but I miss rich, delicious foods terribly (the diet allows you to consume all you can of certain food categories on each of its seven days, fruit only - except bananas - on day one, veggies only - except potatoes, of which you can only have one for breakfast - on day two, and fruits and vegetables - again, minus the starchy ones restricted on days one and two - on day three. This diet has given me fairly quick results in the past, and most important, it has reeducated my palate and weaned me off of excessively refined and starchy foods. You can gain a greater appreciation for the value of vegetables as food - rather than as those unsavory nutritional staples that you are 'supposed' to consume - when they're all you're allowed to eat. You must then find creative ways to prepare them, which shows you, if you've been averse to eating veggies in the past, that they can be a major component of your diet. Will Clower wrote the 'Fat Fallacy' book and has a blog, and journalist Michael Pollan's latest book, 'Food Rules' is a practical distillation of his comprehensive food research, setting forth guidelines on how to approach food more healthily, somewhat related to the principles in Clower's book. As a general rule, I think that if one can avoid overeating, especially that terrible kind of usually solitary indulgence triggered by emotional pain and the need to anesthetize it (the main reason I have found myself some 20-30 lbs overweight at this juncture, and many others like it in the past), there's no need to abstain entirely from high-quality, delicious foods in the long run. That said, there are certain foods, particularly the highly processed, refined foods that American food marketers have pushed on us for the past few decades, with great success, that we would do best to avoid, and once we make the move to gourmet world once and for all, our palates will come to identify and reject such junk as cloying and of poor quality overall. That, by way of (long-winded) answer - now it's back to drooling over all the recipes on this site whilst munching on cabbage and broccoli:-)

                      Best of luck,

                      1. I have (60lb over 4 years). And I have been through low-fat, low-carb, cyclical plans et al. What has helped in each one (they all work), has been the understanding that 'moderation is key'. eg: Atkins with 3 tbsp of coconut oil does not work as well as without the oil (reduced cal count). This has led me to follow the generic 'policy' given by Michael Pollan, i.e. "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables"
                        My addition is:
                        - Choose protein and fibrous veg as much as possible.
                        - If you are still hungry, drink water.
                        - Still hungry? true hunger and not a craving? Volumize your diet (more veg, lean protein and some fruit)

                        If you can't stand changing your food intake and can keep it stable, Add a 30-40 min brisk walk everyday (~130-150 calories burned)

                        Ultimately, 'delicious' is a relative term (I think caramel and foie gras are atrocious in taste) so keep your favorite foods and regulate their frequency according to their caloric density and the extent to which they limit your caloric intake for the rest of a day (eg: a half-rack of ribs + pie and you cover most of your BMR/day, so limit it to maybe once a week)

                        I highly recommend reading The Guide to Flexible Dieting by Lyle McDonald and Volumetrics by Barbara Rolls. They are very 'to the point', no 'BS' books IMO.


                        6 Replies
                        1. re: meatnveg

                          If memory serves, Pollan's quote is "mostly plants", not vegetables.

                          Many if not most people do not drink enough water - hunger pangs can actually reflect inadequate hydration, as can chronic overall muscle soreness. A glass of water will often stop feelings of hunger. Drinking water or eating a piece of fresh fruit (or raw vegetable) an hour or two before a meal and you will feel full with a smaller meal.

                          I think dried fruits are valuable for dieting, and not given enough emphasis. They will satisfy the urge for sweets while providing lots of fiber. The key is to take small bites and drink a glass of water as you eat the dried fruit. Remain aware that that handful of raisins is really a fist-sized bunch of grapes. You couldn't eat all those grapes in three bites, so you shouldn't chug the raisins either. Supermarket stuff can be too old and too dry, but if soaked briefly, become much more desirable and still very sweet.

                          Also, it can be difficult sometimes to work those recommended 5-8 half-cup servings of
                          produce into your daily meals. It becomes easier if a couple of those are dried fruit - just realize that you need far less than a half cup of dried fruit to equal a half cup of fresh or cooked.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            Yeah, but as you noted, because they're so concentrated, it's easy to consume a lot of calories eating dried fruit. They have a lot of nutritional benefits, but people who are watching their calories really have to be very conscious choosing appropriate portion sizes for dried fruit.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I agree with Ruth.
                              The truth is, there is no "perfect diet solution" because everyone has a different relationship with food. For people who eat for bulk, and feel deprived by "small portions", just from a visual point of view, then dried fruit really is not a good idea.

                            2. re: greygarious

                              You make an excellent point about underhydration and hunger pangs. My body sends out all sorts of strange signals when I am underhydrated (and I always seem to be).

                              If I feel weird - I chug a glass of water. Hungry? Water. I also carry dried apricots and a handful of nuts in my pocket(in a baggie). I am often far from food and hunger hits me like a ton of bricks and very suddenly. I gulp down water and some of my stash and I am good to go for a while.

                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                That's funny -- dried apricots and almonds have become my go-to snack when out of phase hunger arrives. That and some water will usually do the trick.

                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                  Dried fruit and low salt nuts (usually almonds cashews and walnuts) are what I carry on plane trips and I always have water--whatever the airline is trying to hand out is declined--they used to give out nuts but seems they mostly give trashy pretzels now. Great survival kit.

                            3. A while back I did Sugar Busters and dropped 40 pounds. I found it pretty easy and I ate well. But sugar busters tends to work better for men than women. My wife is currently doing the six week body changing thingy diet, and she too is eating well and eating often. 6 times a day, small portions and dropped 15 pounds pretty quickly.
                              I have pretty much cut refined sugars out of my diet and now weigh what I did when I graduated high school.

                              Portion control is key as well as exercise. Nothing crazy, a brisk walk, enough to make you breath a little harder, and you can progress from there.

                              Dedication and commitment are key as well, it makes it much easier to stick to once you make up your mind that this is it.