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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.

                              1. I focus on eating real food: no artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, no "diet" anything, and not too much salt. Lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grains and plenty of (mostly lowfat) dairy. I eat meat or seafood most days, and pasta (not whole wheat) a couple of times a week. Start slow.. I started by bringing my lunch to work and have gradually changed my diet over 5 years. Now my body is pretty "honest" in letting me know if I'm hungry or not. And now, I can hardly stand to eat the adulterated products most of America eats.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: firecooked

                                  Here here!!! REAL FOOD!

                                  My BF is a personal trainer and what she has driven into me is that calories in must be lower than calories out and you need to keep your metabolism up! I have lost over 30lbs so far by working out 5 days a week, circuit train and cardio 1 hr each day and eat REAL FOOD. There are little to no process foods in our house. Breakfast is normally 3 egg whites with ¼ C veggies and chicken sausage. Mid AM fruit or peanut butter with an apple or banana, lunch a salad with lean protein and my homemade dressing and dinner almost the same…and yes I LOVE FOOD too, but I have realized that making whole food choices is so much better than refined sugary processed foods.

                                  I do not diet; I have changed my way of eating. I will still have French fries on the weekend, but they are cooked in the oven and from real potatoes that I have peeled, I still eat bread, but not every day and when I do I eat a whole grain from a bakery I trust (or make myself). I still drink martinis on the weekend, basically I still enjoy food and tasty beverages (on the weekends) I just know what to choose.

                                  1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                    My grandmother calls this eating "nuts and twigs". I have to eat the entire egg or something other than a salad or I feel deprived. I think quality and quantity go hand in hand at this point. I can eat what I want, but I have to watch the quantity. Deprevation can have detrimental effects on people.

                                2. I too did the "conventional" low-fat/low-calorie/lots of "healthy" whole grains. Sure, I lost a little weight once I picked up the exercise, but I plateaued plus I was ALWAYS hungry--cheating is your body's way of getting food because you're starving yourself--and the fiber did a number on my guts. So out they went. I eat meats, eggs, veggies and fats (butter, animal fats, olive oil on my salad). I don't eat three times a day, I don't snack, I don't measure but I'm not hungry and I dropped sixty pounds in five months with my only exercise being a walk now and then. And I'm a woman in my forties, notorious for holding on to fat. Insulin makes you fat, not fat. If you eat foods that don't raise your insulin, you lose weight. Calories make no difference. That's why type 1 diabetics can eat their weight in junk food and still drop weight fast. I don't waste time with the "low-carb" stuff. I accept that I can't eat the way I used to instead of finding substitutes. When I choose to eat dessert or pasta, it's infrequent and the best I can get--and real. And for the record my cholesterol is fine, heart's fine.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: MandalayVA

                                    I'm a long term low carber, too, but I have to say that while it's not simply calories in/out that determines weight loss, at some point calories do matter. Some calories matter less than others; fat stimulates neither the fat storage hormone, insulin nor glucagon, so fat calories matter less, which probably accounts for so many studies finding that low carbers lose more weight on 50% more calories than other dieters. I eat 50% more calories to maintain my weight on low carb, as scrupulously documented on fitday.com for years, than I did on a low fat, high carb diet.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      IMO calories in vs calories out always holds. What changes with dietary composition is the relative amounts of "calories in". On a low-carb plan , you are arguably eating more protein which has a lower assimilation rate (75% vs >90% for fat and carbs). So you need to eat more to achieve the same caloric intake.
                                      Oh and fat does not need to stimulate a hormone to be stored. As your body digests the fat, your fat cells will store any amounts that exceed your BMR. An lc plan does have some metabolic advantages, but no magic.
                                      Oh and the incremental weight loss is about 2% more. Not statistically insignificant, but small enough that water loss could be a factor (the lf dieters would be holding onto water)

                                      1. re: meatnveg

                                        "IMO calories in vs calories out always holds."

                                        Your opinion notwithstanding, it's just not true.

                                        The fate and effect of calories is entirely dependent upon the wide variety of variations in individual metabolism, things like thyroid, cortisol, insulin and so many more, and the wide variety in genetic groups in hormone receptor sensitivity, whether to leptin, steroids, insulin, thyroid, etc...

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          But isn't metabolism all about calories out?

                                          1. re: Jetgirly

                                            No. Read the thread, lots of good references.

                                        2. re: meatnveg

                                          I don't think low carb is magic, I think the metabolic advantage is due to biochemistry.
                                          Fat also has the effect of slowing the glycemic rise post meal. That, added to the superior satiety response from protein, usually results in lowered appetite and less consumption at later meals.

                                          1. re: meatnveg

                                            I have seen studies that demonstrate that though low carbers lose more weight initially (short term), they lose less then low-fat type traditional diets in the long term. Probably, like meatnveg said, due to water weight.

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              The water weight loss is only in the first two weeks. The fact that low carbers lose more of the weight as fat, and low fatters lose more as muscle also accounts for some of the difference; lean body mass weighs more.

                                              As I said, as low carbers add more carbs back in as the plan progresses, the losses become less different, but Atkins still beats the others for predictors of mortality and disease, weight loss and body composition.

                                              Here's a useful bit of info:


                                              "At 4 mo, the PRO group had lost 22% more fat mass (FM) (–5.6 ± 0.4 kg) than the CHO group (–4.6 ± 0.3 kg) but weight loss did not differ between groups (–8.2 ± 0.5 kg vs. –7.0 ± 0.5 kg; P = 0.10)"

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                Fair enough. I know I have been shown some different results in metabolism class. The bottom line, I think, is really that low carb or high carb or low fat or high fat is not necessary "good" or "bad". Different approaches work for different people. And in my opinion, if a diet is not long lasting, it didnt "work".

                                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                                  The point I was addressing was the misstatement about water weight being the only difference between diets.

                                      2. I did South Beach diet and lost 40lbs. and keeping it off. It is low carbohydrate but not as extreme as Atkins. The first two weeks you stay away from carbohydrates, particularly sugars of any kind, and no alcohol. Look at their web page which is very informative.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: igorm

                                          For what it's worth, I think South Beach is actually more extreme than Atkins, in that it is very rigid about "good carbs" and "bad carbs" - and Phase 1 is simply a low-fat Atkins induction, without calling it that.

                                          Reintroducing carbs in phase 2 is exactly what we do on Atkins but instead of focusing on ratios, we focus on carb counts. There aren't good carbs or bad carbs - there are just some things that we stay away from altogether (white rice, white bread, potatoes - sound familiar?) when adding them back in.

                                          1. re: shanagain

                                            I think Atkins clearly distinguishes between carbs from starches and sugars (bad) and veggies (good). I think that's why his induction phase required 2 cups of veggies per day, while cutting out all more concentrated carb sources.

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Atkins certainly educates on the value of where to "spend" your carb allotment, but makes no value judgments therein. You can reintroduce them later as you wish.

                                              Induction is a strict period of re-balancing and teaching your body (for lack of a better term) to prefer fat as energy, but isn't a guideline for the entire program.

                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                That's true, though the way most people write about the diet, you'd think induction was the whole shebang. If you follow the plan, you just won't find room for starches or sugar until closer to maintenance unless you limit servings to a TBS or so. If you try to keep carbs low and to eat decently wrt nutrition, you really have no choice but to select veggies.

                                                One of my criticisms of Atkins has always been that he promoted junkie frankenfoods and the richness of his diet without emphasizing that in order to eat well and in a satisfying way, you should be filling your plate with non starchy veggies. Protein Power, IMO, is the best of the lot among popular diet books when it comes to good science and as a well articulated plan for healthy eating over all.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  I agree that most people act as if induction is the whole of it - but then it's always more fun to point out the "hard" part rather than the easy entire-rest-of-the-diet.

                                                  I do respectfully disagree on your next points, though. Before going off the rails I was adding carbs to find my optimum ongoing weight loss (phase 2, "OWL") number of allotted carbs per day, and to pull a page from the weight tracking software I used, an average day for me (actively losing) would be bacon & eggs for breakfast, salad (typical would be leftover chicken/greens/cukes/mushrooms/etc) for lunch, then dinner would be gumbo with rice and french bread, or baked chicken, a half cup of brown rice and copious veggies of some sort.

                                                  As for the frankenfoods - how do you mean?

                                                  And if you've read the book (I assume you have) it stresses vegetables throughout the plan.

                                                  It's just more fun to talk about bacon, butter, cream and induction.

                                                  To me, PP was just a copy of Atkins with a little additional science-y slant. I've felt, since starting Atkins the first time over 10 years ago, that if people would just Read The Book and then actually follow it, Atkins would've had more staying power in the mainstream.

                                                  1. re: shanagain

                                                    You seem to be contradicting yourself, when you replied to me that Atkins did not emphasize good carbs, only gram counting, now you're saying exactly what I said, that there's an emphasis on veggies.

                                                    Frankenfoods were the junk bars loaded with glycerine, disgusting bake mix and chemically poisonous shake mixes that made so many of us cough and wheeze, in place of real foods. He didn't need to peddle that crud to be successful, and I was glad when he sold that part of his business.

                                                    Protein Power is nothing like Atkins. It's dense with scientific references and a continually updated bibliography with citations.
                                                    Atkins provided almost no scientific citations nor rationale, he basically said "do what I say because I'm right." He *was* mostly right, but he didn't write good books nor support his assertions.

                                                    Protein Power did not emphasize as very low carb/very high fat induction, but emphasized primarily protein in order to spare lean body mass and to prevent insulin spikes. It wasn't a little scientific, it was very well supported from peer reviewed literature and Eades has continued to review and update the science to this day, something Atkins never did.

                                                    I think Atkins is being vindicated more and more in the mainstream science, some examples are in this thread. Weight loss maintenance is very hard, and all plans have high failure an recidivism rates, not at all unique to Atkins. He had more success than most and is now, via his estate, funding no strings attached metabolic research that will advance the ball now and in perpetuity. But he's gone, and finally, he's adding to the scientific dialogue in a way he never did while alive, through his foundation.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      It seems funny that we fundamentally agree, yet don't.

                                                      No contradiction - but your assertion that Atkins predominantly ignored vegetables isn't the case. It always has stressed vegetables, not just a meat/cheese/butter plan. But there is no distinction of "bad" carbs - if you can afford them in your daily count, go for them. Most people I know tend to just stay away from certain stuff forever, but that's a personal preference, not a mandate for the way of eating.

                                                      Every diet industry seems to feed off of the franken-stuff - maybe I started doing Atkins at just the right time, when the shakes and stuff weren't all over the market, but I totally agree that lowcarbing is better off without them altogether. But if you were to read the copy I had (published in '97, maybe?), there were recipes for whole foods in the recipe section - thankfully no "two scoops of protein powder" or "one atkins bar..." to be found.

                                                      I think if you re-read Atkins & PP side by side again, you'd find much more scientific basis within than you're claiming on the Atkins side, and more of the exact same in PP, just couched in protein-specific terms. And the phases mimic Atkins all the way through - just with a "formula" for protein amounts, and roughly 20 grams of carbs a day during the "Intervention" (ie, Induction) and up to about 50 a day during Transition, ie OWL ala Atkins, and so on. Also, I'm sure you don't mean to imply it, but any low-carb plan that came after Atkins is going to be - by necessity almost - influenced largely by Atkins.

                                                      As for as ongoing updates - though of course Dr.A has passed away, the Atkins foundation continues to update and has recently published a new version of the book. He also founded the Atkins foundation during his lifetime to further research, he didn't seem to just say "eat this" and sit on his laurels thereafter.

                                                      Wasn't it sad when he died, all of the "look how good it was for him, he's dead!" comments you'd come across? The poor guy slipped, had brain trauma, and even in death some people still wanted to mock him for his "fad" diet.

                                                      At any rate, I'm not saying Atkins is better or worse than PP, just that it's more similar than dissimilar in the actual carb counts.

                                                      1. re: shanagain

                                                        "No contradiction - but your assertion that Atkins predominantly ignored vegetables isn't the case."

                                                        I didn't say that; you did. I said the opposite. :-)

                                                        "I think if you re-read Atkins & PP side by side again, you'd find much more scientific basis within than you're claiming on the Atkins side, and more of the exact same in PP, just couched in protein-specific terms."

                                                        I did just that, and no, Atkins didn't stack up with citations nor rationale. PP was never lower than 30, and that was only for those with the most severe clinical problems, not for every weight loss dieter, very different approach. The PP book explained the endocrinology behind the plan. You seem to think Atkins invented low carb, but that's far from the truth. He's just Stillman with more fat. :-)

                                                        It wasn't sad, it was disgusting, the lies told about his health, his accident and his weight when he died.

                                                        I agree that the low carb plans are similar. If you read what I wrote, I said the PP books are superior, and not the diet itself. You've actually argued with me mostly over things I never said. :-)

                                                        Here's what I said about veggies during induction, that you disagreed with:

                                                        "I think Atkins clearly distinguishes between carbs from starches and sugars (bad) and veggies (good). I think that's why his induction phase required 2 cups of veggies per day, while cutting out all more concentrated carb sources."

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          I could probably argue all day against things you never said ;) but we'll leave it here.

                                        2. Sounds like a good start. Beware of diets where people say, "It's worked every time." If it works, there will only be one time and you won't need to do it again and again. There's a reason people fall off of diets.

                                          Eat well 80% of the time, fill up on vegetables, healthy foods. The rest of the time, enjoy what you're eating, make sure it's worth the calories (grocery store cake? pass. favorite bakery? Enjoy a small piece and savor it). Get your favorite treats, chocolate, etc. only when you want a piece and don't keep temptation around. Resist buying a larger amount. If you walk away, you resist it once. If you buy it, you have to come up with the willpower to resist it 24/7 until you eat it all

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: chowser

                                            A relaxed hybrid of South Beach and the Volumetrics plans has me dropping weight slowly but surely. I am on the last leg and have less than 10 pounds to go, so the slow pace is to be expected.

                                            I have what you might call a "hearty" appetite. Volumetrics helps you figure out what your filling healthy foods will be so you can eat those in quantity, and a little of the not-so-ideal but hecka tasty food won't hurt you. :)

                                            And (after the first two weeks) South Beach really surprised me with its adaptability. I love the food I eat every day. And about once a week I cheat.

                                            Check out Mediterrasian.com too, I have tried some of their dishes and they're AWESOME! I can't vouch for the weight loss, though, as I only used their recipes occasionally..didn't actually follow the plan.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              i completely agree... that to have a successful "diet," you can't "diet." you need to adapt a lifestyle that is about 75-85% healthy eating, with splurges here and there.

                                              for example, during the week i try to choose foods that are low-fat and high-fiber, with salad, fruit, and vegetables when i am craving a snack. with an overall healthy eating plan (and i work out about 45-60 minutes every mon-fri), the junk food cravings are much less intense. but then on a saturday night when my boyfriend wants to order chinese food, i am all in because i know that i have an overall healthy lifestyle and one "bad" meal is just for fun... and i can eat crab rangoon and spring rolls with the best of them!

                                              the problem occurs when you allow yourself to have "bad" items every day, multiple times per day. it can also be helpful to try logging your food so you can really see how often you are splurging, but i wouldn't recommend doing that on a long-term basis since it gets really tedious and also can feel like a diet.

                                            2. Eat whatever you want.

                                              Just eat less of it.

                                              Never totally deprive yourself of something.

                                              Losing weight is a long-term, lifestyle decision.

                                              That's why diets -- no matter what kind -- rarely, if ever, work. Diets are a temporary solution that, at best, only address your symptoms.

                                              Again, eat what you want, eat less of it, and never go a day without feeling satiated.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Yep. And if you are craving something, just eat it, but eat only a little. Otherwise you will eat everything not it.

                                                I have my husband hide my favorite chocolate from me (I know I am SUCH a child). Whenever I want a piece he gives me a square. I have to do it that way because I WILL eat it all. But one piece seems to satisfy me if I know I can have SOME!

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  That works really well for some folks, but not for others, for whom eating whatever they want triggers hunger hormones even while they're still full. Used to be there, done that. We're all different.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      I know that exists - I have that problem with what I THINK is flour. But I think I have tamped that down some by making sure I only eat a little of it and I eat what I imagine is the opposite of it (like a protein and a fat.) - so that is not the only thing rolling around in my stomach - the only thing for my body to work on.

                                                      I know that is not at all scientific, but sometimes you just need to put what works (for you) out there in hopes that it might help someone else.

                                                    2. Not exactly what you asked but I've found it helpful to refocus my chowhound energy into things like trying new looseleaf teas - this past winter I started really looking forward to my daily cup around 4 pm, when I previously would have craved a sweet. Exotic fruit could also work, new varieties of brown rice, even experimenting with new vegetables.

                                                      1. I started trimming my portions, never going back for seconds (even if it was screaming to me from the kitchen - mac and cheese does that you know), enlisted my husband to box up leftovers so I would not be tempted and FORCED myself out of the house to walk a few times per week (in addition to outside chores - which is a lot). I dropped 15 pounds in a year just with that - no dieting at all and no changes at all in what I ate. I swear. And I was not really big, it was just creeping on and my clothes were strangling me.

                                                        I have mostly kept it off. I say mostly because sometimes I like to get sly with myself about carb portions and what my husband calls the giant salad (which includes cheese and bacon - BUT IT IS A SALAD!).

                                                        My way won't be good for instant success or if you are thin already or if you are already a good portion controller.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                          sal, my captive-audience work cafeteria recently put its salad and sandwich bar as a DIY $.35/oz weigh at the register thing. After diminishing sales due to shitty choices, they ramped it up and now they have three big bowls of spinach, spring mix, and a romaine variant. It makes me A) annoyed that they charge that much/oz, and B) annoyed that I don't have it in me to get it together to make my lunch the night before .

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            LOL - Those people who have it together the night before work are oh so irksome!

                                                            All the good stuff in salad weighs a ton. Which - I am sure you have already calculated - on your salad bar would equal $11,200. I wonder if they take checks>>

                                                        2. Yes, have been successful in losing 60++ lbs and keeping off with lc "diet"- now a way of life for me. I eat lots of non starchy veggies, fresh berries, nuts, protein, cheese, and am not afraid of mayo, butter or heavy cream. For a treat I will have a tiny piece of dark chocolate or full fat Greek yogurt with berries.
                                                          What could be more satisfying or decadent than a steak with mushrooms and onions, salad with blue cheese dressing- no croutons!! And creamed spinach as a side. Yeah, it's tough, but someone has to do this.

                                                          1. I am currently am actively involved in fitness and bodybuilding. I love to cook as well, and all you need to know is calorie in = calorie out. Which means yes I count calories, and eat the grams of protein = to my body weight. Then the rest can be filled with fat/ carbohydrates. Just remember 1g of carb and protein = 4 calories and 1 g of fat = 9 calories. Also working out on regular basis is important as well. But I recently have finished bulking over the winter and have started my fat loss period (cutting). I did not weight myself for the first two weeks because that is when you loose a lot of water and your weight fluctuates. I have lost 12 pounds in those two weeks, now I am loosing 1-2lb's a week. If you have further questions I would be glad to answer them.

                                                            1. I haven't read any of the other responses, so this may be a repeat. I have a weight problem, but actually through past diets have learned quite a bit about nutrition. I just love food too much and you only live once. I would say there are some strict rules that will help you. Here are ten quick ones!
                                                              1. Eat foods you enjoy, just smaller portions - this will help you stick to it.
                                                              2. Beware the veggie/fruit overload - tons of carbs in many of them.
                                                              3. Snack often - even if it's only a bite or two of something.
                                                              4. Drink water all through the day.
                                                              5. Stay away from any packaged or processed foods - especially diet stuff
                                                              6. Don't wait until you're starving to eat - you'll eat faster and more if you do.
                                                              7. If you can help it, don't dine alone. You'll tend to take that second helping.
                                                              8. If you're cooking, only make enough for that meal - see above.
                                                              9. Weigh yourself every day and set realistic goals (2 lbs a week at most)
                                                              10. Don't have cheat days. Six days of being good can easily be wasted by one cheat night.

                                                              110 Replies
                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                I disagree on many counts, carbs are not the enemy, over eating is, and bread and pasta have a lot more than any fruit or vegetable you can find, so don't listen to #2. Also meal timing has nothing to do with your metabolism, disregard #3, also #9 will make you crazy since you can fluctualte in weight for many reasons like sodium and water intake, so don't weigh yourself every morning. #10 it has been shown if you are doing strict dieting cheat days help spike metabolism and live a normal life style. So having a good cheat meal once in 1 or 2 weeks is good.

                                                                1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                  #2 I didn't say fruits and veggies are as bad as pasta and bread.

                                                                  #3 Meal timing has nothing to do with metabolism? I won't even make a joke in response, but you obviously need a little refresher course in nutrition.

                                                                  #9 So using your logic someone spends all week dieting and then has a day where they are retaining water. So their weekly loss shows .5lb when the realty is they lost 2.5lbs. I weighed myself every morning and night and took the average. The average difference over a week was miniscule compared to the difference in error doing it weekly. Also, most doctors say to weigh yourself daily, most health nuts don't because then it becomes an obsession.

                                                                  10. Cheat days are fine if your cheat is having a second helping. Not if it's having a double chocolate cake.

                                                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                                                    Have you read studies on intermediate fasting and a lot of just basic ones that have completely dis-proven the meal timing?

                                                                    Also cheat meals aka re-feeds is depleting on how long you have been dieting for and how depleting you are are a calorie spike above maintenance of 500-1500 calories.

                                                                    1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                      Yes, and for every one of those, I have read studies that say to eat small meals throughout the day. Those have worked for me and many others I know, where cheats and fasting don't work at all for most I know. Not to mention fasting isn't healthy.

                                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                                        I don't think you can infer anything meaningful from individual anecdotes on their own, nor are broad generalizations accurate at all. We're each different, metabolically speaking.

                                                                        Studies don't "say to eat small meals..." etc. Studies provide data, sometimes worthless, sometimes informative. But study authors often misstate or misinterpret or fail to consider alternate explanations for what's observed. If you just read the conclusions, you'll get whiplash from all the contradictions. If you read the data, methodology, subject selection, you'll often find no basis for the study author's conclusions and recommendations there.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          Almost all diet specialist (not enterprises like Jenny Craig and Weight watchers who sell their meals) agree five or six small meals is better than three squares. Eating boosts metabolism - fact. Fasting slows metabolism - fact. The key with the Atkins diet and why it's successful is that it promotes ketosis. When the body burns fat for energy, you lose weight plain and simple. Atkins despite my personal ill-feeling (although I was happy with the 34 lbs lost in 12 weeks) is actually good for the heart and liver, but the side effects can be a little disturbing.

                                                                          I disagree with your assessment of studies. The problem is we live in a society which states the results before the test and then runs a test to promote the results.

                                                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                                                            Just a quick note - while there are Weight Watchers branded frozen meals and packaged snacks, they aren't required as part of the program... In fact, the people I know in WW (myself included) cook most food from scratch and very rarely used convenience foods, WW branded or otherwise. The whole point of WW is to learn to select foods and control portions on your own so you can keep up with healthy eating habits in the real world.

                                                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                                                              thank you! such a frustrating (to me) misconception. :)

                                                                            2. re: jhopp217

                                                                              " The key with the Atkins diet and why it's successful is that it promotes ketosis. When the body burns fat for energy, you lose weight plain and simple."

                                                                              You may not be aware that ketosis causes the same sudden drop in active T3 thyroid hormone that severe low calorie dieting does. That's a measure of slowed metabolism. Ketosis is a signal of starvation to the metabolism, that fat stores are being used up and that tissue must be preserved.

                                                                              In addition, higher insulin levels inhibit the production of cortisol and the protein that delivers it to cells. In some folks (me, for instance) lowered insulin allows excess cortisol to be produced and more of it to be delivered to cells. Higher cortisol leads to less muscle and more fat storage, higher blood glucose.

                                                                              "Plain and simple" are two words that never should be included in a conversation about the infinite complexities of endocrinology and metabolism.

                                                                              I lost my hypoglycemia but gained weight on Atkins induction when my thyroid fell off a cliff. The Eades, authors of Protein Power noted that some patients needed to be supplemented with T3 hormone when in very low carb.

                                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                You body doesn't start going into fasting state for 2 days... you eating 6 or 3 meals is completely irrelevant, the whole, many tiny meals a day, is a huge myth carried on from the old days.

                                                                                1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                  We seem to be working from different information.

                                                                                  The starvation response kicks in during the first 24 hours:


                                                                                  Here it's 30 hours:


                                                                                  I found a study once that I don't have now that demonstrated T3 changes within 8 hours in young women, IIRC.

                                                                                  Eating patterns and weight:




                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                    Hmm interesting, I am working with the information with studies done on intermediate fasting, where you have a 4 hour feeding window. But also I think there is a study for everything that proves a different study.

                                                                                    I also think we are getting a bit too far in depth, the question was posed by (i assume) an average female that does not have hormonal problems or thyroid issues. So I think the best diet for her is the one that she can stick to the best, be it 1 meal a day, 3 meals a day or 7, as well as keto, atkins, CKD, etc. The rest is just splitting hairs.

                                                                                    1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                      It's not splitting hairs to question the accuracy and sources of information provided. You've made some very authoritative statements that were counter to all the well designed scientific research I've read, and I respected you enough to suggest that there's more to think about before making such broad and prescriptive recommendations for everyone and to provide you with some of the data.

                                                                                      Addressing the choice of diet is a non sequitir here; there's no one I can see who's insisting that there's one best way for everyone, certainly not I.

                                                                                      I do think we're way far afield here, though.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                        Fair enough, maybe I did come on too strong. I guess it seemed as though the 6 meals a day idea was pushed a bit too hard, I just wanted to say that it's okay to have 3 a day, and save the stress and worry, and Tupperware carrying.

                                                                                        1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                          Someone who gets stressed and worried by carrying a nut bar or cheese stick has bigger problems than diet, IMO. ;-)

                                                                                          I didn't see anyone pushing 6 meals a day for everyone, only stating that for some folks it is appropriate.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            Well to me that's a snack, a meal is having something prepped for 6 different Tupperwares :D

                                                                                            1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                              I think that most folks who speak of eating 5-6X per day are typically talking about 3 moderate sized meals and 2 small snacks in order to avoid blood glucose drops, liver dumps and insulin spikes. I'm sure there are exceptions, but IME, that's the general rule.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                i eat 6 times per day, and all of my "meals" are 200-300 calories. that's what works best *for me* because i don't digest large amounts of food well, but in order to keep my intake at a level sufficient to sustain my weight and support my exercise habits, anything smaller would require me to eat even more frequently.

                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  That's why I said "most" and "exceptions." ;-) Ideally, it might be what's most advantageous for a lot of folks who never consider it.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    we're in agreement here - i was supporting your statement by pointing out that it's appropriate for me, specifically :)

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      Yes, I knew we were saying the same thing. Sorry about all that Tupperware.

                                                                      2. re: jhopp217

                                                                        "2. Beware the veggie/fruit overload - tons of carbs in many of them."

                                                                        Completely disagree. I am forever reminded of what my Weight Watchers leader said years ago when a member in the group was worrying about how to measure out her carrots.

                                                                        The leader said "listen, nobody is in this room because they are eating too many carrots so stop worrying so much about measuring the carrots".

                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                          One thing that I've always noticed about people doing WW or Jenny Craig or whatever (and saw in myself) is that they're constantly eating, obsessively rearranging their points or foods so they can have their "treats." WW can do the "oh, we promote healthy whole foods" thing but until they take the snack cakes, ice cream and preservative-laden frozen dinners out of the supermarkets you'll excuse me if I call BS. It is not normal to be hungry all the time and to be eating six times a day, or having to work out two hours a day to keep the weight off. WW doesn't teach you good eating habits, it teaches you to be obsessed with food--which guarantees them repeat customers.

                                                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                            Have you actually done WW? If not, you have no idea what they teach. Those foods are available because some people like them, but are not REQUIRED by the program. I've never heard a leader say "oh, lose weight by buying this frozen meal". My leader always advocates veggies, lean meats, whole grains. BUT she also says - if you want a snack or a treat, work it into your daily plan. If you feel deprived, you fail.
                                                                            I eat throughout the day because I can... because I want a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, not because I'm always hungry. As I said below. I've been on WW for 3 years. I lost almost 100 lbs. I do not exercise. I eat what I want, when I want. I will continue to maintain the same way. WW probably saved my life.

                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                              Yes, I have, which I why I wrote what I did. Since switching to a high fat, moderate protein and extremely low-carb way of eating--notice I didn't say "diet"--I eat once a day, if that. Sometimes I go two days without eating. It's very freeing not to be obsessed with food and points and crap like that. If I want ice cream or a dessert--which is pretty rare but it happens--I eat GOOD ice cream or desserts, not the frankenfood-ingredient-laden crap WW pushes. If you "eat throughout the day because you can" that's your deal.

                                                                              And for the last freaking time, people, it's LOSING, not LOOSING. Gah.

                                                                              1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                You go 2 DAYS without eating? Am I reading this wrong, or do you really mean you go 2 days without eating? I'm going to go take a jog now, the idea of 2 days without eating is scaring the crap outta me....

                                                                                1. re: MandalayVA


                                                                                  You go 2 days without eating? Sometimes I cannot even go 2 hours without eating ...

                                                                                  1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                    Extremely low carb, eat once a day and sometimes don't eat for 2 days?....I feel sorry for you.

                                                                                    1. re: shaebones

                                                                                      haha... awww... :(


                                                                                      i would be an extremely sad little puppy. Unfortunately as an American, I was taught to clean my plate, not dilly-dally, it's time to go to ballet finish up, drive-thru counts as a meal, etc.

                                                                                      Other cultures have societal norms built into their routines to help them with food and what's acceptable to eat and how much. You never eat alone, and/or you never take seconds, and/or chocolate is for celebration and not for burying your emotions.

                                                                                      Sometimes we have the task of deciding how best to limit ourselves without these things. Hard choices when you have to eat at your desk every day.

                                                                                    2. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                      I don't know what kind of ww meeting you went to, but I've never heard or seen a ww leader push "frankenfood".
                                                                                      Frankly your way of eating would make me very sad, and to me does not sound healthy or balanced.

                                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                        There's nothing unbalanced about eating tons more veggies in place of starches, which is what low carb changes the most. It does curb appetite tremendously for most folks, but I've never gone days without eating on it.

                                                                                        OTOH, if I had to, I'd be well adapted to survive it, since very low carb gets the body used to running on less glucose and more easily converts fat to energy as needed.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          MCF, in your low-carbing have you come across talk of a gastric enzyme that dies/diminishes in your gastric system when you low-carb? I know it's mentioned in the version of Atkins I used to have (loaned it to my mom, who loaned it to someone else), and essentially after that enzyme dies, it gives you a free pass on carbs for a while. You wont be in ketosis, but also won't have the insulin response from carbs that you previously would have had.

                                                                                          I mention it because I've been really off-track the last couple of weeks (we've got a kid that just graduated from HS and that's meant more parties than you could imagine) but for some reason I've been given a free ride, despite my way of eating equaling "eat-drink-be merry" lately and it led me to wondering about that enzyme again.

                                                                                          1. re: shanagain

                                                                                            I'm diabetic and I'm not on any meds, so there's no such thing as a free ride for me. :-) On the rare occasion I eat dessert, I take acarbose, which inhibits the enzyme you're talking about, but it's not a free pass at all, it just slows down the carb absorption til second phase insulin response kicks in, so no glucose spike.

                                                                                            These may be what you're speaking of, they're what's inhibited by acarbose:

                                                                                            alpha amylase and alpha-glucoside hydrolases

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              Congrats on controlling your diabetes through diet. :-)

                                                                                              They may be - I'd googled before I posted and thought the gastric amylase looked like a possibility, but I wasn't sure.

                                                                                              What I am sure of is that it's nice that I "do" get a free pass from time to time, but I'm not certain that it's an across-the-board phenomena.

                                                                                                1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                  It is interesting, thanks. One of the other ways pathogens make you fat is cortisol elevations in response to infections, acute or chronic.

                                                                                        2. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                          Add me to the "two days without eating"?!?!? camp. Eating is a love for me, not a necessity. If a diet took away my desire to eat and love for food, I think I'd move on.

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            It doesn't take away desire and love for food, it takes away strong compulsions to eat. I don't know why anyone would routinely avoid eating for days, that's a whole 'nuther thang.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              I don't avoid eating, I just don't eat when I'm not hungry. If it turns out that it's two days, it turns out to be two days. That doesn't happen often. I generally eat once a day and I enjoy my food immensely because I eat the best I can get my hands on. I don't have contests with myself to see how long I can hold out. When I'm hungry, I eat. Pretty simple. Last night I ate a grilled grassfed lamb steak, maybe eight ounces, a lettuce and tomato salad with an EVOO, sherry vinegar and garlic dressing and maybe five blackberries I got from my co-op yesterday and I enjoyed every bite of the meal. Meat and some sort of salad or green veggie is a pretty typical meal for me, or eggs and sausage (I'm a big fan of breakfast for dinner).

                                                                                              1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                Our meals, too, are grass fed meat, wild caught fish, organic produce, salads and grilled or roasted veggies. A very colorful plate of food, good for all the senses.

                                                                                                I'm a big fan of dinner for breakfast, since eggs every day gets old very fast.

                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                  Dinner for breakfast is not to be sneezed at! :D

                                                                                                  1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                    'course not; that would be GROSS. ;-)

                                                                                        3. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                          Wow, almost 100 pounds--congratulations! Good for you!

                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                            thanks. it wasn't easy, but I've learned a lot about why I eat, how to take control of my eating, and how to make the most of what I eat. :) I'm finally starting to exercise a little, just to tone up. :)

                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                              Good to hear that! And, once you start exercising, you'll find out how great it feels to be active, hopefully. Keep it up!

                                                                                        4. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                          "It is not normal to be hungry all the time and to be eating six times a day"
                                                                                          it absolutely IS normal - and necessary - for *some of us* to eat six times a day.

                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            Plus, who is to say what's normal? What works for one person does not work for another and the key is to find what works for you.

                                                                                            "WW doesn't teach you good eating habits, it teaches you to be obsessed with food".

                                                                                            Basically, yes. It teaches you to think about all the food that you are putting in your mouth. And to make good choices. Rather than not thinking about food and eating crap just because it's there. Not all of us are so lucky to be able to eat as much as we want and what we want and still lose/maintain weight.

                                                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                                                              A couple of hundred calories six times a day equals a perfectly healthy diet for a woman... there's nothing wrong with grazing as long as you make sure that you're covering all your nutritional bases and not just having starch/sugar etc. I couldn't survive if I only ate once a day - I couldn't put enough in my stomach at one time to last me, and if I DID I'd still be starving about six hours later once it was digested. I eat smaller meals when I get hungry, which is five or six times a day.

                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              agreed! i think i eat way more than 6 times a day... i tend to prepare more snacks and just eat them throughout the day. i'll start the day with cottage cheese, and then over the course of the morning have an english muffin, greek yogurt, piece of fruit, but all each about an hour apart, rather than all at once.

                                                                                              my boyfriend on the other hand, likes to eat his whole meal all at once with about 1-2 snacks in a day. different strokes!

                                                                                          2. re: valerie

                                                                                            I actually measure out my carrot, broccoli and etc.... But yes I get you point.

                                                                                            1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                              Carrots spike my blood glucose, though raw ones not nearly as much as cooked ones.
                                                                                              I love parsnips, too, but had to give them up completely.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                The GI scale and blood glucose spiking is irrelevant for weight loss, now if you are diabetic that's a whole different ball game.

                                                                                                1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                  this is just so absurd it makes my eyes hurt to read it. whether or not a person is diabetic isn't the issue - in what bizarro universe is blood glucose *not* related to metabolic function and fat storage?

                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                    These threads always - yes, always - devolve into a "calorie in/calorie out and anything else is just stupid!" discussion.

                                                                                                    However, to anyone interested, I'd like to share this (long) but informative (and entertaining, for a lecture) video, described thusly:

                                                                                                    The case for low-carbohydrate diets is gaining weight. Christopher Gardner, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, has completed the largest and longest-ever comparison of four popular diets using real-world conditions, which he discusses - the lowest-carbohydrate Atkins diet came out on top.


                                                                                                    I highly recommend watching all the way through, particularly through to where Dr. Gardner describes his own way of eating. Hint: it sure isn't low-carb.

                                                                                                    1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                      Thank you for the post, I am very interested in watching this. But for most, different diets are just a verity that best fits their life style. I have done most of these, 6 meals a day, ketogenic (less than 20g of carbs per day), intermediate fasting, and so on. What I noticed with an Atkins diet, which is nothing but a ketogenic diet is that it's the best way to keep yourself satiate throughout the day and you loose a lot of weight at the very beginning because you drop all the water.

                                                                                                      But in the end, you should choose a diet type that fits you the best.

                                                                                                      1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                        Ketogenic is less than 100 grams of carbs per day not 20. Lyle McDonald's book furnishes the references to this.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                          For a true keto diet, aslo based of Lyle McDonald, a person will need to keep his (non-fiborous) carbs 20-40g per day, and that is to enter the state of ketosis where you release keton bodies. I don't think I've ever seen anyone go into keto with 100g of carbs.

                                                                                                          1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                            No, to *enter* ketosis, one need only go down to 100 carb gms per day. After a few weeks, one has to lower carbs to remain in measurable ketosis. But in reality, any time one is burning fat, one is producing ketones as a byproduct.

                                                                                                            Think of it this way; when you first cut carbs, your brain is still going to use up 68 or so grams of glucose per day; you don't really think the remaining 32 are enough to fuel an entire day's activity after that, right? :-) So at 100 you enter ketosis, but to maintain a steady state, you'll have to drop in a few weeks after the brain and tissues adapt to running on less glucose.

                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                              Hmm, interesting, but it took me 3 days to enter the ketosis state on 20 carbs...but I guess to each his own.

                                                                                                              1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                That's possible, but how do you know that? Urine stix are worthless for anything but measurement of excess ketones, which show up on blood tests well before you start spilling them in urine. I never tested positive for ketones on ketostix, not even when my pee smelled like nail polish remover. :-)

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  Ketostix worked for me, also I was in a fog for three days and then bam one morning felt great.

                                                                                                                  1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                    They only measure ketonuria, not ketosis. You were in ketosis well before ketones showed up in your pee, and I was in it when they didn't.

                                                                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                FYI - I've maintained 50g or less carbs per day for months at a time without ever entering ketosis.....so I would say it's subjective......

                                                                                                        2. re: shanagain

                                                                                                          This was a GREAT video, thanks. I'd read the study reports, but listening to the academic audience oohing and ahhing was fun.

                                                                                                          Best thing about it is the real world conditions; they evaluated the plans the way folks encounter and try to apply them in the real world and in their lives.

                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                            I thought that was fantastic too but I think my favorite part (other than his own diet) were the cholesterol findings.

                                                                                                            1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                              They were consistent with every other study. What's different here is that Atkins was still the only diet to distinguish itself at one year under real life conditions in a good sized study. Past studies have found no diff in weight loss at one year, even after Atkins dieters lost twice as much weight on 50% more calories the first 6 mos. They failed to note, however, that the weight losses came closer together at one year because the Atkins plan requires that folks add carbs as time goes by.

                                                                                                              This is a terrific video lecture by Gary Taubes to a group of obesity researchers at UC Berkeley:


                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                I'll bookmark and watch, for sure - but if I recall, weren't the cholesterol findings actually better for Atkins in the Stanford study?

                                                                                                                1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                  Maybe than some short studies, but not in general. My HDL went from a decade at 34 to 78 within two weeks of cutting out starch and sugar, and my TGLs dropped from about 300 to 100.

                                                                                                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          Because a person that does not have diabetes and has a property functioning body will not all of a sudden start getting fat because he had a high GI carb first thing in the morning, even though he is still at a calorie deficit at night. I have known many people (and read many phd studies) that have gotten to 3% body fat and had apples, bananas, white bread, the first thing in the morning. Because your body is constantly storing fat, and burning that fat, thus as long as you are at a caloric deficit or caloric maintenance you will not get fat from "blood sugar spikes".

                                                                                                          1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                            your initial comment was that Glycemic Index and blood glucose levels are "irrelevant" to weight loss...that's hardly the same thing as saying that someone can eat a piece of white bread for breakfast without "getting fat."

                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              It can be a peace of cake or a cookie, in general you don't have to stress about what you consume, where it is on the GI scale, because as long as you are at a deficit you will loose weight, thus the blood glucose and GI is pretty irrelevant to weight loss.

                                                                                                              1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                "because as long as you are at a deficit you will loose weight"
                                                                                                                again, a fallacy. sigh. it's NOT always as simple as calories in/calories out, and i really wish people would stop implying that it is.

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  lol, it is that simple, I don't understand what contradicting facts you have that point otherwise. (Not trying to be rude, I am truly interested, because it seems I have been gaining and loosing weight the wrong way).

                                                                                                                  1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                    "it seems I have been gaining and loosing weight the wrong way"
                                                                                                                    that's precisely my point - you're simplifying and universalizing a very complicated matter. if what you did worked for you and you didn't compromise your health or well being in the process, then it's not the "wrong" way for *you* and more power to you. but what works for you isn't necessarily the answer for everyone else. there is NO single one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, and that includes the simple math of calories in/calories out. how do i know this? personal experience with my own body, undergraduate degrees in physiology and behavioral science, a graduate degree in nutritional science, and many years of experience as a nutritionist (and in the earlier days, a personal trainer and amateur fitness model)...

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      Okay, but are you saying that some people can eat something and their body not process it as a food source or a calorie at that, or are you saying that a body will react more violently and where I will only store it as one cal, another person will treat it as two? I am really curious.

                                                                                                                      1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                        It's not about the body *not* processing, it's about *how* it responds to the hormonal effects of macronutrients and how it functions at rest or during fasting, too. It's biochemical/neuroendocrine, not a simple formula that applies to all.

                                                                                                                    2. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                      Some facts:


                                                                                                                      You might be very interested in Gary Taubes' book "Good Calories, Bad Calories." Not a diet book, just a superb review of the scientific literature by a very respected science journalist. Just sayinzall.

                                                                                                                      There are more reasons than it's appropriate to get into on CH why calories in/out is untrue. I'm not saying it's untrue for some individuals, but that it's untrue as a generalization applied to all.

                                                                                                                      I, for instance, maintain my weight on 800 high carb/low fat calories (scupulously weighing and logging food for years) and 1200 on low carb.

                                                                                                                      Even if I exercise a lot, especially if I do, due to cortisol elevations caused by exercise.

                                                                                                                      There's so much complexity when it comes to individual variations in metabolic function and weight control, too many variations to count.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                        wait you only eat 800-1200 cals a day?

                                                                                                                        1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                          I eat low carb, and on my piggiest days, when I feel as if I've really blown it, I *might* get up to 1600. I maintain on 1200. When I ate low fat, I could not believe how low I had to go (800) to avoid gaining, much less lose, which I could not do.

                                                                                                                          My endocrine situation is extreme, but I know others who've gained hundreds of lbs. on 1300 calories per day, folks with Cushing's disease and excess cortisol.

                                                                                                                          It's not just the calories, it's what your hormones direct your body to do with them. Some of us got a *really* bad deal. I've been fortunate enough to be able to stay normal sized, but I can't eat nearly as much as the folks around me do.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                            Wow, I hope you are getting that fixed, because 800 cals is incredibly low, I don't think I've ever seen ever pre-contest females eat that low cal.

                                                                                                                            As for gaining 100's of lbs on 1300 cals a day, well yes that is definitely hormonal.

                                                                                                                            1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                              I have low carbed for 12 years now, and I maintain on 1200 calories per day. In the past, when I ate high carb, low fat, I had to eat only 800 per day. I actually weighed, measured and documented every bite I ate on both for long periods of time. I was shocked at how little I could eat no matter how active I was..

                                                                                                                              Working on getting it fixed has been a very long, frustrating and complicated effort. Still working with a researcher in endocrinology on doing that, but there are no guarantees.

                                                                                                                              All metabolic processes are hormonal, not just weight gain.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                MCF- thanks for sharing this, it sounds familiar and makes me think I might not be the only one who has some problems getting the ratios right, and it's not just as simple as calories in vs. calories out. While that basic formula works quite well for me to lose weight, I have a terrible time gaining muscle. I had my body fat tested and lets just say the (low) amount of lean body mass shocked my doc. So it's not just about losing weight, but the right kind of weight.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                  IIWY, I'd want my growth hormone, vitamin D and cortisol levels tested for starters. Are you on any inhaled/nasal/oral steroids or other treatment that might cause HPA axis dysruption?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the tips, I'll definitely ask my healthcare provider at my retest next month. I'm not on any prescription drugs (or non-prescription, for that matter!)

                                                                                                                                    For now one my own I'm just trying to squeeze in more protein, my new favorite breakfast is a scrambled egg white w/ tomato bruschetta on a 1/2 whole wheat muffin. And my snacks are slowly morphing from dried fruit to hardboiled egg whites and walnuts.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                      @mjhals, glad you're enjoying your new breakfast creation, but really? that's all you're having to start your day? that's not much more than 100 calories. you might want to consider having the *whole* egg - yolks aren't as evil as many people believe, and the little bit of fat and the extra calories will give you a more well-rounded meal.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        Yeah; when I eat only the whites, I have 4 of them.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                          As has been noted throughout this thread, everyone is different. My usual breakfast is between 120 and 180 calories, and it's plenty to get me to lunch. If I get caught up in something first thing in the morning I can go to early afternoon without eating anything (at around 3:00 I hit the wall and get *very* cranky). When my meal schedule isn't being dictated by things like work schedules and other people, I tend to have two meals a day, one mid-morning and one early evening (say, sometime 10-11 and 5-6). In fact, one of the keys to better maintaining my weight has been to acknowledge that the best time for me to eat dinner is right when I get home from work, even if it's only 5:30. Otherwise, since my body wants to eat then, I'll snack, and then I'll eat "dinner" at "dinner time" (or I'll snack and not be hungry for a more balanced meal later). I guess what I'm saying is that people should listen to their bodies and eat when and what they feel is best, and not feel that they have to eat on some schedule dictated by either custom and practice or "experts."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                            Ruth you're absolutely right on all points. my concern with mjhals was that someone who is trying to gain lean mass is going to have a really difficult time doing so if breakfast is only 100 calories.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                          Those yolks are packed with nutrients, especially if you buy omega 3 eggs! I eat them and lose the bread. I only skip the yolks if I want cheese in an omelet because it all adds up and I have a small calorie budget.

                                                                                                                                          I hope you see the changes you seek from what you're doing; in any case, it sounds like you're moving in a healthier direction.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            Thanks guys, I actually dislike egg yolks (at least when they're hardboiled, w/ this breakfast it's just easier to use the whites from the carton and microwave it in a small cup container, perfect fit for the muffin). That's first breakfast, pre-gym. Post-gym breakfast is hardboiled egg whites and a protein shake now.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                              I saw a just recently published study article stating that for fat burning, it's best to hit the gym before eating in the a.m. I don't know if that, vs adding muscle, is your issue, too, though.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                @mcf, the idea behind early-morning cardio on an empty stomach is that if your body doesn't have a recent meal to work with, you'll burn through your glycogen stores pretty quickly and then turn to fat for energy...but as you already know, none of these metabolic processes occurs in a vacuum. there's no way to ensure that the body will only use fat stores to fuel the remainder of the workout and you'll also end up catabolizing some lean tissue - not ideal for mjhals.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                  I need all the lean tissue I can get. That being said, I think I read the same article, or a version of it on msn or somewhere. While I do eat before the gym, I've started doing my strength training first, before cardio, in an attempt to burn through the glycogen first, like ghg suggests. I have no way of knowing yet if it's working until my next bf test, but I'm definitely looking leaner.

                                                                                                                                                  I also read that supplementing with amino acids may help, any idea if there's any truth to that? Thanks, this has been really helpful!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                                    "I also read that supplementing with amino acids may help, any idea if there's any truth to that? "
                                                                                                                                                    absolutely - before AND after your workout...do you have someone trustworthy you can ask for guidance about the type, dosage & timing of your aminos?

                                                                                                                                                    keep it up - you're right on target with doing the weight training first too.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                      Doing fasted workout has not shown any sign of muscle deterioration, actually it has shown that you have increased hormonal and testosterone production when working out on an empty stomach. The post workout meal is what counts, and that is where you should get your protein, aminos, and carbs. But if you are working out fasted, I would stay away from a lot of fat PWO.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, that is the concept. If mjhals is already eating low carb, though, fat should be used in preference to muscle, since the furnace is primed and tissues are accustomed to ketones for fuel. Of course, if mjhals has a severe struggle adding or even maintaining muscle, it is very possible that nothing is giving typical/predictable muscle sparing effects and that some form of disorder could be present.

                                                                                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                @mcf, thanks for jumping in with an explanation - i just signed back on and noticed SeattleHusky's question.

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  I knew you'd get to it, I just happened to have more than a decade of research in my archives on this very topic. As you well know. ;-)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    if there's one Hound i trust to speak for me on matters like this, it's you :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      LOL. I'm trying to toe the CH party line, so sometimes I just have to chew my hands off instead of posting. :-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        don't do that - with your limited intake you can't afford to waste the calories!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                          Yeah, it'd screw up my whole day. ;-)

                                                                                                                    3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      +1. And GI doesn't really tell you how any particular carb is going to affect individuals. GL is a bit better, but only very sloppily predictive.

                                                                                                              2. re: valerie

                                                                                                                true very few people are in weigh loss programs because of eating too many carrots, but the carb load, plus the act of overeating is a double whammy. Also too many fruits, especially citrus aren't good for other aspects of healthy living.

                                                                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                  jhopp217- can you explain what you mean about too many fruits not being good for healthy living? Thanks,

                                                                                                                  1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                    In a nutshell - Digestion, Teeth, possible osteoporis (long term), declining amounts of muscle, fatigue and thinning of hair and nails. Oh yeah and blood sugar illnesses. Long term effects could also be cardiovascular diseases

                                                                                                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                      Thanks, I'd just never heard those downsides before, particularly the declining amounts of muscle. I guess the "teeth" part makes sense due to the acidity? Do you have a source or a link I could reference to look into this further? Thanks,

                                                                                                                      1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                        Honestly, and you won't believe this. My childhood dentist told me that an orange a day is worse than a candy bar. But when you think about it everyone when I was a child drank apple juice (I'm soon to be 40)...now you wouldn't be caught dead giving your toddler a apple juice. Honestly, most of this info was just memory from health and fitness classes when I went to school as a phys. ed major. I'll try and find some "backing" for my statement.

                                                                                                            2. As another poster mentioned, being realistic about goals and being patient are key. But in one word, the thing besides exercise that made me lose weight and keep it off: SALAD. Once I switched to eating salad every day for lunch, I saw results. I also eat one or two a week for dinner. It fills you up, and low-fat dressings these days taste quite good (my go-to is Lite Salsa Ranch by Litehouse) and I never feel like I'm depriving myself.

                                                                                                              Also -- not drinking alcohol makes a huge difference, and affords me to be less strict about my food choices.

                                                                                                              1. Mostly, it is. I lost about 15-20 pounds about 5 years ago, and have kept it off. I didn't follow any specific "name brand" diet, just the general idea of eating better (more nutritious) food, and less of it.

                                                                                                                I agree with all the exercise comments. Exercise helps, but only in moderation - a lot of exercise, and your appetite will increase too much.

                                                                                                                Eating what you love, in moderation, is a good way to go; don't deny yourself too much. On the other hand, I found that eating sweets would make me more likely to eat more sweets, so I found it easier to cut those out entirely. And yes, I also give items to my husband and have him dole them out to me.

                                                                                                                A great life goal, that I'm always working on, is to only spend my calories on food that I truly think are worth the expenditure. (I.e., foie gras yes, cookies that someone brought in to the office from the local chain grocery no). I'm not always so good at this philosophy.

                                                                                                                Check out websites like EatingWell.com and Cooking Light for interesting low-calorie recipes; many of them are quite good. I find them especially helpful for new ideas for vegetables. As I age, I'm finding that I'm needing to cut back on the carbs more, and focus more on the fruits and vegetables, so they provide ideas when I want something different.

                                                                                                                I tried and tried to cut out my bedtime snack, but it's too deeply engrained. So now I just deal with it, and make sure that whatever I eat is nutritious. My current favorite is some blueberries with Fage yogurt on top (flavored with Splenda if necessary, and raw sugar if not). So if you have food habits that you can't seem to change, try to adapt them to a more healthy habit.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Lexma90

                                                                                                                  Good advice. Studies have shown that people who keep food diaries lose weight without specifically dieting. Just being more conscious of what you eat encourages people to make better food choices. When you have to write down those cookies, you definitely think twice about whether they're "worth it" and it's easy to see where the "extra" calories are and where you can cut them back painlessly.

                                                                                                                2. The first thing to do is figure out how much you can eat to lose weight. There are hundreds of websites with 'daily calorie calculators' where you put in how much you weigh and it will tell you what your daily caloric balance (intake - burnt) should be to lose weight. Then figure out how to meet that, whether it is by eating less or working out more. And keep track of what you do and what you eat in a diary. I do it with a free app on my iphone, but you could do it on paper.

                                                                                                                  After many years of needing to lose a lot of weight, I just decided this winter to do just that, and in 5 months have dropped 70 lbs. I still eat great foods, just less most days. I still have days where I have huge caloric intake - meals with friends, lots of wine... And I work out daily on an elliptical machine, cycling, more walking, 'weight training' (using pilates bands, not free weights).

                                                                                                                  And as a couple people have already said, real food! Lots of fresh veggies, salads, nuts, etc. Meat, cheese, etc in moderation. But people have asked me what kind of diet I am on, and I tell them I'm not - I am just eating very healthily, what most people would consider normal.

                                                                                                                  It isn't about dieting, it is about a complete lifestyle change.

                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Dan G

                                                                                                                    If you really want to know how many calories you can eat, you should have a body composition test done. Weight alone is not a very accurate indicator, since a pound of muscle and a pound of fat have very different metabolic effects, and your bones count as "lean body mass." You can have people of the size height and weight who have very different health and metabolic statuses depending on what percentage of that weight is fat.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                      You can have resting metabolic rate tested with metabolic fingerprint (one of the companies that makes the machine but there might be more now). You have to breathe through a tube, in the morning before eating anything, for about 5 minutes--not terrible but not super comfortable. It's more accurate than body composition and costs less than $100. It's similar to VO2 testing, if anyone has had that done, only they don't make you run like crazy while trying to breathe through a tube.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        You can also get an underwater hydrostatic test, which will measure everything, from resting BMR to how many calories you burn on a stationary bike at the gym.

                                                                                                                        1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                          An underwater hydrostatic test will measure body fat percentage, which as Ruth Lafler said gives you a general idea of RMR but not exact. Unless you measure oxygen intake, you can't measure precise calories burned. That said, you only need to be so accurate on calories anyway since we're only so accurate measuring food calories and calories burned with exercise anyway.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Dan G

                                                                                                                      How come no free weights, they are the best way in increase your resting metabolic rate and build some muscle.

                                                                                                                      1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                        just haven't gotten around to it. i am using a very high resistance band right now... I have a friend who is a competitive body builder and she recommended these, uses them when she travels, and they work fine for now. Will get around to joining a gym some day maybe.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dan G

                                                                                                                          Well, yes those are better than nothing :D And if you can do some body resistance exercises (pullups, situps, pushups, and other variations of those) in combination with the bands as well as cardio, you are pretty much set.

                                                                                                                          1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                            Yeah, i'm doing crunches, pushups, squats, lunges etc...
                                                                                                                            My bodybuilder friend isn't coaching me - this is all on my own with a lot of research onthe web- but she does giveadvice when asked.

                                                                                                                    3. I'm all about Atkins, and sorry it didn't work out for you. I lost 40lbs 11 years ago doing a bastardized Atkins where I kept my carbs at about 30grams a day for the six months it took me to lose the weight. Then I maintained it by eating whatever I wanted/low-carbing alternately as needed. I maintained that loss for five years.

                                                                                                                      Unfortunately, I got lazy, and am now losing again - this time I want to lose about 35 total, and have lost 16 in the past four months doing Atkins the 'right" way. Right now I eat about 50grams a day and still lose - and that's a LOT when you get right down to it.

                                                                                                                      Anyway, I'm not trying to re-convert you, but wanted to say how much easier it is now that I'm doing it the way it was intended - by upping carbs until you don't lose anymore you give yourself a ton of leeway for variety.

                                                                                                                      Also, horrible name, great free website: fatsecret.com - it's a food and/or weight tracking site, so I don't recommend it for those who trend toward disordered eating or obsessive behaviors, though.

                                                                                                                      1. I just re-read your post ... and I sort of am curious why you say you "need" to lost 20-25 lbs.

                                                                                                                        Is this on doctor's orders?

                                                                                                                        Personal preference?

                                                                                                                        That black dress in the deep dark recesses of your closet calling for you so seductively?

                                                                                                                        I ask because we all have a natural weight that our bodies will gravitate towards.

                                                                                                                        Maybe you "want" to lose 20-20 lbs, which is alot of weight by the way, but your body is trying to tell you something else.

                                                                                                                        Just another 0.02.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                          Actually, your statement is a bit incorrect, if you have been over eating for a long time (aka gained fat) and driven your body to it's new weight and what it "gravitates toward" then you have set a new fat point. In the same way you can slowly diet 1-2lb's a week, toward a new skinny you.

                                                                                                                        2. I don't hear much about this any more, but for me, the Zone diet is the easiest to live with on a daily basis. The caveat being, you have to do it long enough for it to become habit. Basically, it's 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carb - balanced at every meal. You have to read one of the books to determine how much you should eat - but that combo reportedly keeps you from being hungry and maintains your blood sugar. Personally, if I am trying to lose weight, I need for it to be complicated enough to keep me focused on it - just trying to cut back never did it for me. Following this plan keeps my energy level up throughout the day. Carbs in the form of fruits and veg are much preferred, however, it's up to you how you "spend" them. That is true throughout the diet - eat what you want, but you must count it. It can be pretty involved when you get started, but after awhile it becomes second nature. I love to cook, so finding and altering recipes to fit into the program is fun for me. Like a lot of us who struggle with weight, I get sloppy and eat things I know I shouldn't too often and will put weight back on. I've kept about 25 lbs off now for a year, which is good for me. I do get on the scale most every day, it helps to keep me on track. I know that my weight can fluctuate as much as 3 lbs. I wouldn't want to weigh myself once a week if that happened to be my "heavy" day. As soon as I stop weighing myself, it's almost a trigger for me and I will start putting weight on. Exercise is important for many reasons - I swim for about 45 minutes each morning. I do believe that it helps my metabolism a little, and it also helps keep me eating right. Basically, I believe that most diets will work, as long as you do them. The trick is finding what will work for you in the long term when it's not dieting anymore, just living and eating.

                                                                                                                          22 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: mamueller

                                                                                                                            You zone diet is nothing but a commercialized popular bodybuilding split of 40%protein, 40% carb and 20% fat. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just saying that there is no need to buy a book. As well as, if you are truly at a caloric deficit, at your 1 week weight in your body weight will be less no matter what. Also 3500calories is 1 lb, thus if you divide that by 7you get 500 calories, so if you take that away from your maintenance intake you will loose 1 lb a week. Different people with different life's, different body types and different levels of activity will have a different calorie maintenance. To figure that maintenance takes time, it's kind off a guess and check process, the online calculators can help you out as a starting point, but the mirror and scale will do the rest, and after a few weeks you will know what it is and keep on going. Also what I do is eat my body weight in grams of protein and use the rest of my calorie on carbs and fats as I wish. I don't eat much candy and super processed foods because it doesn't fill me up for a long time, but if you have a craving for something, as long as it fits into your macro-nutrients go for it :D

                                                                                                                            1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                              Thanks everyone for all the posts! I am trying to lose the 20-25# to get back to my "fighting" weight. I had my last child about 2 years ago and I always told myself that when she turns 2yo, I will be back to a decent weight. Frankly, I will be happy if I lose 15# but I am trying to get back to my prepregnancy weight.

                                                                                                                              Anyway, the sad thing is that my diet is pretty good in that I homecook most everything. I eat a lot of fruits and veggies. We don't eat alot of processed food. So I can only just cut back on my portions. I am also starting to keep a food diary. I don't have that much free time to work out but I am taking baby steps in that regard as well. We'll see what happens. I am on day 3 and doing ok.

                                                                                                                              1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                As others have said, it's definitely possible to eat well and lose weight (I've lost 20 lbs by just cutting portions and limiting junky snacks. For me, exercise doesn't contribute that much to weightloss- although it does very much contribute to my sense of well-being). One thing I will add that worked for me- is the recognition and acceptance of hunger. By that I mean I learned to limit my portions to the extent that my signal to eat again was hunger, not a set time. Also, I would allow myself to become hungry and not panic, but accepted it as a natural signal of "time to eat again". Hope that makes sense.

                                                                                                                                It also helped me to track everything I ate and receive feedback. Sparkpeople.com is great for tracking, and it's free. Good luck!

                                                                                                                                1. re: lilmomma

                                                                                                                                  If you have any further questions, feel free to check my "blog" on bodybuilding.com or pm me, I'd gladly help. Plus baby steps are the best, the slower you do it, the more likely you are to transition.

                                                                                                                                2. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                  You eat your body weight, or your Lean Body Mass weight in protein daily?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    Yes, so right now I'm 206 so I eat 220g of protein.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                        OK, this may be a bit off track, but how do you get that much protein? After having 80% of my stomach removed due to a cancerous polyp, I'm supposed to bet gettinig 80 grams of protein a day, which seems impossible! I've also become intolerant of milk (but not cheese) so it's hard to do protein shakes, although Lactaid makes it easier.

                                                                                                                                        It just seems like I'd be eating all day long to get even 80 grams in.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                          Meat, fish, poultry. Moderate servings at the center of three meals and two snacks (I'm assuming large meals would be really uncomfortable for you) daily should easily get you there. I eat low calorie and I easily get more than that. Wishing you good health from now on. Almond milk, if it's not too carby, could sub for cow milk. Better yet, use plain yogurt with ice cubes.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the quick reply. I'm just coming off of a phase I had where I had NO appetite for a couple of months, so things are getting better. I'll have to look back into plain yogurt again, the sugar content of regular yogurt gives me issues, and I've never been able to handle sugar substitutes.

                                                                                                                                            And yeah, large meals are out. At least now I feel like I can (and want to) eat several times a day.

                                                                                                                                            Again, thanks!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                              tracylee, plain yogurt with ice cubes or cold water to thin it and some frozen berries might work for you as a shake base without all the sugar. Can you handle a small amount of xylitol instead of artificial sweetener? The frozen fruit might be all you need for sweetness.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                I've got some liquid stevia, which seems to work well, and bananas for now. When those are gone, I'll pick up some frozen berries for some variety. They probably will be sweet enough as is, having cut so far back on sugar. I just looked up xylitol, and as a sugar alcohol, it would probably have adverse affects on me. Sugar alcohols were a problem long before my surgery.

                                                                                                                                                It doesn't help things that I've always been a very picky eater, but with trying to get enough protein, and taking so many supplements, I don't have to worry about eating those veggies that I don't like!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                  If you can stand stevia, that's a good choice. Some folks don't get an off flavor from liquid sucralose. I do, but if I cut it 50.50 with xylitol, it's fine. With such a small stomach, it sounds as if the bulk of something like bananas, or starches won't leave you enough room for protein, but focusing on veggies you can stand or even enjoy might, especially leafy ones.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    Well, the part of my stomach that's gone is the lower, grinding part, so I can't digest leaves of anything (and I miss salads terribly), or nuts. Even my primary doctor forgets that part when telling me what to eat. My Gastro doctor is much more helpful about that kind of thing. I usually just put in half a banana for the flavor and nutrients, but also toss in a tablespoon of powdered vitamins.

                                                                                                                                                    I never learned to like my vegetables and jokingly call myself a "vegetable rights activist" - made it hell to diet when I was overweight.

                                                                                                                                                    Now I'm excited to try different fruits in my shakes!

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, and it's not an off-flavor from sugar alcohols, it's that they've always gone right through me, and not in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                      I understood that about the sugar alcohols. Some are worse than others. No one in my family reacts that way to xylitol unless we eat a ton, we learned when I used a ton of it to make a thick layer of frosting. Everyone reacts differently to different SAs, though almost everyone has a problem with lactitol. The off flavor issue is a sucralose and stevia thing for many.

                                                                                                                                                      Can you get in some veggies pre ground in a shake? Eat them as blended purees?

                                                                                                                                                      I hope you find shake combinations that allow you to supplement proteins from meals.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                        I often add a big handful of spinach to my shakes -- you can't taste it and you get all those leafy nutrients. Do you think you could digest greens in pulverized form?

                                                                                                                                                2. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                  tracylee, re: the plain yogurt, definitely go for the strained Greek-style - it's much higher in protein than regular American-style yogurt.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                    Great idea; she said she was using protein shakes, so I'd assumed she'd be using powder, but the protein from yogurt tastes better so she could use less powder.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                You can get it from, cottage cheese, yogurt, egg whites, liquid egg whites, tuna, meat, poultry, eggs, etc.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks all! Yes, I do have protein powder, but need to get more in, so Greek-style yogurt would help.

                                                                                                                                                  And operagirl, if they're pre-pulverized, I could probably digest them - you honestly can't taste it?

                                                                                                                                                  My favorite breakfast lately has been cottage cheese with a handful of granola stirred in for texture and a bit of sweetness.

                                                                                                                                                  I appreciate all of your help, trying to keep from losing more weight isn't a problem that gets much advertising attention!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                    Totally can't taste the spinach, I swear! And the bright green color is positively lovely! Try, say, a cup of yogurt, a frozen banana cut into chunks, a cup of strawberries, a tablespoon of honey, and 3 oz. of spinach. Add milk or water if it won't blend.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              I do the same, as a female.......

                                                                                                                                        2. 3 years ago I joined weight watchers thinking "there go all the foods I love." best thing I ever did for myself! I lost 97 lbs and I still eat what I love. Granted, I don't eat as much of it, and I've found new ways to make delicious foods w/o some of the fat and calories. but I don't feel sad, or deprived, or even really like I'm on a diet.

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                            Congratulations, jujuthomas, that's amazing! I think that WW is the way to go too (I'm going that way now myself as I posted up tom), because it is the only diet that allows you to eat normally. You can eat whatever you want if you take it into account in terms of your daily totals, but mostly you have to change your way to eat by watching the fat and calories. But you never have to say to someone at a dinner party, for example, "Oh, I only eat X," or "I'm not allowed to eat Y." WW doesn't turn you into a freak.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                              "WW doesn't turn you into a freak."
                                                                                                                                              aww, c'mon roxlet, what fun is life if you can't let your freak flag fly? ;)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                I'm no David Crosby, ghg! And if I cut my hair, I'd probably lose a couple of extra pounds!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                              Completely agree. I lost 68 pounds over five years ago on WW, and have kept off all but 5 of those pounds on a maintenance program (WW during the week, free for all on weekends). WW bills itself not as a diet, but as a behavior modification program, and if you follow the plan, that's exactly how it works: learning to understand what you eat (by keeping a diary), what you need to eat (portion control), and how to balance your intake, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, and seafood, and whole grains. The plan emphasizes whole non-processed food, as well as regular exercise. No foods or beverages are forbidden (including a civilized glass of wine with dinner :)).

                                                                                                                                              All in all, I think it's the most rational system out there and it worked very well for both me and my spouse. As a side note, exercise isn't a key factor in losing weight (but, as others posters have mentioned, has many other benefits), but we have found that it's crucial in maintaining weight loss.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Striver

                                                                                                                                                For me exercise was a very key factor in weight loss. I'm sure everyone is different. I had tried many diets and never kept it off until I added exercise into the mix. However, I do think most people who exercise to try to lose weight do not exercise hard enough or long enough to see real effects.

                                                                                                                                                Now exercise has become my habit and it is an excellent way to maintain your weight. I can't tell you how many people have expressed envy at how much I can eat without gaining, and say things like,"You must have a great metabolism!" Well, almost everyone can have a "great metabolism" if they exercise every day.

                                                                                                                                            3. I have done WW with relative success but with a fluctuating work schedule and 2 kids, I find it hard to keep up with going to meetings. So these days I have been basically keeping track of what I eat with Calorieking.com. I am at work most of the day (or even when I am home I have a laptop on my desk in the kitchen) and I find it very easy to keep track. Many foods are already in the database and those that aren't are very easy to add to your custom foods.

                                                                                                                                              Knowing that I have a limit on the calories I take in each day really helps me plan. For example, I like to have dessert after my kids go to sleep. So most days I will automatically put in my dessert (usually a weight watchers ice cream or skinny cow dessert) and then plan the day around that. I find it best for me to plan out the day ahead of time and budget my calories appropriately.


                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                                                This is a great way to do it. Way to go.

                                                                                                                                              2. Another vote for Weight Watchers. If anything, since I've been on WW I've become a better chowhound, in that I no longer mindlessly eat junk, but I make most everything I eat worthwhile. (I.e., "I'm not wasting my points on that!")

                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                                                                                  The only problem I have with weight watchers is that it's a modified version of calorie counting, which can be easily self taught without having to pay money for some "secret knowledge".

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                                    I don't think Weight Watchers has ever claimed to have any "secrets" -- I think they're pretty clear that what they're doing is counting calories, even if they have tricks to simplify the process.

                                                                                                                                                    The reason people pay money for Weight Watchers are that most people aren't very good at putting themselves on a food plan and sticking to it (not to mention that some people aren't necessarily either inclined or capable of doing the calculations necessary to count calories). If they were, they wouldn't need Weight Watchers! When you pay for a program (any kind of program) you're making an external commitment, both emotional and financial, which makes you more likely to stick with it. In addition, Weight Watchers offers advice and support, which also adds to people being successful on the program. None of this is magic, and unlike a lot of other diet programs, they don't claim that it is. BTW, I've never been on Weight Watchers and I have had success counting calories on my own. But I've tried and read about many diets, and I believe that for people who want or need a formal program, Weight Watchers is really the only one that works long-term.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                      Ruth, that's exactly what I was going to say. :)
                                                                                                                                                      I needed that commitment and accountibility - I figured by god since I was paying for that program I was going to make it work for me! Now my chair is always free!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                                      I lost 30 lbs 3 yrs ago & kept it off even after quitting smoking 1 1/2 yrs ago. I am a 46 yr. old female & was never overweight until I hit 40. Then I gained about 10 lbs. a year!

                                                                                                                                                      How I lost it-
                                                                                                                                                      -NO sugar. (Fake sugar tastes fine after a couple days. You weigh the health risks)
                                                                                                                                                      -No added fat. Only white meat chicken, fish or 97% fat free deli meats. Skim milk & yogurt. No cheese.
                                                                                                                                                      -Very low carb. Instead of potato, pasta or rice with dinner have another vegetable. Plus a salad. Fruit salad made with yogurt.
                                                                                                                                                      -Keep snack at 100 calories. A piece of fruit or quaker 90 cal cereal bars. light yogurt
                                                                                                                                                      -Exercise or at least go for walks. This is easier if you have music. Keep the house cleaner & neater. :)

                                                                                                                                                      How I kept it off-
                                                                                                                                                      I now eat a small piece of cake once or twice a week. I've adjusted my banana & carrot cake to half the fat replaced with buttermilk & cut the sugar to about half.I have tablespoon of butter every day or two & eat a serving of cheese IN PLACE of a serving of meat. I've replaced ground turkey for all ground beef. Oven "fry"

                                                                                                                                                      Still on carb restriction. Cereal & bread companies would have you believe you need them to get your fiber- but guess what? Many fruits & veggies are a better source. Spinach, cabbage, apple with skin all have more fiber per serving & fewer calories!

                                                                                                                                                      I don't consider anything off limits, but I save up for it or pay for it with increased activity. I had bad eaing habits for 40 years & am lazy to boot. If I can do it so can you!

                                                                                                                                                      You know what really helped me? It was a power trip! I can control this! I am the boss!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tullius

                                                                                                                                                        You do realize that cutting out fat like that, you have started messing with your hormone levels, insulin, and cholesterol production, thyroid function and many more. Neither fat nor carbs are the enemy, the amounts are. I am proud of what you have accomplished but there are healthier ways of going about it.

                                                                                                                                                        I do agree with you that I would much rather have 200g of sweet potato than one cookie (166cals) and lean meats are nice because you can add your own fats and different cooking methods to it, but red meats can be a treat :D

                                                                                                                                                        As for the weight watchers comment made by Ruth, I see now, I guess it's a way to keep yourself accountable.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                                        It's a lot more than calorie counting; it's really about self-knowledge, group support (which I scoffed at initally, but ultimately found very helpful), and relearning your eating habits. Their program and publications are easy to find and reference, but it's doing the program, weighing in, keeping your food log, etc., that actually makes it work. That's well worth the relatively low cost of the program.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SeattleHusky

                                                                                                                                                          I think that's like saying Alcoholics Anonymous can easily be self-taught by avoiding alcohol.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser


                                                                                                                                                            The meeting component of WW is more or less based on AA. It feels great to lose 5 pounds. It feels even better to have a room full of people applaud you for doing so. On the flip side, it sucks to have a rough week and gain a couple of pounds, but the group is there to support you through the gains and plateaus.

                                                                                                                                                            I've had a lot of success with WW. I've also been successful with counting calories, but only when I was meeting a friend at the gym 2x a week and weighing in together once a month. I don't have any problems sticking to an exercise routine, but I tend to eat with abandon if I'm the only one seeing the number on the scale. Right now I'm doing WW online and weighing in with a friend via text message :)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                              I've never done WW but have known quite a few people lose weight AND keep it off, which is the key. I don't agree w/ all those processed foods products they push BUT, if people are eating processed foods and being fat, it's better to be eating WW processed foods and not be fat. Sometimes support is most important of all.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                I agree about the processed stuff... WW has changed their tune in the past 18 months or so - they are emphasizing whole foods much more. A lot of recipes on the WW website still call for margarine, low fat sour cream, and egg substitute. Most of the time the l/f dairy and egg substitute are in very small amounts, so it doesn't increase the point/serving to switch out for the real stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I never quite got the fact that our WW leader (and literature) was emphasizing whole foods while the WW products were not. We stayed away from them (and "diet" stuff in general). We also found that Cooking LIght recipes were far superior to WW recipes in both ingredients and taste - and they provide a complete nutritional breakdown if you're calculating points or just keeping generally aware of your intake.

                                                                                                                                                      3. My two cents –
                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I have been successful. I’m no expert but I believe weight loss methods are unique to the individual. For me, I was able to eat all the good food I liked, I simply cut down on the portion. This left me hungry, so I ate 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 big ones. Exercise was very important – you have to burn those calories! I limited my intake of sugar, fat and processed foods, meaning I still had a doughnut once in awhile, or a piece of birthday cake, but I made sure I ate real food for meals. I rarely ate anything between dinner and bedtime.

                                                                                                                                                        That’s what worked for me, and without impeding my chowhound cravings. Plus, I really _wanted_ to lose that weight. For the record I lost around 12lbs. in a month and a half, so about 2lbs. a week. It's not much, but it's what I needed.

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                          "I believe weight loss methods are unique to the individual."

                                                                                                                                                          Through all these differing messages, I think that hits the nail on the head. People need to play around with it, see what works and doesn't work for them or their lifestyle. There's psychology on top of the physical aspects.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            Psychology indeed plays a big part. One really has to really commit to it. It's tough I know; there's no overnight solution. You slip, you indulge - so what! I figure it took years to put the weight on, it'll take years to get it off.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                              I agree. A friend and I have been working together on losing weight and have lost about the same amount of weight. I can cut down on non vegetable carbs and exercise moderately, but my friend is more content with bread and rice and lots of exercise. Another friend who is very physically fit is always healthfully tweaking her diet as her needs change and she looks at it as a long range goal of eating healthy rather than losing x amount of pounds in x amount of months.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                Exactly--and my husband just cuts out the beer and he drops 10!

                                                                                                                                                          2. Obviously you've gotten alot of feedback that will help you make some decisions. Here's my POV: I did Nutri-System (20 years) ago, lost about 25 lbs but put it all back on, and then some. Eating their packaged food didn't prepare me for post-diet. I did Weight Watchers years later, lost over 50 lbs and worked for them for over 6 yrs. I learned portion control and how to cook/grocery shop/dine out better. A few years after losing the 50 lbs, I started putting some back on, little by little due to my own carelessness and other factors. I quit working for them a few months ago but still believe the plan works. The key to WW is not only the program (counting points, making healthy choices) but the support system. The meetings really are extremely helpful as you can voice your successes and struggles and get great feedback not only from the leader but the members as well. Some people like doing it online, but I really got alot out of the meetings.

                                                                                                                                                            I would also recommend that you consult a nutrionist at some point to evaluate your menu choices and lifestyle. Even after doing WW and losing the weight, I was still always hungry. I would literally "crash" before lunchtime. I had gone to my dr for tests to determine if I had a medical (thyroid) problem but there wasn't one. After meeting with a nutrionist, I realized that I need ALOT of protein in the morning. So, now I'm more careful with my morning choices. If you decide to go it alone, then a nutrionist can map out a good weight-loss program.

                                                                                                                                                            I still cook very lean and healthy, and am extremely careful when I shop for food. My downfall is work time, when I am surrounded by food all day working for a catering company, but that's a whole other post.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Like SeattleHusky - I'm "into" a fitness/bodybuilding lifestyle also, and following that (for the most part) keeps me pretty honest about what I eat....I've done 40/30/30 and super low-carb and most recently, a more moderate, varied carb approach that's healthier and more interesting. While I do have my junk-food moments, I love to play with my food to figure out new/healthy/delicious ways to eat healthfully....

                                                                                                                                                              I do have to agree with others who said it's individual....I know many people who can eat horribly & still lose while some are super-strict all times.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. IMHO, you should not be going on a "diet". 20-25 lbs is not a lot to lose. You should be looking at as making some lifestyle adjustments in order to be healthier. The lbs will follow. I see a diet as something that you are on or off and that does not encourage a healthy relationship with food.

                                                                                                                                                                Try starting with a food diary, then cut the low hanging fruit, so to speak. Hopefully, you will see some areas where you can cut calories or substitute something healthy for something unhealthy. Add a little extra physical activity, a walk after dinner or during lunch, for example. Eat less processed foods and add vegetables. It's summer, go to the farmers market or join a csa. Have fun with that.

                                                                                                                                                                Believe me, I know you want to see that scale go down, but it is a dangerous addiction. If you can trim 300-500 calories a day and add a little exercise, you should lose that weight in six months to a year. Considering how long it took to put it on, it is not very long.

                                                                                                                                                                If you go on a diet just to lose the weight, then go off again, you will only gain it back, usually with dividends and you will not have learned anything.

                                                                                                                                                                Just my two cents.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Val55

                                                                                                                                                                  Good points! To a certain extent, keeping track of cals/fat/carbs/protein is a good idea, provided you don't get too obsessed with it. About 10 years back, I wondered why I was getting "chubby," joined Fitday, kept track of what I normally ate and figured out I was eating 5,000 + cals per day......Go figure!

                                                                                                                                                                  On the other side of things 10+ years later, I've come to realize "scale weight" isn't that important as how my clothes fit + how I look is more important due to my weight lifting - the scale won't really reveal lean body mass vs. fat loss.

                                                                                                                                                                  So to sum up, changing the lifestyle and figuring out what works best for you will be what works. I've seen personally people have good results trying very different methods - what's important is what works best for you + what you can stick with.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Mario Batali on Charlie Rose last night, explaining his major weight loss, said it's all about figuring out a way to eat 3 healthy meals a day rather than 40 snacks. He cut back on protein and increased exercise.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                    As numerous posters have pointed out, there are a seemingly infinite number of ways that people can and do lose weight.

                                                                                                                                                                    The important question, though, is how long you can keep from regaining most of it, all of it, or - worst case - more than you lost to begin with. To achieve that, many people need a long-term modification of their eating habits - and most pure diets don't provide that. Let's see where Mario is in 4 or 5 years, weight-wise.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I bought the Cook this Not That cookbook because I saw a few recipes that really appealed to me. Though not a diet book per se, it is chock full of lots of good information about making better choices when buying groceries, portion control for snacking, adding more flavor to your meals and cost saving by eating in. The recipes are easy, lower calorie and very tasty. I was skeptical of the eat this not that book series, but I would recommend the cookbook to anyone who likes to cook or eat. There are a lot of references to chain restaurant food and the recipes are written as a subsitutes for the restaurant fare, but it isn't a recipe makeover. The authors provide more healthful alternatives for those people who eat at chains. Despite the focus on chain food it is a good reference if you are dieting. It's a small book too and affordable.


                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think a lot of arguments start, but the bottom line is whatever works for an individual. I'm sorry if I've offender Jenny Craigers, Nutrisystem and WW enthusiast, but the bottom line is that if you use pre-made meals and points to lose weight, it works....for a very short time. The reality (and I've read numerous reports) is that weight loss systems work a measly 10% of the time. Understanding one's own metabolism, lifestyle and basically what foods you can and can not eat is the key. Another key is to find out what your ideal weight is. I'm only 5'9", but I went to a nutrionist and based on tests, my ideal weight is between 207-228. WW would have me believe anything over 165 is too much. They don't take into account muscle mass (yes heavy people have muscle...especially in their legs).

                                                                                                                                                                        I know with myself, I need to keep a log of everything I eat. I need to write down calories, fats, proteins and carbs and try and keep in an area that works for me. I know for me, cutting carbs is like a blowtorch to fat. I lose weight at an alarming rate, but the problem is, I can not live without certain foods (potatoes especially). I also know for me, eating smaller meals works like a charm. I can have the same total amounts, but if split six ways instead of three, I lose. I also know that if I go fruit and veggie crazy, I don't lose weight as quickly as if I go hi protein, even somewhat hi fat and low carb. That may just be me.

                                                                                                                                                                        I went on a diet years ago and I gradually lowered my caloric intake from somewhere around 3000 per day down to 1200 per day. I realized after about two weeks, despite losing weight at about 3-4 lbs a week, that this was not for me. I gradually raised it. The problem is, the summer came around, the beer flowed and the weight came back.

                                                                                                                                                                        People are so quick to say that someone is right or wrng about their approach to weight loss. I've lost over 40lbs three times in my life in a matter of 3-4 months and once as much as 80 in 6 months. So I think I know a little about it. Then again, I'm heavy again, so maybe I don't. Good Luck!

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                                                                          From the WW perspective, it isn't a matter is offense, it's more that you're mis-characterizing the program by lumping it in with Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. WW is not built on pre-made meals. There are WW brand meals and snacks in stores, but they are not a requirement and in my experience most people in WW don't use them or only use them sparingly. More than anything, WW is a support group based loosely on AA. WW didn't work for you - that's fine, it isn't going to work for everyone. Counting calories alone didn't work for me. I found that I need to regular feedback and social support of the group, it keeps me honest. I also find it much easier to track 24-30 points a day than 1600 calories, and at this point I'm pretty good at estimating points without a guide/calculator. With WW I managed to lose 30 pounds (a lot off a 5'2" frame) and have kept it off for 4 years so far. I don't go to meetings anymore, but I do have several close friends who are also WW alumni, and we tend to have our own informal meetings.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                            Like I said, whatever works. I know someone who lost 129 lbs on weight watchers. She even worked at a restaurant I went to (normally at night) and I once said "I don't remember you working days." She said, "yes you do, I've known you for years, but I was 129 lbs heavier than when I started working at nights. She was sold on WW and god for her. I understand th support group importance too. Every time I've lost weight, I've had family and friends who were constantly cheering me on. it is truly a marathon and not a sprint. I'm sure I'll try another type of diet someday and I'm sure it'll work. But the thought of giving up what I love to do (eat), truly frightens me.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I am a chef and have been battling the same 20 pounds forever.I I can loose it and keep it off for about 2 years and then I loose the plot. Hey everybody has something! I find the only way to do it is to be responsible for every morsel I eat. I do weight watchers when I need to loose the weight and I am very serious about tracking my points with their on line tracking system.I know its way anal, but hell it works. And I agree it is easy to still eat delicious gourmet meals. They don't deny you anything.You just have to plan for it. I eat huge salads, homemade soups and plenty of fruity sweets.I avoid their products because they have more artificial ingredients then i wish to consume, but some folks like them. I make my own sorbets and sweets(killer key lime pie last week.) I think of all the organized programs out there it is the most realistic.Good lucK!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Interesting posts and some good ideas. My problem is a little more complex and am open to suggestions. I am recovering from blood clots which went into my lungs and now have permanent lung damage, and I am also severely anemic, so my breathing is compromised and exercising right now is pretty much out of the question, since I have a hard time breathing just to walk across the room. What caloric intake should I be looking at to lose weight, since I am unable to exercise right now? Normally, I'd be eating huge salads, but due to medications that I am on, I cannot eat certain things, such as dark leafy greens, lettuce, etc., that would normally go into a salad.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lrostron

                                                                                                                                                                              My understanding of blood thinning and nutrition is that the advice isn't to avoid vit K containing foods any more, but to eat a predictable amount of them daily, with your blood thinner dose calibrated accordingly. I'm not rx'ing here, just suggesting you discuss with your treatment team.

                                                                                                                                                                              Caloric intake is tricky, since everyone's metabolism is so different. I think the best way to find out what you can eat is to use something like the free software at fitday.com to log your intake for as long as you can, carefully weighing and measuring food to come up with a baseline for maintenance.

                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry that you're struggling with these medical challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree with mcf, and as for avoiding certain veggies, yes it is the vitamin K, and I would really follow it as though you have a nut allergy, because you will be surprised how little you need to eat in order to start feeling, wheezy sluggish and different ( my grandma is on blood thinners and accidentally had some spinach and avocado I believe).

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I'm personally on a diet where I try to eat just 1 meal a day. This way I get to limit my caloric intake and still eat whatever I want.

                                                                                                                                                                              I also switch in and out of a low-carb/keto diet where I get to binge on fat and protein. I don't really care for carbs anyway so this is perfect for me!

                                                                                                                                                                              Combined with marathon training, my weight's gone from a high of 189 to 170 in about 4 months. It's slow progress but the weight's slowly coming off, mostly when I stop drinking. That's my big vice - on any given night I probably consume about 1000 calories worth of liquor/beer.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. WOW I just re-read this post and sitting here shaking my head…really?

                                                                                                                                                                                Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri system, Zone, South Beach, Atkins, medi ifast, 17 day diet, Slim fast, Cabbage Soup Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, Grapefruit Diet, 3 day diet…Oh I can go on and on…

                                                                                                                                                                                Throw your scale away! It is not about a diet, it is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE

                                                                                                                                                                                Whole Foods, good fats, lean proteins, non-starchy veggies, serving size, never let yourself go hungry, water, water, water and do not forget to work out, I don’t care if you hate it… do it, even if it is 30 minutes a day.

                                                                                                                                                                                I have changed my “lifestyle”, I workout 90 minutes 6 days a week eat whole foods, lean proteins, lots of veggies 6 days a week. On Sunday I still have my splurge “restaurant meal” , cheese and martinis but moderation is a major key…I have never been happier or looked better ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                Lrostron: a salad is not just leafy greens; it can be such as grilled veggie salad maybe with some farro, but agreed, stay away from vitamin K enriched foods

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                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                  Isn't the only difference between a diet and a lifestyle the duration? If you stick to your diet for the long haul it's a lifestyle. Either way, I'm not sure why you're getting on a soapbox when people are looking to discuss different delicious meals that satisfy different dietary goals.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes the difference is the duration...Some are in for the long haul and some want instant results

                                                                                                                                                                                    BTW - I am not on a soapbox...I am on a vegetable crate!

                                                                                                                                                                                    But as for the main topic....Is it possible to diet and still eat delicious food??...answer is simple ....YES IT IS!! And if you have ever seen my post I have given tons of delicious healthy recipes!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                                                                                                      Isn't the only difference between a diet and a lifestyle the duration?
                                                                                                                                                                                      not necessarily. diets tend to be more restrictive, planned, and inflexible, whereas lifestyle choices are about adaptation.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess a diet and lifestyle change is all about what you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                        all a DIET is...DIE...with a T

                                                                                                                                                                                        yes it is possible to "change your ilfestyle to a healthy one" and still eat and enjoy delicious food.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                          A diet is a way of eating, whether temporary or for life.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                            then its lifestyle, not a diet....we all agree to disagree....some will say a diet and some will say lifestyle....a diet states you CAN NOT have something, were a lifestyle says you can have in moderation and if I want that last martini or a steak instead of fish, then i know i need to do extra cardio the next day, that's the lifestyle, and no Diet will ever tell me I can not eat something I want to...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                              Diet is only "a lifestyle" if eating is all one does.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I've been eating very low carb for over a decade; that' s the dietary part of my lifestyle, as my way of eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                                Being "on a diet" is different from "a diet." Animals all have a certain diet. But, when someone tells me they're "on a diet", I expect it to be short lived and for the weight to come back on eventually. I think it's the use of the word "diet" that's different here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                                  People go on temporary diets for various reasons, and there's no reason a diet has to say you "CAN NOT" have something as opposed to a "lifestyle."

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                          Some people smoke cigarettes. Of course it's bad for them, but that's their thing, and they know that. For them, it's ultimately doing what works for them. Same with diets.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Jenny Craig and other systems work. That's great. If something works for someone, that's the most important thing (opposed to trying something that doesn't work for you and makes you miserable). It's easy to say to someone, "workout, even if you hate it," but odds are, you don't hate it as much as them. I mean, it's not being very reinforcing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't put too many restrictions on what I eat. At the same time, going back to this Monday, I've spent about 12 hours on exercise. Today, a Saturday, I'm looking at about 6 hours. Tomorrow, it'll just be a modest 3 hours or so. I can say, "Work out HARD! I don't care if you hate it and you'll be in a lot of pain, DO IT!" That's silly.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Balance and variety are important. But, what's most important is doing what works for you. Whatever I may feel about the Atkins or WW, if that's what works for the person, good for them. Finding something that works for you and putting in the effort is good. Trying something that you hate and won't keep up is bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                                                            Healthy lifestyle choices and regular exercise...no DIETS would be necessary...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                              It seems that way to those who don't have acquired or inherited endocrine/metabolic disorders, but it's just not true.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Certainly, you just have to compromise :) I work as a personal trainer and moonlight as a blogger and food addict, and it is darn hard to balance the two! But I work on a calorie controlled eating plan 5 days a week, allow myself 2 days a week to be a "foodie" and cook, bake and eat out. I also make sure I workout an hour each day, which I actually really love - it gives me more energy and makes me feel so much better when I'm fit and strong! Don't bother with the fad diets, just eat well, everything in moderation, more carbs with lunch and less with dinner, and lots of fresh fruit and veggies and protein to keep you full! And when you do indulge (in moderation, of course!), don't feel guilty or beat yourself up over it :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KitchenBug

                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree! I love food but then again I'm VAIN so I don't want to look fat, nor be unhealthy as well. I think if you work out most days a week, and as long as you're not have Macs everyday, I'd say it's fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. it seems this is subject very dear to everyone's heart...

                                                                                                                                                                                            Each of you have your own opinions about diets and lifestyle....including me...

                                                                                                                                                                                            WE AGREE TO DISAGREE ON THIS MATTER

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                                              "it seems this is subject very dear to everyone's heart..."

                                                                                                                                                                                              One might expect that in a diet thread on a Chowhound board.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. To answer your questions, dieting sucks! I wish I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. I have had success with multiple diet while i was on them of course. But, if I went off all the weight came back on. I think changing your eating habits for a lifetime and indulging once in awhile is a better way to go. The newly revamped USA food pyramid is out and now it is a plate. 1/4 of the plate is fruit, 1/4 veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 whole grains. There is a small side-serving of low fat dairy per meal which implies to me milk as they placed it over the plate where a drink may go. I think this is a step in the right direction. More fruit, more veggies, with less "white" carbs. I would keep a daily food journal and also weigh yourself daily. You have to look at what you are doing and track your progress. Also, if you are tracking your progress you will be able to tell what is working and what is not. There is no perfect weight loss plan for everyone but there is a plan out there that will work for you, the tricky part is finding it through a systematic and scientific approach.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. This is simple to me. 1) Eat real food, mostly plants. 2) Don't over-eat. 3) Get active. I
                                                                                                                                                                                                If you sit on your bum bum all day, and eat diet food, you're just putting off the inevitable. I find that eating and being as active as say...your grandmother would have been, is the best way to lose weight. Our bodies weren't meant for processed foods and desk jobs. End of story.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LN2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. I think it all comes down to portions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Healthy eating does not have to mean boiled chicken breast and ice burg lettuce sans dressing. I dream up a lot of interesting meals that are very reasonable in calories that never leave us feeling deprived because a)by sing good quality ingredients, I dont need to load it up with extra fat and sugar, and b) if I beef up our meals with beautiful fresh vegetables, I can easily scale down on the portions of the starch and protein in the meal. Most people do the opposite. As a dietitian, I can assure you that unless you are severely malnourished and very sick, you can be 99% sure you are eating more protein than you need. I dont see too many people eating "too many" vegetables and I guess that's probably because the people who are getting enough, don't need to see me.