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When you say food plan, what do you mean?

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Old 08-26-2008, 05:05 PM   #1
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Default When you say food plan, what do you mean?

Food is my number one issue, sugars, snacking and all that. I'm just terrible at it.

When I see the food plan it makes me wonder am I looking at my food the wrong way. Do you pick a diet or lifestyle change? Do you make daily meal menus? Do you follow whatever plan you are using to a T? Can you explain how you are doing it because I obviously have no self control and I need a better plan or a better way to follow it.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:11 PM   #2
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For me, Weight Watchers has been a diet and a lifestyle change. I feel wonderful, and have had so much more energy and have met my goal and then some. I have about ten more pounds to go for my dream goal. I follow WW to a T for the most part because it has been so easy. I get to eat all the things I did before. I just eat less, and eat more vegis. I do the flex program, which I love, because I couldn't last a week on any low carb diets. When I hear you can't have that food anymore, I want nothing else but that food.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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I count calories, like a lot of people here. The thing that really saves me is planning out my food for the week the weekend before, so I have everything cooked and ready to go. That way I don't scavenge for last-minute lunches and end up eating out, or come home from work ravenous and eat every carb in sight.

What also helps me is putting all my food for the entire day in Sparkpeople first thing, sometimes the day before. If I don't plan for my day, it is way too easy for me to eat 'off plan'. If I map it out in Sparkpeople I know how many calories I'm working with, and if there's wiggle room I can work with that too. But for me, at least, planning is key.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:25 PM   #4
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I am a calorie counter, too. I plan all meals ahead of time staying within my calorie allowance.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:26 PM   #5
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I look at Weight Watchers as a lifestyle change too....since I had absolutely zero control I started off with the Core Plan because it told me what I could and could not have. I went home cleaned out the pantry and fridge and replaced all the junk with Core food items. As WW has become more of a habit I switched to Flex to allow myself some of the stuff that wasn't Core but was ok to eat in moderation like 100 cal packs, ww ice cream, etc. I still follow Core very closely but within my points in Flex.

I'm an all or nothing gal so I have to be very careful in my thinking (like this weekend I had 3 fried oysters at a b-day party and almost said the heck with it because I did something "naughty" in my eyes). I put everything weight loss in a positive light, this way I do not get discouraged. If I happen to not lose or even gain I have to reevaluate what I did in my food journals and plan a course of action.

I think it's mainly boiling down about how much you want it to happen. If in your heart you know this is what you know you want then nothing will stop you....yeah there are lots of bumps and roadblocks but you need to just pick yourself up and get right back on your plan, when you find one you think fits your life.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:31 PM   #6
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It has to be a lifestyle change or it's not going to last. Do you really want to lose the weight more then once!!??

I count calories and like the others said plan ahead. I pick a few recipes to try out or if I know I'm going to be busy some quick and easy menus. Then I make a trip to the farmers market then the g-store - list in hand as to not stray. I plan my next days menu the night before and enter it all in to make sure I have an adequate balance of carbs/protein/fat and nutrients. Dinner occasionally changes. For example I had pasta with pesto planned for dinner but my roomie called and said she bought a bottle of wine. So I adjusted and made a lower cal but still feeling veggie/tomato sauce to allow for a glass of wine in my calories.

You just have to find something that you can do day in and day out - some people don't need to count cals but this is what I have to do to lose.

Good Luck!

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Old 08-26-2008, 07:11 PM   #7
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I count calories as my food plan. I need structure around my food because eating what I want, when I want got me to morbid obesity in the first place. I intitally was going to join WW - but they were on a summer break when I wanted to make my changes so I 'managed' with calorie counting until I realized it was working for me and I might not need the structure of ww to be successful.

Within bugeting my calories every day and planning as many meals as possible in advance, I follow the swank diet for MS to control the symptoms of the disease -- but it's a diet change that anyone would benefit from!
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:41 PM   #8
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Two doctors (my general practitioner and the doctor heading our local weight management clinic - my insurance didn't cover the program, but she gave me a lot of advice during the consultation) recommended to me that I try reducing carbs. The gp didn't have any specific suggestions, just to not "go too low." The clinic doctor suggested a modified Atkins (a little less fat and a lot more vegetables) or South Beach. I chose South Beach, and bought the book.

Great ideas, but even with "good carbs" I can overeat easily, so I use an exchange program that I modified to reduce the carb choices a bit. I took the 1500 calorie exchange plan I found on the tops.org site and swapped out a couple carbs for proteins (this made it look alot more like the Duke Diet lower carb option in the new Duke Diet cookbook). And then I added another 300 calories worth of "flex" exchanges (exchanges that I could use for fruit, starch, protein, or milk). The idea of "flex exchanges" was inspired by the "Healthy Exchanges" program and cookbooks by JoAnna Lund and WW's flexpoints (so my plan has a calorie range daily of 1500 to 1800 calories).

My goal is to make as many choices from whole foods, lower GI foods, and high water and fiber count foods (very South Beach friendly, and inspired by Volumetrics as well), but I can include any food into the exchange plan. If I eat too many starchy or processed foods, I tend to get cravings and crazy hunger and fall off plan, but no food is "off-limits."

I know my plan sounds like a frankenstein patchwork of a dozen other plans - and it really is. I've been on countless "diets," since I was 5, and there was always something about the prepackaged plans that I would see as a weakness. I decided that the best idea for me, was to design my own plan according to what I'd found helpful, and eliminate what I did not. I'm still tweaking.

The biggest change I made was in not expecting progress not perfection. In the past, I'd try to follow to a "T," then I'd "slip," and get very upset and angry with myself and end up giving up. I journal, because writing it down, helps me SEE the progress. I check off my exchanges, and write down what I eat, and sometimes little observations (like if I'm having a bad day, or feeling extra tired or hungry). I also have sticker charts for weight loss and exercise, so I make it all a game. When it's a game, it's fun, and I don't let guilt in anymore. If I trip on the stairs, I don't have to feel guilty about it in order to try to prevent it from happening again, nor do I throw myself to the bottom because "what's the use, I slipped I might as well fall..."

It's hard taking the guilt out of dieting, that we've been taught we're "supposed to" feel. But, it really doesn't belong there. We don't put guilt into learning to play an instrument, or to dance, or to speak a language or ten million other things, so there's no reason to believe we can't succeed in weight loss without guilt. But, we also can't learn any of those things without making mistakes along the way. Mistakes happen, it's what you do about it that counts, do you wallow in guilt, think you can't do it, or do you brush yourself off and keep going?
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:11 PM   #9
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For me, it's all about a lifestyle change. I decided nearly 18 months ago that I wasn't going to "diet" the rest of my life. So I choose to eat healthier and exercise. For me calorie counting is the only way to go, because it's not a diet. I can eat whatever I choose ... as long as I have the calories available. But it still keeps me aware of what I eat.

I do make daily menus ... every Sunday I sit down and work out what I'm going to eat for the week. I usually go grocery shopping on Mondays, but sometimes on Sunday nights. Just depends.

Do I always stick to it? No. But it gives me a framework to start with. For example, today I was supposed to have soup for lunch, but a friend of mine had a crappy day, so we went out for lunch instead. However, I didn't use that as an opportunity to pig out. We went to a Thai place and I had green curry, no meat, extra veggies. I asked for brown rice and then ate only 1/3 of the rice they gave me.

I track my calories on thedailyplate.com and I weigh myself every morning. Both of those things help keep me on track.

One of the hardest things for me to learn was portion control. For the longest time I had no idea what a *real* portion size was. For me a bowl of rice was one of the big blue bowls from my cupboard, filled to the brim with rice. That's a serving, right? Nope. A serving of rice is 1 cup cooked (170 cals). A serving of frozen yogurt is 1/2 cup (120 cals). A serving of cheese is 1 oz (110 cals). I bought myself a digital food scale and now I weigh or measure EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth.

Another thing I do that really helps is that I eat ALL THE TIME. Seriously. I don't have just three meals. I know that I need to snack, so my meal plan includes snacks. I eat 6 or 7 times a day and stick within a 1500 calorie range (sometimes going up to 1600, sometimes as low as 1300, but always using 1500 as my goal number). For example today:

B - homemade yogurt, protein powder, blueberries
S - apple
L - curry, diet coke
S - V8 juice
S - boiled egg
Postworkout - protein shake
D - Mahi, steamed veggies
S - frozen yogurt (will have in about an hour)

I also drink 1/2 gallon or more of water per day. I keep a 1/2 gallon container on my desk at the office and I use that to fill my glass. My goal is to drink one of those during the day and then drink more at the gym and at least one more glass of water at home at night.

It's a bunch of little stuff that works out to make a huge difference.

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Old 08-26-2008, 09:02 PM   #10
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When I decided to lose the weight, I knew I meant lose the weight for good. This meant lifestyle change. My problem was that I didn't know where to begin. Sure, I knew fruits & vegetables were healthier... who doesn't? But, I had no structure, no rules, no idea how much to eat or who to talk to about it.

I chose WW, because I had heard great things about it over the years, and I knew that group support would be the way I'd have to go in order to talk to people and I dunno.. there's something about that group aura that leaves me feeling good after each meeting.

Anyways, I've been following the Flex Plan for about 16 or so months now, and I'm not perfect. I've had "off plan days", but really having that idea of what to have and how much has helped me tremendously. Not to mention, knowing that I can have the things I want, but it just has to be limited has been a godsend. And after following WW for so long, I find that I'm craving certain things less, so the portion sizes isn't too much of a problem anymore.

I visualize myself going to a WW meeting each week for my entire life. And I feel happy about doing it.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:43 PM   #11
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Counting calories for me. Someone told me 1point in ww is 50 calories. It is just easier for me to count calories and alot cheaper!!!!!
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:09 PM   #12
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My food plan is a combination of calorie counting, whole foods and volumetrics.

For me, it's impossible to eat healthy by accident. Everyone knows that an apple is a much better/healthier snack than an order of fries. That's easy. The hard part is actually having a fresh, yummy apple at your fingertips when you're hungry. That requires work and planning.

Like Photochick, I do all my meal planning on Sunday. I almost always go to the grocery store on Sunday. I do as much pre-work as possible on Sunday night - bagging up veggies, making salads, etc. I want my usual daily life to be pretty simple. When I head out the door to work, my lunch is ready to go, I just grab it.

Having all the stuff purchased helps ME stay accountable since I hate to waste money. If I bought salad stuff for Monday and then made a salad and took it to work - I am very likely to eat the salad. If I don't eat it, it might go bad and I hate wasting food.

In the past, I always thought that diets had to be terrible and restrictive, with boring, unappetizing food. I always wanted to endure the diet for the short term and then go back to eating normally. Surprisingly, it took me 20 years to clue into the fact that I was GREAT at losing weight and TERRIBLE at keeping the weight off. I would always stop dieting and then eat normal and gain weight and more weight.

This time, I really really wanted to lose weight and keep it off. So, I had a very soul searching look into my dieting history. I realized that short term, unpleasant restrictive diets don't work for me. So, instead of concentrating on NOT eating foods, I switched my focus to EATING good foods. This really made a big difference for me. Instead of being deprived by not having a scone, I was helping my body by giving it a package of fresh raspberries instead.

Although I definitely wanted to lose weight, I also wanted to be healthy. All of my grandparents died much much too young. I want to live a long, healthy life and eating a diet rich in whole foods can help me to achieve this goal.

So, I wanted a meal plan I could stick to forever. That meant I was going to eat foods I liked, foods I looked forward to. After cutting back on sugar and processed foods for awhile, my tongue woke up. I was amazed by how good regular food tasted. Natural peanut butter is wonderful, a fresh mango is decadent, brown rice is deliciously nutty, grape tomatoes burst with flavor. If you had told me 4 years ago I would rather have fat free Greek yogurt with fresh blackberries vs. a blackberry walnut muffin I would have thought you were crazy.

Didn't mean to type so much. I would look at the foods you currently eat and try to modify your favorites so they are healthier. Find healthy foods you like. Try new things. Use the internet for healthy recipes (there are LITERALLY thousands). Get a roster of reliable meals and rotate them. Like Photochick said, get a handle on what a "portion" of food looks like (what is 1/4 cup of nuts, what is 2 oz of pasta, what is a serving of cereal). Buy some pretty measuring cups and use them! Plan ahead, do as much as you can ahead of time. Reward yourself for following a healthy meal plan - pedicures, massages, new shoes.
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:27 PM   #13
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I follow a low-carb/low-sugar plan. I don't count anything per se, but there is a list of common "healthy" foods, aside from the ob viously unhealthy ones like cake and cookies, I just don't do in great quantities:

bread, rice, cereals, granola, very sugary fruits, oatmeals, beans, etc.

In exchange, I eat more fats than maybe some others in here -- eggs, oils, nuts, avocado, cheese, full-fat plain Greek yogurt, and even butter. I eat LOTS of vegetables too and some lower sugar fruits, like berries, kiwi, etc.

So basically, if I'm at a restaurant for breakfast and I have a choice between a veggie omelette and a whole grain muffin... ima have the eggs.

That more or less is my "plan."
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:14 AM   #14
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I follow Southbeach and add calorie counting. The Southbeach recipes are yummy and healthy and the calorie counting helps me not overeat on the good stuff.

I don't always follow my plan to a 'T' but it does help me to have a guideline to follow.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:21 AM   #15
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I'm sugar sensitive, so I follow Radiant Recovery. It's a no-sugar/no-refined grains plan which focuses on getting good solid protein, lots of veggies, some "browns" (whole grains) in a step-wise fashion that helps stabilize blood sugar, seratonin, and beta-endorphin. You slowly work your way through breakfast, to journalling not ony what you eat but how you feel, to three meals a day without snacks, to eating whole grains, and finally to eliminating sugars. It's a process.

So not only am I losing weight slowly, I'm also healing the emotional highs/lows, irritability, tiredness, headaches, and lack of motivation that were, for me, the hallmarks of a sugar/flour-heavy diet.
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