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Losing weight without a diet?

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:19 AM   #1
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Default Losing weight without a diet?

Has anyone successfully lost weight without counting calories, measuring food or following a specific plan?

I've dieted before. I also know how human beings should eat. I know what made me fat. I know to avoid processed, sugary, white flour, high fat, foods. I know to avoid trans fats. I feed my kids organic, lots of fresh veggies and fruits....in other words I KNOW what I need to eat...I really do.

When I've dieted in the past, I've found that adding up calories, looking at calories, referring to lists, measuring, etc.....wears me out and I throw in the towel.

So, what if I just made a decision to eat only lean proteins, healthy fats (small amounts) and lots of fresh fruits and veggies, without all the hassle of calculations and counting? Just simply choosing healthy foods over unhealthy foods every time it's time to eat or plan my family's menu?

Can that be enough? Has anyone done this with success?
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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My goal is to someday be able to eat without gaining weight, without having to measure and count. So far I have not found a way.

I tried an experiment in the last year to be more lax, since I "know" what I should be eating and I have experience in roughly how much a serving is of lots of foods. In spite of my "knowledge," I have gained weight during that experiment, and now I need to go back to tracking.

It's just too easy when not tracking in some way to overeat or to forget what you've eaten during a day. Those little miscalculations can add up. The errors are pretty much always on the plus side (overeating), and almost never on the minus side.

I figure that if I had been someone whose normal way of eating was to maintain, I wouldn't have become obese. Obviously, my natural tendency has been to overeat. I was not one who always ate fast food or junk food--I gained a lot of pounds eating good, wholesome, often organic foods. Just too much of them.

Your experience may be different. Maybe you can find a way of tracking that doesn't seem so burdensome to you.

Good luck!
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:39 AM   #3
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Dependent upon how much you have to lose, you might be able to temporarily get by with it initially--been there done that. However, it reaches a point where you need to know how many calories you're eating. If you're eating fewer than you think, your body won't be happy. If you're eating more than you think, the scales won't be happy.

If you have an Android phone, the calorie counter app is one of the coolest gadgets I've found. It makes life much easier for me. Barcode scanner for days you have a pre-packaged meal. Calories for restaurant food is easily added. It also has an exercise tracker and weigh-in.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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I love the calorie counter app for the droid. It is synced with fatsecret so I can log on my phone or the computer. It takes only seconds to enter my food and I always have my phone with me.

Back to the original question.

I'd love to be able to not count, measure, track . . . but I can and have gained weight running 20 miles a week and eating a healthy whole foods vegetarian diet.

My "you've had just the right amount of fuel today" meter is broken. I do believe that for some folks that meter works just as accurately as the one that tells me to take off my sweater if I am warm or throw on a hat if I am cold. I'm just not one of them.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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Yes it is possible - but not for me in the long term.

I have lost a lot before through making conscious choices to eat less but better, and move more. I couldn't keep it up though, I need the framework of calorie planning and logging. Within that I have set up other healthy choices, so that I never end up in the situation of eating the right number of calories of the wrong kind of food.

I find the calorie counting less hassle than making daily conscious choices to eat healthily at every meal. I got really worn out with the "Do I Really want this? No but really?" questions every time.

If it fits in with my calorie/carb budget (and isn't a bunch of deep fried, sugar-coated lard) I eat it; if it isn't, I don't. Simples x.

but that's just me.

However you do it, Do it! and good luck!
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
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When I first started out I went with the Core plan with weight watchers that basically gave me a list of what I could and could not eat but I also had to judge my hunger signals. I lost 60 pounds doing that. I slacked a little and maintained for a couple of weeks & then decided I needed a bit more so I started to count points along with it. That went great I lost pretty much the rest of my weight with that & when I got closer to my goal I'd switch back & forth from counting calories, points & not counting.

The not counting anything (just eating healthy & trying to judge) were the weeks I gained.
I can not eyeball portions is my conclusion

I think this whole process has to be gone through with an open mind.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:20 AM   #7
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I think you should try it and see how it goes. Maybe put a three week time limit on it? Then write down your results. I would highly recommend taking up a regular exercise program 1 hour a day (like jogging, pilates, etc)

I think the human problem is, we tend to grossly overestimate how much we should be eating. If you don't want to count calories forever, what if you put another "limit" on your food? For example, count your bites: 5 bites of lean protein, 7 bites of carbs.... etc. Eating healthy, exercising, and counting bites could do the work of researching and counting calories for individual foods.

If there is a will, then there is a way. But you will still need a tighter, more well-thought out plan. You will have to be your own scientist. Our bodies want to carry extra weight, its never easy to lose.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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I've lost 118lbs in 14 months without following a specific plan as you put it, but really it is my plan.
I gained all the weight originally because I was an emotional binge eater and ate way too much of the wrong foods and took no exercise.
14 months ago I decided enough was enough, so I cut out all the in between meal eating except for fruit and vegetables, and joined the gym. And I also cut down the portion size of my meals.
So no eating between meals and smaller portions, combined with going to the gym 4/6 days a week for 45-90 minutes each session. The weight has come off consistently throughout my journey, on average 2lb a week.
More recently I've also been looking at the meals I eat and seeing how I can make them healthier, ie lower fat etc. I've also started trying to add in any exercise I can during the day so walking a little further, going up and downstairs several times to take something up or go get something rather than waiting and doing it all in one trip.
I feel for me that I have learned the way I want to live for the rest of my life, eating what I call normally. I have never cut out anything completely, if I want something I plan for it and enjoy it thoroughly but in a much smaller portion than I used to. I am still and know I always will be an emotional eater and have been known to have the odd mini binge still, but they are about 10% of what I used to eat on a daily basis, and all the exercise I do (and enjoy doing) helps to counteract those.
I did think when I began that at some point I'd have to start following a specific plan like WW or calorie counting etc, but I don't know whether it's luck or just that this is the way my body wants me to live, the weight is still coming off albeit slower now, and I truly believe that I will get to goal and continue into maintenance this way for the rest of my life.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:31 AM   #9
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Thanks so much for the input everybody.

I think I will probably try it. At least for a trial period. I will review information about how to eyeball appropriate portion sizes, only eat veggies and fruits for snacks and exercise more. If that doesn't work then I'll at least be used to eating healthy foods and I can begin counting calories to see where I need to cut back.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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It seldom works in the long run. Some type of portion control - usually weighing and measuring - is necessary or those portions get out of control. Contrary to popular believe, those healthy foods do make you fat if you eat too much of them. A calorie is a calorie and our body can only burn so many in a day. The National Weight Loss Registery lists keeping a food journal and daily weighing in the must dos to keep weight off permanently.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:43 AM   #11
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I have done it. I did it and then maintained for 6 years. I only gained because I was pregnant.

It CAN be done - but it depends on the personality. My original gain was due to ignorance generally (I truly didn't realize my lunch,a Wendys salad, was a daily calorie intake), so once I understood real portion sizes, I was able to do it. If you struggle with emotional eating or any other kind of major challenge like that, it can be very difficult and is not likely the plan for you. If you cannot cope with just a little hunger (very common but okay and normal when losing fat), it may not be for you.

There is only one way to really find out, and that is to give it a chance.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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YES absolutely. It is finally what worked for me. I actually saw Paul McKenna's "I Can Make You Thin" program on TLC and then bought his book. It focuses completely on listening to your body and eating naturally. He studied the habits of naturally thin people and what made them different from overweight people, and when I finally stopped counting calories and points, the stress that was lifted off me was amazing. I feel free and the weight has been coming off.

I do read labels though, mostly to know what a portion size is. Growing up in a world where a portion of cereal is a "bowl full" has made for a lot of re-learning on my part. Who knew a portion of cereal was usually 3/4c? LOL
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:08 PM   #13
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I lost quite a bit of weight a few years ago doing intuitive eating. You can google a book called the overfed head. There is also a thread here on 3fatchicks. What I did was I learned what was in the foods I was eating (calories, high fructose corn syrup, carbs) and basically stuck to foods I considered good for me.

My fiance got deployed to iraq and then we broke up so I fell off the wagon, but IE it worked for me.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:43 PM   #14
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i dont count,measure my food. if its something that has a lot of cals/fat i try to limit it, like 1 oz of cheese is like 3 dice. vs i would want to eat the whole plate. even if its a whole plate of broccoli, not good idea. but i dont worry about portoons for produce much. just try not to eat it all in 1 day. so i'll limit to 1 peice of fruit. 1 whole carrot etc.
like you, i dont eat alot of fast food processed stuff. alot of the time i just ate good stuff and went over board.
so i drastically reduced my portions. on a good day i only eat 3 or 4 times. too frequent meals and i start just eating all the time. now i eat when i'm hungry and stop when i'm full the best i can.
i focus on getting in enough activity. you can track how often, duration, intensity, cal burned. when i have a good w/o dont want to over eat to undo w/o.
also, sometimes when you count cal in food its a neg thought process. like, oh i only can have this many cal for dinner.
but cal burned is always positive. feel proud got it done, and if you did it even more min or intensity the number just feel better about it. thinking about food makes me want to eat more. thinking about exercise makes me want to exercise more. make sense? we always want more.
i also joined the no binging challenge. chicks in control forum. and i check in on a diff board, my exercise. being accountable to real people seems to be more effective.
i also do daily weigh ins, but only officially wi a few times a wk. sometimes 1/wk.

Last edited by katy trail : 09-26-2010 at 01:53 PM. Reason: adding wi
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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I tried the method of just eating clean and it did not work for me. I started out by strictly counting calories and now I'm a really bad calorie counter. But I've found something that really works for me.

I started out strictly counting six mini meals of 200 calories each. I never had to count higher than 200 and I did NOT journal. That was quite simple for me and very doable.

Now I still follow that principal, but I do not measure things. I eyeball it and have a really good idea of how many calories are in the things I eat. When in doubt, I over estimate.

I was recently guilty of calorie creep so I went back to measuring a few things and realized my portion sizes were getting larger. I got myself quickly back on track and am moving forward.

So for me, I had to be strict in the beginning. I had to learn about PORTION CONTROL along with the clean eating.
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