General Diet Plans and Questions - How did you design your plan?

View Full Version : How did you design your plan?

07-02-2010, 01:12 PM
I'm curious about what types of research you all have been doing to design a diet plan that's right for you in order to maximize your weight loss. Whenever I google things like that, I end up getting a bunch of ads for paid programs, so I thought I would ask here: What do you do and what type of research did you do to find it?

Also, if you have any extra advice for me, I would really appreciate it! So far, I am 5'7", 205lbs, and I am counting calories on MyPlate, limiting to 1300 calories per day. I'm endeavoring to drink more water as well, and I am working out 5 days a week for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Is this enough? Should I up my exercise and lower my calories? My goal is to lose as much weight as possible as quickly as possible without being unhealthy about it. I would very much like it to be a lifestyle change, not just another one of my yo-yo diets, but I am also anxious to see results!

Any input you might have would be hugely appreciated. Thanks everybody! :)

07-02-2010, 02:01 PM
If that's something that works for you, stick to it! No point in changing something that works, right? :)

Seriously though, I know some people who've lost the weight on atkins, some on a whole food diet, some vegans.......Every person's chemistry is different.

Also some people live on 1100 calories, some on 2200, depending on those same factors. Some work out for 90 minutes six days a week, for some there's no official exercise, just hiking and moving more.

That sounds like enough to me; assuming you've been mostly on plan how long have you been working on that 5 pounds?

07-02-2010, 02:49 PM
After 20 years of losing weight/gaining it back, my plan was based around "how can I lose weight and keep it off and maintain a healthy and slender weight for my lifetime."

My focus was absolutely not "maximizing weight loss." My focus was long term, happy, sustainable, yummy foods, not being hungry, eating better to make me a healthier person.

My plan evolved over time, but it is mainly 3 parts:

1. An emphasis on whole foods - I'm not perfect, but I make an effort to eat foods that are high in nutritional value and avoid foods with limited nutritional value. I eat a ton of vegetables and fruit. I avoid white/carby/sugary foods that I have difficulties eating in small portions. I avoid as much processed foods as possible and almost all fast food.

2. Calorie counting and portion control. I could eat too much healthy food and not lose weight, so even after 6 years I still measure the foods that tend to creep into larger portions (rice, beans, salad dressing, nuts). I estimate my calories every day (although at this point of maintenance, it's a running estimate in my head, with numbers rounded to the nearest 100, it's easy and sustainable).

3. Volumetrics. I hate being hungry. I eat big portions of low calorie foods to stay satisfied. Like for lunches, I have a ginormous salad - tons of greens, carrots, red cabbage, a little protein, a little crunchy something or other for interest (wontons or tortilla strips or fried onions).

My plan is a lot of work - tons of grocery shopping, meal planning, lunch packing, chopping...not to mention the mental energy of food journaling, calorie counting and staying accountable to myself.

My plan works because it's easy for me. I like lots of structure. I like having a plan. I don't do well when I "wing it" (let's face it, it's hard to eat healthy by accident - if I'm hungry at 4:00 on a work day, what are my options - snack machine? candy from a coworker's desk?).

Weight loss is so individual, you gotta figure out what long term plan would work for you for the rest of your life. As a former yoyo dieter, figuring out the LONG TERM plan is the most important step.

I definitely do not think you should lower your calories from 1300. I hear "maximize weight loss" implicit in that phrase. That got me when I was younger. The idea that if I reduced calories I could lose weight, and if I reduced MORE calories I would lose MORE weight. That did not work for me. This was part of my thinking that diets should be restrictive and short term, so they would one day END. I thought I could endure anything for a short time, then I would stop dieting and regain the weight I lost. Or, I would just binge and feel like a no will power loser.

Some folks (particularly smaller folks) can be just fine at lower calories, but as a rule, I think people should eat enough calories to stay happy, satisified and make sure they are getting appropriate nutrition.

Plus, if you cut your calories NOW, in the beginning, what are you going to do if you plateau close to your goal weight - where is your wiggle room to adjust downwards (if necessary)?

07-02-2010, 03:28 PM
The advantage of deciding to lose 100 lbs. starting at age 49 was I was able to draw on a lifetime of weight loss plans tried in the past to know what works for me. From that I knew:

I would need to stay away from the scale as much as possible so that I would stick with my plan regardless of scale fluctuations.

No timeline or date based weight goals. My goal is to stick with my plan, the weight loss will happen in it's own time.

While I needed to track my food consumption carefully to stay in a specific calorie range, I could not have what I would eat pre-planned. That range is 1200-1900, averaging currently @1600 cals per day.

I needed to concentrate my eating effort on eating the recommend servings of fruit, veg, and dairy. Grains and proteins take care of themselves.

I would need to get my exercise level up to an hour most days.

07-02-2010, 03:55 PM couldn't ask for much better advice. ;)

My plan has also evolved.

Like Glory, I eat mostly whole foods in exactly the way she describes. I roughly count the calories of those foods. I do best eating six meals a day of approximately 200 calories each "meal". That way I never really have to count higher than 200 at any one time.

The biggest key to my success has not been about my diet at all, but about learning patience. My past problems revolved around the scale not moving fast enough for my taste. I decided then that this time I am committing to this lifestyle for one year. For one full year, no matter what the scale says, I am on plan. And you know that at the end of that year I am going to be fully entrenched in some pretty darn good habits and I'm going to be quite happy with where I am! There will be no turning back, not this time.

As for exercise, do what feels right. I love reaching new fitness goals and levels because it something completely within my control, unlike weight loss. I can not control the scale, but I can commit to running faster and/or further than I could last week or to spinning with more resistance on the bike than I could last week.

07-03-2010, 01:33 PM
This is all fantastic advice! Thanks so much for all of these wonderful insights, guys.