General Diet Plans and Questions - Is it possible to lost weight w/o a real diet plan?




CrazedLedZepFan
03-06-2011, 03:50 PM
OK, I know I need to lose weight I'm just not sure how to go about it. I thought I'd do calorie counting, but to be honest I don't have time to log every single calorie and measure everything I eat. I know what to avoid when you are dieting (bad fats, sugar). Is it possible to lose weight without a strict diet plan?

For instance I thought I'd start by eating more fruits and vegetables throughout the day, stock up on healthier snack foods (i.e. Greek yogurt) use a smaller plate at dinnertime and watch portions and buy healthier whole grain cereal for breakfast with a low sugar count. I will also have to give up soda (my biggest pitfall so far). I will find time to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

So I'm asking is it best to find a diet plan where everything is outlined? I've tried this and for some reason every little pitfall (like finding out something had more calories in it at the end of the day when I have used all my allotted calories) just makes me quit entirely.


Chantelle
03-06-2011, 04:21 PM
Personally I can't say I've followed a strict diet plan at all :) I've tried both WW and calorie counting (amongst others) and at the end of the day, I was ready to pull my hair out lol. Like I told my DH one time, if i want the damn brownie I'm going to eat the damn brownie, not sit down and do advanced calculus TO figure out if I can eat it! :P (Just my opinion though, WW and calorie counting work WONDERS for so many people here)

I started off with simple substitutions - whole wheat instead of white starches, water instead of soda (i transitioned using flavors like sugar-free Crystal Light or Lipton-to-Go mixes), steamed veggies instead of cheese-sauce covered, fruit instead of cookies, etc. Most importantly though I've had to listen to my body - and to stop when i'm SATISFIED, not "full". It's worked for me so far but I've noticed that over time, we've invariably moved on to a near full low glycemic index plan, and have integrated lots of beans and legumes since they pack such a punch in a small serving and keep me full so much longer. But that wasn't even a conscious effort; I just found myself adding more legumes to almost everything because I didn't feel the munchies as much when I ate them.

Disclaimer: I do keep a loose tally of my approximate calories NOW, because I finally see the 199lb light and would like to get there as quickly as I can - but I don't stress too much over it. All in all I am just happy I feel so much better and healthier, and stronger as my time at the gym will attest to :)

Good luck to you on your journey!!

CrazedLedZepFan
03-06-2011, 04:26 PM
Personally I can't say I've followed a strict diet plan at all :) I've tried both WW and calorie counting (amongst others) and at the end of the day, I was ready to pull my hair out lol. Like I told my DH one time, if i want the damn brownie I'm going to eat the damn brownie, not sit down and do advanced calculus TO figure out if I can eat it! :P (Just my opinion though, WW and calorie counting work WONDERS for so many people here)

I started off with simple substitutions - whole wheat instead of white starches, water instead of soda (i transitioned using flavors like sugar-free Crystal Light or Lipton-to-Go mixes), steamed veggies instead of cheese-sauce covered, fruit instead of cookies, etc. Most importantly though I've had to listen to my body - and to stop when i'm SATISFIED, not "full". It's worked for me so far but I've noticed that over time, we've invariably moved on to a near full low glycemic index plan, and have integrated lots of beans and legumes since they pack such a punch in a small serving and keep me full so much longer. But that wasn't even a conscious effort; I just found myself adding more legumes to almost everything because I didn't feel the munchies as much when I ate them.

Disclaimer: I do keep a loose tally of my approximate calories NOW, because I finally see the 199lb light and would like to get there as quickly as I can - but I don't stress too much over it. All in all I am just happy I feel so much better and healthier, and stronger as my time at the gym will attest to :)

Good luck to you on your journey!!

Hmm...a loose tally is probably not a bad idea, especially when you get down to those last few pounds.

I'd like to also add I really do know how to spell (lost=lose)...my typing is just horrible though LOL.


Chantelle
03-06-2011, 04:31 PM
LOL hey that's what backspace is for - you should see some of the typos *I* come up with! Let's not even get started on my iPhone's autocorrect...oy. :o

Yes starting with a loose tally is probably a good idea :) I've made the mistake of trying to do too much at once (Cutting out ALL bad stuff, adding in exercise, staying within my calories, drinking enough water AND convincing the world that the sky is yellow, not blue :p) and at the end of the day if I fell short of just one thing, I'd throw in the towel. Try integrating one good change at a time so you don't get overwhelmed, especially if you're not keen on spending too much time on things. One good habit leads to another!

Porthardygurl
03-06-2011, 04:33 PM
A diet plan is different for anyone. There are some people who really need the accountability in a plan..some people really need the restrictive type programs..For instance: Im one who really needs a program that will restrict my carbohydrates, the bad ones..because if i have a progam like weight watchers.. i would spend all my points on junk food..and i wouldnt be eating right..Likewise, a person counting calories may need to do so to be aware of how much they eat in a day, cause its easy to over-eat.. To lose weight you dont necessarily need a diet plan, but you , yourself need a plan that you can stick to that has been created by you at least..so you have a goal in mind and you know where your going and how to get there.. Maybe counting calories isnt the right program for you..maybe you need one where you dont count ? Atkins is pretty good for not counting and same with South Beach..im not too sure about other ones..but my point is..you probably just need to find the right program..and you will know its the right program, when you feel like you can stick to it..and yes, you will have pitfalls, none of us can do it 100% but if you can do it 80% ..even 90% then your okay.. And exercise is important..30 minutes is good to start..but your body needs more than 30 minutes to get into that fat burning/calorie burn mode..30 minutes of moderate exercise will give you the benefit of cardiovascular but not fat burning so much.. but start with 30 and focus on one thing first..For instance..if your starting to eat differently, just stick with that for a while before you start adding in exercise..you dont want to overwhelm yourself with change.

CrazedLedZepFan
03-06-2011, 04:34 PM
LOL hey that's what backspace is for - you should see some of the typos *I* come up with! Let's not even get started on my iPhone's autocorrect...oy. :o

Yes starting with a loose tally is probably a good idea :) I've made the mistake of trying to do too much at once (Cutting out ALL bad stuff, adding in exercise, staying within my calories, drinking enough water AND convincing the world that the sky is yellow, not blue :p) and at the end of the day if I fell short of just one thing, I'd throw in the towel. Try integrating one good change at a time so you don't get overwhelmed, especially if you're not keen on spending too much time on things. One good habit leads to another!

Yeah, I figure eating better than I am right now (even if it's just giving up soda for now) will help in some way. Eventually doing all of those little things together will eventually (hopefully) get me back to my regular weight. I don't want that "I'm on a diet and I can't screw up a thing" feeling lol.

Nola Celeste
03-06-2011, 04:36 PM
Your body will tell you whether you need a "real" plan. :)

Some people do lose fine by cutting down portions and general "watch what I eat" behavior like eliminating soft drinks and other high-calorie, low-nutrition stuff. Others find that keeping a loose calorie tally is enough. Others count more caloric foods, but make vegetables unlimited and don't count those. Others count everything, but don't sweat a bite here or a taste there. Still others count every bite, lick, sip, and crumb.

I've had success counting everything but low-carb veggies (I still record them because I like to make sure I'm eating enough of them, but I don't worry about their calorie count). I spend a grand total of ten minutes a day on all counting-related tasks--weighing portions, writing stuff down in FitDay, planning meals.

If you do find that you need to keep yourself accountable by writing stuff down and counting/measuring/weighing, it really isn't a big time-sink or a miserable experience. I'm not a "BLT" (bite, lick, taste) counter myself, although I tried to be at first; when I started sweating how much raw spinach I was putting into my wrap, I realized that maybe I should just make that stuff a freebie.

It's not like I got this size by eating too many spinach leaves. :D

CrazedLedZepFan
03-06-2011, 04:54 PM
I thought I'd pay attention to serving sizes and maybe how much of each food group I eat a day (I read a book called The Portion Teller which teaches you how to eyeball servings by comparing them with everyday household objects instead of getting out a measuring cup). I should probably record what I'm eating even if I don't count the calories because I read it's better to keep a food diary. I don't think that would be too big of a deal. I just don't wanna be like "Oh I had a stick of gum I'd better go write 5 calories down" lol.

Nola Celeste
03-06-2011, 05:25 PM
Oh, geez, yeah...writing down gum would drive me crazy! :D

I don't use measuring cups, either. We happened to have a food scale that my husband used for baking bread according to European recipes that are all by weight instead of by volume, so I appropriated that for portioning. I cannot believe how easy that thing makes calorie-counting and portion control! I seriously wonder if I could've been so exact on portions if I'd used measuring cups or if I would've just given up.

Eyeballing portions can work, too. In fact, I like to play a little game to get myself used to eyeballing portion size--I put stuff on the plate/in the bowl while covering the scale to see how close my estimates get to actual weights. I figure it's a good way to make this stuff innate, to really internalize it to the point that I can go to a restaurant and say, "I'll have four ounces of pasta" and know what that is.

You might find this site (http://www.diet-blog.com/07/what_do_300_calorie_meals_look_like.php) and this site (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-200-calories-look-like.htm) interesting for eyeballing portions. One of them is more for complete meals and the other is more for individual ingredients, but both show pictures of a certain caloric value. I was really surprised at some of the meals in the first link; those breakfasts look awesome.

Oh! And this link (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1260) shows more restaurant meals and pre-made foods. Also fun to look at--who knew a turkey sandwich could be so freakin' caloric!?

indiblue
03-07-2011, 01:32 AM
I think others have expressed this, but yes a diet is one of many tools you can choose or choose not to use to lose weight. It is a means to a calorie deficit end.

I am a calorie counting convert- it is the only thing that has worked for me. It literally only takes about 5 minutes a day with online calorie counters. It may take a bit longer at the upstart to get your favorite foods and recipes inputted, but now I take about 30 seconds after each meal to input my food and have it automatically calculated. I could alternatively take 5 minutes at the end of the day to do so. For me that investment is far less time than it would take to shop for and plan out an Atkins/South beach/other diet plan menu. (Not that those diets aren't great and that you have to absolutely calorie count- I'm just arguing that calorie counting does not take as long as it did 10 years ago when you had to do it manually with a calorie counting book).

I used to eyeball portions, but a lot of my food is incredibly dense so even overestimating by 20% could mean I was intaking a lot more than I thought I was. I now measure everything I can. That said, I don't of course measure when I go to friends' houses and eat out. You can't measure and be in 100% control of everything, so I just estimate when I have to.

For me, diets are too restrictive. Calorie counting works better (again, for me) because it is a tool that allows me the flexibility to eat what I want. I don't obsess about it (sometimes will take a bit or have gum or a sip of something and don't log it), but I try to make it as accurate as possible.

Your starting off with stocking your kitchen with healthy nourishing foods is a great start. Portion control, eyeballing, and cutting out most of the processed/packaged food will probably get you pretty far. Eating intuitively like this helped me jump start my weight loss process- after that it has been counting calories. Ultimately, whatever you decide, make sure it's the right fit for you and speaks to your weight loss strengths and weaknesses.

Best of luck!