Weight Loss Support - Do you still eat processed/packaged foods?




GotothegymOKAY
10-24-2012, 09:43 PM
I find when I don't have some kind of snack food that aren't fruits or vegetables in the house, I go crazy. So I keep wheat thins, cheezits, teddy grams, cereal, etc to keep me sane, and I eat them in moderation.

I know there are tons of people who'd be horrified to hear this, because it's a classic lesson that you should stop eating those things regularly if you are trying to lose weight. But I don't know, it hasn't really stopped my weight loss.

Any thoughts?


LockItUp
10-24-2012, 09:48 PM
I do, and probably always will. I don't see any reason to completely cut out any food, personally. Now, I wouldn't have cookies or cake or ice cream in the house constantly because those are foods that I have very little control with.

But I always have pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers, cereals, various processed cheeses, chicken nuggets, white rice, instant potatoes. I'm sure there are many more. I try to eat as many whole foods as possible, but I won't cut out any foods long term.

Missy Krissy
10-24-2012, 10:00 PM
Rather than eliminating processed foods entirely, I've just been making a concious effort to eat more whole and raw foods. I'm a calorie counter, so if I "spend" more calories on unprocessed foods, I have less to spend on processed ones.

I find that "real" food fills me up more, but I still have my snacks and sweets (just much, much less of them).


takingcontrol
10-24-2012, 10:05 PM
I also believe there is nothing wrong with eating processed foods in moderation. We all want this to last forever, so if you can't see yourself living the rest of your life eating only home cooked fresh veggies/pulses/meats and whatever then I personally don't think it's all that helpful to do so when you 'diet'. For me this diet is a time where I'm reeducating myself on a way of eating, forever. So, as I try to make good choices, I also have to be realistic.

Anyone who does choose to eat fresh wholefoods as their life choice though has nothing but my highest admiration.

Good luck on your journey :)

kaplods
10-24-2012, 10:32 PM
For the most part, I've been consistently trying to eat a more paleo diet (with fewer and fewer processed foods including most grains).

I like eating that way, and I really don't miss most processed foods. I do use sugar substitutes and sugar free jello and Crystal Light drink mixes and diet soda (definitely not paleo, but sanity savers for me).

I don't care about most junk food one way or the other, and if I could afford a private chef to do all the work, I wouldn't mind a 99% whole-food, even paleo diet (though I do want the occasional serving of quinoa, wild rice or other high-protein grain and the occasional sweet potato - and I'm not giving up my artificial sweetened drinks and jello)...

but I don't have a personal chef, and a tasty whole-food diet is very time consuming. In the summer, I don't mind because I have the time and the energy. However, in fall, winter, and early spring I usually have a lot of high-pain days (due to fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other health issues), and I get very lazy.

I've already started experiencing the "bad days" and I've decided to try something new (The Simple Diet, based on the book of the same name. It relies heavily on processed foods: 3 shakes, 2 frozen meals, and 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies).

I am making some of the meals myself, and use unflavored, undenatured whey protein (from a local dairy), and homemade yogurt for the shakes - but it's still a lot more processed foods than I'd eat in an ideal world.

Most of the processed foods I do eat, I choose for convenience rather than taste preference. There are only a few "junk" treats that I like, and most of them I like TOO much to keep in the house (kettle chips as an example. When I do buy them, I buy them in a single serving package - because otherwise no matter what size I buy it ends up being a single serving package).

Going back to eating more processed foods (in The Simple Diet) does seem like "backsliding" to me in so,me ways, but I figure that life always ends up being about compromises - and right now, I'm willing to sacrifice freshness and "wholeness" for convenience and almost no food prep.

ilovemo
10-24-2012, 10:41 PM
Definitely not. I dont remember the last time I bought packaged cookies, chips, this or that. Ive learned that the most nutrition comes from things that are as least processed as possible.

stimkovs
10-24-2012, 10:48 PM
you know what? i thought about this recently. towards my lowest weight (but not size) about 9 lbs lower then where i am right now, i was eating almost 99% clean, excluding "calorie freebies" such as hot sauce, coke zero, splenda, jello, etc. i was eating about 1-2 servings of "high protein grains" - ex quinoa, buckwheat etc. i was eating almost NO bread, no cookies, no snack foods, and maybe 2 servings of dairy a week (outside of the skim milk in my 3x -5x daily coffees lol). i was also eating VERY few healthy fats (ex avocados, nuts, coconut oil/reg oil), no cheese.

the thing is? i caved and developed a little binging issue. irony? i developed a almost bi-weekly fixation with eating a pint of ice cream. ben and jerrys. unmentionable flavours. then i moved home after living alone for 5 years, where bread, butter, deli cheeses, deli meats, and other delicious things were in abundance. there i developed a large binging issue. on those exact items i was not eating.

now, i have actually began to incorporate some bread, some grains, some cheese/dairy protein like babybells, ff cottage cheese, chobani yogurts, etc. slow digesting (non meaty) proteins. i have also been eating 2-3-4 rice cakes a day. these give me my carb-load, slow digesting protein, little bit of fat, and they stop my desire to go for the high fatty foods.

maybe it's a personal lack of balance, but it could also be an issue of going too far, and needing far more self control that i have, or that i am willing to exert.

i think eating processed foods in moderation is perfectly fine. it's impossible to be perfect all of the time, and lets face it, knowing that you can have just that little bit is exceptionally satisfying!

KittyKatFan
10-24-2012, 10:50 PM
Just had a bowl of Cheerios. I rarely eat processed foods because they don't seem to fill me up, but I do eat them.

mariposssa
10-24-2012, 11:25 PM
ALL food is processed. Most food is packaged. Even the stuff in the outer perimeter of your grocery store. Produce is picked, cleaned, waxed, shined, packaged into boxes and shipped. It doesn't come off the tree with a little Dole sticker on it. ;) I live in a very rural area and not a lot of our stores even have butchers anymore. Tyson, Perdue, JennyO and workers in grocery warehouses or meat packing plants process our meat and put it in little styrofoam packages or bags or worse yet plastic chubs. Milk is homogenized, pasteurized, fortified with vitamins. Not real sure about the eggs...but before they are packaged I think they expose it to a bright light for purification??? Point being...unless you are going to buy a farm and raise/grow/butcher your own plants and animals it is pretty much unavoidable. I guess you could go full out Doomsday Prepper; but not the kind that fills a room with 30 years worth of Campbell's vegetable soup and Hormel chili.

Ok...not really trying to be a smart mouth. I don't have a food budget that is as big as the national deficit. Sometimes I have to buy food that comes in bags, boxes, aluminum cans, the freezer section, etc. I have 3 kids (two are teenagers) I can't afford to buy several gallons of $8 raw, organic milk each week. For that matter, I can't afford a lot of special diet foods that are just for me and not for family meals. Fresh produce is pretty much limited to whatever is in season AND on sale in the ad. That and whatever green leafy stuff I can find that isn't $5 per pound. We have to have some of that "filler" stuff. I really make an effort to buy ingredients to make things as opposed to snacks that come in boxes.

But, sometimes the budget or convenience wins and I buy things like a bag of tortilla chips for the homemade salsa. Or, crackers to put in the homemade soups and chili. Low carb tortillas are another one we buy regularly. I can and have made chips, tortillas, bread and crackers before but my time is not endless. I really try to limit white carbs...so not much of this stuff makes it in my cart. You won't find me buying Cheez-its or Teddy Grahams too often because I would SOOOO eat the whole box, possibly even on the 30 minute trip home from the store. :dizzy:

ugogurl
10-24-2012, 11:26 PM
I do reduce the processed food but cutting them? No. Just because you are dieting doesn't mean you have to eat like a monk. I think what more important is to count the daily calorie consumption.

freelancemomma
10-24-2012, 11:30 PM
I know there are tons of people who'd be horrified to hear this, because it's a classic lesson that you should stop eating those things regularly if you are trying to lose weight. But I don't know, it hasn't really stopped my weight loss.


Whatever is sustainable is the best eating plan, as far as I'm concerned. I've never liked overly processed foods like Cheezits or packaged dinners. Didn't eat them before, don't eat them now. While nothing is off limits to me, I actually prefer the taste of whole home-cooked foods. I do eat stuff like breakfast cereal and premade pasta sauce on occasion -- and movie popcorn, of course. ;)

My challenge has always been quantity. I would love to be able to eat 4,000 cals per day without gaining and could easily do it! But for now, I would rather be slender and healthy.

F.

novangel
10-24-2012, 11:46 PM
Depends how processed we're talking. I love wheat thins and cereal but crap like hamburger helper and chef boyardee? *Gag*

Arctic Mama
10-24-2012, 11:47 PM
I don't, no. Most of them are huge triggers for me and cause cravings for days after I eat them. The only real packaged food I've eaten in the past week, for example, is roasted seaweed, some pepperoni, and two pieces of candy (dark chocolate and a SF truffle, as a treat). That's really about as processed as I get, which isn't very. When I'm off plan it's a different story, and I crave the packaged junk so badly! But when I've detoxed off I'm happy with a 90-95% whole foods diet on a daily basis, with the occasional treat worked in. But the packaged food are all in controlled portions and foods I can do in moderation, with no big trigger for me.

toastedsmoke
10-25-2012, 12:47 AM
I definitely still eat processed food like canned tomatoes, baked beans, tuna, sardines, condiments (mayo, mustard, humus, soy sauce, vinegar etc), chocolate, white grains, sugar substitute etc. I wouldn't say that's ALL I eat but I get my processed calories in daily without a second thought to it.

kaplods
10-25-2012, 01:08 AM
I definitely still eat processed food like canned tomatoes, baked beans, tuna, sardines, condiments (mayo, mustard, humus, soy sauce, vinegar etc), chocolate, white grains, sugar substitute etc. I wouldn't say that's ALL I eat but I get my processed calories in daily without a second thought to it.

This reminds me that "processed" is very much in the mind of the beholder.

I don't consider canned tomatoes or canned fish or chicken "processed foods" even though they technically are (minimally processed I would argue, but still processed).

I don't stress at all over whole-processed foods. Frozen or canned veggies and meats... where the only added ingredients are herbs, spices, and salt (I tend to have very low blood sodium levels, so my doctor actually will encourage me to add salt if the blood levels get too low).

Condiments I also don't worry about because I use them in such small amounts, and I'm definitely not going to learn to make my own soy sauce (ketchup maybe... then again maybe not).

I do now make my own yogurt (though some folks considered all pasteurized dairy products from milk to cheese - processed foods).

I make my own jerky, but because of the high salt levels (despite what I said about salt earlier, jerky is an acception) I do consider even my own jerky highly "processed."

Some folks don't consider home-baked goods processed foods, but I do, because nothing like brownies grow on trees.


I consider most flours even whole grain flours highly processed - some people don't.




Processed really is in the eye of the beholder.

toastedsmoke
10-25-2012, 01:35 AM
This reminds me that "processed" is very much in the mind of the beholder.

I don't consider canned tomatoes or canned fish or chicken "processed foods" even though they technically are (minimally processed I would argue, but still processed).

I don't stress at all over whole-processed foods. Frozen or canned veggies and meats... where the only added ingredients are herbs, spices, and salt (I tend to have very low blood sodium levels, so my doctor actually will encourage me to add salt if the blood levels get too low).

Condiments I also don't worry about because I use them in such small amounts, and I'm definitely not going to learn to make my own soy sauce (ketchup maybe... then again maybe not).

I do now make my own yogurt (though some folks considered all pasteurized dairy products from milk to cheese - processed foods).

I make my own jerky, but because of the high salt levels (despite what I said about salt earlier, jerky is an acception) I do consider even my own jerky highly "processed."

Some folks don't consider home-baked goods processed foods, but I do, because nothing like brownies grow on trees.


I consider most flours even whole grain flours highly processed - some people don't.




Processed really is in the eye of the beholder.

Exactly. That's why I don't stress about it too much. I think most things are at least a little processed. I wouldn't even consider taking recognizable food and processing it into your own condiments (like mayo) or making your own jerky with beef to be "processed food" or even canning your own fruit and veggies. But I do consider commercially-manufactured versions with the associated preservatives, stabilizers, enhancers and dyes, whether natural or chemical, to be processed.

Living in the tropics, I'm not that mad at preservatives, stabilizers and pasteurization. EVERYTHING spoils here really quickly, refrigerated or not. I try to make common sense nutritious choices and to make my Frankenfood work for me in a nutritious way. But to be honest, I don't stress too much about whether something is processed or it's not.

Arctic Mama
10-25-2012, 01:49 AM
Very true, ladies! That's why I focus on the types of foods and chemicals that make me fat/sick/addicted, as opposed to a sweeping category of food. It just so happens most prepackaged, heavily processed foods have the stuff I'm sensitive to!

Even with my ketchup, dehydrated iced tea, or seaweed, I think my diet is pretty darn clean. It's about eating what promotes my health, not religiously eschewing anything in a wrapper :)

Em Coconut
10-25-2012, 04:57 AM
I do, mostly because without some of it I wouldn't be able to stick with my diet long-term. I eat less of it than before, but it's still there. Also, there are days when my husband and I are too lazy to stand in the kitchen cooking, and taking some quick dinner solution out of the freezer is a much better option than ordering that pizza or getting those greasy burgers. In most cases, anyway:)

TripSwitch
10-25-2012, 05:38 AM
I like what a lot of people are saying here... I don't get too stressed out about it...

I sort of see "processed" food along a spectrum... from let's say some really good high quality chocolate (maybe completely off limits and considered complete "junk" food to some, but I don't see it that way...) to let's say a Twinkie which I think is about as "processed" as you can get and just not something that I want to eat...

My bigger problem is all the "prepared" food that I eat... I have a much harder time avoiding all the absolutely delicious looking things that are there right in front of me that look amazing and are "ready to eat" at the places where I shop...

sumire
10-25-2012, 07:33 AM
I eat plenty of processed/packaged foods. (They are going to have to pry my Cheez-its and frozen waffles out of my cold, dead hands. :)) Didn't affect my weight loss, hasn't affected my maintenance.

Thedollylala
10-25-2012, 08:01 AM
Yes I love my fiber one bars they get my sweet tooth fixation (plus I get my fiber) hmm yes I eat a lot of tuna yum yum. Idk maybe it's not a huge deal to eat entirely "clean" I get frozen veggies it's way more convenient.

Misti in Seattle
10-25-2012, 08:17 AM
I can't say I have 100% given up processed foods, but they now are a very small part of my eating. The more I study about HOW they are processed and what is actually IN them, the fewer of them I eat.

SunnySide99
10-25-2012, 08:29 AM
The only items I've officially cut out of my diet is ice cream and chips because I can not control myself. I had to ween myself off of sugar and candy (didn't have any in July - September), so now I can have a very little and still maintain control. I don't have too many canned items just because of the sodium.

Other items I pratice "everything in moderation".

LockItUp
10-25-2012, 10:12 AM
This reminds me that "processed" is very much in the mind of the beholder.

That's so true! Same with the terms "whole foods" or "clean foods". Perception is everything.

I eat plenty of processed/packaged foods. (They are going to have to pry my Cheez-its and frozen waffles out of my cold, dead hands. :)) Didn't affect my weight loss, hasn't affected my maintenance.

LOL love this!

time2lose
10-25-2012, 10:34 AM
freelancemomma originally posted

Whatever is sustainable is the best eating plan, as far as I'm concerned.

This is pretty much my motto. When I was concentrating on primarily counting calories, I had some Cheez-its and such. I am experimenting now on lowering my carbs and so quit eating these types of processed foods but I may add them back in at some point.

krampus
10-25-2012, 10:53 AM
I save my "processed" for stuff like ice cream and candy. And beer.

Crackers, chips, breakfast cereals, etc rarely find their way into my pantry if I can avoid it.

mimsyborogoves
10-25-2012, 11:24 AM
I don't have the time nor the patience to make sure every single thing I eat is 100% perfect. I just can't; I would lose my mind.

I avoid what I call "real" junk. This is legit fast food (i.e. anything from a burger joint that's not a salad, grilled chicken sandwich, or some other healthier/lower cal alternative), heavy desserts, candy, cookies, cakes, chips, frozen meals that aren't of the "lean cuisine" type, ya know, things that we all know are absolutely terrible for you.

Now, that doesn't mean I never have this stuff, but I can usually control my portions. I have one cookie, or a small sized candy bar, or just one or two scoops of ice cream. Or I get low-cal, portioned-out versions of snack food, like just recently I bought a 100 calorie pack of mini brownies, some low-cal granola bars, frozen yogurt and popsicles. Stuff that's might not be 100% healthy, but it's low-cal and won't kill my budget.

I'm not someone who binges or mindlessly snacks, and snack food doesn't really "trigger" me, so I can probably get away with a lot more of this stuff than some people can. My triggers are the big-time no-nos: heavy fast food, heavy desserts, and all the obvious garbage-type foods that I mentioned before. My lifestyle change was eliminating the real garbage.

ChickieChicks
10-25-2012, 11:28 AM
Yep! Just because it's packaged, doesn't mean it is total junk. And convenience is huge for me. I lost all the weight and have maintained for a year eating whole foods, as well as packaged foods in crunch times. :)

Robin41
10-25-2012, 12:17 PM
I don't have any problem with processed foods in theory, but have given up most of them for the simple fact that serving size is small and calorie and carb count is high. I maintain on about 1500 calories a day and I like to be full. Can't do that on sugary cereal and crackers. If I'm going to splurge, then it's going to be something special, not graham crackers.

pluckypear
10-25-2012, 02:50 PM
What a great question. :) I enjoyed reading all of the responses as well. Like some have already said I see 'processed' foods as existing on a spectrum from chain grocery fresh fruit and veg to kraft dinner. LOL Can you get much more processed? :)
I try to eat whole foods or as close to whole most of the time. I do purchase my fruit and veg from local farmers at a farmers market. In the winter I eat mainly apples, carrots, onions, cabbage - you get the picture. These are also organic whenever possible. I do buy some things like bananas because they will never be local here. At least not yet. With the greenhouse effect who knows?
I also buy meat from the farmer at this market. I do not eat pork. Some of the most processed foods I eat are vegetarian, just like ground, faux chicken patties and the such. Remnants of my vegetarian days. I have a goal to make my own black bean burgers etc. Like others mentioned (kaplods et al) I grow weary of food prep.
I also snack on pop chips, kale chips, cottage cheese and baby bel lights.
So I try but will never give up my coffee, beer or pop chips.

Skellig19
10-25-2012, 03:23 PM
I eat processed foods in moderation and have managed to continue to lose weight. So far so good! Yesterday for lunch, I had a whole wheat kraft dinner bowl. 220 calories. I had grapes and a yogurt cup with it. Tasted good, fixed my craving for KD, and I don't feel very guilty about it! I will only have one of those little cups once a week though and I am very very conscious of the nutritional value of it and make sure to eat more whole foods for dinner.

I frequently indulge in diet sodas and crystal light and enjoy my occasional fibre 1 brownie. I've learned that guilt and food should not go together for my own mental state so I don't feel guilty eating any of these things. I am just a concious eater when I do have them.

linJber
10-25-2012, 05:50 PM
I've enjoyed reading all the answers here. For me, I try to stay away from most stuff that I think of as having little or no nutritional value. Most of the time. I used to eat 3 boxes of snack crackers a week at my desk at work. No more. I don't buy chips but do eat popcorn and pretzels once in a while. I try to buy "real" cheese as opposed to singles and other "processed cheese foods" but like Laughing Cow wedges. I buy really good bakery whole grain bread once in a while. I buy some canned soup (carefully watching the salt.) I never did drink much milk and now just eat 0% fat Greek yogurt.

I think there is a happy medium. I think most of us have the right idea.

Lin

annieway
10-25-2012, 05:59 PM
I agree, the word "processed" is not a very well defined term. Interesting topic though!

At my age (61) and activity level, I find I just really can't spare the calories for high carb processed foods like cereal and crackers. Plus I love to cook so I never use prepared meals. The biggest and most processed food I use is powdered protein shake mix because it keeps me full longer than anything else on the least amount of calories. When I'm home it goes into smoothies with a bit of yogurt and a bit of fruit. When I travel it comes with me in packets and I just mix it with water. Other than that most of what I eat is produce - fresh low carb vegetables, and lettuce. And a small serving of meat once a day. I live in Los Angeles, and the dollar store 3 blocks away has produce really cheap (duh - everything is $1). We shop there once a week and our fridge is PACKED to the gills with veggies for less than $40. And I don't worry about organic. I think there was an article recently where somebody did a study and demonstrated no nutritional difference.

sontaikle
10-25-2012, 10:14 PM
My goal is to always reach for the real stuff, and while my diet is mostly real foods, it still contains processed things. Like kaplods and others, diet sodas, crystal light, etc. keeps me sane. I do also have chips, protein bars, protein shakes, and greek yogurts but reach for the ones with the ingredients I can name.

Going completely whole foods made me drop too much weight. I got down to 107ish and looked horrible.

duckyyellowfeet
10-25-2012, 10:55 PM
I try to cut out as much processed junk as I can. I try to avoid packaged dinners, crackers/chips, cookies, etc.

But someone will have to pry my Diet Coke out of my cold dead hands, I'm not giving up the occasional Skinny Cow ice cream bar and I rely on Luna meal bars for breakfasts. I think that we often have to reach for the better choice, even if its not the world's most perfect choice ever

HungryHungryHippo
10-26-2012, 12:09 AM
Not so much, but one thing I've TOTALLY learned on 3FC is that different things work for different people.

I do have ketchup. (And low-fat mayo, low-fat dressing, diet soda, Crystal Lite, and a few pieces of sugar-free hard candy on the w/e.)
Oh, and wine. If I want a glass, I have to give up my evening fruit.

LandonsBaby
10-26-2012, 02:17 AM
Yes, I do. I eat Amy's organic soups and frozen dinners on a daily basis (usually).

banananutmuffin
10-26-2012, 07:59 AM
I always eat "processed" foods like canned tomatoes and frozen spinach.

I follow a Paleo/Primal diet, which doesn't really allow for much that's processed or packaged. Except bacon. Which I eat regularly. :D

I sometimes treat myself to rice crackers or nut thins or something like that, but not often.

I don't have a sweet tooth, so I can live without diet sodas and such. Usually, if I do eat something processed, it's because I've completely fallen off the diet wagon and I'm landing in a face full of pizza or a giant ham sub with potato chips.

Amanda1977
10-26-2012, 09:23 AM
This is an interesting question and I've loved all the answers! I have been following plans for years that discouraged eating highly processed/prepackaged foods at all. While I always lose weight on them at the beginning, I haven't done well with any of them long term because I end up rebelling against the plan. I think they are just too limiting for me. I think some people (ME!) don't do as well with the 'You can't ever have this' approach.

It's encouraging for me to read the responses here because I've just decided to do more of a calorie-counting approach and get away from any kind of plan. It seems like many of you have found that this approach works for you.

kaplods
10-26-2012, 10:31 AM
This is an interesting question and I've loved all the answers! I have been following plans for years that discouraged eating highly processed/prepackaged foods at all. While I always lose weight on them at the beginning, I haven't done well with any of them long term because I end up rebelling against the plan. I think they are just too limiting for me. I think some people (ME!) don't do as well with the 'You can't ever have this' approach.

It's encouraging for me to read the responses here because I've just decided to do more of a calorie-counting approach and get away from any kind of plan. It seems like many of you have found that this approach works for you.

I think that even if you follow a specific plan, and in fact, no matter what plan you follow, most people don't do well with a "You can't ever have this," approach.

For most of my 41 years of struggling with my weight loss (since kindergarten), I also found that "forbidding" things made them that much more tempting.

I always tried to incorporate any food I wanted into my food plan, and always felt miserably hungry while dieting by calorie restriction alone (whether by calorie or exchange counting - both of which allow a person to have any food they can fit into their calorie or exchange budget).

I also learned though that my hunger is much more manageable, and I'm much more successful with the weight loss when I'm restricting carbs rather drastically (but not so drastically that I get blood sugar crashes - such as I felt on Atkins induction, which kept me away from low-carb diets until my doctor suggested that I try low-carb but warned not to go too low. I realized that I had never tried a moderately low-carb plan).

For me, some foods just aren't worth having available, because they trigger what I call "rabid hunger," and I find virtually impossible to eat in moderation.

I may never be able to eat those foods in moderation, and I may always have to follow some form of carb restriction to manage my weight and my hunger.

I may always have to follow some sort of rather rigid plan - and yet I NEVER think of my plan as something that is set in stone. I put no food off-limits (not even wheat, despite having a rather unpleasantly and unsightly skin reaction (my hands and face become swollen, red, itchy, and sore, sort of like a mild sunburn). I also find that a high-carb diet, even without table sugar and wheat, aggravates my autoimmune disease. If I eat relatively low-carb, the symptoms are minimal, and if I don't, the symptoms flare.

Putting a food "off limits" even if the food hurts me, makes me want it. However, thinking of the food's consequences logically does the opposite.

Very sweet foods make me feel half-starved, so instead of "banning them" I think of them like I do the wheat, "What is going to happen if I eat this. Does this food help me acheive my goals, or does it hinder them. Is the flavor worth the consequences?

And you know sometimes it is. I don't consider myself to be "cheating" or "breaking" my "diet," because even though I HAVE TO watch carbs to have manageable control over my weight and hunger, the big picture is more important.

I don't have to "never eat a single carby food, ever," to succeed at weight loss, but I do need to have a plan to help me succeed. It doesn't have to be the same plan either, I can follow one plan one week and a different plan next week.

But what I can't do (if I want to succeed) is believe that I can truly eat whatever I want as long as I stay within my calorie goal (maybe when I'm closer to goal I will be able to, maybe not. I do know that I am insulin resistant and borderline diabetic, and have always had blood sugar issues even since childhood - so I may never be able to do well in the long term on a high-carb diet).

All my life, whenever I was on a weight loss journey, people (those close to me and even acquaintences that were nearly strangers) would ask "how can you give up bread (or whatever was not on my diet)."

Now, no one asks me "how can you give up wheat forever?" when I explain the reaction it has on my skin, but the truth is it isn't very different from the foods that make it difficult for me to abstain from overeating.

When I think, "it's so unfair that I CAN'T have wheat," that's when I'm most likely to "rebel," and then I suffer for three to four days because I had to prove to myself that I can do whatever the heck I darned well please, thank you very much."

And during the suffering, I realize "I CAN have wheat if I want to look and feel horrible and for my autoimmune disease to fall out of the (apparent) remission that I can manage on low-carb."

Even knowing that carbs were killing me, isn't enough to keep me away from them if I think "I can't ever have that."

Sometimes I think if someone were to tell me that I couldn't ever drink antifreeze, it would make the poison tempting to me. I'd have to remind myself that I CAN drink antifreese, IF I WANT TO DIE.

... and that's how many foods are to me. I can have them, if I want to make the weight loss harder than it has to be. When I think of it that way, it's a lot easier to avoid certain foods.

I'm NOT saying that I never eat or drink my poisons. I do, which is why I'm finding it so danged hard to get off this stall I've had for the last several months. I do so much better when I stay on my food plan, but I've had a lot of excuses to eat off plan, and I've allowed them (this family gathering or that one) and even though my intention every time was to "eat in moderation," there are just so many foods that I can't eat in moderation, without my "rabid hunger" showing up.

In some ways, I think my life would be so much easier if I actually could wrap my head around and embrace the concept of seeing these foods as poisons. If I can ever grasp my concept of "You can have anything you want, but that doesn't mean you SHOULD have anything you want."

I think that sugar in the quantities the average American (not just us super obese) consumes, is a poison (again not just a poison for those who are overweight, but to those who aren't obese as well. Heart disease and diabetes rates are increasing among the thin and underweight too, not just in the overweight and obese). We're slowly poisoning ourselves with sugar and foods that turn into sugar in the bloodstream.

Banning sugar wouldn't help, of course - because prohibition never does, but learning to stay away from foods that aren't worth eating can be a necessary part of the journey for some of us. It's not about forbidding foods, it's about concentrating on the foods that help us feel our best.

If you can get away with eating everything, but in moderation, more power to you. That's a luxury some of us can't afford. The problem is realizing that it could be a permanent problem. Some of us may have to learn to abandon foods that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, but abandoning them doesn't mean forbidding them - it means deciding that life is worth more than any specific food.

gfinca
10-26-2012, 01:30 PM
Yes I do eat processed foods. For me it's calories in - calories out, period.

That said, I also eat an enormous amount of healthy veggies and fruits. I focus on proteins, mainly because they just fill me up more, and less carbs.

Also, I can't eat gluten, so a lot of processed carbs are avoided that way just by default. But I do indulge in gluten-free pretzels, protein bars, diet sodas, etc.

I'm not a purist and never will be.

Amanda1977
10-26-2012, 02:43 PM
If you can get away with eating everything, but in moderation, more power to you. That's a luxury some of us can't afford. The problem is realizing that it could be a permanent problem. Some of us may have to learn to abandon foods that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, but abandoning them doesn't mean forbidding them - it means deciding that life is worth more than any specific food.

I didn't mean to give the impression that I was going to keep all junk food in my daily diet or only eat those things. What I meant was that I was setting aside, for now, the notion that whole groups of food were off limits. I have never had a good relationship with food, starting on one end of the spectrum (under-eating) and ending up on the other (over-eating). I realize that eating like a 'normal person' is totally subjective and is going to look different from one person to another but I'm not sure how to communicate what I mean without derailing this thread a bit.

I gave slightly more detail in my intro post (brand new here, just started posting today), but this phase of eating like a so-called 'normal person' is only going to be for around 4 or 5 weeks while I concentrate on getting my exercise routine/habits in place. At that point I plan to start scaling back on calories until I find a good weight loss range for my body. I have PCOS so carbs are something I can't have a lot of either. I will definitely be getting my carbs in on the whole grain, whole food side of the house and sparingly at that. Where I end up will probably be somewhat close to South Beach because it's the most comfortable eating plan I have used.

Putting a food "off limits" even if the food hurts me, makes me want it. However, thinking of the food's consequences logically does the opposite.

Very sweet foods make me feel half-starved, so instead of "banning them" I think of them like I do the wheat, "What is going to happen if I eat this. Does this food help me acheive my goals, or does it hinder them. Is the flavor worth the consequences?

And you know sometimes it is. I don't consider myself to be "cheating" or "breaking" my "diet," because even though I HAVE TO watch carbs to have manageable control over my weight and hunger, the big picture is more important.

I totally get what you are saying here; this is exactly where I'm hoping to end up mentally. I'm just at the very beginning of getting it figured out and decided that starting from a 'ground zero' perspective would be what is most helpful to me.

I hope this helps make my original post a little more clear. I kind of feel like I offended you somehow and that was not my intention at all. I think we feel the same way about this so I must have really flubbed my wording somehow. lol

brethan
10-26-2012, 04:48 PM
I stopped eating that type of stuff and I am feeling great. I am having one or two per week though for sure.

Misti in Seattle
11-11-2012, 08:17 AM
I stopped eating that type of stuff and I am feeling great. I am having one or two per week though for sure.

Same here! I still eat a small amount of it but avoid it and ALL chemicals and fake sugar as much as possible. I feel so much better AND both my chiropractor and general doctor have complimented me on the improvement in my color/complexion!!

racrane
11-11-2012, 11:23 AM
I'm trying to reduce processed. It's definitely a struggle since I'm so used to it. But knowing how I feel without eating these foods motivates me.

IsabellaOlivia
11-11-2012, 12:06 PM
I still eat processed food. Just a lot less of it and not as often.

Misti in Seattle
11-11-2012, 09:12 PM
I got three books by Michael Pollan today at a fantastic price at our used bookstore. I was already fairly well informed about the food industry but am certainly learning a lot from him, which is helping me tremendously.

Demosthenes
11-12-2012, 05:00 AM
In my opinion having processed foods like crackers in the cupboard is just asking for trouble. But I'm an addict so that's my story.

Misti in Seattle
11-12-2012, 08:07 AM
This is an interesting question and I've loved all the answers! I have been following plans for years that discouraged eating highly processed/prepackaged foods at all. While I always lose weight on them at the beginning, I haven't done well with any of them long term because I end up rebelling against the plan. I think they are just too limiting for me. I think some people (ME!) don't do as well with the 'You can't ever have this' approach.

It's encouraging for me to read the responses here because I've just decided to do more of a calorie-counting approach and get away from any kind of plan. It seems like many of you have found that this approach works for you.

I have found that since I have really studied up and discovered just WHAT is in the processed food and HOW they actually process it, I don't WANT to eat it because it is so nasty that the thought of eating that stuff and putting it into my system is repulsive. I try to use a lot of Michael Pollan's food rules... including "Never eat anything with more than five ingredients" (because it has likely been highly processed" and "Don't eat anything your great grandmother would not recognize as food."

A lot of people don't care... Michael Pollan says that and in fact says his books are probably not for them. And I am not at all trying to persuade anyone to avoid the processed stuff... if you want it, go for it. Just responding to the comment about "you can't ever have this" and sharing how when we have educated ourselves a lot of us can't imagine ever *wanting* it again!!

owlsteazombies
11-12-2012, 11:00 AM
I think that as something I'll live with the rest of my life, buying processed foods will always be in my lifestyle.

Sometimes, I just don't want to make lunch. Lean Cuisine or Smart ones is a way I don't drive myself to McDonalds.

Sometimes, I want some cheez-its in my chili. So I have those! As long as I'm within my calorie range and I'm losing weight, I see no reason to cut out the things I love and enjoy.

It's going too far with the things we love and enjoy that got us into this. Only willpower and dedication can get us out. And the occasional cookie.

Munchy
11-12-2012, 11:16 AM
I don't ban anything from my diet, but I do weigh my options. Because I like my cooking much better than anything I can buy (and I cook ahead of time and freeze my portions) there is almost no reason for me to eat a frozen dinner or soup from a can. Not to mention that my own food is usually better quality, has less sodium, and I can bulk it up enough so that I'm eating a larger volume for the same number of calories than what is offered pre-made on the shelf.

Minimally processed foods like milk, grains, and frozen vegetables are just fine with me.