General Diet Plans and Questions - Finally finding success and it is easier than I imagined




AprilRT
10-11-2013, 05:13 AM
So quick back story...

I spent most of my late teens and early 20s around 200 to 230 pounds. While I was never happy with this weight, I didn't look too bad and I was active and fit in spite of it.

Over the last 5 years I became impoverished, had to move to another country (long story), became depressed, totally inactive, and developed joint problems in my feet knees and hips. At one point my knees were so bad that I could not walk AT ALL for around 4 months. Through all of this, I had no access to medical care. My husband had to wait on me and help me shuffle to the bathroom, which was all the exercise I got until my knees healed enough for me to learn to walk again. Oh and I also topped out at around 315 pounds. In addition to all those problems I listed, because of our lack of money, we had to eat food we got from charities, which was usually something like cheap peanut butter and stale bread and sometimes a few half rotting veggies. Yes, it was pretty bleak. I also developed bowel issues, fluctuating between constipation and intense diarrhea.

So, things got better for us financially about two years ago, and I spent about a year making up for lost time, eating all the great foods that I missed, and this is what gave me that last 15 pounds. So once I saw this I decided it was far past the time to take things seriously and really work on my health. I tried a few eating methods but nothing really satisfied me or helped me lose much weight. But this year around June, something just clicked. I don't know exactly what caused it but my body started talking to my brain again and suddenly I just FELT what needed to be done.

I only wanted veggies and meat and fat for a few weeks. That is all I craved that is all my body wanted or needed. I had felt bloated for a long time and I think my body was just begging for a break from most carbs. I was not doing any diet, not Atkins, not south beach, not paleo, I just ate simple whole real foods focusing on proteins, good fats, and veggies, as well as low sugar fruits (like eggplant, cherries, cucumbers, peppers, etc). I did not count calories and was totally unconcerned about the fat content of my food. Actually, I usually chose fattier versions of foods. Like if I got cheese or Greek yogurt or milk, it would be the fullest fat version I could find. I get whole milk that is 3.8% fat and Greek yogurt that is 9%, for example. I also chose fattier cuts of meat often and eat poultry with the skin. I find it makes me feel most satiated, and also helps with digestion. I did not count calories or even really measure my portions, but I did try to keep them reasonable. Mainly, I just ate till I was satisfied, and the trick is, when you don't eat a lot of carbs, and you eat protein fat and veggies, you cannot really overeat easily. At least that was my experience. Oh and a piece or two of dark chocolate was a common, but not daily dessert. Also I forgot to mention, I drink nothing but water, at least 2 liters a day.

After a month or so of this pretty strict, but totally welcome way of eating, I had lost about 15 pounds (5 to 10 of them I'm sure was water weight). At this point I started feeling a bit more alive as well as hopeful. I decided that from then on this would be my base way of eating but that I could also have WHATEVER I want, whenever I want, as long as MOST of the time, and by "most" I mean literally at least 90% of the time, I ate this way. So I have a bit of brown rice here and there. I have ice cream from time to time. I get a hamburger when I go out sometimes. I even have an alcoholic beverage, like Kahlua and cream like once a month or so, just whenever I feel like it and like I deserve one.

I have been losing weight steadily so far and almost effortlessly. I enjoy everything I eat, I am never deprived and always satisfied. I weigh myself every day, not only to see weight loss progress but also to monitor my water retention to make sure I am staying hydrated. I am losing on average about 4 pounds a month, which I know is slow, but that is ok with me. Also keep in mind I am not exercising, beyond shopping and house chores, which is enough to burn me out with my joint problems. I am waiting to lose a bit more weight before I really start working out so as to prevent injury. I can say though, that already my stamina is increasing. I can stand for much longer periods of time now. Before I had to sit on a stool to do the dishes. Now I can almost dance around the kitchen as I cook and clean!

So today's weigh in was 280. I feel so good knowing that I don't have to think of myself as a 300 pound person anymore! Cloths are starting to look better on me. People are noticing and complimenting me, and I almost feel like I don't deserve it because it really is completely effortless. All it took was a detox from heavy carbs and then keeping them low.

Oh and I have noticed that whenever (on the rare occasion) that I eat bread or other wheat products lately, I tend to get the runs shortly after and sometimes a tummy ache. So I am fairly certain I have a wheat sensitivity, which sucks because I used to bake bread all the time and my husband loves sandwiches. This, surely played a large role in my previous intestinal issues. So I try to keep away from wheat, as much as possible, but I will still have some from time to time VERY rarely, and when I do, I just know that I will have a "wheat hangover" the next day. Eventually I may shun it completely, but for now I am happy to have it once every few months or so. (I will never accept a life without my yearly turkey stuffing at least!)

So here are a few examples of what I may eat with my new lifestyle when I am not splurging.

BREAKFAST
Two eggs cooked any way (I often poach or scramble) with lots of spinach or red peppers (or once or twice a week sweet potato home fries), sometimes cheese is added (often aged cheddar or goats cheese). If am scrambling I use butter, or rendered animal fat for the pan cooking. Never vegetable oils, but I do use coconut oil sometimes. Occasionally I will use less or even no veggies and instead add meat like ham or sausage or bacon. It is fine as long as I get veggies later in the day.

or

1/2 cup plain Greek (9% fat) yogurt with cherries, blueberries, grapes, or strawberries, as many as I want but it is usually around a cup or so.

or

Not ideal but ok a couple times a week, a smoothie made with half banana, berries of any kind, a bit of yogurt if I have it, whole milk, and a dash of vanilla extract if I'm feeling saucy.

LUNCH

Soup - I make fresh chicken and or beef stock once or twice a month and make various soups that I freeze for quick lunch prep. Some of my favourites are pureed carrot, pea, broccoli, or mushroom soups, often with a bit of heavy cream added, but not always. I also, often top the soup with a bit of cheese. If not one of those it will be simple chicken soup with carrot, onion, celery, and sometimes peas, or a beefy stew with large chunks of carrots and sometimes peas.

or

Salad with some kind of meat or eggs and/or cheese and whatever dressing I want. Sometimes just vinegar, sometimes oil and vinegar, and sometimes a heavy store bought dressing like ranch. Sometimes instead of another meat and a dressing I just top it with tuna salad.

or

Chicken wings (usually around 6 portions) or legs (usually 2). I get a few chickens a month and cut them up. I save breasts and thighs for cooking dinners and save the wings and legs for lunches, then use the carcass for stock. I usually bake them and either coat them with spices and eat plain, or sometimes I cover them with Franks red hot and dip it into rich blue cheese dressing. I often have mini cucumbers on the side. YUM! Occasionally I get a fresh turkey instead, so I will have 3 wing portions and one leg in that case.

DINNER

Just about any meat. I often have chicken breast with skin on, salmon, steak, or hot Italian sausage with homemade tomato sauce, along with a heaping pile of veggies, some of my favourites are broccoli, peas, green beans, cabbage, and spinach. Or we can have a salad on the side. I often top my salmon with fresh hollandaise sauce or just melted butter and lemon juice. Steaks usually get Worcestershire or barbecue and chicken can be plain with lots of spices or topped with any variety of sauces.

or

Eggplant lasagna with lots of ricotta and goat cheese and Italian sausage in it! YUM! My favourite!

or

Halupkies. These are cabbage rolls in tomato sauce stuffed with meat (I usually use bison or grass fed beef), onions, and a little brown rice and herbs.

or

Shepherds pie made with sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, peas, and any meat mince. I usually use bison or grass fed beef or venison.

or

I have a lot of recipes haha but the main idea as you can see is meat and veggies for the most part without worrying about fat, in fact embracing fat, within reason, and a little bit of low glycemic carbs are ok some of the time.

SNACKS

I honestly don't feel the need to snack very often but when I do it is as simple as a small bowl of grapes or berries, maybe a few cubes of cheese or some greek yogurt. Or a few mini cucumbers.

I try to always have a few hard boiled eggs handy as they are a perfect quick snack or breakfast. I sometimes make quick deviled eggs out the them or a quick egg salad and roll it up in a lettuce leaf.

DESSERTS

Typically I will just have a piece of dark, and rarely milk chocolate of high quality. No Hersheys! lol yuck! I don't have a dessert every day though. I have found with a much lower carb intake, I crave less carbs generally.

Sometimes I really want something delectable and one of my greatest weaknesses is cheesecake. Now, if I really wanted some, I can go have some, but on days when I am being good, I have a few tricks that mimic cheesecake and honestly don't really count as a cheat in my eyes. Yes there is a bit of sugar, but with the small amount I eat generally doing this a few times a month is no big deal! I make homemade chocolate syrup. The recipe is 1 cup brown or white sugar, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, dash of salt and dash of vanilla extract, enough water added to bring it together in a pot and reduce till syrupy. Could not be easier and tastes MILES better than store bought. This can be mixed in with some room temp goats cheese, a reasonable serving being about a 1/4cup worth, just add enough syrup to make it nice and chocolatey. It does not take much! Then just eat it as is or add fruit (if I wasnt sensitive to wheat I would sometimes dip graham crackers in it). Instant cheesecake! I also use cream cheese rarely. Or I use Greek yogurt instead and it just becomes chocolatey Greek yogurt that is to DIE FOR! Totally satisfies the cheesecake craving. I also sometimes make lemon syrups or strawberry syrups that I use in the same way, but chocolate is my favourite.

or

A bit of chcolate syrup drizzled over a banana

or

a small smoothie of any kind, but a really nice one is chocolate banana!

So as you can see by this sampling, I have a very satisfying and enjoyable diet. Everything is rich and delicious and the weight is melting off of me! Eating for weight loss does not have to be drab! Just eat reasonable portions, keep carbs reasonable (in reality, not just in your mind). Try to eat the best quality foods you have available, healthy animal meats, good healthy real fats (and don't be afraid of saturated fat! NO TRANS FATS!) lots of veggies and low sugar fruits. It really could NOT be easier!


QuilterInVA
10-11-2013, 08:59 AM
I know where you are coming from. I struggled with my weight all my life, was a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and still unsatisfied with my weight when the doctor told me I needed to lose 25 pounds (I have COPD and extra weight just makes it harder to breath). I signed on for a 1 year research study on the effects of diet on COPD. I volunteered for the low carb diet (I have to day mainly because it was paying a lot more because they were having a hard time getting people to volunteer for it). To my amazement, the weight just keeps coming off and I've never been hungry or missed carbs. I think I am also sensitive to wheat because if I do have it in some form, I get bloated and diahrrea. Just eating any carbs makes me feel ill. My blood is checked monthly and all my numbers are great. A little full fat food is much more satisfying than a lot of fat free or low fat stuff.

You didn't say, but I hope you are also exercising. It's important to do resistance training and cardio so you lose fat and not lean body mass. I lift heavy, do yoga, pilates, tai chi, water aerobics and water zumba. I like to mix up the cardio on different days to keep it interesting. I'm 72 years old and feel like 40.

I'm so glad you've found what works for you. Enjoy your journey to slim.

MySprouts
10-11-2013, 05:04 PM
Congrats on your weight loss success and I hope it continues to be easy for you! Even though you say you're not following a "diet plan", it still sounds like you're doing a form of a low-carb diet (just your own...lol). Lots of meat with full fat or fuller fat version with low carbs IS a low-carb diet plan.

With your issues with wheat, you need to go have a check-up with your doctor and see if you have IBS or maybe you are gluten sensitive (meaning, you will be able to eat breads, etc...just not with gluten).

Best wishes on your healthy journey!


AprilRT
10-12-2013, 12:55 AM
QuilterInVA, I did say that I am not exercising, yet, due to my joint issues. Seriously jut walking, until recently, was a threat of injury. My joints are in BAAAD shape. But with the 30 or so pounds off so far, my stamina is increasing greatly. I can stand for much longer periods of time, walk more, which I mainly do while shopping and doing housework. That is the bulk of my physical activity for now. It is as much as I can possibly do. I think another 20 pounds or so and I will be ready for actual exercise beyond regular daily activities.

There is a big pretty gym near my house and I salivate at the idea of going there. Back in my fit days, I used to ADORE going to the gym and I look forward to it again. I am just not ready yet. I know, I know, I could start with the pool for now, but honestly, I cannot imagine where I would find a bathing suite that doesn't make me look like a stuffed sausage, and I know I should not care, but I do. Plus I live in Canada where people aren't supposed to be fat and clothing sizes reflect that. I could search around for fat suites, but, really I just don't want to. I'll wait until I feel a bit lighter on my feet and start with the recumbent bikes and ellipticals and work my way up to weight lifting. My shoulders and elbow joints are bad too so it really does have to be baby steps for me.

Oh, but I do do like simple stretches and leg lifts and like, simple Pilates type movements on most days. I do think that that is helping with my muscle tone just a little bit. Even if some of my weight loss is, indeed muscle loss, I FEEL stronger, so it cant be that bad.

AprilRT
10-12-2013, 01:17 AM
MySprouts, Thanks. and yes I am definitely leaning towards generally low carbs, but all I meant was I am not following any particular "named" diet. What I do does not fit exactly within the rules of any of these diets that I know of. The main reason I chose to lower my carbs was to keep my insulin levels from spiking and creating false hunger, and also to lessen water retention. And I have learned that grains, while they CAN be fine in small amounts, are not really needed for a healthy diet, and bring on more carbs than necessary, so I just got rid of them completely for while, and keep them to a bare minimum now.

Next time I see my doctor, I will tell her that I believe I have a wheat sensitivity. I doubt she'll do anything besides say "ok don't eat wheat" Thanks for the life changing advice doc! lol. I live in Canada where health care is mostly free YAY, but also not very thorough because there is no competition. Docs don't have to try to impress you. You are lucky to even find one and once you have one you are pretty much stuck with them, unless you are willing the sever you relationship with them and be cast back out into the sea of no doctors until you get lucky again, which can take years. It took me 5 years to find this one! She also told me to eat 8 times a day lol! That is insane! 3 to 4 is plenty for me! I think she thinks that I am an emotional eater, even though I told her I am not. Some people just have a hard time believing that a person can get up to 300 pounds mainly because of poverty and lack of nutritious food. Most people think, Poverty= less food= thinner. But for a lot of us in the first world poverty does equal less food, but the food we get is highly processed, high carbs, high bad fats, diabetes inducing fat building CRAP!

Anyway, thanks for your support!

Wannabeskinny
10-12-2013, 07:52 AM
Great job, welcome to low carb living. I'm not one of those carb fear mongers who says that carbs are evil. I think it's great when people can eat carbs and still be thin and healthy. But I also know my own body, and I know that I FEEL and PERFORM and LOOK better when I'm keeping my wheat consumption down. Wheat is great, donuts are great, pasta is great, pizza is great, cake is great, pancakes are great, french toast is great, bagels are great, bread is great, waffles are great, puff pastry is great, geez I love wheat! But it doesn't have to be included in every single freaking meal! That stupid stupid food pyramid we grew up with and its stupid emphasis on those stupid carbs was insane! I don't know how people don't let the government take part of the blame in the obesity problem we have in America.

Anyway, there IS life beyond wheat and I'm glad you've found it too. I've also found that cutting out wheat has really helped me face my 4pm slump without feeling so weak and tired and hungry. I used to be a monster around that time of day.

Another thing that helped me is cutting out snacking altogether. Nope, no snacks at all. I used to think that if I had snacks that it would help me get through the day without being hungry but that couldn't be further from the truth. It only made me think about food all day long which was the opposite of what I needed. It's also allowed me to really deal with hunger pangs and not be afraid of them. I think this is really important in order for me to become a "normal person" around food. Hunger is just hunger, I can last 5-6hrs and I will survive! Back in my BED days I thought a moment of hunger was too much to bare. Not true, I'm stronger than that.

Be glad for the healthcare you have. I live in the US and I can't think of any doctor who's tried to impress me, they just shuffle us along as quickly as possible. Don't romanticize what's going on here, it's bleak.

cleancowgirl
10-12-2013, 08:06 AM
Congrats to you! It's wonderful once we grasp the clean living lifestyle that we fought for so long and say "What the heck took me so long" There are so many rewards we have waiting for us. It is almost like someone unlocked chains on our body so we can just see what we have been missing. I was like you maybe not in the extent. I started at 276 and I will not say I am a carb fearer but I watch my carbs and only one to two grains a day in whole grains. Good luck to you and keep it up.

AprilRT
10-12-2013, 01:18 PM
Wannabeskinny, I hear you about the snacking. I agree. If I feel, like actually hungry beyond just a little peckish, especially if I realize I did not necessarily eat all the breakfast I should have, or lunch, or whatever, sure, I'll have a snack. That is why I usually have easy finger foods (hard boiled eggs, cheese, grapes, berries, cherries, mini cucumbers, etc) around for those random moments. And If I don't snack, they fit into other meals, so it wont go to waste if I don't snack. However, I definitely don't feel the need to force myself to snack every day or plan snacks into my eating schedule. Three good solid meals a day do me just fine! And I am very very rarely uncomfortably hungry. I do, in fact, quite enjoy and nice slight hunger. That feeling that you are well nourished, but at the same time, empty. It feels good to me. My belly feels like it is buzzing with life, instead of laboring to deal with a never ending slurry of food stuff.

...So you can imagine my reaction when my doc told me to eat 8 times a day! lol WTF!?!?!?

Though I am happy that I live in Canada. I am actually FROM the USA and lack of healthcare was always one of my greatest fears in life, especially because there were times when I sorely needed it and could not get it. I would pick my situation here in Canada a million out of a million times for sure. It is not, however, necessarily a dream here. It is almost impossible to find a doctor, and they really do not typically care, not to imply that they do in the States. Also not to sound xenophobic, but they are almost ALL foreign with totally different culture and accents and are almost always quite difficult to communicate with and they rarely "get it" when you try to explain anything to them more complex than, "Arm hurts. Want drugs".. for example.

AprilRT
10-12-2013, 01:22 PM
cleancowgirl, "What the heck took us to long to figure this out?" Is exactly what my friend and I were saying to each other in a recent conversation. She separately had the same revelation I did at around the same time. She lives far away and we only speak to each other online, but we consider each other good friends and it was funny how we both just clicked into it at the same time.