Weight Loss Support - Diet Tips




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Tealeaf
05-18-2005, 04:46 AM
When I became serious about my weight loss, I did alot of reading over the internet on the best ways to go about doing that. I think I've learned alot, and that it has helped me. I was thinking today that it might be good to have a thread where we can all post the diet tips that we have found to work for us.

It would be nice to have them all gathered together in one place for those new to weight loss, and also might add new ideas and help focus those of us who have been down that road for a ways.

Here are the things that I learned, that help keep me on track. I understand that not everyone might agree with them all, but they seem okay to me. Please add your own, or correct mine if you wish! I'd love to hear what is working for everyone out there.


* Beware of diet solutions that involve you having to buy something,
other than the food you are actually eating. Regardless of what anyone
tells you, you do not have buy a book, plan, pills, exercise gadget, or
medical procedure. Some of these things might be useful to you, and
worth the money, but decide that for yourself, rather than letting
someone talk you into it.

* Beware of absolutes. If you here someone say something like "Never
consume any dairy!", "Stay away from all sodas period!" or "You can't
eat at McDonald's, ever!" this should be a red flag. Different things
work for different people.

* Have realistic goals. You didn't gain the weight in a month, and you
aren't going to lose it in that amount of time either. Don't get
impatient!

* Pick a diet you feel you can live with for a long, long time. Like,
forever. I think alot of people go on a diet, lose their weight, then
celebrate by having a blow out meal, and then going back to eating
exactly the way they did before they lost weight. I know I've done this
a couple of times. I've got the mindset now that this this diet of mine
is the new normal, and I have to just change my old eating habits.

* Be flexible. Have a bad meal? Day? Week? Month? Life happens.
Pick up where you left off, and soldier on.

* Accept that you might feel some hunger from time to time. Yeah, it
sucks. But so does being fat. On the other hand, don't let yourself get
to that "I'm starving" feeling. Do that and you're much more likely to
binge and blow yourself out of the water.

* Consider exercise. Yes, you can lose weight without it. But it is
much harder. As you lose weight, you're body will try to conserve it's
fat reserve by burning off muscle tissue. The problem is that muscle
tissue is much more metabolically active than fat. Lose some of what
you have and you'll burn calories more slowly, making it harder to lose
weight.

* Get into portion control, even if some of the ways of it seem
ridiculous . I've taken to measuring out my salad dressings. Four
months ago this would have struck me as being anal beyond words. Yet I
have a problem with portion control. I have to measure it out, least I
just glop on what would normally be considered two or three servings.
Learn to be friends with measuring cups and spoons.

* Consider logging your foods into Fitday at
http://www.fitday.com/WebFit/Index.html . Yeah, this seemed real anal
to me too. But it really is an eye opener how 100 calories here, 200
there really add up. Before I started doing this, I didn't really
realize how much I was actually eating. Logging it, though a pain in
the behind at first (it gets easier as you input more and more of your
custom foods), has been a real benefit to me. Logging your weight is a
good thing too. I sometimes feel that I'm not really doing that good,
but then I pull up the graph of my weight loss, see the downward trend,
and really believe that I am making progress and all this bother is
really worth is.

* Talk to other people who are dieting. This website is a good source
of information. There are many knowledgeable folks here who are happy
to help out with support and information. Consider joining a
few other weight loss web based forums or usenet newsgroups.

Misery really does love company!


almostheaven
05-18-2005, 10:41 AM
Educate yourself. Read the labels of everything you buy. Know what's in it and the nutritional information. As well as learning about how to create healthy and balanced meals.

Mix it up. If you find you can't stick with something, then try something else. It could be the type of food or the particular exercise that you're just not capable of staying with. So try other foods and other exercises. Find the ones right for you.

funniegrrl
05-18-2005, 11:35 AM
Uh, What Annie Said.

:D

In addition ...


Don't worry about what you think you "should" do, or what other people think you should do. Any time anyone says, "You just need to eat less and exercise more," or "Just push yourself away from the table," you have my permission to smack them. If paying money for a sensible commercial program (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, whatever) helps you, then do it with no guilt and no apologies. Same goes for seeing a dietitian, a therapist, a personal trainer, whatever -- there is no shame in asking for help, and paying for it. If you simply cannot have ice cream in the house without overeating it, then keep it out of the house rather than feeling you SHOULD be able to have it in the freezer and leave it alone. Keep yourself out of harm's way when possible, rather than testing yourself needlessly. Whatever works.
Understand that changing your habits in a significant way is uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful, especially if you eat and/or stay overweight for emotional reasons. Letting your emotions rule your actions is what made you overweight in the first place. Make peace with the fact that you're going to have to do some things that are contrary to your preferences, that are going to be out of your comfort zone. That's OK. In fact, the more uncomfortable the process, probably the more important it is that you go through it. Whether you are talking about learning to deal with emotions without food, taking your first walk around the block, turning down your usual Friday trip with the gang to the local pub, going to the movies without eating popcorn ... whatever. It may not be what you are USED to doing, it may feel strange and even difficult, but you'll adjust more quickly than you imagine, and the discomfort will fade.
Motivation is an emotion, and will not carry you through to goal. If you depend on it to do what you need to do, you are setting yourself up for failure. Enjoy it when it's there, but know that there are times when it will fade and you are left to do the right thing or not without it. Have a PLAN, have strategies, have safeguards in place. Don't depend on whim to tell you what to do.
Learn about the science of weight loss, especially regarding what the scale can and cannot show you, why exercise is important for more than calorie-burning, etc. If you know you've been doing the right things, don't let the scale dictate how you feel about your progress; it often lies, and who wants to build their life on lies?
Keep the negative talk at bay. The tapes that are running through your head have to be changed. Every time your Inner Critic tells you something negative, every time your Inner Child whines because it wants junk food or doesn't like vegetables, turn that statement into a positive, even if you don't believe it. Instead of "I hate fruit," say, "I'm not fond of fruit right now, but I know it's important nourishment and I will learn to like it over time." Instead of, "You're a failure, it's hopeless" say, "I may have tripped, but I'll get back up and keep going, and I am proud for doing so."
Do this because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself.


paperclippy
05-18-2005, 02:54 PM
Funniegrrl, your last point is so right-on!

My additions...

* Look for healthier options when food shopping (skim milk, low-fat cheese, whole wheat bread and pasta, I even compare the calories per serving of different brands when I am buying a new product and buy the lowest one)

* Don't be discouraged if weight loss is slow, if your weight fluctuates, or if someone else is losing faster than you. As long as over time your weight in general is going down, you're still good.

* If you have trouble with overeating "treat" foods, try buying them in individual-serving packages. That way you can still "eat the whole thing" without eating too much.

* Never forget the importance of drinking enough water.

lucky
05-18-2005, 04:42 PM
I second everything that has been said.

I will expand, though, on Annie's suggestions regarding portion control. This has always been and is still a tough one for me. I don't consider myself gluttonous at this point but I just flat out cannot eyeball a portion of anything. So, I keep a tablespoon sized measuring spoon with me at all times. If I eat out unexpectedly I am armed with all I need to make sure salad dressings, side dishes, and even main courses are accounted for more accurately. At home, nothing goes on my plate until it has been on a scale, in a measuring cup, or measuring spoon. People have scoffed at how fanatic I am about this but I know too many people who claim to be watching what they eat without losing any weight. It almost always comes down to the fact that they are underestimating how much they are eating.

Along the same lines, consider what actually constitutes a serving. Just because the package says 2 tablespoons of dressing is a serving doesn't mean 1 tablespoon won't be enough. The same goes with any other food. Don't just read the labels, dissect them. There are a lot of "forbidden" foods that are actually quite healthy if consumed responsibly. Start with the MINIMUM you think you need of anything. Very often it is more than enough.

Listen to what other people have to say about weight loss. But only use the advice that you feel applies to you and your situation. You know your body best. No plan works for EVERYONE but every plan works for SOMEONE.

Exercise is a fabulous tool for weight loss. But, for goodness sakes, find something you LIKE to do. It doesn't have to be conventional exercise. All activity counts even if you didn't drive to a gym or put in a DVD to do it. Gardening, dancing, playing freeze tag with your kids all count as long as your heart rate goes up for a decent amount of time.

Try not to have an all or nothing attitude towards food or activity. Always plan on eating and exercising in a way that is condusive to reaching your goals. But don't punish yourself if you don't. In the big scheme of things one meal or one exercise session does not blow a lifetime of healthy living.

Don't focus on just your weight. There are lots of other benefits to healthy living, getting thin is just one of them. Take note of how you feel at your heaviest. Pay attention to the changes that take place as you progress - your feet hurt less, cracked heels go away, you don't feel bloated, you have a happier outlook and complain less. The list of pros goes on and on. The con list of living well pretty much stops at, "I can eat whatever I want." And, after a while, even that isn't something you want to do anymore.