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General Diet Plans and Questions General diet questions, support for various diet plans other than those listed below.

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Old 12-12-2011, 01:09 AM   #1
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Default Do you take diet breaks?

In about 10 days I'm going to start my first (two week) diet break. I was just curious what other people have done, or not done. I think I wanted a sounding board for my plan, too.

I've been losing weight at a pretty good clip (2.2lb per week on average) but I'm sort of less excited about it than I used to be. I have plenty of things that I know work to curb my consumption of "junk" calories, and I'm not using them for whatever reason. My diet is skewing a little away from where I'd like it to be, and I just feel too tired to fix it. I'm not being as creative about meal planning, or proactive about getting my me-time as I used to be.

I'm hoping to come back after the first of the year refreshed, all my injuries healed up, and really excited about trying new things and working the program that I know works for me.

2.2lb per week is about 7700 calories of deficit per week, or 1100 calories per day. I think that half of that is from exercise over baseline, and that my exercise will probably drop significantly (I'll have company for the first week, and be out of town for the second one). So I should be increasing my intake by 550 calories per day. I don't count calories, so that's not really a very useful figure. That's 7 pieces of see's candy, 2.5 cups of rice or 9 oz of steak. Those are things I can get my head around.

I don't find my current diet to be especially restrictive, so I'm thinking that I'll keep 2 meals a day generally the same as they are now, and splurge a little with the third. Pick a higher-fat cut of meat, or a more-refined starch. Or maybe have a sweeter snack - frozen yogurt or a rice krispy treat instead of a piece of fruit. Whatever I eat, I'm going to keep the rule that I don't eat when I'm not hungry, and I stop eating as soon as I realize I'm hungry. I'm also going to try to only indulge in things that are worth it. I haven't decided if I'm going to log everything, but I think I probably will, even if I only log at the end of the day.

For the first week, I'll be home, so I can weigh in as usual, and know if things are going pear-shaped. For the second week, I'll have my experience from week one, and my common sense to guide me.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:12 AM   #2
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I don't have anything to take a "break from," because I'm not really "dieting" in the traditional sense (working harder at weight loss than I intend to at weight maintenance).

In fact, "weight maintenance" is my first, and foremost goal, with weight loss being a surprisingly distant second.

About thirteen years ago, after my last "diet" I realized that dieting had only ever caused me weight gain. I'd lose a little, and then would gain a lot - so that in a very real sense, I "dieted my way" to nearly 400 lbs.

I swore that I would "never diet again." So when I accidentally lost 20 lbs after sleep apnea treatment (my doctors said I might, but I thought they were nuts, as I'd never lost a single accidental pound in my entire life), I faced a dilemma - how to keep off those 20 lbs, without risking weight gain.

So, to keep my "never again" promise, I didn't "diet." I decided that I would only make changes that I was willing to make forever - only in the degree I was willing to make forever.

Even my calorie level I chose with maintenance in mind. 1800 - 2000 calories is about an average "healthy weight" maintenance calorie level, so I set 1800 as my calorie level.

That may be able to take me all the way to my goal weight, and if it doesn't, I'm not going to choose a calorie level that I know I'll only have to increase when I get to goal. I prefer to look at every change I make, as one that I'm going to commit to forever. I can choose to do more... but I never intend to do less.

This took all the pressure off... because I always in the past restricted my calories and increased my exercise to a regimen that I wasn't willing to do forever - but just "until I got the weight off." When the weight loss slowed, I'd get incredibly disheartened, realizing that I was exhausted from my effort - and still not coming close to my goal.

Commiting to changes whether or not they resulted in weight loss, and accepting weight loss as one of the possible rewards rather than the goal has been remarkably motivating.

There's never a need to take a break (because doing so is only taking a break from real life - and the only possible result in that is in regaining).

I'm not saying I never have a day off plan (today was one), but if I allowed a week off-plan, it would only result in weight gain - because as it is, my progress is slow. But I'd rather have slow progress by "just livnig my life," than by working so hard that I have to take a break from it - because in my experience when I take more than a single day or two "off," it becomes harder and harder to "get back on."

Also, by making weight maintainence my primary goal, I get to celebrate mad-success almost every day. Even if I gain a pound (as I did a few days ago), I celebrate the 100 lb loss I've maintained, rather than berate myself for the 1 lb I've gained)

By celebrating the 100 lb loss (rather than mourning the one pound gain), I'm never tempted to react to a small gain with a bigger gain so that I can "start fresh" later. One bite doesn't become a binge because I don't want to make a one pound gain, become a five pound gain. If I can't celebrate 101 lbs, I want to be able to celebrate 100 lbs...

I've built a system that is always far more rewarding than it is punishing, so that "taking a break," doesn't have the appeal that it did when I was working so hard at weight loss, that I sucked every bit of fun out of my life.


Maybe I'd feel differently if I was accomplishing weight loss by eating less than my maintenance calories were likely to be, but even if so - I don't think I'd pick this time of year to take that break, because it's a time where overeating is so traditional that even folks without weight loss problems often gain.

In fact, until I "gave up dieting," I was usually on a diet every holiday season from October to January (in fact, usually a support group diet, like Weight Watchers, TOPS, or OA - or a food delivery plan like Nutrisystem or Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating).

It wasn't dieting that caused my out-of-control weight gain - it was "taking breaks" between diets.

I learned that whatever I do, "taking a break" means regaining, so that's not really an option. I can take one day, or even a weekend off without too much damage (but even that usually results in a pound or two gain that I have to "undo"), but taking a week off would be a disaster.

I'm not saying that's true for everyone, but for me it's been easier to commit to changes with the intention of making them "forever no matter what," than consider them actions that I'll be able to give up or scale back at some point.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:14 AM   #3
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Yes, every day between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. I don't think about it at all!

But seriously, I tend to be constantly tweaking what I'm eating and rarely have perfect days of eating on plan. I'm ADD and can't keep to a program. What helps me is to make the plan, keep only foods that are on my plan available to me and manage my daily stress levels so that I don't feel so compelled to go out and get something off plan. I have food sensitivity issues that have been so very helpful to me, so I'm going to be eating on-plan for the rest of my life. Because the alternative makes me feel horrible.

My son happened to ask my Pilates instructor how she eats during vacations or the holiday season. She told him she sticks to how she always eats. It's easier to stay on track that to try to get back on track after falling off.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:30 AM   #4
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I've read a lot on people feeling burned out on their diet, so they take a break.

I know that when I am feeling burned out by work I like to take a scheduled break - hoping that it will rejuvenate my enthusiasm for the project. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Do you feel you are comfortable enough at your current weight to lead the life you want? Or do you feel like you have to lose more pounds to live how you want?

I'm asking this because if you are working toward a goal that you don't really want, that maybe others have pushed you to do, then the process of reaching that goal will never be something that you are satisfied with.

Not all of us care about looking fit and super healthy, we have other things that we care about more. Maybe you are actually satisfied with your 20lbs. loss and ready to maintain?

If you are not excited anymore about the "progress" you are making losing weight, then maybe you have already reached your goal, you just haven't realized it yet.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:47 AM   #5
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Good question for my Monday morning!
i've just finished a week-long diet break, which began as a lapse but then I decided to give myself the week.
I don't necessarily think it's the best way to go (don't think it's wrong either, I just don't have enough info to know, yet) but it was good for me, because although I DO need to be on a diet, can't cope with a general lifestyle change, I Need a regime, once I'm on a diet I get really fearful of food and become the kind of person who panics if she's had one too many slices of carrot, sad. Also, I get perfection-oriented, and know that if I accidentally 'failed', I'd get into serious guilt-mode.

A week off was nice. I'm now looking forward to seeing the scales slide down again, yes I did gain.

Good luck with your break!
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:03 AM   #6
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No, no, no <- not for me. That leads back to overeating (after 8 years of maintenance, I can say for certain that this will happen for me).

However, eating at maintenance for a few weeks (still counting/mindful) can be very useful as a diet 'break' - but going back to the 'old ways' can be a disaster.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:15 AM   #7
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I don't take "breaks" either because I don't "diet" but rather do a healthful, but realistic eating plan that I can live with. I actually enjoy my eating more when I stay on target than when I start blowing it and just eating junk, etc. Healthful food tastes much better once I get the junk craving out of my system. So there is really nothing to take a break from... my eating plan is delicious. That is of course not to say I never eat anything I wish I hadn't... but I don't consider that "blowing it" (unless of course I go off on a binge, which I generally don't when I am on plan) because there is nothing I can't eat in reasonable portions.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:58 AM   #8
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Agree with Kaplods and Misti in Seattle.

There is nothing for me to "break" from, because this is just the way that I eat now. I calorie count, so I am not following a restrictive plan in that sense, so anything I eat fits into that "diet plan."

I've also been doing this long enough I have memorized the calorie counts of a variety of foods, so even if I don't have a calorie calculator or packaging around, I can figure it out. There are no breaks for me!
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unna View Post
If you are not excited anymore about the "progress" you are making losing weight, then maybe you have already reached your goal, you just haven't realized it yet.
I've been thinking about this for a couple of days, and while I don't think this is the answer, I do think it's related. I had a goal of losing 10% of my body weight before my next doctor's appointment in the middle of January. It's the middle of December and I'm pretty much there. I'm sort of blinking and looking around to figure out what's wrong.

My diet isn't onerous. I don't generally feel deprived, or hungry or otherwise unhappy with it. My body likes this diet, and responds well to it, and to plenty of exercise. What I don't like is tracking intake, and fussing about what an optimum meal is. I'm feeling the start of some decision fatigue, and having a plan that "locks in" two meals out of the day and gives me some flex to be imperfect for the third should help relieve that.

I'm also a little concerned about the demands I've been putting on my body. I'm getting far more exercise than I used to, and I'm loosing weight pretty fast. It's starting to feel like I'm asking for too much. My joints and muscles are bouncing back a little more slowly than I'd like. More protein would probably help, but I think that a short break of eating a higher protein, higher calorie (maintenance for my current weight) diet and unloading the exercise can give my body time to work on infrastructure.

Those two break weeks will give me some time to think about what direction I want to go too. It seems like I'm trending more toward fitness goals and less toward weight goals, which isn't a bad thing, but is something to be conscious of.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:16 PM   #10
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RE: dieting break. Not really. I don't calorie count, I sort of do an exchange plan given to me from my nutritionist but even that I've adjusted some to my lifestyle. Generally, I eat little to no sugar, little to no fried foods, whole grains only etc. However, I have to travel for work and go out to meals with work colleagues. Sometimes that involves restaurants that don't have a single veggie on the menu (I kid you not!). I make do and do my best to get back on track afterwards. One part about this is that I refuse to go hungry so I really try to watch when I'm full. If that means that I end up eating more calories during those business trips so be it but I jump right back on plan afterwards.

Now, when it comes to exercise that's a different beast. I do think it's entirely possible for your body to get worn down and I have suffered some injuries so when I start feeling like that I BACK OFF. It might just be a week break but I do feel that's it important to listen to your body in terms of exercise. You want to be able to maintain exercise for a lifetime, not just a short period of time to lose weight. So you need to learn to be able to distinguish between the "I'm tired and would rather watch TV days" vs. the "my body has been going non-stop for weeks and I need a break". There's definitely a difference there and it takes some practice learning that but I do think sometimes you just need to stop, take a week off (you can still DO stuff like walking, playing ping pong, bowling etc), it doesn't mean you sit around for a week but maybe just not full-speed ahead, you know?

I also want to add when it comes to your diet, I've found it very helpful to switch things up every now and then. Look for new recipes, maybe work on something new etc. If my diet stagnates I'm more likely to start introduce high calorie foods or trigger foods.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:46 PM   #11
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RE: dieting break. Not really. I don't calorie count, I sort of do an exchange plan given to me from my nutritionist but even that I've adjusted some to my lifestyle. Generally, I eat little to no sugar, little to no fried foods, whole grains only etc. However, I have to travel for work and go out to meals with work colleagues. Sometimes that involves restaurants that don't have a single veggie on the menu (I kid you not!). I make do and do my best to get back on track afterwards. One part about this is that I refuse to go hungry so I really try to watch when I'm full. If that means that I end up eating more calories during those business trips so be it but I jump right back on plan afterwards.
This is almost exactly the situation I'm looking at for those two weeks. Some days will be fine, and I can eat what I'm used to eating. Other times, I'm going to be in an unexpected place, with 7 hungry people (all with different diets) and medical limitations on what I can eat.

It's going to be way more restaurant food than I would ordinarily eat. Or way more trail mix and snacks. Dried fruit and nuts aren't bad for me in reasonable portions, but they're not vegetables either.

When we're in Texas, I don't doubt we're going to end up at at least one restaurant where the menu is "BBQ, with cornbread and your choice of two sides" Where the side options are slaw, deep fried mac and cheese, potato salad, fried pickles and fried okra." If I'm lucky, they'll have beans I can eat. Otherwise, I'll be eating a lot of meat and slaw, and racking up the fat exchanges for it.

I think I'm trying to come up with a way to not feel like I'm failing when I make the best possible choices. And also to not feel like I -have- to make the best possible choice in every situation, just in the vast majority. I'm not going to hit five vegetables, four fruits, a seving of beans and a serving of fish every day. I might choose brisket or pulled pork over smoked chicken. But I can say "I'm keeping some yogurt in the hotel room, to go with my nuts and fruit. And one meal a day needs to be somewhere I can get some proper vegetables."
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:02 PM   #12
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Now, when it comes to exercise that's a different beast. I do think it's entirely possible for your body to get worn down and I have suffered some injuries so when I start feeling like that I BACK OFF. It might just be a week break but I do feel that's it important to listen to your body in terms of exercise. You want to be able to maintain exercise for a lifetime, not just a short period of time to lose weight. So you need to learn to be able to distinguish between the "I'm tired and would rather watch TV days" vs. the "my body has been going non-stop for weeks and I need a break". There's definitely a difference there and it takes some practice learning that but I do think sometimes you just need to stop, take a week off (you can still DO stuff like walking, playing ping pong, bowling etc), it doesn't mean you sit around for a week but maybe just not full-speed ahead, you know?
Mmhmm. I'm babying my left knee right now. It does just fine most of the time. But the first three miles of a bicycle ride it wants to slide sideways out of the trochlear groove. Today I reached down and held it in the right place until it settled down. It will stabilize again, and the non-impact motion once it settles into place helps stabilize it. But it needs time, and small muscle work and for my body to have enough resources to remodel the tendons as well as the muscles.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:49 PM   #13
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:09 PM   #14
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No breaks. A year ago I decided to change my eating habits, not "go on another diet". I don't want the hassle of re-adapting to proper foods after a binge. My preference is to accliamate to proper eating, and stick with it. As slow as the weight has come off, and as patient as I had to be ... ... I want it to STAY off.

I always say, routine is the dieter's friend. It's a good thing to make use of.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:17 PM   #15
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I did, back in August. We went on vacation and I didn't want to be tied to my phone to log my calories all week long. Lots of restaurant food. But I watched my portions (split with someone) or family style/takeout I just had a small serving. It actually worked well for me (I lost a pound or so that week, and then 5!!!! the next week, I assume from the sodium/travel water retention) and I was right back in the saddle when I got home. I haven't decided what to do about Christmas and New Years yet. I am leaning toward logging. I did on Thanksgiving and it was not a problem. I need to be vigilant about all the cookies and candy, so I think logging will keep me on track.
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