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Old 07-31-2009, 12:39 PM   #1
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Question Dieting when nobody else in the house needs to...

Hi all,

I need some advice about dieting when I'm the only person in the household needing to lose weight. Here's a little background info: I had a baby a year ago, and lost the weight (about 26 pounds) in the nine months after he was born. I accomplished that by eating more sensibly than I had been, and by moving more (I'm a full-time mom). I'm currently 5'7 and 164 pounds. I really want to reach a healthy weight range and just feel better about myself. I was always slender (about 130 lbs) until my senior year of college, and then it seems like my metabolism just plummeted. I seem to have reached a plateau now that the baby weight is off, too.

I want a long-term plan that I will be able to stick with. I LOVE food and cooking. I have thought about trying volumetrics or something similar. The problem I run into is that my husband does not need to lose weight. He has a very high metabolism and can eat anything. He needs a good meal in him or else he's hungry. It is totally impractical due to budget and time constraints to make separate meals for each of us every night. Would it be possible for me to diet during the day, and then just go for a smaller portion for dinner so that my husband and I can eat the same thing without undermining my progress?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:47 PM   #2
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I struggled throughout middle and high school with this issue. My mom and I needed to lose weight, but my dad and sister did not. I'm so one of those people that just can't even keep problem foods (cookies, ice cream, chips) in the house. But my mom always said "we can't punish your father and sister becaue we're fat." In retrospect, I say f**k that! It doesn't hurt anyone to eat healthy!!! Make well-rounded, nutritious meals. He can eat larger portions if he's hungry. And if he wants something unhealthy, he can stop by the store and pick up his own little something (preferably single serving).
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:49 PM   #3
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My husband and I eat separate things for breakfast and lunch, then for dinner I(or he) makes something healthy and he eats 2 or 3 portions of it and I eat one.

Sometimes he wants something that I don't want or feel that I can't have right then. In that case, we will eat something separately. He'll go out to dinner with his buddies or get some takeout that he's been craving and I'll get a delicious McDonalds or Panera salad.

Would this not work for you? I guess I'm not sure what exactly it is that he's eating for dinner that can't be made healthy, can be swapped out for something healthy, or can't simply be reduced in frequency.

My husband is an athletic 6'4" guy. He needs a lot of food. But he's happy as a clam eating whatever lean protein + veggie meal that I've come up with. I just give him more of it, and about three times the serving of starch that I'm eating.

(Edited in response to the post right before me: We have also greatly reduced the amount of junk food in the house. Anything we have is in single serving portions and goes to work with my husband. I simply DO NOT TOUCH it because it is not mine to touch. He keeps certain snacks and goodies that I find difficult to control myself around in his office. But he is extremely supportive and likes the way eating well makes him feel. Although he doesn't need to lose weight, he like the energy and...um...regularity that the food I prepare gives him So I say f**k 'em, too. He can give up junk when he's in the house and eat it wherever else he wants to!)
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Last edited by Rebound; 07-31-2009 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:52 PM   #4
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My perspective is, regardless of volume, everyone can eat healthy foods, right? If your goal is "eat healthy", rather than "diet", the foods don't have to change from person to person...just the amounts. Food is just...food...not "diet" food and "regular" food...just food!

You can cook one meal - one healthy meal that is on plan for you, then take different amounts as needed by your plan. Maybe that means you take a smaller portion of a (still healthy) whole grain. Maybe that means if you're having pizza, you make it at home with less cheese and a whole wheat crust, and you take 1-2 small pieces and serve a giant salad alongside that you can have more of to fill yourself up. Maybe you make a large amount of a vegetable side dish, and fill your plate half with that and half with the main entree.

Regardless of one's metabolism, eating healthy foods has benefits...just because someone needs a hearty meal doesn't mean they need an unhealthy one. By cooking the same healthy meal for everyone with just a larger portion for your husband, you're ensuring you can stay on plan and that he is getting high-nutrient, quality food (and setting a good nutritional example for your child, as well). A healthy meal isn't an unsatisfying one by any means!

So I'd encourage you to look for recipes that are healthy, but hearty, and provide a good nutritional basis for everyone.

Here's an example - last night, I roasted a pork loin roast in a sauce with tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion, and served it with whole grain polenta and a salad of tomatoes, greens, mozzarella, and basil, with a splash of balsamic over the top. My portion of that was about 3 slices of the pork, 3/4 cup polenta, 1/2 a cup of the sauce, and a heap of salad. If I was with someone with a heartier appetite, their portion might be much larger to meet their nutritional needs. But we would ALL be sitting down to a healthy, hearty meal.
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cariadlawn View Post
Would it be possible for me to diet during the day, and then just go for a smaller portion for dinner so that my husband and I can eat the same thing without undermining my progress?
I think, yes and no.

Yes, that's more or less the approach a lot of people take. It can work well. Only trial and error will tell if it's right for you.

I might say no, because I think it will backfire if you over-restrict at breakfast and lunch to make up for dinner. You'll get too hungry and get cravings. Also, you may find that it's easier if you only eat healthy foods. If you don't have refined grains earlier in the day, but have them at night, you may never stop liking them, for example. You may find that you need more consistency in the *types* of food that you eat.

But there's still ways to cope. You can mix whole and refined grains so while transitioning. You can add more veggies by chopping them up or pureeing them so they're not so in-your-face. You can serve bread for the other but skip it for you (works fine for some, definitely too hard for others!).

But I do think portion control at dinner is a reasonable place to start. As you get going, you'll be motivated to eat even healthier, and that makes the changes easier. Plus a little experience helps you know what changes you need or want. You don't have to figure out and write in stone all up front.
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:11 PM   #6
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Depending on the plan you have, you won't have to cook for two different eating habits.

I am on WW. I have my own breakfast in the morning. I have my own lunch, too. For dinner, I make a WW meal. I weigh and measure my portion. DH gets what he wants from the rest (each recipe serves 4). Left overs are packaged and DH takes them for lunch. If I don't want to cook too much, I make a double recipe (8 servings), weigh and measure my dinner, weigh and measure and put a second serving away for the next night. DH takes what he wants from the rest.

You don't have to cook 'special diet foods' if your lifestyle doesn't indicate this. You WILL have problems if you decide to go vegan and DH is a meat eater, because you'll have no end of cooking and compromises.

Seriously, calorie counting and WW WILL let you cook once, measure your portion out and let DH eat til he's full.

At least, this is how it works for us, and my DH is absolutely in no need of losing weight...


Last edited by kiramira; 07-31-2009 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:25 PM   #7
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Thank you for your feedback, everybody - very helpful and encouraging so far! I think I will start with portion control, and then work on making our meals healthier. With just the two of us (baby eats his own stuff), I think there is a definite tendency to make too much, and eat most of it between us.

My husband and I don't go crazy as it is, but there's always room for improvement. We never eat out because we don't have the money. "Junk food" in our house is usually limited to baked potato chips and 100-calorie granola bars (and I rarely snack). My husband does love healthy food, and his typical dessert is actually yogurt. I make all of my son's baby food from scratch, and have learned a lot about making delicious food without added sugar, salt or fat. I guess I just have to kick myself into gear and implement that into my own cooking as well!
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