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Old 10-25-2012, 03:23 PM   #31
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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.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:50 PM   #32
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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.

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Old 10-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #33
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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.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:14 PM   #34
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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.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:55 PM   #35
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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
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:09 AM   #36
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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.

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Old 10-26-2012, 02:17 AM   #37
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Yes, I do. I eat Amy's organic soups and frozen dinners on a daily basis (usually).
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:59 AM   #38
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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.

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.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:23 AM   #39
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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.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Amanda1977 View Post
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.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:30 PM   #41
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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.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:43 PM   #42
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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.

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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
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:48 PM   #43
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I stopped eating that type of stuff and I am feeling great. I am having one or two per week though for sure.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:17 AM   #44
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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!!
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:23 AM   #45
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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.
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