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Old 06-17-2017, 11:06 PM   #1
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Default How much time and attention to eating do you need for successful dieting?

Do you find dieting takes more time than not dieting? How much time do you need to be successful dieting? How much attention during the day do you give to your dieting?

I'm curious what others experience. For me, I feel like it takes a lot of time and focus. I am pretty familiar with calories and cooking techniques, so I'm not talking about learning that stuff so much. But tracking calories throughout the day is pretty time consuming. I can do it in my head but sometimes I will make mistakes and forget things if I don't write it down. I wish I had a spreadsheet-like app that was easy to use on my phone so I wouldn't have to do go my computer. I tried LoseIt on my phone but it was a pain because I already know the calorie counts so I didn't want to have to look everything up to enter it.

And just thinking about being motivated to keep on track when I normally would eat more than I should also takes a lot of effort. If I am pretty relaxed and not stressed about anything else I have to accomplish, I can do it. Whenever I feel the impulse to eat, I think of how much longer until I should have a snack, or I decide to go have a really low cal snack. I can't imagine how to stick for long with it given the amount of emotional energy it takes me.
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:00 AM   #2
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I love MyFitnessPal. It will save items you use regularly and you can even put a "meal" together and save it so if you eat it often it's just one click.

I meal prep so I pretty much think about it for an hour or 2 on Sundays then grab and go for the rest of the week. It's almost brainless because I just put my containers into my lunch box, go to work and when I come home my dinner is also ready.
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:36 AM   #3
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I feel like losing weight as I have takes time and attention. There can't be mindless eating. I meal plan everything, including snacks - granted I keep breakfast and lunch pretty simple, but I try and avoid eating out. Sometimes it's unavoidable, or I want to and can be okay, but being hungry and being 5pm with no plan is how I will fail.

Once a week I make the week's dinner menu, including sides, etc. That probably takes me 30 minutes. But I do a lot of research on the best foods to eat, I think about it a bunch. I definitely feel like these past 6 months my food and lifestyle have been my main priority.

I have a fitbit and I enter my food log in there. Keeps everything all in one place for me. And since I eat so many similar things, they're listed right there and it takes not time.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:08 AM   #4
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I have decades of prior experience with calorie counting. I think when I first started that it did require more time (for looking up calories and writing stuff down, back in the paper book and pencil & paper days). After a while, it didn't *require* lots more time (as I knew most of the counts I needed by heart), but it did always take up a lot of time in my head.

I could successfully lose weight, but it was a lot of mental work and discipline, especially when I tried to follow the advice of eating several small meals a day. A lot of time was spent on the mental game, staying in the groove. A lot of time was spent planning and re-planning, thinking about how hungry I was and whether it was time I could eat something, how many calories I had available, etc. And whenever I took a mental break and was not actively losing weight, I was regaining -- even though I always ate a relatively healthy diet. As a result I was trapped in a cycle of yoyo dieting.

Now, I maintain by eating one meal a day (OMAD). There are other aspects to my WOE, but OMAD is the foundation. One of the biggest benefits of this approach is that it relieves me from thinking about most of my food/diet trade-offs. Lots of other benefits too -- being able to feel truly satisfied after my meal each day, eating out much more often, and often not feeling like those meals are tastier than meals I eat at home, but it's worth doing for the social activity.

Honestly, I used to feel dieting (with CC) was like a job, and now (with OMAD), it really is a lifestyle.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:38 AM   #5
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I like the idea of OMAD but it's not totally for me. I aim for 2 meals a day, the first meal being late morning scrambled eggs. The protein and fat hold me over until dinner. I don't do much planning, but I practice portion control at dinner. I have diabetes, and feel better if I don't go all day without food.
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:56 AM   #6
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Wow, lots of interesting replies! Thanks everyone!

I'm glad eating fewer meals works for some of you. I can't imagine doing that myself but it makes sense that it would be one way to keep your calories down with less planning time. I think I know some people who have pretty much always done that.

IdealProteinNewbie, I think LoseIt has that function too. It helps but -eh- on top of the hassle of typing things on my phone instead of a keyboard, I really wish I could just type in my own numbers I need to lose weight so my thumbs aren't so big and make it so difficult to type on my phone Just kidding- I'm not sure one can lose weight in one's fingers!

IdealProteinNewbie, I wonder what you eat that you manage to prepare everything so quickly on Sundays? I am always looking for things that are quick, as well as relatively economical and healthy. I'm always trying to find a good balance between those 3 things. I'd be interested to hear more how you do it MsGooch, as far as how much meal prep time you spend and what you eat (if that's not too long a question for you to answer).

I don't mind eating the same things multiple days a week, and I guess my usual, non-diet, routine is pretty simple/boring. Usually cereal for breakfast, and I have a few variations on breakfast for days off (1 or 2 frozen waffles w berries and drizzle of syrup; eggs w veggies and toast; flavored hot cereal; sometimes citrus fruit or 2 slices turkey bacon w some of the above- that's pretty much everything I ever have.) Lunch- salad or 100 cal bread w tuna made w low cal mayo, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs or egg salad w low cal mayo, or flavored tofu. Or at a restaurant I buy a salad w chicken, or buy a chicken sandwich w veggies. Sides- about 2 of: apple or banana, 100 cal yogurt, veggie chips, baby carrots.

Maybe it is too simple because I get bored w lunch and end up buying other things out at times. Food after work is less routine, though I have a bunch of regular healthy meals and snacks and also things I end up cheating with.

When I'm on a successful diet, I find I'm MORE flexible- I will sometimes plan out all meals and sides, usually including a few foods that are less routine for me, and then if I feel like something else when the time comes, I'll let myself change it even though it means I have to chop up different veggies or revise my plan and constantly re-add up my calories. Like sometimes I might have eggs and vegetables instead of a salad I planned if the salad doesn't appeal to me. I frequently have to psych myself up to skip various temptations, and substituting something I feel like that's within my calorie budget helps me avoid temptations. But it takes a lot of time and effort.

I'd love to hear more about what balance of precisely planned eating versus flexibility works for people.

Last edited by myst321; 06-18-2017 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:45 PM   #7
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I always make 5 lunches and 4 dinners every Sunday. Sometimes Friday night is up in the air so I don't always worry about prepping that meal. I guess I should prefix this by saying I don't mind repetition or "boring" meals lol.

A lot of weeks I'll grill a London broil, a bunch of chicken breasts, a pork tenderloin, a roasted chicken and divide that into Pyrex containers. Then I'll make a few containers of cauli-rice, zoodles, and I'll cut up cabbage so it's ready to roast, etc. I'll also make sure I have salad ingredients washed and cut so I can throw a salad together.

Then in the morning I'll grab a container of meat, veggies, a container of Greek yogurt and whatever else I need, throw it all in my lunchbox and run out the door!
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:33 PM   #8
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That sounds like a great plan! Sounds like it would take a ton of time to do all that cooking at once though. I'm just curious how much time you spend cooking on Sunday? You mentioned just 2 hours in your post earlier but I don't know if you meant you do all that in 2 hours. Sometimes it takes me 2 hours just to prepare some salads and prepare vegetables for dinner for the week, but I don't do all that ahead often.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:36 AM   #9
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I guess I have it down to a science lol. It takes me about 2 hours.

I usually choose 2 or 3 meats. So say I make a London broil - I'll cook itthen let it rest while I broil chicken breasts. While those are going I'm making the cauli-rice and zoodles. Once I steam those, I set aside to cool while I slice the London broil and chicken. Put into containers then the veggies are cool enough to handle so I separate those as well. I clean up at I go. Unfortunately I'm usually awake around 6am on Sunday's so by 8:00ish my food is ready for the week. I'm usually flying around the kitchen making all types of noise lol then it's on with the rest of my day
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:06 PM   #10
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Wow, that's inspire-ingly industrious! I have trouble finding the two hours to even chop my veggies. I'm also a wanna-be morning person but really a night person, so doing it in the morning is impressive to me too (I like that icon)
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