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-   -   Ok, but how do I pick a plan?! (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/weight-loss-support/63422-ok-but-how-do-i-pick-plan.html)

Creek Girl 08-14-2005 09:10 PM

Ok, but how do I pick a plan?!
 
So I'm 5'3" and weigh 252.5 lbs. I obviously need to do something! But what? I mean, there are hundreds of plans. How do I possibly know which one will work, do I have to try them all? :dizzy:

I was looking at weight watchers, but wow, $5 a week! That's crazy. :p And Jenny Craig, etc are all around the same. There's an ad in the forum for ediets so I went there to take their quiz, and they decided I'd work best with Atkins or their own ediets plan.

So maybe I should just cut calories and stuff, but that seems like taking a chainsaw to the problem, you know? :?: I mean, simple is good, but I'd like SOME structure other than that freaking food pyramid. :lol:

But to my question, how do I pick a plan? I mean, I guess I could do $5 a week if it's not suggesting I eat gourmet foods and stuff. I'm a college student and dominos 5-5-5 deal is awfully easy and cheap. It has to beat that. :p

Here are my diet requirements:
1. need low-priced, easy foods
2. decent portions
3. little to no nutrition-counting (I can count calories, but then tack on grams of this and that and I don't even want to bother anymore!)
4. NO pre-packaged granola bars or fake candy bars (I hate candy)
5. variety
6. keep my meat :devil: (I don't need sugary stuff)
7. include specific amounts and types of No-Props exercise in a variety of options
8. on-the-go options for lunches, snacks
9. allows snacks in variety
10. some pre-packaged foods are ok but not for every meal
11. cooking skill of any level but must be CHEAP :^:

Info about me:
- I love to cook, raised in a southern family, we eat more fried chicken than fruit in a year. :devil:
- I am super forgetful at how many of this and that I need to eat, or how many repetitions of exercises etc etc
- I have classes at my university, 9am-5pm so I have to eat there
- I live with my sister and her boyfriend who are both of average weight but will eat whatever I cook cuz they're loafers :devil:
- I have strong determination and can do whatever I want to do! (I climbed a 7000 ft mountain in pouring rain this summer, and you know, coming down IS harder!)
- I have no health conditions other than my weight
- I am allergic to wheat, and slightly lactose intolerant (up to 8oz of dairy a day is ok, but no more)
- goal: steady and noticeable weight loss, that's all, I don't really care about being X weight by X date :cool:
- I don't drink, smoke, or do any of that other junk :s:
- I currently drink lots of diet sodas but I can drop those like a ton of bricks
- No food addictions

Impressions of Diets I've looked at:
- Weight Watchers: seems good but expensive
- Jenny Craig: didn't strike me as plausible for my lifestyle
- Atkins: seems ok but kinda confusing
- Southbeach: seems ok, but lots of rules
- Volumetrics: seemed pretty bland
- Dr. Phil/Oprah: looked like a diet made by super rich people :lol:
- Diabetic Exchange: seems designed to make you feel bad about what you eat, doesn't take into account exercise
- Various Liquid Diets: gross, probably unsafe, don't want to be the human rocket :lol:

I think that covers it... if ANYONE could please give me a heads up that would be so awesome. I don't want to have to shell out money on something that isn't right for me. (Who does?) So if you've tried these diets, please tell me if my "Diet requirements" are cool for that plan! :cool:

Oh, and my doctor only recommended surgery. She even set me up with an appointment. I asked for options, she gave me a kid's pamphlet on the food pyramid from like 5 years ago. So much for that!

Sorry for the long post, I want to start off on the right foot with this new way of eating!

funniegrrl 08-14-2005 09:39 PM

Um, well, in my opinion you've found a reason to dismiss just about everything out there.

I don't know why you think the Food Pyramid isn't worth looking at -- any sensible plan that's written out for you is going to follow it to one degree or another. I don't know why you think the Dr. Phil plan is "for rich people." I don't know why you think Volumetrics is bland. You don't want to do nutrition calculations for everything but then you dismiss the ADA exchange plan, which is the SIMPLEST way to approach "counting" and maintain a balanced diet. You SEEM to want to retain all of your current food preferences and habits and find a plan that will magically accomodate all of them -- not planning/remembering/recording how much of what you've eaten in a day, eating meat-and-starch and forgoing other things, etc.

I would suggest that you back up a few steps and stop thinking about a particular plan at this point. You need to do a LOT more thinking about what you want to achieve and what you are willing to give up to do it. You are looking for something that will fit you perfectly and will not make you have to change anything about how you think or operate. I think you've taken a huge step forward in admitting you want to do something and thinking about your current limitations, but now you need to think of which of those limitations are real and which are things that could be changed with effort and creativity. After being seriously overweight all my life -- and much more than you currently are for most of the 1990s -- I've lost HALF of what I weighed 4 years ago. I did it because I finally realized that I had to make some fundamental changes in the way I lived my life. That meant doing some things I didn't like, that I wasn't in the habit of doing, that were uncomfortable. I simply made up my mind that I would do whatever it took to get to a healthy (not ideal, just healthier) weight.

While you are doing this pondering, you can go to www.fitday.com and create a free account, and simply start recording what you eat every day right now. This will give you an idea of how much you are consuming, what the nutrient balance, etc., and it will be a good habit to get into. There is lots of information on that site about creating a healthy weight loss-plan, but guess what? It's based on the Food Pyramid.

The other thing I would do is suggest you buy (or check out from the library) the book Thin for Life. This is not a specific diet plan but a book which describes successful strategies used by all sorts of people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off. It can fuel some of the discussions you have with yourself about what's necessary, and it can give you some perspective on the difference between creating a new healthy lifestyle and "dieting."

Even though you've already dismissed it, I do think the Dr. Phil Weight Loss book is valuable for similar reasons. It describes the kind of internal changes and strategies that can make the difference between success and short-term dieting. You don't have to follow the specific food plan; the information is useful regardless of what sort of plan you eventually follow.

StillTrying923 08-14-2005 09:55 PM

Hi Creek Girl!

I just went through this same issue 4 weeks ago. I joined WW almost two years ago and lost 16 lbs - it was the "at work" program and was great - but, the work group stopped and I gained the weight back. Our program was $10 a week so if you can get into one for $5 a week that's great!
Personally - I need support and a "weigh-in" of some kind along with the eating program.
I looked at Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig and decided I didn't want to spend the money and all prepackaged food is not for me. I have a friend who goes on and off Atkins all the time to lose 10 lbs and then she gains it back again when she goes back to eating carbs again. My brother-in-law lost 50lbs or so on Atkins and has kept it off, but I think he still follows some kind of modified Atkins plan (reduced carbs). I love my carbs!
So - I am counting calories, joined this site and a support group that checks in weekly and trying to do some form of exercise 3x a week (30 min).
I think (for me) it is the only way I am going to learn the good foods to eat for a lifetime. I am sick of going on and off diets and gaining the weight back when I go back to my old way of eating again. I am trying to eat 1500-1800 a day and have added a lot of fruits and veggies to my diet and am trying to stay away from the Oreos, Pepperidge Farm cookies, chips, soda and watching how I prepare my food, less fat, etc.
I hate counting too - Once I start a plan, within 4 weeks or so I know what the values are of what I am going to eat (I am picky, so my food list is short!) so I don't have to count as much - but that's me - some people have to count and write it all down every day.
Hope I helped - Good Luck on whatever plan you choose!

BBWonwheels 08-14-2005 10:29 PM

You gotta do wat you need to do to be healthy. All diets are not boring but you will get use to it. I'm a diabetic and i had to give up all my favorite foods and juices but i feel a whole lot better. i've lost 30 lbs in 2 months. I watched my calories, carbs and sodium. I dont eat salt, pork and sugar. I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day (if my calories allow me to) and i exercise 30 mins 7 days a week and i eat 1200-1500 calories a day. So you can get use to it if you really want to lose weight.

Sorry i edited it.....lol

Mel 08-14-2005 10:47 PM

Fantastic post, funniegrrl!

All diets and maintenance come down to the same thing in the end: make sure you take in nutritionally balanced, healthy foods, and expend more energy than you take in. Don't look for reasons why you can't do it. South Beach doesn't really have many rules except for the first two week induction phase. Beyond that, it's a healthy weightloss program much like Dr. Phil's or SugarBusters. Not much different from Volumetrics when you get right down to it. Bland? Herbs and spices fit into any way of eating ;) You don't have to pay for these plans other than a book, or buy special commercially prepared meals.

Do as funniegrrl suggested and just start logging honestly what you currently eat. You might find yourself making healthier choices just because you are more aware of what is going into your body.

Stick around here...lot's of us have walked in your shoes :)

Mel

almostheaven 08-14-2005 10:51 PM

I dunno BB. I can't say that all diets are boring or that you have to give up things you love. You can still have them, but moderation is the key. And if you experiment with foods, you can find a balance that isn't boring. At least it's worked like that for me.

Creek Girl, I don't personally subscribe to any plans...especially something that wants money to tell you what you can find out on your own. So with that in mind...what's wrong with the food pyramid? I don't follow it to a tee...like counting my number of veggies and such. I simply made some necessary changes to my diet...ie: switching white flour for whole grains, cutting down on starches (not out, just down), increasing my fruit/veggie intake, increasing my water intake and cutting out sodas to just an occasional drink, increasing my fiber and protein intake while decreasing my caloric, sodium, carb and fat intake. You don't have to watch ALL your nutrients, just the main categories there will work.

As for exercise without equipment...walking, swimming, running, marching-jumping-twisting-etc. in front of your TV, lifting canned foods or bottled water instead of buying hand weights, dancing (you can even incorporate that into housework). Always opt for the stairs over the escalator/elevator, park far from all entrances, look for reasons to get up and walk somewhere at work or wherever. Exercise can be extremely easy when you look at how you spend your day and simply incorporate some minor changes into it. Don't drive to lunch, walk. Skip the elevator to the office and hoof it up the stairs - work on the 20th floor? Then you should get plenty of exercise right there. LOL Work close to home, opt for the bike over the car. Do some shopping at lunch rather than sitting to eat the entire time. If you look at your day I'm sure you can plan in some routine exercise...no equipment required.

QueenCook 08-14-2005 11:19 PM

First, you have to look at it, as a lifestyle change. Your current lifestyle that you choose is allowing you to make the choices that you are. Everyone is busy, but if you don't make time for you, then when you look in the mirror, this is your outcome. If you truly want to change what your scale says, then you'll do all that "YOU" can and are willing to do, in order to make the sacrifice. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. What was the purpose of your climb, what did you gain? I guarantee you'll gain more out of losing weight than you will a "climb".

haleys 08-15-2005 02:39 AM

I pretty much agree with everything funniegirl said. All diets are boring if you view them as a "diet," and it seems like you're finding something wrong with every single thing, open your mind up and try some things out to see what works best for you? A lot of people do really well on weight watchers, but it's too expensive for me, so I just count calories because that's what works for me.

I really would suggest to maybe start with counting calories and really get strict about it (funniegirl suggested www.fitday.com I second this) if you find it too hard to do, then try weight watchers or something else.

It really is important to view this as a lifestyle change and not a "I need to be on a diet to lose weight" sort of thing, because if that's show you view it chances are you'll lose weight but just end up gaining it back.

I wish you the best of luck in choosing your plan and know you will find the one that works for you!

Glory87 08-15-2005 03:31 AM

I made up my own plan. I knew it had to be something meaningful to me, something fairly close to the way I already ate and something I could stick with FOREVER. I'd lost weight in the past before, my goal was not to lose weight, my goal was to be healthy, prevent disease and to be at my goal weight forever.

I read this book called Super Foods Rx: 14 Foods That Can Change Your Life. Steven Pratt, the author, basically said that there are a lot of foods out there that are good for you, but there are some foods that are VERY good for you. The book just sparked something inside me. I have a bad family history - cancer, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimers. I weighed 190+ lbs and I knew I had to get serious or I would die as early as my grandparents.

When I first decided I wanted to change my eating habits to be stronger and healthier, I knew I needed something I could stick with forever. I couldn't radically change how I eat - there's no way to maintain that long term. Plus, I had to take my boyfriend into consideration. We've been living together 8 years, both vegetarians, what could I change that meant we could still eat dinner together nearly every night? I looked at our usual dinner menus. We ate a lot of stir fries, curry dishes, pasta and quesadillas/enchiladas.

With John's support, we switched from white rice to brown rice, regular pasta to whole wheat pasta, white flour tortillas to whole wheat tortillas. We added more veggies to our meals (broccoli in stir fry, wilted spinach in pasta sauce) and reduced the amount of cheese, oil and butter we cooked with. I also became more aware of a true serving size, actually eating a single serving of brown rice or whole wheat pasta (a little kitchen scale is one of the best purchases I ever made). For example, I used to eat a HUGE plate of pasta with a little sauce and a little salad. I now eat a small plate of pasta (carefully measured 2.0 oz serving) with a LOT of sauce and a BIG salad.

I ate as much fruits and vegetables as I wanted, avoided foods without any nutritional value (alcohol, sugar, baked goods). I did not go on a diet, I changed my lifestyle. Whole foods in, processed foods out, 5 veggies, 4 fruits, 2-3 dairy, 2-3 whole grain, 10 different super foods, protein with every meal, green and black tea every day - I concentrated on what I should be eating.

Now, 54 lbs late and 13 months later, my diet has completely changed. I'm doing exactly what I was doing when I lost weight. I feel great. I have completely given up fast food, most fried foods and packaged baked goods (home made baked goods are okay for me in moderation). I don't miss any of these things.

Long story - see above.
Short story - what will work for YOU what can YOU stick to? I think it's great to take elements from plans, but the only plan that will work LONG TERM is one that you come up with and you will keep up with.

Tealeaf 08-15-2005 04:56 AM

I also am in the "not on a plan" club. I think one thing that the OP should think about is that by their very nature, every method that is used to successfully lose weight is in some way restrictive. And for me at least, losing weight is not fun or comfortable. But I had gotten to the point where being as fat as I was was worse, so was willing to accept the hassle of changing my lifestyle to something healthier.

I don't want to clog up this thread with a massive post of exactly how I've lost the weight I have, but I have posted the details of it in my site under the section How Annie Is Doing It, if anyone is interested. I strongly believe that a person doesn't have to spend a dime to lose weight beyond what they actually have to spend on groceries.

If losing weight were completely painless and easy, no one would ever be fat.

HamSandwich 08-15-2005 06:12 AM

IMNSHO: I agree with funniegirl. I think she is right on target here.
The fact is Creek Girl, it looks like you want to keep your current habits and not change. How's that working out for you?

The only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn off in a day- everyday. You have to create a deficit of 3500 calories to burn off one lb of fat. How do you know how many calories you are taking in if you aren't writing it down? You don't. So my first suggestion is to realize that you are going to HAVE to do things you do not want to do. Until you come to accept that, you will get absolutely nowhere. You have to quit making excuses and start taking responsibility for your actions. We've all had to.

I'll make you a list of things that WILL work, but they will REQUIRE you to put forth the effort to do them:
1. Keep a strict food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, and how many calories are in it. Do this religiously and be honest because you won't fool anyone but you if you lie.
2. Keep your calories under 1800. That is a safe level for anyone and a good place to start. Eventually, you could cut down to around 1500, but you don't want to start that low.
3. Change the things you are eating. No brainer. Cut out fast food altogether if possible and if not, print out a nutrition guide for your favorite spots and use it to make your choices and stay within your alloted calories.
4. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. They are good for you, low calorie, filling, and highly portable.
5. Choose lean cuts of meat, weigh it, and cook it healthfully (grilling, broiling, baking, boiling, steaming, etc).
6. Portion control. Invest in measuring cups, a small scale, measuring spoons and USE them. You needn't measure forever- just until you know what a portion actually looks like and are accustomed to serving no more than that.
7. Allow for treats now and then. Now that doesn't mean you can eat a plateful of cookies, but what it does mean that you can allow your favorite foods as long as you factor them into your alloted calories. I ate at KFC the other day, but I only ate half of the meal I ordered and took the rest home for later.
8. Get moving. Any exercise is better than none. Invest in a couple of workout tapes, jump rope, take a walk, dance, do some squats while washing dishes- anything. You don't need a gym, but if you're a student you may have access to school facilities and not even realize it.

You see, the only person who is going to keep you in line is you. It boils down to you. If you make excuses why you can't do these things, you are the one that fails. No one else does. There is no secret diet, there is no sargeant standing over you to regulate everything you do. It's all up to you and you alone. You have to find what works for you and go with it. Your current behaviors have gotten you where you are now. It's your behaviors that have to change. We can give you all the ideas and all the support in the world, but unless you make the commitment to yourself to make the changes- it's all moot.

We all have full schedules- we know how hard it is to make changes. I worked full time (I am in school now), am raising two kids, have a husband, animals, a house- I am a busy person. I found the time to do it and so can you if you really want to. I personally take the day I go grocery shopping to seperate fruits and vegetables for the week into single servings and write down my planned meals for the week. I cut chicken breasts in half (to make them thinner) and wrap them into packages for each dinner and freeze them. Same with other meats. I weigh and precut everything and have it ready to go for dinner so I don't have to do it at the last minute. I don't keep junk in the house- like chips and cookies and ice cream. It's paying off- I've lost 16 lbs so far and am still losing at a rate of about 2 lbs per week. It's slow, it's hard, and sometimes it really sucks, but I am in it for the long haul- and that means the rest of my life. You need to realize that this is a slow process. It requires a commitment and a strong will. You can either accept that you will have to change, or you can't. Do you realize that even if you decide that this is too hard and you just want to have "the surgery" (in quotes because there are actually several types of surgery), you will still have to alter the way you eat? So, no matter what, you are going to have to change to lose and maintain weightloss. You will have to be accountable.

A good place for you to start is http://www.healthstatus.com/calculators.html . Find out some info about yourself. Get on the internet and do some research. Invest a little bit of time in yourself, for yourself. Start to understand how nutrition and exercise affect your body. Look up nutrition information on different foods. Analyze your behaviors and figure out ways to change them that don't feel like torture to you. In the end, the only thing, the only person you have control over in this life is you. You better learn to take care of you- and that is going to take some time and some effort. Don't you think you are worth investing in?

I don't mean to come across as a total <expletive>. I am not ragging on you personally. I just firmly believe that too many times we make excuses not to change because we are afraid of what that means. Having to change means that we have to acknowledge the fact that we are responsible for where we are. We have to admit that we did something wrong. We have to take responsibility. It's never fun to face the fact that we put ourselves in a position to be so unhappy, but until we do we cannot overcome it.

Good luck!

the slim me 08-15-2005 09:33 AM

Hi, I really don't think I can add anything that hasn't already been said, so I'll just say I agree with most of it. You have to make changes and that's never easy. We all want that "majic bullet" that will let us lose weight with hardly any effort on our part. Ain't going to happen! Bottom line, you have to change the way you eat, it's making you fat and unhelthy. You're not unheathy yet? Keep eating the same way and keep the weight and wait a few years.

I agree, diet's don't work. At least not for long. You loose the weight, yeah, but the minite you stop, you start putting the weight back on. The answer is change the way you eat. Think health and nutrition! Look at portion sizes and get some regular exercises.

It doesn't have to cost a lot. If you're buying junk food it probally won't cost any more. You can make quick, easy, nutritious meals. There are some great recipes here.

Good luck, But actually luck has nothing to do with it! It's up to you.

jillybean720 08-15-2005 10:48 AM

Sounds like the same starting point as everyone else. The cycle tends to go: realize there is a problem with your weight, attempt to justify the weight gain to yourself, realize you need to do something about it, make excuses as to why you can't do any of the things you're supposed to do, realize it's going to be difficult but that you are worth the effort, and finally become successful!

Everyone has to face this initial hurdel--stop making excuses! We have all made a million excuses for not doing the things we should be doing, and trust me, none of your excuses are anything new :p If you want to lose weight, you need to suck it up and make some changes. They don't have to be expensive changes, but changes nonetheless. If you have decided you can afford WW, how do you think that will help if you are not willing to count anything or work with exchanges? From my understanding, the have the Points plan, which is counting points in your food, and they have the Core plan, which is basically an exchange plan (like the food pyramid or diabetic plan). If you're not going to follow their plans, then don't waste your money.

If you think you need in-person support and a weekly weigh-in to keep you on track, look into a support group like TOPS. They don't give you a plan to follow--you do whatever you want. But then you weigh-in weekly and have meetings to discuss nutrition, obstacles, exercise, etc. It's only $60 a year (which you don't have to pay all upfront--you can pay monthly) and then additional chapter-specific dues and fees (example, my chapter also has 25 cents a week for dues plus fines for gaining weight--25 cents for every 1/4 pound you gain). Also, because TOPS is a non-proit organization, they will work with you in times of financial hardship by waiving some of the fees if you truly cannot afford them.

As for diets, you don't have to follow a specific plan. Start by simply cutting back on portion sizes, then start making healthier replacements (lean meats, fruits and veggies for snacks, whole-grain breads and pastas, etc.). It doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. I buy all of my fruits and veggies frozen because I only have time to shop once a week (or once every other week!), so by buying them frozen, I know they will taste just as good as fresh in 3 weeks when I'm finally ready to use them :p Don't rely too heavily on prepared meals--it seems you've already said you don't want to do this, which is a good thing. While they may come low in fat and calories, they also come sky-high in sodium, so while your weight may go down, your blood pressure may be increasing just as quickly!

Meldiggety 08-15-2005 12:14 PM

Every diet plan is essentially the same - eat higher quality food in smaller portions (w/ the exception of Atkins which for most people is hard to do for a lifetime). I have tried several "diets" in my life - weight watchers, slimfast, atkins, south beach, etc. I already ate healthy (whole grains, veggies, fruit, lean protein, low fat dairy), but I ate too much of everything. I needed something I could stick to for life, so I began to count calories and exercise 5 to 6 X per week. I wrote down what I ate and how much of it at first to get an idea of how many calories I was taking in. I soon began to incorporate veggies and fruit in every meal/snack and then I only needed one portion of carbs or protein or dairy because the fruit and veggies really bulked up my meals. I have gotten creative with low cal/low fat dessert for special occasions. So, there really is no "perfect" plan - it's whatever you can live with and stick to. In anything that's worth accomplishing there will be sacrifices you make along the way. I have a 18 month old and it's been hard to find time to be able to exercise and cook for myself, but I do a lot of pre-planning and I exercise when he's napping. There are plenty of other things I could be or would rather be doing besides cooking and exercising, but if that's what it takes to become more healthy and lose weight, then so be it!

I hope you are able to find something that works for you. ;)

Melanie

LovesBassets 08-15-2005 12:17 PM

Hi Creek Girl,

Your needs and lifestyle sound a lot like mine. I'm not in college anymore, but I like to keep my cooking as simple as humanly possible, and I want to keep my meats, etc. Like a lot of the other people who have responded, I've made up my own plan. I do a high protein + low carb/low fat thing, but I actually don't count anything (not even calories) because I just couldn't handle it. I focus on what I NEED to eat to be healthy, and look at food now as fuel. I'm primarily trying to get as much protein as I possibly can. I haven't eliminated fats or carbs, I'm just very aware of them and try to replace them with protein and/or "good carbs/fats" as often as I can. I think my plan may be "vaguely Atkins" but I really have no idea.

And I started off by making SMALL changes at first, which was really the only way I could do it and survive. A drastic "diet" started all of a sudden would have lasted about 8 hours with me.

Here are some examples of little changes I made at first: (I've used a lot of brand names here, but I don't mean for it to sound like a commercial!)

1. I switched from sugar to Splenda in my tea. Oddly, this was probably the hardest thing I had to do (initially) because I'm a tea addict and didn't want anything to "ruin" the tea experience. But it only took about 3 days for me to adjust -- and because I drink too much tea a day ANYWAY :) this was a great way to eliminate lots of excess sugar from my diet. If you eat cereal with sugar, Splenda tastes *almost* just the same and it's really easy to adapt to. It IS quite expensive compared to sugar, but I've found it's cheaper if you order online.

2. I bought a George Foreman grill Sounds ridiculous, but it really changed my life. I can't cook. Seriously. So, for most of my life it's been "Boil water. Put in pasta." Not good ;) . But now, I have beef, veggie burgers, salmon, or Quorn every night of the week on my grill -- all great sources of protein and WAY lower in carbs than my tortellini/macaroni habit.

3. I started eating breakfast Totally key, and something I just wasn't doing before. I like to have a hardboiled egg (I usually make 6 or so on a Sunday and keep them in the fridge), and whole wheat toast with almond butter.

4. I discovered protein shakes I don't use them to REPLACE meals like Slim Fast or whatever (yech :dizzy: ), instead I make one up in the morning and bring it with me so I can have a 10am snack. I use the EAS powdered version (chocolate) and usually mix it with milk, a banana, and ice. It's quite yummy! With your lactose issue, you can replace the milk with water and it really tastes just as good -- or try soy or rice milk instead.

5. I started exercising ....and I started out SLOW. I joined a gym (maybe you have a fitness center at school?) and started out by weight training. I added cardio later (I HATE cardio) and the weight really started dropping. And I know that MANY people just start walking. Cheap and easy, and very effective for alot of people. I joined Jenny Craig about 10 years ago (and found it WAY expense so I didn't continue with it) and the one thing I still remember is the suggestion that you park as far away from the mall (or whatever) as possible. Even those extra 3 - 4 minutes of walking really build up over time and help! I STILL do this...I take every opportunity to "create a walk."

So that's my plan. It works well for me, and I like that I'm not spending extra cash to be a part of an "organized" plan. Also, perhaps most importantly, I don't "forbid" myself to have certain foods that I love. I couldn't handle that -- too depressing :( . So I DO have tortelli sometimes -- maybe twice a month, and I even went to McDonalds last week (for the first time in 6 months). I simply got a Happy Meal with no soda and only ate half my fries. I felt kinda gross after eating it, but I was "in the mood" and didn't want to deprive myself.

Like alot of other people on the thread, I also recommend a food diary -- at least initially. You could enter what you eat into the FitDay site and get a sense of what you're REALLY eating. Then, you'll have somewhere to start and be able to see where you can make those changes. I really recommend SLOW changes at first, as this is a lifestyle change and not just a "diet."

Good luck...you can DEFINITELY do this without spending too much money and keeping variety (and your sanity!)

- Kate :)


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