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Old 02-02-2008, 01:20 AM   #1
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Question What are your thoughts?

Hi everyone,

I have a few questions that have been puzzling me about setting off on a healthy diet.

Some background; I'm 19, and have struggled with binge/emotional eating for about a year now. My goal is to lose around 30lbs.

#1. Is it possible to lose substantial lbs by exercise primarily? I have no trouble being active, but the word "diet" makes me want to run straight to the candy aisle.

#2. If I don't track/plan what I eat, but rely on healthy habits/patterns, is it more likely that my eating habits will improve over time, or will they deteriorate? I.e. must I be constantly monitoring my eating habits, or can they be trusted?

BTW, I'm in no hurry, I just want to change my lifestyle so its healthy and sustainable.

Thanks in advance,


Last edited by Martie11; 02-02-2008 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:33 AM   #2
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Hey Martie,

To answer your first question...most people have not had significant success by monitoring exercise alone. Usually, some sort of restriction in eating is required.

BUT....that doesn't mean you have to go on a "diet". Around here, we tend to refer to "lifestyle changes"...which seems to be what you're trying for anyway! Small changes can add up to big health benefits.

On the second question, once you've established healthier patterns, it may be easier to rely on them. I tend to drift away from my plan if I don't track for a long period of time, though, so it is important for me to track. Either way, you'll know from the scale and how your clothes fit if you're on track.

Hope that helps!
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:16 AM   #3
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I second what mandalinn82 says. I tried losing weight with exercise alone, and although I did improve my fitness, I didn't lose anything. So, if the goal is to lose weight, food must be dealt with.

I also agree that healthy habits have to be established. Most of us don't have them, or we wouldn't be overweight. So, if nothing else, one has to eat consciously all the time--and the easiest way for many folks is to use some method of tracking.

Another thing to consider is that at your current weight, you are just at the high end of the "normal" range, according to BMI (body mass index)--and your goal weight will put you at the low end. But, you're a young person! So a combination of exercise 5-6 days a week and "some" food restriction will probably work for you. Now is a good time to get your weight under control!

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Last edited by JayEll; 02-02-2008 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:19 PM   #4
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Hi Martie! Keep in mind that running a mile burns, on average, a bit less than 100 calories. ONE cookie or granola bar can be more calories than that. Point being, if you are going to rely on exercise alone without changing you eating habits at all you will likely have to put in some serious time to burn TONS of calories. That said, if you only slightly modify your eating habits, that combined with exercise will likely make you much more successful. And listen to the two posters above me, they are both pure genious.
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:28 PM   #5
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Yup, you only need to modify your eating. Think of the word diet as being the way you eat and not something that means you have to suddenly become a rabbit and live off carrots and lettuce. That kind of thinking is why diets have always failed for me until this time. Because this time, I chose "diet" as a way to eat daily. A healthy diet. Lean meats, whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, less soda and more water, less sodium, less fat. And I had a Milkyway last week.

I didn't stop eating candy. I just eat it less. I didn't stop eating pizza or burgers, etc. I just have them a lot less. Every day? Nope. I used to. But now they're things I only allow myself on rare ocassions. Instead, I'll substitute a burger for a turkey burger on a whole wheat wrap, or my pizza on lavash whole grain flat bread with turkey pepperoni and lowfat cheese. Or, I just grab a Lean Cuisine pizza when I'm not feeling like cooking. And rarely, I'll actually stop at Pizza Hut. Used to eat there maybe once a week. Now? I've probably been there 3 times in a year. And I fill up on salad first, THEN eat pizza.

You certainly don't have to give up the things you like. You just have to consciously monitor them better. And besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder. So if chocolate tastes good every day you eat it, think how much better it will taste when you haven't had it for a couple of weeks.

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Old 02-02-2008, 05:23 PM   #6
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I would start with very small changes if the whole process intimidates you this much. figure out how many calories you need to eat in order to maintain the weight you are at, eat that many (focusing on filling foods will help), and track what you eat. Then maybe walk 2 miles per day (~200cal) even a small calorie deficit will make a diffrence over the long run. Start small and work your way down.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:00 PM   #7
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My niece is 17 years old and she recently lost about 20lbs without officially going on a diet. You are lucky because you have youth on your side - you metabolism slows down as you get older.

My niece lost the weight through a combination of increasing her exercise. She is active in Marching Band but does the elliptical for about 1/2 hr each day. She is a girly girl and not athletic at all.

As for food she did not count calories or log her food but she focused on portion control and making healthy food choices. She basically adapted the WW points program (which her mother followed) and adapted it for herself.

She was not overly strict and denied herself from having fun with her friends but basically learned to save her treats etc (ice cream, pizza) for special occasions. I assure you she has plenty of friends who can eat anything and some live off of pizza.

The one factor that my niece has in common with me is that she accepts the fact that just because others can get away with always eating crap, it does not work for her and she is not easily swayed by peer pressure to through her off her plan.

So yes you don't need to officially diet. Put a healthy plan together and stick to it and you can be successful.

By the way - those skinny kids that eat crap and get away with it. It will catch up with them when they get older!

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Old 02-03-2008, 01:28 AM   #8
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Thanks so much guys! Very helpful advice that I am putting into practice. I guess things seem overwhelming at first, but its just a matter of chipping away bad habits slowly and replacing them with sustainable, healthy ones.

Thanks again!
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