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do we have a quorum for a - gasp - diet food thread?

12 years ago

I need some company. I'm - lonely.

No, I mean lonely in the culinary sense. SWMBO and the kids are off at summer camp, so I am free to go into full-on DIET mode. Reading all your tasty threads about blueberry pie, pasta salad, tamales, sourdough bread, briskets - arrrgh!

Maybe there is someone else here who is on a diet, or once upon a time was on a diet, or has put their spouse on a diet, or have thought about what they'd eat if they were ever to be on a diet? I mean, this is the Cooking Forum. Hanging around here is, no doubt, why I'm on a diet in the first place (note the classic blame-shifting ploy.)

Do we have a quorum for a ''diet cooking'' thread?

My current diet menu is, culinarily speaking, not that interesting. Not because I'm ''reducing'' - its that I'm never very motivated to cook when it's just me doing the bachelor thing.

Here, I'll summarize my week, and you'll see why I would be welcome some ideas for interesting, quickly prepared food that is low-calorie and, especially low-fat.

Monday: Some roast pork, a bit of pasta (leftovers), blueberries, some milk. 730 calories. (I wasn't hungry, for some reason.)

Tuesday: Salad and sashimi for breakfast. Get on a plane. Take-out salmon and tuna sushi rolls at the layover airport. Airline peanuts. Chicken breast and a smattering of beets and baby carrots (that was considered an entree in the Hotel-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named). 1130 calories. The hotel has a gym, yay. Populated by some guys who clearly need to be on diets, and some ladies who definitely do not. Not a word is exchanged, of course. There seems to be an etiquette in hotel gyms, that no patron shall acknowledge the existence of any other patron. A code of silence, just like in the men's room. One word, and they'll scream, call hotel security, and you're locked up like the pervert and molester you must be. In the metro prisons of downtown Detroit, you're likely to meet some real ones. Just stay quiet and lift your weights.

Wednsday: Berries, melon and a fat-free yoghurt for breakfast. Lunch was three small sandwiches, from which I extracted just the meat - sliced chicken, sliced roast beef, some tuna salad (think buffet lunch at a conference). A ''rubber chicken'' sort of dinner, complete with droning speaker. Skip the rolls, potatoes, and dessert, meaning dinner is basically a chicken breast and some veg. Half a bagel at some point. 1180 calories. At the gym again.

Thursday: Get up early (I can't sleep on business trips anyway) and in the gym at 5 am. Repeat previous day's breakfast. Some slices of chicken and ham for lunch (again, discarding the ridiculously greasy foccacia bread), a couple of small red potatoes. Get on a plane. Dinner in Pike's Place Market in Seattle. A beer, a bowl of seafood stew, and - uh oh - a big bowl of clam chowder. Did you know that last has nearly 500 calories? I didn't, until I looked it up. 1700 calories, but it was worth it, I love Seattle. Hotel gym - for 10 minutes. I'm tired.

Friday: Fruit and a small muffin for breakfast. Airport sushi for lunch (I do eat things besides raw fish, but it turns out that about the only diet/healthy thing you can find in the average airport food court is take-away sushi). Get home, frantic for vegetables (I think I have scurvy). Rummage through a refrigerator of week-old leftovers, inhale some cauliflower and broccoli with olive oil and salt, then some raw fish (yes, the same block of ahi tuna that was three days old on Tuesday), bits of leftover pasta salad and tabouleh (from the previous Saturday's dinner party), some over-ripe fruit. 1190 calories. Feed the cats. Fish.

Saturday (today): Ready for my customary breakfast, but the yoghurt in our fridge has turned green and fuzzy. Okay, my other customary breakfast of sashimi - hmm, the remnant of this week-old tuna loin is, err, past its prime. No problem, dice it up and make spicy tuna hand rolls (which is what sushi bars also do with their ''aged'' fish, I am convinced. The chili sauce and cayenne covers up any faint putrefaction). What's for lunch? Here is a cut up chicken that has been sitting in the meat bin for a week. (Good thing I have trained my stomach to tolerate anything, eh?) Braised and reduced in stock and wine, you'd never know this was nose-wrinkling stuff when first unwrapped. Also for dinner, a tin of sardines. 1180 calories.

Tomorrow: More refrigerator-cleaning. I'm going to join the family on vacation a week from now, so I can't very well go grocery shopping.

So, that's the chaotic way I'm doing the current diet phase. Does anyone have a more sensible approach, that involves real cooking? I'd love to hear, any and all thoughts on the topic. Growl. Sorry, that's my stomach.

Comments (80)

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I couldn't do it. You all were right. I had to acquire more food. And I was getting a meat craving that had the cats nervous.

    Dinner was 8 oz from a t-bone steak. Oil and salt the steak, put it in the refrigerator for an hour to get nice and cold, heat a cast iron pan for 5 minutes then a pat of butter and the steak - or, tonight, just half of the steak :-( I chill the meat so that the outside can get dark brown and crusty while the inside is still almost uncooked. A pound of ripe tomatoes from the garden, sliced with a little salt. Cats are safe.

    I'm learning a lot from this thread. It sounds like the search for tasty yet low-calorie and low-fat food can be a culinary journey of discovery, just like learning to make French sauces or cook Indian dishes. Perhaps popping my tins of sardines is, indeed, not the most fulfilling approach.

    The whole exercise thing still puzzles me. I mean, I'm doing it, some, sort of. I kind of like lifting. But I don't get the idea of enjoying cardio exercise in the city.

    I hate running. Running cross-country in high school, legs burning and heart pounding, was never "fun". What is this blissful ''endorphin high'' that all the workout Moonies swoon about? I remember throwing up while tottering on knotted legs. Plus I'm convinced running is bad for you. I had a girlfriend in grad school who was a passionate runner. Not a pink headband jogger: a fast hard runner. Even in her early 30's, it was taking a toll. It took 20 minutes in the morning before she could move around like a normal biped.

    I played JV tennis, now that was fun. I admit. But I was a tennis rat, on the courts all day, picking up games with anyone. With work and family and travel, Heaven knows how I'd make tennis appointments today. Facebook? The ''cloud''?

    Then there was bicycling. I used to love mountain biking because, you know, it's in the mountains. Gasping up a steep trail with your lungs hanging out is worth it if you're up high in the Angeles Crest range. Throwing elbows with diesel buses and homicidal or, worse, somnolent SUV drivers in the inner city just isn't as inspiring. I think if you're mixing it up with cagers, you should have a twist throttle and spit exhaust. Here in Portland, there are ghost bikes chained to signposts all over the place. A ''ghost bike'' is a beater bicycle, painted entirely white, decorated with flowers and tears. They mark where a cyclist died.

    What else did I use to do? I used to fly fish a lot, but the fish is getting all the exercise, and that's on a good day. I used to backpack in the High Sierra. No Internet connection = no data feed = not going to spend days and weeks out there, now.

    I know, I need to suck up the grump and find some form of cardio exercise that I like or at least don't hate. Maybe I'll get a treadmill and do the lab rat thing, suspend a pint of stout just out of reach.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    And then , it all could be......genetics!
    I flipped out 10 years ago when I quit smoking that I was going to gain a bunch of weight and the metabolism was going to change etc etc etc....
    We (I) did low carb (NOT ATKINS)for 1 1/2 years, Walked/biked around the neighborhood (around the block is 2 miles)(gained) joined a gym for 1 1/2 years (gained), joined CURVES for 1 1/2 years (gained) have been gardening and eating from the garden for 10 years, eating whole everything, low beef, high fish, tons of home grown stuff (gained)
    Though I'm 40#s overweight,from what everyone says I should weigh, because of my family history, my doc says to lose 10 lbs, and I should be fine.
    She's happy that I walk at least a couple (usually 7 or more) miles a day, stretch what needs to be stretched and walk/garden/stretch and take the vits/minerals that I need.
    "DIETING" is relative... Nancy

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  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John, try dancing! Good exercise, and social benefits! And frequently increases spousal happiness as well.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago


    "The whole exercise thing still puzzles me. I mean, I'm doing it, some, sort of. I kind of like lifting. But I don't get the idea of enjoying cardio exercise in the city."

    If your goal is to get those body fat/muscle ratios beat into cardio as I described for 6 weeks solid. No cheating. Six days/week. Pick your poison. Remember long & slow works better than shorter duration but more effort; but not less than 90 minutes/day. For this 6 weeks, forget about that 30 min./day stuff. This is a hard-core jump start program. There's some difference in effectiveness between types of exercise but it won't matter on just this 6 week trial period.

    Find a good spotter (just ask at the front desk - somebody's always around.) Develop a weight lifting routine hitting the entire body, do enough reps that you're sure you can't get another out...then, do one more (that's why you really need a spotter for safety), divide your program into upper & lower body & alternative days, & stick with your routine for 6 weeks. Keep it steady as she randomly moving around the weight room. Lift properly. If you're unsure about technique - ask for assistance. Always somebody around to help.

    Diet - get yourself on a balanced approach (1,800 calories, 40% protein, 45% carbs, & 15% high-quality fats). Eat 4-6 times/day. Decide how you'll divide the calories & keep it going. No extreme daily all 3 food types each meal. Consistency is important. Carbs are your body's main readily available source of energy - don't eliminate them. Oh, try to avoid less than 200 calorie snacks. Your body doesn't know what to do with them so they just get stored. It takes 200 calories plus for your body to kick into gear & start burning the fuel.

    Forget about fancy cooking techniques. Leave the "white" stuff for somebody else not looking to achieve the goals you're aiming for.

    Do the above for 6 weeks without cheats. Stand back & look at yourself in the mirror. Check how your jeans are fitting. Is it easier to wrestle the groceries in the house from the car? Are you climbing the stairs at work effortlessly? Breathing better? Sleeping better? Less tired after a day at work? More energy?

    If your goal is really to lose weight, drop body fat, & build muscle then the results you see should provide their own motivation to continue.

    Oh, you can't effectively target fat from one area of the body. Where you want it gone will always be the last to go. Expect it & count on it. Six weeks of the above is long enough to see results all over your body.

    You'll actually see measurable results in 3 weeks; but I'm saying give it six because I know that amount of time (without cheats) will give dramatic results that will be noticeable to everybody not just yourself.

    Then, re-evaluate your position about doing aerobic exercise & wine reductions.

    Choose that which is the most important to your well-being. Are you willing to give up sleeping better in order to have crispy pork belly added to your routine meals?

    To accomplish your goals is not a short-term deal. It requires commitment & a change of mind-set. You won't achieve defineable results with 8 oz. of steak cooked in butter & a pound of tomatoes. Won't happen. That also won't fuel 1-1/2 hours in front of the TV peddling a stationary bike much less a weight work-out. That requires carbs - good carbs.

    Also, expect to bloat up 5-10 days after starting this routine. It's normal. Ignore it. Even if the scales go up. Your body is holding fluids to be used a bit later to flush out all the cr@p built up from those pork belly dinners. Don't get on the scales but once/week - same time of day, preferably right after rising. Remember, the scales could (likely will) go up before they start dropping. Drink adequate water throughout the day to help move the garbage out of your plumbing.

    This approach works. Consistency is critical to success. Excuses don't burn fat. Even if you're feeling tired after work - get on the bike - in 15-20 minutes you'll be getting energized. Might be best to not do aerobic activity withing a few hours of bedtime. Your body will keep burning fat at higher levels for a few hours after aerobic exercise - this bothers some people when they are trying to wind down for sleep. Drag yourself out of bed before work & do aerobics if you're one of those people who feel a lot of energy after aerobics.

    Oh, learn how to breathe! Practice deep, steady breathing techniques while on that bike for 1-1/2 hours. Most people don't know how to breathe correctly. Sounds funny but makes a big difference. Breathe correctly when lifting also - again, get somebody at the gym to assist if you don't know how. Actually, coughing up the money for a personal trainer for a month is money well spent, IMO.

    After those six weeks, only you can determine what's important in your life.

    Keep a journal. Include what you've eaten & when. What exercise & duration (include intensity levels). Note your weight work-outs for each exercise. Write down your mood & energy level on a 1-10 scale each day. Write down how much sleep you got & the quality. You don't have to do this forever but it's useful in the beginning. Learn to listen to your body's feedback. Listen for your body to ask, "OMG, what am I supposed to do with this junk you just shoved down your gullet?!"

    Think about your definition of "good food". It may need adjusting. From your above descriptions - probably does. Think about the definition of "in moderation".

    Everybody should have a doctor's approval before undertaking an exercise program or a dramatic dietary change. You may have to work up to the exercise goals - probably will if you're a sedentary person or over age 30-35. When I started, I was pooped after 10 minutes on the bike! My first weight work-outs lasted about 20 minutes. Don't be a hero/heroine. Listen to your body! We don't want any heart attacks or strokes around here!! :) Just keep plugging away for 6 weeks. You'll see results & so will everybody around you.

    If this seems hard-core - it is for a beginner. But, it works. So, if results are your goals consider giving this a try. You say you've been "dieting on/off" for about a year. Apparently, you're still not where you want to be. Bottom line - your approach isn't working. Try something else. Heck, it's only 6 weeks from your life. If it doesn't work - call me an idiot & move on. When it does work - I accept your thanks in advance! :)

    You'll notice I did not mention whether you liked aerobics, or not. Yawn. You'll like it well enough when you see it works. In the meantime, grumble as you peddle the bike if it makes you feel better. :)


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John, "---I couldn't do it. You all were right. I had to acquire more food. And I was getting a meat craving that had the cats nervous. ---"

    Remember what your Mom told you? "Eat your food, think of all the poor starving people in India"

    Ironically, there are more per capita starving people here in the US than in India. If you are starving because there is no food, somehow it is more acceptable. The painful thing for the dieters is, there is plenty of tempting food everywhere. Hunger plus craving is very difficult to handle.

    I don't have answers. I will be wealthy enough to wipe out the national deficit all by myself if I had a workable painless diet system.

    But I am curious.

    I have a friend who will not touch strawberries, because when he was in high school, he had spent a summer picking strawberries. He ate strawberries until he turned red. He is so sick of strawberries now.

    Another friend who will practically vomit if you give her ice cream, because she worked in an ice cream parlor for a couple of years.

    I am wondering if most of the diet schemes actually manufacture this insatiable craving for food for the dieters, which eventually lead to counterproductive end results. ( and cat recipes LOL)

    It seems to me that there is a difference between hunger and craving.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    /tricia, thanks for the very detailed information, that you've proved to work!

    I log everything I eat with an iPhone app, ''Calorie Count''. Besides, obviously, counting the calories, it tracks and sums what you're eating each day - how much protein, fat, carbs, as well as different vitamins, iron, cholesterol, etc. The website application is even more detailed, but the phone is handy.

    It looks like I am taking in about 1/3 protein, 1/3 fat, 1/3 carbs, on average over every few days. The individual days are not consistent, and the individual meals wildly inconsistent. So, that's something I can work on.

    I've decided to start the cardio exercise thing next week. I'll be on Lake Tahoe all week, bringing my kayak, we usually do 2 to 4 hours of paddling each day. I suppose I can swim too. (Ugh.) When I get back, methinks I will start riding my bicycle to work. There is a route by which I can almost entirely avoid cars. Plus there's a nice pub on the way home. It will come in handy in December, when it is 35F and raining hard. Can you believe summer is almost over?

    Thanks for the inspiration, as well as the advice!

    dcarch, I'm not sure about the craving aspect of diets. I go through craving cycles anyway. I think your body, in its wisdom, ''knows'' when it hasn't had a leafy green for too long, or a strip of red meat, or a glass of Scotch, or a profiterole - obviously some of this is cultural and habit, not just biology. Maybe it had just been too long since I'd had iron.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    John, "---dcarch, I'm not sure about the craving aspect of diets. I go through craving cycles anyway. ---"

    There are days when I am so busy, I would have no time for breakfast, then miss lunch, and finally get home late in the evening. I obviously would be very hungry. That kind of hunger I can put up with.

    Then, as many of you have experienced, sometimes I am not even hungry, yet I just have to drive some place, in rain or in snow, to get certain kinds of food. That is craving.

    I suspect that many diet schemes create cravings.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    For me, the trick to avoiding any craving is to avoid getting hungry. This means planning my snacks through the day. In the mid-morning I have sliced apples with almond butter, or cottage cheese with peaches. In the afternoon I have snap peas with hummus or sliced turkey on ryvita bread. I also drink a lot of tea.

    If I'm not starving at mealtime, it's a lot easier to be disciplined about my meal planning. If I'm really hungry by dinnertime, I tend to be more careless and even overeat.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    dcarch, I agree, there's a difference in hunger and in craving. Making sure I'm not hungry doesn't work for me. I'll sit at my office some days, I've had lunch, and I've had an apple with peanut butter or a container of yogurt as an afternoon snack. It does not make me want those Oreos or Fritos or whatever any less. I can sit and ask myself if I'm hungry and the answer is clearly "no". I'll have a drink of water or a cup of tea and wait for the craving to go away and sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. Thankfully, I seldom have that item at work and can't leave the county property to acquire any. We have no fast food resstaurants other than Subway in my tiny town, that helps.

    Sometimes, though, I have to go home, change my clothes, walk the 1/2 mile to the grocery and get the damned Oreos. I justify that by the mile round trip I have to walk to get them. And, of course, whatever I'm not supposed to have is what I want. It's a strange personality trait of mine. My old doctor recognized this and put me on the 1/2 diet. Have anything you want, but only eat half of it. Eat less, move more. It was really very simple. Most of us know what's good for us, and so I ate my healthy breakfast or lunch, and had half a treat in the afternoon if I felt it necessary. Many times I didn't bother because I knew I could have it if I wanted. Yeah, I know.....

    I also do not keep "junk" in the house, if I want it badly enough I have to WALK (not drive) to the store to get it, that takes care of a lot of my cravings, LOL.

    John, like you, I hate exercise and have not found a sport or a hobby or physical activity I actually enjoy other than physical labor that accomplishes something. Well, I did enjoy competetive riding but I'm too old to effective run the barrels anymore and so is my horse, it's no longer fun, now I just think about how much it's going to hurt if that horse falls on me.

    I lost a LOT of weight several years ago, 80+ pounds. I've put about 20 of that back on. My doctor says I'm one of the healthiest people he knows "for my age". I don't drink, I don't smoke. I run the rototiller and stretch fence and walk to work. Those all seem to accomplish something, but I'm still on blood pressure meds, something I blame entirely on menopause. (grin) I blame EVERYTHING on menopause but I don't think that's going to work for John.

    So, you can tell yourself it's for your health and so your kids and eventual grandkids will have you around for a long time and it'll cut your medical bills and make you look better in jeans or whatever, but if you're like me, you're never going to enjoy exercise.

    I also agree with you about running. I hate it and never got that "high" that runners talk about. All I did was hurt myself. Elery was a long distance runner for years, he ran a minimum of 10 miles per day, often as much as 30. His knees are a mess, his hips are hot, his back hurts and according to the doctors, it's all from years of running. He did say he loved it, though the pain finally caused him to stop.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I blame everything on SWMBO's menopause. It works.

    Psychology and food are interesting. For me, I need to spend time with food. It doesn't have to be eating food. Cooking satisfies me too. If I spend four hours cooking for a dinner party, I'm not hungry by mealtime. I'll taste a dish, like a fork's worth, and that's it. If I cooked for a living, I'd be thin. Next week in Tahoe, I may actually lose weight. But if I'm just reheating leftovers, the inner Wilbur emerges.

    That's different from cravings for a particular sort of food, be it steak or leafy greens. I think that is your body telling you it needs meat or vegetables or another food group like rocky road ice cream.

    Horses - my neighbor and I were sitting around a couple evening ago, smoking cigars, talking about things we want to do. He wants to get in shape (recovering from rotator cuff surgery) to ride horses again. He grew up on horses as a boy, delivered papers on his horse, went off into the mountains for days on his horse, rode in parades. I want to get a proper motorcycle, not a sportbike or cruiser, but some sort of vintage naked bike. Reminds me of when my little cousin and I would argue for hours over which was better, a pony or a minibike.

  • 12 years ago
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    Annie, would you be interested in talking more about how you lost the 80 lb? In particular, how you cooked during that period?

  • 12 years ago
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    John, "---The whole exercise thing still puzzles me.-----"

    It puzzles me also.

    After millions of years of adaptation, our bodies have learned to handle all kinds of food intake optimization perfectly without exercise. But is our body designed for rigorous working out?

    I understand that under normal conditions, a reasonable amount of physical activity can enhance health for those who lead a sedentary life style. However, interesting thing is that excessive weight gain happens exactly when people start artificially to exercise and joining fitness clubs.

    True, logically, if you move, you expend calories. But I would not be surprised if exercise beyond general daily activities may actually make you eat more food, and also cause your metabolism to be hyper-efficient in extracting every single calorie from food.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, DC, that has not been my experience. Exercise make me feel so much better and helps me loose weight. I blame a lot of our health problems on a sedendary lifestyle. Of course one does need to be reasonable. I hate to exercise. But when I lived in the wilderness for three months, walking up and down mountains everyday and running around with kids, swimming, hauling food and dishes back and forth from the supply room, using hand pumped water for cooking and washing up, gathering, chopping and stacking firewood, etc., etc., etc., I was in the best health of my life. All my previous menstrual disorders disappeared, and I could sleep on a dime. I was slim and didn't need to diet. I did end up throwing my back out, but it got better. That is one of the downsides to being physically active--trying to avoid injury. BF is in great shape, he enjoys exercise (too bad you don't live closer John, he loves tennis and is always bummed he can't find anyone to play with), but he fell off his bike last week and injured his ribs, :(

    Exercise, at least for me, helps stem cravings too. If I have a weird craving for something I know is bad for me (and I'm not actually just hungry), then going for a walk helps, and lifts my mood to boot. If you don't exercise, the amount of calories you need to take in to avoid gaining weight is so small that it makes life no fun and unnatural. Incorporating exercise into an on-the-go and sedentary lifestyle is not easy, it is a huge struggle for me, but I don't question the benefits, they are also huge.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Exercise does not lift my spirits, LOL, it just ticks me off and makes me grumpy, although my pedometer did say I walked 3.8 miles last night finishing up the electrical wire for my fence.

    John, I cooked much like I always did, although I was more mindful of technique. I still had both girls at home and they had to eat and I didn't want to inflict my dietary misfortunes on my perfectly slender and beautiful daughters, so I cooked for them as I always did. I did tend to make dishes that they loved and I don't care as much for, like tuna noodle casserole, and they were happy and it was easier for me to control portions.

    I literally ate half of everything, without changing my basic cooking or eating habits. I have always eaten healthy foods, not necessarily prepared in healthy ways. Vegetables play a big part in my cooking, so I made lots of those and I got to eat as many of them as I wanted. That included potatoes and corn and butternut squash, whatever.

    Now, if I wanted abaked potato with chili for supper, it was different, unlimited vegetables were consumed plain. I could have added unlimited fruit, but I don't much like fruit. Eh. I see no reason to consume something I don't really like and waste calories, and many of the same nutrients are found in vegetables, so I just eat more of those.

    Beef is grassfed, eggs from our own hens, vegetable from the grden. Pork we raised ourselves, so I had much control over our food supply. Since I don't have dairy cattle, that was purchased. Amanda is lactose intolerant and Ashley didn't care, so it was skim milk, homemade yogurt, low fat cottage cheese. I don't much care for green leafy salads but like cooked greens, so that was my tradeoff there.

    Anyway, in the end I walked to and from work daily, 2 miles. I sucked it up and did a Pilates video nightly. yes, every single night. ugh.

    And I ate half of everything. Want a grilled cheese? OK, half of it. Cookie with your coffee in the afternoon? OK, half of it. Half a baked potato with chili. One egg and one piece of toast, not two eggs. Half of a bagel. it was simple, it was easy. I didn't count calories. I didn't cut out entire food groups. I didn't swear off chocolate for the rest of my life.

    And I drank all the coffee I wanted!

    Oh, but I still walk to work and I get lots of exercise farming.

    As for horses and mini bikes, I had a similar conversation with my nephews who have 4 wheelers. They bragged long and loud about how they could go anywhere I could. OK, we headed for the Manistee National Forest. I went up sandy banks. They folled me. I went OVER downed trees, but they eventually found ways around. Finally I grew tired of playing and headed for the pond. About chest deep, Copenhagen stopped as I sat with my feet propped up behind me. They boys pulled up on the 4 wheelers to find me grinning. I said "come on out, you can go ANYWHERE I can go".

    They laughed and admitted defeat, but they still have 4 wheelers and I still have a horse. Which I do have to feed even when I'm not riding him, and they don't have to buy gas unless they're riding. But if they fall off and break a leg, their machines won't drag them home and they don't come running because they are happy to see them.

    It's a trade off, and an argument that can never be won, I think.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That broken leg thing didn't really happen, did it?!

  • 12 years ago
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    I recently read an interesting article (and of course, can't remember where I saw it) arguing that perhaps the modern multiple-small-meals-a-day-is-best theory has backfired because it's programmed many people into thinking that it's okay to snack all day long. So those who can religiously stick to proper portion control may do great (and it likely is best for metabolism), but those who struggle may end up eating more than if they limited themselves to two or three "regular" meals, with a single, or no snack.

    The author discussed how, back in the day, the average American wouldn't dare eat in the workplace, at school, etc., other than lunch. I remember those days, and found it interesting when I discussed snacking a few years ago with someone much younger, who is an obsessively "clean" eater. She simply couldn't comprehend that idea that not everyone can stop work and eat a snack at a programmed time.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Most of the people at my church can't go 2 hours without coffee, water, soft drinks or bathroom breaks!
    This morning I was thinking it would be nice to have a cup of coffee during the sermon. Maybe!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nothing to add at the moment but just wanted to welcome back Bumblebeez's capital B.

  • 12 years ago
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    Oh, that's great! Thanks for pointing it out, I hadn't noticed!

    Hmm, it's not showing up here on my preview page.

  • 12 years ago
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    And now it's gone. Maybe it went on a diet? (grin)


  • 12 years ago
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    I'll dance with you John. Would SWMBO mind?

  • 12 years ago
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    I lost 30 lbs. following the Weight Watcher's plan.
    I've kept it off for about 3 years.
    NO changes to exercise (another "hater" here), however, I rarely sit down. I am doing something all the time when I'm at home. I work in an office though and sit all day.

    The old "Core" plan is basically eating lean meat, plain veggies and whole grains (not whole grain bread, the actual whole grain... popcorn, barley, oats, etc.). A small amount of healthy oils. Five to six servings every day of fruits and veggies. A multi vitamin for insurance!

    I got the junk out of the house and bought low fat dairy products.
    Limited my "starch" to once per day and it had to be whole wheat pasta OR brown rice OR a potato.

    I learned to eat until "satisfied" not stuffed.

    Not saying it will work for everyone, but it's been a lifestyle change for us that is working.
    Yes, I still have wine and the "occasional" meal that doesn't fit into the plan. We only eat out about once per month, or less so when we do, I enjoy it, but not necessarily indulge in horrible things. Did that. Felt like yesterday's trash later.

    I used to be able to down a couple of orders of large fries and not blink. Now, can't finish one before the "fat" catches up with me and it just doesn't taste good, I feel awful.

    Tastbuds and body reactions really do change over time. But not overnight!

    Find something you can actually LIVE with.
    I kind of use the mentality that "if it wasn't food 100 years ago, I'm NOT eating it".
    There are a few exceptions...... LOL

    As far as flavor goes, roasting veggies adds a lot!
    I'll second the smoked meats suggestions. Amazing flavors!
    And John, you can just add some smoker chips to a tin foil packet, poke some holes and toss it in the coals of your gas grill. It's not exactly the same, but still adds flavor.

    Other flavor boosters:
    Carmelized onions.
    Lots of garlic.
    Fresh herbs (especially on those roasted veggies).
    Citrus (ceviche, anyone?)
    Various heat levels of peppers, roasted or not.
    Toasted nuts.
    Strong cheeses in small quantities.

    Most of all, enjoy the journey!


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am taking the advice here, and thank you all for it.

    Starting tomorrow, I am commuting by bicycle. I've mapped out a route that keeps me off the busiest streets. I live in Portland, it is flat and pro-bike, I really have no excuse.

    This weekend, I'm going to start doing a weekly lap swim in the local community pools. My 11 y/o son is becoming a good swimmer and - role reversal! - I'll have him give me tips. If I get my water legs back, I may take some professional lessons. I'd like to be able to do the butterfly some day before I'm too old. At very least, I need to re-learn how to swim for survival. I couldn't believe what a feeble swimmer I was, on the lake this week in windy chop. For someone who considers himself still a kayaker, that's not good.

    I'm going to keep my kayaks assembled and SWMBO and I will make time for a weekly, or at least biweekly, paddle in the local waters (the Willamette).

    There's a couple of nearby gyms I may check out, but I'm not really convinced our family needs a membership at a fancy gym. I'm not interested in zumba classes or group stretching. My weight training goals are, I think, pretty modest = bodyweight and dumbbell stuff. The stuff I would like to learn, or in some cases re-learn, isn't available at those gyms (tennis, karate). Most private gyms here appear to be strictly "adult fitness"-oriented, with nothing at all for kids (besides a day care) and not much by way of actual sports (unless you consider yoga a sport). The facilities and activities at the local parks and rec centers actually look a lot better for a family. We'll try out different options and see.

    Oh, and everything in dinner tonight was either deep-fried (breaded fish), sauteed in butter (squash), or baked in milk and stock (potatoes)! I guess I'm not taking all of the advice . . .

  • 12 years ago
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    I honestly think exercise will help curb your appetite. And it sounds like what you're proposing you might find you actually enjoy and ads other quality aspects to your life. And I totally agree with Deanna and some other folks here, the palate CAN be retrained to some extent, particularly with regards to cravings for sweets. It takes time though. Here's another example of how you can retrain yourself--BF used to watch TV every night and said he needed the TV to fall asleep. Since he has moved in with me, (where there is no TV and plenty of other stuff to keep him busy), he no longer even wants to watch TV, with the exception of his beloved Green Bay Packers games, which we go out for. We don't even watch movies all that much, and when we do, it seems like a treat, rather than an addiction. But the key was, we substituted TV with other things we enjoy, so it wasn't deprivation, I think that's the key to exercise and eating right--sub unhealthy habits for healthy ones, but try to find ones you enjoy. So you can think of it as adding positive, fun things to your life rather than taking away things you want or need. Like I said before, right now I don't have trouble dieting or exercising--the weather isn't as hot and humid anymore and nature is providing a bounty of delicious produce for the table. Carpe diem!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow. It turns out my office building has a fitness center, showers, lockers - free for tenants. Who knew? Well, people who are into being fit, I guess, which apparently wasn't me before now. That will save me $X/month and schlepping to a gym whenever I want to use machines. Cool. Almost makes up for being blown off by assorted cycling grandmas, pregnant pedalers, and one-legged bicyclists on the ride home. My bike must be too heavy. That's definitely it.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So I've been eating like a good boy, no junk food, no pork belly (waaaa), none of the foods that the naughty mme corbel keeps hinting about. Maybe 1X week I have ten (not eleven) potato chips - and then I log each one. My friend brought over his awesome creme brulees for dinner. I had one teaspoon. Pasta is metered out in 3 oz doses. The rest of the time, it is fish, chicken, lean meat, veggies, fruit, blah blah.

    Today was the last day in our office. We are moving to temporary space 10 blocks away while our new offices, just 13 floors above, are built out. No, we didn't get the timing figured very well. So our assistant orders in pizza for everyone. She is probably a size 1 so that explains this wanton cruelty.

    I had a slice of pepperoni pizza (240 cal). OMG. In less than 5 minutes I felt sick to my stomach. It is 5 hours later, and I still feel sick.

    How can I be an American and not be able to stomach takeout pizza? Isn't that illegal, or at least unpatriotic? It's like a Chinaman who can't eat rice, an Eskimo who can't eat blubber, a Frenchwoman who can't eat whatever they eat that doesn't get them fat. Next thing to go will be lite beer and NASCAR.

    I think I'm going to make a pizza next week. Maybe I can eat pizza, just not really bad pizza.

    One of you is going to say "you're on a diet". I'm not saying who, but merde, I am.

  • 12 years ago
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    So, have you lost any weight?

  • 12 years ago
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    Well, when we started this thread, I was 188 lb, shortly thereafter I "whooshed" down to 184 lb, and now I sit, fidgeting, at 182-185 lb (typical range of day to day fluctuation for me), counting my calories, doing my exercise, waiting for the next "whoosh". That, the w-word, is actually a technical term in diet circles. In which I now, err, circulate. The problem with a borderline obsessive nature is that you get on a jag and are sucked in. The family is exasperated. Enough already, they eye-roll-mutter. Fortunately, a short attention span helps you snap out before reaching Unabomber stage. Mental squirrel.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I made grilled stuffed portabellas with all the stuffings made of pizza ingredients--cheese, olives, veggies, I guess you could do some kind of meats. Anyway, it tasted good like pizza but without the carbs.

  • 12 years ago
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    johnliu, a few years ago I was given an interesting article that changed the way I cook and feed my family:

    Walter Willett is chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

  • 12 years ago
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    Oh, John, I'm proud of you!!! Really!!! I'm on a diet and know how you feel. I'm also having pizza for dinner tomorrow because we always do - a splurge once a week doesn't make you fat!
    Below is a recipe that's so delicious that you won't feel you're being deprived. So low in calories that it'll compensate for the pizza ;)
    Alors, bon apetit et ne fais pas la tete parce-que je te veux du bien hahaha

    Here is a link that might be useful: Roast pork with couscous and ginger yogurt.

  • 12 years ago
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    By the way, did you bring out the inner fish? I walk an hour every day and swim twice a week.

  • 12 years ago
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    I hate saying it, but really the best way to lose weight is to lose your obsession with food. Stop cooking. Stop reading and posting here. Go get obsessed with a non food related something. Put food and all it's glory on the back burner in the far corner of the garage. Don't try and come up with a hundred ways to cook salmon or oysters.
    Sad, but it works.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    mme islay "ne fais pas la tete"

    Je le sais bien, mon amie, meme si j'oublie parfois d'ajouter le symbole :-)

    I'm swimming weekly now, and will try to get that to 2X week.

    bumblebeez "really the best way to lose weight is to lose your obsession with food. Stop cooking."

    If I were obsessed with eating, that is what I'd do. As it turns out, my interest is in cooking, not eating. The more I cook, the less I eat. As far as I can tell, if I spend 0 hours cooking a meal (i.e. SWMBO cooks, we get takeout, or I pull leftovers from the refrigerator) then I tend to eat 1-2X the "normal" amount at that meal. If I spend a half-hour or so less cooking, I'll eat 1X the normal amount. As I spend more and more time, I eat less and less. At dinner parties involving hours of cooking, I don't eat at all, other than tasting to see how the dish came out.

    Weird, huh? Does anyone else have that behaviour?

    Lately, I'm actually having the problem of not eating enough.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sometimes the "tasting" adds up though so while it may seem like you're eating less, you may be eating just as much if not more than when you get take out, etc. Sometimes that tasting also continues when packing up the leftovers, I find.

    Though if you're only tasting the final product, you're probably ok unless you have to taste it half a dozen times! I have definitely been guilty of that, especially if it's something yummy or I'm paranoid it didn't come out correctly.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Did you see this?

    some discouraging news

  • 12 years ago
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    "As it turns out, my interest is in cooking, (and baking) not eating. The more I cook, the less I eat.

    Weird, huh? Does anyone else have that behavior?"

    YES! ! !

    And I usually do very little tasting.
    In fact, I don't taste at all
    when preparing familiar recipes.
    Tasting is reserved for new and unfamiliar recipes.

    Except when baking cookies.
    I would so much rather eat the cookies
    before they are baked,
    Then after.

    I have been following this thread with interest,
    As I could stand to lose several pounds.
    Because of health issues,
    Exercise is a real problem.
    So I have nothing of value to add to this conversation,
    But was glad to know I am not the only "weirdo"
    That gets more fun out of preparing food,
    Than eating it!


  • 12 years ago
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    hhireno "Did you see this?"

    Yes, and it makes sense. I started out thinking of metabolism as a simple machine, X calories in - Y calories out = Z lbs lost. I'm realizing our bodies are much more complicated.

    Biologically, we want to be fat. For most of our evolutionary existence, fat was good. It meant we had plenty of food, when starving was the main worry (that, and being eaten). Our bodies are evolved to store fat, to hold on to that fat, to fight losing fat. When our body senses that we are getting too few calories, it works to protect us from dying, even if that means we don't fit into our bikinis. One thing it does is slow our metabolism. Hence, a very heavy person can lose weight more easily than a less heavy person. And people who have very low body fat levels start losing their reproductive functions - periods, for women, sexual function, for men. Not an issue for me, alas, or should that be yaay.

    Anyway, I'm finding the whole diet thing all very interesting. Intellectually, that is. The actual speed of weight loss is not exactly challenging my math skills.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "---Biologically, we want to be fat. For most of our evolutionary existence, fat was good. It meant we had plenty of food, when starving was the main worry (that, and being eaten). Our bodies are evolved to store fat, to hold on to that fat, to fight losing fat.---"

    I am not sure I would agree with that.

    Overwhelmingly, the human race had always been in locations where food was plentiful. Starvation was relatively rare.
    In accordance with survival of the fittest theorem, overweight individuals had a lesser chance of make it, and they didn't. That's why obesity had never been a problem, and it is still not a problem today in many parts of the world.

    Furthermore, in the mating game, overweight people used to have a lesser chance of finding a mate to produce off springs and to pass on the genes.

    All that has changed.

    People go crazy working out, dieting or by surgery to lose weight while dating. Of course, after they are married, the genes are still they same.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here are various interesting things to read

    Humans are the only mammals that evolved to lack a certain gene. This lack makes us more prone to obesity (and diabetes). If we evolved to lack this gene, there was likely some survival advantage to doing so.

    Also states that humans are more prone to obesity than other mammals. Suggests that human development, both where we migrated to and our development of agriculture, made the ability and propensity to store fat a survival advantage.

    A long-winded, but interesting, discussion of the same.

    I'm not sure humans are evolved to regions where food is plentiful. Humans developed agriculture, and societies with agriculture had huge advantages, as evidenced by the fact that they mostly took over from (i.e. wiped out) the hunter-gatherer cultures. If food were always plentiful, would having agriculture be such an advantage?

    And I think that until recently (like, last hundred years or so), being fat was attractive. The "beautiful people" of the day, as painted by Rembrandt, Renoir, Gaugain, etc etc, were often corpulent, and the artist lovingly portrayed them as such, even in nudes. Being fat meant you weren't working yourself to death as a serf. You had access to rich foods. You were successful and wealthy, and - some things never change - being successful and wealthy is attractive to potential mates.

  • 12 years ago
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    Not sure if you all will be interested, but I'm sharing the website that I've been using. My personal trainer, who is very health conscious and very thin, gave me this website. The author loves to cook, is committed to preparing food that tastes richer and more sinful than it really is. For each recipe she provides, she gives the nutritional info, and the old and new Weight Watchers' points. I've tried several of the recipes and think they are very good. Hope this helps those of you looking for new ideas, while trying to curb the calories & fat.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Skinny Taste

  • 12 years ago
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    Yowza, 9" x 6" of her Lavash pizza has only 200 cal? I am so making that. Thank you very much!

  • 12 years ago
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    A lot of the science is fascinating, but I think you need to simplify it all or it's just too time-consuming and complicated to work long term.
    I need to lose 10 to 15 kgs. I've lost 2.9 in a month by watching (not counting) calories and above all, portion control. Example, a bowl of breakfast cereal isn't a bowl, it's a paltry 30 or 40 grams! A steak is 125g a piece of non fatty fish 200g. We're simply eating too much a lot of the time.

  • 12 years ago
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    How is everyone doing, my fellow dieters?

    I am unfortunately going to give a mixed report.

    On the exercise front, things are sort of good. I've stuck to my commute-by-bike every day vow, and have found, I think, the clothing and gloves that make the weather manageable. Altnough it's been as low as 32.5 F on my trip in, the rides have been tolerable, if still rather chilly. (Haven't encountered real soaking, bone-chilling rain yet, though.) I put clipless pedals on my commute bike and I like the difference in pedaling action. It feels like I'll be able to tone up the backs of my legs (calves, hamstrings, gluteus?), not just the fronts (quadriceps?). In fact I'm noticing some small change in the (visual) shape of my legs.

    I've even started riding purely for exercise. This morning I got up at 6 am and rode to a nearby park that includes winding roads climbing to the top of a local landmark hill (an extinct volcano, as it turns out). It's a popular place for runners, cyclists, and people looking for a view over the valley. The hill is only 640 feet, so still just a bunny climb, but I'm pretty sure that a month ago I'd have panted and labored, pushing the wrong gear, burning up my knees. Now I've learned enough about riding that I just stayed in the saddle and spun up the hill - not totally breezing up, but basically the climb wasn't any big deal. Since this is the "biggest" hill near my house, I'll need to make myself climb it faster, or go up and down multiple times.

    Last night I was volunteering at a wine tasting event that the kids' school does each year. I'm always one of the bartenders. This year I was paired up with a friend who is a bike nut. He's invited me to join his group's weekend mountain bike rides, so I want to build up my legs so that I can join them, and keep up. Don't want to get dropped by the pack, you know.

    The bad thing is that I'm hungrier, and it's hard to stick to the calorie level that seems to produce rapid weight loss for me. I've been missing my target fairly often, and it feels like my body wants more food. So I've started packing a bento-type lunch, as mentioned in another thread, in hopes that at least my calories will be healthy ones.

    But at the wine tasting last night there were terrific cheeses, including a particularly creamy D'Affinois, several types of pate, stuffed figs, chocolate truffles . . . and wine, champagne, and cassis (I'm a sucker for kir royale). We all know alcohol is death to diets, but there's this particular winery that comes every year with their best vintage, called Laurene, and as I don't usually drink $65/bottle wine, I figured, to hell with my diet.

    That's why I was out riding at 6 this morning! It was the guilt.

    Hope you all are being better dieters than I am.

  • 12 years ago
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    Sadly, no!I've decided, as I'm not hugely overweight, to aim to fight the terrible, slippery, upward slope that the scales seem to mount all by themselves. Just to stay the same weight or lose slowly.
    Recently, we've had a birthday, friends staying, meals with friends etc..... and I didn't leave my friends and family in England 22 years ago to sit here drinking tea and water either so wine is essential to my diet hahaha.It's all about eating healthily for us.
    Also, I'm still being treated for breast cancer so I NEED treats hahaha.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've often wondered how hard it would be to diet in a country with wonderful but not particularly diet-friendly food like France - or China. From very little experience of Japan, I can see how I'd manage to diet there.

    But, let's fantasize, if I were living in France, how could I pass up the food? Sure, portions aren't as oversized outside the US. I've gone to restaurants with my friend in Marseilles and he, a 6' 2" man, has an entree that is smaller than an appetizer in most American restaurants. And I suppose fewer cars and more walking, in most European cities, always helps. People in Manhattan are usually slim. But still . . . no, I don't think I'll have that tartine after all, and non merci, pas de rilettes pour moi. Gosh, I can't even form my mouth around the words.

    I have a couple of modern French "cooking light" cookbooks. I guess they are for Parisian women on a regime. The food just doesn't look that appealing, compared to my "old-school" French cookbooks.

    Well, I'm going to try for another month or two to get back into serious slimming-down mode. If that doesn't work, I'll give up on getting thinner and get on with trying to muscle up. tricia has convinced me that the two aren't inconsistent - for her. I'm not convinced that is true for me - I don't think I have her determination. Being a basically lazy person over here.

  • 12 years ago
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    You're such a good and imaginative good cook that you'll find a way that works for you.

  • 12 years ago
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    Just bumping for our CF dieters to check in, if they wish.

    As we've just finished the excesses of Thanksgiving and are heading into the perils of the holidays, it seemed a good time . . .

    I've been fairly bad. Have I been exploring new low-calorie recipes? Non. Eating more vegetables? Nein. Eliminated red meat, fried foods, butter, oil, dairy? Nada. Switched us to entirely Indian and Japanese cuisine?. Ha.

    So my progress on the scale has been nil. But I'm still riding my bike to work every day, rain or more rain, and getting up early on the weekends to cycle up a local hill over and over. I was feeling pretty chuffed about my progress, until I learned that the guy I've been chasing up that hill every Saturday and Sunday has arthritis in his hips and back, and powers up the hill simply to lubricate his aging joints. How deflating. My daughter now taunts me when I return. "Have you caught the arthritic old guy yet, Daaaaady?". Youth is cruel. Still, I think I'm getting fitter and faster. SWMBO has been doing far better than I, she's buying jeans 4 sizes down from what she had been wearing. Show-off.

    I was good at Thanksgiving dinner, though, and have been packing healthy bento lunches everyday. You know, it turns out that not parking downtown and bringing lunch has noticeable financial benefits too. I figure about $400/month. My scale stagnation may reflect my fatter wallet, I'm not sure.

    Any stories of diet and non-diet to share?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    No, but you made me laugh. Your daughter's funny too hahaha

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The bad thing is that I'm hungrier, and it's hard to stick to the calorie level that seems to produce rapid weight loss for me. I've been missing my target fairly often, and it feels like my body wants more food. So I've started packing a bento-type lunch, as mentioned in another thread, in hopes that at least my calories will be healthy ones.

    This is a classic example of dieting vs. lifestyle changes. Dieting is a temporary way of eating with the goal of losing weight, while lifestyle changes are a permanent change in one's lifestyle with the ultimate goal of improving one's health in all areas including weight loss (if it's necessary).

    IMO when someone says they "can't lose weight", what they really mean is "I can't lose weight as fast as I want to", and so they give up. The "diet" industry has brainwashed us into thinking that if we don't lose at least 1-2 pounds per week, then something must be wrong, and that's a big lie.

    Choose fruit over chips -- not because they're a "diet" food or "low-cal" but because fruit is a much healthier choice than fried potato chips. Eat a salad full of veggies with lean chicken -- not because it's a "diet" meal but because it's full of healthy nutrients that are good for you! Include a piece of 100% whole grain bread if you want and even a little bit of butter -- yes, butter! Take smaller servings (and only one of each -- don't go back for seconds) and skip the gravy and creamy sauces --- they're not necessary if food is well-seasoned. Eat smaller amounts more frequently. Don't skip lunch if you're planning a nice dinner out -- just eat a smaller dinner (dinner out doesn't have to mean overeating). Have a dish of ice cream now and then, just not most days of the week. Don't eat "diet" foods (low-fat cookies, etc) --- just skip those snacks altogether and eat the real thing only on special occasions.

    That's how I slowly lost 50 pounds several years ago, about 1-2 pounds per month, eating ~1800 calories a day of healthy food choices and increasing my exercise, and have kept off every single ounce even during holidays and stressful times. During the holidays I don't eat as many cookies because "I don't do that anymore", simple as that. I dropped those bad habits and they're not a part of my life anymore.

    Prior to losing weight I had acid reflux and have a family history of diabetes. The acid reflux is completely gone (without taking a single purple pill) and probably so is my risk of diabetes.

    I don't have the metabolism of a race horse; I'm a typical middle-aged woman with a desk job. I made simple but important permanent lifestyle changes in eating and exercise, and I stuck with it and persevered no matter how slowly the scales budged, and some months they didn't budge at all!

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