I'm on Day 11 of the Fit Food Challenge which includes link to the "diet and nutrition" board and challenges us to post here and get more involved in the SparkPeople community.
Because I am trying to keep up with the challenges, I am indeed posting here, but may have selected the wrong thread to post on. There's more negativity on this thread than I've seen anywhere else in the SP community.
I have to say I've not been one who has been very involved in the community on SparkPeople, despite it being one of the ingredients to success here. The main reason for this, for me anyway, is that I found success without that being a significant part of my SP experience.
My one tip for getting back on track would be to commit to being honest with yourself. For me, it began with committing myself to tracking my food accurately and without judgment. I've regularly been using SP for nearly 3 years and I've lost over 40 pounds and have kept it off. It was the act of tracking my foods daily - without fail - so I could see in black and white how my diet stacked up against recommendations for a healthy diet. I have to say that gave me a very stark reality check. I hadn't known how many calories I was eating, I had not idea how much fat, cholesterol, sodium and other health considerations until I started tracking my food. My diet was really, really out of whack. I was not fueling my body in a way that was sustainable for good health. Faced with the metrics I got from the food tracker daily, I could no longer delude myself about how I was treating my body. It was this knowledge that planted the desire and motivation to change...to want to be more self-caring, to treat my body better.
Any 'diet' I'd ever been on in my life - and I've been a life-long yo-yo dieter - left me feeling deprived and resentful that I couldn't eat whatever I wanted to. Clearly with an attitude like that, it shouldn't have surprised me that I found no success with long term weight loss. Going "on" a diet implies the expectation that I planned to go "off" the diet at some point. Again, not a recipe for success.
So, if you find yourself having a hard time getting back on track, I would recommend the food tracking. Don't even go into necessarily trying to eat any differently than you currently are. Do it more to inform yourself how you're fueling your body. If you're anything like me, what you see in the daily reports might give you enough of a reality check to want to try to commit to making healthier choices. And, don't try to overhaul your daily diet overnight. Make little changes. ADD things to your diet - like eat at least 1 fruit to your diet 3 times a week. And then add 1 vegetable to your diet 3 times per week, etc. Don't start off with taking away. Feeling deprived at the beginning will make it hard to stick with. As you do this, you're building healthier choices and you might build momentum and have the courage to keep making changes - to take better care of yourself.
If you work on yourself with an attitude of self-care, it will be much more motivating and will be more sustainable than if your approaching "getting back on track" from a perspective of guilt and shame. That's not sustainable. Worse than not being sustainable...it's counter-productive.
Most people I know would take a comment like "Of course he isn't going to make his tracker public--that would require work, consistency and commitment. It would also require being open to reasonable feedback and not over-reacting like a petulant tween" as an insult. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to imply that tracking is of the utmost importance, and that you do have to be successful. If it wasn't that important, then why insult him like that?
It seems like HiJ feels the same way. You know, there ARE REAL PEOPLE behind these profiles. Obviously, being called a "petulant tween" bothered him. There are certain things that hit me the wrong way. It doesn't mean people have wrong intentions. I am just bothered by different things than other people. If I say something that seems to BOTHER a person, I apologize. I don't continue to insult the person. That's just mean. ----- HiJ-
I was rereading your post, and I noticed something that seems to contradict itself.
"I am not the best at tracking but I know that counting calories is really the only way to be successful with this"
Two questions (ok, more really, but you get the point) I really want you to answer:
1. Why aren't you the best at tracking? What happens when you start or stop tracking?
2. Why do you say that counting calories is the ONLY way to be successful with this?
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
3,116 11/15/13 11:59 A
My advice would be to make one small change at a time toward healthy eating.
Azul- Some people don't like having their tracker public. It's his right. I knew, for a time, I wasn't aware you could make your tracker public or private. Rather than criticizing, perhaps it would be better to offer a link explaining the process to make his tracker public- if he chooses.
Of course, there's also a possibility that he doesn't care for tracking on here. I know I prefer other websites for tracking because the database on Sparkpeople is lacking compared to other websites. Whatever the reason, there is really no excuse for those comments.
Jersey- I definitely understand where you are coming from with all the "conflicting" information. Just go on Netflix or Youtube. You can watch one documentary that talks about the health benefits of eating a plant based diet. Then, you can see another one that says that you can see great benefits by eat a low carb diet that is HIGHER in saturated animal fats.
Both documentaries give some great information, but a lot of it is conflicting. I'm not sure I can find a single food that EVERYONE agrees is good for you. None. Even things like vegetables have mixed views. Some people say to cook everything. Other people say you should cook NOTHING.Even water isn't always "safe." I've heard cold water is bad for you, but others say it's good. Nobody can agree on ANYTHING.
Personally, I am doing pretty well with cutting out certain chemicals MOST of the time. Still, that might not be the best approach for everyone- especially if you are not into cooking your own food. I definitely think you can do well if you start reading labels. Instead of Kraft Mac and Cheese, go for Annie's (the Organic White Cheddar is the best option). There are a lot of different healthy convenience foods that don't have hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.
I miss Sparkpeople's "Spark Stages". They used to encourage making small changes. Maybe that approach would work for you- especially with the holidays. How big are your plates? How often do you get fast food? Do you drink soda of any kind? How often? Why not list some of your known "unhealthy habits?" I'm sure people here would be able to related and share advice on changing some into healthier ones.
You asked what foods to get to make meals: why not buy a pound of lean ground beef, make packs of 3 oz patties ( get a scale), freeze, pull one out for each meal. Buy broccoli, spinach, beets, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, Romaine lettuce, lo fat salad dressing. Buy a few apples, bananas, pears to snack. Avoid frozen ready to eat foods. You can boil/steam the veggies in a pot with a cup of water for 5-7 minutes. Use olive oil to lightly fry a chicken breast, again, buy and freeze portion sizes of chicken so you can pull it up in the nutrition tracker to record calories. Use a tablespoon and measuring cup and scale to make portions then plug it in to SP to record what you eat. You may notice I don't list rice, bread or potatoes because they are loaded with wasted calories as is sugar. Hope this answers your question.
Azul, why are your posts consistently insulting and negative? I came on here looking for advice from others that are in a similar situation as me and I appreciate most of the suggestions I have gotten. I do not, however, appreciate the rude comments from you. I know that you may use these boards as an outlet to vent your frustrations, but most (myself included) are looking for genuine support that is not clouded with the negative commentary you dole out. In my original reply to you, I never mentioned anything about your age or physical characteristics, I only criticized the content of your post. For you to judge me based on my age (calling me a 'petulant tween') just shows that you are severely lacking in maturity. That kind of negativity just brings the community down. As I said previously, please keep your snarky comments to yourself and off the message boards, or in the very least off of my posts! Thank you!
Fitness Minutes: (3,094)
5 11/13/13 7:51 P
I eat small portions and healthy choices at shorter intervals. I try to plan so I am knowing what good things i have coming up. I am less likely to eat things I shouldnt or when I shouldnt
Hi, having a lot of weight to lose, I found "taking scheduled breaks" every few months, never binging but allowing somewhat more of the foods I enjoy. I was always careful Not to gain much back., I allow only a one week break for each season, getting back on track well motivated and a updated mindset. This small break satisfies me physically and emotionally so jumping back on track is never a problem.
HOTINJERSEY- this is my advice. I give it to new comers and old comers consistently. It works, if you work it.
WHY are you on this journey? If you say to lose weight and get fit, I hate to say that is just not enough. It won't keep you on the path. What i mean is to go deeper. Why do you want to lose weight? What do you you hope to accomplish? I find doing it for myself isn't enough either. I am on this journey to 100% health for my nieces and nephews. I love each of them to death and want to be around for them a long time. i want to play hide and seek, I want to dance at their weddings, I want to hold their kids, I want to take them shopping, I want to see them graduate. i want to climb mountains with them.
Mostly when I am in my 90's i want to go on cruises. i don't want to be in a nursing home. I want to leave a legacy behind me.
See where I am going? All the articles in the world can't give you what your BIG WHY can. yes, they can guide but if you are not ready in your mind all the guidance from articles and advice from others is going t fall on deaf ears.
Once you figure out your big why, you will want to lose weight. you will want to get off your butt and exercise. You will want to eat healthy. you will want to get off all medications. Then reading articles and such may mean something more.
There is no one single plan that works for everyone. You need to find what works best for you. this is not something you just achieve and then are done. No way. This is something that you have to be willing to fight for the rest of your life.
Fitness Minutes: (5,730)
2,401 11/12/13 1:11 P
Do you want to make your tracker public for more feedback?
Azul, Unfortunately for me it is not as easy as reading an article or two and being able to figure this whole thing out. There is so much conflicting information out there as far as losing weight is concerned. While it may be simple for you that is not the case for everyone else. I'd appreciate if you kept your snide comments to yourself as they are not welcome here. Thanks!
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 11/5/13 2:43 P
If you can't figure things out with ALL of the free information available on SparkPeople...well, I am not sure what to tell you. There should be more than enough ideas here to get you started.
Is cooking the problem? Perhaps taking some cooking classes or having someone help you learn to cook would be helpful.
Follow the diet, track what you eat and stick with it. If you fall off the wagon, start fresh the next day.
Fitness Minutes: (6,866)
905 11/4/13 11:38 A
I was wayyyy off track since having my baby. I tried to get back into the healthy swing a couple of times and just couldn't stick to it. For me it's pretty much all about my eating because I'm fairly active in general. About two weeks ago I decided I was ready and promised myself to do it. Every night I put what I'm going to eat for the next day into my tracker so that I know my day will work if I just follow it. I always stick to the lower end of my calorie range in case I feel like an extra something. I'm already down almost 5 pounds. Once it starts to work and I feel good then it's easier to continue. Now I'll add it some more exercise and things will get moving even faster. Feeling great! You can do this!
Fitness Minutes: (40,467)
563 11/4/13 8:54 A
First of all... I totally understand where you are. Been there too.
I found Sparkpeople's mix and match meal planner and a small notebook for a food diary quite helpful. For me writing it down in my own handwriting makes me feel more committed and engaged. No matter what, don't give up. Even if you can focus on one healthy meal a day, you are making progress.
I take this one day at a time, rather than "once and for all". Each morning I pray to my higher power to help me choose healthy food in the right portions that show respect for my body. At the end of the day, I thank my higher power for helping me stay on track. I use Chris Powell's approach, 5 meals a day and a "cheat day" on Sunday. If I see something outside my food plan that I want, I put that down as something I can have on Sunday. There is a Chris Powell team here on SP.
if you keep falling off, stop trying to do so much at once. instead of expecting to magically be able to change your whole diet all at once, make little changes to what you eat off the wagon. it can take six weeks to change one habit, and you're trying to change several dozen of them at once. yes, some people can do it, but most people can't. doing all of that at once is a bit like deciding that you're going to walk around backwards all day, jump over cracks, only take left hand turns on the way to work, spin around three times every time you cross a threshold and do jazz hands everytime someone says that. how long do you think you could last doing that? changing everything you eat is the dietary version of that. so don't start where you want to be, start where you are. which means that if you would usually have a sandwich for lunch, have a sandwich for lunch. perhaps spend a few minutes in the grocery store the next time you need it reading bread labels. buy some spinach or lettuce to add to your sandwich if you weren't using it already. make sure you have tomato and onion available to slice on as well. if you're more adventurous or vegetarian, consider roasting up some veggie slices to toss on there as well [a little cheese or hummus helps them stay in the sandwich]. look around this week for a good looking veggie soup recipe. make up a big pot on the weekend and store in individual serving size containers. store most of them in the freezer. then all you have to do is grab one of those and heat it up to have with your sandwich. most of healthier cooking is just finding a way to add veggies to what you like and eating a little bit less of the other stuff. so if you have a pizza night, make sure you're having salad too. if you love steak and baked potatoes then add in a serving of broccoli on the side. if you love mac, work on adding in zucchini, squash, peppers, onions, broccoli cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach or any other veggie you can think of. one of my new favorite ways to have mac and cheese is to have the regular pasta and cheese sauce, but add salsa, black beans, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. it's sort of like the mac and cheese answer to the tostitos salsa and queso. tasty and better for me than plain as well. if you keep making your fallback meals a little better for you than they were before, then you'll get there. because the idea isn't to be perfect off the bat. again, most of us can't do that. the idea is to be the same or a little better than you were before. and by making those little changes, you're actually changing how you do things so that you're less likely to fall off the wagon.
Edited by: NIRERIN at: 11/4/2013 (07:07)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
1,307 11/4/13 4:20 A
Have you tried making small changes so that you don't give up like you said? Do you find certain times are harder then others?
Fitness Minutes: (5,730)
2,401 11/4/13 1:37 A
I would keep it simple for now as you continue to educate yourself and find what specifics fit your life best. Unprocessed foods, standard portions, good sleep, plenty of movement/activity.
Unfortunately, most of it is in your mind. I have all the tools imaginable-and I am in the same boat as you, starting back on track tomorrow. If you are truly ready-you will be able to get it. There's always sparkpeople-where you can turn on your meal plans and just eat what they tell you. You can try to up your veggies and fruits-and let everything else fall into place, or you can figure it out on your own. Eat healthier choices and the foods that you want to-and just track them.
Fitness Minutes: (64,682)
45,220 11/3/13 5:01 P
Hi there! Have you tried setting your nutrition tracker to have Spark automatically tell you what works? Then you can print a grocery list from there. If you really have no idea what's healthy and what's not, that's a great start!
This IS the website I recommend!
Tracking what you eat is super important, but if you don't find the specific thing, picking whatever sounds closest is fine. Don't get too caught up in the details. Being aware is what's important.
Tomorrow I am attempting to finally get myself back on track once and for all. I have been struggling a great deal lately with my diet so I am nervous to start again tomorrow. I am not the best at tracking but I know that counting calories is really the only way to be successful with this. However, when it comes to preparing meals and figuring out the right things to eat, I get so frustrated that I wind up giving up. Im looking for any advice on how to get myself back on track, perhaps suggestions on what food to buy, easy meals to prepare ect. If there are any books or websites you recommend I'd be willing to check those out as well.
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