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NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
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7/15/13 6:23 A

These responses have been so helpful.
I particularly like the idea of thinking about what I should include in my diet rather than what I should exclude.
When I pointed out what I wanted to eat, it was more like highlighting the bad stuff I wanted to include rather than a complete picture of my daily diet. But I definitely do need to include more vegetables and fruit! Lately I've been getting serious Pineapple cravings. I want to eat healthy, it just becomes so confusing when everyone's definition of healthy is different.

7/13/13 2:32 P

I'm so glad I came across this! I too am obsessing with food, and it's causing me to eat more.After a visit with my dr on Tuesday with her encouragement to lose 10% I re-joined sparkpeople, so I'm only 4 days in and going WAY over calories. I was actually physically ill last night because of what I ate :-( As I'm dealing with it I'm telling myself "Isn't this awful? Don't do this again!" But I probably will! It doesn't help that my whole family is gone so there's no one to see me eating like a pig.

STARSHINEFL SparkPoints: (1,072)
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Posts: 158
7/12/13 8:39 P

That's a nice summary, Anarie. emoticon

ANARIE Posts: 13,175
7/12/13 8:26 P

You can eat anything you want. You just can't eat *everything* you want, anytime you want it.

There's nothing "bad" about any of the foods you list. What's more of a problem is what you *don't* list. If you're eating a large bagel, white bread, and white pasta all in one day, you're not leaving enough calories for fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and unsaturated fats. You're okay on cal ories, but you're low on fiber and protein, and probably on vitamins.

You're not eating chips and candy or anything else that's nutritionally useless. Your question isn't really about "good" versus "bad;" it's just about balance. Since you clearly already have a handle on avoiding junk food, an approach you might want to try is to focus more on nutrients and less on calories and/or specific foods. When you open up your tracker and start planning the next day's meals, instead of asking yourself "What foods can I eat and what do I have to skip?" ask, "What am I going to eat to get my fiber and calcium? How am I going to cover my fruit and veggie requirement?" Then once you've covered your needs, if you have calories left, you can work in the less-nutritious options like white bread. It's kind of like doing your homework first and then having permission to do whatever you want with the free time that's left.

What usually happens is that you find compromises that you're perfectly happy to live with. You realize that half a bagel, with peanut butter instead of regular butter, and half a cup of yogurt makes just as nice a breakfast. You find a brand of high-protein, high-fiber pasta, and you make your tuna pasta with 2/3 as much pasta as you used to and add broccoli and peas (or zucchini, or whatever vegetable you like.)

And remember that it's a learning process. At first, just getting rid of junk food is a great step. Then you add more veggies, slowly, over a period of months. You read about new healthy foods, you try them, and you like some and hate others. You realize that some of the foods you thought you couldn't live without really aren't as good as you always thought. Maybe your tastes even change! For example, I don't bother with milk chocolate, store-bought cookies, or boxed cakes anymore. They're just not good enough, when for the same calorie commitment I could have dark chocolate or a nice pastry from a good shop. I used to think I loved those things, but once you've been budgeting calories for a while, you realize you love other things more.

So really... You can eat anything you LOVE and still love weight. You just can't eat everything you kinda/sorta like, more or less. Eat what your body needs first, what you love second, and by then probably you won't be interested in things you just mildly like.

SARAHEKELLER SparkPoints: (4,475)
Fitness Minutes: (5,250)
Posts: 22
7/12/13 5:40 P

Stands for "If it fits into your macros" so yes.

JENSHAINES Posts: 9,226
7/12/13 10:04 A

Hey NinaMae - this is your life, not a diet. You may need to find what works for your body. Making small changes over time may change your tastebuds/cravings. For example, many of the foods you listed would have completely appealed to me several years ago, but they honestly don't now. If I WANTED them, though, I would eat them. I think we're ultimately much more successful when we eat WHAT we want, but keep our focus on health, etc. Maybe you up your exercise. Maybe you introduce one new food a day (or week) and see if you like it. For example, just looking at your cravings/patterns - have you ever tried jicama? It's sweet, crunchy and sort of reminds me of a cinnamon bagel. Yeah, I'm weird. emoticon but maybe that might be something to try. Anyway... it will work as long as you monitor calories, exercise, water, sleep, etc.


FROGMAN2013 SparkPoints: (1,747)
Fitness Minutes: (1,690)
Posts: 77
7/12/13 10:01 A

Yes, and no. People have shown that you can lose weight eating only twinkies, only rice, only fast food.....God bless them!

But, as others have said, you can try eating what you like but in moderation that keeps you in a calorie deficit. If you find that you are happy and satisfied that way, go for it.

The problem for me is that for some foods there is no such thing as moderation. Eating a bagel would lead to cravings for more bagels, donuts, sugar and starch that would drive me crazy with a deep, soul-pounding urge to eat even more. After eating a slice of pizza, the leftovers call to me all night long. But, for me, just avoiding the bagel in the first place isn't that hard. Eating no pieces of pizza means that the leftovers can sit in the fridge all night and not call to me. I find that if I eat something that triggers me, it take me a few DAYS to be back under control again. As much as I might like that bagel, it just isn''t worth the hassle! Sometimes for me, none of a tasty thing is easier than moderation. Now, there are lots of tasty things that do not trigger me. When I am good, those are the things I eat!

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
7/12/13 9:58 A

Within reason, yes you can. There are certain foods that absolutely everyone agrees are not healthy. Those things are hard to fit into a weight loss plan in any significant amounts and no one should really be eating them in large amounts as a matter of course regardless. But everything else? I firmly believe that reducing calories below maintenance and keeping them there for a long time is already enough of a physical and mental strain that people would be best served to minimize any other changes to their preferred diet. In other words, keep things as much the same as possible, just vastly reduce the obvious junk food and cut down other portions as necessary (if even necessary). Work in other dietary changes only if needed to help with meeting calorie goals, or if you really want to, or if your tastes change (as they likely will ).

There'sa practice in addiction counseling of treating one addiction at a time. If you're trying to get someone off heroin, don't make them give up cigarettes at the exact same time. Similar here. The goal is weight loss. Unless dietary changes beyond the bare minimum are actively aiding that goal, they are in my opinion nothing but a distraction and an added motivation to resentment and self sabotage.

KATHRYN592 SparkPoints: (116,633)
Fitness Minutes: (49,574)
Posts: 422
7/12/13 9:47 A

I completely agree with eating anything you enjoy eating...just don't have it all in one meal! Eating is one of the great pleasures in life. People who try to tell you that food is just fuel, and not to be enjoyed, are just fooling themselves. However, delicious choices don't have to be packed with calories. Check out the SparkPeople recipes for proof.
Everything in moderation is my motto. I also agree with the occasional special "treat" meals. I don't like the term "cheat" because it implies that you're doing something wrong. Having a special meal to help someone celebrate a birthday or anniversary is not doing anything wrong. Just remember that it was a special treat and go back to healthy choices for the majority of you meals. And remember to keep active!

NIRERIN Posts: 14,203
7/12/13 8:58 A

i love bagels. my default breakfast is half a bagel with cheese. i don't see this changing. i like it, it's quick and easy and it works for me.
the only thing that strikes me about your day is that it looks a little low in fruits and vegetables. granted that might be because you abbreviate certain meals in certain ways that makes them easy to say, but doesn't give the full story of what's in them. so if your tuna pasta is just tuna, pasta, cheese and canned cream of something soup, you probably do need to work on tweaking it so that it fits in a little better. adding sauteed celery and onion, perhaps some mushrooms, spinach, zucchini or whatever vegetables you happen to like will make what you like a little better for you.
if you want to have a cinnamon raisin bagel with butter for breakfast, fine. but plan on spending some time in the grocery store to pick out a brand of cinnamon raisin bagel that's closer to 200 cals a bagel than 600 and make sure it's got some protein and fiber in it. you may also want to try pairing your bagel and butter with an egg and some vegetables to balance it out.

7/12/13 12:50 A

It depends on your attitude toward that weight loss. If your goal is a healthy lifestyle, then yes, you can absolutely eat anything and still lose weight/keep it off. It's all about moderation and portion control. If you look at losing weight as just being on a diet, well, you're less likely to think you can eat whatever and lose weight because the ONLY goal is to lose weight.

I, for one, love bagels to pieces, especially with cream cheese. I eat several bagels a week! However, I only eat half at a time, or a whole mini bagel, and they're usually whole wheat. The rest of my breakfast is usually fruit or Greek yogurt, or a couple of eggs, or an egg with a couple bacon strips... You get the idea. Like someone else suggested, I like the idea of balance. If I go out to eat and order fried chicken, for example, I make sure to get a salad with low-cal dressing instead of the fries. If I want the fries, I get a more healthy-friendly entrée.

I used to obsess about food too, but this time around, my attitude towards food has really changed for the better. I no longer label foods as good or bad. ALL foods have their place in a healthy lifestyle. I eat chocolate and ice cream and fried foods and white bread. I just eat less of them than I used to. This is okay though because I also crave them less than I used to. Because I crave them less, I absolutely do not feel guilty about eating them when I do want them. In the past couple months, I have lost 23 pounds, eating pretty much whatever I wanted. Most days, I fall within my recommended calorie range, but sometimes I go over. I have stopped eating mindlessly; I eat when I am hungry, which is why going over my calorie range does not bother me either like it used to. It doesn't happen very often, and it's usually on days in which I get in a lot of physical activity. Plus, since I am in this for the healthy lifestyle, I know that depriving myself when I am truly hungry is a bad habit to get into.

As others have said, if you are feeling satisfied eating what you want, and you're not destroying your calorie goals, go for it. I also like the suggestion to try it for a couple weeks and see how you feel. This is your lifestyle change, and you have to do what works for you, because that's the only way you'll be able to sustain it. It took me a long time to stop listening to the people who said there was only one or two ways to do something and just do what I can do, based on time and how it fits into my life. There are a lot of foods I don't like. The ones I do like, I eat a lot of, especially the fruits and veggies. I stopped trying to make myself eat certain foods just because they were "good for me," and I started eating what I actually liked, and it made a world of a difference, so I am a big advocate of doing what works for you.

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
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Posts: 827
7/11/13 8:12 P

I can eat what I want, but I can't always eat as much as I want. I made cookies for the kids yesterday. I had two mini tollhouse cookies (100 calories). 100 calories for two tiny cookies...In the past, I probably would have eaten 2 servings (6 mini cookies 300 calories) while I was baking them and another 2 servings later with coffee.

I don't have major trigger foods and am not prone to high calorie binges. If I did, I may have to cut things out. So I try to fit the things I want into my protein, fat, carb and fiber ranges and not be hungry. There are some things I eat that others would consider unhealthy, but it works for me.

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 7/11/2013 (20:34)
SIMONEKP Posts: 2,617
7/11/13 5:52 P

of course you can, however, you need to make sure you're measuring accurately and that you're meeting your micro nutrient requirements.

7/11/13 4:40 P

I'm a big believer in not trying to eat "perfectly" at the expense of foods you enjoy and want.

However, I also know that if I didn't plan it responsibly, I probably would eat less veggies and such. So I like to split the difference. I'll have *half* the bagel with butter for breakfast, along with a cup of strawberries, or an orange, or whatever. I'll have the white bread with the soup, but make sure the soup is loaded up with veggies. Things like that.

But yeah, as long as you're in ranges, feeling good, getting adequate nourishment from your food, you should be fine eating what you want within reason.

DANCEMOM1970 SparkPoints: (44,095)
Fitness Minutes: (70,571)
Posts: 185
7/11/13 4:28 P

Being able to incorporate anything I want within reason into my daily diet is the reason I've been able to stay so focused on this weight loss attempt for so long this time. Every other time I've tried (all of my adult life) I've succeeded only for a short period (5 months or so max) because I start feeling deprived and then it's a hard fall off the wagon. This time, my mindset is different. I can eat whatever I want and it's actually become somewhat fun to figure out how to make the things I love in a more healthy way. I do track a few extra nutrients, like fiber, iron and calcium which also helps me plan my menus to improve certain areas. This mindset started with a change in my attitude over exercise and then when I joined SP again just under a year ago, I was really prepared to make this a lifestyle and not a diet.

FIFIFRIZZLE Posts: 2,148
7/11/13 2:55 P

You can eat anything as you describe and still lose weight. But if you are not giving yourself adequate nutrition, it will come back to bite you sooner or later in one way or another.
Some of the ways we eat lead to disordered eating patterns. Some people find certain foods disagree with them. Often the food that disagrees is your favorite food, and if you do without you will crave it.
I find if I eat simple carbs I set myself up for a craving. I will want them the same time the next day. I find I like to eat breakfast on days I go to work, though the rest of the time I prefer to break my fast around 11 am.
I find that if I eat protein in my breakfast, lunch, and late afternoon snack, it sustains me for longer and my mood is more even.
But this might be different for you.
What great advice other Sparkers are giving about finding out what works for you.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,241
7/11/13 2:14 P

I don't believe in giving foods a good or bad label.

Moderate, measure and track accurately. Buy a food scale. A serving might say 12 pieces is 3 oz and therefore a serving. Then you measure it and find out that 12 pieces are really large and they are actually 4.5 ounces. They use the term Approximately to cover their hind parts.

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
7/11/13 11:19 A

Along with the idea of eating what you like for a couple of weeks, tracking it accurately, and seeing how your body responds, I would add the suggestion to also track some key vitamins and minerals (eg. iron, B12, folate, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, fibre) and see what levels you are actually eating.

Please keep in mind that unless you are using SparkPeople entries on the tracker, you may have to manually input the info on the contents of these in your foods, as many user-entries do not include them. If these aren't listed on the Nutrition Panel of your food, you can often find the info on

After a couple of weeks, you can see whether you are deficient in any of these nutrients and maybe start thinking about what you can add to your diet to bring them up. I'm big on ADDING things - not so happy with taking things away!

You may find that you want to add some berries and yogurt for a morning snack, to increase your fibre, Vitamin C, and calcium. You might think about adding a cup or two of mixed veggies to your soup at lunch. You might want to add a bunch of broccoli and onions and mushrooms to your tuna pasta, or change it from white pasta to a mix of white and whole wheat.

Really, it's about finding the things that you truly enjoy and that give you the nutrition that your body needs. Skip the whole "good foods vs bad foods" thinking, and focus on finding what you really LIKE that still has reasonable nutrition. Try things, observe the reactions, and you'll figure out what works the best for your body and your lifestyle.

Don't forget to have fun with it!

NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
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7/11/13 11:02 A

Helpful information, thank you! I will try it for two solid weeks, and see what happens :)

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/11/13 10:45 A

I agree with Dragonchilde.

I'm not going to say I never eat things that are less healthy, but i eat them less often. If you can eat higher carb, stay within your ranges and lose weight, then that works for you.

If you do as Russell suggests and do it for 2 weeks and don't see results, you'll have to reevaluate.

I like bagels and pasta too, but I eat bagels on Fridays when they're in the office and pasta very rarely because it just doesn't work for me. Luckily, I have found some really good things that do work for me.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
7/11/13 10:42 A

Sure you can eat what you want! It's all about portion size...

Why not eat a bagel? Why not eat the butter? Now, it becomes an issue if you track your bagel assuming it is 300 calories when really it is 400, and counting your butter as 1 tsp when you're really using 1tbsp..... yeah, then (like with anything that isn't tracked accurately) it becomes a problem. But if you are measuring and tracking and it fits? I say go for it.

The thing about eating "anything" is that some things don't satisfy. Like if you tried to eat nothing but cookies for breakfast and chips for lunch? You'd probably consume a LOT of calories and yet still never feel just quite satisfied enough. Lots of people will report that if they eat a high carb breakfast, they are starving by 10am, or if they eat fast food burgers and fries it takes 1000 calories-worth to get full.... BUT you report that your chosen foods are fitting within your ranges AND you aren't having issues with uncontrollable hunger between meals, so..............

Personally, I always eat what I like. If I want something that is calorie-dense (i.e. cheese, butter, a dessert item) I just eat less of it. In the same way that you describe, I am quite happy with my smaller-portions of things that I want. I would be less happy with greater volumes of food that i didn't like but was eating "because it was good for my diet."

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (60,917)
Fitness Minutes: (15,360)
Posts: 9,709
7/11/13 10:41 A

Yes, and no.

I feel it's important that you get good, quality food *most* of the time. But that doesn't mean you can't have a trip to McDonald's, or your favorite pasta, or pizza, or whatever. The trick is managing your risk; you know your trigger foods, so while you don't necessarily have to avoid them, you have to teach yourself to manage them.

I've lost the weight so far eating pretty much whatever. I've made slow, tiny changes over the last year or so to move more towards healthy, whole foods, but really, I've had fast food.

I HAVE learned, however, that a lot of it is not conducive to weight loss. I'm more prone to cravings and binging. So while I still don't deny it, it's less the 70/30 it used to be, and more like 90/10.

A "bad food" attitude can absolutely backfire though. SP explains why in this article:

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 7/11/2013 (10:42)
HEAT04 Posts: 116
7/11/13 10:22 A

I believe in moderation. I usually have an English muffin and some PB for breakfast - because it keeps me full. I say if the bagel can hold you over until lunch, go for it.

I eat spaghetti - I portion it out with measuring cups.
I sometimes get Dunkin Donuts coffee - I add it in my tracker.

You will get varied answers about only eating clean and/or too many carbs, etc. Do what you are most comfortable and what you can sustain.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/11/13 10:21 A

Why don't you eat the way you want for 2 weeks, but stay in all the ranges SP provided for you. At the end, you can determine if the weight loss is fast enough for you to accept, and then if it is, just repeat.

The only reason I can think it would be a problem is if you are way outside of the Spark ranges, and can't seem to lose. Then your plan has failed, and a new approach is warranted. No one here can answer the question though. They can only tell you what works for them. Listen to the responses, and form a plan, then do it, and make adjustments based on what happens.

NINA_MAE SparkPoints: (85)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 20
7/11/13 10:16 A

Okay, I'm not saying I'm going to eat McDonalds or whatever, but here's the problem:

Trying to monitor WHAT I eat, and making sure my choices are healthy, is making me become obsessive. I'm thinking about food all day every day, what I can and can't have, trying to set some kind of limit on amounts of 'bad foods', and it's sending me crazy.

To add to it, I only go around in circles because whenever I research healthy eating, people have vastly different scientific opinions on what I should and shouldn't eat.

I want to eat a cinnamon raisin bagel for breakfast, with butter, and have soup and white bread for lunch, and a drink for Starbucks. And tuna pasta for dinner. But if I was trying to be healthy, all these things would be bad one way or another.

So if I eat the above and stay within my calorie limit, (I've tried it and I can do it quite comfortably, i.e not feel hungry), does it REALLY matter if I eat a bagel for breakfast or not?

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