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HFAYE81 SparkPoints: (21,822)
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7/29/13 11:31 A

I think the tracker was the biggest thing in helping me get it. I didn't realized how quickly 100 and 80 calories can add up, especially if meals are 400 to 500 calories to begin with. It helped me break down what I was eating, so I know if I split my portion of chips or swap mustard for mayo I can stay in range.

JRRING Posts: 1,534
7/29/13 11:16 A

the first week on Spark People when I saw just how many calories I was eating, and how few calories I was actually burning

7/29/13 11:01 A

I think to "get it" means to finally accept and understand it is a day to day serious of conscious decisions to work on yourself. I am sure I will always struggle with that because I love so many foods that are just not good for me, but it's making small efforts here and there to eat less cheese, not eat out every night, not snack constantly, etc. Getting it is just making minor changes and eventually the results will follow. My problem has always been rationalizing my bad food choices somehow, like I worked out that day, or hadn't eaten all day, and for me to get it I now understand if I have to do that, then I probably don't need that breadstick or candy bar, and when I can have the willpower to say no I know I will finally be getting it. It is a daily work in progress, but I'm getting there and proud I am at least starting to acknowledge my own downfalls that have slowed my progress.

DANCEMOM1970 SparkPoints: (44,190)
Fitness Minutes: (70,772)
Posts: 185
7/29/13 9:46 A

Diets have always been (in my head) temporary and full of deprivation. That outlook, I realize now, set me up for failure. This time, I "get it" because I'm looking at food as fuel for my body. I've been Sparking for a year this time (never made it past a few months before) and 7 months before that, I had to force myself to change my attitude over exercise. I now realize that I can truly eat whatever I want and that it's all about choices. I believe that's now naturally thin people live. In my "former" life, I'd eat most if not all of a large bag of chips because they were in the house and open. Not anymore. But I'm not afraid of chips. I can eat a small portion of whatever I want and adjust my nutrition tracker for the day to accomodate it.

That said, I know I'm not perfect. I am leaving for a week long trip to Vegas in a few weeks, and I intend to enjoy myself but be aware of how my body feels and adjust my food and drink intake accordingly. I expect to come back with a couple extra pounds, and that's ok....I know what to do.

I think the key is seeing this as not just a "diet". That sets you up for failure because of the feeling of deprivation. I am seeing this as a way of life. I intend to use my food tracker in maintenance, maybe forever. My health is worth that.

DAWNDMOORE40 Posts: 3,800
7/29/13 7:44 A

I believe that exercising every day is very important! If you try to just eat right without an exercise plan, it really doesn't give you the greatest success. I wish everyone the best! emoticon emoticon emoticon

MAWMAW101 SparkPoints: (233,360)
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Posts: 8,409
7/29/13 7:09 A

I think I finally did "get it" when I realized that for me the main thing is making sure to just move more every day. When I get in some kind of exercise every day it makes the food choices easier to deal with.


VAMPYRE03 Posts: 130
7/29/13 1:50 A

Thanks for asking the question... I haven't gotten it yet either... I don't really binge eat, I don't snack, but I did eat a lot of fast food... I've limited my fast food, and soda consumption, and am hoping that will help me...

SOOZQ77 Posts: 39
7/28/13 10:33 P

As of today I've lost five pounds in the two weeks I've been back here. Today my husband and I went to the Detroit Tigers ball game. Detroit is a two hour drive, so we were gone all day. I ate several things that weren't "healthy" but that contributed to the fun day; like a ball park hot dog and a small bag of chips. Could've eaten many other snacks there but chose not to. Knew we would stop for dinner on the way home and planned for that. Ordered the fried chicken dinner, including a rich dessert. Ate about 1/3 of everything. It was all about choices. I chose not to sabotage my weight loss momentum. But I also chose not to deprive myself of foods I love. Had I done that, it would have placed an unnecessarily high emotional value on those foods, making them seem far more important than they are. So I limited my portions and enjoyed what I ate. Most days I'm sticking diligently to the calorie range set for me by SP, for losing 1-2 lbs a week. Just wanted to share with you how I approach a special occasion or event.

Edited by: SOOZQ77 at: 7/28/2013 (22:37)
MOMMYRE Posts: 403
7/28/13 7:03 P

I have been a member here since 2007 and started and stopped a million times. I don't think I get it yet. I am doing better. It is a constant journey. I cannot stop considering my food and nutrients, otherwise I will not succeed. I am making small changes often.This works better than trying to change everything at once. Good luck.

BUNNYLAMB SparkPoints: (52,562)
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Posts: 555
7/28/13 5:53 P

I can't say I've quite "got it" yet but two things have really helped me so far:

1. If I don't eat that food I'm craving right now, it is not going to disappear from the planet forever. There will still be pizza tomorrow. I can plan that indulgence for three weeks from now and it will still be there, waiting for me, being delicious. I am *great* at procrastinating--I am learning to turn this into a positive thing :)

2. I do track, and I basically treat my daily/weekly calories like a budget. It helps me choose my 'splurges' a little better. If I look at the back of the packet of chips and see that it's 560 calories, I think "do I want this or do I want to have some grapes instead and be able to eat dinner later". It makes it easier to say "not now".

I certainly won't hold myself up as a good example because I don't think I'm eating as well as I could be, but these are the two principles that are keeping me on the road to get there. I have noticed that once I master one small change, it becomes easier to take on the next one. Trying to suddenly cut out all my favourite junk foods was not the right route for me because it was too overwhelming and made me sad, but, especially after reading KDYLOSE's post, I know I will need to take more of those steps... eventually (I think the next one will be no more junk food in the house). I'm doing things in manageable increments.

Good luck and thank you for posting! I can relate!!

Edited by: BUNNYLAMB at: 7/28/2013 (17:55)
JAMIE9498 SparkPoints: (12,679)
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Posts: 143
7/28/13 3:59 P

I can't say "I got it" I try hard most days it works some days it don't. I need to stop eating out so much. My boyfriend is not eating healthy so if he is bringing crap in the house it has to be stuff I don't like so it won't trigger a binge. Carbs are a binge starter for me so I cut them out no processed foods or dairy. If I stick to that then I have a "I got this" day.

7/28/13 2:15 P

Honestly? I can relate to Russell. Food has always been a struggle for me, and if I continue to eat "trigger" foods I suspect it always will be. What does improve me relationship with food, though, is to remember that love is an action. If I'm trying to learn to love myself without conditions I will also try to eat like I love myself. Kind of a different perspective but it helps me... An occasional treat? Self-love. A binge? Self-destruction. Maybe not today but gradually. Anyway, hope this helps. :)

SCRIMP1 Posts: 651
7/28/13 2:00 P

I looked at my current calorie range to maintain my current weight; and the range to maintain my ideal weight. My calorie range is consistent with that ideal weight so learn to live with the correct calories to maintain my goal weight. That way I am used to that many calories.. I eat healthy within my goal weight range AND add in exercise 3 times a week. It works for me as long as I am Consistent.

LJBRANDOK Posts: 183
7/28/13 1:31 P

For me, I "got it" with consistent tracking over time and running the numbers. In the past I got discouraged when the weight didn't melt off quickly. By looking at daily calorie differentials, I realized that my calorie counts only led to a pound loss per week or so. This also helped me with plateaus and monthly water weight gains when I realized that the loss would show up eventually. As someone mentioned earlier in this post, everything we put in our mouths counts towards that total, but, happily, all the exercise we do counts against that as well.

DAWNDMOORE40 Posts: 3,800
7/28/13 11:32 A

I had to come to realization that it isn't about dieting and depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy, but it's moderation, and making up your mind before you walk into a difficult situation with food, that you have the will-power to stay on track because you love yourself enough to believe you can achieve anything! I learned it's a lifestyle change, and once you start tracking your food on a daily basis, then it just becomes natural for me like getting up and brushing my teeth! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

7/28/13 9:54 A

Your mind has to change before your habits will change. When you believe that your eating habits are destroying your body, building a heart attack, shortening your life, depriving your body of nutrients, creating a breeding ground for cancer, and compromising the quality of life you have now... Only then you will change.

I know I am using extreme words there, but until you believe that your eating habits will make a difference and that the difference is worth it, only then will you change.

SKC123 Posts: 65
7/28/13 8:42 A

It's been years since I've even tried to stick to a new way of eating for more than a couple of days. I have been on and off SparkPeople since about 2009 I think, and I haven't had a real commitment to change until now. Even so, I know that if I completely overhaul everything I've done my whole life it will be too overwhelming and I will quit (which is exactly what has happened in the past).

This time around I am making small changes. I stopped drinking Coke and changed to water. I will allow myself one Diet Coke a week so I don't have to give it up entirely, and I still get my water requirement in for the day. Is the one Diet Coke a week healthy? No, but it's a lot better than the 4-6 per day I used to drink. I have decided to keep my morning cup of coffee for now, even adding the flavored creamer, because I enjoy it. I also enjoy tea, and when I'm ready to cut way back on the coffee, this is what I will replace it with. I don't need to sweeten my tea to enjoy it.

I have been working on exercising for at least ten minutes a day to build consistency. I find that when I swim, though, I am out there a lot longer than ten minutes because I really enjoy it. I hope to experiment with indoor activities for fitness on rainy days and find something I can also enjoy for more than ten minutes, because winters in Minnesota are long and I can't afford a gym membership. My August fitness goal is to go from ten to fifteen minutes daily. A small change, but very do-able.

I track everything I eat, at least for now. I try to stay within my calorie range. That's the only goal I'm working on right now, but I'm noticing trends. Though I cook my own food most of the time and though I rarely used pre-packaged items, I am consistently over my range in fat, and I notice it's very often because of my use of butter and oil. As I use up some of the unhealthy foods in my apartment they will be replaced with healthier foods. I am also learning to prepare the food differently, without using so much fat or oil. This change will happen over time. I am also under in my recommended daily protein intake. When I shop, I am working on increasing the protein content in the foods I buy. Over time, this number will improve as I increase the healthy choices available to me at home and as I'm aware of which foods will help me to meet my nutritional requirements for each day. I have not eliminated all treats, but I try to work them into days when I have lower calorie or fat consumption from the rest of the day.

This will probably be a slow process for me, and I know I'll have to be more diligent in my approach once I plateau, but I like the fact that I can make small changes. I won't make any changes that I am not willing to live with permanently, and that probably means that nothing will be off-limits completely--I will just need to work on watching when I eat them and how often. I had three days where I ate whatever I wanted and didn't track anything. Not great, but I got back on the plan after those three days--a win! It's not perfect, but it's better than what I was doing before. So far, just by making small changes and by being aware of how I already eat, I have been able to lose ten pounds and I've stayed with the plan for a month. This is a new frontier for me. I've never stuck with a plan for a month before, and I am excited to make it two months. It doesn't feel that much different from what I was doing before, yet it's making a difference.

SERENAMOM45 Posts: 124
7/27/13 12:53 P

I read the message from PBROWN5110 and what she said about food companies sure rings a bell with me. I am reading "The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler, MD, and the book is a result of his research with food consultants, research psychologists, scientists, doctors and other experts in the field.

One remark he made in his book really resonated with me, that overeating is not a character flaw, and that it has nothing to do with lack of willpower. It is a challenge to training our brains to think differently about foods that trigger us.

I found a great video from Melanie Warner who wrote the book "Pandora's Lunchbox" that is a great visual of some of the facts that Dr. Kessler wrote about.

GRACILU Posts: 466
7/27/13 11:17 A

the discomfort and lack of genuine rest

MAGS650 SparkPoints: (13,744)
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Posts: 165
7/27/13 10:10 A

I finally "got it" about food when I realized my portion size and the amount of calories I was consuming just in the amount of Coke I drank per day. Once I changed my nutrition to include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and leaner meats I started losing weight. I also completely eliminated Coke and started drinking strictly water throughout the day. I don't have to worry about rewarding myself with high calorie foods because I've found substitute foods that are just as good, if not even better tasting that my "old" favorites. I also learned how to properly count my calories and know portion sizes, so when I'm forced to eat at a restaurant, I know what I can and cannot have.

KDYLOSE Posts: 1,626
7/27/13 8:48 A

This really is a great thread. I've been thinking about this lately, because I've watched two friends get into a weight-loss groove and zoom by me, dropping 30 or 40 pounds, only to lose their momentum and gain it all back.

I thought about what they had in common. Both of them still kept candy bars or ice cream in the house, but were able to limit it to small daily portions...until one day they weren't. They revised some recipes but often still cooked the same high-calorie, carb-laden foods that their families liked, but were able to limit portion size...until one day they weren't. It seems to me they were relying almost completely on motivation and "willpower", and as we all know this waxes and wanes. When it waned, they didn't have much to fall back on.

I think what they weren't doing enough of is looking at food groups, eliminating trigger foods from their households, eliminating sugar and lowering carbs, and finding/creating new healthy recipes that taste as good as the old recipes. Most of us here are basically food addicts and what we need are strategies and tactics, not that nebulous motivation that comes and goes. For myself, I've gone pretty dramatically low-carb and I'm happy this way, but I realize not everyone wants to go to this extreme.

Edited by: KDYLOSE at: 7/27/2013 (09:09)
TRACYDH SparkPoints: (24,929)
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7/26/13 7:28 P

wow this thread is revealing and amazing. I personally 'got it' this time around - it's a lifestyle and I had to decide that this lifestyle is what I want - forever. I actually feel really good having decided, and there are a lot of tools, teams, etc. on here that have helped me with things like kicking the sugar habit, dealing with emotional eating, anxiety...I am pretty sure I'm going to run into challenges on my journey but I am super mindful and determined that this is a new lifestyle for me and my family. That's the difference for me, I think - attitude!

PORTLANDSANDY SparkPoints: (0)
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7/26/13 6:18 P

I have 2 thin friends that agreed to send me 1 week of their normal diet. I also tracked my diet. I learned 3 things from this exercise. I realized that what I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner was actually fine (with minimal tuning up) but my problem was on what and how much I snacked. I snacked even when I didn't really even feel like I had to have it. My snacking was often 900 to 1200 calories. If I could just stop binging when snacking, I could cut calories without even changing what I wanted to eat at regular meals. Secondly, seeing what my thin friends ate helped my rational mind overcome my emotional mind that thought eating less enough to lose weight meant eating twigs and carrots in order for it to actually work. That emotional belief kept me from being willing to stop my binging since I emotionally believed I'd never lose anyway until I cut eating severely enough to take all the fun out. I also learned that they often exercise for social fun (like group bike rides), rather than just for the sake of getting exercise. They simply live an active lifestyle.

I only recently "got" it, and so have successfully cut my calories for 3 days now without feeling like I'm missing out. I'm finally seeing some movement on the scale. I'm not thinking of this as a diet. This is how I eat (starting now).

PEEJMA SparkPoints: (41,340)
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7/26/13 2:44 P

I have noticed that so-called "naturally thin" people aren't necessarily. One friend eats whatever she wants--quite a lot of fast food, cookies, etc. When I eat with her, she picks at her food like a bird. If she orders a Chick-fil-a sandwich and fries, she will cut her sandwich in half and nibble at it, then eat a few fries and she's "full." Huh? She is thin, but she has high cholesterol and triglycerides, etc. , and she isn't really in shape. Another naturally thin person I know eats "whatever" she wants, but then obsessively works out to burn off the calories in whatever she ate. Me, I count and track calories, eat tons and fruits and veggies, and have low blood sugar and cholesterol. I am not technically overweight, and I feel like I fight all the time to lose a single pound. What I think I get is that food is probably a struggle for more people than you think, and that just because someone looks thin doesn't mean they are healthy or not doing something obsessive. Does anyone really eat "normally"?

7/26/13 1:52 P

I saw a motivational poster here on Spark that said "Being overweight is hard. Losing weight is hard. Keeping weight off is hard. Pick your hard." (or something like that) It's really true. It takes repetition and practice to learn to eat a healthy diet, but who really wants the alternative? Being significantly overweight is a unique kind of misery. Learning to eat right and sticking with it will be a lifelong effort. But it does get easier over time.

SOOZQ77 Posts: 39
7/26/13 11:02 A

everything that TeachFirst said! and for me, using the nutrition tracker on sp gives me the reality check I need. I tend to lose/gain ten pounds over and over. When I stop tracking, I start thinking I can slack off and eat anything and everything. this time around, I did realize that I have to be vigilant every day or the "occasional" treat becomes a daily thing.

TEACHFIRST268 SparkPoints: (27,710)
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Posts: 1,770
7/26/13 9:35 A

I don't know if I 'get it' but I've finally learned what will work for ME. I think I will always long to live off of pizza, ice cream, and chocolate cake...but I make the decision not to. That's what I think finally made a lot of it click, is coming to the understanding that all of this is truly up to me and that it is MY decision. Simplistic as it sounds it boils down to making one of two choices: whatever you want (unhealthy in my case) and stay overweight and unhappy
B...make healthy eating choices (with an occasional, responsible indulgence) and keep pushing forward toward my goals.

When I honestly and fully accepted that, which was a few months into my most recent get healthy journey, that's when the process became a little easier. (I use that term easier's never going to be 'easy' for me!)

7/26/13 8:32 A

It's probably a myth that you can eat like a "normal person", because no one is really normal. If you mean you want to be carefree and not think about food, that may not be compatible with learning to eat well. As you can tell, there are many approaches to weight loss and one person's version of "healthy" eating may differ from another's.

It can get easier, though. Read the articles on Spark people and read about nutrition and over time, you start memorizing some basic nutritional information that will serve you well all your life. I'm also trying to realize this: the day won't come when we can just eat totally carefree and never have to worry about weight gain. On the other hand, eating healthy will not always be as much of a struggle as it seems to be now. Over time it sinks in what's a good choice and what's not, and what works for you and what doesn't.

7/26/13 6:01 A

This may sound a bit trite, but it just took time. I made mistakes. I repeated them. But over time, I learned from them.

And the most important thing I learned was that, if I wanted to lose weight, I had to change. So I did, one day, one bite and one step at a time.

Give yourself the freedom to learn, over time.

MIMAWELIZABETH SparkPoints: (413,369)
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Posts: 18,828
7/26/13 4:18 A

One big "AHA" moment that has really helped me when I'm struggling with wanting to binge (and stopping a binge) is when I TRULY understood this:

It doesn't matter what I eat in secret vs what I eat in front of other people, or what I admit to myself or allow others to see - and it especially doesn't matter what I put on my food tracker - if I put a food or drink in my mouth, IT COUNTS!

Understanding that concept intellectually is fairly obvious; what's difficult is translating that knowledge into being aware in the moment and taking healthy actions BEFORE eating.

I made a commitment to enter every single bite into my food tracker, no matter what; remembering that often helps me withstand temptations and make better choices.

SUSANK16 Posts: 2,635
7/26/13 3:15 A

good grief! I am still trying to get it. I think that the only way I will get it is to continue with Spark and the journey. I am working this week on trying to get portions right. I know that I overeat on my portions and I really need to focus on that and making sure that I track everything. Yesterday for example I am trying to get back on track and someone offered me popcorn and yup I took it and ate it. I was not hungry, it was offered and I ate it. I was kicking myself and ready to fall off the whole thing completely when I logged the calories in and found that I was still under the amount for the day. Now if I had fallen off completely, I would not have been. So by being truthful and logging it in I found that I was still in an acceptable range. All I can say is that after years of over eating and losing weight finally, it is an arduous process.

KOALA_BEAR SparkPoints: (18,475)
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7/26/13 12:49 A

What is normal anyway? When I was young, I averaged between 6000 and 9000 calories per day and was skinny. An occasional high of 12 or 15000 was not uncommon either. I was young, naturally thin, tall, sporadically active, and lived in a climate where you were either freezing your butt off or sweating (no A/C then in our house.)

I ate rather healthy. Eggs or hot cereal for breakfast, French toast on weekends. Lots of home raised beef, no pork, chicken once a week, and tuna for lunch, plus some other fresh water fish. Dinner consisted of meat,, some type of vegetable, potatoes, possibly a small side salad in summer or coleslaw in winter. Dessert was canned or fresh fruit, once in a while some ice cream or pudding. Not too many cakes, pies, or cookies. Lots of snacks like oranges or dried fruit, but plenty of large bags of potato chips. Some candy when I walked or biked the 3 miles to the store.

After being in a bad auto accident, I had whiplash and my metabolism also changed. I had joined a new gym with my parents and couldn't keep that up except to swim. I started to look like I was a normal weight. By age 30, I thought I was fat but turns out I wasn't. Just no longer too thin.

By 40, I had a sedentary job and was living on the west coast were a couple evenings a week, we went out for happy hour. I began to gain weight, and my lifestyle was also a lot of sitting. Hubby and I rode our Harleys on weekends or went to festivals were food was a major feature along with attending music shows - we rarely danced.

After a stressful divorce & career change, I met my current spouse and we began dining out a lot after he retired. I would come home tired from work and he wanted to treat me, and himself (his first marriage was really bad.) During my 50's my weight continued to climb with me periodically dieting or maintaining, but struggling to eat well, get some activity, and weeks of just giving up. A knee with arthritis inflamed near an old injury also reared its ugly head making workouts more challenging. For several months I couldn't walk hardly at all, and had to get a handicapped plate for my car to use at the office parking lot - I couldn't make it across the street safely. I could bicycle on a stationary one at physical therapy but realized that made it a chore whereas walking outdoors on a track or at the beach was something I enjoyed & missed.

So when did I "get it"? Not sure I have yet. I know what to do yet each day is a struggle. I hate giving up things I love yet dislike that inanimate objects like a dish of food have such power over me. I'm a slave to my couple inches of taste buds!

Someone on this thread said that it isn't the food that's a problem. I believe if I can get my knee entirely healed and eat healthier foods, I can get active enough again to get the weight off and keep it off. Maybe I'm fooling myself because I still haven't gotten there yet but am working on it.
note to E1SPAG - we might be "celebrating" together as I'm really close in age to you. Happy (early) Birthday to my fellow Aquarians!

E1SPAG SparkPoints: (33,963)
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7/25/13 9:27 P

When I was younger we ate a healthy diet. Pretty much vegetarian, no junk food, and I was thin and healthy! Somewhere along the way the kids got older, I was working a lot, and I often turned to fast food. As a visiting nurse I gained weight by eating on the run and as the kids grew and moved out I continued to make large portions and my husband and I ate hearty! I injured my back a few years ago and took a really, really long exercise break (mostly because of pain). Then I got back into the gym and exercised a lot but still ate a poor diet. If I was in the store (any store) I would pick up candy or chips and felt no remorse.

Forget about sticking to a diet! I did spark, e-diets, weight watchers and hung in a short time and then was off and eating again. I am turning (cringe) 60 in 6 months. A couple of months ago I decided enough is enough. I have lost 13 pounds by eating healthy- vegetables, fruit, some whole grains, low fat dairy and fish or chicken maybe once or twice a week. I am using my old vegetarian cookbooks and am walking 10,000 steps (at least) a day. I feel great and am so committed to maintaining these changes.

I track faithfully ( thanks to the iPhone there is no excuse!).

Edited by: E1SPAG at: 7/25/2013 (21:28)
PBROWN5110 SparkPoints: (44,664)
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7/25/13 8:59 P

About 18 months ago, I wasn't feeling well and went on-line to check some food additives (MSG, carrageenan) to see if they were linked to my food allergies. I found an interview with a corporate "chef" named "Chef Wendy." If you ever want evidence of the disdain that the big food companies have for us, read the interview! I decided that if that's what they think of their customers, I don't want to be any part of it. I threw the couple of Lean Cuisines that were in my freezer into the trash and have been eating as clean as possible ever since.

I subscribe to the Food Network magazine and pick up Cooking Light almost every month. I've also picked up a lot of cookbooks because I get tired of roasted veggies. There are lots of ways to make good food -- you just have to start doing it! Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything -- The Basics (not the original, which is good, too, but the one that came out last year) has pretty easy recipes and lots of pictures to show you how things should look. It's what got me cooking again.

SHEILAFOSTER52 SparkPoints: (6,156)
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Posts: 48
7/25/13 7:27 P

i understand about yo yo i am 54 and i am the heaviest i have ever been size 18 i hate that size i workout 6 days a week i watch everything that i put into my mouth i write everything down and the scale does not move any tips would be appreciate thanks

KAT321123 Posts: 203
7/25/13 7:25 P

I second the person who said you sound heart-broken =( This can be a really, really, hard journey.

I'll start by saying I don't think most people eat like a "normal person." The people I know tend to eat a lot of junk food and then, occasionally, diet. I don't want to be a "normal person" -- I want to be a healthy person!

You've had a few months of success before, which shows that you can totally do this. I think I "got it" when I realized that I really do need to use the tracker daily in order to make this a true lifestyle rather than a diet. I've gotten to the point in the past when I stopped tracking consistently and would just "check in" with the tracker once a week or so, but I know that level of self-accountability doesn't work for everyone.

You probably fall back into your old ways because you've had a lifetime to develop the old ways; we all have. However, the great news is, with baby steps, you can teach yourself new ways that can make you the healthiest you that you can be. Start adding a fruit or veggie to your meal plan each day -- either in a meal, with a meal, or as a snack -- and start from there since it seems like that is a goal of yours. Once you've had that success and shown yourself you can do it, it will get easier. You can do this.

LPPTOGO Posts: 94
7/25/13 7:00 P

I started "getting it" when I began using the nutrition tracker on SPARKSPEOPLE, not only tracking calories, but fats, carbs and protein as well. I finally really "got it" when after several years of hypertension, my blood pressure went down to normal and stays there. Also, all my lab tests continue to improve. My cholesterol has gone down to the point that I no longer need statin drugs. I take 5+ mile walks almost daily, without feeling out of breath! This is all due to eating right and exercising. I feel happy and healthy, which is remarkable, because of many health issues! Yes indeed, I finally "get it"!!! emoticon

EEJAYBEE Posts: 261
7/25/13 6:00 P

I know what you mean about going 3-4 months and then falling off the wagon. I got stuck at that point lots, too. For me what finally made the difference was tracking protein and carbs (to make sure I got the right amount), using Cheg Meg's recipes, and taking one day at at time and starting affrsh if I'd wrecked things the day before. I could never manage that in the past, but now I can. I still struggle with "unplanned" snacking between meals, but I understand that I've got years of a bad habit to break.
If you're tired of quitting, quit starting over... just keep going- and use the SparkPeople panic button whenever you feel like giving up!

NIRERIN Posts: 14,249
7/25/13 5:03 P

the first thing i would say is that if you keep making changes that you can't keep up, you need to start making smaller changes. some people can turn their whole diet [yep, i use the primary definition of diet which is simply what one eats] upside down one day and be good from that point on, but most people will just keep at it for a little bit and then fall off the wagon. so if you do keep falling off you should try making smaller changes more gradually rather than doing it all at once.
you may also want to make some easy rules for yourself. something along the lines of have at least one fruit or veggie serving with every meal and snack. or if you know you're going to be having something junky, have it with something you know is good for you. so if you were going to have fried chicken for dinner, perhaps have it with some steamed greens [like kale, perhaps with some roasted garlic and a drizzle of olive oil].
and tweak your basic fallback recipes. instead of deep or shallow frying something, perhaps try baking the item. try cutting out half the fat in your recipes, even by just using less olive oil, butter or cheese. add in more veggies. if you are making pasta primavera, double the vegetables in it and use 2/3 of the pasta called for. if you love mac, do the same, use a little less pasta and make sure that you have a vegetable with your mac [zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, whatever you like].

JUDY1260 Posts: 1,567
7/25/13 4:59 P

I follow macronutrients - fat, protein, carbs. The main one for me is protein. I realized I wasn't getting enough in my meals and it was causing me to crash during the day. I'm very happy to see that after only two weeks the only one I've really had to tweak is the protein and it wasn't that hard to do. A few changes I've made is to add a few spoonfuls of yogurt to my oatmeal, have a greek yogurt with my lunch, a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit for a snack, a glass of milk at bed if I'm hungry. Easy peasy and I feel SO much better throughout the day.

I'm 52 years old and have yo-yo'd 10-15 lbs for the past 9 years. Dieting for weight loss is not the solution for me. I've come to realize that if I eat a healthy diet and increase my activity, my weight will take care of itself. That's what I'm working on right now. I keep my fridge full of fresh fruits (summer fruits are my favorites), make healthy meal choices and have sworn off junk food. I do allow myself treats like cake for special occasions because this is a lifestyle and I don't see myself giving up cake for the rest of my life. However, I'm careful about portion sizes when I treat myself. I've also been staying away from the cookies and other goodies that my family likes. Some days are more difficult than others but if I feel a craving coming on I find something else to occupy my mind.

Edited by: JUDY1260 at: 7/25/2013 (17:03)
SINGERA9 SparkPoints: (4,308)
Fitness Minutes: (8,109)
Posts: 105
7/25/13 4:45 P

Your post makes me sad to read! You sound heartbroken!

I'm going to be really frank with you because I think you need to hear more than one opinion and/or approach and then decide for yourself what works. I think that you can already see from what PPs have written that there really is no *one* magical solution that works for all of us. I think it's awesome that there are so many ways to go about it!

I have often wished that I could "eat like a normal person" - as in, stop eating when I'm full, have the occasional splurge and not go overboard, not want some food so badly that I'd do anything to get it. Sound familiar? It's something I've dealt with my whole life! For me, I had to come to terms with the fact that I'm a food addict. I use food to help me cope with life, rather than using food to fuel me for living. The hard part about being a food addict is that it's not like other addictions. We can't stop eating or we die. But, if we keep eating like we are right now, we'll die too.

What worked for me was figuring out what my triggers were and eliminating them from my life. Although I've just re-started my weight-loss efforts again, last year, I lost almost 40 lbs. by removing those trigger foods entirely from my life. The biggest trigger for me - SUGAR. There are tons of studies out about how sugar affects the brain - here's just a short story.

So now, I focus on eating clean, and I don't eat anything with added sugar in any form. I don't eat anything with artificial sweeteners in them. I eat fruit, but always in combination with a lean protein.

One final thought - the "how we do it" is different for each of us. Moderation, elimination, reward days, etc. The "why we do it" is all the same - we're sick and tired of being sick and tired and will do ANYTHING to get healthy.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope some more posters add their opinions and strategies to give you lots of things to think about it.

AUGUSTREADY SparkPoints: (1,560)
Fitness Minutes: (2,878)
Posts: 86
7/25/13 4:42 P

I totally changed my eating habits many years ago for one main reason - which I wasn't really consciously aware of at the time - I did not want to turn in to my mother.

My mother had been ill all her life, was very obese (an unusual thing in a western country in the 70's and 80's), had suffered a lot of pain and spent much time in hospitals and rehab units - largely because she ate only what she enjoyed (chocolate, deep fried foods and desserts) and never, ever exercised (even a 5 min walk was too much for her).

When I made this decision to choose a different lifestyle to her, I read and studied as much as I could about nutrition, exercise and health and it changed my life forever.

Learning to cook is a great step forward, but I encourage you to also read everything you can about nutrition (scientific sources, of course! Forget about most of the crap you find on the internet).

When you understand what your body needs to survive and thrive, it has the power to change your whole way of thinking about food.

Food can be temporarily pleasurable, but if we make poor diet choices on an on-going, consistent basis, the long term prognosis is not pretty...

Good luck with your journey!

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
7/25/13 2:58 P

I "got it" by focusing on nutrients first, and then on the most flavourful means of getting those nutrients.

I started here by tracking every bite, ignoring the calories, and looking at the iron, folate, calcium, B12, fibre, potassium, and sodium. I've added other nutrients to the list since then. After a week of tracking my "usual" diet, I discovered that I was extremely low in everything but calcium (yup, I even managed to be low on sodium). I then started ADDING foods that increased the nutrients that I needed.

I'm a hard-core foodie, so it was imperative to me that anything I added be delicious. I'm learning to cook, and I've discovered that I have a knack for coming up with flavourful sauces that pack a great nutritional punch. I've found that I am far more satisfied with a meal when it has a hit of strong flavour, and that I'll be looking for "more food" if a meal is too bland.

Adding foods with the nutrients I need, and making them really tasty, incidentally crowded out the "old" foods that didn't have the nutrition. It wasn't a conscious thing - I simply was too full to include them anymore! Interestingly, I've found that my caloric intake has gradually dropped since the more nutritious foods have worked out to be lower in calories. I've always been huge veggie fan (when they're prepared right!), and those are what I really needed to increase to get the nutrients.

I honestly can't imagine going back to the "old" way. I'm eating more food, better tasting food, and having fun with experimenting. Why would I want to give that up?

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/25/13 2:38 P

Tracking everything I eat.

I don't weigh/measure EVERY time, but try to measure newer foods I'm eating as well as measure my regular food items every few weeks just to make sure.

Eat out less. That's my biggest issue (I say as I look at the empty chicken shawarma wrapper in my garbage can). Not only is this helping me shrink, but it's helping me save a whole lot of money.

Don't buy junk food. I don't even keep it in the house. We still go out and get some once in awhile, but by not having it in the house, it takes some thought and effort to get it. And more often than not, we opt for fat-free, sugar free frozen yogurt with fruit toppings instead of chips/doritos.

Find a plan that works for you. I mostly do the Abs diet which tends to be moderate carb, low processed food and moderate protein. It works because having regular snacks keeps me from getting hungry, but it also lets me eat some of my favorite foods, within reason - the recipe book has a meatball sandwich (higher cal so not a regular item) and even some healthier desserts. But that doesn't work for everyone. I have a friend who is currently rocking the paleo diet and loving it.

Understand that this isn't a temporary change. That's the hardest thing for me to grasp even now. I will continue to eat like this (I call it eating like a grown-up) for the rest of my life, ideally. That said, I tend to be less strict about it. I have a lot of friends without weight problems including people I work with. I watch what they do. One guy has oatmeal every morning for breakfast, except bagel Friday - when he has either a bagel or a muffin. My sister in law has always been thin by eating healthy portions. But she still eats chips occasionally and only a small amount. She has dessert when we go out for dinner, but doesn't eat her entire (usually way more than a single portion) dinner and then she shares dessert with someone.

I've learned from watching healthy people that things don't need to be off limits. BUT I do need to follow my plan most of the time. I aim for 80/20 and that keeps me shrinking - sometimes not on the scale (3 lbs down, but I've lost a clothing size). I know that if both the tape measure and the scale stall, I need to make sure I'm still tracking and tracking everything.

Exercise. I took up running because I enjoy it. Not everyone does. But what I've learned from regular exercise is how my food makes me feel. I don't like running with indigestion. And even if I just have one bad meal (say, McD's for lunch) and try to run that night, I'll get tired quicker and my legs will often feel like lead. Maybe it's mental, but it helps me stay on track with what I eat. My husband was struggling progressing in his strength training and after some reading, he learned that proper nutrition before and after lifting would help - and it did.

And last, when you want to make a bad choice, force yourself to think about it. Too often it's easy for me to shut my brain off and just make the bad choice, telling myself I can't help it. The reality is, I can, but I won't let myself. It took awhile for me to get into the habit, and I've been standing in a grocery or convenience store (even standing in line) and put down the crap I was going to buy and walked out. I had to be conscious of what I wanted all the time. I knew what my goals were, but I could easily shut off that side of my mind or say, "I'll start tomorrow." I became more successful when I let my goals become the priority and reminded myself of that when I wanted to do something that went outside those goals.

Yes. I talk to myself. I just try not to do it out loud. In public...

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/25/13 1:56 P

I never " got it ".

I read Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution 4 years ago, and started eating low carb. As long as I eat on plan, I am not hungry, so I don't overeat. If I do eat off plan, I gain weight till I get back on it.
I have lost 140 lbs, and working towards maintenance, but eating foods that cause me cravings isn't part of the plan. As a binger, you know, when you have those cravings, there are no other thoughts, just the food. Some people can just " get it ", because they are just eating some poor food choices, and just need to clean up the diet a bit. It is something within their willpower, and when health gets to be a problem, or they decide they are getting a bit old to be carrying around 20 extra lbs, they buckle down, and eat healthier.

For me, eating " healthy " made me ravenous, and then I ate NOT so healthy. It is not something within my control, and suggesting it is something you can " get ", and correct is wrong. Sometimes it is just that you can't have certain foods.

I find that eliminating these foods and never being hungry works a lot better than relying on my willpower. Eating the proper amount to get to a healthy weight should be easy, not a struggle. If you can do it with no hunger, there is nothing to " get ".

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (245,683)
Fitness Minutes: (122,969)
Posts: 14,860
7/25/13 1:26 P

for me it was when I went from tracking JUST calories (using WW points system) to using the Spark nutrition tracker.

I can eat in my range and still not feel good, or I'll be hungry all the time, or feel bloated or sluggish - but when I'm paying attention to the added info I get from using the tracker, I can see that on days that I eat too many carbs or too little protein, I'm going to have issues.

don't get me wrong, WW helped me drop my first 25 or 30 lbs, but then I hit a plateau that would not budge. I needed more information to change things.

and the sodium... emoticon WOW
Eating ONE meal out or ONE pre-packaged item can knock your sodium out of the park!

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,760
7/25/13 1:12 P

Good advice so far- you also have to take personal responsibility for it and stop convincing yourself that you just don't know how. We can all learn whatevr we put our minds to.

NHELENE Posts: 1,505
7/25/13 12:31 P

I second the idea of learning to cook. You're generally going to put a lot less fat, sodium, sugar, etc. into something you make yourself than what would be in a packaged food item.

People who can "eyeball foods" and know about how much they're eating weren't born that way, it's a result of experience and paying attention to nutritional info.

Really use your nutrition tracker. First of all, I find I'm less likely to have one of those cookies in the break room when I think about having to go track it - your mileage may vary. Second of all, you'll start to get an idea about the nutritional info of foods you eat often.

I have a pretty standard routine, so I know that I'll have eaten about 500 calories between breakfast and lunch, so I know I've got around 800 calories I can eat the rest of the day to land within my range. If I did go out to lunch, I know I should eat a lighter dinner.

Since I cook a lot, I usually have a few options for dinners, so I usually plug it in to the tracker after lunch, or when I get home, or whenever I'm planning. Then I can look to see if I need to change anything, or eat a snack, or skip a snack, based on whether I'm above or below any of my macronutrients.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
7/25/13 12:11 P

I always knew *what to eat*... thanks to my mom who has always been a bit of a health nut but growing up in a house where frosted mini wheats was a special treat... I went a bi buck nutty with the sweets and fast food when I got out on my own. I was also a bit lazy and never really learned how to cook... so it was all convenience foods, all the time.

What helped me want to eat healthy is learning to cook and experimenting with healthy meals. Now I never want to go back to the way I used to eat. I love the food I make far better than frozen fish sticks and lunch meat sandwiches. So much more taste and flavour. I learned I usually don't like fruit and veg by itself (although I do enjoy plain steamed veg once in awhile). So I add it to other meals; salads, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, etc.

I learned you can eat whatever you want, as long as you make yourself. You can modify any recipe to be healthier.

PS: I still enjoy treats in moderation. I've just learned they're a lot more satisfying when you don't get to eat them all the time. They have a place my diet still but a much, much smaller place.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/25/2013 (12:39)
PRINCESSAA12 Posts: 473
7/25/13 11:59 A

I am asking this question because I just can't seem to eat like a normal person. When I do try to eat normal, it lasts for a while, even as long as 3-4 months and then I'm back to eating the old way. I used to calorie count and it worked for a while but I find it to be such a pain to be counting calories especially when I'm working.

I know some people can eyeball something and know how much and what kinda food to eat. I really don't. I am still learning but How can I get over this? I feel stuck. I just want to eat like a normal person. I want to include fruits and veg into my daily diet and make it a habit but I somehow always slip back to my old eating patterns.

I used to be a binge eater but I've gotten past that for 7 years now and I am binge free. However, I am not a healthy eater. How can I eat healthy? And why do I always fall back into my old ways? Since I stopped binge eating, my weight has stabilised. I know I won't gain weight. But I have no idea how to lose it besides exercising.

I know there's some issue I have with food. Just don't know what it is and how I can help myself. I don't know if my post sounds silly. But any help is really appreciated. Thank you!

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