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N16351D Posts: 2,349
11/27/12 10:12 P

I like using the FDA guidelines with the food pyramid or plate. Both are easy to use, quick, and reasonable, and safe. I have been doing that for 30 years and have no trouble maintaining my weight during those decades.

Be sure to eat breakfast, and have a little protein with it.

There are no rules that say you have to eat three meals a day. Break them up to have six instead. Works best since fewer calories per "mini" meal.

Stay away from fried foods, high fat food, and eating too many sweets. I allow myself 2-4 servings of treats per week.

I lost 1 pound a week every time I go "no-sugar" for a few weeks. Also lost 1 pound a week when I cut out all beef, pork, and dairy. Love the latter, so that is hard to do.

Good luck and keep seeking answers to customize your program.

TACDGB Posts: 6,136
11/27/12 8:44 P

I think that it is important to eat according to any health issues that you have. I have hypoglycemia so I eat 1 fruit a day. I eat low carbs...1 whole grain a day and get the rest of my carbs from the fruit and loads of veggies. I also try and eat 1 gram of protein per pound I weigh. I lift weights 4 days a week and I need the protein as weight lifting tears down your muscles so the protein builds them back up. I eat a clean diet not processed foods...

CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (67,172)
Fitness Minutes: (108,341)
Posts: 789
11/27/12 4:28 P

STEPHEN_NANNY brings up a great point about honesty vs. the perfect plan. Every time I tried to lose weight before, I had absolutely gorgeous menus and fitness plans... on paper. When I started honestly tracking, it wasn't pretty but it was effective. I still say my turning point was a couple days in when I broke down and ate my entire day's calories in a single meal. Instead of writing it off and promising to start again, I acknowledged that it was a legitimate part of my diet for that day and tracked the whole thing.

Anyway, here's some of what works for me:

- Balanced diet, following spark guidelines. I've found that as long as I'm accurate with tracking food and exercise, I lose weight (or maintain) at the expected rate.

- A usual day looks pretty close to what I have on my tracker today (except I usually have a healthier snack than today's cupcake. Party at work this afternoon). I start with a heavier carby breakfast, either english muffin and peanut butter, or oatmeal. Lunch is usually a big pile of assorted veggies on my plate with some carbs and protein of some sort, and dinner is some variation of veggies, a meat and about half a cup of starch.

- I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

- I do eat treats (mmm... cupcake), but I try to limit it to 1-2 per week. I also occasionally dine out, but no more than once or twice a month unless we're on vacation somewhere.

- My exercise schedule is five days of running per week and three days of strength training. I give myself one full rest day and stagger the cardio and ST. How much I do depends on whether I'm race training at the time. Right now I'm not, so most of my runs are only 20-40 minutes, with the exception of a long weekend run.

I'd recommend two things: First, look at what your goals are beyond weight loss. I know that's your main focus right now, but it helps to look ahead a few years and figure out what your lifestyle is going to look like then. When I started losing weight, I was just focused on the number. It's when I started looking at it as a permanent lifestyle change (I know, I hate that phrase but it works) that the changes themselves became permanent. I knew how to live like someone on a diet (which didn't work), but I had to learn how to live like someone who's active, healthy and runs marathons. It's a completely different mindset, but it's never too early to start trying to live for your long term goals.

The second recommendation is kind of the opposite - slow down a bit in the beginning. Again, for me success happened when I learned how my body works instead of just following a plan. The reason there are so many different plans and opinions out there is that there are as many different things that work for different people. If you try to make a thousand changes at once, it's hard to pinpoint what's working for your body and what's not. By slowly introducing changes, you can build up the ones that work and drop the ones at don't. I'd even recommend a week of just monitoring. Eat a fairly normal menu, but track it all and be aware of where your problem areas might show up. If you track for a week and realize that you ate 700 calories in unintended snacking between meals, that's automatically flagged as something that needs more attention when you do start to plan. And don't worry if you do go off track on something once you've started - identify what the causes might have been and start building a strategy for it. I think the number one thing I had to teach myself was that health isn't an all or nothing game that you can lose. You just keep modifying and learning.

Good luck!

Edited by: CHRISTINA791 at: 11/27/2012 (17:40)
CORTNEY-LEE SparkPoints: (67,852)
Fitness Minutes: (69,867)
Posts: 3,526
11/27/12 4:26 P

everyone has different things that work for them.

Personally, I try to hit the gym at least 3 times a week and do a combination of strength and cardio exercises.

As far as diet - I try to keep it balanced. You may notice from my signature that I have had weight loss surgery, but that by no means lets me eat whatever I want. I still have to make good choices!

I prefer a lower carb approach, however, I do incorporate many different whole grains into my diet. I just stay away from the bad carbs like sugar and snacky type foods.

Some people have wonderful success on low carb diets, as well as diets high in fat. I can't eat high fat foods as they upset my stomach. So, I choose to follow a moderate fat, moderate carb and higher protein diet because I have found that is what works best for me.

It may take a little playing around to find the right approach for you.

If you haven't already, make sure to set up your Spark page with your goals! It will give you a range to work with for all of your major areas.

I can't stress enough how important tracking is. I track my food 360 days out of the year.

I wish you the best of luck!!

SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
Fitness Minutes: (110,991)
Posts: 1,474
11/27/12 4:14 P

It took me a while to type that so I didn't see Stephen's post. What he suggests sounds a lot like what my experience has been. Another key thing is what you can live with for the rest of your life. So for me, overly strict "never eat this, never eat that" doesn't work as I would not be consistent with it. Trying to eat generally healthy most of the time works just fine. I do have to periodically reign in my portion sizes as I lose weight to continue making progress though. It is possible to eat too much of the good stuff. I do eat naughty things on occasion though (this time of year is the worst).

SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
Fitness Minutes: (110,991)
Posts: 1,474
11/27/12 4:10 P

A lot of experts vary in their opinion of what is "important" and it also depends a bit on goals and if you have any health issues.

Generally, I think weight loss is mostly about how and how much you eat. The exercise (which I love) supports that but is a relatively smaller part. As far as what to eat, I think it is mainly about eating less than you burn in the day, but not too much less (as that can have health consequences or slow metabolism). I think calories in/out work best if you are in good health--so anything you can do to ensure that can help so sleeping enough, exercising enough but not too much for your body, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and eating nutritious food most of the time can all help. Eating a good amount of fruits and vegetables can help you take in enough vitamins and enough fiber and fiber helps you feel less hungry so that helps with weight loss. Enough protein is important to help your body repair, but it is debatable whether high amounts do much. I found when I tried to eat nonfat, that I ate a lot and was very hungry, so I don't avoid fatty foods as long as they are healthy and just keep close track of the portions. So I will eat nuts, but I weigh out a 1/2 or 1 ounce serving rather than eating them directly out of the box. I find using a food scale really helps in keeping things accurate and honest, though I do take breaks from using it. I also tried very low carbs, and my body didn't like that either, I really do well staying pretty close to the RDA's (with slightly less carbs).

Exercise--I think it is important but really it is probably 20% more or less of the whole equation. Of exercise, I think it is very important for some of it to be strength training as that helps your metabolism and helps you keep your existing muscle (when you lose weight with no exercise you lose a mix of fat, water, and muscle if you exercise less of the loss is muscle especially strength training of some sort). Keeping your muscle, as much as you can, helps you maintain your loss after you reach goal as it keeps your metabolism up more than without the muscle. So with your plan, I would probably do 3 days strength and three days cardio with one day for rest or stretching. And try to stretch after each workout. You may not need a full hour everyday, you can get a good strength workout in 30 minutes or so plus warmup and cool down stretches.

Your plan sounds pretty good. I don't know about the supplements, I take a few myself: fishoil and a multivitamin. But I don't think they are generally a big factor, just look into whether the ones you take are safe or run them by your doctor for advice.

Of course, I am not an expert. I have read a lot about this stuff, consulted with some experts when I needed to, took a couple classes in college and just been interested in improving my own health and fitness. So that was really just a semi-informed layperson opinion and may not apply to what works best for you.

11/27/12 4:06 P

I promise, not using this as a health bible :) Just looking to hear everyone out, and maybe it will give me an idea of what works best for me.

STEPHEN_NANNY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (16,232)
Posts: 385
11/27/12 4:01 P

The thing is, what works for many/most may not work for you. Maybe you have a unquenchable sweet tooth...maybe you can be disciplined about breads...maybe you must have some chocolate or you will go crazy...maybe you hate veggies...maybe you are a vegetarian. At some point, you'll have to customize and 'make it yours', and mix and match. I wish there was some magic weight loss regime that worked for everyone and me to make it easier. If you find it, let me know :)

11/27/12 3:52 P

Thanks for the tips! At this point I'm mostly looking for what works for the people here. I've researched what all kinds of experts think, but trying to figure out what has worked for the majority of folks in practice. I know everyone's opinion will be different, but maybe there is a pattern to what works best on average? Hoping to find that out at least! lol

STEPHEN_NANNY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (16,232)
Posts: 385
11/27/12 3:44 P

Welcome - you are going to get alot of differing opinions here from people as to the best emphasis/balance of nutrition when it comes to weight loss. Low carb...low fat...balanced...managed fruit...more fruit...etc etc. Personally, I find the guidelines here at Spark, in the nutrition tracker (after you enter your info and goals), to be a healthy, steady, balanced, and sustainable eating regime. In the end, you know yourself and what you can mentally and physically handle, so any advice you get from a non-registered dietician (which means me also) should be taken in context. The registered dieticians here provide excellent advice.

My regime (in summary):
- stay within Spark nutrition guidelines, mostly (cals, carb, fat, protein)...balanced
- diligent honest tracking
- unlimited veggies (non starchy...more careful on the higher GI stuff)
- pretty much any fruit any time
- smart grains in moderation
- occasional treats
- alot of exercise (mixed cardio and strength...about 6 hrs/week)

A tip - track actual exercise and actual food that you are eating...honesty with yourself works better than a perfect plan.

Good luck!

11/27/12 3:32 P

I've made myself thoroughly crazy by trying to find out what I should be eating by researching online, so let me try to shoot this to some of you:

- Trying to lose 60 lbs.
- Planning to do about 45-60 minutes of working out, 6 days a week
- Don't care about anything at this point except:
a) eating healthier
b) weight loss

I love fruits and veggies, so no problem there. What I'm wondering is, what fuels weight loss best? Less carbs, more fat? Less fat, more protein? A combination of those? Something else? Everything you read says something different. I am ONLY concerned with losing weight at this point.

Is it possible to eat too many fruits (natural sugars). Thinking of going with the USDA guideline, unless I would benefit from more/less.

I already take the following supplements/daily habits, and have been for years:
1. B2 (for headaches)
2. Daily Multivitamin
3. Fish Oil
4. Selenium (antioxidant and joint health)
5. drinking a cup of green tea each day
6. melatonin each night (readjusting my sleep schedule lately)
7. Vitamin D (I work indoors)
8. Drinking 8-10 cups of water each day

If anyone has any suggestions for what's truly important to take into my body each day for best weight loss, please let me know.

Thank you in advance!!!

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