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EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
9/26/13 9:55 P

The "best diet" is one you can stick with. No diet will work if you can't maintain it.

The evidence does support a low or restricted carb diet, but there's so much mythinformation out there about it that most people can't look at it objectively. If you want to study the science and background of those lifestyles, a good resource is "The Art and Science of Low Carb Living." It has a good foundation and reviews of many, if not all, of the low-carb diets out there these days.

For a start, though, I second what others have said here. One step at a time. Learn to track your foods. The SP Nutrition Tracker is a marvelous tool. Learn what portions are, and be sure you track every morsel you put in your mouth. You might be surprised at the variance between what you *think* you're eating and what you really *are* eating. Just go slowly into being more aware of your nutrition. Worry about what diet to adopt once you've got a better handle on your eating habits in general.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,145)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,765
9/26/13 6:00 P

I would start with 3 small changes per 2 week period.
Three important ones IMO are:
1. 30 minutes exercise daily
2. 8 servings veggies daily minimum
3. include protein with every meal and snack

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
9/26/13 2:30 P

A great place to start is by entering your information and goals into Spark People so that it can set up ranges for you for calories, fat, protein, carbs, fiber, etc. Then, start tracking your food. Don't change anything you are eating, just start tracking what you are eating right now. It will take a while to get things entered (e.g. your favorite foods, favorite food groupings, recipes, etc.) into the program and it will take a while to get used to tracking. At first, you may find it a bit overwhelming and you will probably think it's taking a lot of time. But, keep with it because it's definitely going to pay off and once you get things set up and get used to the process, it will become quick and easy and, pretty soon, it really will only take you a few minutes per day.

I highly recommend a food scale as a tool which will help you to track your food. Weighing your food is a quick, easy and very accurate way to measure what you are eating. It's a lot more accurate than eyeballing portions or even using measuring cups. You can get a good food scale online or at Target, Walmart, etc. for about $25.

The ranges that Spark People will set up for you so far as calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. are what most registered dietitians would recommend for you. I started seeing a registered dietitian a little after I started using Spark People. She agreed that the ranges for everything were appropriate. Spark People is about moderation. It's not low or high anything. It's a moderate program based upon scientific research. It's also about making gradual lifestyle changes that you can keep for a lifetime instead of "dieting" (which is something we do on a temporary basis until we can't take it anymore and then we go back to our old ways of eating and gain the weight back). Spark People is about developing an appropriate relationship with food and learning to eat in a way that's both healthy and something that you can sustain for a lifetime. It's not meant to be a quick fix, but, rather it is meant to lead to an appropriate and healthy rate of weight loss and to teach you the skills you will need to keep the weight off once you reach your goal.

A lot of people do like Weight Watchers, but I recommend trying Spark People first. I think that what and how much you eat will be pretty much the same as Weight Watchers, but Spark People is free.

After you get used to tracking your food and are feeling comfortable with things (and give it time until you feel perfectly comfortable with tracking), that is the time to start making slow changes to what and how much you are eating so that you end up eating within your Spark ranges. Making slow changes will help you to avoid getting overwhelmed, which is pretty common when people try to change everything at once. Make a change, get used to it and then make another change. So far as what changes to make when the time is right, that kind of depends on what the tracker is telling you. A great place to start is by giving your favorite recipes healthy makeovers--make changes in your cooking methods, the amount of added fats, etc. to make the things you are already eating healthier. Then, work on portion sizes (eating less of some things, more of other things). Slowly get rid of the junk food (e.g. chips, candy, etc.) and make these things occasional treat foods that you eat limited amounts of rarely instead of foods you eat often (and in larger portions). Start slowly experimenting with other healthy foods to see if you like them. Work towards being in those ranges that Spark People set for you and, once you are in the ranges, you can work on fine tuning things. How much time this takes depends on you and how you are doing with the changes you are making. Just don't do too much at once and get overwhelmed. Once you are within your ranges for calories, fat, carbs, protein and fiber, start fine-tuning things.

In the end, you should have a meal plan filled with foods you enjoy and which leave you feeling satisfied.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 9/26/2013 (14:50)
GIPPER1961 Posts: 765
9/26/13 12:47 P

I concur about getting rid of the junk food.
I would start by reading. There are two major schools. The predominant thought is low fat and counting calories. This is what spark people is built on. Low carb is also an option that is shunned by many 'experts' Personally I would read up on both schools of thoughts and see which you believe will help you get to your goals and fits into your lifestyle because any way of eating has to be something you will continue to do.

Any diet will help you lose weight. The reason for this is that all diets encourage restriction if not elimination of sugar. Individual diets focus on different areas of the nutritional paradigm. It took me years to find what worked. I am low carb and swear by it but it is not the only way, frankly people lose on low carb and people lose with low fat. I will say if you have a tendency to binge or are affected by sweets I would at least look into low carb.

TACDGB Posts: 6,136
9/25/13 6:15 P

welcome.......I would start by getting all the junk food out of the house. Then track everything you eat. you will be surprised how much you really do eat. Eat within your sparks range. Good luck you can do this.........

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
9/25/13 4:04 P

The tracker keeps track of calories, carbs, protein, fat and several other things. Just track everything and then run the daily reports--you can learn so much this way about what does and does not work for you.

What are you going to do for exercise?

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,582
9/25/13 1:51 P


My suggestion would be to start with tracking your food daily. Doing this is going to give you a good idea of how you're doing relative to your recommended calorie and nutrient ranges, and then from there you'll see where you need to make changes. Tracking can be time-consuming in the beginning, but it provides a lot of valuable information and will help you decide what the next steps need to be to make improvements in your diet.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

HACOO1 SparkPoints: (3)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 1
9/25/13 11:45 A

Hello I am new here, and was wondering where I need to start. I see a lot of stuff, carb counting, calorie counting, etc. I was thinking trying weight watchers since it is a lot of portion control? Does anyone have any recommendations?? Thanks in advance!

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