"Diet food" = blech. Horrible stuff, to be avoided whenever possible.
For me, the trick to this is to focus on making nutrition as delicious as possible. I keep a closer eye on tracking a bunch of nutrients (iron, folate, calcium, vitamin c, potassium, fibre, and magnesium) than I do on calories, but I find that the calories naturally have fallen in to place for me by doing that. I've spent a lot of time browsing through SparkRecipes for things that appeal to me, as well as finding folks on the boards here who have their nutrition trackers public, and snooping to find out what works for them. I've found some incredible ideas that way. Wander through a few pages of this forum and look for the threads about "healthy and cheap" or some version of that - I know that there are a pile of great ideas in those threads.
If you like the idea of oatmeal for breakfast, then have a quick google for overnight oatmeal. There are tons of ideas out there on different yummy combinations that you can actually enjoy eating. Dinner leftovers, or smoothies, or mini-quiches, or omelets with lots of veggies are other ideas for delicious and healthy breakfasts.
It'll take some time and some careful budgeting, but start building up the range of spices and basics in your pantry. Once you get a good variety in place, then it's much easier to make sure that you really enjoy what you're eating. Tilapia is okay, lightly spiced is better, and parmesan encrusted is really good... Lightly steamed veggies are good, add some spices (I like a bit of dill and lemon) to make it better, and a sprinkle of romano cheese can make them even better!
I've really enjoyed figuring out versions of my favorites that are much healthier and taste better (to me) than the usual. Pizza, for instance, used to be on my fave list. It still is, but now I make it at home with either a cauliflower crust, or using a whole-grain pita or tortilla as the crust. I use a base tomato paste, my own spices, and load it up with veggies (onions, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes) and meat (grilled chicken thigh is a favorite, as is sliced steak or pork) and a sprinkle of my preferred cheeses (this week it's gruyere and sharp cheddar). I can have an entire, very filling, meal of this for under 400 calories and have a ton more nutrients than a purchased pizza. Most importantly, to me it tastes a gazillion times better than the chunk of grease and sodium that is take-out.
If you are anything like me, then there is no way that you'll ever stick with any changes that don't make you happy. You might be more dedicated than I am and keep going with them until you reach your weight goal (I wouldn't be able to do it for that long), but will you be able to keep it up to maintain your weight loss? If you focus on finding healthy changes that you enjoy, then it is wayyy easier to make the change permanent.
Personally, I find turkey bacon and turkey dogs to be vile impersonations of actual foods. I have real bacon, just in smaller amounts, or Canadian bacon (because I really like the texture and taste). I have one of the "naturals" hot dogs when I really want a hot dog, but only have one. If you like the taste of the turkey versions, then go for it, but don't feel like they are a requirement!
Kudos to you for starting out on a healthier lifestyle, and remember to have fun with finding changes that really make you happy!
Start weight: 240 lbs
Goal weight: 155 lbs
Afraid of a colonoscopy? Believe me - they are much less frightening than surgery and chemotherapy.
Colonoscopies allow polyps to be removed before they can become cancer, or let cancers be found before they are too widespread. If you are 50 or older, or have any symptoms, please don't let fear stop you from covering your butt.
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