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RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
10/21/13 12:12 P

The really glaring problem with the "ice latte and muffin" plan for breakfast is that it probably comes to about 800 calories -- that's more than half your allotment for the day! Depending where you get the muffin it could even be more (or a bit less if your latte has no sugar, but not that much less. anyway, you get the idea).

You're not going to get any argument from me on keeping things as simple as possible. You do not have to go from "muffins and McDonalds" to "yogurt, oatmeal, and salad" in one fell swoop. Heck, you might not want to go there at all. (I cant' stand oatmeal and it can't stand me. Not gonna make me eat it, no way, no how.)

But there's so much middle ground. Many convenience stores are now stocking sandwiches (which may not be the healthiest things overall but are often a great deal smaller and therefore less calorie-ific than McDonalds or a deli), yogurt, if you like it -- even vegetables with hummus! -- fruit, sometimes decent crackers and so on, and of course there's a few brands of fruit/nut bars that aren't that bad on the sugar front either. (I'm partial to KIND.) All you need to do to make a breakfast or lunch of that stuff instead of the muffin is to know it's there and seek it out instead.

Health food stores can often be great for lunch in a pinch if you can find one (though not all list calorie information).

You might not be able to reach your idea of perfection -- on a mostly-not-homemade menu you may even have some trouble staying consistently at 1400 calories like you're planning now -- but you can do a ton better than you have been doing, right? On both the health front and the calorie front.

So keep it as simple and as consistent with the lifestyle you're accustomed to as you possibly can, yes. Just don't expect miracles -- if you have to settle for 1800 cal a day at first because going further than that requires too much effort, then that is still an awesome start, you know? -- do be realistic with yourself about the options that you DO have, and just keep trying to build on small successes.

I didn't use the "baby steps" approach for weight loss, myself, but since being here I have applied it to a few other things in my life I was having trouble getting started or being consistent with, and it really works like a charm. Make the easiest steps you can that you you know are in the right direction and then just keep going and never stop.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,344)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,814
10/21/13 11:10 A

The good thing is that most fast food restaurants are starting to offer much healthier choices.

OLGA18 SparkPoints: (23,905)
Fitness Minutes: (19,498)
Posts: 1,217
10/21/13 10:15 A

When I was working 2 jobs it was incredibly difficult to find the time to prepare healthy foods. One of my lifesavers was the individual breakfast quiches based on the south beach diet. They are so simple you don't really need a recipe. Just mix together a bunch veggies...spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, anything at all really with egg substitute and throw in some reduced fat spicy cheese. Spray muffin cups, pour the mixture in, cook them for 15-20 minutes. You can make up a batch of them and then just pop a couple in the micro for a quick, nutritious (and imho delicious) breakfast. You don't even have to use just the egg substitute you can certainly throw in a couple of eggs and make a dozen muffins.
Another thing I often did was buy those pre-cooked chickens at the grocery. Then you can just cook up some frozen veggies and rice or something to go with them. Take your time and find a way that works for you. Baby steps will get you there...Good luck!

KNUCKLES145 Posts: 16,220
10/21/13 10:02 A

that is one of the problems with strict diets. at least for me. I can't stick with them long term

what I have to look at it what works long term, not only losing the weight initially but what keeps it off long term. that is my struggle.

maybe instead of going on a strict diet, you could try to change one thing a week and see if that helps with the weight loss.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,344)
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Posts: 3,814
10/21/13 9:07 A

That's well within your rights. We don't need anyone's permission to ingest anything legal. The results are the same regardless of anyone's opinion of the act. The human body doesn't know whether or not transfats, sugars, or cigarettes are permitted by the FDA; the body will respond based on it's own laws.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,331
10/21/13 9:07 A

what i was saying so poorly is that you need to work around those causes that make you not stick to the plan. in other words, if your train is late once, it's going to happen again. so you need a backup plan for when that happens. or if it's something that happens frequently then you need to identify that is something that isn't working. in other words, whenever you find yourself going off of your plan, write down why. once you identify the reasons, you can work around them.
let's pretend that your train destination is about halfway between two stops. the first stop doesn't have as pretty of a walk as the second, so you take the second stop and walk from there. if one day you get to the second stop and there is massive construction [with signs saying it's going to take months to complete] between there and your destination that adds ten minutes to your travel time, you'd likely start getting off at the first stop and walking from there. there was an issue with your plan, you identified what was causing you to be late/go off of your plan, and you found a new solution based on the fact of what your stumbling block was.
that's what you need to do with your food. if your plans are failing, you need to find out why. and when you know the varied whys, you need to address them. you may be planning too ambitious of meals for the time you have, in which case finding a better option at your fallback restaurant would be a good use of your time. could you put your purse, work stuff and food in a backpack for an easier way to carry it all around? if you can't stick to things for long, then you are changing too much at once. because the things that trip you up tend to be the same things over and over again. so if you address the issues that you find make you fail, then you can find the way that you would succeed. it's how you evaluate your planning. you look at what works and what doesn't and make new plans based around that. if you just keep planning without evaluating the feedback that you get by identifying what trips you up [what i call excuses for short] then you're going to keep tripping up on those things. it's the reasons why your plan fails that are what you need to plan around. it's not about planning to have oatmeal and salad and cheese and nuts. it's that when you tried that you didn't have milk, that your train was delayed, that your habitual coffee spot was right there, that your arms were full, and you're trying to do more prep than you have time for. so it's about planning to work around not having milk, delayed trains, the places you usually go being right there, and not having a lot of time. those are what need your planning attention more than the actual foods. what prevents you from following through is what you need to address.
everyone has bad or off days where everything happens and you don't get around to stuff. but most of the time the stumbling blocks are pretty similar and recurring. and figuring your way around those usual suspects will help you succeed in carrying through your plans in the long term.

CERTHIA SparkPoints: (22,539)
Fitness Minutes: (16,207)
Posts: 770
10/21/13 8:50 A

You have to figure out what will work for you, short term and long term. I just hope that you don't put nutrition totally on the back burner. Adding a multivitamin will not take much time of your day, neither should making and drinking a protein smoothie, or downing a teaspoon of cod liver oil. I know that if I had done that when I lost weight, I would have been in much better shape after..

Of course YOU need to see what YOUR body needs, your diet could be lacking in other areas than mine was, and tracking is a great start to figure out how you are doing. Good luck!

LORETTA175 SparkPoints: (6)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 2
10/21/13 8:33 A

"when you find excuses like not having milk to not make oatmeal, make a note of them and figure a way around them. because you can make oatmeal with water. and had you made overnight oats last night with water, you would have had to spoon some in a bowl and eat. you can also buy cartons of shelf stable milks to keep on hand as backup. you likely also had a ton of other foods that you could have had for breakfast: leftovers from last night's dinner, the salad you planned for lunch, the cheese that you originally intended for a snack, heck the mozz and nuts would have been a fine breakfast choice [and that's assuming you had nothing in the house before you went shopping]. but you chose to go out [do you really not have a grocery store closer?] and decided it was easier to get a latte."

Nirerin - this is the problem though. I make the plans, and I'm just always unable to stick to them. Or stick with them for long. There's no way I'm going to have salad for breakfast. I was on my way to work, and my plan was to stop off at the grocery store. But, my train was delayed and I couldn't make it. I was also carrying a bag full of food that I'd brought in for the day, so it's not like I'm 'finding excuses', I am trying, but it's just too hard to do all this prep on the schedule that I'm on.

I'm not saying I'm going to live on muffins. Just that at this point I think 'whole foods' and nutrition etc is going to have to take a back seat for a while, while I get some of the weight off.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,344)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,814
10/21/13 8:11 A

Yes, nutrients matter. The body, and metabolism, function more efficiently with adequate nutrients.
At the same time, yes, you could lose weight on 1200 calories of twinkies a day. The lack of certain vitamin, nutrients, healthy fats, proteins, etc would have long term and immediate consequence that may or may not be visible.
I think everyone has free will. I just encourage everyone to research and educate themselves on nutrition and especially diabetes when considering adding highly processed items into their bodies. Some decisions have irreversible consequences.

Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 10/21/2013 (08:13)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,331
10/21/13 7:59 A

the issue with having an iced latte and a muffin is that those types of foods typically don't fill you up as much as whole foods do. so it's harder to stick to those calories, at least in the long term. and the long term is what you need to focus on. the more you change your diet [yep, i use the primary definition of the word which is what one eats] the less likely you are to be able to stick with it. everything about how you eat is a habit, and it can take six weeks to change a single habit. when you do these total overhauls, it's the same as if you decided to only take even numbered trains to work, only take right turns on your way home from work, to hop over ever crack you see, to spin around every time you cross a crack, and to walk backwards during odd numbered hours [like 7, 9 , 11, etc]. how long do you think you could hold that up? that's why these total overhauls fail.
i'm not familiar with bob harper's rules, but not eating meat has nothing to do with weightloss. that's like saying that you tried to lose weight by wearing a blue shirt. now if that blue shirt happened to be your favorite shirt that you love to run in that might do something, but it doesn't have a thing to do with weightloss. there are two kinds of oreos that are vegan. vegan does not necessarily equal healthy. years ago it was more likely because there was less accidentally vegan stuff, but if a company can make it cheaper without animal products they will do so. and i would consider both nuts and avocados healthy and nutritious foods, but they're basically pure fat. a serving of avocado is 1/4 of one and a serving of nuts is an ounce [or about 1/4 cup for most kinds]. if you're eating multiple servings of those a day, it's hard for those calories to not add up to be an issue.
ideally you want to start where you are, off the wagon. track. see where your calories are. and that's where you want to make healthy swaps, not from the drawing board. so if your breakfast fallback is an iced latte, try and find something nearby or with a similar amount of effort. could you get black tea or coffee instead of the latte? is there a grocery store near your favorite coffeeplace that you could detour to and get a yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit instead? could you batch cook some healthier muffins and freeze them, keeping on in the fridge ready to eat. because if you're buying a muffin and a latte out, you're likely looking in the 300-600 calories range each. and you're not getting a lot of nutrients for those calories and those two things can take a real bite out of your it's not about totally changing your routine, just tweaking your routine. and when i say tweaking, i am talking about working on one thing [your breakfast for example] for a few weeks. find ways to eat fewer calories, find ways to incorporate healthier items, reduce fats, increase protein and fiber, and get yourself on step closer to your ideal breakfast. again, this is something you want to focus on and just this. once you have some options, move on to lunch. and again, the idea isn't a total overhaul, the idea is to make your default choices a tiny bit better than they were with the least amount of effort possible. again, focus on it for a few weeks and move on to the next meal once you don't have to think about it all the time. if you keep making these gradual changes, what you're doing is slowly changing your habits. it's not a quick loss solution at all, but it would mean that you're actually changing the habits that are the issue. and once you've done something like changing the amount of oil you cook in from a Tablespoon [120 cals] to a teaspoon [40 cals], that's the sort of change that really add up over time. i mean, if you only cooked one portion of food a day that way, you;d save 80 cals just by doing that. if you cooked two portions of food a day, that would be 160 cals a day. for something as simple as using a different measuring spoon. so figure out where you are. don't reinvent the wheel all at once. slowly move yourself where you want to be.
and when you find excuses like not having milk to not make oatmeal, make a note of them and figure a way around them. because you can make oatmeal with water. and had you made overnight oats last night with water, you would have had to spoon some in a bowl and eat. you can also buy cartons of shelf stable milks to keep on hand as backup. you likely also had a ton of other foods that you could have had for breakfast: leftovers from last night's dinner, the salad you planned for lunch, the cheese that you originally intended for a snack, heck the mozz and nuts would have been a fine breakfast choice [and that's assuming you had nothing in the house before you went shopping]. but you chose to go out [do you really not have a grocery store closer?] and decided it was easier to get a latte. so if that's what you find happening, you need to identify it and work around it. it may be something as simple as telling yourself that you need to not waste the food you already bought. it may be that you need to buy a few more ready made options so that grabbing something else really does seem easier than going out to buy ingredients first thing in the morning. i will tell you for me that i am not a morning person and i consider any sort of errand running before work off limits. i can barely get myself out of bed, fed, dressed, and to work on time without any errands whatsoever. i know myself and i know i just can't handle the added things. so if i was out of milk and needed milk for my breakfast i would make a note on my grocery list to get milk and a shelf stable variant and then eat something else right then.

CERTHIA SparkPoints: (22,539)
Fitness Minutes: (16,207)
Posts: 770
10/21/13 7:13 A

I think I catch your drift. And I agree, if your main project is losing weight, then you would probably do that as long as you restrict your calories. If nothing else, it is a place to start :) Then, over time you could try to incorporate more nutrient rich healthy foods.

Perhaps you should look into supplements to get all your nutrients covered if you are planning on restricting your calories while eating mostly junk and convenience foods? Just make sure you take good care of yourself. Track what you eat, and keep an eye on your micro-nutrients as well as your macros.

I've eaten too little for too long in my past, and I lost weight, but also my health, hair and energy.. I was clueless about nutrition back then. Looking back it is so easy to see where I went wrong. 70-90 % of my calories came from carbohydrates in one form or the other. I did not eat enough protein, on a good day I would get 20-30 g in, and my diet was also very low or downright lacking on many essential vitamins and minerals. Moral of my story; I lost weight, but I also became malnourished. Today I aim to be healthy over skinny :)

Edited by: CERTHIA at: 10/21/2013 (08:45)
MILKYWAY515 Posts: 113
10/21/13 7:06 A

Just wondering....what if you just start with using the sparkpeople menu for just one meal a day per week? You know, try baby steps. There is an option on the food tracker page to use the sparkpeople menu; have you tried it yet? Then, each week you could add another part of the plan. For example, week one, start with breakfast, then week 2, try breakfast and a snack. Maybe week 3, try breakfast, snack, and lunch, and so on. That way, you are giving yourself a chance to enjoy a healthy meal and still enjoy choice. And this is just my opinion, but we all need treats from time to time. I have decided to make Sunday my dessert day, for example. I guess I have dessert every day, but through the week, my dessert tends to be fruit or yogurt with mix-ins. On Sunday, yesterday, I had a brownie. And I try to have my Sunday dessert OUT, so that I don't have leftovers at home.
I have been trying to change my lifestyle now for 4 years. It takes time. And patience, which I don't necessarily have! But if I want to have a healthy life, I need to fuel my engine with healthy food.
Good luck to you! emoticon

LORETTA175 SparkPoints: (6)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 2
10/21/13 6:19 A

Hi everyone,

I'm really frustrated, because it seems that the healthier I try to eat, the more weight I put on. I've been 'fighting' my weight for a year now, and gone from 175 to 200. I've tried everything, from Bob Harper's Rules (which I could not stick to) to most recently veganism/vegetarianism.

The problem is, I try these strict programmes, and I'm unable to stick to them so the repercussions end up being that I eat so much more.

Then I read about 'moderation' and how to incorporate treats so you don't feel deprived. People say that I need to learn to cook, and learn how to like healthy food if I'm going to lose weight. And if I can't, then I don't want it enough. But, I do. It just seems that every time I try to be healthy and stick to a plan, no matter how moderate, I can't do it. Like today. Yesterday I went to Whole Foods and I bought a ton of healthy stuff. The plan was to have oatmeal this morning, to have a salad for lunch, soup and greek yogurt for dinner and a snack of some mozzarella cheese and almonds. But then my train was massively delayed, I didn't make it to the grocery store (to get soya milk) and I ended up getting an iced latte for my breakfast instead.

But it got me thinking - I can control my calories. If I'm counting out 1400 calories a day, does it really matter if my breakfast is an iced latte and a muffin (for example) or a smoothie? I know in an ideal world I'd eat x y and z but at this point I just want the weight off.

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