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FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/8/13 5:34 P

Wading Moose- I used to feel the same way about non-skim milk. I used to only drink skim, then I cut out milk entirely. When I added it back to my diet, I added in whole and I loved it. The difference between whole and 2% isn't worth me making the switch, though the calorie count of 1% is tempting at times. I was just turned off when I had 1% milk at McDonalds one afternoon with lunch. Plus, I used to drink a ton of skim milk and never felt satisfied by it. The fat in the whole milk keeps me satisfied longer. I do not understand why Weight Watchers says fat-free dairy is a filling food.

Besides, appalling is in the eye of the beholder. Someone here will think drinking milk or consuming any animal products is "apalling." The yogurt I eat is not the lowest in sugar because I don't eat the plain often.

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/8/13 10:39 A

I've been using skim milk for years now and I didn't really notice the change until I was having cereal at one of those continental breakfasts you sometimes get in hotels (froot loops haha) and all they had was 2%. It tasted like I'd put cream on my cereal!

Most of the people in this thread supporing Lissa weren't involved in the other drama. I saw someone asking for help slowly reducing her calories - something she was worried about and struggling with. I've been there. Her post could've been me 3 years ago. And the reality is that sometimes I still eat the appalling food choice (see the froot loops above). So while the people involved are frustrated with the OP, the responses here are read by MANY others who are also struggling and looking for help.

And three years ago, had I read a thread like this and seen that cutting out most of the crap food in my life but continuing to lean on one little crutch like lucky charms was still an appalling diet choice, it would've been a bit like being punched in the face. "Hey, I know you're trying, but you suck if you can't eat all organic, non-processed, salt and sugar free, low carb straw on a plate! Now, here's your lettuce."

And I probably would've said something with four letters in it and logged off the site. I still struggle with that attitude a lot of the time around here. "YOU DON'T NEED X, JUST DO WHAT I DO!"

If you've never struggled with changing your diet, then good for you. But many have and many still do. Punching them in the face doesn't get anyone anywhere.

7/8/13 9:31 A

Hate those crazy busy weeks -- good for you for packing healthy lunch and dinner options, though. Often the crazy times are the ones when I go for convenience foods.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/8/13 9:21 A

I've read those studies. Honestly, the fat in the milk just keeps me satisfied longer. A cup of milk with fruit before bed will satisfy me if I'm a little hungry before going to sleep. Skim milk is like drinking water. Plus, I enjoy the whole milk more.

I actually haven't been hitting my calorie goals these past couple days. Things with work have been so crazy (14 hour day yesterday- Sunday is supposed to be my day off). I was under by almost 200 calories yesterday because I didn't snack- except for my dessert after my 10pm workout

7/7/13 10:35 P

I just want to say way to go! I have no idea of the past history between some of you on this post, but it appears that you are doing the hard work of evaluating your diet and making changes -- and it is hard! Good for you being willing to do it -- and even more, doing it publicly.

Way to go on giving up chips and snack cakes. As for the milk, I've had friends posting all sorts of studies recently that skim milk is not shown to be any better at helping to maintain a healthy diet and that whole milk may actually be better for you. If it fits in the long-term plan you set, great!

I just want to encourage you to keep going -- and keep sharing. It is good for all of us to be reminded how small steps can lead to great things.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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7/7/13 8:20 P

BUNNYKICKS, you've got some wise words there. I DO feel like the backlash at Azul is because of the one word choice; Thing is, I *feel* that frustration, where that word came from. I've felt it myself. I've had to really watch my own language in replying to Honey (and others, who have posted similar things) because as a writer, I know how powerful words can be. A less loaded word (or statement) could have accomplished the same thing without the negative judgment. Our community's good at that.

I think Honey has actually responded better in this thread than I've seen her do in a long time. I think we need to take your advice to heart, especially this:

"I think it would be beneficial to leave it ALL in the past and move forth from here, no more recriminations directed at the OP and ALSO no more recriminations directed at those that have critiqued the OP."

What do you guys say? Shall we start over from scratch?

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/7/13 3:18 P

Has anyone denied my food choices have been bad? More importantly, have I?

I think part of the reason I have become more active on here is that I know my food choices have been appalling at times. I want to change that, but I also operate under a fear that I will overcompensate for the changes in my diet and binge.

And I love the critique on the Lucky Charms. I almost never have them, and when I do they are DESSERT not breakfast, having sweetened cereal for breakfast is a rare (sometimes not even once a year) thing for me.

I think Lucky Charms, snack cakes, and pop tarts are suitable for weight loss- as long as I learn to control my portions better. I'm not at a place where I can open up a foil poptart sleeve and only eat one of the 2 pop tarts. I will get the some day, but today is simply not that day. So, I'm going to avoid buying those things, and if I do, I will look for single serve packages rather than boxes with multiple servings.

I am planning on going to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner this week with my best friend. I'm not completely sure what we are ordering, but I am developing a game plan. I will be getting dessert, pizza, and an appetizer. However, we will be getting thin crust pizza and I will have 1/4 of the pizza for dinner and 1/4 for lunch the next day. I also plan on taking home half of the appetizer and/or ordering soup- though my final decisions have yet to be decided. I'm also going to get the seasonal summer berry dessert instead of splitting a slice of Red Velvet cake.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
7/7/13 1:45 P

I'm starting to feel badly for AZUL... why is there so much blowback at a "tough love" post? (including from people who are known for no-nonsense tough-love postings themselves).

Is it all to do with that one word choice?

I think it would be beneficial to leave it ALL in the past and move forth from here, no more recriminations directed at the OP and ALSO no more recriminations directed at those that have critiqued the OP. While I recognize that words have power and it can hurt to hear "your food choices are appalling,"I don't think it's an exceptional reaction to look at a food tracker consisting of 3500+ calories of cookies, chips, candy, poptarts, etc. and have the thought flash through one's mind, "appalling choices if the goal here is weight loss." Whether one should comment on it? I don't know.. I don't suspect it is helpful for the OP to live under the illusion that those choices are suitable for weight loss, so it's reasonable to say *something*. If the advice is not appreciated, it can easily be overlooked.

7/7/13 1:21 P

AZULVIOLETA6: I also feel the need to comment on the way you're "talking" to the OP. Goodness knows there were threads in the past that I wanted to reach thru the computer screen and smack her (tho, when I analyzed those feelings I realized that what I really wanted was to reach 10 years back in time and smack MYSELF for thinking and acting the same way); but now she is very different. She is open to suggestions and is making changes. They may not be the changes YOU want right now, but if she stays on the current path I think she will get there eventually.

And its not about YOU anyway. There are 7 billion people on the planet and at least that many "right" ways to lose weight. You would probably be "appalled" if you looked into my refrigerator. But I've lost over 50 lbs so far. I eat the foods I have the money to buy, the time and knowledge to prepare, and the taste buds to enjoy eating. In other words, I do what works for me. And the OP is trying to find and do what works for her. Its great to offer advice. One of the things I love about this site is all of the advice available on these message boards. But I just get so sick of seeing people tell others that what they are doing is "wrong, wrong, WRONG! and you're doomed to failure if you don't do it MY way."

LOWWILL SparkPoints: (1,133)
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7/7/13 1:19 P

Lisa...I am one who also wants to lose the weight and am honestly trying.'s NOT easy to do at all (as I'm sure everyone on Spark will agree). None of us have extra weight because we have a perfect diet and exercise program that we had been on and stuck to. But, I think that the most important thing is to figure out whether we truly WANT to lose the weight (I mean FULLY WANT) or whether we are doing it for the wrong reasons (ie: someone else expects it out of us or we want to look like some celebs).

It seems to me, from all that I've read from you and others in response to your question (some really GREAT answers by the way)...that it *MAY* be that the real problem is that you're not as "ready" to get into losing the weight as you may "think" that you are???? I can't answer that one.

I think all of us would love to have a "magic pill" that gets the weight off like yesterday and without much fuss or feeling out of whack with what we're used to and like to eat and do or not do. However, the reality of it is (as I know that you fully know too), we all have to CHANGE what we're doing or we wouldn't need to lose the weight in the first place, right?

Unfortunately, (as much as I wish there were), there's no magic solution. Fad diets, low to no carb, rarely work because they're something to "fall off of". The idea I think, for all of us, is to learn (as so many in here have wisely said) to make "better choices".

I was shocked to learn for instance that if I was going to choose a lower calorie menu at a take-out/fast food place, the dinner salads are often more in calories (with their additives and dressings) than some burgers! Seriously. Of course, the salad is healthier nutrition wise in some aspects but, the burger looks more tempting than a bowl of salad. So, it's also a process whereby we're learning to make wiser choices and learn nutritive values more than anything else. Not only might we lose weight but, we'll also be healthier overall by that kind of thinking.

Whatever else is going on, this has to be a LIFESTYLE choice/change. It can't be a "temporary knock off the pounds then, go back to what I love to eat" type of thing. It has to come SLOWLY and deliberately and with full intention to not only lose the weight but, more importantly, to be something to stick with for life to be healthier as well.

Perhaps, (just a suggestion...not an order :)) you might do what I'm doing...question WHY you want to lose weight and how much you really want to lose it and be honest with yourself in your answers. You *might* be surprised to learn that you really would LIKE to lose weight're really not ready mentally and emotionally to let go of what it would take for you to lose it??? Maybe, you're just not quite there yet or,'re simply working your way to that point but, feel that you should be or are getting some sort of push/flack that you should be? You cannot do this for anyone else. You have to do it for yourself and really WANT to do it. If you don't really want it for those reasons...don't beat yourself up. Just recognize that you're ok with how you are right now (deep down inside) and are NOT ready to give up what is necessary to give up/exchange whatever is necessary to do to lose the weight. It's ok.'s ok to not be ready fully.

But, like so many others have said (so wisely)'s a matter of slowly making at a time, if necessary. If you're truly driven to make changes for health reasons or how you look and feel, then substitutions will be easier (ie: 1% milk with your Lucky Charms instead of 2%...then, mixing in some sort of other healthy cereal with your Lucky Charms in a half-half state and minimizing your portion sizes and, perhaps, slowly weaning off of the Lucky Charms over time....sorry to pick on Lucky Charms but, it's been the most talked about ;)).

I'm just beginning and learning and there are days when I just want to say "to heck with it" and eat the house and McDonalds out! emoticon But, slowly I am making changes as those who have experienced this sort of "withdrawal" have done. Poor eating choices and amounts are purely habits that we've learned and gotten ourselves into. If we can learn them, we can learn new habits. It all depends upon our will/want to change it though. I think that *may* be where you're stuck for the moment and perhaps, it's not so much the lifestyle change right now for you as it is, asking yourself whether you're really "into" doing this and why? Motivators are great drives but, if you don't have the right're going to end up chasing your tail and making yourself miserable in the longrun.

Best of wishes!!! We're all somewhat in the same boat. We didn't get this way overnight and we won't get out of it overnight either It takes, time, patience and trial and error until we get it and all of us will slip up.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/7/13 12:26 P

To be honest, part of how I process things is through process of elimination. I look at all of my options and eliminate ones that won't work for me. That may be where my negativity comes into place. Often, for some suggestions, I'm not necessarily knocking them down; I'm more DOUBTING that they will work for me. It's more of a fear of trying and failing. I also tend to get very defensive if I feel people are ganging up on me.

I've been able to stay within my ranges the last two days; I was actually under by around 40 calories yesterday. I certainly know that I can stay within my ranges. I've done it before. My problem is the PRESSURE of having a specific calorie range more so than the actual range itself. Numbers stress me a bit.

But if you look at my tracker, there has been a huge improvement. Sure, I will probably have the rest of my wings next week sometime, and I have 2 toaster strudels that will make a good dessert on two different nights (but tonight I am having vanilla chocolate chunk yogurt with berries). I also have a CPK trip next week, but I have a plan for that (more or less- specifics on what pizza we get will be decided there).

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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7/7/13 10:35 A

I have expressed my frustration with Honeylissabee before myself, and don't really reply to her posts anymore, but even I have to take up her defense against the use of "appalling." Using negative, judgmental words isn't going to help her any more than being nice has, and it certainly won't incline her to listen to anything you or we have to say. That is a hurtful word, and is designed to make her feel bad and shame her into change.

That's not going to work.

I will give you props for one thing, Honeylissabee. In spite of all our frustrations, in spite of the excuses, you KEEP COMING BACK. You keep trying. That's something to be proud of. I do wish you the best, and I hope that others here learn to avoid negative, judgmental words that can do nothing but hurt.

Keep moving in the right direction. Your tracker may be "appalling" to some, but I see a lot of improvement there.

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
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7/7/13 9:53 A

I just think 'appalling' is a bit harsh, even in response to Lissa's post, even considering her past topics. Even considering her past excuses, complaints, arguments, etc. I have seen a lot of of her previous topics and she responded a little differently this time. Maybe she has taken a small baby step. She didn't lash out. Her response was:

"It may be "appalling," but it is a definite improvement from where I was."

SLIM4LIFE09 Posts: 424
7/6/13 11:03 P

Listen to Russell :) Take small steps. Don't listen to some of the harsher critics here - yes, sugary cereal is bad and we ALL eat bad foods (come on, would we be here trying to lose weight if we didn't?). Keep tracking and making small steps. Maybe have a piece of fruit with your cereal in the morning or switch to skim or 1% milk (I didn't look at your food tracker, so not sure if you already do)- point is, small changes and new habits will go a longggg way.

I may start rambling now, but here goes- instead of a calorie goal right now, make it a tracking goal. Track everything for a week or two. Set your calorie goals to something that doesn't scare you (ie: 1800-2500). So if you eat 2500, at least you're being accountable and can later look back to look at your tracker and see where you could improve. And it's still less than you were eating before you started tracking, so that's progress and your body is on its way to being healthier.

Other changes and goals to make- getting 8 glasses of water, hitting your fit-bit goals (I LOVE my fitbit!), having a fruit or veggie with every meal, not eating after 8 p.m. - etc. As weeks progress you can set your calorie goals a little lower and set new achievable healthy-lifestyle goals.

I was kind of shaking my head when someone said 1500-1800 is huge and a cheat-day for them. Nah, not really. It's healthy. Depending on your size, you can easily lose 1-2 lbs a week eating 1500-1800 calories a day. Which is healthy and sustainable.

ANARIE Posts: 13,205
7/6/13 8:58 P

For those of you who think other people are being terribly mean to Lissabee, you have to understand that this has been going on for about a year now-- She posts a "Please help! I don't know what to do!" message, people respond very nicely with, "Well, maybe you could try eating one serving of Kashi cereal instead of four servings of SuperSugarBombs, and have ice cream OR a slice of cake instead of both," and then she comes back with a very detailed explanation of why that won't work, and how what she really wants is for people to tell her how to lose weight without ever changing anything about the way she eats.

No woman can eat 2500 calories a day without exercise and lose weight. If she used to eat 3000 and has reduced that to 2500, that's great-- but it's not going to lead to weight loss. It's just going to slow the gain. Nobody can change that. Saying "You ARE going to have to reduce calories if you want to lose weight" and "You ARE going to have to stop eating fried food, sugary cereals, and cookies on a daily basis and get some veggies into your diet if you want to be healthy" is not ganging up on someone. It's just reminding them of the immutable laws of physics. The calorie ranges aren't set where they are just to make life difficult for someone who wants to eat more; they exist independently of whether we like them or not.

I would like to be rich without getting a good job, and I would like to have perfect teeth without having to brush or floss or get braces. But no matter how many times I ask how to do that, it's not gonna happen.

And that's okay. If someone is not ready to make a change, they don't have to. But we can't get angry at the people who tell them that the change is necessary for the results they want.

7/6/13 5:06 P

Hi there Honey!
I've been "Sparking" for almost a year and three months and have lost about 32 pounds. I know to may that it will seem a bit on the slow side for their liking, but the weight has come off and I feel fabulous for it. I ate at the higher end of my calorie range (almost 1800 every day) and when I knew I had a big meal/nigh out coming up I made sure I got a lot of extra exercise in during the week before. I am very nearly at the stage now when I will be starting maintenance. What I'm hoping is that because I've been at the higher end of my calories range, what I will need to eat in order to maintain won't be all that different and therefore it will be easier to do. Maybe this would work for you too, rather than aiming for a huge calorie deficit. I know that if I'd tried to stick to much lower calories that there's no way I would have done it. I LOVE MY FOOD! I've also been a bit rubbish with my choices for the last few weeks, but I'm back on it now. Reading through what you've written has somehow inspired me!
Nice one on all of those extra steps, keep it up.

Edited by: NOTTINGHAMKATE at: 7/6/2013 (17:07)
CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
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Posts: 827
7/6/13 3:12 P

I love this advice from Russell.

"People don't usually make the switch from eating horrible diets, to eating the perfect diet, but going from french fries to a baked potato is doable. So is going from french toast with syrup, and a yoohoo, to cinnamon toast crunch. The idea is not to eat healthiEST, but healthiER."

Hang in there, Lissa. It is great that you are honest about what you eat and your binges. Hopefully, slowly reducing your calories will be doable for you and not leave you super hungry and trigger binges. I eat "unhealthy" cereals too. It is sort of like a dessert for me.

You are trying to break years and years of bad habits. Don't think of it as all or nothing and that everything has to be changed overnight. If you want to stay with whole milk, I don't think it is a big deal. There are other things you can cut.

edit: another member posted:
"To those of you defending her--please look at her tracker. It is appalling."
The op is aware she doesn't make the best choices 100% of the time and she struggles. Calling her choices appalling isn't going to help her.

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 7/6/2013 (19:18)
ZRIE014 Posts: 83,772
7/5/13 1:46 A

I hope that you have a Happy 4th!!

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/5/13 1:18 A

I'm working on tracking breakfast, lunch, and partial snacks for tomorrow. Partial because one snack that I've tracked is my dessert: Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Champions with frozen berries and I'm not sure how big of a portion of berries I will have since I plan on weighing it.

I think I am going to set a goal to stay within my ranges. I know I've been apprehensive about it, and I still am, but I think I need to do it. If I gradually cut down my intake, I'll be able to fit in more and more junk. By dropping my intake down, it forces me to make better choices.

And if needed, I'll adjust my goals next week, but a goal to stay within 1530 to 1880 calories doesn't seem too overwhelming now that I've tracked breakfast, 1.5 snacks/dessert, and lunch. I just need to figure out dinner- which will probably be spaghetti squash with chicken and basil pesto (with leftovers for lunch) or I might do a baked sweet potato with coconut oil, Parmesan cheese, black beans, and salsa. I haven't decided yet.

Oh! Maybe I'll make lemon pepper spaghetti squash from the SP cookbook for dinner and divide it up for lunch on Saturday and possibly Sunday. I can do chicken for lunch and salmon for dinner if we still have some salmon in the freezer- or I might just stick with chicken. Mmm. I'm getting excited here!

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/4/13 9:40 P

It may be "appalling," but it is a definite improvement from where I was.

The corn dogs were mini ones. It's not that hard to eat 16 mini ones- especially when half were eaten at lunch and the other half were eaten for dinner. Besides, I'm eating what I have in my house, which isn't a whole lot. I haven't been able to go grocery shopping.

And I've tried cutting out junk food with no results. I end up binging. I'm taking a different approach by making gradual changes, I gave up snack cakes and chips this week. Next week, I'll try my hand at cutting out the sugary breakfast foods.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/4/13 8:13 P

You can play around with the math as much as you like and come up with new formulas ad nauseum, but as long as you are eating 16 servings of corn dogs a day (which you did on July 2nd) you are not going to lose weight. How is it even POSSIBLE to eat 16 corn dogs? Are you trying to get healthy or are you trying to become a competitive eater?

It is not about perfection, and it's OK to eat the occasional junk food item. The problem is that almost everything you eat is hyper-processed junk food. This is not even a once a day thing with you--you are eating several junk food items at EVERY MEAL, even breakfast. You had a pop tart for breakfast today for goodness sake! Your diet does not make any sense and it will never work.

You need to get real to yourself and stop justifying horrific food choices.

To those of you defending her--please look at her tracker. It is appalling.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/4/13 3:25 P

I am nearing the end of my 2 week tracking trial, and I'm slowly getting used to the idea of trying to stay within a set range. I'm thinking about setting myself up to spend a week or 2 (depending on how well I do) at a 500 calorie deficit (1 pound per week) and then going to 750 and 1000 calories gradually. Though, maybe I should start off with a 250 calorie deficit. I'm thinking a larger deficit would be better for me to start, and then I will inch my way down even lower, if I only cut a couple hundred calories, I might not feel it is worth it.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
Posts: 2,744
7/3/13 2:23 P

Food snobbery is definitely my defining mind set. When I'm choosing what to buy at the grocery store or at a restaurant, I'm definitely going to go for the best available in my price range. If it's a baked good, it had better be a very good baked good for me to spend money on it. The upside is that you only eat the stuff that tastes really good, the downside is that 99% of what comes in cardboard boxes starts to taste like the box it came in (but is that really a bad thing?). It's why I'm willing to pay $0.50 more per pound for meat at the farmers market because its not full of antibiotics, chemicals, and fillers--the chicken actually tastes like chicken. Vegetables at my local farmers market are actually cheaper than at the grocery store come to find out, ftw.

Of course when someone else is providing the food, that's a different story and I just watch my portions.

It took me a while to get here but the first question I started asking myself was: Is this what I actually want or is there something better?

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/3/13 1:59 P

If I could never eat a cupcake again, there'd be little point in living :) I've spent a lot of time growing up in the last few years. I can't eat cupcakes every day or even every week or month. But I will have one at my niece's birthday or my birthday.

I'm a big believer in moderation and the better I've gotten with eating "bad" foods in moderation the more successful I've been. Yeah, it took awhile to get there and I'm still not perfect, but I'm better than I was and I feel 100x better than I used to.

Don't let perfectionist attitudes (yours or others) do you in.

7/3/13 1:43 P

Kudos for making healthier choices! After a while of eating healthy, you may just find that you won't even WANT some of the highly processed foods. I would never have believed that both my husband (who was over 350 lbs in January, we don't know how much as the Dr's scale maxs at 350) and myself would ever pick Morning Star veggie burgers over a beef burger. Or that our bodies would not feel good after eating something higher in cals/carb/sodium/fat. But we both are making better choices, reading labels and are feeling much better for it. We eat fruit instead of cakes, cookies or pies--and I LOVE to bake! Keep an open mind, try new stuff and don't make excuses and each small change will help make a better you!

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/3/13 12:41 P


I have had several experiences with people on Weight Loss sites criticizing and ganging up on me for every potentially bad food choice. I would be told I was not ever going to lose weight if I mentioned eating a cupcake or going to a buffet. It's nice to know that not everyone is like that.

I have been making smaller changes. The amount of produce in my lunches is increasing. I packed carrot sticks and blueberries today, when in the past, I might not have anything. I've been craving buffalo wings, so I decided to get ranch dressing for dipping. I went with the light version instead of the full fat one. Will I be over today? Probably, but at least I'm making some better choices.

And I have been exceeding my step goal every day. In fact, I had over 12,000 steps the last two days. My goal is 10,000 and 2 weeks ago, I wasn't hitting that!

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/3/13 10:06 A

I'm sorry, Azulvioleta6, but I'm having trouble with your advice on this one. It's expecting perfection that makes a lot of people just throw in the towel because they struggle to achieve that. No one here has suggested that Lucky Charms are healthy, not even the OP. She IS, however, afraid of changing her diet significantly and failing again. You know, like she has in the past.

Nobody changes their diet completely overnight. Well, maybe you did, but most of us do not and cannot. To berate her for one bad food choice out of many when she's asking for advice and support to help her change her diet seems to be more mean spirited than helpful.

She acknowledges she needs to change. MOST people here suggested she do it slowly, changing small things rather than throwing out her current way of eating altogether. Maybe it works for you to feel guilty and crappy every time you want to eat food that isn't healthy for you, but for most of the population? That isn't an effective strategy.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/2/13 10:09 P

Russell, I actually tried South Beach twice, but I was unable to stick to it for more than a day each time. Remarkably, I did stick to a Paleo diet for 5 days. It was a strict one: no sweeteners of any kind were allowed. I just couldn't maintain it though. It was nearly impossible to eat out, and I missed my Chobani. I have considered giving Paleo another try, but I just don't know if I can sustain that.

Gradually, I want to make changes so I'm a "food snob" like in that article on Spark a while back. Sure, Little Debbie snacks might be lower in calories than a gourmet, homemade cupcake, but the cupcake is more worth it. I would rather wait and have something really good and indulgent less often.

My next step with cereal will be to limit the sweetened stuff to a single serving in the afternoon or evening as a snack rather than a meal. I love dipping frosted mini wheats in milk, after all.

I am still in my 2 week trial tracking period, and I'm learning something interesting. I bought a mini box of Goldfish and I have a bag of buttered micriwave popcorn from Saturday, but since cutting out chips, they don't appeal to me (though the popcorn is tempting at the moment.) I'm not gravitating towards potatoes either, but I've been craving more salty, fatty meat: corn dogs, slim Jim's, pepperoni, salami, and buffalo wings. I'm not even missing the chips, but I feel like I could kill for some dark meat rotisserie chicken with the skin.

Thing is, it's not just fat that I want. It's fatty MEAT.

Maybe next week, at least 4 nights, my snack will be Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk yogurt with berries instead of sweetened cereal. I have a few coupons, so I might as well use them.

MEGAPEEJ Posts: 732
7/2/13 6:56 P

"I'm focusing more on gradually making sure the fat I eat is from animal products, oils, nuts, seeds, and other natural sources rather than hydrogenated oils."

This is a great idea. Those sources of fat and protein will leave you feeling full and satisfied and you will naturally seek out fewer calories. You've already started the important step of logging your calories, and I would also encourage you to use your note section or a private journal to note how you feel when you eat a certain way. I.E. "had a lot of protein for dinner - didn't feel hungry for 4 hours after", "I don't feel satisfied from nuts and seeds", "I can't eat mashed potatoes without eating ALL of the mashed potatoes", etc. It will help you identify patterns and build better, more satisfying meals as you go along.

And I want to reiterate that you don't have to be perfect to lose weight. You might eat something that someone else wouldn't, but if you measure and eat a small amount, working the calories in to your goals, it's ok. A big reason I put off losing weight for so long is because people would talk about food being "bad", or "not allowed", or "you can never eat a cheeseburger again" - and then I would think "well I'd rather just enjoy those things and be fat". Well, it turns out I was able to enjoy those things in moderation, and sometimes as opposed to all the time, and lose weight. This is YOUR journey, and we'll guide you the best we know how, but the choices are still yours.

Edited by: MEGAPEEJ at: 7/2/2013 (19:09)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/2/13 6:20 P

Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch really healthy? Probably not, but it is a better choice than macaroni and cheese, or breaded meat. The night cereal is obviously a choice to not go out and get fast food. My brother does this. In Jillian Michaels book, Unlimited,she talks about this. She admits that Subway isn't the healthiest choice, but it is better than the alternative. Cereal here is a better choice than donuts, and a pop for breakfast.

People don't usually make the switch from eating horrible diets, to eating the perfect diet, but going from french fries to a baked potato is doable. So is going from french toast with syrup, and a yoohoo, to cinnamon toast crunch. The idea is not to eat healthiEST, but healthiER.

I would love to suggest Lissa does low carb, but if she doesn't like the food, or want to eat that way, besides her current reliance on her parents food, which limits choices, then it won't work for her. Cutting a few calories will work, and eating less processed foods might help her with her hunger, allowing this to happen. Suggesting something that she is not going to be able to do, is useless. My suggestion was based on what I thought she could handle. What works for us, isn't necessarily what work for everybody. We need to look at her situation, and assess what is possible for her to accomplish. The goal is to help her, not chastise her.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/2/13 5:51 P

Of course you don't owe anybody an explanation, but if you think that Lucky Charms are ever a reasonable breakfast choice you are just lying to yourself. A cookie for breakfast might just be better in fact--an oatmeal cookie made from scratch (or from a good bakery) would at least contain some whole grains and other real ingredients. This is why honest tracking and running the daily reports can be so helpful over time--you really start to see which choices are better based on facts instead of just assumptions and justifications.

I'm not a fan of the texture of Kashi cereal, but it does make a good parfait--it seems a bit more palatable when it stays wet for a while. I don't usually eat processed cereal, but my mom gave me a bunch of Kashi Go Lean, so I've been trying to find a use for it. It is nice with yogurt, fresh/frozen berries, a couple of raisins/Crasins and a spoon full of jam--a snack like that is still pretty high in carbs, but it is also filling and full of nutrients.

I'm not advocating for a low/no fat diet, but when most of your calories are coming from fat and sugar/carbs instead of protein and fiber...well, it is going to take a LOT of calories to stay full. I am not trying to put you down at all--we ALL make bad choices from time to time and we all learn new things from experience. This is just something to think about.

Reaching your calorie goals is very do-able, but Little Debbie is not going to be your friend in this endeavor.

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 7/2/2013 (17:56)
WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/2/13 5:43 P

When you stumble a bit, just remember the 80/20 rule. Eat well at least 80% of the time and you'll do fine - ESPECIALLY when you're just starting out. I can't count the number of times I've eaten something I shouldn't. I used to beat myself up and give up because I couldn't do it for only a few days or weeks, so how could I do it forever!

Look at the people around you. Even the people at healthy weights indulge once in awhile. Heck, around here, Fridays are bagel days and the first people in that kitchen toasting their bagels are some of the smallest/healthiest people in the office. The 2 guys that run at lunch? Oh yeah, they're right in there.

It's not about perfection. It's about improving and making changes - big or small to get to your goals.

Yes, lucky charms aren't a great choice. You know that and you know that will have to change at some point to achieve your goals. For now? You have a lot of little changes you can make with big results. Make one or two this week. Then when you're ready to, make new changes. Your weight loss may not be as fast as you'd like to start with, but it'll be much more sustainable over time.

BAREFOOT-LISA Posts: 1,412
7/2/13 4:54 P

Don't worry about people micro-managing your choices. I notice a lot of that on these boards. I tend not to say anything about what one is eating unless specifically asked "what do you think about my food choices", lol! Of course, they are just trying to help, but one never knows how to take it, you know what I mean.

The only thing that is going to work for you to lose weight is by making changes that you enjoy and will keep up with.
Sure, lucky charms aren't a good choice, neither is the was the breakfast pizza slice I had from casey's this morning, but like you said, it is better than cookies!

Eventually I am sure you move toward healthier choices. I understand that you live with your parents, so your choices are limited. Maybe others don't realize that.
If you find whole milk more satisfying, awesome. It's better than soda.

You're on the right track as far as making small changes that work for you. Going from cookies for breakfast to steel cut oats with flax seed doesn't happen over night for ANYONE!!

So, chin up. You don't owe anybody an explanation.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/2/13 4:25 P

Here's the thing, I have done a lot of research on animal fat and cholesterol, and I generally don't buy into all of that hype. In my opinion, I think it's more important to focus on the source of the food. I'm focusing more on gradually making sure the fat I eat is from animal products, oils, nuts, seeds, and other natural sources rather than hydrogenated oils.

I do wish I could drink all organic milk, but I've just started working again (temporarily) and my parents pay for most of my groceries- including non-organic milk from Costco. I'll stick to what I can get for free for now.

TOGEMON Posts: 247
7/2/13 4:12 P

If you like cinnamon (EDIT: cinnamon cereal that is!), Kashi Cinnamon Harvest is a good one. Granted, it's no Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which I love), but it has a good cinnamon taste. My breakfasts are usually cereal. I eat that, Kashi Vanilla Harvest, Weetabix (my fav), or sometimes Cheerios or Special K.

I put fruit on it to give it a sweet taste... usually bananas or strawberries.

I know you don't want to swap out your milk, but if you ever decide to do it, organic milk is more flavorful to me than regular. I've drunk skim milk all my life, and switched to organic in the past year or so. It tastes a lot better :)

That said, if you can stand 2%, you might reconsider it. Remember it's not just calories you're eliminating but also animal fat and cholesterol.

Edited by: TOGEMON at: 7/2/2013 (16:13)
FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/2/13 3:43 P

A Zebra CAKE is a Little Debbie Snack Cake.

Did I say Lucky Charms are healthy? No. However, they are a BETTER choice than what I would have eaten before.

I have only just started tracking on Sparkpeople. Prior to yesterday, my food was tracked on MyFitnessPal. Last week, I had days where I ate cookies for breakfast. I've slowly transitioned to having a bowl of cereal and milk instead. Then, I'll make sure my cereal choice is Cheerios instead of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Kashi Cereal instead of Lucky Charms. If I cut out all sugar cold-turkey, I'll binge. At least this is helping me cut back on calories and portions of sugar/junk food.

The whole milk isn't changing. I find whole milk much more filling and satisfying than skim or even low-fat. I may be able to go with 2%, but the calorie difference is so small, the swap doesn't seem worth it. Besides, I honestly don't have cereal in the house often. Most of the time, I drink milk separately and savor it slowly. Sometimes, I do feel guilty that I like whole milk, but I dislike lower-fat varieties so much that I can't see myself drinking anything else.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/2/13 3:18 P

I'm sorry, but a bowl of Lucky Charms IS really bad. It's sugar and corn syrup, very processed carbs and has almost no nutritional value. Putting it with whole milk instead of skim/2% or low-fat soy isn't a great choice either. That is a high calorie meal that won't keep you full at all, which is why you currently need so many calories to stay satisfied throughout the day.

I think that you might need to get a bit real with yourself and make peace with the fact that corn dogs, mac and cheese, chicken nuggest and kid's cereals are not part of a diet plan, or really even part of moderately healthy eating. Having one of these items in a day as an occasional treat (once a week? once a month?) is probably fine, but indulging in these kinds of things at every meal just is not going to work if you are serious about losing weight or eating a healthy diet.

What is a zebra bar?

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 7/2/2013 (15:21)
AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/2/13 2:59 P

Lissa, I just took a quick look at your tracker. There is only information there for a couple of days, but looking at what you have recorded, I see a lot of hope in that there are many places where you can make substitutions.

You are eating a lot of processed food and going really far overboard on the carbs. Just eliminating Cinnamon Toast Crunch from your diet could make a big difference! I think that if you could (gradually!) start eating more whole grains and more real food, you would find yourself being really satisfied while staying within your ranges.

I would recommend that you keep tracking for a week or two and then come back and ask us to give you some concrete menu suggestions. Another good way to get ideas for meal plans is to snoop around and look at other people's trackers. I do this with people on my teams all the time and I've found some really good ideas this way.

BAREFOOT-LISA Posts: 1,412
7/2/13 2:54 P

Oh, and I LOVE those walk away the pounds videos.
There's a whole bunch of leslie sansone stuff on youtube too, if you get bored with your video. I do them from phone at lunch, in the office, like a super nerd.
Don't worry about still having some cereal and chicken fingers, like you said, it's a better choice than before, and as long as you keep making those small changes, that really adds up. At least, it is for me.

BAREFOOT-LISA Posts: 1,412
7/2/13 2:52 P

You can totally do this!!
I love Russels' advice as far as cutting a couple hundred calories from your day to start. It's a big jump from 3000 to 1500 and that could very well leave you hungry, cranky and just willing to say screw it, this won't work for me!
I've seen some of your other posts and you have great ideas and plans for your weight loss journey, just try a new plan every week and take it slow and one morning you might just wake up and this will all be habit!!

FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/2/13 2:51 P

I definitely like the 10% reduction idea. I've made a significant change already by cutting out potato chips and sweets at home. Sure, I'll probably have buttered popcorn tonight, and I've been eating sweetened cereal, but it's my way of transitioning from all those snack cakes and chips. A bowl of lucky charms and milk is not too bad when compared to Zebra Cakes. I'm just baby-stepping it right now. Right now, I'm passing over banana bread for freeze dried mixed fruit. (The Lucky Charms were right before bed. I was hungry and needed something sweet).

The chicken fingers yesterday were leftovers from dinner Sunday. I'm actually not a huge chicken-fingers person overall (though, I do like the Simply Chicken nuggets by Perdue), but I see your point. The mac and cheese was a definite impulse buy, and I was originally going to pack half for lunch and half for dinner, but by the time I ate, I was starving and too tired to care. I am still focusing more on tracking what I eat normally this week- with the exception of getting rid of the chips and snack cakes.

I have been working out gameplans for certain restaurant situations. I am going to be going to CPK sometime this month to find out what prizes we won from the Thank You Card program. I'll order the pizza as a thin-crust one no matter what kind we decide to get, and I'll request it be cut into 8 slices instead of 6. My friend and I usually each eat half the pizza, but with the 8 slices, it'll allow me to easily take 2 slices home for lunch along with having 2 slices for dinner. I also think I'll order a cup of split pea and barley soup, and we'll go with the summer berry dessert instead of our usual cake.

Will it be the best meal? No, but it will certainly be better than what we usually get. Besides, I know that even if I eat 500 calories over my budget, I'll still be at a 500 calorie deficit for that day. In order to gain, I'll need to eat more than 2700 calories every day during the week on average. Some days, my burn may even be higher than that.

I just have a hard time maintaining momentum- especially if I stumble a bit. So far this week (Friday thorough Monday), I have cut an average of 584.5 calories per day compared to last week when I was eating chips and snack cakes. This includes Birthday celebrations over the weekend (Friday-Sunday) and starting a new job yesterday. I still need to make a lot of changes, obviously, but I'm definitely making progress. I'm also becoming more active both through working out and everyday activities. I go on a 30-45 minute walk at work (in addition to being more active elsewhere on the job). I am also close to two malls for mall walking, and I'm doing the 28 day Boot Camp with at least 2 miles of Walk Away the Pounds Workouts on rest/cross-training days. Definitely a step up from 10-20 minutes of balance games on the Wii Fit last week. I'm trying to bring up my activity level while bringing down my food intake.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/2/13 2:39 P

1550-1800 is still a HUGE amount of calories. That's a cheat day for me!

You can certainly eat enough to be full, satisfied and meet your nutritional needs within that range. You can do this--it's not that scary, really!

Just be thoughtful about the foods that you choose. Go for high protein and high fiber and that will help you stay full. Choose veggies over fruit and whole grains over processed carbs. If you get hungry, drink more liquid.

Have you tried planning out your meals ahead of time and entering your foods for the day before you start eating? This is a good way to make sure that you are getting enough filling food to stay satisfied while staying within your ranges.

RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
Posts: 3,116
7/2/13 2:30 P

I am going to take Russell's advice. It looks achievable! thanks

TORIAMAE Posts: 1,080
7/2/13 12:43 P

You have gotten some great advice here.

Begin slowly, one or two meals or items at a time. Make common sense substitutions where you can and don't beat yourself up if you are imperfect!

There is no reason to be scared. Not being perfect all at once is no reason to not try!

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
7/2/13 12:05 P

I agree with Russell

MEGAPEEJ Posts: 732
7/2/13 12:04 P

First of all, GREAT for you for taking this step! Eating within my calorie range has been my #1 tool for success, and we really want you to succeed too.

Like Russell suggested, start slow, cutting a few hundred calories at a time until you get to where you need to be. In the meantime, track all your food and start analyzing where you can make those cuts. For example, I started using 1 tbsp of mayo in my tuna salad instead of 3 (and making up the rest in mustard), filling up half my plate with greens instead of with pasta or potatoes, figuring out substitutions in meals that I really liked but were too "expensive" to eat as they were. By tracking the food now you should be able to see where your high calorie items are, and where to cut back/eliminate. It can help to keep junk food out of the house completely at first, at least until you can teach yourself to enjoy one serving and put the rest away. Real, whole foods will fill you up in a way that junk can not - junk food is DESIGNED to make you want to keep eating it (because that's how they get us to keep buying it).

You CAN do this. Take it one day at a time, one meal at a time, and make good decisions as often as you can. We're here to help!

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/2/13 11:26 A

the other posters are right - you've done other small goals successfully so start out slow with changing your diet too.

And I'm with you on this one. When I met my husband I was firmly in the "Salads suck and I hate every fruit and vegetable known to mankind" attitude. Ok, it wasn't THAT bad, but I certainly wouldn't consciously CHOOSE the healthy option.

First off, it's awesome that you're eating snacks. Instead of a bowl of lucky charms (ohhh how I love theee, lucky charms) have an apple with something protein based - the glass of milk, a handful of nuts, a slice of cheese. I find that an apple on it's own is not enough food for me and leaves me feeling hollow, rather than satisfied. But pairing it with some protein and fat is way better.

Maybe try to limit the processed cereals to one meal for now (breakfast, rather than breakfast and a snack).

Try to space your meals and snacks out evenly. For me, I have breakfast at about 5:30am, then a snack around 9-ish (right about now). The key for me is to have the snack BEFORE I get hungry. Today I'm having a peach with plain greek yogurt.

Just so you know, it took me awhile to be able to eat a peach with plain yogurt and no sugar. I used to sweeten, and I gradually added less and less sugar until now I'm fine without.

It just took small changes here and there for me to start, and then I gained confidence and felt way better about myself when I made a healthy choice. And I started making healthy choices more often than unhealthy.

I'm not completely without bad decisions, however. Yesterday? I was bored. So I made about a 1/4 cup of buttercream frosting. And ate it. But overall, I'm eating better than I ever have and my diet is MOSTLY healthy so I'm ok with having the odd treat - which has also made this all so much easier.

I know that I CAN have a treat. I can have the chicken fingers (hubby and I will share at Costco, VERY rarely). I've also discovered a lot of really good foods that I never would've tried before. In Vegas? I ordered this salad with goat cheese and cranberries at a restaurant in the NYNY hotel.

My husband stared at me. We were in a British (Irish? Scottish?) pub, and I stepped away from everything deep fried and had a salad. I CRAVE that salad. My husband went on a mission to find me hazelnut oil so I could make the salad at home. And the next time we go to Vegas, I'm going back there for the salad.

The me from 5 years ago would SO not recognize the me today.

KCLARK89 SparkPoints: (44,612)
Fitness Minutes: (18,761)
Posts: 1,243
7/2/13 10:43 A

I definitely agree with Russell. Focus on making smaller changes throughout your day rather than making a big jump all at once.

Other examples than what he suggested: eat 2 slices of pizza instead of 3. Have an extra scoop of veggies instead of an extra piece of meat.

It will take some willpower, but if you make small changes at first, it will add up in the end!

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/2/13 8:09 A

Why not cut 10 % at a time, and instead of 2500, stay below 2250 for a while, and then 2000 etc. Halving your menu will just leave you hungry. I eat about 1800 calories a day, so it isn't that bad.

Focus on healthier food. If something is 800 calories, consider an alternative. Certain foods cause me to be hungry. 8 ozs of fresh chicken breast might be a healthier choice than chicken fingers, and even with a T of oil, less than half the calories.

I used to think I needed 3000 calories to feel full, but I just needed to stop eating processed foods that made me crave more food. I put it down to being a big guy, and I still am, but I don't feel hungry at all. Sometimes the types of foods you eat are more important than the amount.

Yesterday, if you got rid of the chicken fingers, and snack sticks you would be down to 1447 calories, and if you added in the chicken breast in olive oil, you would be at 1827.. Even if you added some more fruits, or vegetables, you would be around 2000.

To drop to 2250, you can make a few small changes, and let yourself adjust to them, but I think the drop to your suggested range will be more from stopping the hunger you feel. It isn't a lack of willpower, but cravings that you can't fight. No one needs to eat 2800 calories. We just can't seem to eat enough to feel full. I did low carb to get rid of those feelings, but no need to be that drastic. Just start by saying " breaded meat cooked in grease is bad ". convenient, but lean, fresh meat is a much better choice, and won't leave you hungry 2 hours later. Macaroni and cheese, while my favorite meal on Earth is something I can't eat, because I will have 3 lbs of it.

Even if you don't change the foods, I would still suggest starting with small drops in calories, instead of going to 1800 today. Small changes are easier to adjust to.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 7/2/2013 (08:34)
FTSOLK Posts: 1,403
7/2/13 7:54 A

I've spent the past week-and-a-half focusing on smaller goals, but avoiding the "big mama" of goals: staying within my calorie ranges.

I have decided to give Spark another try to help support my best friend who is giving it a go as well. I have a rough estimate of my ranges (though I am calculating them based on my 2-week Fitbit calorie burn average, so it could change slightly.

I am afraid of setting a goal to stay within my ranges. I'm just not sure I will EVER be ready to take that step though, so I know I need to do it.

Any advice? Should I start off with a goal to stay within X calories of my range? Right now, I'm eating an average of 2500-3000 calories a day and I need to get down to 1550-1800.

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