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 Post subject: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:23 am 
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So after adding a few pounds my wife and I were thinking of going on a diet.

We've cut out sweets with the exceptiong of one "cheat" day.

I've heard of low-carb, high protein diets but would like to get input on what has worked for others in the past. What do you suggest? What has worked for you? What is the advantage of one diet plan over another?

I'm also considering doing a strict veggie/fruit diet for a couple of weeks to clear out my system.

Of course this will in conjunction with exercise. We are members of the local YMCA.

FYI wife is nursing 3 month old so her diet may be a bit differnt. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:59 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
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There are a number of interesting diet comparison studies, all of which have flaws so the results are open to interpretation, but the general upshot is this:

1. Virtually any diet can be effective in the short term. A low-carb diet is likely (for most people) to result in the fastest weight loss in the short term, in part because low-carb diets result in more water loss. Most of the initial 10 pounds or so that you lose on any diet is water.

2. Once you get past the first month or so, the differences among the diets aren't as great and the main differentiator is staying power: is the diet varied, interesting, and satiating enough to keep people from giving up? It's a mixed bag: some people successfully maintain low-carb diets for decades, but the majority don't last more than a few months, which also holds true for most other diets. In general, any radical diet (e.g., one that cuts out carbs almost completely, or one that requires you to eat nothing but grapefruits) is unlikely to be a healthy diet over the long term.

I've never had a significant weight problem (I'm 6'4" and 180 pounds; the heaviest I've been is a bit over 190, but my ideal healthy weight is probably closer to 175), but I do have to watch my diet so I don't creep over my target weight. What works best for me is the "eat a little of everything and not too much of anything" diet. Which means I try not to overeat and I try to eat a varied, healthy diet and get lots of exercise. And my goal is to live on a diet I can maintain for the rest of my life, not one I can lose 20 pounds on and then gain it back when I go back to my old habits.

Exercise by itself does little to help you lose weight -- it does help, but you get much bigger results by dieting. The combination of diet and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight.

This is a controversial area and there are lots of people who claim to know the answers but the truth is that we still have a lot to learn. There's a big debate about whether it's just calories in/calories out or whether the type of calories matters. Look up Gary Taubes, for example, but take him with a grain of salt because there are lots of scientists who think his arguments are based on very flimsy evidence and the mechanisms proposed by the researchers he quotes don't stand up to scrutiny.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:56 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
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I would just look into eating clean. Not a diet per se but a life style change in what you eat.

Starting strength....for working out

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:38 am 

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The only problem is that every faction in the diet debate defines "eating clean" differently. To a Paleo diet advocate, eating clean might mean a hunk of grass-fed beef with some asparagus on the side. To a low-carb advocate, eating clean might be a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and sausage, no toast. To a low-fat advocate, eating clean might be a vegetable stew with quinoa. And they'll all cite studies to back up their claims.

It gets very confusing very fast, and there are thousands of conflicting diets out there, all of which have worked for people, and all of which have diehard fans who will tell you that their diet is the only one that worked for them, or that they've never felt better since they switched to that diet, or that their diet is based on sound scientific principles, etc.

If you're curious about a diet, just try it and see if it works for you. Try to avoid radical diets that cut out entire food groups or that depend too much on a very limited number of foods. For long-term sustainability you need a diet that's balanced in nutrients, fiber, etc., and most of the very restricted diets don't fit the bill. But they'll all help you lose weight if that's your only goal. I just find it more helpful to think long-term.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:14 pm 
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brad wrote:
I've never had a significant weight problem (I'm 6'4" and 180 pounds; the heaviest I've been is a bit over 190, but my ideal healthy weight is probably closer to 175), but I do have to watch my diet so I don't creep over my target weight. What works best for me is the "eat a little of everything and not too much of anything" diet. Which means I try not to overeat and I try to eat a varied, healthy diet and get lots of exercise. And my goal is to live on a diet I can maintain for the rest of my life, not one I can lose 20 pounds on and then gain it back when I go back to my old habits.


Wow 6'4" and 180 pounds. I'm 5'8" and 160 pounds. A couple more pounds and I'll be considered overweight. I was just thinking of shredding maybe 5 or 10 pounds. At 160 I'm at 24.3 BMI. A BMI of 25 is considered overweight. But yeah maybe this should be a lifestyle thing. With the pregnancy I over ate a lot I admit. Plus I didn't exercise nearly enough. Plus my wife grew to love ice cream and of course I had to have a bowl almost everytime she did... So yeah. 5 or 10 pounds would be nice.

http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
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That doesn't sound too challenging! I know about the ice cream thing ;-)
I'm actually grateful that summer is coming to an end up here, because all the ice cream shops in the neighborhood start shutting down in September and I'm no longer to go out for a hot fudge sundae several times a week.

BMI is a funny thing -- My BMI is solidly in the healthy range, but all the men in my family tend to develop a paunch, and my waist is about 37 inches, which is considered in the unhealthy range. Unfortunately there's no way to concentrate weight loss in one area of your body, so if I want to shrink my waist I have to get skinnier overall. I got down to 174 last summer and that felt great (and I was able to fit into some old trousers I haven't worn in years).


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:04 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
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Time to re-evaluate.

http://discovermagazine.com/2012/sep/25-scientific-obesity-test-worse-than-you-think


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:09 pm 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:56 am
Posts: 132
Sounds like you know what you did to gain weight, so now you need to reverse it to lose it!

Seriously, everyone is different when it comes to weight gain and loss. For me exercise is a bigger factor than my diet, for my best friend it's the other way around. You know that you gained weight eating extra junk, particularly ice cream, and probably over eating in general while not exercising. To undo what happened, pick up the exercise again and see what happens when you simply reduce the junk and watch your serving sizes. You might have to eat less than you did when you were maintaining, but maybe not. Figuring out appropriate serving sizes for your wife might be difficult while she's breastfeeding but getting rid of the junk and exercising could be enough.

If that doesn't work then I recommend looking at your diet, study a bit about nutrition, and figure out for yourself where you could make improvements, ie getting the grilled chicken instead of fried, a side salad instead of fries, or changing the dressing you get on that salad, etc. In short, make conscious decisions instead of following the latest fad. If you really think you need to do a short term "clean out" diet then go ahead, I strongly suggest you make sure you'll still be getting enough nutrients so that you won't actually be fasting for two weeks.

And I'm sure you already know this but check with the doctor before your wife considers any special diet.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:32 am 
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Easy answer: Burn more calories than you take in each day.

How do you do that?
  • Exercise
  • Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Drink lots of water [stop drinking soda pop]
  • Limit portion sizes
  • Eat fish more often than red meat
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Buy only whole grain breads
  • Avoid gimmick diets -- try to eat a balanced diet
  • Don't "go out" to eat very often
  • Get a basic salad as a side instead of fries if you do go out

I found the book http://www.amazon.com/Shapiros-Picture-Perfect-Weight-Loss/dp/1579542417 to be very helpful in losing weight and eating a healthy diet because it gives visual examples of what you could be eating for the same calorie count. Dr. Shapiro also discusses basic nutritional needs for a balanced diet without getting into a gimmick.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:51 pm 
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arzu wrote:
Remember that you shouldn't be going on a diet but rather, changing your lifestyle. Diets are short-term temporary fixes whereas lifestyle changes will help you keep the weight off for the rest of your life :)

What I did when I lost 10 pounds was at the end of the day I would eat a skinny cow ice cream bar. Sure, you could lose weight a lot faster if you don't indulge in treats but you may also lose your mind (which is why I allowed myself the treat everyday).

The rest of the time I would exercise 6 days a week (6 days cardio, 3 days weight training) and eat clean (ie whole grain, veggies, grilled meat). One ice cream bar a day didn't make much of a difference calorie-wise for me and I also did not feel as though I was being deprived. Maybe you and your wife could try something like that :)
Yep, some very good points here.

I like the idea of allowing yourself a sweet treat at the end of the day as a reward for sticking to your lifestyle change the rest of the day. Over the last year plus, I have gone through my own lifestyle change which has allowed me to lose over 30 lbs -- through much of what I describe above, which has included a lot of running and some calorie counting (with apps like "Couch to 5K" and "Daily Burn"). When calorie counting, I always made it a goal to leave at least 100 calories available at the end of the day for some sort of dessert, whether it was a serving of dry Chocolate Cheerios, or cut up fresh fruit.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:19 am 

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Regarding portion size, there's a whole diet movement centered around eating off smaller plates. It's based on research showing that people eat more if you give them more, even if what they're eating is barely edible. The first study in the series gave moviegoers very stale popcorn in either an extra-large or small container. The people with the extra-large containers ate a lot more than the people with the small containers, even though the popcorn was so stale that it squeaked (it was a couple of days old and had been left out in the open).

I find that if I'm hungry for a snack and pour myself some cereal or yogurt into a tiny dessert bowl it gets rid of the hunger pangs just as effectively as if I poured it into my usual big bowl. You may feel like you want more, but for me if I wait 10 minutes after eating I find that I'm no longer hungry. This is actually another good strategy when hunger pangs hit: just ride it out; hunger tends to subside after 20 minutes. But those 20 minutes can be excruciating -- when I'm working and I'm hungry I have a hard time focusing on my work. So I sometimes give in to snacks, but as long as I have the snack in a very small bowl it doesn't add much to my daily calories.

It's amazing how little food we actually need. The fitness guru Jack Lalanne, who died last year at age 96, ate a remarkably spartan diet despite working out heavily for two hours every day. Here's an excerpt from his obit in the New York Times:

"He ate two meals a day and shunned snacks. Breakfast, following his morning workout, usually included several hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk and seasonal fruit. For dinner he took his wife, Elaine, to restaurants that knew what he wanted: a salad with raw vegetables and egg whites along with fish — often salmon — and a mixture of red and white wine. He sometimes allowed himself a roast turkey sandwich, but never a cup of coffee." This guy lived strong on that diet: "At 60 he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat. At 70, handcuffed and shackled again, he towed 70 boats, carrying a total of 70 people, a mile and a half through Long Beach Harbor."


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:10 pm 

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I agree with Jethro and Brad. I don't believe in "diets". I do believe in healthy eating habits. Other than not drinking soda/sugary drinks, and at times alcohol, I don't restrict my diet at all. The main thing I try to do is eat a relatively healthy diet, and if I'm eating very rich items (meat, creamy pasta, pizza slices, cheese and crackers) eat a smaller amount of those things and fill in the rest of the plate with salad or fresh veggies. I think many Americans are out of touch with how much food they need to eat.
For me, the most important thing are a) regular physical activity, and b) and some sembalance of portion control. You need both.
Because I allow myself to eat literally anything, I do not feel deprived. At least for me, this works much better than a specific restrictive diet. My husband who is very healthy but when he feels his weight is creeping, does this thing where he substitutes a homemade smooth for lunches, and does a beer fast for awhile.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Another benefit to my lifestyle change that I forgot to mention is that I used to have terrible trouble with heartburn (or acid reflux or GERD or whatever they call it these days) -- when I stick to my points above, avoiding a lot of rich foods and watching my portion control, I have zero issues. I went from popping 3-4 Tums a day, to none [zip, zilch, nada], in the blink of an eye. :rock:

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:05 pm 

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Try to put apple cider vinegar in your diet. It really helps a lot. When I first started using it, a friend of mine said that I look thinner than usual. And we only meet on every weekend! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Looking to go on a Diet... Need help.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:56 pm 

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Hey Eagle, after listening to my doctor tell me to pay attention to my slowly rising blood sugar, I did the switch to the low carb high fat regimen in March, and now, six months later, I am not only fifteen pounds lighter, but more importantly, I've found that the low carb high fat way of eating makes me feel absolutely great. I didn't realize the ups and downs I was having daily, and before March, if I missed a meal I could be monstrous. Maybe because the high fat is so satisfying, I find that now my energy level stays steady, and I don't get hungry nearly as often or as urgently as I used to. Although I eat more expensively, I actually spend less on food now because I have no impulse food purchases, and I stick to real food -- meat, full fat dairy, and vegetables, mostly from my local farmers market. Also, I am extremely active - a bicyclist and runner -- and this way of eating is completely able to support my athleticism. Good luck.


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