Losing Weight? Healthy Weight?

johnliu_gwNovember 16, 2010

I am interested in thoughts, experiences, advice, musings on the topic of losing weight and appropriate weight .

We can talk about it with a cooking/food twist - do you cook differently when you're trying to lose weight, eat differently, favor or avoid certain foods or cuisines, take a different approach to portion control? Or it can be a general discussion - exercise programs, scales and monitors, websites and support programs, setting sensible goals, how realistic are BMI charts, what's a healthy weight anyway? Information on biology would be interesting - is there a natural weight gain that we should expect to enjoy as we move gracefully from our 30's to our 50's and beyond?

No need to disclose poundages if you don't want to. As far as I am concerned, everyone here is beautiful as they are.

The context, for me at least, is that after coming down 20 lb in 2010 year to date, I have another 20 lb to my goal. That goal works out to be about 13 lb heavier than I was 20 years ago. Not sure why everything is coming up ''20'' but I don't have 20/20 insight into this topic either.

I wanted to start this conversation because I noticed that, in the table linked below from the, my ''recommended weight'' (which is 20% lower than the weights shown) is 10 lbs lighter than I was at at 28 y/o at

Here is a link that might be useful: ''Are You At Risk'' Table

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Hmm, according to that chart I should either be a foot taller or dead. I have never lost weight successfully on my own. I've lost lots of weight due to life events (the "marital stress diet") or by going to a weight loss doctor, which I do not recommend. No matter how I have lost the weight, I always gain it back.

Over the decades my weight has fluctuated a lot, but I've always been that way.

When I try to lose weight I try to cut out the junk food and exercise more. I probably cook less and stick to simple cooking like a low-fat burger with green beans. No wonder I can't stick to it.

I need to lose 35 pounds desperately now. That would get me to a weight that at age 25 I would have considered obese, although I was a bag of bones back then.

John, I'd be interested to hear how you've lost weight. Right now my goal is to get through the holidays without a gain.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:26AM
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More important than your actual weight is the body fat percentage. None of the charts work well for the majority of people because some people have heavier bones, some people have large muscle mass, some people have wide frames, some people have narrow frames, etc. I had my body fat tested when I was 38, and it was 12%, which is considered lean, but my weight was higher than it should be according to the charts I saw back then.

The best way to reduce the body fat percentage is by weight training, but aerobic exercise works also, but it somewhat less efficient. Muscle mass will burn fat even when you are at rest, which is why it is good to maximize muscle mass. When I was taking weight lifting classes at ages 36-38, my weight did not go down, but my waist size reduced by two inches. I was taught a progressive method of weight training, but I also included aerobic exercises on alternate days, either from swimming or tennis classes. My doctor told me that exercise is more important than diet, and he also told me (last Thursday) that I am borderline pre-diabetic and therefore need to exercise more. I have a weight room/sewing room/guest room, and that is just too many functions for that room, and so I am in the process of making less guest friendly. If we do have guests, we can move the weight machine to the side, which will make it temporarily unusable, and we have a new self-inflating queen size bed that will fit nicely in the room, once the weight machine is off to the side. Someone suggested to me that I put my sewing machines in my bedroom, but that is something I really do not want to do. I already have a desk with computer in there.

As for diet, you can increase fruits and vegetables without otherwise changing your diet too much and make an effort to eat smaller portions. Kevin and other people I know have lost weight through stress, but unfortunately, like my father, I am not susceptible to stress because I don't allow myself to worry. I find worrying does not accomplish anything on its own, and so I don't let anything worry me.

Snacks that you choose can be very helpful or harmful. You can eat raw vegetables for snacks or even grapes, although grapes have a fairly high glycemic index. One way to get extra exercise automatically is to wear ankle weights to work. I used to do that and need to start doing it again.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 12:08PM
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I've always tried to eat healthy, low fat, low sugar. But lately the pounds creep up if I even look at food. I've been on a diet for three weeks and have only managed to loose 1 pound. And I have been upping the exercise too. But not enough. Exercise is really the key. I'm sure that's why my weight is not coming off, I have a sedentary job now, which was not the case for the other 25 years of my work life. I sure wish I could find a more active job! You need to exercise at least an hour a day, of some sort, I don't care what anybody says. You don't have to kill yourself, but you have to get moving and get your heart rate up and get those muscles straining. Otherwise you will just not succeed in the long run. That's why I just cannot manage to loose weight. I really think we should call it "on an exercise quest" instead of dieting. I am constantly trying to find ways to sneak in exercise. As it is, since I work at home, I try to take 10 min. breaks and ride my exercise bike. Also walk first thing in the morning and do yoga at night. If I keep all that up, and follow my diet, I MIGHT loose another pound in another three weeks. BTW, if you want to loose weight, you have to do CARDIO exercise. Also weights like Lars said, but cardio is the easiest way to burn fat. Stretching is more to fight the ravages of old age.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 12:45PM
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I think we "know" when our bodies are at the "right" weight for us. Assuming of course no serious eating or esteem disorders.

To me the worst part of carrying the extra weight is the constant awareness and guilt. I don't want weight/diet to be part of my daily thought process. It's so negative.

Last summer I had a bout of radiation that dampened my appetite and resulted in a marked weight lose. That kick started it. I have been very good about watching my portions and exercising daily. It's paying off.

Each pound I drop motivates me for the next one but I'm not trying to be my 30 something weight again......maybe 5 more but if not I'm content where I am.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 3:12PM
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I've been interested in figuring out how much, if any, weight gain is simply inherent in the aging process. Here is some information that ultimately may just be trivia, but I found interesting. It shows how much weight is gained by very different categories of people, admittedly measured at different points in life.

Average people. A UK study of 1,044 average men and women, who were either 39 y/o or 59 y/o (at the start of the 10-year study): on average, both men and women in the younger group gained between 10 lb to 22 lb in the following decade. The average person in the older group gained less weight over the following decade, but still gained waist inches as their muscle-to-fat ratio declined. http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC003899

Recreational runners. A study of 4,769 male runners between 18 y/o and 50 y/o: the average 6-foot runner gained 3.3 lb and 0.75 waist inches per decade. Another study of male runners over 50 y/o: they lost weight over the following decade, but their waist inches did not decrease. http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/spare-tire.html

Professional boxers. This is a sport where the fighter's weight determines his weight class, so it is measured and published for every fight. The lighter-weight boxers need speed, mobility, and endurance so they tend to carry relatively little extra weight. However, it is also a sport that requires more power as the fighter moves up weight classes, so much of the weight gain is muscle. A sample of lighter-class boxers tended to gain about 20% to 30% of body weight during their careers, or 30 to 40 lb. (I'm not counting the heavyweights, since they aren't necessarily all that lean during their fights.) One of the boxers who gained the least weight, Sugar Ray Leonard, went from 140 lb at 20 y/o to 165 lb at 32 y/o, for a gain of 21 lb in a decade. He went from max 140 lb in 1976 (won Olympic gold medal, light welterweight class) to max 147 lb in 1979 (won welterweight title vs Benitez) to 165 lb in 1988 (won super middleweight title vs Lalonde). He dropped 11 lb to 154 for his 1991 loss to Norris, suggesting that a good part of that 21 lb gain was muscle.

Professional bicycle racers. Here is a sport where every gram counts, so the top cyclists will have as little body fat as possible. However, their weights are not regularly published, and that weight fluctuate as a racer will lose up to 10 lb during the Tour De France despite eating 10,000 calories/day. The best I can tell, Lance Armstrong's weight was reported at about 165 lb during his long career (7 TdF victories from 1999 to 2005), suggesting that if you are a genetic miracle and train hard enough to dominate the most physically exhausting sport in the world for most of a decade, you can keep your body weight pretty constant as you age from 28 y/o to 34 y/o. Although, Lance is a genetic standout even among top racers. I recall seeing photos of Greg LeMond (3 TdF victories, 1986, 1989, 1990) in his first and last TdFs, and he had grown notably thicker around the middle despite - you can be sure - not carrying a excess ounce of fat.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 4:21PM
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Yes that's the horror of it, it is almost impossible to loose that middle aged spread. Even if you work out, it's a huge battle. I read a book that mentions stress as a big factor in putting on that type of weight, but I dunno, it is probably just inevitable. I am so trying to fight it though. Like Chase, I don't want to be rail thin, I just don't want to be all flabby. I want to still be able to have the energy to have some fun in my older years!

BTW, I've been on a diet for three weeks and BF has lost 5 lbs! He's trying to be supportive, he's out jogging now too, which had been his routine before we got hit with a super hot summer.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 6:41PM
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Dedtired - John, I'd be interested to hear how you've lost weight. Right now my goal is to get through the holidays without a gain.

I'll tell you, but everyone has told me it is a unhealthy/bad method.

First I fasted for two weeks. Not a complete fast, I drank liquids for about 400 cal/day. Sounds weird but I felt great after the second day.

For the next two months I ate very carefully, weighing my portions , recording everything, and sticking to 1,000 cal/day. I learned what a reasonable portion size is (not the whole 8'' plate) and what foods I enjoyed enough to ''spend'' my calories on (meat and fish yes, pasta and bagels no).

I ate really well, because I chose ingredients and cooked to get the maximum flavour. It almost doesn't matter how expensive the ingredients are or how decadent the preparation is, if the portion is only 4 oz. I ate a lot of Japanese food, rare meat, really good fish. I also learned that the more I cook, the less I eat. Cooking seems to satisfy much of my food craving. So I cooked a lot.

That was most of the weight. Afterwards I ate carefully but without the weighing and recording or the strict calorie limit. I lost some more weight but was pretty much taking a break from dieting.

I was exercising with light weights, crunches, etc but no particular cardio work. I am lazy.

The last few months I plateaued - neither losing nor gaining, and not really watching what I ate.

Then I had a kidney stone and didn't eat solid food for five days. Looking on the bright side, I lost 5 lbs. It was almost all water weight, but seeing the scale drop inspired me to make another push at the next 20 lb. I think there will be more exercising needed and I'll start riding my bicycle to work (in the Portland winter, this is not going to be fun).

I don't have a sweet tooth - might have dessert a couple times a year - and don't drink except when we have dinner parties. So those empty calories aren't a big issue.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:51PM
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Lars - he also told me (last Thursday) that I am borderline pre-diabetic and therefore need to exercise more.

I've become quite paranoid about developing diabetes. I don't know why, there is no history of it in my family and my blood glucose is in the normal range. But I've had a flurry of medical issues in the last two years that made me feel old and anxious about my health, and maybe I'm thinking that diabetes would be the last straw. Gallstones, gout, kidney stones. The gout made it hard to walk for much of last year, which caused my weight to go up sharply. Now that I'm doing well again, I'm really trying to get in shape and feel better.

Funny - I was at a cabin with a friend and we were talking about our desire to lose weight. I talked about self-image, lost youth, the approaching 50's, how James Bond was 45 y/o in the last Fleming book (Man With The Golden Gun), blah blah. He looked at me seriously and replied: ''I want to get laid.'' I guess some of us have simple motivations.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 10:16PM
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The diabetes risk chart was the weight at which, a year ago March, I got serious about loosing weight. Trouble is, the only way I can maintain a lower weight is to change my eating habits. I love to eat fats and sweets, so changing my diet has not been easy. A few changes came with gradually decreasing the milk fat in hot drinks. I started with using half-and-half; now I use 1% milk. For me it was the process of retraining my brain to accept the lower fat milk. The tea and coffee are a little weaker so it takes less sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I also start with what would have been a half-serving when I was eating all I wanted (not needed). I eat only enough to satiate hunger. My strategy is I can eat anything I want in moderation, only if it is worth the calories, and only if I am hungry. I also owe gratitude to my Golden, who expects a walk every day no matter the weather. We don't walk far, 1.5 - 2 miles. On the other hand, when my DH is home he likes potatoes and eggs, french toast or sweet rolls for breakfast, He gets hungry before I do, and he loves dessert like no one I've ever met. It's hard to make his happy and stick to my new eating routine. So, I look him in the eye and say,"these pounds are your fault," as I fork in another bite of chocolate molten lava cake with ice cream, of course.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 10:40AM
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" He looked at me seriously and replied: ''I want to get laid.'' I guess some of us have simple motivations."

LOL John, that made my day! Thanks for the chuckle!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 1:35PM
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From a study of lean mass in 1,200 average men (not specifically athletes) aged from 30 to 80 y/o. Lean mass is body weight, less fat mass and bone mass. It looks like lean mass stayed pretty constant from 30 to 59 y/o, then declined from 60 y/o on. The ratio of lean mass to height only declines a little throughout the period, reflecting our tendency to get shorter after about age 60 y/o. However, grip strength declines steadily during the period, suggesting a steady decline in muscle tone. This is consistent with other studies that show waistlines increase as men age, even among the sample of runners mentioned in my previous post, and even after 50 y/o when they tended to lost weight. Fat mass was not measured for the sample, but likely increased with age.

There is quite a bit of information on this. Some of it comes up if you search "sarcopenia". I haven't found a similar study for women, but I'm sure it is out there. For women, there is also the issue of pre- and post-menopause.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 1:40PM
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I feel like middle age gives you the first signs of aging degradation (although gray hair and needing reading glasses came beforehand). This includes weight gain without cause.

It sucks. Like lpink said, I believe that you need to exercise EVERY single dang day to keep up and stave off the degradations in your body. To keep yourself slimmed and strong. To keep your bones strong, your circulatory systems working, your increasingly sluggish and uncooperative digestive systems chugging, your joints lubed, etc.

Exercise is the number one thing people can do to ward off high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, the banes of modern existence, as well as osteoporosis. Regular light weight-bearing exercise is known to build bone density more effectively than any poisonous pharmaceutical.
Look at it as a lifestyle change and not a diet or exercise regimen, as you will need to keep up with it for the rest of your lives. The best thing to do, instead of "exercise" is to find a sport or physical hobby you can enjoy and do with others. That way, you won't feel like it's drudgery. Like a team league of similar-aged folks who meet regularly, or dancing with a partner.

My MIL does swimming every day at a local pool. Her husband, 86, has been doing biking for years. He rides with a local club, miles and miles per week. He also enters senior games and such. A couple of friends do line-dancing clubs multiple times a week. Another couple took up the tango. And as you know, I'm doing ping pong at local clubs and also do other exercise at home which I enjoy. It's much easier when other people are involved, so you get the social support.

I try to stay away from sweets and to eat "superfoods" and whole foods, drink a lot of liquids, cook at home more than eat out, and watch portions, even for fruit.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 4:56PM
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In another forum that I’m on, every December they start a “weight loss challenge”. Participants report their starting weight and their weight every 2 weeks during the challenge period which is about 3 months. No-one keeps track of who “wins”, it is basically a support group, meant to motivate people to lose weight, exercise, and get healthy.

Would there be any interest in a similar Cooking Forum weight loss “event” here, do you think?

The guys on that forum are happy to report “I’m a fat tub at 240 lb” but to be more discreet, we might not report actual weights, but instead index one’s weight to 100 at the start of the period, then report the indexed every two weeks. For example:
- If someone starts at 150 lb, that would be “100”.
- If s/he is 145 lb at a later point, s/he would then report “96.7” since 145 / 150 = 0.967.
- At the end of the event, if s/he weights 132 lb, that would be reported as “88” since 132 / 150 = 0.880. This means a 12% loss.

If this is something that we’d want to try, I’m happy to coordinate and keep track of the information.

Thoughts? Ideas? Boos and hisses? Is such an event that just a ridiculous thing that men do?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 1:02PM
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I'm still in my 20's but I've had my share of weight struggles. I've been a vegetarian for all of my adult life but not in a balanced way (cheese pizza and ice cream). The only thing that has ever worked for me is to go vegan with emphasis on as much raw food as possible.

I eat all the fruit, veggies, beans, nuts and whole grains that I want. If it comes from the ground and not something with a heartbeat, I'll eat it. :) I don't restrict portion size on these foods because it's very hard to overeat on natural, plant-based foods.

I don't eat meat, dairy, eggs, processed food, sugar, GMO's. Some of those I've been known to slip up on, like sugar, but I do my best to avoid it.

It is, in my opinion and based on my extensive research, the absolute healthiest diet. Not only to lose/maintain weight but to prevent disease and other health issues. But you have to do it correctly with a wide variety.

I find it helpful to track what I eat on fitday. It keeps me focused and tells me if I'm missing any key nutrients.

Today so far I had a smoothie made with mangos, berries, pomegranate juice, orange juice, and baby spinach. I also had some oatmeal. For lunch I had a Chipotle burrito bowl with rice, black beans, salsa, corn, guacamole and lots of lettuce. For dinner I'll either have a kale and avocado salad or quinoa pasta with fresh marinara and spinach. Maybe an apple and peanut butter for dessert.

I love that I can eat until I'm satisfied but still steadily lose weight.

Exercise is very important too. I don't do routine things because I grow bored, but I mall walk and window shop for hours or hike when it's nice out or volunteer to help friends move. :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 1:07PM
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It's not complicated. Pitch the charts. You all know it is simply about the fact that you cannot have everything you want to eat or deliciousness v. what to eat skinny.

Deliciousness is relatively easy. We all can eyeball a recipe or style and say, yeah, that sounds pretty good tasting. And we have learned about wise substitutions. A good beginning, but we have to count, calories or carbs.

Sugar and fat don't count, not at all. Carbs or calories count. Window shopping is not exercise

It's not about getting older as I know many fit and skinny people in their 60's, 70's and beyond. And so do all of you. They watch every bite, calorie or carb, and have watched it almost always. Most exercise, mostly aerobically. This older generation knew how to cook but cared more about not getting fat than deliciousness.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 1:50AM
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If I cut down on my carb intake, I lose weight quite rapidly, no doubt about it.

I've started to log in my food intake on myfooddiary.com at least one or two days a week, it's a startling revelation to see how quickly it all adds up.
It helps me make the right choices once I realize that it's only 4 p.m.
and I've eaten almost all of my suggested calorie count to maintain my weight. The next day, I think twice before putting a muffin in my mouth.
Researching the calorie and nutritional count of foods puts things in perspective for me; at Starbucks in New York City, the calorie count is written out on all baked goods, it really stopped me from grabbing that pumpkin scone.

For the holidays, I would suggest setting a goal of "not gaining" any weight.
That is already a big victory, imo.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 6:09AM
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I count mall walking/window shopping as exercise. Especially because I can do it for 2-3 hours without getting bored. It's pretty much non-stop walking with an occasional pause to look at something, plus if I buy anything I have to carry it around with me. I find it more effective than 30 minutes on a treadmill while watching the clock for each boring minute, but to each his own.

My goal right now is for a more active life, so I take the stairs to my 4th floor office, I walk on my lunch break, I get up to talk to coworkers instead of calling them. Just little things but they add up quickly and can make a big difference in the long run.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I won't eat anything that isn't delicious. I bought some bagels the other day and after toasting and buttering one, I threw it out after one bite.
The old me would have said it's not that bad and eaten it anyway. The thin me says if it isn't wonderful, I won't waste a calorie on it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:36PM
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People do gain weight with age, as illustrated by John's articles above. It's no excuse, it's just fact. It's not inevitable, if you are aware of how your body changes and make adjustments accordingly, and of course YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

John, there have been diet threads here before but they seem to fizzle out. Maybe after the holidays?

Not just any kind of exercise will help with weight loss. If you don't boost your metabolism, you may find yourself on a never-ending treadmill of thinking you are getting enough exercise and still gaining or at least not losing weight.

Different types of exercise affect you differently - they are not all the same. So casual walking for an hour or more may be good for the joints and bones, but may not help you lose weight. That's where it gets complicated - figuring out what kind of exercise and how often to get your desired result.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 4:26PM
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Gina, I agree with you in that metabolism changes as we age. I agree that weight gain is not inevitable. We all know older people who adjust their eating and exercise to maintain healthy weights.

I believe that witty, kind, bright, John put forth lots of information to motivate folks to lose the guilt, and lose the pounds. He volunteered to be the secretary. A wonderful friend, he.

John's gout and my bum knee curtail most exercise. Conditions of aging, such as degenerative arthritis, of course affect our weight because of the limitations on exercise. Just feeling crappy also does.

My point, which was curtly and not nicely written, and which I would like to retract, is that some lucky people have the ability, mentally and physically, to care
more about fatness than deliciousness. And yes, they are not mutually exclusive. Healthy eating is delicious altho unhealthy eating is usually more delicious, imo.

I am a bit new to this forum and I don't belong here as I don't like to cook any more. I enjoy hearing the camaraderie and the delight at delicious eating. I love the photos. I enjoy reading cookbooks. I react negatively to time consuming, mess creating, and carb laden recipes, which is my issue and not the forum's. When reading the posts, I wonder how anyone here can maintain a healthy weight but of course. many, many do. There is a focus on food deliciousness and what did I expect from the cooking forum? Bad tasting food? My bad.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 7:08PM
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Westsider40, what makes me happy is that I don't think there needs to be a contradiction between delicious food and staying (or getting) slim.

When I was losing weight earlier this year, I was cooking more than ever and eating more delicious food than before. I'd have extraordinarily fresh halibut sashimi, rare bavette steak seared with compound butter, slow-cooked oxtail in red wine sauce, chicken braised in stock and white wine, brussels sprouts sauteed with butter and and shallots and pecorino, spicy raw tuna rolled with vinegared sushi rice, risotto with shitake mushrooms and toasted almonds, on and on. I enjoyed cooking and savored my 4 and 6 oz portions, and treated myself to expensive ingredients which weren't expensive in 4 oz portions.

Compared to scarfing down half a greasy, doughy pizza or a heaping plate of salty takeout Chinese with gobs of dull rice, half a rubbery wet 3 day old rotisserie chicken, and all the bad things that I eat when I'm gaining weight - losing weight was a culinary pleasure!

I could even eat basically the same things, but do it tastier and slimmer.
Before: a fat, heavy bagel oozing mounds of dull cream cheese spread. 700 calories.
After: a toasted bagel 1/4 slice, with a slice of succulent lox, a smear of D'Affinois cheese, sprinkled with tart capers. 275 calories. And it tasted like a jewel compared to Before.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:58AM
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So well said, John. I would love to have your fabulous creations--- sound low carb and celestial on the deliciousness scale. I would love to hang around a lamppost outside of your kitchen, sneak the window open and use my hand or a grabber to steal your concoctions--and then you turn around and where is that dish you prepared-and then you may wonder about your sanity because you'd never expect your preparations to be stolen. I would be a serial meal stealer. OMG, a classy Weight Watchers Program-look at this guy-see what he makes-ooh, I want that-so I will steal it.

Reasonable portions of extreme fab food-satisfying the soul.

When you literally describe your food, you are creating food porn in a literal state. I don't know the proper definition of porn but, boy oh boy, your written description is what I think of as porn. And low carb so weight loss happens.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 3:35AM
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I've been dieting for a month. Have barely lost a pound. I am so discouraged. No I have NOT been cheating! Am eating 12-1400 calories a day. Have been using the "calorie count" Web site which has been a real eye opener for me. Like Michdesj says, it makes you very aware of the tradeoffs you're making and you can't kid yourself that, "it's just a small scone." Sadly, I have had to give up some lusiousness. I love apples, they are wonderful, but I'm sorry, it's not the same as my apple upside down cake, and no, one bite of that isn't going to cut it. At that rate it would take me a month to finish off the cake and by then it would be stale and moldy. I've had to almost completely give up baking, and even my bread goes stale languishing. I eat these things but in such small portions they just languish.

I'll bet I'm not loosing weight because of something with my metabolism. You loose muscle as you age, and I'm not doing weights. Yes, if you want to slow the ravages of time, you really have to do all three types of exercise--cardio, weights and stretching. I can barely manage cardio and stretching, I'm into triage at this point. I'm so discouraged. The only bright spot is I have halted the scale's march upwards. But I cannot seem to get it to move downwards.

Oh BTW, I'm at 140 trying to get down to 135, does not seem like it would be that big of a deal, but it is proving really, really difficult.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 10:05AM
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lpink-I understand. Have you ever tried a very, very low carb plan? Not necessarily Atkins, just a minimal carb plan. You can eat all you want but of protein groups. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans are all carbs.

Proteins are unbreaded meats, poultry, cheeses, fish, eggs, etc.

If it's not a fat or protein, it is a carb. Complex carbs are not ok for this diet, not now.

Try it for two or three days. When you are hungry or wanting something, grab a piece of cheese or cooked chicken. Diet soda ok. No sugars/starches. Cook up, plain, a bunch of proteins- burgers, chicken, pork roast, fish, etc., keep in fridge. Cans of tuna in fridge. Mix a few tuna cans with mayo only. No vegetables or fruit for three days. No ketchup-(3 gr. carb per tsp) If you are like most ppl and are fastidious, you will lose 3-5 lbs.

You can eat pounds of protein, steak, chicken, fish, tuna with hi fat mayo per day. Some cheeses have carbs. 'Singles' has,iirc, 2 g carbs,each slice.

As your weight goes down, blood tests improve, oddly, even tho this plan may be high in fat.

Recently, a nutrition professional did a junk food, Twinkie diet, and lost weight and blood tests improved.

No wine. Check carbs. weigh daily. Take a vitamin, if you worry about that. Keeping your weight low will keep you healthy, despite worriers about every vitamin and mineral. Drink water or no-carb fluids. Watch salt. Garlic, sadly, has carbs in higher amounts, minimally.

I kept my weight at 115/120 almost all my adult life with a low carb, high protein diet. I am fat now due to a combo of things other than diet.

This works.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Sorry, I'm a veggie and eating meat and a lot of rich cheese makes me feel sick. I occasionally eat some fish or other poultry. Nope, I'm not about to stop eating my complex carbs--I love them and feel great when I'm eating them. Sure keep you regular too, lol! Also, I can't afford a meat-based diet, I've been looking for full time work for three years. I do however, LIMIT them and try to eat a balanced diet. Now I eat the minimum to compliment my proteins. Before I was eating a lot more carbs because I love those foods. But beans, grains and starchy veggies are my main food sources. Some of my meals are low carb though, especially if BF is paying for FISH (yum!). I have weighed below 130 all of my adult life too. 110 in my twenties, 115 in my 30's, and 125-130 in my forties. This weight gain issue has sprung up with perimenopause. Menopause sucks. There I've said it!

The part-time job I do have entails sitting for hours doing computer stuff, NOT what my earlier work life as a field biologist was like. Also, doing the resume/cover letter gig is pretty sedentary too. That's the main issue I think. BF and I try to take long hikes on the weekends but we have kind of run out of local places to go. Plus I get behind on the house if I'm spending all my weekends playing. I should join the gym, but I can't afford that either. The JCC is four blocks from my house! I have weights and a weight training book at home, but I'm not yet able to fit it in to my schedule. I was sick for a while and got behind on a lot of things. I think that is one reason people gain weight too in old age--you aren't always healthy, at least for some people. They get laid up with various problems. It's still possible to exercise with arthritis, etc., but it's a lot harder to stay motivated. I still remember my arthritic grandmother wincing in pain as she forced herself to move. She walked every day, she knew her life depended on it.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 3:37PM
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Do people really eat like that? All meat/cheese/mayo/diet soda? No fruits or vegetables? Where do you get your fiber? That has to be incredibly hard on the heart. So much saturated fat and cholesterol.

I mean no offense, just genuinely curious.

However, I do have to say that being a healthy weight doesn't automatically make you healthy. It's important to stay trim but there are many other factors of health. Vitamins and minerals aren't just a fad or myth - they're crucial to the human body. And vitamin supplements are not the same as fruits and vegetables. They're good to supplement a well-balanced diet but they aren't intended to take the place of natural vitamin sources.

I have known plenty of thin people who eat poorly, are always sick, have high cholesterol, have cancer, have arthritis, heart disease...all sorts of ailments despite being a healthy weight.

Being overweight is a health risk, so naturally blood results will improve as you drop weight, no matter the diet. That's why the nutritionist saw results eating just twinkies, but that certainly doesn't make him healthy. Long term health is dependent on proper nutrition.

lpink, I don't know how tall you are but are you sure you're eating enough? I find if I cut calories too much, I stop losing weight. It also affects my energy level so I'm less active with strict dieting. Maybe play around with adding a couple hundred more calories and seeing if that helps.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 4:19PM
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lpink, perhaps you might try a week of ''shock treatment'' for lack of a better term.

Halve the calories and double the exercise. Just for a week, to get your weight loss started and blow away the discouragement? That may or may not be healthy but that's my impatient tendency.

I can't really fit much baked goods into my dieting either, not when I'm really trying. The stuff is so dense in calories. Half a bagel or a few slices of baguette is all I can do. Same with pasta.

Not being a baker, I never realized that baked goods are produced in fixed units. If you have an 8'' cake pan, you produce an 8'' cake, even if you only wanted half that amount. Can you get a couple pieces of small bakeware and scale down the recipe, or does baking not work that way? Maybe an 8'' recipe doesn't scale down to Easy-Bake quantities.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 4:44PM
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Someone suggested I start reading the Mark's Daily Apple nutrition site. I don't know if he knows what he is talking about, and haven't read it enough to get a feeling, but there is certainly a lot of interesting material there. Seems generally to favor proteins, vegetables, and fruits.

(I have to admit I am intrigued by the idea that humans were not evolved to eat grains, since we started growing wheat, rice, etc only yesterday in evolutionary terms).

I'm also thinking about starting a trial of fooddiary.com, or finding an equivalent iPhone app.

Are there any useful, informative, thoughtful online resources we might share?

Here is a link that might be useful: Marks Daily Apple

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 4:57PM
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Lpink, try switching your exercise. I've read you've been walking/hiking. Do you have a bike? If so, ride. No bike? Go to Toys R Us & buy a cheap jump rope. Jump a few hundred jumps/day. Do floor exercises to an aerobic pace (play rockin' music to keep you moving). Find a public building (library, maybe) & run up/down their stairs half a dozen times 3 days/week. Think Rocky! Also, I agree you are pushing the low end of the caloric range for a healthy diet. Try ADDING about 200 calories/day but not in super dense carb type foods. Another thought is the size of your meals. When I was bodybuilding both my trainer & nutritionist told me to never eat LESS than 200 calories at a time. It takes at least that much to trigger our bodies to start the digestion process. So, a snack of 150 calories doesn't get burned as quickly, or efficiently. They also told me to stop eating at 6:00 p.m. I was never able to accomplish that because I've always been a nightime eater. Are you drinking enough water? It takes lots of water to flush the pipes but don't go crazy 'cause you can drink too much water & get into trouble. I know it's a bit more expensive but a FISH ONLY meal twice/week would also kick start those last few pounds. I really believe in these tips 'cause they took me from 19% body fat & 117 lbs. to 11.5% body fat & just over 130 lbs. I dropped several clothes sizes even though I'd gained muscle weight. Oh, another thing you can do is grab a couple cans from the pantry (soup cans work well) & start doing those floor exercise again (jumping jacks, arm raises, etc.) Just that small amount of weight WILL make a difference.

Another thing to remember...our bodies will select a naturally healthy weight IF we eat & exercise appropriately for our age/height/sex, etc. & assuming no health or medication issues. Possibly, your body doesn't want to be any less than you are now? I'd sure give your exercise routine a shake-up though before feeling defeated.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 5:12PM
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John, I've used the calorie count website that lpink mentioned on and off for several years and reading this thread prompted me to update my stats there. I also put their relatively new app on my iphone. The data you enter on your computer and phone sync back and forth. I like this site because not only does it track the calories but also fats, proteins, carbs and key vitamins and minerals. I think you definitely have more control over what you eat when you log it and also if you look at what you have eaten for one or two meals of the day it helps you make better choices for nutrition goals that you program in for yourself in terms of sodium, and vitamins as well as calories, fats, proteins and carbs for the remainder of the day.

I found the iphone version a little less intuitive than the web version but I think it's just a matter of getting used to it. And it's definitely an advantage to log on your phone throughout the day instead of waiting to get to a computer and do it all at once.

Calorie count also allows you to log your exercise and activities so you can choose to exercise more and eat more, or still staying within a healthy calorie range, exercise more and lose more quickly. The website and the app are free.

Thanks for starting this thread, I needed the kick to get back to logging food, which always helps me make better choices and lose more consistently. I'm glad I started today - the holidays are upon us.


Here is a link that might be useful: Calorie Count

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 1:12AM
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[stands up, clears throat.] Hello. My name is John and I am a pig. Tonight I went to friends' and had a Cosmopolitan, red wine, gorgonzola cheese and garlic tarte, spicy tomato-basil soup, shrimp scampi and wild rice, a Scotch, and an entire chocolate eclair from St. Honore's French bakery. Not once did this thread cross my mind and my portions were not measured in ounces. My name is John and I am a pig. [sits down]

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 2:34AM
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I know this is my off-the-wall thinking, it may not make any sense relative to all popular weight control/dieting/nutritional practices and theories, and please don’t ask me to back up my thinking with scientific references. I don’t have any.

I find it interesting from having seen many nature documentaries and from traveling experiences that, body weight for all living matters, if left alone, seems in general self-optimizing. I don’t remember having seen any fat or skinny zebras, or any other animals in the wild grazing on unlimited supply of food, I see bears and snakes gaining weight before they enter into hibernation when their biological clock tells them to. I see populations in many cultures do not have weight issues, even eating enjoyment and abundance are part of their culture, and they never have to sweat themselves to lose weight in a gym either.

It is ironic that there are more starving people in the USA than there are in many third-world countries. Everyone here seems to be on some kind of a diet.

I saw an interesting program sometime ago about body weight, in it a few medical doctors were saying that our body is like a room with a thermostat, once the temperature is set on the thermostat, the temperature inside the room will remain constant regardless of outside changes.

Biofeedback is an interesting physiological phenomenon. Almost all our involuntary bodily functions can be trained to be voluntary thru biofeedback. For instance, you can in fact make one hand warmer or cooler by just thinking about it. You can also raise or lower you blood pressure at will by training.

Is biofeedback our body thermostat? Have we messed up our built-in thermostats?

While I think a relatively active life style is normal, I don’t think our bodies have been evolved to require all these heavy daily cardiovascular laboring to remain a healthy body weight.

Obviously if you don’t eat by dieting you will not gain, but I am questioning why we are doing it and suffering it as the only method to control weight when all experiences have shown that it does not work in the long run?

I don’t have knowledge in the following, does anyone know anything about dieting via Hypnosis or acupuncture ?


    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 9:29AM
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Lpink, maybe your diet has been working, in the sense that your weight may be the same, but made up of more muscle and less fat.
But the weight you mention does not sound like a problem! How tall are you?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 10:17AM
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Well, I'm not overweight but I'm not in good shape either, and I do have excess fat, around the middle, hips, butt, where it is hardest to loose it. I just want to "set" my weight a little lower. I have weighed less in my life and I think I look better at around 128, but I would be happy if I could just get to 135! And stay there! I'm five five and a half.

I highly recommend the calorie count web site. Lots of great tools there. It DOES help you make good choices when you can analyze your day afterwards and see where you could improve. It helps you set goals and keep on track, there are lots of resources there too, for every aspect of dieting. I took their "get started" survey and it spit out that I don't have an eating problem, but I should join a gym. Well that would be good advice if I could afford it. As it is, I'm just trying and trying to fit exercise into my life. I have an exercise bike and ankle and hand weights. Plus a lot of yoga videos, and plenty of saved magazine workouts. Oh, and I want to give a shout out to the Eating Well Web site. They have a month of healthy menus for various calorie levels. They have a whole set of 28 day meal plans for a lot of different types of diets. I usually have to tweak their recipes and menus, but they are good starting points.

After bragging about how I've stayed on my diet, I blew it last night. I made homeade wheat raisin bread and carrot jam and ate two slices of bread with butter and jam late last night after the bread came out of the oven. I should know better than to be cooking this kind of stuff at night! But I was trying to get it made to take along for Thanksgiving gifts. Had to make sure it was acceptable you know. Well, today I am trying to be extra vigilant and not eat very many carbs. The most I eat is two slices of bread a day, often just one. It is so frustrating, it takes me two plus weeks to eat a loaf of bread and it is definately not optimum at that point! I freeze it and take out slices as needed, but that's not optimum for taste either. I also make cakes into cupcakes and freeze all kinds of baked goods. They are OK thawed out, but its just not the same. You can't halve every recipe. Someday I need to find some small pie tins so I can make a pie HALF the size of a regular one. Then I could freeze one for later.

As for human evolution and what is best for our bodies, I have heard people say we weren't evolved to eat this or that, but it is totally oversimplifying things. Humans were spread all over the world in a variety of environments, and ate a variety of kinds of food. Humans are evolved to be OMNIVORES. Also, the human gene pool is extremely diverse, which means people have a diversity of body types and food tolerances. Some folks are wheat sensitive, gluten sensitive, dairy sensitive, etc. And some are not.

I experimented with a no wheat or gluten diet for several months, I didn't feel any better, in fact I felt worse, and was bored silly with the diet. My friends made me a jello cake for my birthday. If I had felt better I would have stuck with it, but I finally said, "Why am I doing this?" BUT, I do try to limit my wheat consumption. I use a lot of rice pasta, and eat a lot of rice and tortillas. I eat oatmeal, barley and other grains too.

Our primitive ancestors were hunter gatherers, and that takes up a HUGE amount of calories to do. The problem our ancient ancestors had was getting enough calories from their food, which is why it is hard to loose weight nowdays with a sedentary lifestyle. If we aren't evolved to do anything, it's sit at a desk/computer screen all day in an office. Also, all our modern foods are cultivated versions of wild stuff. Great civilizations grew up out of cultivating the wild grains that people in the region ate--corn, quinoa, barley, oats, wheat and rice all have their wild ancestors that were gathered by primitive humans. But those precursor wild ancestors to our food sources--all of them, fruits, vegetables, grains, animals . . . are just not all that tasty. They don't have the fat and concentrated sugars of their civilized kin. They are lean, seedy, pithy, bitter, and tough. And many of them take considerable calories just to eat. If anything, this bodes for a varied diet, older, smaller, more flavorful produce varieties, lots of FIBER, and a whole lot less saturated fat.

I've tried some of the ancient grains--teff, kamut, quinoa, spelt, etc. They are just OK in my book. But I try to include them and as much other full fiber foods as I can into my diet. But most people don't like natural fiberful stuff. I love grainy, seedy chewy bread, but BF doesn't like it, it "hurts his mouth." So who knows, maybe he'd rather drink metameucil. Not me. So I can't make any type of sweeping statements about what's healthy, I think every person has to try and come up with their own best system.

For me, the challenge is to exercise, and try to keep up the healthy eating and cooking. That takes up a lot of time, and you have to have that kind of time on a consistent basis. I used to spend all weekends cooking, making food to eat during the week. Now BF wants to spend time with me on the weekends. Being as old as we are, and being without each other for so long, it's hard for us to not want to live it up a little finally. We don't get much work done on the weekends anymore.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eating Well's menu/meal plans page

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 11:14AM
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I'm late to this conversation, but I'm finding it very interesting. Here's some random thoughts about the subject, which is near and dear to my heart - in more than one way.

I work nearly every day to keep myself healthy, fit, and at a good weight. I've never been obese, but I've been slightly over weight. I know it wouldn't take much for me to become seriously over weight, because I have a close blood relative that has been if not obese, very over weight. Okay, yes, she has been obese, but it's hard for me to admit it. My main motivation is that there is heart disease in my family history. My father had his first heart attack when he was only 48 years old, and had to have quadruple bypass surgery in his 50's, a couple years older than I am now. His brother died of a heart attack when he was probably around 52 years old. My dad died at the age of 63, looking like he was 93. He was a smoker, (although he quit smoking after his first heart attack, he had smoked since he was a teenager.) drinker, and loved loved loved fatty foods. His favorite part of a steak was the rim of fat around the edge. So, I have been very motivated to eat healthy and exercise most of my adult life...well, at least the last few years. I have cycled on and off with that routine, but the last few years I've been very diligent. It's actually my lifestyle now, and I can't imagine eating any other way. It's not a diet, its just what I eat.

Like LPink, I'm a vegetarian, but that's not because of my healthy eating, although it factors into it. (I just don't like killing things, but that's another subject.) I almost went to school to become a nutritionist, and still kick myself for not following through with it, but I do read a lot about it as a hobby. I highly recommend Dr. Walter Willett's books about nutrition. They're very readable. He's the chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard, so he comes with high credentials.

As for calorie consumption, I think it's like a lot of things regards what people can tolerate or not tolerate. If I were to eat the recommended 2000 calories a day, I'd gain weight, even with the exercise I do. I probably do eat that much on occasion, but more typically, I eat anywhere from 1200 to 1800 calories a day. A typical day's meals may consist of a bowl of plain non-fat or low fat yogurt with mixed fruit, ground flax seed, nuts and a sprinkling of home-made granola for breakfast. For lunch I'll eat a salad with mixed greens, grated cheese, olives, celery, maybe carrots or artichoke hearts, or whatever I have on hand, topped with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. I'll also have a handful or two of almonds, and a piece of fruit. For dinner I'll eat a bowl of lentil soup, or pasta with cheese, or some veggie patties along with a bunch of different vegetables, it all depends on how many people I'm cooking for on any given night. It's at night I eat the most varied stuff and experiment with cooking. I almost always have a square (or 2 two) of dark chocolate after dinner. I can't help it, I'm an addict.

I exercise around 45 minutes to an hour 4 to 6 days a week, but try to be active every day. I don't belong to a gym, as I find them to be a waste of money I don't have. I have an almost full set of hand weights (missing a set of 15 pounders, which I would dearly love to get one of these days), one of those big balls and a couple of yoga mats. I alternate weight training with walking/jogging. I didn't find the time to work out, I made the time. The sacrifice has been sleep, which I know is a big sacrifice, and I'm trying to convince myself to go to bed earlier to make up for waking up earlier. I started this current routine around 6 years ago, I think, and can't imagine giving it up for anything.

DH has read in his research that as far as calorie burn, when walking, you burn the same amount of calories over the same distance, no matter how fast or slow you walk. It's hard to believe, but the more I think about it, it makes sense. Now, as for burning fat, you have to increase the intensity, but for just plain calorie burn, it's the distance.

Oh, and back to eating...yes, John, the best way to stay on a good, healthy eating plan is to eat tasty food. Period. Too many of the fad diets forget that, and for that reason, they just don't work. I eat what I want. I'm lucky, though, that I happen to like healthy foods, and hate the taste of junk and processed food.

To paraphrase Jaques Pepin, Happy, and healthy eating, everyone!


    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 12:39PM
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I am very impressed with the Calorie Count iPhone app. Easy to use, and yet detailed enough to be a geek's delight.

I like seeing that yesterday's shameful binge put me at 1,960 calories, an alarming amount of that being alcohol and fat, with too much saturated fat. I mean, I don't like seeing that, but I like that I can see it, if you know what I mean. And it's free!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 5:00PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Unfortunately, some foods seem to add pounds much more easily than others to my body.
Alcohol, for example. I have recently lost twenty pounds or so by only cutting back on wine and yeast bread.
I still snack on almonds and cheese and have 1 glass of wine a day, but no more, or rarely anyway!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 10:39PM
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Dcarch, I don't know if wild animals usually have the opportunity to get fat. Domesticated animals certainly do, plenty of obese dogs and cats out there.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:21AM
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That's been the beauty of counting calories for me. I already knew it somewhat, but it has really hit home to me that it is so easy to drink your way fat, either thru soda, fruit juice, commercial "energy" drinks or sweetened ice teas, or alcohol. Due to health reasons I've had to give up alchohol all together, and even before that I had to eschew red wine, even though I loved it. Even before counting calories I realized that these kinds of drinks were not good, but now while counting calories I realized that a glass of one of those juicy red wines was 150 calories (for a modest sized glass) and two glasses was 300. That's enough extra calories to gain about a pound every two weeks, right there. Drier white wines come in at about 100 per glass. I'm not sure about liquor. But if I'm going to drink, I drink a "diet" sea breeze, which is vodka, diet grapefruit soda and a splash of cranberry juice. Now my occasional treat is a glass of warm spiced cider in the evenings, which is about 100 calories. I can only have this treat if I've been really vigilant and followed my diet all day. It keeps me motivated. So if you're looking for an easy way to cut calories, take a look at what you're drinking. You can easily cut calories there and not suffer from feeling hungry. It's a little sad and spartan not to be able to drink alcohol, but since I can't do it anyway for health reasons I try to find comfort in the fact that I am taking away one more temptation to ingest something that will make me fat. Plus like I said, you can cut out the sweet drinks and it's not going to affect how hungry you feel. In fact it is well known that alcohol lowers your discipline, which is why people tend to overeat at parties . . . I'm talking to you Jon!! (just kidding!)

I'm not saying its necessary to give up drinking all together, but counting calories sure motivates you to not "waste" your calories on "empty drinking." Like one of my old boyfriends used to say, "Life's too short to drink bad wine." If I'm going to splurge, I want to splurge on a glass of really good wine, and enjoy every sip. These days I occasionally "taste" some of BF's red wine. Luckily he likes the good stuff.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I'm just loving reading all your testimonials, very transparent and honest.

We ate at PF Chan thursday,a chinese food chain, what a mistake; so starchy and sweet, I'm going to make a good effort to not eat there anymore. I crave it from time to time though.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 5:28PM
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Okay, as long as this has turned into the Chubby Confessional, I will have to say that this morning I weighed more than I have weighed in my life, even pregnant! I screamed when I stepped on the scale. I knew I was up a bit by the way my clothes fit, but I was not prepared for that surprise.

Of course, the upcoming week has to be the "eatingest" of the year. Ugh. I did okay in the morning. I had my usual cereal and black coffee, then went for a two mile walk. Picked up some chicken barley soup (it was goood)at a local coffee shop. Sadly it came with bread but not much.

Then I picked up my brother from the airport and we went to Mom's. Let the eating begin! I had a small date-nut square, a diet coke, a slice of meat loaf (my Mom made sandwiches for my brother) and then salad, stuffed cabbage, sugar peas and a slice of apple pie. Oink.

I just cannot gain this week. I know I won't lose, but somehow I've got to not gain. Tomorrow night we are going to dinner at The Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons. Oink again, I am sure.

Then another family meal on Wednesday, followed by Thanksgiving! I am doomed.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 8:31PM
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No, you're not doomed.

Sample everything you want, just really small portions (share an entree, skip the filler food), minimal alcohol, take a break midway through each meal and let your body see whether it is still hungry. If you gain weight during the Week Of Food, it won't be too much. Then join me (and lpink and ??? ) in dieting.

I'm determined to lose at least some weight during the holidays.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 1:52AM
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Dedtired, you wrote, "I did okay in the morning." That is soooooo me. Every morning I get up do my workout, eat a good breakfast, then I have my usual salad for lunch, with nuts and fruit on the side, but when I get home in the evening, I start eating and don't usually quit till I go to bed. Then, the next morning I tell myself I won't do that tonight, but I do. Why is it I lose the will power at night? I was sick with the stomach virus last week and went over 24 hours without eating. I've never been a faster, because under normal circumstances I just can't skip meals, but I really lost weight while I was sick. Since then, I've put 5 pounds back on. I'm not over weight, but I know it just won't take much at all to get over weight. I really have to work hard to keep myself at a good weight. But I just don't control myself in the evening.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 9:48AM
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John, once I make it past this week, the rest of the holiday shouldn't be too tempting. I don't have any big plans for Christmas since family will not be coming here (so far). When I was still working there would be a constant barrage of cookies, candy, holiday luncheons, etc, so I can dodge all of that this year. I guess it's all about self-control and making good choices. It's just tough when there is so much temptation everywhere you go.

But -- we can do it!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 9:58AM
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This Calorie Count app is an eye opener for me. I'm hitting my pretty stringent target on caloric intake but 50% of my intake is fat. 25% protein, 25% carbs. Food that I don't think of as being fat are, in fact, quite fatty. Pork shoulder for instance. Definitely learning from this. Thanks for pointing me to this app!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 9:17PM
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I haven't read through every response here, but thought I'd chime in.

In November of last year, exactly a year ago, I started exercising in an attempt to lose some weight. I'm 5'8" and was 165 lbs. I gave birth to my first and only child at age 30, and progressively put on weight for 9 years. As my 40th birthday grew closer, I became more determined to lose weight.

I started using a calorie counting application which totally changed the way I look at food. Only then did I realize that what I *thought* was a diet of moderation, was actually a diet of excess. The application was instrumental in helping me to plan my meals and snacks, so that I could basically eat all day, but stay within the recommended limit. I can't say I ever felt hungry or deprived. I even stopped craving stuff that I love to snack on. The fewer simple carbs I ate, the fewer I wanted.

I lost about 30 pounds in 7 months, and decided to coast through the summer. I've successfully maintained that weight, and now have decided to lose another 7-8 pounds, which would get me to a weight of 129 lbs. I'm actually, not very scale-driven. My ultimate goal is to get back into my wedding dress, and I'm very close. I may put on pounds when I escalate my weight-lifting program, which is fine, because muscle is denser than fat. As long as my body keeps improving, I'm happy.

A few weeks ago I bagged up most of my old clothes for donation. I've gone from a size 12 to a size 6. And best of all, I feel great.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 12:05AM
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Wonderful, susytwo. You'll have to change your screenname to susyone-and-a-half. Let us know when you're back in your wedding dress!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Sally2, that is exactly what I would do while I while still working. Eat normally during the day and turn into a human food vacuum as soon as I left the office.

Last night's dinner out at the Four Seasons was a calorie disaster and my 93 year old mother got sloshed. That was an experience I don't want to relive.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:58AM
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Susy2 CONGRATUALTIONS! That is quite an inspiring story! It really emphasizes how diet and exercise work together. I too have found the calorie counting to be a real eye opener. It really shows you the price you pay for your indulgences, and also helps you decide what is really important to you when it comes to eating. It helps me figure out what to shave. I too thought I was eating "healthy" and I was . . . just too much healthy. For example, my typical breakfast would be two small slices of whole grain toast with neufatchel cheese and jam, two fake sausages, and a cup of tea with a splash of milk. Now, it is ONE small piece of toast, ONE breakfast patty, and green tea with stevia. Or if I want two pieces of toast, I'll just have salad and fruit for lunch, etc. I don't have to give up what I want all of the time, just some of the time. My body is slowly adjusting to the smaller portions and I don't get hungry as much as I used to. As my body adjusts more and more, I'm going to try for five small meals a day, that might boost my metabolism.

But I have to say, counting those calories has really motivated me. The implications of what I eat and how much of it staring me in the face every day is motivating. Plus, that calorie count Web site GRADES you every day, and I sure like to get the good grades, lol!

STILL my scale has not budged!! :( At least it is no longer going up. I know I will ultimately have to up the intensity of my exercise. Right now I am not even keeping up with my daily simple routine of walking, riding the exercise bike, and yoga in the evenings. I am at relatives for Thanksgiving and they have a lot of exercise equipment and a huge park in their neibhborhood for walking. So far I've been doing OK, plus my aunt has one of those exercise balls that are GREAT for doing crunches on. I may buy myself a jump rope for breaks on that long drive to MI. 11 hours in the car is not great for any part of your body!

Another adjustment I am making--no more bread with pasta. If I eat pasta or soup with pasta in it, then no bread or rolls on the side. Plus I eat more open faced sandwiches, using just one slice of bread. Or tuna or tofu or egg or other types of salad stuffed into HALF a pita bread.

Here are some tips for surviving a holiday party, from Calorie Counter:

1. When you RSVP, offer to bring a dish to share��"something that works with your eating plans, but that you know others will enjoy too. If it’s a sit-down affair, ask if you can help serve, so you can have some control over your portion.

2. When you get to the party, check out the food offerings and decide on one or two "must-haves"��"perhaps the host’s specialty dish or a seasonal treat you can’t imagine the holidays without. Take a modest portion of each and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables, if you can (there’s got to be a veggie platter somewhere). Don’t waste calories on calorie-heavy but unremarkable foods you could find anywhere, like potato chips or a standard-issue cheese platter.

3. Go easy on alcoholic drinks. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which can chip away at your resolve to eat mindfully, so that 5-ounce glass of wine might be contributing more than just its own 100 calories. (You must also count those four cheese-stuffed mushroom caps that, after a few sips, became entirely irresistible.) Limit yourself to just one alcoholic drink and nurse it well; the rest of the evening, sip sparkling water with plenty of citrus wedges (add a few drops of grenadine for festive red color if you like).

4. Above all, focus on the fun, not the food. Enjoy the conversation and the entertainment��"and if there’s a dance floor, kick up your heels! Laughter, sparkling conversation and mingling all burn calories too.

5. When you’re entertaining, serve up lower-calorie dishes you love. Consider it an opportunity to open a few people’s eyes to what they’re missing. No need to announce that it’s "lighter" fare, unless someone asks.

My own tip, (with my own family) is to notice the fatness and unhealthiness of the family members chowing down at the dessert table. Watching my mom and her desserts and knowing how she's suffered with diabetes, and watching my dad with his straight junk food, fat and starch diet and knowing how really, really sick he is, (as compared to his brothers and sisters who eat healthy and aren't in anywhere near as bad a shape despite being older). That keeps me on the straight and narrow right there.

I've just sort of created this persona for myself, as a person with a particular constitution that cannot eat fattening foods. I look at healthy foods as fun and life affirming, and unhealthy foods as negative and bad for me, like they were drugs. I'm starting to realize that eating well is as much a spiritual/emotional quest as it is just "dieting." We so often use food to anesthetize ourselves, and there's no time like the holidays for that. If I can't have fun at a party without eating, no sense in even going. If it's a work party I have to go to, I use the strategies, and I make sure I socialize and be seen by everyone I need to be seen by, and then leave. And to survive the manditory family stuff, I just take lots of LONG walks, lol!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 11:21AM
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Good strategies - thanks for sharing. Lpink, stick to it. Maybe you have to fine-tune something in what you're doing - the calories or the exercise part - but you are much closer to what you need to do, now, than if you give up.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 12:18AM
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How is everyone doing?

Over here, we had a ridiculous amount of food at Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, gravy, beef in wine sauce, sweet potato casserole topped with candied pecans, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, stewed kale, cranberry sauce, salad, pear gallette, apple gallette, and a few more dishes I didn't identify. Four families brought food.

I managed to get rid of most of the leftovers. Hardly a dietetic day, but using lpinkmountain's tips, the grossest level of personal debasement was avoided!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 9:15PM
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I ate like a piggie and I hate myself. The last of the fam damily leaves tomorrow so maybe I can get back to normal overeating. I am seriously considering trying Weight Watchers online.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 10:30PM
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I checked out reviews for WW Online and the opinions are "meh". So, I had a look at Calorie Count. Since it's free, I signed up. Yesterday I tracked my food and as John said, it was an eye opener. I ate rather lightly, went for a long walk and ended up with a 600 calorie deficit, based on CC's estimation of the number of calories I should be eating daily.

I was pleased that I had a deficit, but when I looked at the nutrition breakdown, it was two-thirds carbs. Yikes.

I think Calorie Count is a wonderful tool. I already logged in today's breakfast -- cup of Oatmeal Squares, half cup of low fat milk and black coffee = 261 calories.

The site is rather addictive (she says after one day). I hope it helps me. This past weekend was a disaster and with more holidays ahead, I am worried.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 9:58AM
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I'm finding it totally addictive, after a few days. My daughter is using it on her iPod Touch, and we compete to see who can get the better ''letter grade'' for the day.

Most days, my nutrition ''pie chart'' shows over 50% of my intake was fat.

I am ignoring the sodium reading. Since the app doesn't have home-cooked versions of many dishes, you have to select a commercial version, and those are typically higher in sodium than home cooking would (should) be.

I've set my ''target calories'' quite low, and so far Calorie Count is helping me (almost) stick to it. I'm actually down a couple of pounds over the past week.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 4:05PM
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Yee haw! One hour of leaf raking is 345 calories burned. However, I'm up to 865 calories taken in, and I haven't had dinner yet, so we'll see. Honestly, I think it's giving me too much credit for activity. Maybe I should switch to sedentary, or move around more.

It's like having a contest with yourself.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 5:58PM
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I'm not logging any activities, and classified myself as ''sedentary''. The app's value, so far, is in helping me understand what and how much I'm eating, and I want to focus on that for now.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 6:26PM
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One learns all sorts of trivia from counting calories. A 1/12 slice from the 9'' shepherd's pie we made last night has 3 oz ground beef, 1.5 oz mashed potatoes, and 2 oz pie crust, for 230 + 40 + 250 = 520 calories. Woah. I think I'll start making my meat pies with thinner crusts . . .

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Got a B- for today. That slice of pumpkin pie did me in. Also my sodium intake is over the top.

Pie crust AND mashed potatoes? I never had it with a crust.

This is really eye-opening.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 10:31PM
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    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 10:54PM
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You register then start tracking. The iPhone app syncs with the website. Lpinkmountain told us about it, and I'm so grateful, I'm figuratively sending her a cheesecake!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:23AM
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Another good one is FitDay. I prefer it because it's more analytical and provides more in-depth vitamin/mineral tracking, which is important to me as I'm currently a vegan.

Just throwing it out there as an additional tool. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: FitDay

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 9:33AM
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I agree that Calorie Count over estimates the sodium levels, but it is a good tool to give you a GENERAL idea of how you're doing, and where your big fat, carb, calorie and sodium items are, as well as what foods have what good stuff in them. It has sure motivated me to up my fiber and vegetable intake, and I thought I ate a lot of veggies and fiber! Honestly, I am at such a bare bones level of food . . .

UNFORTUNATELY, my scale is absolutely STUCK on 140. It simply WILL NOT budge. I did splurge a bit over the holidays, (ate some desserts), but am back on track. I am on a low calorie, high protein, low carb whatever diet and still not one ounce of weight loss. My exercise while staying with the folks has been sporadic--some walks but that's about it. I've always considered myself to be somewhat active, but now I have to say I must be beyond "sedentary" because I appear to burn practically no calories during the day . . .

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 3:19PM
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Maybe add some healthy fat. Coconut oil is said to help boost metabolism and it tastes great. I add it to smoothies. I still don't think you're eating enough.

Also, you could try going completely raw for a week or two. The weight flies off - I lost 10 pounds in one week and felt amazing. Since you're already a vegetarian it'll be easier but it's literally just raw fruits and vegetables and tons of greens, nothing cooked. You'll get more than enough amino acids for your protein requirements.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:57PM
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A good rule of thumb is to aim to lose 1-2% of of your body weight each week. Any more than that and you risk losing muscle along with the fat. You want to hang on to as much muscle as possible. Muscle burns calories even when you're inactive. And muscle mass is good for your body too.

They say not to weigh yourself every day, but that is a rule I have trouble following. I weigh myself every day, but only log my weight once a week.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 6:09PM
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Lpink, I'm sorry I sent you that figurative thank-you cheesecake. It's my fault.

I am not very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of metabolism and so on. What is the reason why eating more or adding a particular kind of fat would cause one's body to lose weight?

My body appears to behave pretty straightforwardly. If I eat to a caloric deficit of X calories a day, then on average each day I lose X / 2400 calories. Not literally each and every day, of course. My weight seems to fluctuate by 2 lb from one morning to the next. But over time, that's how it averages out.

I suspect the reason is that I am quite a distance from where I should be, whereas you, Lpink, are closer. People tell me that losing weight gets harder as you have less to lose.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:50PM
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Well, I'm far from a scientist but I've done a lot of research. The vast majority of fats are composed of long chain fatty acids, which require a lengthy digestive process. However, coconut oil is one of the few that is made of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA)which is digested completely differently. It goes directly to the liver to be metabolized and results in a burst of thermogenesis and energy, which increases metabolism.

The bottom line, from my research, is that coconut oil produces almost exclusive energy while other fats produce body fat and some energy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Source

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 9:26AM
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Thanks for the sympathy. I've been on a diet and BF lost five pounds! It's something to do with pre-menopause or something. My body is just hanging on and hanging on to fat. Actually I'm starting to loose some of my discipline. I'm eating close to 13-1400 calories a day, that's not a starvation diet. I should have lost at least a pound by now. I'm eating high protein low fat, so I'm doing all I can. I'm about to toss in the towel and just focus strictly on exercise.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 5:23PM
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I'm the opposite of an expert. But my thought would be that you've basically found what your particular caloric balance is - it is whatever amount you're eating now. Does that seem reasonable? Given your height, age, activity level, metabolism, and so on? If it does seem reasonable, then perhaps the thing to do is to break the balance - calorie intake, calories burned, maybe some of that coconut oil? I'll bet if you just ''go for it'' with exercise and a more stringent diet - just for a few weeks- you'll see that needle move and the progress will feel great.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 11:31PM
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My diet dinner. 8 oz white roughy, simmered in about 4 oz milk with some sliced scallions and 1 pat butter, then thickened to a sauce with a bit of cornstarch, plus salt and pepper. About 400 calories. Not super low calorie, but didn't break my bank. Add about 100 cal for a roasted and cubed yam. Yes I am weighing everything. Can you say compulsive?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 12:38AM
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I've found that a lot of, if not most of the vegetarian protein sources are also high in fat and calories. It's frustrating. Lpink, how are you doing a high protein, low carb diet as a vegetarian? I've wondered about how to do that for some time.

Johnliu, Caloriecount has a section where you can enter recipes, and it will analyze recipes for you. It's been a very long time since I've actively participated in that website, entering things, because it takes up so much time. I can't remember where the section for doing that is located, but there's a tab titled recipes. You click on that, if I remember correctly, and then you can click on a section that says your recipes, or something like that. I have to run off to work, now, so I don't have time to look for it for you. It's there somewhere, though.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 9:07AM
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Thank you, Sally2. I'll check that out. There's some dishes that I make frequently, it might be worth the time to enter and save those.

- okay, I put in two recipes. They were nutritionally graded C- and D+! Oh well. My approach remains - I'm going to eat anything I darn well please, as long as I stick to my 1,200 calories/day, I'll lose weight.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 11:16AM
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Keep in mind that website doesn't distinguish between good fat and bad fat. It doesn't matter whether it's olive oil or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or saturated fat, it counts them equally. That's my main complaint about that site. However, it is quite helpful in doing just what it supposed to do - count calories. I've thought about entering in something like deep fried butter, if I had the recipe for it, just to see if it would give out an "F".


    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 9:43AM
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I found that if you click deep enough, it does give separate measurements for ''fat'' and ''saturated fat'' but no more detail than that.

I've started saving more recipes there - it is a handy place to store them online, in addition to the caloric and nutritional information.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 3:19PM
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It is getting a bit tedious to enter the food but I still find it interesting. What is most eye opening for me is the amount of sodium in my diet, and I don't even enter what I shake on.

I didn't enter yesterday because I ate quarter of a bag of Baked Cheetos and a mountain of Nilla Wafers. Oops.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 5:22PM
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I like the "analysis" section, where you can see whether you're high or low in different vitamins and nutrients and what foods it came from that day.

Processed and packaged foods are often really high in sodium, it is hard to avoid. I've mostly stopped eating those, and am doing almost entirely scratch-cooking.

Snack foods, cookies and the like are killer too. All that kind of stuff is very dense in calories. 20 Cheeto puffs is 160 calories, same as 10 Ritz crackers, 15 potato chips, 15 peanut M&M's, etc. But I do really like Cheetos - the classic Puffs - so I can't have any in the house at all. No way I can only eat 20 puffs - usually, once I start, it's the whole bag . . .

Still, I think it might make sense to have one "free day" a week. A Cheeto day, as it were.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 11:38PM
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Ru-roh - looks like today might be my Cheetos day . . .

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 4:44PM
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The link below explains a couple ways to estimate basal metabolic rate (calorie burn if you were sleeping or resting all day) and from there your daily calorie burn. From least accurate to most accurate. The most accurate method requires body fat % which a $40 scale can give you.


Rather eye-opening. My basal rate is about 1800 cal/day and my daily burn if ''sedentary'' is about 2150.

Gosh, used to be I'd plop down in front of the TV and polish off most of a ''family size'' (20 oz) bag of Cheetos. That's, like, 3000 calories. Then I'd have dinner . . .

The site then goes on to discuss guidelines for the appropriate caloric deficit, i.e. not a drastic one. It is interesting.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 12:14AM
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Hmmm, just curious. In what food group are Cheetos?

And if said Cheetos are baked, fried, toasted, dunked in coconut oil, do they then become a healthy diet food? And do the pounds fall off if one eats many bags of them? And do you get skinnier the more bags of coconut oil Cheetos you eat?

Could be a revolution! What's the stock symbol?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 2:19AM
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I don't know, but am thinking about some tempura Cheetos. Deep frying an already deep fried food might seem pointless - but not if we wrap with bacon!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 1:11PM
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I think the Baked Cheetos were listed under the Garbage food group. It is astounding how many calories are in junk food, the kind of stuff that you eat mindlessly or eat while you are deciding what to eat next. When I see the final breakdown of calories for a day, a huge proportion falls under Cheetos.

Imagine how many calories are in those Caramel Covered Cheetos that pop on on the CF from time to time. Cheetos, sugar, corn syrup and butter. And I bet you can't eat just one!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 2:08PM
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Mmmm, so good and crunchy. Imo, not pointless at all. Exactly on point. The more we fry, the healthier we get. And the more we eat, oh, you get it. My pants are getting loose already.

Tempura recipes? Made with a widely available but pricey nonetheless, tropical oil? Perhaps, rendered, crisco-like tropical fat, some fine flour, egg white, water, spices? Gee, I am out of tempura ideas.

Yes, bacon-and outside of the bacon, a dumpling. And each layer should be deep fried, no?

And what should the frying medium be?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 2:09PM
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Dedtired, You are serious? There is such a concoction called Caramel covered Cheetos? Here, on the cf? From time to time? I may sound holier than thou, and actually I do, but that is over the line. I was jesting about the tempura but in real life? 20th century? 21st century? IQ's over soup eating caramel covered Cheetos? Actually making them? And admitting to the outside world? Sharing the recipe? Unashamedly? tsk. Serial.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 3:38PM
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From the CF. POsted twice by my good friends!! Hee hee.

Caramel Cheetos�
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup margarine - yes, for this one you must use margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 - 21 oz. pkg. Cheetos� - crunchy kind

Mix sugar, margarine and corn syrup in pan. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add soda. Stir until light in color and foamy. Spray a roasting pan (deep 10 x 14) with Pam. Put Cheetos� in pan. Pour the mixture over Cheetos� and stir, coating each piece. Place in oven at 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Immediately, pour onto wax paper, or cookie sheets, sprayed with Pam. (This is the hard part.) VERY QUICKLY spread out as thin as possible. If not quick and spread out as thin as possible, you will get a big hard glob. After about 5 minutes, pull/break these apart even more and loosen them from the wax paper. If you don't, you'll have wax paper stuck to them when you go to eat them.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Arrgh, now I have Cheetos on the brain. Cheeto sauce over tortellini, Cheeto-breaded fish 'n chips, Cheeto salad, it's gross and tempting at the same time.

Must . . . distract . . . myself . . . With real food.

I have a pack of beef short ribs in the pressure cooker with soy sauce, rice wine, star anise, garlic, ginger, pepper and some water. With a mess of carrots ready to go in later. Dinner in an hour!

My weight loss is stalled. Despite being pretty good on my diet, I can't break through 190 lb. Possibly my metabolism is defending itself against a too-low caloric intake. I might have to - gasp - start exercising. Let's see - crunches and curls while watching the Cooking Channel, or freezing my buns off on a bicycle at 38F? No contest.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:53PM
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First time below 190 lb this decade! Woo hoo!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:52AM
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The short ribs sound delicious and ok with a bit of sauce and trimmed meat. "A mess of carrots", and count them exactly, are very high carb and counterproductive to weight loss. Diabetes awares would be one half cup of carrots, steamed, plain. More than one or two whole carrots is high cal too. Is there a low carb sub for the deadly carrots? A cruciferous vegetable steamed and added to shrt rib sauce for a couple mins., just to sauce the veg. Not as sweet nor sturdy as corn, potatoes, onions, roots, but
better diet wise. "A mess of carrots" does not create a true plateau but is a cal/carb no-no. A mess of romaine, a half mess of broccoli/caulif will keep you on track.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 11:06AM
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Great news. Cant argue with success, John. You are doing so well. Deliciously and dietetically. And gentlemanly. You win. I fold.

Dedtired, what a recipe. Yep, it's real. I cannot say any more nor should I.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:13PM
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Westsider, no need to fold. You're right, carrots are high in sugar. Especially if you sprinkle them with brown sugar and roast, as I am wont to do (yikes). It's good to be reminded of that.

I don't know much about cooking tasty vegetables, beyond preparing them with ridiculous amounts of butter, cheese, nuts, etc, or larding them with sauces. I've always been mostly a meat cook. I wish I knew more about preparing veggies, and had a wider repertoire. Any vegetable-savvy calorie counting recipes would be more than welcome. I promise to make them!

In the meantime, you know how you get cravings? Sometimes I get a craving for barely cooked tuna. Here's the diet dinner tonight (and lunch tomorrow):

Marinate steaks in soy sauce, honey, salt, pepper. Plus wasabi if you have it, a little bit of hot chili sauce otherwise. Remove from marinade, press more pepper into the surface. Sear on hot cast iron pan with smoking olive oil, about 30 sec each side. Heat off, remove tuna, let cool a bit, and slice. Meanwhile, pour the marinade into the hot pan, let it boil and bubble and thicken, then pour it over slices. I have no idea how many calories of sauce that is, but the tuna isn't much. Something like 120 cal per 4 oz.

We stirfried some mushrooms, zucchini, and onions as well - but I slopped aioli sauce over it - I just don't have the hang of tasty AND healthy veggies.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 11:23PM
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As far as liking vegetables, (or any other "healthy" type of food), I think one's palate can be adjusted. I say this because I have managed to do it to some extent. I've watched my sugar and fat consumption like a hawk for about 25 years and most rich desserts do not taste good to me, they taste "gooky" if that makes any sense. For example, caramel covered chetoes sound awful to me and I'd have no trouble resisting them at a holiday party. (No offense intended to those of you who love them! I'm just commenting on MY palate, not criticising the food.) It took me a while to wean myself from sugar and it is something like an addiction. At first there are cravings, but they eventually subside. After that, the struggle is just to keep it up, and not succumb to this or that sweet fatty thing that is around. My mom gets so offended when I am constantly refusing stuff at her house. For her Depression generation, sweet means comfort and luxury. For me it means jiggly hips!! Same with saturated fat.

I'm not preaching vegetarianism, but those fatty cuts of meat like bacon, sausage and marbled beef do not appeal to me. I don't like their mouth feel or the way they go down. I think to retrain your palate you have to retrain your brain, start associating those gooey, sweet, fatty foods with sickeness, sluggishness, ill health, bad skin, poor digestion and a lumpy figure. On the flip side, revel in the antioxidants, vitamins and fiber that fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide. I had a salad last night with romaine lettuce, artichoke hearts, cauliflower, red pepper and peas, with low fat ceaser dressing. I enjoyed it so much, all the flavors and various colors and textures. You can also retrain yourself to eat whole grains. I've eaten them for years, I find refined grain products almost inedible. For that I would say start with small quantities. Stop being afraid of taste and texture, because grains and vegetables are loaded with both! Please understand that this is not a criticism, just suggestions for those of us struggling with eating low fat and healthy.

My big struggle is to bring down my portions. I was eating 5-6 servings of whole grains/starches and I'm trying to get it down to no more than three. Also limiting my fruit to 1-2 servings a day, not three. That's where the Calorie Count Web site has helped me, realizing how small a portion really is.
My other weakness is CHEESE. That's one addiction I cannot seem to break. One thing for sure, although it does have a role, lowfat cheese is not a good substitute in most recipes. It's OK for snacking and if you want the texture in something, but it doesn't have much of a flavor impact, even the sharp cheddar stuff.
I've started to use more fake meat products. I usually don't buy them due to cost, but I'm trying to up my protein to starch ratio. I eat some meat, but don't like any beef and most pork products.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 10:49AM
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Lpink, your choice of foods really sounds healthy, and tasty.

Perhaps I can train myself to eat more vegetables too. Actually, I like several vegetables a lot. Grean beans, mushrooms, carrots, corn, artichokes, brussel sprouts, potatos and yams, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and related, spinach, corn, gai lan, bok choy, peas, lettuce, avocado, beets. Seems I should be able to get into the habit of eating them more often. Come to think of it, there is a whole half-shelf of vegetarian cookbooks in my house - all pristine pages and unmarked spines - almost all gifts. I think its time to open them.

Whole grains are definitely not my thing, but it hardly matters right now because I'm hardly eating any grains at all. Have almost completely cut out rice, pasta, bread, pastry, etc. I like fruit and nuts too, and am still eating those.

As for you, portion control is the main thing I always have to watch, learn and re-learn. A ''portion'' used to be as much as would fit on a 9'' plate - and I'd have two!

Ah, dairy. I love cheese, but even previously, wasn't eating it in quantity.

On the protein - aren't tofu and egg whites the standard non-meat routes to a lot of protein quickly? I like both.

How is your scale - is it budging?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 2:42PM
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lpink, do you eat beans? Great protein source. I used to use canned beans exclusively but I've started cooking my own and they're great. I made an awesome white bean and rosemary soup the other day. It tasted like cream soup but it was low fat and dairy free.

The problem with eggs and tofu as protein sources is that many vegetarians/vegans don't eat them, and of course tofu is controversial in large quantities. I don't eat eggs or dairy, and limited tofu, but I get most of my protein from greens and vegetables. I believe that people are taught that we need far more protein than we actually do. As long as you get enough of all of the amino acids, you'll be ok. Just look at the huge, muscle-packed gorillas and other herbivores! Nature provides.

Cheese was the hardest thing for me to give up. But my ethics won't allow it anymore so that helps. As an added bonus, my skin cleared almost immediately, I feel much less congested and I lost 5 pounds without exercising much at all. In fact, it's been so cold that I have been huddled inside watching movies :D. That's the benefit of being a vegan - it's very hard to overeat as your body generally doesn't want more than it needs.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 8:26PM
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I eat beans every day. And I credit my daily soy intake for not having much trouble with hot flashes (so far, knock wood). I use cheese and eggs sparingly (at least I TRY to use them sparingly). But still my scale has not budged. Well, at least I'm not gaining weight, and yesterday I thought I might have lost .25 lbs, lol! My scale isn't that accurate though!

John, I love vegetables but stopped eating them much as a side dish because they are kind of a pain to make. But now due to dieting and having a BF who loves veggies and needs more to eat than me, I'm back to eating more side dishes and salads. Also BF helps me eat things up. I stopped buying a lot of fresh veggies because they would invariably end up rotting in the back of the fridge. Also, frugal-me had a rule to not buy any produce over $2.00/lb. But I've decided it's worth it to me to have more healthy, low fat choices in the fridge. Especially now that I'm not as worried about them going to waste. Luckily I live three blocks from a farm market, although it is only open Th-Sat. That's where I'm going on my daily walk today!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 11:42AM
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Your scale is remarkably stable. In the past six days, my scale has gone from 190 lb to 186 to 189. That's pretty normal for me - wide swings in weight.

Say, did you ever look into the Omron scale/body fat analyzer? There is a fancier model too, which measures weight, body fat %, visceral fat %, body mass index, and muscle %. I haven't used that one. I'm not trying to pitch this product - there may be other ones that are better - but I recall you were looking for a new scale a few months ago.

Starting Saturday we have 3 weeks of houseguests, and I also do some business traveling, so staying on diet will be difficult. But my trip takes me near one of my favorite Japanese restaurants, that's a good thing.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:08PM
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Wow it is hard to stay on diet when traveling.

In the hotel this AM - eggs benedict and grapefruit juice, 630 calories. That's like, half my daily target.

My secret business travel diet weapon is Japanese restaurants. Last night - tuna and scallion hot pot, seared beef with pureed radish, spicy tuna roll - 500 calories. And delicious. Unfortunately, I also had beer.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 3:27PM
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I always failed miserably trying to lose weight,when I got married I could not cook.now look out.when I say to hubby where do you want to eat?he says my place.Thats how I gained it,then having 3-10lb babies.Well then my health went down hill fast,I was told I was gonna die at 40.So all my life I lived thinking I was gonna die at 40,that took a tole too.Now Im 55,in need of a kidney transplant.But they want me to lose 50lbs.So to get this drastic measures are needed.I had the lapband surgery,Im not gonna say its easy,its not for the weak,but I have 20lbs to lose yet.Unless a kidney just happens to come along, I could have it now.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 4:05PM
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I have finally managed to lose somewhere between 20 - 25 lbs. since April. I must have hit a plateau for awhile, because I couldn't lose anything. Now I'm losing again, but boy, this time of year is a killer as everyone knows. I don't know if I'll succeed in losing any more weight before Christmas, but here's my plan of attack. I'm going to make only the Christmas treats that my entire family loves. Unfornately, that will eliminate a lot of things that I love. Instead - and I haven't tried this yet, so I don't know if I can really do it - I'm planning to buy seasonal things like comice pears, pomegranates, clementines and see if I can "indulge" myself with those. I already bought a pound of wild Alaskan smoked salmon at Costco - high in sodium, but I don't eat much salt anyway and if I limit myself to one serving a day, it should be fine.

I ran a couple of 5K's in the fall - not really my bag of tea, but it's kind of fun and does get me moving!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 5:36PM
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Congratulations, virginia. That is an inspiring story. Smoked slamon, yummy.

Bulldinkie, please let us know how the Lap-BAND goes as you adapt to it. It sounds like you've lost a lot already!

Another issue I wanted to ask about. Has anyone had trouble getting enough of certain nutrients, when on a constrained diet? Calorie Count says I am not doing so. Thus I've been taking vitamin supplements.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 4:54PM
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Well, if you're talking about that Calorie Counter assessment, I really like it, but it is only a general guide, and probably based on a "one size fits all" function. However, I am coming in consistently very low on fiber which is odd since I always thought I ate a lot of fiber. I'm trying to fix that. Basically I think I'm coming in low in fiber because I'm just not eating that many calories. I'm also low in calcium but I knew that and have been taking calcium/magnesium supplements with a vit. C chaser for years. They make a huge difference in how well I sleep and help me avoid "restless leg syndrome." Other than that, I take a multi-vitamin and acidophilous every day. That's plenty IMHO. Most vitamins are not stored by the body, so you're just peeing away money by taking a lot of supplements. BF swears high dose B vitamins give him energy, but they just give me weird dreams. I'd rather take my fish oil in the form of fish. I guess I should do flax, but I don't at this point. The best thing is to freshly grind the seeds but I'm not organized enough to do that.

I also come in low in iron, but the body stores iron so you don't have to have adequate intake every day. Too much iron is toxic, so I just have some iron pills which I take every once and a while, with a C chaster for absorption. Calcium blocks iron, and iron is absorbed best on an empty stomach, and my thyroid medicine blocks calcium too. So timing and absporption are important with taking vitamins. I take my calcium at night, my multi and acidophilous with lunch, and my eye vitamins and iron if I'm taking it, before breakfast. Oh yeah, I have macular degeneration so I take Lutein with some other antioxidants. Probably futile. My mom has it so it is probably genetic. I don't have the worst kind though.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 12:23PM
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My digital scale came yesterday, yay!! I've gained 1.5 lbs. but that's because I fell off the wagon over the weekend and we went out for very nice Chinese last night and I was starving since I didn't eat lunch due to running around Christmas shopping. I swear, I have to be so good ALL the time or I immediately gain weight. I can diet and diet and NOT loose ANY weight, and then I splurge for a day or two and I immediately gain a pound.

I bought some more exercise equipment, one of those fitness balls and a jump rope. I'm going to focus on trying to up my daily exercise. I've been having trouble with hunger and cravings lately and I'm always cold, my metabolism needs help!! I almost always eat three meals a day, small ones since I'm watching calories. A 350 calorie breakfast, 400 calorie lunch and dinner meals a day and a 100-200 calorie snack. It's really not very much food but I only burn 1500 or so calories a day with my sedentary lifestyle. Dieting just slows my metabolism down even more. I think my problem is definately not getting enough exercise.

BF bought me new exercise shoes and a groovy sweatsuit and jacket for Christmas so I have no excuses.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 10:17AM
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A Planet Fitness just opened near me. It's so cheap that I think I will go there and, if nothing else, walk on the treadmill. I am such a slug in the winter.

I have a good five days of major food temptation ahead of me, so I need to be strong to resist it. I know I can't resist all of it, so I hope I don't end up any worse than I am now. I just found out that my Ex lost 45 pounds and that is driving me crazy. I got secret pleasure from seeing his fat gut -- aren't I mean?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Lpink, that sounds good. I suspect you are ''cracking the code'' and are on the right track. dedtired, if you like the treadmill, note that lightly used exercise equipment is always on craiglist, for way less than it cost the seller - $75 to $250.

As for me, so far I have not lost weight during the holidays, nor have I gained weight. I was hoping to be really ''good'' but the lure of almond rocca was too much - plus the alcohol calories consumed during one stumbling drunk evening. But our houseguests are gone and almost all the candy is given away, so I'm trying to be good again.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 3:50PM
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How are the dieters all doing as we begin the new year? Bad or good over the holidays? Any new efforts in the works?

I fluctuated over the past month (in a 5 lb range) but basically am flat since mid-December. Which suggests that my calorie counting overlooked the holiday nibbles. Almost all that stuff is outta here - just a bit of almond rocca left - and this is Soup Month.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 12:04PM
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I managed to not gain over the holidays and I'm considering that a success. Let's start a new thread, I'm sure there are others on the wagon now too!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 5:13PM
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