First Time Dieter Needs Some Help/Advice

rivkadrFebruary 20, 2006

This is hard for me...for most of my life, I've been very skinny. But my days of being a size 0 or 2 are over, I know. It's hard for someone of my frame and body type to truly get fat, but it would seem my body is making a sincere effort. I'm currently about 15 pounds over the "healthy" range for my height and frame, and I'm feeling pretty disgusted with myself in general.

My main problem is this: as I've hit 30 years old, my metabolism is slowing down. I'm also taking a medication that has severely increased my appetite...I'm constantly hungry now, and I've been piling on the pounds over the past 6 months or so. I don't know how to combat this, as it's not something I've ever dealt with before!! I'm used to being able to eat whatever I want and not having to worry about it :( Much as I would like to get off this medication that has this side effect, I need to stay on it for health reasons.

What I've tried so far: exercise. Half an hour of biking every day after work. It hasn't done anything so far, and I'm still putting on weight.

My current eating habits:

Breakfast: frosted mini-wheats in soy milk. (always the same every morning)

Lunch: PB&J sandwich, some baked Lays potato chips, and non-fat yogurt. (always the same during the work week)

Snack: granola bar (110 calories)

Dinner: varying things...I'm vegetarian, so lots of pasta, stir frys, mexican dishes with no meat. Lots of soy based protein.

After dinner: various snacks; chocolate; popcorn; bad stuff for me!

Bedtime Snack: granola bar

A low or non-carb diet would be somewhat difficult for me, because as I stated, I'm vegetarian. I could live on veggies alone, isn't gonna happen ;)

The two snacks I have listed are a must -- I'm also hypoglycemic, and I get really sick if I go too long without food. Granola bars are the easy thing to do, but if you have other suggestions, I'm all ears. The bedtime snack has to be something that really sticks in the stomach; I have a tendancy to not be able to fall asleep or stay asleep if I'm hungry (as a mild insomniac, I don't want to introduce something into my sleeping schedule that makes it harder to sleep!)

My game-plan:

- possibly switch in regular shredded wheat to replace frosted mini-wheats (cutting out some calories from sugar)

- replace baked Lays chips in my lunch with something like carrot sticks

- remove the after dinner snack completely, or find a low-calorie replacement. I have a major chocolate need, though, so this will be hard.

- make my dinners a salad, with a (very) small side dish of pasta, rice, etc.

I need some other suggestions on what I can do to cut calories, as well as any helpful hints you might have for a first time dieter. I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle -- how do you fight hunger pangs? I eat my fill, and then an hour or two later, I'm starving again! This is largely the result of the medication, but maybe there's something I can do to combat it, and still lose weight...

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I thought long and hard before replying. I would recomend Weight Watchers. They are all about measuring and portion size. If you have never dieted before, learning the basics is essential for achieving results. You could ask a WW leader about resources for vegetarians. Once you have that knowledge under your belt you can use a calorie counter website ( I use to help you keep track of what you eat.

I am curious as to what medication you are on that caused your metabolic rate to decline. I had that same problem with prednisone...

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 10:48PM
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tikanas, the medication I'm taking is amitriptyline. It's technically an antidepressant, but I take it to prevent migraines. It's helped with that -- too bad the side effect is weight gain...

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 12:44AM
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Have you tried a cheese stick before bedtime? I have also used the Glucerna Bars ((not the Meal Bars))for an afternoon snack or if I get a little shaky. They're chocolate coated and have a low glycemic index. Always carry one with me.
How about some peanuts? Salted in a shell. They also keep me from eating something I shouldn't. Good Luck & Good Health!!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 9:52AM
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Hi- I am a vegetarian also. It is hard to get a lot of protein when dieting. Do you eat fish at all? I do not like it but will eat it esp. if I am trying to lose weight. Be sure you are eating high protein granola bars. It is better to have 1/2 of a protein bar than one that is really just a cookie. I do try to stay away from sugar-but that is not that hard as I am more the potatoe chip type. Have you looked into some of the frozen vegie entrees? They can be pretty good-Amy's es. The tofu spicy hot dogs and gardenburgers are also good choices for snack. Do you count calories? That is just a must. Measure EVERYTHING. Weigh stuff. Keep a list everyday and write down what you are just ready to eat before it goes into your mouth, not after. Try to only have 500-600 calories by dinner and the balance (around 700) for dinner and snack. That is a weightloss plan. When you are where you want to be you can have whatever your amount is to stabalize. Figure 2 pounds a week is GOOD. and good luck.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 7:14PM
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Hi, I have a similar problem in that I only need to lose about 15 pounds, but am having difficulty doing it. When I quit smoking, I gained about 10 lbs and my appetite increased. Bummer!

I also recommend the web site. When I started tracking everything I was eating on that site, I realized that I was having a chocolate-covered caramel after lunch and dinner, which added about 110 calories to my daily amount, plus my daily glass or wine or bottle of beer. Bob Greene, Oprah's health and exercise guru is very emphatic about cutting out alcohol while you are trying to lose weight.

When Lent started, I gave up alcohol and any sweets or desserts. Guess what - I started losing weight! I also exercise on the treadmill about 4 or 5 times a week. Plus DH and I have cut back on our portions and we have become used to the smaller portions and are not hungry.

I do get hungry for a snack in the evening, so I either eat 2 or 3 pretzel sticks (the oat ones), a dill pickle, a small apple or the 100 calorie cheez-it packs.

I would definitely replace the frosted mini-wheats with the Shredded Wheat and Bran cereal. You don't need that extra sugar. I would check the nutrition informatin in the granola bars, too. Sometimes the so-called healthy snacks are filled with sugar and fat. Wherever possible replace white bread, pasta, etc. with the whole wheat versions. They are healthier (also better for weight loss) and I think they taste better, too.

I wouldn't replace your dinner meal with a salad, you will not satisfy your hunger. Protein is the thing that really gives one that full feeling. I know that if I have eggs for breadfast, I don't get hungry until early afternoon, whereas if I eat cereal, I get hungry mid-morning. So do you eat eggs and cheese? Cheese can be high in fat and calories, though, but it is a good source of protein for vegetarians. If possible, I would add fish to your diet. Some vegetarians do eat fish, I'm not sure if you do or not.

Keep up the exercise. Is it possible to do it in the morning? That seems to be more beneficial for weight loss, but if after work is the only time for you, that's fine. Exercise increases the metabolism which helps your body to burn calories more efficiently. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 3:22PM
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