Frugal Dieting

ilene_in_neokMay 18, 2009

OK, I'm going to start this thread. If nobody's interested, that's OK, I'll just try to continue by myself and see how it ends out.

Not making any promises here. But here are some of my plans:

1) No Jenny Craig, NutriSystem or even Lean Cuisine. I don't know about you, but I can't live on these things the rest of my life. I want to eat the same things the rest of my family is eating, at least, up to a point. I do, afterall, live with men. In spite of what Valerie Bertinelli says, I just don't think it's realistic to have to cook for your family while you have those little meals in boxes. Now, if I lived alone, it might be another matter.

2) No diet aids or pills, no pricey appetite suppressants or metabolism depressants. No fad diets or protein shake mixes.

3) No gym or work-out center memberships. No fancy-schmancy exercise clothes or equipment. Although if I didn't already have a good pair of athletic shoes, I'd buy a pair. And I do already have a bicycle that I might start using, and a "home workout gym" that I have tried to sell without success so I might put it to use.

4) No cleaning out my pantry and throwing everything away that contains more than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories. This is the real world and there are others in my household who will eat this stuff if I leave it alone long enough. I may not buy more of it when it's gone, but I'm not throwing what's in there out.

5) No forcing myself to eat things I hate simply because they're good for me or low in calories. Case in point: rice cakes.

6) No buying things in little "hundred calorie packs" or individual yogurt cups or pudding pops. I can, in some instances, make my own, or otherwise portion them out from larger sizes, if I want them at all.

7) No thinning things down to make them seem like more -- such as juices and soups. I want my stomach to get used to having less in it, although I realize for awhile it's going to be a bit uncomfortable.

8) The keyword is moderation. No expectations of losing 20 pounds in just a month. No starvation dieting. No binge and purge (yuk). No weighing every day.

I thought I'd follow the old Weight Watcher's plan before they went to the points system. It's easy to follow as you don't have to count calories. It's just so many units of protein, dairy, fruit, vegetables and fats, plus a couple of hundred calories you can use or not use. Once you've checked off all the boxes, you've had all you can have for the day. I think Richard Simmons has a similar system.

So far I have had a good first day. There's a sheet cake on the dining room table because DGS is graduating this week. Yesterday I had so many pieces of cake I lost track. Today I have managed to pretend it doesn't exist.

For breakfast this morning I had a hard-boiled egg and a nice crunchy slice of 100% whole-wheat toast with a smear of real butter thinned with a little olive oil. For lunch I had half a chicken breast from chicken that I had fried for the family a few days ago and put what was left in the freezer (because DH loves fried chicken and would have eaten as an evening snack that same night what would have made another meal, otherwise). I removed the skin from my piece of chicken, had a good spoonful of home-canned green beans from last year's garden and quite a few steamed spears of asparagus from this year's garden. I rounded it out with a small scoop of potato salad. About 2:00 I felt the need for a little something so I had a bowl of frozen apple slices from my apple tree last fall and made a cup of tea. Exchanges left for the evening meal are two milk, a protein, two breads and a fruit. Sounds like the ingredients to a nice bread pudding, to me. Or a tuna/apple salad sandwich and a glass of milk. Or a grilled cheese (very light on the butter) with a glass of nonfat cocoa, followed by a small dish of home-canned peaches from last year's tree. DH and DGS will be eating the rest of the fried chicken. They'll probably finish off the potato salad and the green beans. So we're all taken care of for today.

So far I have really enjoyed everything I have eaten today, and that is as it should be. I didn't have to run out and buy something only I would be eating, following a list generated from some menu someone else made up.

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

You're doing great! It is very hard to cook normal foods for the family and not gobble them up to.
I like air popped popcorn as a filler and iced tea with sweet in low. And apples.
Just laying off high fat foods and really counting calories will drop the pounds.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 8:36PM
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Hi again Ilene ... who's O.K. in the north-east,

When you went through that list of all of the stuff that you weren't willing to do (or not do), I was wondering what there was left for you to put into place to have some of the result that you desire.

There is an exercise that someone told me about, some years ago, that might help.

Put your hands on the edge of the table.

Push back ... get up ... leave.





What else can one ask for?

Hae a lovely week ... consuming fewer calories ... getting some more exercise.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:49AM
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I'm inspired. I read this and remembered it was time to get back on the health kick a little. We've been eating out more than usual with all of the special occasions happening. I stopped by the store this morning while I was out and picked up some chicken breasts to grill. I also got some salad makings and some brussel sprouts. I'm not sure how healthy the brussel sprouts are with the cheese sauce, but at least my kids will eat it. I'm also making cupcakes, but as long as I limit myself to two, I'm ok. It's cheaper than buying prepackaged snacks for the kid's lunches.

I also bought hamburgers to grill for tomorrow. I can eat it without the bun and still add the pickles, lettuce, and tomato. We'll have something for sides other than chips or French fries. My kids love broccoli so that might work.

I'm not sure of the 'frugality'of what I bought,but I agree that eating healthy even if in costs more in the short term saves health, potential medical costs in the long run.

I do have a gym membership that is currently going unused. Every time I set a date to go back, someone gets sick, or get roped into a volunteer project or something. I'm not going to do planned exercise this week, but if I can get my bathroom painted and my garden planted I'll least be away from the food.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:27PM
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OJ, I have heard of that exercise before. I think my doctor informed me of it, way back when I was only about 20 pounds overweight. I failed to see the humor in it at the time. ;~) Friends of ours from back when we were doing exhibition line-dancing, informed me of their rule: "If it tastes good, spit it out." That's funny if you're not living it, but so much of the time, what we're forced to eat because we're trying to lose weight IS nasty, or at best, boring. I think that's one of the reasons why diets don't usually work. The numbers of people who are morbidly obese in the US attests to the fact that losing weight is not nearly as simple as people who have never been faced with the task believe. It does seem simple: just don't eat! :) If it were really that simple, nobody would be obese, as no one really wants to be. Everyone who is morbidly obese really yearns to be slim, but the bigger they get, the more complicated it gets. That's why the weight loss industry is so lucrative.

My daughter is 40. She weighed 360 pounds and is only 5'2" tall. She had high blood pressure, diabetes, back problems, a hernia and neuropathy in her feet and legs. She was miserable and fighting bouts of deep depression. After trying every way there is to lose weight, she opted for gastric bypass. I was against it at first, but the more I watched her in the downward spiral, the more I began to see that if something radical didn't happen, she would be dying on me, or taking her own life.

Right before she was to have surgery, she was fired where she worked. She had to go on Cobra in order to keep her insurance, and they dragged their feet in getting the paperwork to her, which caused her to have to wait an extra month for the surgery. She had to pay $600 a month for the premiums, and since a month had already passed between losing her job and getting everything set up, she had to pay $1200 right up front.

Her husband left her and moved back in with his ex-wife. So much for spousal support.

I stayed with her at the hospital. Surgery took 4 hours. The surgeon said it was a very difficult surgery because she was so heavy through the middle. To say the least, it was a real eye-opener to me. Today she came over to tell me she has now broken 300, weighing in at 299. She's hopeful now. She beamed at me and said, "61 pounds, gone forever."

Truly, my daughter is more woman than I am. And I don't mean in girth, although that is true, too. I would never have the courage to have that surgery. I am 80 pounds overweight. But, OJ, my daughter has shown me that there is a point of no return and I'm scared to go there.

Today I have eaten much the same as I ate yesterday, because I have been busy working outside, where I'm not so much OK in the northeast as I am in northeastern Oklahoma (almost in KS). After two straight weeks of rain, we have finally had a few dry days with highs in the low 80's and so it's gardening weather in Oklahoma, at last, at last!

I won't bore all of you with my day-to-day details, but I will check in from time to time and let you know how I am doing, and also how she is doing, as well, if you'd like.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:43PM
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I don't like the word "dieting" since it has a temporary connotation to it. Ultimately you want to change your way of life to a more healthy lifestyle.

If you do all the cooking, I wouldn't prepare two meals to accomodate the non-dieters. If you really love these people, you should promote a healthy lifestyle and example. Like I tell my daughters, it takes a lot of love to crush a little girl's dreams.

Follow a balanced diet, I follow USDA guidelines and try to maintain the correct relative proportions of protein, carbs, fats, fiber, etc.

Alot of the hardest things are mental or emotional, like a meal isn't a meal without a big meat dish. Eventhough your only suppose to have 5 oz of protein per day. Even more basic things like don't use food as a reward or eat when your bored, etc.

As far as boring or poor tasting, use the poor people of the world for inspiration. Billions of people live on alot less money than you do, learn from their experience. India, china, mexico, middle east, africa all have cheap healthy menus that are not boring. Pay attention to the food you enjoy and determine why you like it. I notice most high calorie processed food have very basic flavor profiles and are limited to things like sweet or salty. It is the texture that makes these foods interesting alot of the time, incorporate your texture preferences into your cooking.

The battle is usually won or lost at the grocery store. Always eat before going to the store, ideally have a planned menu or solid ideas. Know your weaknesses and address them, only buy the amount needed for the correct proportions. Don't make a cake for 20, when you need a cake for 6.

Plan for convenience, alot of poor decisions occur because your too busy, too tired, etc. Set aside to prepare healthy convenience foods. If I set a bowl of clean carrots or washed grapes, etc, in the front of the fridge we'll eat 10x more than if it was in the vegetable drawer. Pretend your running a convenience store and put the most desireable things on display and ready to go.

Learn to cook these healthy ingredients in healthy ways that taste good. I use to prefer red meat 10 to 1 to white meat, but once I forced myself to learn to cook it with alot of practice. I hardly notice I'm down to a couple of small read meat portions a week and don't miss it. I can make a grilled turkey breast cutlet taste better than a porkchop now. Before I really new how to cook with these products I thought they were blah, but now with practice, I crave these foods even though they are healthy. Give yourself time to master new ingredients and cooking techniques.

Try to find the UK TV series "You are what you eat" online and watch one a day.

Lead by example.

good luck

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:41PM
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I agree with the person who spoke of disliking the term, "dieting", as it does refer to a temporary action ... sort of putting up with some disagreeble tassk, for a temporary period, after which one can heave a sigh of relief and go back to eating in more of the style to which we'd become accustomed (and which we preferred).

Surveys have shown that a high percentage of people who "go on a diet" go up to a higher weight than earlier, some time after the diet is over.

As suggested, I agree that it is a good idea to get the U.S.D.A. Food Guide and plan one's eating situation around their recommendations, with a view to making that your new style of eating.

Good wishes for success in working yur weight down to an area which pleases you ... and being successful in keeping it there, long term.

And more of those same good wishes for your daughter.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:15AM
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Bumblebeez, you're right about the popcorn! I bought a microwave popcorn popping bowl and have been using just a tiny bit of fat in it with the corn. It works pretty well, just enough fat to hold the salt and to "feel" right. I've tried air-popped, but it sticks to my teeth and the salt falls down into the bottom of the bowl.

Adella, I'm sorry I didn't see your post before. I hope you're getting back into the swing of things at the gym! We haven't grilled hamburgers since I got started on this but when we do I will do like you and have mine without the bun.... that is, if I've had all my bread exchanges by then.

Chris, you make a good point. You made me laugh about what you tell your daughters. And you are so right, that the poor in other countries are not overweight. Yet many of the poor in the US are. They say that it's too expensive to eat right. And I'm going to try to prove that wrong. I think the biggest hurdle here is when others in the family, who are not watching their portion size, tank up on, say, fresh strawberries. THEN it gets expensive! So it is essential to keep things in the house that are filling, for those folks. And I do have to admit, I could easily limit myself to just a small scoop of ice-cream at bedtime if it wasn't for the knowledge that others in my household are going to eat the rest of it before the day is over. It triggers something in me that makes me want to "get my share".

I agree with you 100% that it's a matter of weaning oneself away from things that are not healthy. The word "diet" has gotten a bum rap, though. Here's Webster's definition:

Etymology: Middle English diete, from Anglo-French, from Latin diaeta, from Greek diaita, literally, manner of living, from diaitasthai to lead one's life
Date: 13th century
1 a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed b: habitual nourishment c: the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason d: a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight
2: something provided or experienced repeatedly

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:26AM
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Okay, I have a solution that does not cost a dime. If only people would consistently use it!!! I am speaking about the shoulder stand - an asana from yoga.

How does this work you might ask? It works by resetting your metabolism. If practiced consistently I GUARANTEE the following:

1. you will lose weight and not feel deprived of your favorite foods and portions.

2. you will enjoy the food you do choose to eat more.

3. you will feel MORE satisfied with LESS food.

4. you will automatically start craving healthier foods in lieu of choosing junk.

Start slowing, a few minutes a day - build up to 15 minutes a day thereafter.

Yoga has been a practice for me for over 20 years, and for thousands of years in the East. Most people do not believe the asana will work - as if you have to suffer diet and exercise your whole life!!!

The asana ramps up metabolism by forcing fresh blood into the thyroid organ so it can to it's job with maximum effects. NO WHINING!! TRY IT FOR ONE MONTH!! You have nothing to lose but weight and bad eating habits. You even get to hang on to your wallet.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 6:36PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM


Within the last year we completely overhauled our eating lifestyle. Dh is the strictest because his cholesterol is the worst (guess who lost the most weight, not me). It has indeed been quite the learning experience for me. I love to cook but learning to make things in a new way was daunting at first. DH is now primarily vegan. I have begun exploring began baking and much of it has been delicious once I gave it a shot. I have made vegan scalloped potatoes, vegan chocolate cake, and vegan muffins even. I have made a ricotta like cheese out of pine nuts that was fabulous (not low fat but more nutrient dense). We have drastically improved the health of our children as well.

One important thing I have done is researched different foods and the different things they do for your body and we talk about this so that the kids understand why they need to eat the veggies and fruit. I tell them how nuts are brain food and they have made improvements. It greatly helped when DH decided to change his ways too so that I am not always fighting against that force and with the weight he lost, he looks yummy!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:14PM
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Namaste, I looked up the yoga shoulder stand, and, what the heck, I'll give it a try. I have some arthritis and I'm not very limber anymore, I hope I can do it.

Tish, that's just wonderful what you are doing. Your kids are being armed with some pretty important information they will use for the rest of their lives. I'd be interested in your muffin recipe, if you'd like to post or link it. Of course your DH lost weight easier than you, that's always the way. My DH has lost weight just by eating his breakfast late, skipping lunch and eating an early supper. He still drinks his precious sugary Pepsi's and every now and then comes home with a big bag of M&M's. He gets "snack-y" pretty close to bedtime, when he wants cake or cookies or, failing that, will make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If I bake a cake he will eat several pieces during the course of a day. And still he keeps his weight down. Go figure.

I think there's much about our health as it's related to eating right that we (human beings collectively) don't completely understand.

I was born in 1947, right after the end of WWII. About this time was when the government first started publishing information about nutrition. One-a-Day vitamins were new. My mother, a farm woman with five children, paid attention. She actually melted a whole vitamin in my bottle every day! By standards of the time, that was a mega-dose for an infant, but I was a sturdy, healthy child, especially in comparison to my sister, who had pneumonia a year or two before I was born and nearly died. She was always delicate. In high school she weighed 100 pounds soaking wet, and would have fainting spells during visits from "Aunt Flow". When I was in high school, I weighed in at a robust 140, being fully 5" taller than her, and in fact, as tall as my only brother who was 15 years older than me. I have never fainted.

Living on the farm, we never went hungry. But a lot of what we ate was pretty high in fat. And Mom bought into the myth that bleached, "enriched" flour was better than freshly milled whole wheat. We moved "to town" when I was just finishing first grade and everything changed, including the way we ate. I'd say it was even higher in fat than before. Mom had not left the farm willingly, began going on eating binges and I was part of that for several years. It was not pretty. I was overweight most of my childhood, till 7th grade when, so tired of the teasing and taunting, and wanting the boys to pay attention to me like they did some of my friends, I read a book called "Stay Slim for Life" and put myself on a diet. I didn't stay slim for life, but I was a real babe for quite a few years anyway.

I tried not to carry that binge thing over into my children's lives. I admit sometimes we'd get hungry for ice cream and DH would make a run to the store and bring home maybe four half-gallons of different flavored ice cream. We'd eat as much of it as we wanted,...

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 7:49AM
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My DH started WW this week (has about 65lbs to lose) and I am doing it with him to lose 10lbs (although I did not join).

At the same time I have two skinny little girls to feed.

Just this week I have spent a small fortune on groceries -- mostly buying two different versions of everything. My girls are thin and I don't want them eating low-fat or fat-free anything.

You are right -- dieting (or whatever you want to call it) is expensive. My DH HAS to have potato chips with his sandwich -- so I buy Lays Fat-Free chips (made with Olestra) -- they are $4 for a small bag!! I also bought Egg Beaters (which are really good) but much more expensive than eggs.

Butter spray (I can't believe it is not butter) is great for toast and corn on the cob and has 0 calories and fat. It is also great for making any kind of toasted sandwich.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:21AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

STirfry, if you are interested, a great book on childhood nutrition is Disease Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, lots of wonderful information. We use very few dairy products because of my concern of how they affect young girls, especially in relation to puberty. It is not uncommon now for little girls (7 and 8) to begin menstruating which is scary. I have a skinny little girl too. She gets most of her fat from things such as nuts, nut butters, avocados, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), some oil (mainly olive) etc. Sesame seeds are absolutely loaded with calcium (much more than milk) and these are sprinkled on our salads and vegetables (both brown and black, beautiful presentation).

Ilene, I will try to pull together some links for you this evening with some of the vegan. For starters here is one taht I frequent. The very low fat orange spice pancakes are quite delicious. I use her recipe for scalloped potatoes too and they were a winner.

(I admit that while we are health conscious in this household, the food still has to taste good. One cookbook I have mentioned that if the best you can say about a meal is that at least it was healthy, that meal was not a success. It still has to taste good.)

Here is a link that might be useful: fat free vegan...still yummy

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:44PM
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Here is the most effective diet there is:

Find a BRM (base metabolic rate) calculator on line.

Figure out how many calories you burn per day.

Subtract 500 from that number.

Eat that many calories every day. (To make sure you don't cheat, you need to measure everything you eat and write it all down)

You will lose weight. (FYI this is the Weight Watcher's program in a nutshell)

It is not easy to start but it gets easier once you have established a few basic meals that you like.

I doesn't cost anything except time. The cost comes in when you decide that you still want chips but you don't want the fat and calories so you buy high priced substitutes or convenience items instead making things yourself.

You might decide that as part of your diet you are going to eat more fruit and vegetables which can cost more but you don't have to do that to lose weight.

In order to lose weight and keep it off, you need a desire to lose weight and the will power to stick to it every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Money has nothing to do with it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:23PM
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Thanks Tish!

Stirfry, you have hit upon the reason why I decided to start this thread. Believe me, I have been down this road many, many times and I can tell you that if you merely replace what DH is used to eating with fake replacements, it's not going to change his eating habits at all. As soon as you get tired of buying the expensive stuff, or something happens that makes it necessary for you to economize, then he will put back whatever weight he has lost because he has not found reasonable replacements for what he ate that got him overweight in the first place -- his eating habits have not changed. This time, I vowed to find a way to lose weight that will make solid changes, and not eat any of that expensive "fake food".

I don't find anything wrong with a good old REAL egg. I know some "experts" say they are full of cholesterol, but a few years after that opinion was published, another was published that said eggs weren't so bad for you, afterall. An egg is only 75 to 100 calories and it's packed with protein. So I don't buy "fake eggs". I make a slammin' omelet, full of chopped bell peppers, onion, maybe some zucchini or asparagus, if I have it, lightly sauteed in a little water, canned mushrooms, and a slice of American cheese (the real stuff, not 'cheese food'). Add a slice of crunchy 100% whole wheat toast and it's delicious.

I do buy full-fat potato chips because like you and Tish, I have a kid in the house that's not fat, he's a teenager burning tons of calories a day. One time I bought a bag of those expensive Sunchips. They're very good, but it's hard to stop at just a few, evidenced by the fact that he could eat an entire bag in the bat of an eye. Allrecipes, though, has a technique where you can slice potatoes thinly, brush them with olive or canola oil, spread them out on an oiled plate (I'd use a silicone mat or something instead)and microwave them till they're crispy. I've not tried it, but the reviews are mostly good so it must be working for some. You can also buy corn or flour tortillas, brush them with oil, cut them into wedges, and bake them -- but you have to watch them carefully or they'll burn. The flour tortillas are good with a little sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on them, kind of like low-fat pie crust. When I'm hungry for something crunchy and salty, though, I make popcorn. I use a microwave popcorn popper I bought at WMT. I find that I can put just a teaspoon of oil and a scant two tablespoons of popcorn, and I get enough finished popcorn to satisfy my craving. But sometimes when I get a craving, for that or for anything else, and I'm not really hungry, I will just go do something else to try to get my mind off it. If, in an hour, I still want it, then I have it.

I do not use the butter spray. I buy real butter, leave it out on the counter to soften, then mix it with canola oil or olive oil, a cup to one pound of butter. I think actually I could stretch it to a cup and a half...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 8:44AM
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Hi Ilene in the north-east of OK,

Do farmers in your area grow wheat?

If they do, how about going out to visit some of them to see if they'll sell you a bushel (60 lb.) of wheat? Ask them what kind it is and what kinds of uses that it's good for ... the best for bread is hard spring wheat, but I'm sure that they don't grow that in your area ... more like on the northern Plains. If the first one that you ask doesn't know ... keep asking: someone (or his wife) will know the answers that you need.

If you have a blender, grind some in that, but if it works well, buy a grinder and grind it yourself.

If farmers in your area don't grow wheat, travel on next vacation near where they do and buy some en route ... having taken a jute/heavy nylon bag with you for the purpose.

Around here, all-purpose white flour, that needs to have the bran and the germ removed, so there's less of it remaining, sells for a lower price than one pays for whole wheat flour, which requires less processing, and one gets more because they haven't taken part of the grain away. Buying the germ alone is expensive ... but the bran alone is cheap.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 10:20PM
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ilene: counting calories is a pain, but it does work. Have you ever done it? I'm dieting right now and not counting calories but since I went through a period of 6 months where I did count calories and measure everything I ate, I have a good idea of what I'm eating. Most of the recipies we use come with nutrition information. Plus how many recipies do you actually make? All you have to do is add them up once and you are don't have to do it for that recipie ever agian.

I've never had a problem losing weight. Every time I've dieted I've met my goal weight. My problem is that once I get there I lose motivation. Instead of "dieting", this time I'm just trying to come up w/ a diet that I can live w/ for the rest of my life.

Here is my current plan:

No deep fried food
No balognas, salamis or other process food (except turkey sausage, I love that stuff)
No 2nds or thirds

Limit white bread to about 1 / week
Limit sugar to 1 packet/day in my tea (I did splurge and ate ice cream last week for the first time this year)
No sugar cereals, no sugar drinks
Sugar/ Corn Syrup and all of its other names is the single worst thing you can eat if you are on a diet.

Protien and fruit for snacks in the morning and early afternoon

For my meals, I just eat simple reasonably portioned meals that I developed during my calorie counting diet and with a subscription to Light and Tasty magazine.

Cardio and strength training 3x/week. (don't diet w/o strength training)

I've lost just over 30 lbs since Jan. I'd lose faster if I was counting calories but I'm more concerned about developing a diet I can live with.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 11:17PM
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Chris, your plan is very much like mine. Yes, I have lost weight counting calories many, many times. I am 62 years old and have probably lost a ton or more through my lifetime, but gained it back and more once I got to my goal. This is called being a yo-yo, and "they" say it's worse to do that than stay fat. I have seen the so-called experts waffle back and forth on every theory so much during my lifetime that I really don't know whether this or anything else "they" say can be depended on, however. The worst thing about being a yo-yo, to my mind, is that it gets a little harder to lose each time, and then there's all those sizes of clothing, from 8 to 20, in my closet, or, in the case of the smaller sizes, packed away in boxes.

I have also, however, lost weight counting "exchanges" and that just works better for me. Not saying it would work better for someone else, just that it does for me. Back when I belonged to Weight Watchers, probably 15 years ago, I bought one of those magnet-backed sheets that is a month of blocks, each containing a list of the exchange categories with little check boxes beside them. When all the boxes are marked off I know I'm done eating. It has a special pen, so when you're ready to start a new month you just wipe it all clean with a damp cloth. It's quick and easy for me. There are times when I have to look up the calories of something (there's a certain number of extra calories allowed each day, that's optional). The last sentence in your post says it all. I'm glad you're contributing to this thread!

One of the things that absolutely works the best for me, while dieting, is to not eat sugar. After three days without sugar, my appetite is much less, I have fewer cravings and my stomach does not growl. Eating sensibly is much easier when you don't have your stomach griping at you every minute of the day. Did you know that farmers add molasses to cattle feed to make the cows eat more?

OJ, I've been the whole route trying to find reasonably priced wheat here in Oklahoma. This is actually cattle and horse country. There are some farmers in the far western parts of my state who grow wheat but they are rather expensive. And it's about a three-hour drive, one way. I've called local health food stores, grain elevator operators and asked my exterminator, who knows everybody. I've even looked into ordering from a Kansas mill, but the weight of the grain causes the shipping to actually cost more than the grain does. There is a mill in western Kansas that has great prices, and sells both hard winter wheat and hard spring wheat berries, and lots of other whole grains as well. It's a seven hour drive, one way. We have planned to do just what you mentioned... just take a little trip up there one day, since we're both retired, like a mini-vacation. There are lots of interesting places we can stop at along the way. Since unprocessed wheat berries can be stored for a long time with no loss in...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Well, my DH finished week one of WW and called to say he is down 3.2lbs! Many more to go. I weigh-in tomorrow and I think I am down about 2.5lbs.

What I like about the points plan is it really stresses choosing high-quality, filling foods over empty calories (like bread). You can have that smear of butter you like, but there is a price for it. You decide if it is worth it.

I am lucky besides I could care less about butter (except for baking cookies). It has no redeeming qualities and DH already has high cholesterol. Yesterday, we had sweet corn on the cob with spray of "spray butter" and salt -- only one WW point.

As for eggs, there is nothing wrong with "real eggs." Egg Beaters are real eggs (minus the fat and cholesterol) and I can twice as many in my breakfast burrito for the same amount of points.

Yesterday, we went to a pool party/weenie roast. We both knew we'd want a hot dog (they were huge) so we were really careful with our points the rest of the day.

I agree you don't need all diet foods but there are some normal foods that just won't work in the plan because of the fat/calories. Like butter, full-fat cheese, potato chips, etc...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 12:02PM
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Fat grams are fat grams whether they're in a smear of real butter mixed with olive oil on a slice of 100% whole grain bread, or in a hot dog. The choice is for the individual to make. The old WW system that I follow allows some fat, daily, and also some additional calories in addition to the exchanges. I had no idea that their new points system was so limited. It simply wouldn't work for me.

The calories in bread are not "empty" if they come from 100% whole wheat. And a slice of this kind of bread is very filling, and quite satisfying to chew. Whole grain bread IS high quality. It ain't called "The Staff of Life" for nothin'.

Egg Beaters are not, in my mind, "real eggs". They have eggs in them, specifically, the whites only. Also xantham gum and guar gum, which are emulsifying and thickening agents. The egg white is where the protein is, and on it's own has hardly any calories at all. I could equal your two Eggbeaters eggs by using one whole egg and one eggwhite, beaten with a little water and corn starch, for less money, if I wanted to.

Olestra, which is used to make fat-free potato chips, crackers, etc., has side-effects such as diarrhea and possible loss of fat-soluble vitamins that protect against cancer. Simplesse, which is used to make fat-free ice cream, is made of whey and egg white, and some other things, I don't know what.

I applaud your DH for his loss of 3.2 pounds, and you for your loss of 2.5! Weight loss is great, however it's lost. It's just that it was (and is) my point in this thread that it IS possible to lose weight without spending a small fortune in the grocery store, without committing one's self to a weekly, monthly or annual fee in the form of gym memberships, food plans and weight loss club memberships. There are a lot of low-income families in America that have at least one family member that is overweight. I've heard the lament many times that it is impossible to lose weight successfully if you can't afford to buy all the memberships and special food that society has brain-washed us all into thinking we have to have.

And I'm here to say you don't have to go to those extremes to lose weight. You CAN lose weight on a budget.

While I agree that membership in a weight loss club is helpful in keeping one's spirits up and in staying on track, there are other ways to do that.

Today I caught "Celebrity Fat Club" on TV by accident. I actually felt a little pumped up, myself, just seeing what ordeals they went through and how happy they were when they found out they'd met or surpassed their goal for the week. They did a visual thing where they showed everyone what the fat that they had lost up to this point really looked like. I've seen that done before and it's always jaw-dropping. Then they had them strap on weights in the amount of what they had lost, doing a timed relay with the weights off and then with the weights on. Everyone just couldn't believe the...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 4:59PM
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It's just that it was (and is) my point in this thread that it IS possible to lose weight without spending a small fortune in the grocery store, without committing one's self to a weekly, monthly or annual fee in the form of gym memberships, food plans and weight loss club memberships

You are right -- but if it were that easy then you, my DH and your DD would not be in the predicament that you are in (so over-weight). I personally feel that some people are beyond self-help (like your DD -- her weight is too far gone for her to help herself). In my DH's case, his limited knowledge of nutrition would prevent him from losing weight on his own. Some people are so over-weight they need a "boot-camp" approach to begin their dieting (very restrictive at first).

I am not too worried about us eating "low-fat" versions of food right now. He has such a ways to go -- once he makes major progress we can worry about how we will eat "normal" foods again.

You seem to know what you are doing though, so I wish you good luck. Keep us posted on your "frugal diet"!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:40PM
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All I know is that when I stopped eating 3-4 eggs per week and switched to EggBeaters, my cholesterol dropped 30 points!

No way I am going back to eggs, even though they are cheaper.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 3:50PM
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They taste good too, don't they luann? You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a scrambled Egg Beater and a scrambled egg.

BTW, the chips we love, with Olestra, have never given either of us any trouble "down south". And they taste just as good as good ol' Lays.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 8:57PM
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Just wanted to let you all know, as I promised, how things are going in my efforts to lose weight eating healthier, without expensive diet food, and junk food.

I'm happy to report that today marks the end of the fifth week, and I am down ten pounds. (only 70 to go!) My goal was two pounds a week, which puts me right on-target, even though I didn't have a handle on portion control for the first two weeks.

I have had only two or three days during the whole time, when I craved something I shouldn't have. I have not been hungry nor have I felt deprived. I have been able to be present while someone eats something I shouldn't have in front of me, and not even want any. One day, I was on my way out to the store for something that I needed and DH looked at me as if he wanted to ask me something but wasn't sure if he should. I said to him, "Do you want me to pick up a bag of M&M's? He laughed and said, "Are you sure you don't mind?" He's not overweight and I don't see any reason why he can't have things he enjoys just because I can't have them... so I said, "Of course I don't mind!" I bought myself a small bag of roasted almonds. The package said "3 servings" and I admit that I ate all three that night, but it was because they were so darned good and not because DH was sitting in the chair next to me eating his M&M's.

I have not spent any money on fake food, except I did buy low-fat mayo, I use Stevia as a sweetener, and I have had an occasional calorie-free carbonated beverage. Mostly I drink water or unsweetened iced tea.

Because I am also practicing portion control, I find that I am needing to buy groceries less often and that is a big money savings.

I am getting a few things out of the garden. I enjoyed asparagus, lettuce and romaine but their time has passed now here in Oklahoma. I'm getting cabbage now, and a few deformed-looking carrots. I just pulled the last of the few beets, we've had our first pot of fresh green beans, and the tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes. Usually we don't start getting ripe tomatoes until around July 4. I just have a back yard garden. I'm building another raised bed and pretty soon my entire back yard will be garden.

I'm enjoying 100% whole-grain bread and whatever kind of meat that I serve the rest of my family. For fruit, I have eaten frozen apple slices from my freezer, grapes, bananas and strawberries when they were on sale at the grocery. I find I experience sugar cravings if I eat home-canned peaches and pears, darn it, because they're canned in a light sugar syrup. I may try again and drain mine really well, maybe even rinsing the fruit. I worked so hard canning them, and the late spring freeze insured that there won't be any peaches on my trees this year. I feel like I ought to be able to eat some of them.

I do love to bake but it's too hot now to do much of that anyway. I've managed to have a cake (from a mix) in the refrigerator nearly all the...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:49PM
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Good for you ilene! Two pounds a week is wonderful. I think I am down about 6-ish. DH is down at least 6 lbs (also about 2 lbs/week) but has missed the last two weekly weigh-ins because his mother is very sick and hospitalized.

Funny enough, of all the "diet foods" I have used, I have not used artificial sweetners yet. Here is my list of diet-foods that I discovered I greatly dislike:

ground turkey -- tried it in chili and in meatloaf. It is just gross, pale and gives off some gross grease. I am buying 96% lean ground beef instead.

turkey hot dogs -- again pale and tasteless. No hot dogs for us for a long time.

"spray" Ranch dressing -- yes, it is as bad as it sounds. Sort of like watered down Ranch dressing that you spray on lettuce. Waste of $3.

fat free shredded cheddar cheese -- weird and tasteless. I am buying 2% cheddar instead and using less of it.

Live and learn.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Stirfry, sorry to hear about your DH's mother. I hope everything works out ok. And I hope he's able to stay on the program but it's hard to eat right under those circumstances.

Congrats on your weight loss and on DH's. Considering that you don't have very much weight to lose, 6 pounds is very, very good. I lost fifty pounds twice before, and that last ten pounds was always the hardest to lose. I'm like Oprah, probably have lost several tons in my lifetime and then gained it back. This time, though, I think I have a chance to make it stick, because I just don't feeeeel like I'm on a diet, and, in getting used to smaller portions, I discover I feel full a lot quicker. I also used to have to eat breakfast soon after I got up in the morning. For this past week, I've been trying to work in my garden in the early morning while it's not so stinkin' hot, and I find sometimes I actually forget that I haven't had breakfast yet!

I agree with you about the turkey products. I like turkey ham though. I found ground turkey to be greasy, also. Ground turkey is not better than ground beef because they tend to include the dark meat, the fat and skin into the grind. That is just another instance about how you can't trust advertising. Around Thanksgiving, I always buy an extra turkey and sometimes a frozen turkey breast or two for the freezer . When turkey's not trying to masquerade as something else, it is quite delicious and very lean.

I don't see anything wrong with eating lean beef. As was said in another thread, portion control is one of the key things. Years ago, when I was in T.O.P.S., they recommended cooking hamburger, breaking it into small pieces as it cooked, and then dumping it all into a strainer and rinsing it with hot water. Back then, we didn't know what the percentage of fat was, but we knew that 'ground round' was leaner than just hamburger. Anyway, I did that and saved the drippings and the water. After it was chilled in the refrigerator the fat would solidify on the top and could then be discarded but there would be a somewhat 'beefy' broth that I would save for making vegetable soup.

When I was in Weight Watchers, I was using a lot of Equal sweetener. Every night I would have some instant sugar-free chocolate pudding, and sometimes I would make a 'milk shake' in the blender using gelatin, Equal, either cocoa or some kind of fruit, and dry milk powder, adding water and ice until I had the blender almost full with a cold, smooth mixture that I really enjoyed. The only problem was, I began to have symptoms that were similar to those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I had a lot of pain and bloating and had several tests run but no one ever found anything. Where I was working, they thought I was making it all up to get off work. As an example of how little understanding I got from these people, the day my dental bridge fell out, exposing two tender teeth on which it had been mounted, my supervisor...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 3:59PM
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I lost a lot of weight and simply by using "Sparkpeople" which is a wonderful health community. It counts calories, fat grams, protein, etc. for you. They have support communities and even work out routines and personal trainer videos. It is 100% free and better than weight watchers online.

With that said... I eat a lot of whole grain and food with fiber low in fat. I eat seasonal veggies and do a lot of home cooking. Peanut butter is fattening but a tablespoon on a rice cracker works for a great post work out snack. You need to not only diet but you need to work out and do some cardio to speed up your metabolism. Once you get in the habit of it, you will CRAVE working out. For me, I walk/jog the nature trails across from my house and do approx 5 miles every day. This is a far cry from how I started out, I was so out of shape and it was very hard to go a mile.

Also there is a site called "Spark Recipes" by the same people that do sparkpeople. You can find low calorie recipes with all the nutritional information attached and you can even use the food calculator to put your own recipes in to figure out all nutritional content. I lost a ton of weight and for free! No gym memberships, no buying special Jenny Craig or any of that. It was the healthy way to lose weight and a terrific resource.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sparkpeople.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 7:28PM
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A nurse told me diets do not work. You have to lose it the same way you gained it. Over a long period of time eating half of what you normally eat. I firmly believe if you are on a strict diet you will eventually binge. I don't deny myself things I love. I just watch the scale and when I gain 3 or 4 lbs I cut back on the snacks until those lbs are off. Snacks are usually the culprits.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Stargazer and Happy, both good comments.

I've gone to Sparkpeople, but truly, I don't want weight loss to become something I have to think about. I sure wasn't thinking about every morsel I put in my mouth when I wasn't dieting! LOL! And that's what needs to change. I don't want to count calories or fat grams. It's enough for me just being mindful of how many servings of each food group I've had for the day, and how much a serving actually IS, versus what I am allowing myself for the day. I have a magnetic list on my refrigerator for keeping track of that, but I am not using it very much, and am still doing OK. I'm "listening" more to my stomach. If it's truly hungry, I feed it. If it's starting to get full, I stop eating, even if I do have three more crackers (or whatever) that I've allowed myself to have. I can put it away and have it in a few hours if I find myself having the growlies. This is something I think I can continue doing all the rest of my life, and, after having yo-yo'd for nearly 50 years, that just has to be a reality for me.

It's interesting to chat with other people who are trying to lose weight, but I don't want it to become something I feel like I have to do every day. Some days I'm just too busy with life.

I'm down another three pounds, ahead one pound of my two pounds a week goal. Weigh-in day is actually Monday, and I said I would only weigh once a month, but I find I can't wait that long to find out if everything's going OK. Now that I think about it, a month is a long time to wait to find out whether what you're doing is working like you expect it to. So, if I think about it while I'm getting dressed in the morning, I weigh.

I'm not doing any major exercising. Didn't join a gym, not "pumping iron" -- or in my case, "jello", because I truly hate it. I've given that a fair chance, I think. I worked out faithfully for a year, while counting fat grams, and I did lose weight, I did firm up, I looked pretty good. But I dreaded each visit to the gym, I hated every minute that I was there, and I never got so that I looked forward to it. Finally, I just gave it up and started walking three miles every other day, which I never started to enjoy but I hated it less than working out. Then I developed plantar faciitis. I have a bike and could use that for exercise. No way I'm putting on a bathing suit at this point to do water exercises. But for right now I'm tending my garden and puttering around in my kitchen, as well as I can, and that has been enough for me. It's wonderful when exercise can become enjoyable for people, but it doesn't happen for me and it's one of the reasons I have had so much trouble staying on a diet, because so many people say you MUST exercise in order to lose weight. It's a popular opinion but lots of people lose weight without exercising any more than just living their life. Now, granted, I have that garden. And I'm not sitting at a desk all day, I'm up...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:11PM
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"Plan for convenience, alot of poor decisions occur because your too busy, too tired, etc. "

This is so true. Whenever we try to get too strict with eating healthy and inexpensively, this is where we eventually end up striking out. I was a weight watchers lifetime member, so I believe 100% in the program (for me). I love every recipe book of theirs I've ever bought (last few years), although their frozen meals are seriously lacking for some reason. I'm trying to get back into the swing of it, but I'm not as motivated this time. I've managed to stay under 10 lbs away from my goal weight. But my true goal now is health, not the number on the scale. One will beget the other.

When I made lifetime on WW I was eating all of those reduced fat, fat free type products. I don't want most of that this time. I want more whole foods, freshness. Less real ice cream instead of more low fat ice cream. There are still things I will eat RF, like cream cheese. And I'll still get the 100 cal packs on occasion, but they don't teach you to eat right - they just give you substitutes so you can keep eating as much as you want. I can and frequently do eat more then my DH. I'm not so much more active then him that I need all those extra calories!

Last year (I think) WW had 2 programs, the counting points one and the "core foods" one. It's changed again now, but the core one worked really well for me. You could eat as much as you NEEDED of certain foods, and had weekly points for other stuff. I ate very healthy on that plan, was satisfied and lost weight. The exchange plan sounds useful too. The first time around I followed the points plan, I needed to learn about portions and that's how I did. It all comes down to what works for the individual, we are all different.

I also got the special bowl you put in the microwave for popcorn. I don't use any oil with it when I cook the popcorn, after it's cooked I lightly spray on olive oil with a mister and salt. It's wonderful, and I get to avoid the ... fakeness of the fake butter. Is it fake? I don't really know, it just *seems* very chemical to me.

If you can get it, tried ground buffalo instead of beef. If making hamburgers cook it to medium or it will dry out. We prefer this for our burgers. English muffins are nice buns if you've got to have bread.

Ilene, interesting to hear about the affects of Equal. I used to drink a lot of crystal light because I really dislike plain water except when it's extremely hot out. It took FOREVER but I finally figured out THAT was what was making me sooooo miserably sick in the afternoons. IBS indeed. Or celiacs. I was really scared. Now I use just a bit of "Real Lemon" or "Real Orange". This is one of my splurges because I need to keep something at my desk for water and an actual lemon would go bad.

" I'm "listening" more to my stomach" This is something we are supposed to focus on at WW too. They use the visual of a ballon,...

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 4:20PM
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Blackcat, you and I are on the same page.

I do believe Weight Watchers has a great plan, but when they came out with that new points program it was just too much preoccupation with food for me. I've belonged to WW twice. The first time, I did really well but I bought a lot of the fake foods, and I gained it all back because I had not learned to appreciate and savor. The second time, like you said, I just couldn't get motivated. I really do like their exchanges plan, it works for me. The only problem with WW is that you've gotta pay THEM every week. I'd rather take that same money and stick it in a piggy bank somewhere and then use it on Christmas or on myself, even, when enough accumulates.

I did not lose anything for this last week. I don't know if I have landed on a plateau or if it's just my normal "woman cycle" (sorry guys). I find that even post-menopausal, I do have about a week each month when I'm a little bloated. I'll try to be more careful this week and see how next Monday goes. If I haven't gotten back on track by then, maybe it's time to break out the bike and cruise the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Right there with you ilene -- DH was on a plateau for three weeks!! Last week he finally lost .8 of a pound. He is not counting points, I am doing all the work and it is becoming too much.

I am right where I want to be weight wise but can no longer be his "food police". I find myself following him every time he is the kitchen wondering what he is about to eat. I also get very upset when he cheats with a brownie or other treat at a social event. Can't do it anymore because it is making us argue A LOT.

I just find that I have a lot more will power than he does. He somehow feels entitled to food he shouldn't eat (especially at social events). Anyhow, I will continue to cook his meals and pack his lunch -- providing low-fat healthy meals but the in-between is up to him.

I do think it is important he continue to go to WW meetings though -- the $8 a week weigh - in is worth it for the accountability it provides.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 9:18AM
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Stirfry, I've been where your husband is. Having your spouse be your conscience is just downright annoying! LOL! DH won't fight, he just smiles, and that's even more annoying. I found myself eating things I shouldn't have just to annoy HIM, feeling that my losing weight had become more important to him than it was to me. Boy, oh boy! Talk about skewed thinking! You're wise in your decision to back off. He has to find the strength in himself. It really is possible to lose weight eating many of the same things our family eats, as long as we stay out of the vending machines and the fast-food parking lots. It IS really easy to start feeling like we "deserve" a brownie when we haven't lost weight. It goes back to this weird thing that happens in our brains that says we need certain foods to feel better. Lots of people say it goes back to when we were children and we'd skin our knee and Mom would give us a cookie to help us feel better. I just kind of hate to blame everything on Moms. Lord knows, they've got their hands full enough without having to accept the blame for everything that goes wrong in adult-hood. How is his Mom doing, by the way? He might be trying to use food to de-stress. I remember that my mom and dad were "50" for years and years, in my mind. Then my dad got sick and I saw the both of them with new eyes. It suddenly hit me, they were old! They started talking about not having very much time left and so on. It was pretty depressing.

Being on a plateau and then only losing a little bit is very frustrating and if it goes on long enough will just depress you so much you find yourself "eating for comfort". Especially when there are many pounds to lose, this is where those who have been trying to, as Dr. Phil says, "white knuckle it", will fail. Don't lose hope, though. You might have a frank talk with DH, in a non-threatening way, and tell him that you realize you've been trying to help him too much, and that is because you really want to help him succeed because his health matters to you, etc., etc. You know what to say, if you haven't already. You seem like a pretty savvy person so I imagine I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. If he isn't motivated, there's very little you can do otherwise, I'm sorry to say.

Plateaus happen for lots of reasons. Sometimes it's just that you've been losing pretty well and it's your body trying to readjust itself. Sometimes it's water weight. Your fat cells never go away once they're formed, and we who are seriously overweight have built more of them than the average person. Once the fat drains from them, before they start to shrink, I'm told they fill with water. This can often make people gain weight, as water is heavier than fat, and is very discouraging when you've been following your plan. Sometimes it's because you're eating too little and your metabolism has gone into "starvation mode". This is really bad news and I've had it happen to...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 10:37AM
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Today's Monday and I should be down a total of 18 pounds. The scales this morning actually reported 19. Woo hoo! What a difference a day or two makes!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 12:04PM
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Well, DH lost 1 1/2 lbs in the last two weeks. He was pleasantly surprised considering he had pizza, beer, spaghetti, Chinese food etc... over that time period. That loss is enough to keep him motivated.

I am also in a much better place since I gave up being the food police. Although I did remind him that since his mother just had a triple by-pass, he now has a family history of heart disease as well. Just "food for thought"!!

His average is only a pound per week and I am stumped by that. I thought men always lose faster.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Hooray, Stir Fry!

Weight loss is an individual thing and there are so many variables that it's a crap-shoot much of the time.

Men do, as a rule, lose weight faster and easier than women, because of the hormonal thing. My DH, for instance, lost weight by just reducing the number of Pepsi's that he drank a day.

There's really nothing wrong with your DH consuming beer, pizza, spaghetti, etc., as long as he pays attention to how much he's consuming. And as long as he understands he can't do it every day. I had french fries and a hamburger last night. I didn't have very many fries, by my old standards. My hamburger was cooked in a George Foreman grill and I had it open-face with reduced-fat mayo, a big fat slice of tomato and some sweet red onion. The fries were cut about twice the size of Burger-King fries and they were deep-fried in Canola oil. (I've heard that the larger the piece of potato that is fried, the less fat per ounce. Something about more potato on the inside. So potato chips are worse than french fries, and skinny french fries are worse than fat ones.) Oh, gosh, it was all good! But I felt uncomfortably full all evening and almost nauseous. I should have had fewer fries. But I will be careful the rest of this week. Yesterday morning when I weighed I had lost another pound so I am down a total of 20 now, and if I can hold that till Monday, I'll be on my planned schedule. Only 60 to go!

Any loss at all is cause for celebration! When your DH gets to the point that his clothes are too big for him, that will be a big motivator. The other day I started wearing the jeans that before, I had to lay down to get zipped up. They are now very, very comfortable. My every-day jeans that I wore before are now so baggy that they are beginning to feel uncomfortable.

A friend of mine, who has lost 80 pounds, told me she and her DH went to the grocery store and they were buying potatoes. She picked up a 20-pound bag and commented about how heavy it was. Her DH picked up three more bags and started stacking them on top of the one she was holding. He said, "This is how much weight you were carrying around with you every minute of your life."

Good luck to you, Stir Fry, and your DH. As Winston Churchill once said, "Nevah, NEVAH give up!"

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Dieting requires a lot of patience, self discipline and motivation. Good luck on your diet plan. I hope you can post your before and after photos.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 8:19AM
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This is me with DGS a couple months ago, before having lost any weight. The day and month are right on the picture but the year should say 2009.

And this is DD with our handsome guy. I think she had already lost quite a few pounds by then but I don't remember how much. She's down a total of 90 pounds now.

The after pics will come later on, when we've gotten closer to our goals.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 1:04PM
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Hi Ilene -- how's the diet going? DH is down 13 lbs in 13 weeks -- I keep telling him slow and steady wins the race! (I just wish the race wasn't so long!).

Any good, economical diet foods (or foods you eat while dieting) that you can share?

I am enjoying Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Yogurt. I normally don't like yogurt but this one is really good and very well priced at Walmart.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 11:14PM
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Hey, Stirfry, I was wondering how y'all were doing.

I've now lost a total of 28 pounds as of this morning. DD is almost at the 100 pound goal -- I think that's her halfway mark! I'm so glad your DH is getting back into it and has not given up. August 24 will be the 13-week mark for me.

DD gave me a big bag of "veggie chips" that she bought from They are very good, but addictive, and they have been deep-fried and then dehydrated, so I dole myself out a small bowl every day. I think they might be expensive, but so are potato chips. Next year, I plan to grow zucchini again, so I can make dehydrated zucchini chips with no oil.

Did you know you can make fat-free yogurt? Buy a small cup of unflavored yogurt that says on the label it contains active cultures. Put a tablespoon of that into a cup of nonfat milk that has been brought to a boil and then cooled. I actually use a quart jar with three cups of milk in it and three tablespoons of yogurt. Put on a lid and let it sit in a warm place. If you have an oven that has a pilot light, that is an ideal place. I sit mine on the counter for a day or two. If you like it thicker you can buy some guar gum (I think nutsonline has it but I bought my last package at sprinkle that in. You can put into the yogurt what you like. A tablespoon of jam or honey is good. Save out a few tablespoons of your home-made yogurt for the next batch before you add things to it, though. Each new batch will be a little thicker than the one before it, I don't know why.

I have just started using guar gum and I don't know why I never tried it before. It thickens things without having to cook, so it's good for making low-fat salad dressing that doesn't separate, making your own low-fat cream of chicken soup that doesn't separate or get watery after freezing and thawing, adding to fruit ices to make them more scoopable when they're frozen, and probably lots of other things I haven't tried yet. DD made some chicken tamales (an Alton Brown recipe) last week and brought me half. I made some red sauce out of tomato sauce, chicken broth and the appropriate spices and thickened with guar rather than making a roux, and it was delicious.

Otherwise, just eating things out of the garden and small portions of what I make for my men. Last night we had beans, cornbread and potatoes fried with sausage. I didn't have a very big helping of the potatoes (I had pre-cooked the sausage, drained it well, and added it to the potatoes when they were almost finished cooking), but it was sure good. The day before that we had chicken and whole-wheat noodles that I made myself (whole wheat flour, an egg and a tablespoon of water, rolled thin and cut into strips, dropped into boiling chicken broth), with green beans picked from the garden that day. A few days ago I made Runzas (a mixture of cooked, crumbled sausage, cabbage, carrot, onion and the appropriate spices, wrapped in 100%...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 10:13AM
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Congratulations! You're doing great. I hope you've found some clothes to show off your new figure. You deserve it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 11:45AM
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LOL Adella!

As it happens, I have probably six sizes of clothing stored away here and there, and now that I'm retired I wear mostly jeans and t-shirts.

I have kind of a funny, yet sad and typical, story. About two years ago, I went shopping for jeans. I had been wearing some size 20 "Just My Size" jeans but they were getting old, and though they were soft and comfortable, I needed newer ones as I was still working and we were allowed to wear jeans to work. Disappointingly enough, every pair of size 20 jeans that I pulled on, I could not get zipped, even the "Just My Size" brand! Finally, I found some size 20 "Faded Glory" brand stretch denim jeans that I could zip, though I had to do some jumping around to get them positioned right so that could happen. (Not a pretty sight) I bought several pair, but I hated to wear them because the metal button in the front just ate into my bellybutton when I was sitting and made me miserable. I absolutely refused to "graduate" into a size 22 though. People often wonder why overweight people wear their clothes so tight and that's why. We just can't stand to give validation to the fact that we've gotten even heavier.

So, zoom ahead to today. Those old, soft "Just My Size" jeans, I use when I'm going to be painting, or digging around in the garden. They're very loose, need to be "hiked up" every now and then (I don't know how those kids stand having their pants hanging down around their knees -- it's not comfortable and makes you walk funny!) and have prompted DH to refer to me as "Baggy Britches". Lately I have been wearing those "Faded Glory" jeans as they are very comfortable now and are, in fact, beginning to be baggy too, but not as much as the others.

I originally set my goal on losing 80 pounds, but I'm beginning to think I might go as far as 100 pounds. Regardless, I have several sizes to travel through before I finally settle in to the size I want to stay in.

So it's about time to go digging around in all those boxes of clothes I have stored away, and look for some size 18 jeans. Then I'll give the 20's to DD and when she gets too small for them, they'll go into the garage sale box! I'm FER SHURE not saving them because I WILL NOT need them again.

DD was over the other day (she lives across the street) and showed me that she is into clothes she hasn't worn for years.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 3:26PM
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That's funny. DH bought a shirt yesterday (x-large) and asked if I thought it was too tight on him (it was). I suggested he keep it as his "inspiration shirt" which he thought was pretty funny.

Good to hear you are doing well. You sure don't look like you need to lose 100 lbs in your picture above, though.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 8:26AM
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T-shirts hide a lot. Though actually I carry the greatest part of my weight in my hips and legs. I tell people I'm built like a grand piano. LOL! I weighed 250, 13 weeks ago.

DD is different, she's an apple, carries most of her weight around the middle. Although when I first found out that she outweighed me by 100 pounds, I was shocked. She did, though, look morbidly obese and I worried that she was going to die before she could get her surgery done. That surgery comes with quite a price. She gets dry heaves sometimes if she eats too fast. And she has to watch her carbs really close as too many carbs make her physically ill and she just has to go to bed. She says she really misses bread and fruit, although she is getting to the point where she can have one piece of 100% whole wheat bread if it's toasted. If it's not toasted she can't even get it swallowed, it wads up in her esophagus. I would not want to lose weight that way for anything in the world, but she felt like she had gone past the point of no return and couldn't do it any other way. We all have our trade-offs, I guess.

She was just here and took an armload of size 20 shirts and slacks home with her. She says she wears size 24 right now so she'll be in them by winter.

Well, I don't know if I can actually get my weight down to 150. I lost down to 170 on WW quite a few years ago, and I was into a size 10. But I was also working out every other day and I was real firm. I got so I really hated that workout and I'm not going that route again.

This is what I looked like then: Of course I was about 16 years younger then and had my big ol' ears hidden.

Doesn't look like the same person, does it?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 1:20PM
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Well, you hide your weight well.

I asked DH the other day what he'd weighed the year we got married -- he claims to have no idea.

I don't know one woman who doesn't know what she weighed on her wedding day!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Whenever my mother visits the US she takes photos of humungously fat women and puts them on her fridge as a warning not to keep diving into it.

An American friend tells me about the stuff food manufacturers in the US can do and I'm horrified. Your food is irradiated, genetically modified, cloned plus full of additives and sugar substitutes that are banned in the EU.
So much of the obesity problem in the US is because of the rubbish putinto your food. There are no meat processing plants in the UK with lagoons of animal faeces out back. Not one.

How to diet frugally - simple - cut out the pizza, carry outs, latte stuff, bread, potatoes, sugar, fizzy drinks, pasta and rice. Limit your carb intake and you will lose weight. All carbs convert to glucose. Google or YouTube Gary Taubes for the science bit.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 1:18PM
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What a great thread...just found it today as I was surfing GW - I live mostly on the Kitchen & Home building forums :)

Ilene - I was particularly interested in hearing your story - how is your daughter doing? I, too, had gastric bypass in Jan only regret was that I didn't do it earlier.

I was indeed 'dying' a slow death & to me, it was the last resort, too. It took me 20 years to finally decide. I researched until all the cows came home...I am one to research something to death - I had to be sure.

I'm almost 5 years post-op & I feel great! I've lost about 165 lbs & feel so much better. Hubby likes it, too ;) (Before & after pic below).

The bypass is by no means a 'free pass''s a tool that, if used correctly, can have dramatic results. There is no magic still has to work. Yes, it does make it easier in some areas but the surgeon's knife didn't work on my brain. I had to use the 'honeymoon' period to build the good habits that will keep the weight off. I'm not perfect but like with anything you just keep shooting toward the mark. :)

Sugar was the reason I weighed 333 lbs. I was blessed with an intense sweets aversion from the moment I woke up. God must've said, "This gal needs this!" LOL A lot of people have sweets aversion following surgery (along with other weird food tastes that do eventually change) but they most often 'train' themselves right back into the sugar habit by just switching to sugar-free or even with the real stuff. I just chose to keep the white stuff out of my life. I was the dessert queen so it was kind of a challenge to hand off my 'crown' :)

I do have to be careful, sweet tooth has become very salty - love salt (funny, I have low blood pressure). I love those new Pop Chips - very low calories & fat. My favorite snack is the Revival Soy Jalapeno Cheddar protein chips...yum!

The thing that helps me is cooking in bulk & freezing in portions. I make a lot of Arrabbiata Sauce (a spicy Italian sauce) & either combine it with meatballs or 'chunky' cooked hamburger (when I cook I don't mash the meat into tiny bits...I keep it 'chunky' so it's meaty.) I eat that with cottage cheese & don't miss the pasta at all.

When hamburger is on sale, I make 2 huge pans of meatballs & cook them in the oven & store in Ziploc bags in the freezer. I can use these in so many different ways.

I also make a boatload of chili at a time - one of my favorite meals.

I've gathered a lot of favorite recipes & try to always have something on hand. For me, planning is essential. I fill my fridge with in-season produce & veggies. I make a lot of roasted veggies & eat with cottage cheese.

I make tons of homemade salsas & use Mission extra-thin corn tortillas for my 'chips'. Quarter them, zap in micro for about 1:30 until crispy, 1 oz cheese on top, zap, serve with salsa, sour cream & a few grapes.

I make a lot of beans, rice for...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 3:52PM
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Congratulations Melaska!! You don't look like the same person.

Thank you for sharing your story.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Thank you, calirose :) I feel like a different person, too. I'll be 60 this March so I feel like I've got some of my 'wasted' years back.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Well, I haven't been over here in a long time and I was surprised to find activity on this particular thread. So I'm glad I looked.

Melaska, you look great! You have had about the same experiences my daughter has had as far as sugar is concerned. She found sugar made her physically ill. And she was, I think, addicted to sugar. You are right. That surgery is not for weenies. Oh, and you might try spaghetti squash in place of pasta, too!

Unfortunately, I don't see my daughter any more. We were letting her live in our little rental house, rent-free, until she got back on her feet. She needed a new car and I had one that I didn't need since I retired, so I sold it to her and she agreed to make payments since her credit was so bad she could not get a loan. She moved out of the rental house about a year ago, leaving a mess behind, cut off all communications with us and (of course) quit making her car payments. I have no clue why. For awhile I knew where she was and what she was doing. I was told that she was using her computer to find men. I have heard that sometimes when a sugar addict cannot indulge, they change their addiction to something else, and usually it's alcohol. I had already begged her not to start drinking because there is some alcoholism back in previous generations of the family, and she promised me she wouldn't. But I didn't think of this particular type of addiction. It saddens and frustrates me.

I saw someone at Walmart a few months ago from a distance that I thought was her, and if it was, she looks pretty good, like she did when she was a teenager before all the weight came on.

I know it may sound strange to a lot of people that I would not go the extra mile to bring her back into the family but there is a long history between us. It's not so much that she's not making her car payments. It's that she has no concern for whether it will be difficult for us to make ends meet if she doesn't. We are considerably less well off because of all the years we have helped her financially. We adopted and raised her sons, one of whom still lives with us. For awhile I thought she'd get over whatever it was that made her disconnect with us, but it's been nearly a year now and she has made no contact. She knows where to find us. Our grandson that lives with us goes out and finds her every now and then and he tells me she knows what's going on with us because she reads my blog. When we went through a similar money situation with our son, I announced to him and on the blog that the Bank of Mom and Dad is now closed, and I meant that. She and her brother are over 40 now and certainly should be able to stand on their own two feet. The son took it well, especially since it meant we forgave his debt to us as he wasn't making his payments, either. He helped us a lot when we moved, and helps us with other things as well. He gets himself in financial messes sometimes but he knows not to ask any more. ...

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 8:23AM
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Without paying for any diet plan or hiring anyone to help us my wife and I managed to lose 40 pounds each by just counting calories and eating things in moderation.

One of my old favorite snacks was home made popcorn that I used a cranker and vegetable oil to make. Just taking out that snack that I "thought" was good for me made all the difference in the world. We also changed from coke to Diet coke.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 8:19PM
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Hey! doing a great job!!! what kinds of exercise are you doing?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 8:52AM
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I think it's a great idea what you are doing! I find that all these diet products cost so much money, and it's really not because they are any better, but just to suck money out of you. Just try to eat less of the "normal" foods and you will be fine I think. I mean, this is what I am doing and I've read that diet yogurts, soda, etc make you even hungrier than the "full fat" versions!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:49AM
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Not sure how frugal this is, but if you want to lose weight, get a dog that needs to be walked. I had promised my kids a dog this summer so we kept one that we found on the side of the road. He's a little indoor guy and we don't have a fence so I have to walk him a few times a day. So far, I've lost about ten pounds over a 3 month period. It hasn't been a fast weight loss, but I feel better and I work it into my schedule about seven tenths of a mile at a time throughout the day. I'm going to have to buy some warmer pants so I can keep it up this winter.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 11:47AM
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