Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Stop listening to the static"

That quote comes to you direct from the best show ever made, Six Feet Under.  When it comes to eating plans there is a LOT of static.  It seems there are as many different ways of eating as there are food items.  You've got things like vegan, flexitarian, pescetarian, plant based, paleo, raw, fasting, juicing, low fat, faith based, low carb, low calorie and tons of others.  Then the "crash variety" like soups, singular fruit and heck even a junk food diet.  You have programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem and the like.  It's no wonder people are so confused about what to choose when they decide it's time to take control of their health.  It's also no surprise that when people have success on these plans whether long term or short term they are so passionate about telling others what they *should* be doing because it worked for them so of course it will work for others, right?

I'm a firm believer in eating in a way that we can sustain for the rest of our lives.  I don't think any one plan or way of eating is best for each person because we're all different and therefore react differently to certain foods.  We've tried many diets over the years and enough to know what does and doesn't work for us.  As a kid, I went on whatever diet my mom was on.  I don't remember specific names but I remember deprivation was on the menu as well as a ton of misinformation.  (I cringe when I think of the things we believed from 80's and 90's diets)  When I met the Mr when I was 17, he'd just lost 50 lbs on a soup diet.  I tried that once and couldn't stand it for more than a day.  I joined a plan similar to Weight Watchers and I'd lost 40 lbs when I met him.  As I'm sure you can guess, we found each other and the diets went out the window, weight gain ensued until we got engaged.  We had a 2 year engagement and of course that would be more than enough time to lose weight so I wouldn't be a fat bride.  *HA!*  Or not.  We went on a low fat diet which was big at the time and we consumed no more than 15g of fat total per day.  Um yeah, not smart.  We didn't lose a thing.  Of course exercising would've been helpful but we won't go there.  We were young and stupid and believed that diet only could get us to our goals while sharing a blood supply with the couch the rest of the time.

When we were actually trying to lose weight (for a 1 year period in 1998 before my gallbladder shut down) and now, we knew that we would have to eat in a way we could maintain for the rest of our lives.  We knew this would include a high cal day, usually Saturdays unless there is a holiday and we'd flip flop.  We knew we'd need to get in a ton of water, watch our fiber and sodium, get in fruits and vegetables, lean meats and yes, include carbs because we like potatoes, rice and bread.  Our high cal days are typically double what our normal intake is.  Many trainers and athletes do this and it has kept us sane so we do it and it will likely always be part of our eating plan in some form.  I know some people don't agree with it and if you don't want to do it, you don't have to.  I'm not here to tell anyone how to eat or that our plan is right for them but losing the amount of weight equivalent to a grown adult man shows it's definitely right for us.  We don't have a name for it, it's just common sense for us just as what you do is probably common sense to you even if you eat following a particular eating plan or exclude certain things based off of ethics or allergies, etc.  So I encourage you read different resources and mix and match to make a plan that will help you reach your individual goals and be proud of it!

What type of things do you eat?  Do you follow a 'plan' or just 'wing it' to what feels right to you?

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18 comments:

  1. I shoot for balanced meals, in the right portions, 90-95% of the time. I tried following what I call "other people's diets" for too many years and managed to gain 100 pounds. By focusing most of my meals on the healthier foods I *like*, with room for the occasional treat from the less-healthy side, it all came together.

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  2. I agree with your feelings wholeheartedly! I, too, have been on zillions of diets over the years - some very successful with over 100 lost - but I would eventually slack off and return to my bad eating habits. And although I did rejoin WW for "accountability" and tracking reasons, I'm an online member because I knew if I went to meetings it would turn out to be a hassle and I'd stop going. I pretty much follow their "points plus" system which I have to say I like. We are eating much more fruits and veggies and trying for a couple of meatless days per week for health reasons. But I, too, love my rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. - so those are staying in my eating plan. I have no intention of giving them up - I just have to balance out the mix of what I'm eating and be mindful of what's going in my mouth. So I'm down about 30 lbs since December with about 75 to go - and I don't care how long it takes. My hubby is down around 12 lbs too and although he's what most of us would consider a "normal" size, his weight has crept up and so he's benefiting from our better eating habits. And one day a week we may go out to eat - but even then we are being careful with our choices - not going out and eating some giant greasy burger with a ton of fries AND onion rings, but enjoying a good quality restaurant meal (higher sodium and all!). So I agree - you have to find out what works - and is SUSTAINABLE for a lifetime - for YOU and then stick with it!

    Kudos to the Mrs. and the Mr. for their great healthy lifestyle!!!

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  3. I've been on some form of "plan" or another since I've been 14 y/o. Weight Watchers actually gave me the skills I needed to lose the weight and keep it off. However, I've learned to "never say never!" What worked for me when I was 30 doesn't work for me at 55. I've had to make some changes to my diet to keep off the weight I never thought I'd make. The choices you make to follow a healthy lifestyle often change through the years, so even though you give yourself a day to eat whatever you want, you may find someday you no longer "choose" to do that. Right now I'm into clean eating, no processed foods, organic whenever possible. I think what you are doing is amazing and you are definitely a role model for the right way to do things, so keep it up!

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  4. Like Peg I am on WW too. I have never followed a diet for more than a few days, so this is a huge change for me. I also thought I was fine because I have good self esteem and always managed to have a boyfriend/husband. Good goals to measure by right? LOL anyway, I like the WW because I am all online and I still get to eat what I want within reason. The hardest thing was curbing the trips to Hardee's, cause I love me some biscuits and gravy! But the goal is weight loss and a healthy future, so it has to be done.
    Cheezchik32

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  5. I have always found that as soon as I try to eliminate one type of food from my diet entirely, I begin to crave it like mad and will end up binging on it. So my diet, no, not a diet, my NEW WAY OF EATING, consisted of not restricting any foods, but eating ALL foods, only in moderation. I do limit bread and starches more than other foods and eat lots more fruit and veggies than I used to, but I do eat bread and even sweets in small amounts on occasion. I would so like to try your high calorie day but I was too impatient to lose weight, plus fearful (still am) that I would not be able to stop consuming lots of calories the day after (and the day after that, etc.), so I didn't try that method. Like you say, different things work for different people. I think the most important thing to remember is that this will be our lifestyle from now on. We can NEVER go back to that old way of eating mindlessly, eating everything in sight, like so many of us did. Your statement, "eating in a way that we can sustain for the rest of our lives" is the best way to view it. It's the way Katie at Runs for Cookies views it too. Don't try to eat in a manner that you can't keep doing forever. If you try that...you are doomed to failure in the long-term.

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  6. Like others who have replied, I am also on WW. I do the online because of the demands of my job. I like being able to just "know" how many points are in things and not have to worry about counting the calories - I tried calorie counting...didn't work for me because I would never get my ratio right and would just get stuck at a certain weight because I either wasn't eating enough to lose, or I was eating too much. WW gives me that little bit of help that I need and I can watch the weeks where I lose more than others or gain by how many weekly or activity points I dipped into after my dailies. Like you said, it really all comes down to what works for you - and WW works for me. Is it something I can do for life? Yes, I believe I can.

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  7. I do my best to eat a variety of foods, but pretty much nothing is off limits for me. I do try to make sure I eat a good amount of protein, especially on running days and I tend to eat only the "good carbs" most days, but I don't believe in low carb on a day to day basis. I pretty much never drink sodas. I eat what I am in the mood for and count calories for it. There are a few foods that are binge triggers for me (certain kinds of ice cream, most chocolate candy and baked goods, like cookies and brownies) so I tend to not keep them in the house, but if we're out I'll get a dessert or something like that and I can have something sweet without it being in the house tempting me too much. When I get stressed I tend to want to eat sweets, so if there aren't any around I am forced to snack on other things. This has worked for me and for the first time in my life my weight has continually gone down over the last 2 years, so I know it's a method that will always work for me.

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  8. More than anything else, I just believe in eating real food. Even when I have my treat day on Saturdays, I make brownies with eggs and cocoa powder or pudding with milk--they're made with real ingredients, not chemicals and preservatives and colors. Granted, real food can still be fattening food, but I've found since making this change, I feel a lot better physically.

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  9. I pretty much follow a common sense diet like you guys! Hmmm...perhaps you should write a book and start the next "craze"! :-)

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  10. Well, I don't have a thing that's worked so far. I'm pretty new to doing something not "static". I did weight watchers. I lost 10lbs. I quit because I wasn't making use of it and I hate to spend money on something I'm not using. Right now, I'm making one change with my diet at a time and as soon as I can breathe without wheezing and coughing my head off, I'm going to incorporate moving for at least 15 minutes a day. And since I have water pretty down, I'm working on incorporating more veggies into my diet. Like the other day, I added .75lb of ground beef and a whole pint of cremini mushrooms to my pasta sauce and used whole wheat noodles. It is working so far. I've added fish 1-2/week. For me, I'm not just adjusting MY meals, I'm also adjusting my family's. So it's going to take a little while to get everyone re-adjusted.

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  11. I agree 150%! I've been on more diets than I can count; they work WHILE YOU ARE ON THEM (usually), but as soon as you go "off" the weight piles back on, or at least it did for me. I strive for a healthy balance of foods (nothing is off limits entirely!) and keep the calories within reason while adding regular exercise. It's worked; I have not felt like I had to "cheat" because there were no forbidden foods, and I'm doing things that I know I can do for the rest of my life, which means it's sustainable.

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  12. For every expert, there's an equal and opposite expert, right? I so agree agree with you! We must find our own way, even though we're programmed by our families, friends, doctors, "experts," marketers, culture, etc. that we can't trust ourselves. For me, what works is striving to understand, accept, and trust myself.

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  13. I finally nailed it when I realized I don't have to stop eating the foods I like. Of course I can't have a pint of Ben & Jerry's, but that doesn't mean I can't have a few spoonfuls. I can't have an entire plate of biscuits and gravy, but I can have half a biscuit with a little bit of gravy.

    This has helped me realize that I wasn't experiencing food cravings; I just wanted to binge. When I have a couple bites of something, the craving goes away. Once I realized I was fighting the urge to binge instead of a craving, it was much easier to put that monster on a leash. If taking a couple bites of something doesn't make the monster go away, I pick a healthy thing to binge on, like popcorn or grapes. It's okay to eat lots and lots as long as I stay within my calorie range.

    Once I learned how my body works and why it works that way, it was much easier to tailor my eating habits. I understand some people can't take "just one bite" of something because it will cause a landslide, and I respect that and don't judge them for giving up desserts entirely. In the same vein, I expect them to NOT judge ME for eating a brownie once in a while. Chances are, I've accounted for it in my "budget".

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  14. Like you, I have realized that I have to eat foods I enjoy to stay sane. I've cobbled together a plan that works for me (when I stick to it) that allows me to have a high-cal day where I can eat what I want. I try to eat all foods in moderation. If I know I can have a favorite food on my high-cal day, it makes it easier to avoid pigging out on it mid-week.

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  15. I agree that it has to be sustainable. It sounds like we all pretty much agree on that. If we all know it, why are there all these weird fad diets? I know my trigger foods and generally try to avoid them. I have a hard time with only one portion of certain foods (hello trail mix) but most things I'm fine with so I'll budget in something if I really want it.

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  16. I do Weight Watchers and am a vegetarian. With limited success. The WW part. not the vegetarian part.

    Oh bother. I will just sit over here...

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  17. I do not follow a plan, other than the recommendations provided by Sparkpeople. I try to stay within the ranges that have been set for me. I usually have a high calorie day, that usually goes above and beyond their range. :) Without it, I don't think I could stay on plan. It's nice to know that one day a week I don't have to track.

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  18. I am doing WW online. I just started back this week. I have always liked WW b/c to me it's the type of plan that a lot of people follow, you can have whatever you want, but just eat with moderation. It does encourage a lot of wholesome foods as well. Yeah, with WW, it's a points system, but I am hopeful that I can have success on it this time around. I am mainly using it for accountability.

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