This may be more of a "healthy living" question, but this board is much busier so I'll try posting here first. I have to lost about 50 lbs, although I would be happy with 30! I just can't seem to find a program that works for me. I LOVE food, so I realized early on that I'll never be happy with anything that tells me what I have to eat when. I belong to a gym, and I do go 3-4 times per week (right now I'm trying a circuit training class). The only thing that was really successful for me was carefully planning out my food intake every week, keeping to around 1500 calories and 20% fat. I found that this was lots of food - I rarely got hungry, and I was eating 3 meals plus a snack and dessert every day. I lost a nice, healthy 1-2 lbs per week doing this (to a total of just over 20 lbs), but it was extremely time consuming (usually it would take 2-3 hrs per weekend to figure out what I could eat, then make up a grocery list, etc.). Also, it left no room at all for 'surprises' (even healthy ones!) I got so caught up in how much fat/calories were in every food that even if someone offered me some nice fresh fruit or something I'd feel guilty eating it ("oh no, another 150 calories...that throws my day off completely so I might as well have an O Henry!!"). Plus, once I stopped planning like this I gained the weight back slowly, so that now I'm back to within 5 lbs of where I started.
I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions about what has worked for them and actually been maintainable over a long period of time. I know that to be healthy, this should take up to a year. But it seems that no matter what I try (short of my anal menu detailing), my weight just seems to stay steady or even increase! I would really appreciate some suggestions/hints/support from whoever has been there and survived it! I have so much respect for people who manage to lose large amounts of weight...because I know how difficult it is!
Thanks in advance (and sorry for my long, rambling post) Jen
I've been where your at and back again. Weight Watchers is what I really believe works. I am a lifetime member. I lost 50 pounds on the program about 6 years ago and kept it off for a couple of years. Unfortunately my lifestyle changed and I stopped exercising, and I slowly gained it back. Exercise is the key for me to keep it off. Anyway, the program is very simple. It does take some planning, but its not incredibly (sp?) detailed and they teach you how to deal with surprises. It's also more like "real life" than any other plan I've seen advertised. There's no prepackaged food or diet pills. You might check into it and see if it's for you. It sounds like you were on the right track before, it just got overwhelming (been there!)
Something else that might help you (I'm getting ready to do it myself). Hang onto those menus you create and re-use them on weeks when you don't have time to create new ones. I'm going to look in to MasterCook and see if their menus and grocery list features will help in that regard.
Funny, I was going to mention Weight Watcher too, the new 1-2-3 plan is very easy -- you are totally in charge of what you eat. You will need to plan, but check out their points calculator -- it is a godsend. The real key with WW is finding a great leader that makes it click for you, so don't be afraid to shop around for a good one. They won't tell you outright who is good, but you can ask "Which are your busiest meetings" and then check those. You amy have to try different day, times or even locations, depending on where you live. I'm in Pasadena, CA and have a fabulous one -- Carol Boteillo. Good Luck!
I am a big fan of Weight Watchers 123 as well. Last summer I lost 20 lbs, and this summer I plan on losing another 10 to 15 lbs using their diet plan. I love food also. With Weight Watchers you can eat the food you love, but in moderation of course.
Another WW fan here! I have lost 19 lbs. so far and have 6 to go to reach goal. I have not stayed exactly on the program so I have been very slow loosing it but at least I am not gaining anymore. The meeings are key to success as they keep you going and you get lots of support. WW also has an excellent website with a chat room that is great!
Well, I've lost my 50 lbs. a different way. Anyone ever heard of weight management program? It's run by Group Health Insurance (but they don't pay for it). It's kinda like Jenny Craig cause your on their food but the biggie on the program is EXERCISE, just typing the word I want to groan... I hate to exercise but if you ask the skinny's of the world they all do it. I started with walking just 10 min. a day. It really goes back to the three basics... Exercise, low fat (foods less then 25%), and controlled portions. It takes such will power but it's so worth it in the end. But, I have tried WW in the past and think they are great. I'm reading "WW Dieting with the Duchess" as we speak... Okay not exactly right now... But this week when I'm not on the computer. >lol< ~mary~
I've managed to lose 80lbs in the last year and half and have found I've never loved food more.
The key to weight loss is exercise of course (the type where you sweat) and you have to do it 5-7 days/week. If you hate your exercise you'll stop doing it. Find a way to enjoy it. The best thing I did was to set goals for myself. I started by walking - built up my distance so I could participate in a charity 5K (3.1 mile) fun run/walk. Then I worked on getting faster. The pride you get from meeting your goals is the most powerful thing and it keeps you going (even when the scale is stuck for a bit).
I haven't messed with counting calories as I knew that would be too time consuming. I just focus on how many fat grams I'm eating - I never want to penalize myself for eating fruit & veggies! The other thing I find that really helps is to make sure you eat your fruits and veggies each day (2-3 fruits and 3-5 veggies) - this will naturally reduce how much you eat of other stuff because there's only so much room in your stomach!
If its not something you're going to do for the rest of your life then its not going to bring about lasting change.
My final piece of advice is to keep a journal - even just a simple one where you write down what your goal is for that week (i.e., walk 2 miles every day) and what type of exercise you do and for how long and how many fat grams you eat (this is a pain at the start but eventually you don't have to look most things up). Journals keep you accountable.
For me, I found that cooking almost everything we eat out of CL has really made the difference. I guess I was naive before, but I thought we were eating fairly healthfully because we didn't deep-fry foods, load up salads with dressing, etc. But after cooking out of CL for a while, I became aware of just how much fat and how many calories I was adding by -- for example -- just using what I thought was a default amount of oil for sauteing. I wasn't even trying to lose weight when I started subscribing to CL -- my goal was to eat more heart-healthfully -- but the weight started to come off. It was quite a pleasant surprise because I'd resigned myself to forever carrying around 25 extra pounds. I think what finally happened is I got so used to lightened foods that fatty foods are not nearly as appealing as they once were. I read recently that researchers think that it's possible to "re-train" your taste buds (ever drink whole milk after you've gotten used to 1% or skim -- it tastes like cream!). I really believe this is true. And exercise is important -- I'll admit I don't exercise enough, but I do chase after a toddler and a preschooler all day, so I do get a bit of a workout! And I try to eat more slowly. Sounds silly, but I used to overeat just because the "full" signal made it from stomach to brain after I'd eaten more than I needed!
My best piece of advice: find a friend who will take the journey with you. My friend Joy and I made a pact on Feb. 12 that we would both a.) not eat sweets and b.) keep a food and exercise journal which we would switch back and forth twice a week. We set June 4 as our ending date and in those 16 weeks, I lost 22 lbs. It was so great to have the support!!
Thanks SO much to all of you for your kind words and support! I've looked at WW before, but never quite got up the nerve to go...maybe now I will check it out (not sure how much it costs though - we are saving $$ to buy a house, which isn't an easy task here in Vancouver where houses cost a fortune!!). I think it's time to get my hubby involved a bit more...he could stand to lose some lbs himself! If I can convince him to give up his Mr. Noodles maybe he can be my "buddy".
This might sound weird, but the best thing I've found is to make cooking almost a spiritual practice. Use as many fresh ingredients as you can, chop things by hand, make your own salad dressings, etc. When I do this, I get so involved in the preparation and the smells that I find I'm not so hungry when it actually comes to eating--plus I eat more slowly to savor what I've created. Of course, this only works when you have a lot of time or have at least planned ahead and have everything you need, but it can be kind of addictive. I hardly eat at restaurants anymore because it seems weird for a plate of food to just "arrive" at the table. And eating out as little as possible is probably the best way of all to lose weight!
Good luck, Jen!
Vancouver....Canada or Washington? Just wondering since I'm here near Seattle.
I highly recommend getting your hubby to be your support person. I'm lucky enough to have lots of support... I walk with my teens one at a time and it's amazing what comes out when we're just relaxed and walking and talking and I walk with a friend (no comment there it's always great) and also with my hubby which is my favorite choice... we just talk and talk it's great. We try to make a date at least 2x a week and it's worth the time. Good luck, ~mary~
Jen, Thanks for asking the question. I found it inspirational reading everyone's replies. I could stand to lose 30 pounds and have tried several things lately (prepackaged foods, counting calories via a web journal, web support chat rooms). My biggest problem is finding time for exercise!
I too have struggled w/ my weight my whole life. I lost 70 lbs going from size 18 to 8 and have kept it off 14 months so far. I battle the urges daily, but was finally able to lose it when the time was right in my life. I joined LA Weight Loss ($$$) and stuck to it religiously without cheating once in 8 months. I maintain my weight by exercising 3-5x/wk - either by running 6 miles or aerobics classed, still weigh & measure all my food, and drink 10-12 glasses of water daily. I stick to a program that allows a specific amt. of all food groups - including 4 fruits and up to 2 pounds of veggies/daily. I literally eat all day long and am never hungry. On top of everything, I have a husband who is 100% supportive and has done everything he could to help me be successful. I am very lucky w/ that. More important than anything, I believe is that I was ready to do it for ME!
I think that's my biggest problem, too - just finding the time to exercise. I work full time, and I only get 30 min for lunch, so mid-day's not really an option. I've tried doing the morning thing, and I did find I had much more energy, but it makes my day so LONG! By noon I feel like it should be time to go home! So I end up going in the evening...then pretty much my entire evening is taken up with it, by the time I get changed, drive to the gym (not very far), work out, drive home, shower, etc. When I do this even a few nights a week, I really start to fall behind on the stuff I need to do around the house. And I don't even have any kids yet! Unfortunately the area I live in isn't great for walking, so even just to "go for a walk" we have to get in the car, drive somewhere, park, ... Aargh! I'm getting frustrated just thinking about it. How does everyone else manage to fit this in, especially with a family?
(BTW, MCJiGS, I'm in Vancouver, BC, not Washington!)
Jen- I'm a WW lifemember who has been at her goal weight now for 4 years. I love the program so much and I'm so committed to it, that last year I became a part-time WW leader. Know this- not everyone is successful on WW. Weight loss, just like weight gain, is an individual thing. I did two WW programs, losing weight and putting it back on, before I finally was able to maintain my weight. By the way, I used to work out 5 days a week and STILL was overweight. The thing I like (or love) best about WW is the group support. To this day, I never attend a meeting without learning something new.
In my experience, losing and maintaining weight doesn't mean the end to eating or eating well. I've learned to cook light and enjoy the challenge of low-fat cooking. I have been using CL recipes since 1993 as part of my diet and maintenance plan. My friends and family regard me as a fabulous cook and hostess. In fact, my 12-year old nephew announced to someone last year that he felt "proud" to eat out of my refridgerator!
I think your post shows that you are ready to begin a weight loss program, no matter which one you chose.
Good luck and good cooking!
I have to "weigh in" on this topic. I am a lifetime WW member as well. I lost about 70 pounds and have kept it off for 12 years. I started my process, though, with exercise, and am convinced that that's the best way. Exercise offers you so much positive feedback, whereas focusing solely on food is such a negative thing. I just think you become more empowered through exercise and may be more in touch with your "weaknesses" through diet only. That doesn't mean diet's not important--studies show that women in particular need to both exercise and cut calories to lose weight (I'm sounding like a journalist now). Through my success at weightloss, I found a whole new way of living and a whole new career: I would not be here at Cooking Light if I hadn't gone through this experience. I have written for years on the subject of weightloss because I think the news is much more positive than people think. You can do it--I did, and believe me, I never thought I could. Part of it is putting yourself and your health--mental and physical--first, and realizing that this is a way of taking care of yourself, and discovering things about yourself you may not be in touch with. For me, it was finding out that I was strong, I had willpower, and I was an athlete. You may find other things. But how exciting to embark on this adventure! A strange way of looking at it, I know--but it can be an exciting time of self-discovery, if you enter it with an open mind. Good luck! And please check out the Healthy Living board--there are some posts there about Weight Watchers that may be helpful/inspiring to you. Lisa D
Q for lisad and others who started exercise programs for health -- what sorts of things do you fit into your busy schedules? Do you actually /enjoy/ them?
I always struggle with achieving an appropriate motivation for exercise -- I'm not vain enough to do it purely to "look good" and health (although a prime motivation) is limited in scope. Health to me, incorporates not only visions of "fitness" but also a plan which makes one truly happy -- and isn't a dull, horrid "chore" to accomplish.
Not a gym rat by nature, I'm really looking forward to the day when I can happily incorporate a regular plan into my life -- and enjoy it.
What do you do?
I incorporated exercise into my life to try and put a stop to my slow but steady weight gain. I go in the morning before work and it takes time to get used to, but you must commit to it. I found that I could think of a million reasons not to go after work so I just started making myself get up in the morning to get it over with. I've found that even though I don't bound out of bed, anxious to begin working out, I feel such a sense of pride at getting to the gym and doing it- that I get up without too much complaint.
Also, the changes you'll see in your body are so rewarding! I have new muscles and can see more definition which also keeps me going. Right now, I just do my own thing on the eliptical trainer but I'm planning to start spinning classes or maybe some of the aerobics just keep myself interested. Really though, exercise is the ONLY thing that has helped me in my weight management. I believe it is essential to healthy living and much healthier, mentally, than focusing on food deprivation to control your weight.
Try some of the different classes at the gym--my gym has power yoga, tai chi, kickboxing, spinning--and hopefully, you'll find something truly enjoyable that you won't mind going to!
Just some of my thoughts on the subject. Good luck to all (and wish me luck in my battle of the tummy bulge! )
I can't say I always enjoy exercise. But when I first started, I enjoyed the fact that I could do something I never thought I could do before: stick with a program. I started running around a quarter-mile track--how boring, you say--but for me, it was a great way to see my progress, to set goals and achieve them, to know I had willpower. So that was part of it. I also saw what Beth saw: Progress. Weightlifting gives you really good visual feedback very quickly. I get up early and run at 6 a.m. a couple of times a week, and it takes planning, coordination, and what I call "not-an-option" thinking: It's not an option for me not to go. I meet a group, and the social aspect really helps. In other times of my life, competition was more important, was my motivator. Now I like to try different things--kickboxing, Body Pump. A new gym is like a playground for me. But it wasn't always like this. If you think this way--that you have to be active, it's as essential as brushing your teeth--I think you gain a new perspective on exercise. It's very individual, though, and as I've found, what I respond to changes every once in a while ... I could write volumes about this ...
My husband and I have been on WW since last April. He made lifetime a few months ago, losing 35 lbs. I'm still trekking - having lost 39. My ultimate goal is 100 but I'm trying to break it up into mini goals so I feel better about myself.
I truly think that besides the exercise - the journal is the way to go. You never realize how much you eat until you begin writing it down. It's a real eye opener!
Do realize that you can hit plateaus. I'm a real example of that. Since I have an underactive thyroid it has taken me twice as long to lose what I have and some days I just want to give up! However, I know this isn't a diet - it's a lifestyle change!
You do need a support system - that is so imporant when you're feeling down! I talked my husband into doing this and he feels better than ever! Good luck
On the other hand, if anyone else has hypothyroidism - please give me some inspiration! I need it!!
Thanks a bunch.
I used to alternate running 3-5 miles a day with high-impact areobics, but developed a dislocating hip problem so I had to give all high impact exercise up. At that time I was working out at a health club before work (I have no children). It was really hard for me to give up the running and aerobics, and waiting to use the stairmaster or other equipment was very frustrating. So I was already to give myself permission to stop. Then, a group of WW friends started a lunch time walking club in the building where I work, so I started stair walking with them. I found that walking doesn't aggravate my hip, and it's a great stress buster. Best of all, I can do it in 20 minute increments- so when I'm overloaded with home/work responsibilities, I don't get dorky about the extra hour it took to get to the gym and shower and change (my biggest excuse for not working out).
When our group disbanded I invested in a bunch of walking tapes. In nice weather I walk outside and in bad weather I walk in our building. The tapes provide a walking pace for me (and also some company!). It's so much a part of my lifestyle now that I don't even think of it has exercise!!
I realize I am a few days late here but I just wanted to point out a great article in the July Cooking Light. The article is titled A Pound of Prevention and is on page 72.
I learned this several months ago and it sure makes sense. Starting in our 30's we begin losing 1/2 pound of muscle a year and gaining 1 1/2 pounds of fat. Because muscle "drives our metabolism" without some type of exercise/strength training we are fighting a losing battle. By maintaing the same lifestyle we will lose 2 1/2 pounds of muscle and gain 7 1/2 pounds of fat.....and require 200 fewer calories by the time we hit 40.
This was incentive for me to change the pattern. It put exercise/strength training in a new light for me and gave me a solid reason for wanting to increase my muscles!
I went from 175 pounds ten years ago to 127 now. Yes, it does take time, but you have to lose weight slowly and properly to keep it off. I, too, absolutely love to eat food. I started exercising and lost about 30-35 pounds on my own. I walked about 2 miles three times a week, cut back on portions of food and tried to eat healthier foods. After spending a few years at 140-145, I knew that I needed help to achieve my goal of 125. I joined a Gold's gym near my house two years ago. They offer a program called APEX. They offer nutritional counseling and weight trainers. This program is offered through certain gyms across the country. It cost a little bit of money, but it was well worth it. I had to go to weekly meetings and report to my trainer/advisor. Having to report to someone really kept me in line. I eat five small meals a day so I'm never really starving (which is when we usually overeat). In 24 weeks, I lost 10% body fat, 15 pounds, and a bunch of inches. Weight training is very important since muscle burns more calories than fat. I went from a size 18 to a size 6. Never felt better. I wish you much luck in acheiving your goal. I have a daily struggle with food, but I know how good it feels to finally be winning the battle.
I agree - exercise is key to weight loss. I belong to a gym and used to force myself to go. Now I work with a trainer there and she keeps me motivated. She also has me do new things that I wouldn't have tried on my own so I have the excitement of feeling muscles I didn't know I had. The other key to weight loss for me is QUANTITY of food. I already cook healthy - lots of fresh veggies from our garden, a lot of CL recipes. But I found if I don't keep a food journal then I am not always honest with myself about how much I eat, or what snacks I sneak in between meals. I bought a computer software package that I enter my meals into and it tracks nutritional content. I also enter my exercise and I can track calories in and calories burned. The program is called LifeForms - it is a complete health maintenence package.
I too am a huge fan of WW. In March of 1999 I saw a picture of me and my son at his Senior Night for basketball. I couldn't believe how I looked. I was determined not to look like that in his graduation pictures so I joined WW that day. So far I have lost 45 lbs and am still going. Exercise is the key, when I don't fit it in I don't lose much that week. My husband also joined and has lost 35 lbs. It is $$$ worth spent, we are saving for a house also but decided we needed our health more and are making sacrifices elsewhere. Good luck in what ever you decide.
I have too done the whole calorie counting thing and have found it too time-consuming as well. Right now I am losing weight (so far - 10 pounds and about 10-15 to go) by first of all, watching what I eat (if you've counted calories/fat grams in the past, chances are that you've got a good idea of what you can "get away with" during the course of a day) which means cooking from CL a lot!!!
In addition, I've tried to increase my overall activity level as well as fitting in a regular exercise routine. For instance, I will now volunteer to mow the lawn - it's great exercise and I get something accomplished at the same time!! I also try to walk as many places as possible (park or library, for example).
I don't worry too much about the occasional extra calories. I am also the type that will NEVER stick to something if I cannot indulge once in a while. This method has proved much slower than rigorously watching my calorie intake, but it is something that I am much more likely to stick with.
Speaking of indulging....I'm looking forward to getting back to the board - I've been on vacation and did a lot more than indulge a LITTLE!!!! Lots of good food and almost none of it light!!! But fun all the same!
Good luck to everyone with the weight loss/maintenance.
[This message has been edited by lindrusso (edited 07-04-2000).]
About finding time and places to exercise...If you can't make it to a gym or don't have a good place to walk, why not exercise in your own home? Last year, CL had a great circuit training routine that utilized light weights and your body's own resistance for light strength training and aerobic activity. I've been doing this routine at home for months and have actually seen some results. Also, treadmills are wonderful things and can sometimes be picked up at cheap prices at yard or garage sales.
My mom tricked me! Since the birth of my first son 5 yrs. ago, I've needed to lose 20-25 lbs. Mom has been off and on the Zone diet (author:Sears) for 2 yrs. Rebelliously, I did not listen to her insistence that I was carb. addicted, reminded her that I believe all those diets are hype, and asked her to gently tend to her OWN diet. She sent me the Zone authors Soy Zone bk. because she knows I love tofu (I know, wierd). Well, that as a diet is too far-out but reading his theory sold me and I bought his A Week in the Zone bk. So far I've lost 6 lbs. in 3 wks. (with a lot of heavy walking). My problem was that I would eat a high-carb breakfast then be starving by 9:30 or 10:00. His menu/recipes help stave off hunger extremely well. Carbs are my ulitmate favorite and I did break down 2 nights age and ate potatoe salad, rice and peanut butter crackers all in one sitting. Anyway, I am going to continue the Zone and see what happens. BTW, 5 people on Good Morning America did the wk. in the Zone and had pretty good results...Amy
Jen- WHAT HAPPENED? Have you joined a weight loss program or found an exercise program to get you started yet?
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