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  1. #1
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    Newbie Diet Questions

    Hi everyone! I just started riding about a month ago and just kicked it up to about 8/9 miles (40-60 min.) a day. I also walk "briskly" with my dog every night for about a mile and do some medium weight training after my ride for about 20-30 min. Other than that, I work in my woodshop building furniture and the like (not production work, so I'm not doing anything SUPER repetitive and physically taxing on a regular basis). Until about a year and a half ago I worked at a desk for about a decade and was VERY inactive outside that... and ate like crud!!! I'm 39, 265 pounds, 5'11", (broad frame/med. muscle build??).

    Okay... here's my question:

    What should I be/not be eating?!?! How much!?!? When??? Why!?!??! In other words... anyone know of a site that actually explains it without having to buy their services or gain a degree in nutrition to understand it?!?!? LOL Books???

    All help is appreciated!!!! THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!

  2. #2
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    I think a good place to start is take a week and write down every calorie you intake(don't forget to include anything that goes into something you cook like oils) then figure out how many calories your body needs and just stay under that number. every 3500 calorie deficit is 1lb of weight loss.

  3. #3
    Member Galavant's Avatar
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    If you are trying to lose weight, try Atkins. Just be sure that you don't fall into a "I Quit" binge.

    I have been slowly changing my eating habits recently and following some of the advice of Atkins (though I am not simply using it as a strict set of rules, but instead using it as a informative guide). If you visit their website and read some of their guidlines you'll find that the majority of it is common sense nutritional info. Try and find their "carb counter" pdf. This is a good resource for counting carbs in natural foods.

    Basically, I keep an eye on what types of food (lower carbs) and the frequency (3 meals) I consume. I have found that it really helps especially in the beginning of trying to lose weight to lower your carb intake and after you get your metabolism kicking in high gear slowly increase the amount of carbs you eat. And of course, ride your bike.

    good luck

  4. #4
    The Question Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galavant
    If you are trying to lose weight, try Atkins. Just be sure that you don't fall into a "I Quit" binge.

    I have been slowly changing my eating habits recently and following some of the advice of Atkins (though I am not simply using it as a strict set of rules, but instead using it as a informative guide). If you visit their website and read some of their guidlines you'll find that the majority of it is common sense nutritional info. Try and find their "carb counter" pdf. This is a good resource for counting carbs in natural foods.

    Basically, I keep an eye on what types of food (lower carbs) and the frequency (3 meals) I consume. I have found that it really helps especially in the beginning of trying to lose weight to lower your carb intake and after you get your metabolism kicking in high gear slowly increase the amount of carbs you eat. And of course, ride your bike.

    good luck
    well I have one huge problem with Atkins. People who go on Atkins can usually look forward to losing weight, yes. A lot if water weight and you are more susceptible to gaining the weight back. My main problem is that going on Atkins is only a weight loss tool. You don't (necessarily, and in most cases) get healthier by going on Atkins. You can still take in all the saturated fat you want. You just have to limit carbs even if those carbs aren't detrimental to your health.

    I just find it annoying that people think Atkins is so great when it is admittedly a short cut to losing weight because the body turns to burning fat when you don't take in carbs. Even though those carbs are the same ones your body instinctually uses first as energy. Don't you think nature had something in mind when it made your body use carbs for energy first?

    It just ticks me off that people go on Atkins and think they're living healthy and start to push Atkins on other people (I'm not saying you're doing that) when Atkins has not only been shown to be good for losing a lot of water weight, but also that it can damage vital organs in your body (like your kidneys). I would stay away from any diet that wants you to limit one thing more than another.

    Go on a low calorie diet and you'll be fine. That's what I did. I lost around 90-95 pounds in about a year and have never been healthier. My blood pressure is great, as is my cholesterol. Even some of my previous medical problems have been lessened because of my new way of life. Sorry for rambling but that's my 2 cents on Atkins.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    Yeah, the specificity of many eating plans can drive you completely nuts. Here's what I do. My weight is good, 181, and going down. I'm 5' 11". I'm 44.

    Just plain portion control. And substitutions. Like I used to go to a restaurant and order a dinner and eat it. Now, I split it with my wife. Maybe I used to have an adult portion of Big Mac & fries. Now, I'll have a Happy Meal, the kiddie meal.

    I fill up my plate for dinner, ONCE. Veg, meat, some type of carb. No seconds allowed.

    Eat snacks throughout the day; piece of fruit + 1 quite small handful of nuts at AM and PM break times. So you don't get raging hungry at night and overeat.

    No sugared sodas, and only 8 oz of any kind of juice per day. Gatorade only if I'm on the bike, and for shorter rides (less than 25 miles) I've been substituting that with plain water plus a no-calorie electrolyte capsule (Endurolytes).
    All you can eat buffets? Bad, bad! Only this Saturday I will go to one, because I have a Century ride the next day.

    Non-creamy soups are good. Fill you up, satisfying, but not so many calories per serving. Who doesn't like homemade vegetable soup?

    And ride your bike, lots. I ride 100 miles per week.

  6. #6
    Member Galavant's Avatar
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    wow Cheebahmunkey you really are an "angry cyclist." I didn't mean in any way to offend or "push" anything on anyone. Againsttgrain asked for helpful info and I simply stated what is currently working for me. Also, you may have overlooked the general point of my plan which is "loosely" based on Atkins. I do not waste my time counting EVERY carb or any nonsense like that, but I do like to be aware of what I am putting in my body and how it will affect my overall health and I have found; as stated before, that the Atkins approach does have some helpful info. Or maybe you missed the part where I mention that you (one who plans to go this route) will need to slowly increase carbs over time and find a healthy balance of carb intake and excercise.

    I have a question for you too Cheebahmunkey. As you stated before you do not like diets that eliminate one thing over another, but then you go on to state how you try to lower calorie intake. Can you further explain what the difference is between cutting back on calories as opposed to carbs? Either way you are are controlling what you consume and how your body reacts.

    Again, I do not think that Atkins is the end all be all but it can help in the beginning stages of weight loss and along with excercise and a solid plan for overall lifestyle change it can be a useful tool IF USED PROPERLY.

  7. #7
    The Question Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galavant
    wow Cheebahmunkey you really are an "angry cyclist." I didn't mean in any way to offend or "push" anything on anyone. Againsttgrain asked for helpful info and I simply stated what is currently working for me. Also, you may have overlooked the general point of my plan which is "loosely" based on Atkins. I do not waste my time counting EVERY carb or any nonsense like that, but I do like to be aware of what I am putting in my body and how it will affect my overall health and I have found; as stated before, that the Atkins approach does have some helpful info. Or maybe you missed the part where I mention that you (one who plans to go this route) will need to slowly increase carbs over time and find a healthy balance of carb intake and excercise.

    I have a question for you too Cheebahmunkey. As you stated before you do not like diets that eliminate one thing over another, but then you go on to state how you try to lower calorie intake. Can you further explain what the difference is between cutting back on calories as opposed to carbs? Either way you are are controlling what you consume and how your body reacts.

    Again, I do not think that Atkins is the end all be all but it can help in the beginning stages of weight loss and along with excercise and a solid plan for overall lifestyle change it can be a useful tool IF USED PROPERLY.
    maybe my post came off as angry but it wasn't made with any real fire in me The difference between low calorie and something like Atkins (low or no carbs) is that low calorie is meant to be a harmony of sorts in the reduction of intake. You can keep your ratios the same and just lower the total number of calories. For example, you can take in 220 grams of carbs (220 X 4 = number of calories from carbs), 100 grams of protein (100 X 4), and 30 grams of fat and still that's only 1550 calories per day. This is a much reduced intake for someone who normally would take in 2500+ calories per day.

    Atkins limits carbs which our body instinctually uses first as its energy. I think it's stupid. I think Dr. Atkins stumbled upon something that worked and didn't consider the consequences of promoting this diet plan. I mean, he himself was overweight so either he didn't follow his own guidelines or he did and they truly don't work over time.

    I've also seen too many cases of people getting sick from prolonged "exposure" to Atkins. I feel bad for people who fall for the allure of the true Atkins. They end up giving up because they can't handle it. Dieting isn't hard and a true diet should be a change in your style of life. Again, just my 2 cents. He can do whatever he feels necessary but I really disagree with the Atkins advocates.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Doesn't Atkins constipate you?


  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    A lot of cyclists don't like Atkins because they rely on carbs for the energy they need to ride long and hard. There are a lot of good books in the library on diet and nutrition. The American Heart Association offers a real good diet for general health that will also help with weight loss. This is a high carb, low fat diet, and it's designed to be easy to follow for your whole life--a lifestyle change rather than a "diet." Have you thought about increasing the exercize a little, maybe gradually start riding faster and more intensely?

  10. #10
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    On Atkins:

    First, I don't think anybody was trying to start an argument here, and I hope one doesn't spontaneously erupt.

    Second, you can have as big a fight as you want over "Atkins" because it's hard to find two people who define it the same way. I do what many people call "Atkins" but I generally don't say so. Most people hear Atkins and assume I'm binging on bacon.

    I eat more fish and chicken than beef or pork, along with a lot of venison. But I also eat a lot of vegetables and salads. I eat tons of broccoli, cauliflower, various peppers, green beans. . . . I just don't eat sugary stuff, breads, or fruit. Eventually I'll probably work in fruit and the occasional bread, but for now small pieces of fruit are my "sort of cheating" food.

    I've been losing at a pretty steady rate since November now, and I don't buy this stuff about losing 30 lbs. of water and then stopping. I KNOW I have lost fat. My muscles are more defined and my waist is about 8 inches smaller. I'm wearing pants and shirts I haven't worn for several years. I have lost almost 90 lbs now. The way I do it, I believe low-carb is sustainable.


    3. I do not understand the argument that burning fat rather than carbohydrates could possibly be bad. No matter WHAT method you use, including lower calories, you MUST cause the body to use fat as a source of energy--how else would you reduce the amount of fat in your body?
    This is parallel to the argument I often hear that Atkins and low-carb put your body into "ketosis" and ketosis is known to be an unhealthy state. I do excrete ketones when I do low-carb correctly, but as I understand it, the human body always excretes ketones when it burns bodyfat for fuel. Well, again, doesn't that imply that any successful diet will have to cause ketone excretion? If whatever diet you're on does not burn bodyfat, I just don't see how it could cause weight loss.
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  11. #11
    The Question Man
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    like I said, to each his own. I still try and inform anyone who says they want to go on Atkins about what I know and what a true "diet" it really is. I'm not gonna change many people's minds on the subject but I wanted the poster to know about Atkins before jumping right in.
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  12. #12
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Might I suggest you take a look at diabetic diets? Surprisingly, they do allow substantial amounts of carbs. I must use 'em. My wife doesn't have too but really likes it.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Read "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
    He focuses on eating foods that are nutrionally dense and limiting foods that provide lesser amounts of nutrients per calorie. Nutrient dense foods are typically whole grains fruits vegetables and legumes. These foods are "bulky" and have a lot of fiber and will "fill you up" more with fewer calories than less nutrient dense foods. Additionally, you will be consuming more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, etc.
    It makes sense. The book has a lot of great health and nutrition information and also debunks a lot of popular diets. Dr. Fuhrman believes that you should not "diet" but rather adopt a healthy eating lifestyle.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    EAT MCDONALDS!!!

    RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina woman said she has lost 33
    pounds since April by eating nothing but take-out food from
    McDonalds in calculated portions. Merab Morgan, 35, began
    the experiment based on her love of the food, and failures
    on other diets. She began weighing 228 pounds on April 22,
    or a dress size 24, and the 5-foot-9 woman said she is down
    to 195 pounds, or a size 15. Her goal is lose a total of 60
    pounds. She told the Raleigh News & Observer she memorized
    the calories in almost every menu item, and limits herself
    to 1,400 calories a day.

  15. #15
    Fly sillygirl's Avatar
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    Another good way just to get started without the rigors of one special diet is to simply try to up the amount of fruits and veggies you eat everyday and decrease the amount of sugar (including highly processed "white carbs" like white bread and white rice.)

    For many people who haven't dieted before, jumping on to a rules based diet, like atkins or low calorie (which i think in the long run is the most accurate) people have trouble sticking with it since it feels so restrictive. Thats why for may people a positive start as oppossed to a limiting start can really help.

    Focus on eating at least 2 veggies with every meal and adding fruit in as snacks - you will naturally decrease other food. Also focus on swapping whole grains (wheat/oat) for white stuff. In other words, try adding more fiber into your diet and some of the junk will naturally come out - and you will be more full.

    This basic philosophy is behind MANY diets, like weight watchers, south beach, low GI, diabetic diets, etc.

    Good Luck. Dont forget to reward yourself with new clothes or a new gadget when you start seeing positive results!

    Edit: I agree with the above suggestion of reading Eat to Live!
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F Scott Fitzgerald

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  16. #16
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Well, as someone said, to each his own. I can't completely explain it, but I did have a decrease in sugar/carb cravings after a few days of cutting them out completely. That's a benefit I had not experienced on "balanced" systems. And I firmly believe that just as my body tends to build both muscle and fat quickly, whereas someone else may find it difficult to gain weight, it's entirely possible that my body is more sensitive to sugars, or carbohydrates in general, or blood sugar levels, or whatever.

    Now, all that said, I understand the arguments against fad diets and that's why I didn't just read a book and start following someone else's program.

    Regarding the McDonald's diet, if you can eat 1400 calories per day while only eating McDonald's, good for you. I don't think I have that control, but I haven't tried. I do tend to eat very few calories on low-carb (around 2000 per day, which for my body size is pretty low.) I have a friend in California who once went on an all Krispy-Kreme diet just to prove that you could lose weight on any restrictive fad diet. He did lose weight over a period of ten days of eating nothing but Krispy Kreme donuts and milk.


    The bottom line for me is that low-carb diets ARE working for people. Dismiss them and do a disservice. Like anything else, you have to do them right, but so what?
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    The Question Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
    Regarding the McDonald's diet, if you can eat 1400 calories per day while only eating McDonald's, good for you. I don't think I have that control, but I haven't tried. I do tend to eat very few calories on low-carb (around 2000 per day, which for my body size is pretty low.) I have a friend in California who once went on an all Krispy-Kreme diet just to prove that you could lose weight on any restrictive fad diet. He did lose weight over a period of ten days of eating nothing but Krispy Kreme donuts and milk.
    EXACTLY!! See what I mean by losing weight but not getting healthy? McDonalds food is loaded with artificial crap that does more harm than good. However, if you eat a big mac with no cheese (only around 500 calories) for lunch or dinner, you're getting a ton of things that will harm your body (like saturated fat and probably trans fat). I think people should really strive to get healthy along with lose weight.
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  18. #18
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    Losing weight is fairly simple, though it's not particularly easy. To lose weight, all you need to do is burn a few more calories each day than you consume. Basically, you have to tilt your daily "energy balance" into negative territory.

    If you can achieve a deficit of 500 calories per day, you'll lose about 1 lb per week - a worthy, and generally healthy goal. But, even lower deficits can result in substantial weight loss, if you keep them up over time.

    To achieve your deficit, you have two strategies:

    1) Exercise more

    2) Eat less.

    Ideally, you can do a bit of both. But, of the two, the "eating less" part is the most important. It's too easy to subvert a good exercise program with a few poor food choices.

    To help with the "eating less" part:

    1) Identify your "problem foods" (for me, it's cookies). Limit your exposure to those foods as much as possible (but, don't give them up completely unless you're really out of control).

    2) Learn about "portion control". Most of us eat WAY too much at each meal. Restaurant meals are typically 2 or 3 "portions" - don't clean your plate unless you're planning on riding 50 miles the next day.

    Forget about Atkins - it's for couch potatoes, not people who work out.

    Be patient, and be persistant. You won't be "good" every day, but if you stick with it, you will lose weight over time.

    Best of luck.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    Life is full of carbs....I have decided that it is easier to exercise more and co-exist with them. I don't want to have to deny myself birthday cake at a party, an ice cream in summer or cereal in the morning. It's just too hard, and too depressing. People talk about having carb cravings, I don't get set off in some craving tizzy just because I had sandwich with bread, so I don't get that whole thing. I do however have cravings for delicious food in general.

    I find that the "everything in moderation" adage really works. I never fail to lose weight on a balanced lower calorie and more exercise plan. My problem is portion control. I eat too much of EVERYTHING, including the healthy stuff!

  20. #20
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    WOW!! I love this place!!

    In two days I have more info from this thread than I found searching on the web!!! THANKS EVERYONE!

    Okay, here's basically what I've done so far:

    *Signed up on FitDay.com and started tracking my intake/burned up and nutrition stuff.

    *increased my ride time to about 50 min./9-12 miles a day (from 15-20 min./2-4 miles a month ago).

    *Cut down to 2 small cups of coffee, black (8 oz... compared to my 4 or 5 12 oz. cups a month ago!).

    *Cut out chips, zebra cakes, cookies, pudding cakes, pies, etc. (okay... I let myself have a LITTLE of those OCCASIONALLY... but only a couple of times this month).

    *Cut down on portions, increased frequency of meals.

    *Doing as much reading as I can (funny how little time I spend here at this plastic box lately!! ) about nutrition needs when increasing activity and trying to develop good eating habits for life.

    *Jumping for joy when LOML says she's thinkin' of quiting smoking and workin' on gettin' healthier!

    I'm sure there's other stuff that's changed... but that's what I'm consciously working on right now. It sure feels great, I'll tell ya that much!

    The only other question I have is that, according to the FitDay.com software I'm averaging about 5,000+ calories TOTAL BURNED a day and between 1,000 and 2,000 consumed. Does that sound too far off, close to okay or totally impossible??? LOL The reason I ask is that I want to make sure of two things: 1-I'm not starving my body in relation to the increased activity... and 2-I'm using the software right!!

    I AM losing weight a little and I can see a little change in my body, to the positive. I also feel great and my nutrition reports on the the software say I'm doing okay there (except Magnesium... I always seem to be short on that. Any suggestions??).

    Again, thanks for all the input everyone, it's helping a LOT!!

    PS: What does "bonk" mean???

  21. #21
    Senior Member Crazy Cyclist's Avatar
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    avoid McDonalds and fast food, avoid sugared drinks and drink plenty of water and you should be OK.

  22. #22
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    That's similar to what Fitday shows me. I'm not sure it's entirely accurate, but the surprisingly high number of calories burned is mostly based on your basal rate at a high bodyweight. Those of us who are big and fat burn a lot of calories just going about our daily lives.

    On the calories consumed, remember that you are responsible for the accuracy of that number. Don't forget all the little things!
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  23. #23
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    Funny you should mention "the little things"! LOML is having a blast picking on me because every time I sprinkle tobasco on something I'm adding it to my list! Hehehe

    Seriously though... I actually compare labels (when available) to what the website has listed. If it's off by much at all I just add the food to the "custom" category.

  24. #24
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    For fitday users: You have to input sleep as an activity. Fitday assumes 24 hours of being awake, when you put in 7-8 hours of sleep, you will lose a 500-1000 calorie a day "burn." I know that might not make sense, but that's the way fitday works.

  25. #25
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    THANKS!! I'm doin' that right now! (Adding the activity... not sleepin'! )

    EDIT: I lost 500 calories @ 6 hours sleep per night.

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