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Thread: vegetarian diet

  1. #1
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    vegetarian diet

    I am trying (like most folks, it seems ) to lose some weight. I eat a vegetarian diet, as does my whole family. I feel that I am fairly versed in what foods/food groups are good for me. I know that basically, if you want to lose weight, eat fewer carbs and more veggies. Need to gain weight, eat more carbs. This is a bit oversimplified, I know, but fairly basic. I also realize the glycemic index of simple and complex carbs and their effect on glucose levels and insulin excretions.

    I have a new bike (Look, Ultegra) and want to drop like 20# or so...I am 190 and 5'9"... for the past 4-5 weeks, I have been back into my exercise regimin of running/cycling. I have ridden Mnt Mitchell some 10 yrs ago, run Marathon, 10ks. Cycle Across MD several times, etc, so USED TO BE in pretty good fitness level.

    I have not lost any weight although I have been eating low fat with relatively low carbs...basically oatmeal or whole wheat toast (no butter) for b-fast...salad for lunch and whatever, usually lower carb for dinner. This is depressing. I have even stopped drinking beer!!!

    Am I being too impatient? Am I to resort to only salads for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner? If so, I can handle that, but is that what I should do?

    Am I just not exercising enough?

    Any suggestions (and motivational inspirations) would be appreciated.

    p.s. I am loving my new bike...I just need more time to ride and less time for work...

  2. #2
    Gordon P
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    I have even stopped drinking beer!!!
    Don't give up beer!

    I read a study yesterday that stated that beer does not cause beer gut! It is from the beer munchies, like chips, beer nuts etc. and watching sports on the TV that makes beer drinkers fat and ugly. And another study that came out last week stated that dark beer is good for you!

    I am not making this up.

    So get in the habit of cycling to the pub for a dark beer just after your supper and I am sure you will start shedding the #. Also, try eating smaller portions so you can save room for beer!


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    Maybe I will supplant my beer intake with wine instead. I don't really watch TV or eat munchie food.

    darnit that would be too easy.

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I am not sure you have a problem. What is your waist size? Sometimes people will become obsessed over a that number and overlook the fact that they are in great shape; and that they are a lot more muscular than they used to be (and Rome wasn't built in a day, etc) About losing weight, I found exercising 6 days a week helpful. When I started commuting my weekly mileage actually dropped. But I started losing pounds. Which was weird.

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Vegetarian diets for weight loss are misleading and unrewarding. As you mentioned in your message, it is not that simple.

    Eat a balanced diet of portions appropriate for your height. Exercise. Your body will find it's own natural beautiful size and shape.
    Mike

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    Pat
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    It really depends on what you mean by "vegetarian". Some people think fish and poultry are "vegetables". You could have fooled me, but what do I know? I am just a biologist. Other people include eggs, cheese and ice cream in a vegetarian diet so they give up meat but not the saturated fats. So just what is the point?

    Also weight loss is pretty much about burning more calories then you eat. When you burn up about 3500 calories, you lose a lb of fat. A vegetarian diet especially a diet with lots of vegetables has the advantage of having a lot of bulk which makes many people eat fewer calories. But it is all about calories. A person can get fat on a vegetarian diet just fine. Have you ever looked at beef cattle or hogs that they are fattening up for the kill? They are vegetarians and their biology is very similar to ours. If they can get fat on a vegetarian diet, we can too.

    As for not seeing results from the diet in 4-5 weeks, well that isn't that bad yet. The rule of thumb is try to lose about 1 lb per week. It takes awhile to notice a significant weight loss vs daily fluctuations. Another thing, is weight seems to come off in steps (at least for me). I will go for awhile and not lose weight and then lose 3-5 lbs very quickly. So you could be doing fine and not know it yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaine
    Any suggestions (and motivational inspirations) would be appreciated.

    p.s. I am loving my new bike...I just need more time to ride and less time for work...
    My doctor was after me to lose weight all the time. Finally, 18 months ago, I got a bike and started to ride. Slowly at first, then more and more. The more I rode, the more I lost. Of course, I was grossly overweight, probably 90-100 lbs. The first few weeks were unproductive.

    So I stopped eating high calorie snacks and went to rice cakes with low-fat peanut butter, grapefruit, tangerines and bananas.

    In six months, I dropped 50 lbs. My doctor said the only way to lose weight is pure physics. Exercise and push away sweets and don't snack on high calorie items.

    I have now reached a sort of stasis, unable to drop any more in over a year. It is because of my eating habits, which I must change.

    I am hanging in there and intent on dropping another 40-50 lbs, but it is difficult. The hardest part is changing eating habits formed over 50 years. I have been riding for 1.5 years and eating wrong for at least 55, so I have a lot to make up for!

    Keep at it, keep working, and keep riding. It will come.
    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

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    I'd wonder what your % bodyfat is. If it's obvious you have a lot of extra fat, I'd be concerned about losing weight. If in fact it is mostly muscle, then things are fine.


    How to diet? First, find out what your calorie requirements are. Then find out what your cycling burns. Check www.calorie-count.com and measure everything you take in. Target being 500 a day under what you require for living/riding. Make sure you get good amounts of vitamins/minerals and protein too.

    You'll lose weight this way. It's not rocket science.

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    Yeah I know that fish are not veggies, and that Jim Fixx, the long distance runner died of a heart attack from eating a diet of potato chips. He was considered by many to be "healthy" just because he ran a lot and looked good doing it.

    My eating is really healthy. I do not eat white sugar corn syrup type products. I do not eat a vegetarian diet to lose weight. Thta is my normal diet anyway.

    I really think that I am just consuming too many carbs at this point, and not enough veggies and fruit. THe quick meals to fix are usually laden with carbs, whereas it takes a bnit more effort to fix veggies. I need to put in more effort in my meals.

    When I was 30 and running marathons and doing a lot of cycling, my waist size was 32, not much fat and I weighed about 155-160. Now I am size 36 (1o yrs later) and weigh 190. I KNOW that my body fat % is too high, I can see it!

    I guess I need to be more disciplined .

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    One thing I can tell you from experience is that meat - especially beef - provides a lot of power.

    I was a vegetarian for several years - mostly due to economics and the demographics of living in a meat-poor country while studying overseas. When I returned to the States, my father sat me down and fed me steak for three days. After I got over the diahrea, I was amazed at how strong I felt. I felt like I could run right through a brick wall.

    I am willing to bet that the extra energy you gain from eating beef helps give you the stamina to burn off the calories you gain from eating carbohydrate rich vegetables.
    Last edited by mike; 11-27-03 at 06:50 AM.
    Mike

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    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaine

    I really think that I am just consuming too many carbs at this point, and not enough veggies and fruit. THe quick meals to fix are usually laden with carbs, whereas it takes a bnit more effort to fix veggies. I need to put in more effort in my meals.
    More veggies and fruit may not be the key to cutting carbs. Veggies and fruit can be high carb and/or lots of (relatively) empty bulk. Neither of which may help your situation.

    What about protein intake? Seems that protein heavy foods are better for overall energy and muscle building, and more "satisfying" to boot.

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    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    One thing I can tell you from experience is that meat - especially beef - provides a lot of power..
    There's a lot of power to be had from whole, plant-based living foods too. There are a million ways to be a vegetarian, and from what I've noticed, people who are experiencing issues like lack of energy are not eating the right foods for their body. From my experience, meat and dairy is absolutely unnecessary for energy.

    Regarding your diet, blaine, I agree that you are most likely just consuming too many carbs. I am in the same boat- although not overweight.. but if I'm not careful about watching carbs, the pounds come on quick. It is just too easy for us vegetarians to intake extra carbs. The amount of carbs in vegetables isn't a problem, especially if you ride, but the breads/pastas can really get you. I get cravings for them because often they are the only real hearty food that will satisfy me. I just try to use seitan or wheat gluten or sometimes tofu to satisfy the heartiness factor.

    It's sad but true, that cutting the beer down will help out... especially if you are like me, and it goes right to the belly. They don't call it a beer gut for nothing. It's especially hard if you live in the Northwest, and there's a craft brewery around every corner making excellent porters and stouts.

    I think if you just watch the carbs, replacing them with vegetable protiens, and keep riding, you will be fine. You're body will get to the point that it is feels comfortable at, and just accept it.

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    How do you use seitan?

    I do not lack for energy, except when I feel like I have had 2/3 harder workouts in a week. Then I just feel plain old tired, and crave more carbs. It is easier to handle food/caloric intakes when you do not overtrain, I have learned.

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    Seitan is really easy to use... pretty much has the same consistency as chicken, so you can use it the same way- in stews, stir-frys, baked, etc. It is full of protein and you're not having to deal with soy. White Wave makes some good seitan, usually sold next to tofu in the market.

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    Senior Member Veganese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    A person can get fat on a vegetarian diet just fine. Have you ever looked at beef cattle or hogs that they are fattening up for the kill? They are vegetarians and their biology is very similar to ours. If they can get fat on a vegetarian diet, we can too.
    I'm not saying you can't gain weight on a vegetarian diet, but I will have to add one thing, and that is that cattle and hogs are actually fed chopped up bits of meat (the meat that was not quality enough to sell), so livestock do not just eat grass and hay anymore. Furthermore, they are filled with hormones and supplements to force their bodies to put on weight.

  16. #16
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Which is why I buy organic meat and eggs.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veganese
    I'm not saying you can't gain weight on a vegetarian diet, but I will have to add one thing, and that is that cattle and hogs are actually fed chopped up bits of meat (the meat that was not quality enough to sell), so livestock do not just eat grass and hay anymore. Furthermore, they are filled with hormones and supplements to force their bodies to put on weight.
    Yeah, and just wait until they start cloning them too!

    Just kidding- I'll eat it anyway!

    Anyway, I don't think any of us can give an accurate assessment of what you're doing. What you need to do, seriously, is go pay to see a registered dietitan or a nutritionist and let them take a look at what you're eating, and based on the amount of exercise you do, they can recommend a diet that will help you to lose weight.

    Just based on what you're saying, I'm thinking that you don't have a lot of knowledge about nutrition. I mean, you are buying into that whole "carbs are bad" myth, which is totally untrue. There are complex carbs and simple carbs, and there are also other nutritional factors that play into what makes a food good or bad. You also have to factor in the fact that you do exercise- without carbs, you cannot even get the energy to do the exercise to burn the fat! See someone that can help you educate, and therefore, empower you to make the correct food decisions.

    I bet once you see someone who can analyze your food intake, you'll be able to finally lose the weight. Until then, I think you'll be stuck in diet hell. Personally, I think you aren't eating enough, and by putting your body in starvation mode, you inadvertantly force the body to hold onto your fat even more. This ends up being counterproductive in the long run.

    In the exercise field, they always say it takes about 6 weeks before you start seeing the positive changes of diet and exercise (assuming you are doing everything right). You have to account for a period where your body is adapting to the positive health changes, and then after the 6 week period, you start to see the physical changes. Until then, the changes you are experiences are neuromuscular, and even though you don't see it, you ARE experiencing it.

    I find that in the USA, people tend to want it now, now, NOW!!! If they don't see the quickie results, they get discouraged and desperate. When they get desperate, they tend to go for the quick fixes. Quick fixes NEVER work, yet here we are, still debating over which diet gimmick will work to give us the quick results. Can I just spare you by telling you that there is no diet gimmick that will work? If you put that in your head now, make some responsible choices, seek a qualified professional that can help you with your eating plan, and make the necessary, long-term lifestyle changes, it will happen for you. It wouldn't hurt for you to go to the local gym and hire a personal trainer for a few training sessions too.

    If you choose to go the route I suggested, report back to us sometime in March. Make small goals, not big ones, and keep a journal of your results. That way, when you look back, you'll be able to see all the great benefits you've made and not fixated on one, impossible goal- and by impossible, I mean impossible to reach in a short amount of time.

    Koffee

  18. #18
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    without getting into the whole vegitarian/vegan/omnivore/carnivore thing I think its important to look at Glycemic indexes of various foods,
    not just %carbs when building a diet plan.
    unfortunately both Beer and Red wine have high glycemic indexes.

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    If you're the geeky type you might try getting an HR monitor and reading about Heart Zone training. Sally Edwards has a few books on it. Basically she gives you heart rate zones to optimize results for your fitness goals.

    To simplify, she says that to lose weight you want to spend lots of time training at 60%-70% of your max heartrate which is where you burn the most stored fat. Anything more and you are burning primarily carbohydrates and stored glucose. If you do a whole workout at >70% of max you won't have burnt much stored fat and will be hungry because you depleted your glucose stores. If you replenish with fatty foods you are working against yourself.

    -s

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    Blaine- Apologies if I missed this, but I did not see anywhere where you posted what your current training regimen is. You mentioned you ran marathons and such a few years back, but what exactly are you doing now? Just curious.

    I consume very little by the way of animal products (some dairy and fish rarely so I am not a vegetarian- but I am pretty stict with everything else). When I am heavily into a training program I might consume a whey protein shake once a day..other than that I consume some soy products and a combinations of other foods.

    Are you and your family vegan?

  21. #21
    SSP
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    At your current weight and height, your Body Mass Index is 28.1. 25.0 is the somewhat controversial cutoff for "overweight". To get down to 25, your weight would need to drop to 169...so, your goal of losing 20 lbs is a good one.

    One reason you might not be losing weight is that you are just starting your exercise program. It's fairly common for folks to actually gain weight when starting to exercise. This happens because your body is creating additional muscle mass, and muscles weigh more than fat (by volume).

    On the theory that you can't improve what you don't measure, I'd recommend getting a digital scale, and a cloth tape measure. Then, have an official "weigh and tape-in" twice per week (Monday and Friday mornings, for instance). You should measure your abdominal girth (after a relaxed exhale, at the level of your navel). Record and track both of these measurements (you can use a spreadsheet, or software such as my CycliStats program). I find that keeping track like this helps me avoid overeating when my weight goes up, and avoid feeling guilty about treating myself when my weight is down.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck in your weight loss program.
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