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What Diet Plan Works?

Old 01-02-13, 02:49 PM
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Mark Stone
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What Diet Plan Works?

With New Year Resolutions flying about I'm guessing that we may see an upsurge of posts from noobs here in C/A that are looking for weight loss solutions. For grizzled old veterans of C/A and the WLW (Weight Loss Wars), let's introduce our (possible) new friends to plans that have worked for us. Either commercial or self-induced, what works in the real world (in addition to bicycling) for real, sustainable weight loss?

I'll start - I am a Weight Watchers fanboy. In 11 months I've experienced 45 pounds of weight loss at slightly less than 1 pound per week average on WW. A very easy program to follow online, it costs a little less than $20 per month. There are options for both doing it with meetings, or doing the program completely online (which is how I've done it). WeightWatchers Dot Com - -

I am in no way saying that Weight Watchers is the only plan that works, nor am I saying that it works for everyone. However, it has, when followed correctly, worked wonders for myself and the Lovely Missus!

What other plans have worked?
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Old 01-02-13, 02:51 PM
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An honest food diary, accountability, eating less and burning more calories than you take in
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Old 01-02-13, 02:52 PM
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I am TERRIBLE about sticking to "plans". So for me, I liked using myfitnesspal along with my bodymedia armband to track my intake (nutritional info and calories), calories expended and sleep.

MyFitnessPal is free but the bodymedia requires a subscription per month ($7) which can be a deal breaker for some.
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Old 01-02-13, 04:03 PM
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As a preface, I lost 75 pounds in 2012 and will lose another 35 in 2012. Here's my take:

NO diet works, because by it's definition, a "diet plan" is this thing you temporarily switch to so you can lose weight. But what do you do when you're done? Do you "go off" the diet because you achieved your goal? (Google "diet yo-yo" for your answer )

I say we need A LIFESTYLE CHANGE to change our weight. It was my lifestyle that resulted in my high weight. So I made PERMANENT changes that I will never stop - a true, lifestyle change, just like moving from one state to a far away state and not coming back.

I do use Weight Watchers' methodology, because I find their Points Plus scale to be very helpful in determining what I can eat and what I should limit or just eliminate. Furthermore, WW allows you to "splurge," and gives you splurge points (so you still count and measure) to use each week. This is REALISTIC, because in our real lives, we have birthday parties, Thanksgiving, etc., where we will eat fattening foods.

My new lifestyle includes as much biking as I can schedule (usually 70-90 miles/week), some weight training, and plenty of good-for-me food that I like to eat and want to continue eating, and it's all regular food from the grocery store.

Best part - my kids (9, 11, and 14) have begun to pick up on my new lifestyle habits, eating more like me, and wanting to bike with me.
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Old 01-02-13, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Beachgrad05 View Post
I am TERRIBLE about sticking to "plans". So for me, I liked using myfitnesspal along with my bodymedia armband to track my intake (nutritional info and calories), calories expended and sleep.

MyFitnessPal is free but the bodymedia requires a subscription per month ($7) which can be a deal breaker for some.
+1

I'm going to give this a shot for 6 months.
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Old 01-02-13, 04:17 PM
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Stick to foods that DON'T require a nutrition label like apples,bannas,oranges,lettuce,carrots,tomatoes,ect......and you will be golden!
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Old 01-02-13, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
An honest food diary, accountability, eating less and burning more calories than you take in
Hey Bro! Nice to see you back!

Did you gain anything in the last 6 months?
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Old 01-02-13, 05:32 PM
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Lifestyle changes that involve calorie reduction so you lose weight are diets. (Sorry, pet peeve).

I experiment with different ways of eating. I find I do best staying entirely away from sweets and rarely having bread or starchy vegetables. Otherwise, anything goes. I do need to count the calories or I will overeat. Even though I changed my lifestyle.
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Old 01-02-13, 05:35 PM
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A calorie deficit works. No special diet required.

A lot of 'diets' just sneak in a calorie deficit and dress it up.

I did weight watchers too, but it was too severe a calorie deficit for me, and it didn't work with my lifestyle (was boxing at the time.)

However, certain ratios of macronutrients work better for some people. For example, I feel my best and lose the fastest with a high fat/high protein/ low to moderate carb ratio.

I'm currently doing the leangains program, which is carb cycling. Not for weight loss, but to monkey with insulin response and other things.
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Old 01-02-13, 05:44 PM
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I agree with Trac. Weight Watchers has been great for me.

For me, tracking is key, portion control, and going to the weekly meetings which helps with tracking.

Still need to work on: Dealing with the psychological reasons why I do things like why I want sweets all the time, etc. When I figure those out, I think it would be a major step.
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Old 01-02-13, 06:22 PM
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I don't have a particular issue with overall dietary selection, just with reaching a plateau and getting past it. For those times, I typically fall back upon the old bodybuilder's cut-down of the cyclic ketogenic diet for about 6 weeks. It kickstarts me past my plateau and gets things back on the right track of downward trending.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:08 AM
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Some background for a new person reading this thread: seven years ago I was 400 pounds or over. I lost 160 some pounds over 18 months, kept most of it off for several years, but regained some as my knees failed and during my convalescence following bilateral knee replacement. I am now working at getting back to my low weight.

To lose weight, I didn't follow a "plan." I simply ate less and better, and exercised. I practiced four principles that drove my weight loss:

- I Accepted Responsibility. No excuses. I wasn't fat because I was "big boned", or because the food industry is evil, or ___________ (insert excuse of the day). I was fat because I ate too much and too badly.

- I Practiced Accountability. No one could make me lose weight but me. So I tracked my eating so I knew what I was eating, and how much. I tracked my weight. I tracked my exercise. Sometimes I shared with others, sometimes not. But I was always accountable to me.

- I Swallowed Pride. I admitted I didn't have all the answers. I admitted what I'd done before didn't work, and I was foolish and deluded to think that, say, just drinking diet iced tea was enough to bring about change. If I didn't know something I admitted it, and researched it. I stopped deluding myself I was in control and accepted that in my past I wasn't.

- I Found Joy. I discovered that exercise, in different forms, is fun. Eating healthily is fun as well. Loving yourself is a wonderful feeling. Weight loss and exercise are so potent, if everyone knew how good they makes you feel, everyone would practice them and then the government would step in and regulate. But to truly find joy, I couldn't just keep it to myself, but I had to share it and find it in others as well. An example is the 439 pound guy I've hiked with twice now. Conventional wisdom says his 17 pound weight loss isn't enough or significant. My thinking is "Dude, you lose 17 pounds and you are out doing things! You rock!"
 
Old 01-03-13, 06:40 AM
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Hi,

I've seen these already listed, but wanted to stress them again:

* Diets are bad. Lifestyle changes are good. (If you have a strong will, then you may be able to successfully transition from "diet" to "lifestyle", but that isn't easy).

* Certain foods are just better for you than others. Brown is better than white (for flour, for rice). High fructose corn syrup is the work of the devil.

* If you want to lose weight, you need to take in less calories than you expend. Riding a bike means you are burning more calories. This is good (but not sufficient in itself to lose weight).

One last point, and this is important. Being at your "ideal weight" is not the end-all-be-all-you-suck-until-you-are-there goal (see the recent articles about how being slightly overweight may be good for you). Riding a bike won't make you lose weight by itself. But it can get you into shape by itself. And being overweight and in shape is much better than being just overweight.

So:

* Try not to eat too much or like crap.
* Get off your @$$ off the couch and onto your saddle (or lazy boy seat if you ride a recumbent ).
* Don't stress too much about the number on the scale.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 01-03-13, 08:10 AM
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I lost 50 lbs in 5 months with weight watchers and NO exercise. I have kept it off for a year and a half and lost another 20 lbs since then. Down 70lbs total thanks to weight watchers
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Old 01-03-13, 08:31 AM
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I agree with most of what is here. Diets are only good to go from one weight to another. If you treat it as a chore, and something you're "on" for now until you "earn" the right to go off it, you're toast.

Assuming that most people who come and look here want to lose weight as a lifestyle change and for their health (rather than, say, to fit into a wedding dress on a particular date), I would highly recommend against a diet.

What worked for me (about 45 pounds):

- reducing calories to 2,000-2,500 a day, plus 1/2 that burned in exercise that day
- shift your pleasure from food away from volume / instant fast-food endorphins to finding new ways to prepare food and enjoying what you know is good fuel.
- as much as possible, prepare your own food.
- shift food choices. For example, I learned to crave salad (really), and avoid fries (though sometimes sweet potato fries make it...)
- be open-minded about food you've told yourself you hate. It's often bad because people don't know how to prepare it. For example, over-boiled broccoli is an abomination. But lightly boiled, then briefly grilled with garlic, a splash of olive oil and sea salt it's incredible.
- vary workouts. I added running, a fixie for the bike workouts, and a core / yoga regime twice a week
- stick to it. Your body will change, but it will hit plateaus and flat spots
- weigh yourself at the same time, every day. That will teach you three things -- how much it varies, the impact of dehydration from exercise (useful info) and the impact of food choices the previous few days
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Old 01-03-13, 08:40 AM
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Old 01-03-13, 09:11 AM
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I see so many people say adding in exercise alone wont reduce weight...rubbish. If you are eating at a level where you are maintaining your weight, as in calories out equals calories in, and you add in bike riding, and DONT increase calories, you will lose weight.

But requires the kind of control, that most of us on this forum dont have anyway, and thats actually counting your calories, and making sure your increased hunger doesnt equal eating more, or worse.

I have given many of the fad diets a real solid try over the last year. I started with Paleo and did that for a solid 3 months. when I say I am strict, I mean it. Over the summer I went back to simply counting calories, (more or less) and then late last year, I did a thirty day vegan challenge. I went completely vegan (with a few minor slip ups where i simply didnt read a label).

By trying all those I have arrived at a system that works for me. I have found that I like whole grain products, and they like me. I eat mostly quinoa, and brown rice, and occasionally add in some whole wheat tortillas. I like veggies. I go to costco and buy big bags of frozen veggies and put them in a crock pot over the weekend and stew them up with some sort of flavor (sometimes italian, some times spicy, sometimes savory, you get the idea. I cook up large batches of quinoa in my rice cooker and put all this in the fridge. I use these as staples. With these I can make a large variety of things, I make burritos, or just bowls where I scoop in this or that and throw it in the microwave. I have tried to make veggie dishes the focus of my meals rather than the meat.

I still like meat. I will still get (again at costco) the large bags of individually wrapped frozen fish pieces. The salmon seems particularly good. One way to take that with you easily is to just take the frozen fish with you to work with a salad and a pyrex dish. By lunch its thawed out, and I just stick the fish in the pyrex dish, cover with whatever seasoning you like, and microwave it (with the lid vented a bit) for about 1:30 seconds. It makes perfectly steamed and seasoned fish and I just throw that on my salad.

Also you would be amazed at what eating large quantities of salad does. I use to be in the camp that salad could never fill me up. Well i was wrong. When I did the vegan challenge, I learned differently. If I used different containers such as those rectangular tupperware type things you find in the grocery store these days, for salad, I was able to eat plenty to fill me up.

So I still eat a little of everything. I will eat a steak every now and again, I eat eggs once a week or so, and I mainly try to stay on non processed whole foods I cook myself. I do my best not to eat anything that comes out of a can, or box.

I dont really care for sweets, but wine is definitely a downfall to my diet. I easily get 300-400 calories from that in a day

I dont monitor calories any more, I just hated writing all that down, I weight once a day, and record it (withings scale) and use that to tell me if I am going the right direction.

I think the key to all this is to develop a daily no matter what exercise program. Find a way to get active one hour per day. Walk, bike, hike, run, eliptical, treadmill, indoor cycle, jumping jacks, push ups, whatever.

I have had my share of hang ups, and have fallen off the wagon several times this year. The key to me is knowing I am falling off, and getting right back on before I screw up all my progress.

There is no one way, there is no magic bullet, there is the simply science that you need to watch what you eat, stop with all the sugar and processed foods, limit your calories to under your expenditures and exercise an hour a day at a minimum.

I believe if you do that, you will lose weight, you will feel better, and you will have a better attitude about yourself.
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Old 01-03-13, 12:39 PM
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For me it was fear induced lifestyle change. I've been on a lot of diets over the years. But when my A1C was around 10 and I learned about diabetes, I decided it was time to change.

Nothing complicated, just move more eat less...and as others have said eat better. Also as mentioned, an honest food log. I dont keep a strict log anymore since i have a preetty good idea of the calories im eating.


I had to make exercise a priority. I'd did and I've lost 75 pounds and rediscovered the joy of being on the bike. My A1C is @ 5.6 and I've gone from a tight pant size 44 to a lose 36, feel the best I've feel the best since I can remember.


I have plateaued at 215 but that beats the heck out of the previous plateau!


The other thing that helped was this site. I'm not on as much as I'd like but the people here have been a source of inspiration.


So make your resolution and stick with it, you will see results.
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Old 01-03-13, 12:50 PM
  #19  
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2 years ago I dropped 40 pounds by keeping a daily diary of what I ate and how much I exercised. It was difficult to stick to especially when the cravings for sweets came along. I used to drink alot of soda(or pop depending on where you live). The one thing that definitely helped was the addition of low fat yogurt to my diet. Around 10:00 Am and 2:00 PM I will have an 80 calorie yogurt. Someone had told me that yogurt helps tame the cravings for sweets so I tried it an it worked. I gained 15 pounds back since Aug 2011 and am now looking to lose another 40 this year to drop out of clyde status. I am using MyFitnessPal and hope to be down 40 by the end of July. Good luck
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Old 01-03-13, 03:20 PM
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In Feb of 2012 I weighed in at over 360lbs. I started weight watchers as well as cycling (started at 10 miles) 3 days a week and lifting weights in a circuit class 3 days a week. By May 15th I had lost 10 lbs and was fairly frustrated with the progress. Just happened that I was reading a Cycling Magazine that mentioned the Paleo diet and decided to give it a shot. Since May I have dropped over 70lbs. I have found that this is the easiest and most common sense way to eat. I travel a lot for work - especially international travel so counting points on food that I'm a little unsure of was a constant cause of angst.

On the Paleo Plan it is truly a way of life. There is no counting of anything. It's basically eat what our ancestors ate. Eat all the fresh meats (preferably grass fed, free range, not full of steroids) eat all the veggies (if a lot of weight to loose be careful with tubers - potatoes) and fruits/nuts that you want. Stay away from grains and anything man made.

The original author for the plan felt that to go the rest of your life without some of these foods is a lot to ask of anyone - so he believes in moderation. 21 meals a week so as long as you eat normal size meals you can break the plan 3 times per week. From my own experience this does slow down the weight loss but also relieves the guilt when you want the pizza then have a few slices. Just don't do it again for a week.

The first two weeks as you break your addition to man made stuff is a little tough but after that it is absolutely the easiest plan I have ever attempted.

I am now cycling 3 days a week of ~22 miles and then longer trips on the weekends (40, 50, 60). I have my first Century scheduled for March 3rd and expect to have dropped close to 95lbs by then. As you get into the longer trips you do need to alter the plan a little and for that he has written a book called Paleo for Athletes that explains how to eat a sweet potatoe the night before a long ride, etc..
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Old 01-03-13, 03:30 PM
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I think any diet where the calories in are less than the calories out seem to work. However, I prefer the low-carb diet. If you keep your carbs low, then when you exercise you will be burning fat sooner. Even on a low carb diet, I still track my calories. I don't mind if a large percentage of my daily intake is from fat... as long as the total calories for the day are less than 2200. I try to keep carbs at less than 100 grams net (carbohydrates - fiber) per day. I think a person can lose weight by diet alone, however, exercise can really accelerate the process.

The one drawback of the low-carb diet is that in the beginning, for the first 2-4 weeks your energy levels seem to be lower. I believe it is your body adjusting to a new type of fuel... fat burning rather than carb burning. I've been at it for six weeks now and I'm seeing some really great results... I'm down 18 lbs. That's probably a little bit too fast of weight loss, but I think it will level off at 1.5 lbs - 2.5 lbs per week for the next 10-12 weeks.
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Old 01-03-13, 05:57 PM
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I'm another Weight Watcher fan. It works for me on many accounts....portion control, healthy guidelines (fruits/veggies, lean proteins, no one food group is eliminated, etc), personal accountability, support, lots and lots of tools to help manage the plan, flexibility....
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Old 01-03-13, 07:49 PM
  #23  
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Personally, I Love the 'Seafood Diet'...

/snicker
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Old 01-03-13, 08:14 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
I think the key to all this is to develop a daily no matter what exercise program. Find a way to get active one hour per day. Walk, bike, hike, run, eliptical, treadmill, indoor cycle, jumping jacks, push ups, whatever.
According to the National Weight Control Registry (which is a large compilation of data from people who have maintained at least a 30 pound weight loss for at least one year) one of the most consistent predictors of successfully keeping off the weight is averaging one hour of exercise a day.

How they came to lose weight was all over the board.

I don't exercise every day but I do average an hour a day.
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Old 01-03-13, 09:43 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
According to the National Weight Control Registry (which is a large compilation of data from people who have maintained at least a 30 pound weight loss for at least one year) one of the most consistent predictors of successfully keeping off the weight is averaging one hour of exercise a day.

How they came to lose weight was all over the board.

I don't exercise every day but I do average an hour a day.
If you've ever read Covert Bailey, he claims that aerobic exercise is the most important ingredient to fat loss. Simply put, an aerobic exercise, when followed daily over a period of time, builds a colony of bacteria in muscles that burn fat. This bacteria thrives and grows through exercise. When the body is at rest, the bacteria are still alive and active, so the body continues to burn fat as fuel even at rest (simply because fat is what this particular type of bacteria thrives on). If aerobic exercise is discontinued over a long period of time (7+ days) then the colony begins to shrink and fat burning decreases. The body, through exercise, becomes a "fat burning machine" he states.

Personally, I've never studied this through so I don't know if he is right, but it is something to consider. Covert Bailey also writes about diet, but he believes the most important thing we can do for fat loss is to change the body's chemistry.
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