Sick of monitoring everything...I feel like a grand experiement in patience!

  • Kazeai84

    Posts: 10

    Jul 15, 2007 4:51 AM GMT
    Okay I've been a good little dieter and have been buying the deit foods, and watching the calories and jotting down every little calorie, and what has it gotten me...gained a pound or two of weight and a few grey hairs! It's just so stressful to monitor everything, I'm a college kid I'm not used to this kind of attention to nutritional detail! To top it all off before I started this blasted diet I was eating whatever I like, and had lost 3 pounds over a few weeks. I have gained that back by following the damned diet. I need some advice... what can someone with a very busy life, who barely has an hour to sit down and eat, and is often never around anything nutritional to do about maintaining a 500 calorie deficit?
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    Jul 15, 2007 8:09 AM GMT
    Not to be rude, but you sound defeated. That is a bad start.

    My advice would be to inform yourself about nutrition. Don't just eat what some diet tells you to, find out why and when to eat certain foods. The information is out there, if I was really feeling it I would supply you some good links. However, on this very site there is a bunch of good information. It personally took me a while to be able to transition to a 6 meals a day diet that filled all of my needs. Now it is second nature to me, and I don't need to track a damn thing to know what my body is craving for growth and maintenance.

    The key to eating healthy is knowledge, preparation, motivation, and true desire. Everybody wants a good body, to be healthy, but not everybody wants to do what it takes. If you don't want to do what it takes, then you have already failed. What it takes is different for everybody, you know you better than anyone else.

    Pick yourself up, invest in learning more about good nutrition and what you eat, and then be prepared to stick to it. Keep a positive mindset, and if you are easily tempted to break your diet, then keep yourself as far away from such things as you can. It's not hard, it just takes work, you can do it if you are willing to put in the time, no one else can do it for you.
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    Jul 15, 2007 9:00 AM GMT
    Logging food can be laborious, you can do it on-line at

    or try

    Also, you don't say anything about exercise. If you are doing plenty of exercise then you can eat more and don't have to be so rigorous about the number of calories you're consuming.
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    Jul 15, 2007 1:32 PM GMT
    In my experience, plenty of vigorous exercise is key and you don't mention that- MUCH more important than dieting.

    btw- You'll do well to stay away from foods and 'products' labelled "low-cal", "diet", and what have you. These 'products' are targeted at busy people (ie. those that don't read the labels!!!). Stick to natural, whole, water-rich foods, and exercise plenty... simple as that really. Toss the calorie-counter mate- a fr***n waste of time really.

    -If your current approach isn't working for you, then change it. Don't give up no matter what! Hang in there K.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jul 15, 2007 7:07 PM GMT
    Not to sound snide, but if you're gaining weight, there's no deficit. That's the definition of deficit.

    Watch *what* you're eating more than how much. You can eat a bucket of cucumbers and it's effectively zero calories. You can eat a single cookie and it's close to 200.

    How do you know it's a 500 calorie deficit? Have you tracked your own caloric burn? has a good tracking system that isn't too stressful to use.
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    Jul 15, 2007 9:54 PM GMT
    I agree with all the posts in response.

    Something is missing. First, if you truly have been dieting, it could be that your weight gain is related to water retention for some reason, and it could be that you have indeed increased your lean body mass.

    But what mostly I agree with in the above posts is that you need to broaden your focus a bit from just what you are eating to exercise. Once you are burning a healthy number of calories above those needed for your basal metabolism, you should be able to eat sensibly, not starve yourself, and lose weight or at least shift your weight to more of a lean body mass.

    Then, I'd make sure I had lots of snacks during the day, but healthy ones. As soon as you get hungry, have a banana, or an apple, or carrots, just to sate the feeling of emptiness in your stomach.

    I also agree that depriving yourself of treats completely is a recipe for defeat. If you have chocolate cake three times a week, have it once a week or once every two weeks.

    Common sense should dictate.....

    Calories in - calories out = weight change

    Make those calories in healthy, but still fun, and make those calories out more productive with exercise.
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    Jul 16, 2007 12:38 AM GMT
    I agree with the above... here are a couple quick tricks that have helped me stay on a diet:

    1. Plan & prep meals out in advance. I prep food on Sunday and again on Wednesday. That way if I have a crazy day with work, I don't need to set any time aside for something like cutting veggies.

    2. Tupperware containers are a lifesaver. I just put prepped food in containers and then combine with seasoning, marinade, etc. when I'm ready to eat. That was you're not eating exactly the same thing all the time.

    3. Don't buy what isn't on your diet. If it's in the house, you'll eat it, especially if it's 'faster' than what you're suppose to eat.

    4. Stay away from liquor. It's the worst.

    5. Buy organic! There's so much crap in processed food. (Check out Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan if you want more info on this)
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    Jul 16, 2007 3:48 AM GMT
    OK, I will offer a countering opinion, just a little bit, to kevinsf.

    I agree with everything he said, except the recommendation to cut out all alcohol.

    I have to be careful here...I'm not suggesting drinking alcohol, or getting drunk. I am also not suggesting you START to drink alcohol if you are not already doing so moderately.

    And clearly cutting back on calories, particularly empty calories, which alcohol is, is a good goal.

    However, the fact of the matter is that a beer is 150 calories, or a glass of red wine too. If you are having a beer or two a night, or a glass of wine or two, I wouldn't cut those out, if they help relax you (and there are other benefits to red wine too).

    Cut out mayonnaise...I love it when people order turkey sandwiches, because turkey has got great protein, and low fat, but then slather on mayonnaise. It doesn't take much of that to equal one or two glasses of wine equivalent calories. You know you can make a salame sandwich, without mayonnaise, that just has a few slices of salame and that would have less fat than a turkey sandwich with mayo.

    (Yes, I know that salame itself is not a health food).

    But the point here is moderation, and not totally cutting out things that give your life pleasure and zest.

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    Jul 18, 2007 12:45 AM GMT
    Alright, right now, I'm not feeling particularly healthy or whatnot, but I thought I'd chime in even though my own weightloss has stalled a bit.

    First off, Kazeai, I highly recommend FitDay. It's a fantastic program that will help you monitor a lot having to do with your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. I use it and know exactly how I'm doing with my diet and exercise goals. It requires a committment to use, though, but you can really see your progress over time and forecast your progress upcoming.

    Secondly, are you actually running a calorie deficit, or are you simply eating 500 less calories than you were before? There is a big difference between those concepts. So I'd want to know that first. Fitday has a program that helps you determine these things, but report back to us first and let us know if you know what a calorie deficit is so we can go over it if you need us to.

    However, there's another thing I want to say. See, I'm right there with ya, buddy, in terms of being super busy. And I'm actually going to say some things here that some of the other guys on this board may not like.

    I know how you feel in regards to being able to manage losing weight without focusing on it like a hawk. For many of the guys on this and other boards, their health and fitness are a hobby to them, and they are happy to indulge in that hobby often throughout the day. This includes exercise, eating right, and tracking their progress. Health and fitness are defining concepts in their lives and they enjoy it.

    Is this the case for you? If it is, then good. A few changes to your eating and exercise, and you're all set really.

    However, if this isn't the case for you, then I have some good news for you: accept that you're not a health and fitness focused guy. It isn't who you are at your core. Why is this good news?

    Because acceptance is part of the process of change. As soon as you accept who and what you are, you can start making the small changes it takes to truly affect lifestyle changes.

    It's going to be a little harder for you if you're not naturally focused on these issues as a person. So accept it, and know that it probably will take some extra time for you because it's not what you're focused on. This means that you will have to continue jotting down the calories and nutrition information. You can't give up, though. Accept that it's harder for you, and do it anyway.

    It's your diet program. As you saw before, some guys on here are big whole foods people. I split my diet between whole foods and some processed things. It fits my lifestyle and makes my diet acceptable for my palate without rebelling and going off on a food crazed frenzy. It also is convenient for me for some things. Are these diet foods you're eating really what you want to be eating? What would you prefer? Accept what you really want to eat, and then start making small trade-offs and changes. It's all give and take.

    What kind of exercise are you doing? That is going to be a big thing. Now, some of the guys on here say that losing weight has to include exercise. That is incorrect.

    You can lose weight simply by adjusting your diet. However, it is very difficult to do this, as it requires a major calorie reduction, and this is usually very difficult for most people to accept long term. By mixing in exercise in addition to your normal daily lifestyle activities, along with trimming the calories, you can increase your calorie deficit.

    So what kind of exercise do you do? Are you an exercise guy? Accept it if you aren't a big exerciser, and then start making small changes to start including it. Doesn't have to be major, but it can really maximize the results.

    The reason I say all of this is that I know the kind of frustration you're feeling. And I know how helpful it is to hear from another gay man "hey, this was all greek to me too!" So accept you're frustrated, accept you're doing something wrong, and we'll all figure out how to fix it together. The guys here are great.

    I'll let you go...I hope this helps and wasn't overbearing. I think we need to look at your calorie deficit first and foremost though. Why? Because if you run a weekly deficit of 3500 calories, it is nearly impossible that you won't lose one pound of weight. 3500 calories equals one pound generally. If we can figure out what your calorie deficit is, we can start planning how many pounds you want to lose per week - almost guaranteed.

    Keep ur chin up,


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    Jul 27, 2007 11:24 PM GMT
    I've lost 22 pounds in 8 weeks & I'm not on a diet & I don't buy diet foods & I don't jot down every single calorie AND I'm not exercising like a fiend.

    What I have done is change my diet & even that has really not been too drastic.

    Here is what I do/don't/ eat now:

    red meat - pork, beef & lamb - eat rarely, like twice a month. Skinless chicken breast, skinless turkey & fish - these are my meats now.

    vegetables - make up the most bulk of my meals

    processed foods - never

    ice cold water - drink it all day

    white bread - never (if I'm going to have bread it's a whole meal pita)

    pasta - never

    potatoes - never

    fruit - only in the mornings

    cheese - only weight watchers sprinkled on salad

    salad - lots of

    a cheat meal - once a week

    My Personal Trainer has repeatedly stressed to me that 70 to 80% of the weight loss will be down to nutrition.

    I only work out 3 hours a week (though walk the dogs an hour every day).

    The best thing I ever did was NOT followed a diet.

    If you're serious about losing some weight then you HAVE to find the time to plan your meals - it really isn't that difficult. The best thing about fish is that it cooks fast - fry in a non-stick pan in 5 minutes or wrap in foil & place in a hot oven for 20 minutes- you can't be THAT busy not to be able to do that! Salad? It's raw - no cooking time at all.

    The down side to this is the amount of shopping that needs to be done for all the fresh fish & veg - but now I do that 3 times a week, immediately after the gym.

    omg - blah blah blah - I need to go to bed !!
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    Aug 12, 2007 5:54 PM GMT
    Tracking calories is drudgery, no doubt about it. But though it makes the most sense to assess your diet on the front end like that and then make adjustments, you can just go the old trial-and-error strategy.

    Build a totally different eating plan from the ground up, and calculate the calories, protein, carbs, and fat for that plan. Sketch out a meal plan that delivers 2,000 calories per day, for instance, and then just eat that plan. You don't need to log your daily intake, just note for yourself any deviations from the plan. Then adjust the calorie target based on your actual weight change over time.

    I've had more luck radically changing my eating as opposed to just eating less of what I used to. That reduction strategy always left me feeling hungry and unsatisfied and punished. Instead, try tossing out a lot of what you've been eating (especially "diet" and "low-fat" foods), and substituting the kind of stuff others have suggested on this forum. Food with a lot less sugar, carbs that burn more slowly so you feel full longer, fiber, etc. Oatmeal, nuts, vegetables (real ones, not plain salads), lean meats and fish, eggs, extremely dark chocolate (at least 75% cocoa to minimize the sugar and maximize the antioxidants), blueberries.

    And don't just pay attention to how many calories, but also when. Your body can only use so much at a time, except when intense exercise has spiked your metabolism. So eat every 2-3 hours. It will keep you from getting hungry and pigging out, and it signals your body that it doesn't need to store much because there's no famine on the horizon. Each time you eat, try to get a decent balance of protein and carbs--just a piece of fruit alone doesn't deliver the nutrient balance. For example, I eat a hard-boiled egg or two with my midmorning latte, and some almonds or other nuts with a banana or some grapes in the afternoon.