Please help me learn some dietary self-discipline.
February 6, 2012 7:03 PM   Subscribe

I need inspiration: after consuming about a million calories tonight, I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I have no self-discipline when it comes to what I eat. However, I find that I can find courage and inspiration when I read other people's accounts of losing weight. Please share some with me.

If you have lost weight, please (briefly) share with me stories of how you did it. Please include things like what worked, how you kept from sabotaging yourself, how long it took, etc.

And yes, I know that "eat less and exercise" is ultimately the solution, but I still would appreciate your anecdotes of how exactly you pulled this off.

Thank you for your inspiration.
posted by 4ster to Health & Fitness (41 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
I wrote a series of blog posts about this very thing, trying to keep the tone light. I've dropped down to 270 from being 330-340 and a lot of it's muscle. It took over a year, but it was totally worth it.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:05 PM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

We used to have a "carb drawer" - it's where chips and kettle corn and stuff like that lived.

When we started doing a low-carb thing last year, out it went. Now it's got nuts and nori chips and a couple bars of good dark chocolate.

Basically, if it's not in the house, I won't eat it, because I'm too lazy to go to the store to get it. I've lost 35 pounds.

I also forgave myself on the occasions when I ate stuff my my avoid-this list (beer, french fries, etc.) and got back on track with the next meal. Tracking carbs instead of calories was a mind trick - I ended up eating less, calorie-wise - to get me to pay attention to *what* I was eating instead of *how much.*

YMMV a lot, as it does with most things dietary. Be kind to yourself. If you want to change the way you eat, you can do it, but you don't need, and shouldn't expect, 100% compliance 100% of the time.
posted by rtha at 7:16 PM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

You've probably heard of the book French Women Don't Get Fat - it helps to take a different approach to food. The author spent time as an exchange student here in the US and gained weight, and when she went back home and got off the plane her dad looked at her and said she looked like a sack of potatoes. He sent her to the doctor who helped her transition back to the to the "French way" of eating and she lost the weight(no pills or anything involved.)

I have problems with food self-discipline as well and adopting some of the ideas in this book has helped me a lot.
posted by fromageball at 7:19 PM on February 6, 2012 has a lot of these.
posted by Pants! at 7:23 PM on February 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

Check out these inspirational transformations here and here. These are all normal folks. They're just normal folks who kick nutrition ass and take fitness names.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:26 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

This film inspired me to get back on track of healthy eating:

Also, don't beat yourself up, you're only human. Keep on moving forward.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 7:29 PM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's hard to be brief while still offering a story that's complete enough to be true to itself, so, I'll try and keep this as short as I can without compromising it:

I started steadily gaining weight from around the time of my parents' divorce (11 years old or so) until my early 20s. I didn't keep track for long periods of time, but my peak at the time I started measuring was around 245. I'm 5'8-and-change guy with a small frame, for some perspective. The first thing that set me on the path to losing it was my girlfriend at the time telling me that she was worried about my health. I remember feeling both ashamed and relieved; ashamed to have it brought up, but relieved to have it brought up in the right way. I ate out out less, ate less frozen food, and most of all, walked: a modest amount, at a modest pace, every day. I dropped down to 190 or so over the course of 1.5-2 years.

We eventually broke up; the stress of that and of more generally figuring out my way in the world led me to plateau there for a long time. A few years later, during some pretty intense bouts with anxiety, I decided that the weight was the only thing I could really control, so I set out to control it. Down to 170. I fluctuated back and forth after that, never getting too high above that but not really going below either. Finally, last year I joined the Health Month mefite community and bought a Fitbit pedometer to motivate me to up my activity level (a lot of this took the form of "walk to the subway and walk to the office, avoid buses unless strictly necessary" rather than exercise-for-exercise's-sake) and track my food strictly. After a few months of that, now I weigh 160, which is the lowest I've weighed since I had anything resembling an adult body. I find the visualization of the calorie/activity goals on the food tracker is enough to make me reconsider when that part of me wants something extra. The "gamification" stuff works, at least for me.

I'd credit three basic ingredients: mindfulness (of your actions), kindness (to yourself), and a steady series of modest, achievable changes. I let myself have the things I want, but with lower frequency and in smaller quantities. Occasionally, I still binge on junk. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but that's really wasted energy past a certain point... to paraphrase one of my favorite podcasts (the show itself probably paraphrasing something else), Back to Work, if you fall off the path, all you have to do is get back on the path. That simple realization was enough for me to cut short the beating-myself-up cycle and keep improving.
posted by Kosh at 7:36 PM on February 6, 2012 [11 favorites]

I will second the Fat Sick and Nearly Dead film. I did a 7 day juice fast (lost 10 pounds and felt fantastic the whole time, aside from the nasty burger king addiction cravings for the first few days), and since then have been eating a diet of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, some lean meat, and an occasional dairy product here and there. I feel full eating less food, and don't crave junk food at all any more. I haven't been doing this for very long, but I am losing a couple of pounds each week.

For me there were several things about this that worked. The first important part was putting myself on a short term diet that didn't allow any wiggle room. Juicing for a week was the perfect solution, since it allowed me to get all of the nutrition I needed, showed me very definitive results very quickly, and allowed me to start keying in on just how much I ate not because I was hungry, but because I wanted to eat.

The second important part of that juice fast was similar to why rehab is important for someone who is addicted to drugs. It allows you to get past the period where you are just craving all of those terrible things. During the week it was pretty rough, and there were a couple of times where I was almost ready to give up, but when that happened I would watch the film again and feel inspired to keep going. By the end of the week, while I was still feeling hungry when meal time came around, I was no longer considering cheating and grabbing a burger. That's how I knew I was ready to move on to eating real food again.

Now, I drink a juice in the morning for breakfast, eat a small handful of nuts for a snack, and then have a salad or another uncooked vegetable based dish for lunch. Another juice for snack in the afternoon, and then a cooked dish for dinner which is based mostly on vegetables with some good protein.

Now, you may be thinking that this doesn't sound very yummy, but here's the thing: Once you get over the junk food cravings, and once you stop eating a bunch of sugar/bread/salt/oil/etc., all of this healthy food just starts to taste sooooooooo much better. I was at a superbowl party, and while I did indulge a little bit and have a few hotwings (because it's the superbowl, and a party, and hot wings, and what other reason do you need), I spent the game eating a tray of veggies and roasted chickpeas (with some indian seasoning and roasted until they are crunchy like corn nuts). Not once during the game did I wish that I could be eating the nacho's, or hot dogs, or cookies that everyone else was eating. My body wasn't hungry, and I had enough good stuff in my system so that I wasn't craving anything that I didn't need.

I have tried to lose weight many times over the last 15 years, and only once did I manage to do it (and I gained it all back in the next 2 years). The difference this time around is that I'm not doing anything to restrict how much I eat, I gave my body a chance to get over the food addictions that I had, and I am eating in a way now which is sustainable for the long term. If I slip up one day and eat something bad, I don't beat myself up, I just keep on going. I also made a pact with myself that if I gained back more than 5 pounds at any point I would do another week of juice fasting to get back into the swing of things.

So, in summary, for me to finally get to a point where I can eat healthy without thinking about food every day, I had to approach it like an addiction. There needed to be a somewhat difficult period of getting over my food cravings with no wiggle room, followed by an introduction to healthy habits which are sustainable.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie, when I say juice, I don't mean apple or orange juice from the store. I mean using a juicer at home (I got mine from the good will for $7) and jucing up primarily vegetables with some fruits. A favorite of mine was 2 apples, 2 beats, 2 carrots, half a lemon, a bit of ginger, and a bunch of kale. When you look at all of it on a plate, you think "I could never eat all of this at one sitting", but when you juice it, you are getting most of the nutrition from the food, without all of the fiber, so in a few hours you are hungry and ready for another juice. Getting all of that good nutrition actually gave me more energy during the day than when I was eating normally.
posted by markblasco at 7:53 PM on February 6, 2012 [10 favorites]

I tried all sorts of diets, but what worked for me was generally just doing badass things with my body that I couldn't do before. I ran half marathons, deadlifted super-heavy weights, tried Crossfit, and now I'm big into olympic lifting.

For me, at least, that's what worked (and is working) - I'm not sure I could have ever survived eating salads and spending an hour a day on a treadmill.
posted by downing street memo at 7:56 PM on February 6, 2012

I gained weight in college from eating out a lot (fast food, etc) I would start a diet, eat crap, decide the day was ruined, eat more crap, and decide to start the next day. This happened for years. Then, in July of 2011, I decided I was too uncomfortable being overweight and something needed to change. (not to mention I have a love for fashion but was depressed by the way clothes looked on me). I've lost 55 pounds since July doing low carb. This seems like a lot to lose in a relatively short amount of time, but dedication will get you there. I have been strict about my carb intake (everyone has an opinion about this, but it works for me). I don't fill up on a ton of fat. So healthy, lower calorie and low carb. The trick for me is knowing that I can have the food that I want occasionally. I always plan a day a couple times a month to not think about food. The mental break is very beneficial. In this time, I've also never turned down a piece of birthday cake, have had fro yo more than enough times, have pigged out on a 2 week European vacation, survived a trip to Mexico and the holidays and lost weight through it all. I've changed the way I think about food and that is key. Just because I have 1 cookie doesn't mean the whole day is ruined so why not eat 5 more!? I eat one and I'm done. It's mind over matter. It can be done. Sorry for any typos-- iPhone. And best of luck!
posted by allnamesaretaken at 7:58 PM on February 6, 2012

My major method for losing 7lbs since the beginning of January has been to focus on foods I really really love but that are also healthful. My general criteria for those foods relates to lower carbs and lots of fiber/protein/vegetables to keep me full. I've been realizing that while I don't love all "health" foods (e.g. tofu), I get just as excited to have roasted broccoli/asparagus and salmon as I once did about a bowl of ice cream. It's also fun to dig through and stockpile recipes and find ones that taste amazing AND are not bad for me.

I have always loved dessert, but I found that eating say, 8 relatively low calorie pretzel M&Ms, satisfies me....and since it's become a habit, more sugary stuff than that actually makes my body feel a little funny.

One more thing that helps me, although less economical, is having snack foods in pre-defined portions. I used to get back from the gym and mindlessly eat way too many potato chips, now I take out a bag of popcorn (150 calories, with fiber) and stop there because I am not going to open up another tiny bag and knowingly make my snack 300 calories.
posted by hellogoodbye at 8:03 PM on February 6, 2012

Finding a type of exercise I like has made me think more carefully about what (and how much) I eat. Now, if I eat a bunch of junk food when I get home from work, I know I'll feel sick half-way through my evening kickboxing class, whereas if I have some lean protein and veggies, along with plenty of water, a couple hours before class, I'll feel good. Likewise, after class I sometimes indulge in a treat because I worked so hard, but I use loseit to track my calories, so I make sure I don't go over my calorie limit for the day after factoring in the exercise (I don't know how accurate it is, but even if it overestimates the calories I burn exercising, I'm still being mindful of and limiting the "treat" calories I'm consuming). More often, though, after class I'm thinking, "Woo! I am so strong and awesome!" and I want to prolong that fantasy of being this amazing athlete by having a healthy post-workout snack.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:06 PM on February 6, 2012

I've struggled with weight and emotional eating for my entire life. I finally feel like I have a handle on it. In the past 3 months I've lost 30 lbs and while I still have a lot to lose I no longer struggle as hard as I did.

5 things have helped.

Health Month, specifically the Metafilter team there. Everyone is incredibly encouraging and by starting out small w/ tiny goals I began to feel inspired to actually try to gain control. The key there is the focus on small changes you make into habits and then building on them. Again, people in our group are fantastic.

Getting a Fit Bit. You wouldn't think a little device that tracks your steps and calories burnt would encourage you to move more in all sorts of ways but it works for me. I started off wanting to up that step count, reach a certain distance. The web site helps track everything and gives you neat graphs which helps a data junkie like me. Adding the app to my iPod helped tremendously. Tracking calories. So easy to log food. Silly badges to help you and actually a great place full of supportive people. Having someone cheer you on for even losing 0.2 lbs really helped more than I thought.

My dog. I bang on about her too much but she's changed my life in many ways. I walk, usually, 4-5 miles a day with her. I have to or she'll go nuts and give me guilt inducing sighs. When I don't feel like walking, like it is the last thing I want to do in the world I do it for her and once I'm out there I find myself enjoying it. For the first time in my life I actually look forward to exercising.

Forgiveness. I track my calories and do my exercises but there are still days where I eat cake or brownies or have a lunch of a bag of chips. I log what I eat on those days too which is a way of admitting to myself what I've done but I forgive myself for it. I find that I am now having those days less and less. I enjoy staying under my calories. Enjoy the challenge of finding things that will fill me up and keep me under. Forgiveness is big.

So small steps that is what worked for me and hopefully will continue to work.
posted by kanata at 8:06 PM on February 6, 2012 [9 favorites]

I'm on Nutrisystem right now. I've lost about 15 pounds since December.

I hate diets, dieting, and exercise; I have always believed (and do believe) that fat is a feminist issue. However, my back pain was not a feminist issue, and I knew I had to do something. Now I feel better than I have in years, and I'm not nearly done.

Here's what's been working for me:

-- I like Nutrisystem, but it's not magical. The psychological and financial "sunk cost" of having the food bought and shipped every month, the commitment made, made me averse to eating outside the plan. The portion control does the rest.

-- The first day I started was a Friday. That weekend, I completely wrote off. I slept and slept. (Sleeping is an ancient appetite-control technique from when food was truly scarce.) I was miserable; my head was thick; I couldn't get anything done. And day by day, I adjusted. Now I'm enjoying a lot more alertness and energy than I was previously, and a lot less hunger. That is not a quick adjustment; it took about two or three weeks to get comfortable, but it happened for me.

-- Logging my food consumption is something that has worked independently for me in the past, as well as on this program. Just keeping a log of what you eat, together with its calories, is enough to give you second thoughts about your hunger, without any other rules. Try NutritionData. There are also iOS apps for this, of course.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:27 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

My wife and I started low carbing in June, and a week later I found out I was pregnant, so went back to my carby ways. She, however, has lost nearly 40 lbs and has gone from a size L to an XS in shirts. This is after nearly 15 years of being obese. We eat protein smoothies every morning, or she sometimes has eggs and bacon. Otherwise, she just eats all the meat and vegetables (with the exception of potatoes, corn, and limited carrots) she wants. She eats dark chocolate for a treat in the evening, drinks sugar-free soy milk or the occasional Coke Zero, and doesn't really feel like she's given much up. She missed carbs at points, but now that she's happy with her weight, she's adding them back in in moderation - which really drives home the reality that she didn't have to give anything up forever. Just intense hard work for awhile, and now a slow recalibrating.

I'm looking forward to the time when I can start cutting out carbs too, although pregnancy and then breastfeeding take precedence for now. I'm worried because I love my carbs, but I see how much weight my wife lost, with such little effort, AND that she gets to add carbs back in now, and I feel that the temporary deprivation of bread and pasta, is worth the long-term goal of less self-hatred.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:29 PM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I went from 250 to 200 in a little over a year. I slacked off and went back up to 220 and back to 200.

What has worked for me is tracking weight and steps taken. You have to be able to not freak out about daily fluctuations in weight since there is a lot variability but the trends are important. I also like wearing the pedometer and trying to get to a goal of 10K steps a day.

I also found that learning to like/prefer water over soda is a big win. Get a filter pitcher if you need one to make it taste good or just keep water in the fridge since really cold water is more refreshing. What also helped to like water is realizing that when I am out to eat that I am saving a not inconsequential amount of money with water.

Lastly, finding an exercise regiment that you enjoy is key to making sure you actually incorporate it. I really like treadmill since it meshes well with my tracking of steps and listening to podcasts. I find that having a fitness goal like training for a race or wanting not to be the first member of the ski group to wear out is very motivating over the long haul. When I was first getting started I really enjoyed group exercise opportunities since that had some implicit peer pressure to keep me motivated.
posted by mmascolino at 8:31 PM on February 6, 2012

Let me set the scene: 2009. Separated from my ex-wife, living in a dangerous, run-down efficiency apartment. She had the house, the kids, even my dog. I was 330 lbs and depressed as hell - honestly, I don't blame her for leaving.

Father's Day (US) rolls around and I get the usual trinkets from my seven year old daughter. At the bottom of the box was a pen. It said "#1 Dad". It was like a cruel joke. Internally, I was anguished - #1 Dad? Number one f-in' billion maybe. Most nights back there were pretty damn dark, emotionally.

But I looked at her and I could see her looking at me, her dad, the most important man in her life - of course she thought I was awesome, I was her dad after all. So I smiled and thanked her, hugged her and told her the gifts were great.

The pen was a badge of shame though. I kept it out where she could see it when she came and visited but that meant that I saw it too. It mocked me. I felt like a liar, an imposter.

Finally the divorce went through and I hit rock bottom. One night as I laid in bed I reached that moment. I was going to give diet and exercise one last try. If it didn't work I assumed I would die from it. My Type II was kicking my butt, I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, my father had a heart attack at 42...

I printed out an extremely simple routine from the internet, got on my bicycle and rode, very slowly, to the gym. The routine included situps - three sets of eight.

I managed one, then zero, then zero.

I kept going though - what choice did I have? I switched to a low carb diet. I continued to lift. The weight started to come off. I'd see that pen sitting on my desk and I'd flip it off. FU pen, I'll show you.

Fast-foward to today. I've totally turned my life around. I'm fit and healthy, just a shade over 200lbs. The kids are doing great, my ex-wife and I get along really well, I'm engaged to someone awesome, and I learned a lot of lessons along the way. I'm the very picture of a healthy, well-adjusted individual.

And that pen? It's in my gym log book. I use it nearly every day. It reminds me of how far I've come and the lessons I've learned. It makes me push a little bit harder, go a little bit futher, be a little bit better every day.

Thanks kiddo. That was the best Father's Day gift ever.
posted by unixrat at 8:45 PM on February 6, 2012 [29 favorites]

For me the biggest thing has been to acknowledge the inextricable link between my mental health and my eating behaviors. It's a work in progress, but my incidents of uncontrolled calorie intake have totally diminished, in large part because I'm much better at recognizing and managing the stress that I used to avoid confronting by turning to food. Exercise can also help with mental health (endorphins! time taking care of yourself! and, depending on what you're doing, time to either think or completely lose yourself in an activity!). So exercise really becomes a doubly useful component, since it obviously also helps you burn extra calories.

And nthing forgiveness, Health Month, and the Fitbit.
posted by gubenuj at 9:03 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Letting myself cheat once a week, starting at about 7pm on Saturday until I go to bed at 2 or 3, helps a lot. It's really good to say to myself on Tuesday that the donut I want is only 4 days away. I eat a cheat dinner once a week - cheese fries, beef stew, BLTs- whatever I've been craving that week. The idea is that I've planned for the fact that I can't always eat lentils and spinach and bran flakes. This way I don't fall off the wagon so to speak and then just give up because I've already "failed" one day.

A good trick is weighing yourself every day and keeping a 5 day average of your weight. It's a bit more accurate this way.

Don't beat yourself up when you do give in and eat fries on a Tuesday. It happens. Planning your "cheat" times will help it happen a lot less often, I bet. One or two meals aren't going to make you gain - systemic extra calories is what will get you.

Health Month is also awesome although I didn't use it to lose weight.
posted by k8lin at 11:33 PM on February 6, 2012

My comment is kind of confusing. I don't just eat a cheaty dinner on Saturday. I eat whatever I want including dinner. Ice cream and potato chips make a regular appearance, as do seasonal candies (it's Valentine heart season now, second only to candy corn pumpkin season in my book).
posted by k8lin at 11:36 PM on February 6, 2012

I was about 265, up about 45 pounds from college, when I'd been on the crew team and bellydanced like a fiend. In the interim, I'd been hired at my dream job, gotten my MA, and then, in very fast order, LOST my dream job, been screwed over by my temp job, and then, to top it all off, my boyfriend (who'd been staying with me rent-free) decided to tell me that everyday we were together he wanted to kill himself, he was moving back to California, and by the way, could I be a dear and forget about the rent? And also ship him his stuff.

It was a bad two years.

Anywho, I met my now-husband and he made me feel like I wasn't a loser with no job who'd been a former bellydancer and a former athlete. When I was around him I felt confident, like I hadn't felt in years, and I began taking up the hobbies I'd mentally filed away with my memories of more confident me -- a lot of swimming, yoga, dancing, etc. I kept thinking, Why am I letting fatness stop me from being AWESOME?

Also, I got a cat. This sounds really stupid, but my cat has been a big part of my fitness story. She's not afraid to run around being a big fluffy monster, and she does best on organic, whole foods. Like if you want to see some kitty vomit, give that cat some cheap Friskies. I swear to god, she's a diva. And you know what? So am I. If I'm going to spend a ton of time figuring out what she's going to eat, I know I can do the same for myself. Because of that I've spent more time thinking about and preparing meals. I also take ownership of my life/day-to-day plans, and if I'm gonna eat out, I mentally plan out what type of food it'll be, so I'm never really surprised at how much or what I've eaten when I get hom.

Since meeting the man who's now my husband and getting the princess who's now my cat, I've lost about 50 pounds, and kept off about 30. For awhile I kept gaining and losing the same twenty pounds (moving across the country and the holidays really threw off my schedule). However, now that I'm more settled, in a home where I'm loved and in a job where I'm very happy, and have time to pursue my movement based and cooking hobbies, I'm starting to lose weight again.
posted by spunweb at 11:48 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really think dieting does not work in the long term, and that massive calorie consumption is the result of deprivation. I always recommend this book combined with this book whenever talking about this -- both were life-changing for me. Just focus on getting good nutrition, eating enough real food, and don't deprive yourself, and you really will find (eventually) that your weight will even out nicely. Of course, YMMV.
posted by caoimhe at 2:52 AM on February 7, 2012

This might sound counter-intuitive but please make sure you eat enough during the day. Night time binging and snacking is often just repressed hunger from the day before. Your body is pre-programmed to resist starving and will go after those delicious calories when given the chance.

If you are relying on your willpower to lose weight you are fighting a losing battle. The most sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off for decades is to make moderate, gradual lifestyle changes: eat lots of veggies, cook delicious and nutrient-rich meals, learn to listen to your body's hunger signals, gradually relax your relationship with food, be physically active, give yourself permission to eat enough and enjoy treats and high-calorie foods in moderation.

Please take a look at nutrition and weight management information from Harward Medical School. Their approach is by far the most sensible I have encountered. Not fad-diet-sexy and not super quick but it works on the long run.
posted by Orchestra at 3:04 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I lost a fair chunk of weight over the course of a year or so. That wasn't the hardest part, for me, though -- the hard part has been keeping the weight off in all the years since then, especially since my metabolism has never been great, and of course gets less awesome the older I get. I am also on medications that really sap my energy, so that makes exercising kind of a drag. I lost the weight using the habits I describe below, fwiw.

One of the big things for me is to never, ever drink calories. I also have little willpower, and my SO is similar. (The half-dozen humongous cookies the neighbors brought us? Gone by the end of the night. SIGH. XD) So the only way I've found to maintain healthy weights is to never buy things that tempt us too much in large quantities. So we don't keep snack food in the house, don't buy sodas, no sweets, etc. That doesn't mean we never eat these things, but we buy them in single-serving quantities and generally have to leave the house in order to indulge in a craving like that.

Usually the craving isn't sufficient to make me want to head to the store, but if every so often I cave in, it's not the end of the world, since it happens infrequently enough to be a big problem. We also don't eat out very often, but when we do we usually feel pretty free to eat what we like and don't skimp on desserts and so on, since we are pretty careful the rest of the time.

I try to actually cook, rather than eating pre-prepared foods like canned food and frozen stuff. That way I can ensure it's healthy and it's easier to control portions. This also means that it's a fair amount of work if I just want to indulge a craving. I work from home, but my spouse doesn't so I send him with lunches (mostly leftovers -- I just make an extra portion) so that he doesn't have to try to find a healthy option when all of his works friends are eating McDonald's or other fast food. When I worked outside the house I brought my own lunches as well.

For me the big thing is that it's a lot easier to have willpower in the store than at home. So the key for me is not to buy things that I know would tempt me to overeat.
posted by Arethusa at 4:18 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's what did it for me: Reawakening to hunger.

In our immediate-gratification world, how many of us allow ourselves to feel hunger for extended periods of time? When you feel hunger, do you immediately respond with food? Does every craving need to be satisfied? Do you retreat from hunger, viewing it as a negative to be avoided? Have you ever reveled in hunger, explored it, attempted to understand it, mindfully centered your thoughts on its sensations, and allowed your body to endure it for long hours--half days, even--without giving in to food?

Finally, do you ever allow hunger to continue through the end of a meal?

Of course, hunger is a geopolitical issue as well, and I wouldn't attempt to slight its ramifications on the poor in the least, but that's a topic for a different thread. What I'm talking about is using hunger as a tool for health; as a guideline for eating habits. Japanese people (and possibly Chinese as well) refer to this as "hara hachi bunme"(腹八分目)---eating to the point of 8/10ths fullness. It's considered a bellwether of healthy eating among many Japanese.

The general idea is to put down your fork while you're still hungry, and wait for twenty or thirty minutes, as satiation sets in. At that point, your appetite will be gone. Will you feel full? Stuffed? No, of course not. (Save these feelings for special occasions like thanksgiving). You'll feel okay, that's all. It's tough to develop this habit, and you might need to use some tricks. Mine are keeping my home fridge nearly empty, eating most meals alone, and (this is hard) consuming a salad or fruit instead of dinner.

Many years ago, dinner was called "supper," which came from "soup." That's what it was, for most people--a bowl of soup. Breakfast came from breaking (the nighttime) fast, and that's what it felt like, because you were famished. Since my dinners (suppers) are tiny, I feel famished in the morning, but I like it. It's a healthy appetite.

You may want to re-write "hara hachi bunme" as "hara hachi bun MEH," but there's nothing "meh" about eating to 8/10ths full. It wiped 20 lbs off me like nobody's business, and my BMI's at 22. I'm mostly about the veggies, but you can practice this with anything, even occasional junk food. It's got nothing to do with exercise, either. Whether you lift weights or not, you'll have visible abdominal muscles eventually, and these will stay with you through middle age and beyond.

You'll never feel full, apart from special feasts. But this was true of most people in the past as well. A pleasant sensation of hunger will be present at many points of your life, especially at night, but you'll grow to enjoy this and look forward to meals. Your food bills will dwindle. Indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux disorder--these will vanish, unless you have a prior medical condition. You'll be a little hungry most of the time, but whispy thin (or muscly thin) all of the time. And you'll be that way for life.
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:52 AM on February 7, 2012 [8 favorites]

The first thing I'll say is that I was not ever an athlete/fitn/healthy person. My favorite hobbies are gaming and reading. Yet I have lost ~30 pounds over the last two years by making small changes to my life and daily routine. These changes come in two varieties:


Not dieting. I've never bothered to try going on one of the strict diet plans because I know I wouldn't stick to them for very long. Also I don't want to cut any foods completely out of my life. I like food. So I've tried instead to work on portion control and cutting out emotional eating. I really like the approach taken in Intuitive Eating. I try to be mindful of when I'm hungry and what I'm hungry for, and stopping when I'm not hungry anymore

Eating at home. My wife and I were building up too much credit card debt, so we started budgeting. Part of our budget included limiting the amount we eat out, which meant cooking at home 6 or 7 nights a week. This one change was very important... we control what and how much food we make, compared to the high calorie/large portions of restaurant food.

Marrying someone with Celiac's. We eat a lot more veggies and a lot less bread.

No chips! If we have a bag of chips in the house it will be gone in 2 days. If there is a box of cookies in the house I will eat 3 in a sitting, then go get 3 more, then 2 more, etc. Not good. So we don't buy them anymore. We'll have some at other people's houses, but that is infrequent.

Junk food as fun money. So with our budgeting came a limited amount of "fun" money (we went with $100 a month each). We included any food or drink not purchased at the grocery store during our weekly trip as "fun." Since $100 does not go very far in month, I would hold off picking up a muffin on the way to work so that I could buy a new video or board game.

Have something good at home to look forward to. Not grabbing fast food was tough for me at first. I needed to have something good at home waiting for me or else it made not stopping at Wendy's on the way home very difficult. I kept trying different options until I found some that I like. (for me veggies and hummus, ants on a log, and fruit smoothies are good snacks).

Learning to love water. A few years ago I started trying to drink water. I don't remember why, probably just because I was supposed to. It started slow but I gradually did it more and more, and now it is my beverage of choice. It's gotten to where drinks like milk or OJ taste too rich to me. It's like they're meals unto themselves. I'll still drink soda or beer when I'm out or over at friend's houses, but in my every day life it's water all the way.


Make it fit into my schedule as easily as possible. I joined a gym less than a mile from my house. I will pack all my things for the gym in the car before I leave so that I can go straight there after work without going home. I know that if I go home first there is a good chance I won't leave again.

Rewarding myself for meeting goals. My $100 fun money budget is pretty restrictive, so I tie my exercise to getting extra fun money. If I exercise 5 times a week for a month, then I get an extra $50 to spend on what I want. Luckily my wife supports this.

Keep exercise interesting. When I first stepped foot into the gym I had no clue what I was doing. I had never "exercised" before. So I started slowly, just using the ellipticals and simple weight machines. But I kept my eyes open and watched what other people were doing. As time went by I kept trying new machines and exercises until I found a bunch that I enjoyed doing. One day it was nice out and I wasn't feeling the gym, so I decided to go for a jog. As it turns out, I like running and now can go for 3-4 miles at a time. Who knew? Also, I'm starting the 100 pushups plan this week just for something different.

Having an awesome playlist for the gym. I used to listen to music all the time, but once I left college and got a job the opportunities for getting lost in music have diminished. Going to the gym is now an excuse to listen to great music. I've also listened to a couple audiobooks, which was pretty sweet too.

So that's what's worked for me. Hope something in there can help you. Good luck!
posted by mikeweeney at 5:50 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks to you all for taking your time to share with me. You are helping more than you know. I am so thankful for you all. Please keep it coming.
posted by 4ster at 5:58 AM on February 7, 2012

I used to eat whatever I wanted and wondered why I felt horrible. I took OTC medicine daily to address heartburn and it let me go on about my habits of poor food choices. After 3 years, I decided daily medicine was not a good idea. So I quit and decided to try controlling my heartburn through diet.

I took my diet back to basics and built up from there. I started listening to my body. The good food didn't bother me (fruits, veggies, lean protein, small portions, etc.), but the bad food did (fatty, sugary, and processed foods). I drop 10 pounds fairly quickly after cutting food that made me feel awful out of my diet. I've kept it off too. I also made a switch to a daily "vegetarian lunch", which helps me to make sure I get my fill of vegetables for the day and keep alert in the afternoons.

I guess the moral of the story is, I got rid of my crutch which was hurting me more than it was helping me (it only took me 3 years to realize it). On the medicine I had no incentive to do what was right. Off the medicine, I have to actually eat properly in order to feel good every day, which is enough incentive for me to stay off the bad stuff.

Maybe not as much of a weight loss story, but weight loss is about overcoming obstacles. Sometimes the obstacles aren't what you think they are.
posted by bwilms at 6:41 AM on February 7, 2012

I never considered myself "fat," but in college, my weight started creeping upward, and it got to the point where by graduation (in 2000), I had gone up yet another clothing size and was feeling very unattractive. At the time I was working in the health/herbs department of a local chain drugstore, where we sold lots of diet products, and I got very familiar with them. I bought some TwinLabs "Diet Fuel" (the version without ephedra, as I had already heard some bad things about it). I'm sure it was nothing more than caffeine and some herbs.

So I was taking it for a few days, and then one night after dinner, I was sitting in my bedroom watching TV and eating a huge blizzard sundae from Dairy Queen, when suddenly I had a revelation. Here I was, pigging out, while I expected the pill to do all the work. It was like a lightbulb went on in my head.

After that night (I did finish the sundae, since I had paid for it), I gave up after-dinner snacks, cold turkey. This was big, as I'd always had an evening snack almost every day of my life. For the time being, I didn't change anything else other than giving up eating after dinner. And at first, I did feel a bit hungry at times. This was another big revelation - that it was okay to feel mildly hungry, and realize that I wasn't going to starve. Previously, any time I felt even the slightest hunger pang, I was stuffing food in my mouth.

After a while, I got used to eating less and didn't feel quite as hungry. But it did take a while for the weight to come off. I lost about 2 pounds the first week, and then nothing for a month. I was very discouraged, but kept at it. Eventually friends and family started commenting on how I looked thinner, and I noticed that my clothes were thinner. I stopped taking the diet pills once the bottle ran out. I don't know if they actually contributed to the weight loss, but I guess they did some good, as they contributed to my lightbulb moment.

Today, I do have an evening snack, but it's a small one, and I also have slightly smaller (but healthier) meals. To me, the secret to staying full and not feeling so much between-meal hunger is fat. Healthy fats, like fish, nuts, avocado, etc help you to feel more full than carbs, so I make sure to have some fat with every meal. I do wonder if part of America's obesity epidemic is because of the whole "low fat everything" craze, which just caused people to eat more sugar.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 6:42 AM on February 7, 2012

Eventually friends and family started commenting on how I looked thinner, and I noticed that my clothes were thinner.

Oops...that should read "I noticed that my clothes were looser."
posted by LaurenIpsum at 6:43 AM on February 7, 2012

I love food and I hate feeling hungry. Problem was, when I was gaining like there was no tomorrow, I always felt hungry. Low calorie didn't work for me because I could not, for the life of me, resist my hunger. It made me cranky, grumpy, pissed off, and depressed.

So, I changed the entire way I ate. I forgot what I knew about healthy eating from mainstream sources. Put aside the idea that whole grains and bananas and orange juice were good for me. I bought the Atkins (DANDR) book, learned how to cook, and tracked my carbs. It sucked for about four days, in which I had headaches and couldn't sleep and had to pee all the time. And then I dropped six pounds and woke up feeling amazing and had so much energy and, miracle of miracles, felt full for four to six hours at a time. I concentrated on this miracle instead of on the scale. The pounds fell off anyway, seemingly as a bonus.

That was five years ago. Nowadays, I have the occasional pizza. Otherwise, I'm a low-carber for life, and effortlessly weigh from 35-40 pounds less than I did throughout my twenties (my weight fluctuates within a five pound range, depending on whether or not I've been working out).
posted by artemisia at 6:49 AM on February 7, 2012

So, I was never *fat* fat but I was always kind of chunky from high school on. I grew up around some disordered eating behaviors, and I can't resist a box of cookies or a tub of ice cream. When I finished college, I probably weighed around 160-165? Now I weigh around 140, which is probably less than I've ever weighed since reaching my adult height.

At some point in my mid/late 20s (around 5-10 years ago) I started a long, slow process of adopting a lot of habits that led to weight loss, including, yes, dieting (I've done Weight Watchers twice for a few months each time).

It started kind of accidentally: I started working evenings and attending grad school during the day, which cut down on evening eating and drinking a lot - I couldn't go out on weeknights and I couldn't afford to go out on weekends. Also I moved to a neighborhood where I basically had to walk everywhere, and where I didn't have convenient access to a full-service supermarket, although I did have access to produce shops, butchers, bakeries, and overpriced convenience stores. I think that kind of shook me out of an eating rut. I lost 5 or 10 pounds over the first year or so of grad school, I think, but I wasn't particularly trying and I didn't own a scale, so I don't know for sure.

Once I'd lost a few pounds, I realized I wanted to lose more. I ended up doing Weight Watchers for a few months, and I lost weight on it, but I didn't feel like I was eating all that healthily on it (at this point, I was still in grad school and working six days a week, so that's not all Weight Watchers' fault - I probably wouldn't have been eating healthily one way or the other). So once I'd lost as much weight as I intended to lose (I was by then comfortably within the "normal BMI" zone), I stopped.

I pretty much maintained that weight loss for a few years - I'd moved to a new neighborhood and I started walking to work every day, rain or shine, which was mostly for mood-improvement reasons (I started doing it during a really rainy summer) but also helped me burn off a few calories (it was about a half-hour each way). Then I got a bike, and I rode that places that were too far to walk. Then winter came, and it got hard to ride my bike, but I missed that exercise, so, inspired by a friend-of-a-friend, I started doing a Couch to 5K, in spite of being convinced that I was physically unable to run (it turned out I could).

Then I moved again. I have a half-hour car commute now instead of a walking commute. I was still running and biking but not as much, and I was hardly walking at all. The pounds began to creep back. I decided to do Weight Watchers again, because they had changed their plan in ways that I thought made it more healthy. I lost 10-15 pounds on that, and now I'm trying to lose a few more pounds on my own - I'm at a healthy weight, but I just really want to get rid of my spare tire.

I've tried a lot of things over the last few years as far as getting my eating "under control", exercising more, and losing weight. Here are some of the ones that have worked for me:

* If I know I shouldn't eat it, I don't buy it and I *definitely* don't keep it in my house. Not even Girl Scout cookies.

* The flip side of this is that I do keep foods in my house (and office) that I enjoy and that are healthy (or healthy-ish). For me, that means fruit, popcorn, nori chips, and cocoa.

* I don't eat out very often. I almost always pack my lunch (right now I have pretty much the same lunch five days a week, and I just pack them all up on Sunday night).

* I don't eat "filler foods" that I don't really care about. Like, I don't follow a low-carb diet, but I realized that I just don't miss starches very much. So when I make lunch or dinner, it's usually a protein and a couple of vegetables. This was weirdly difficult for me, realizing that I could just make stir-fry and not put rice underneath it. (This prioritization was one of the things I think Weight Watchers really helped me with - somehow thinking of a cup of brown rice as four points made me see it really differently than just the number of calories.)

* When I really want a "treat" (the kind that is high-cal and bad for me) I buy a single serving of something I love - an ice cream cone from the good ice cream shop, a fancy bakery cookie, a warm crusty roll, a 1-oz bag of Cheetos (sometimes they are just SO GOOD).

* I weigh myself pretty much every day. I know this sounds HORRIBLE to a lot of people, but I've never been afraid of the scale and I've never beat myself up about the number on the scale. I feel like concrete numbers keep me honest and weighing myself is the easiest measure. Also, daily weighing lets me use this incredibly geeky spreadsheet

* I figured out how I like to exercise. I mostly like exercising outside, by myself. Some people like exercising in front of the TV. Some people like group classes.

* I make up little games and rules for myself - like, maybe I can eat whatever I want, but I can't buy anything from a vending machine, ever. Or if I don't eat any of the stale donuts in the break room at work today, I can get a fresh donut from the good donut shop tomorrow on the way in to work. Or, this week, I can't spend any money on food - I have to eat what's in the pantry, fridge, and freezer.

* I don't panic about the occasional going overboard eating. Especially around the holidays and when I'm visiting others. I know that if I eat the way I should most of the time, it will all work out in the end.

Good luck! For me, changing lifelong eating habits has been a LONG process, and I still struggle with some things. But I feel happy and accomplished and I am much fitter (though I probably could have gotten fitter without as much weight loss).
posted by mskyle at 7:19 AM on February 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Sometimes the obstacles aren't what you think they are.

This. I am a girl who loves to eat, and spent most of my 30s convincing myself that it was pointless to try and lose weight because I love good food, I love to cook, I love red meat and wine and butter and patisserie and goddamnit I am just genetically hardwired to be fat.


It turns out that I used my love of food and cooking to obscure uncomfortable feelings about myself and my then-marriage. It's a cliche, the notion of a woman "eating her feelings," but there you have it. After over a year of chronic low-level anxiety, I sought the help of a therapist. It took me another year to say the words, "I think my marriage is over," but once I did. . .

I lost a massive amount of weight with the aid of the usual suspects, calorie tracking and regular exercise. What seemed so impossible to me before became doable, even FUN, once I wasn't "using" food like a drug. I am incredibly self-critical and I still get angry when I think about how I basically spent years deceiving myself and jeopardizing my health because I didn't have the guts to confront what was actually bothering me. The process of losing of weight is a fairly straightforward process, but I never could have done it if I hadn't first addressed the real obstacle, which I was using food to mask.

I'm healthier now than I've been since my 20s, and I am able to enjoy food and cooking in a more appropriate, health-sustaining way. I know this isn't as much of a how-to kind of answer as some others have posted, but if you feel out of control about food, it might be worth examining what food does for you a little more closely. Best of luck to you.
posted by little mouth at 7:26 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I might not be your idea of a success story; I lost ~30lbs, kept it off easily for several years, but then put it back on again after changing jobs/cities/living conditions. So, I'm now halfway through the process of losing it all over again to get to a point I'm happier with.

However: I have a history of disordered eating and seriously hating my body, and the method I used to lose the weight before (which I'm also using to lose the weight again now) is the only one I've ever found that both works and is compatible with living a happy, healthy life for me.

What works for me is this:

* Counting calories. I appreciate this usually falls into the 'stating the bloody obvious' category of weight-loss advice, but it's still something I actively avoided to start with, thinking that it would both be a huge hassle and feed into (heh) the obsessive crash-dieting I'd done before. Turns out it was a lot easier than I was expecting - and that it made me less obsessive, not more.

Properly tracking my food meant that I was thinking in terms of "I need to eat at least X calories a day, but less than Y" and "wow, my diet's low on protein, how can I get more in there?" rather than just "must eat less must eat less must eat less" all the time. And because I wasn't in a constant war with myself over food, I was no longer tempted to get all "screw this - CHEESECAKE TIME!" just to shut that voice up, either.

* No forbidden foods. Because telling myself "I will never eat chocolate or takeaway pizza again!" is doomed to either misery or failure, and probably both. Instead, the policy I worked out was this: if I find myself thinking "I'd really really like a chocolate bar", I ask myself, self, do you really want that chocolate bar? Like, 200 calories worth of wanting it? And if the answer is "nah, not really that much", which it usually is, then I don't get the chocolate bar. But! Sometimes the answer is "yes, dammit", and in those cases I let myself eat the chocolate bar without feeling guilty. It is much easier to refrain from unhealthy food most of the time when I know it's not this wondrous tempting thing I can never eat again.

* Getting more interested in fitness. Makes me more conscious of eating healthily, helps with losing weight, feels wonderful, and, well, it is great to have real, achievable health goals focused on "do more" rather than "eat less". I found out I love running, and it's really enjoyable seeing myself improve at that; I would have no chance of sticking to a kind of exercise I loathed for any significant amount of time.

* Getting used to how my body works. Everyone talks about expecting really rapid weight loss due to water weight when you start cutting calories, but for me? Nope. For the first 2-3 weeks of any new food or exercise regime, my body will cling on to every single ounce for dear goddamn life, and I won't lose any weight at all. None. No idea why this happens, and it's incredibly frustrating at the time, but since my body does settle down after a few weeks I've just learnt to roll with it. In the long run, a few weeks is no time at all.

* Taking any advice beginning with "The only way to..." with a hefty pinch of salt. Low-carb? Works great for some people, wouldn't suit me, so I don't do it. Strength training? Super-awesome for many, but I get bored out of my mind in gyms and would never stick at a serious programme, so I don't do so much of that. And there are people who will say that going low-carb is the only way to lose weight, or that strength training is the only way to build fitness/lose fat, but there are lots of ways to achieve the same goals; my job is to find out what works best for me.

All of these are done with the long term in mind, not the immediate future, so if I slack off on exercise when the weather's foul or go over my calorie limit when eating out with friends, well, that's fine. I'm trying to establish a general pattern, not control every outlier, and it's that general pattern that gets me to where I want to be.
posted by Catseye at 9:45 AM on February 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

I've been using this app called The Eatery. I find that fairly instant feedback from other people has made me seek out healthier foods to try to get better ratings. YMMV.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:17 AM on February 7, 2012

As a 20-something I managed through inattentiveness to balloon out 50-some pounds over my "ideal" weight range. Looked porky, felt bad, clothes seldom fit right. Problem is that I need for things to be simple. I can't bother my pretty little head with counting calories, and I am at heart skeptical of many "healthy eating" plans (we all have to die of something). Boiled down to its essence, losing weight is a question of burning up more than you take in. I don't doubt that caloric content has a lot to do with it, but so does volume.

So 5 years ago, sick to death of how I looked, I started a plan where I mentally count each bite of each meal. I log these in a spreadsheet. I set goals for cutting back the consumption, per meal / per day / per week. I weighed every single day and posted that also. What a great motivator. I immediately determined where I had to be, volume wise, to lose. I lost the 50 pounds and maintained at that lower level (=/- 5 pounds) for 4 years. I ate whatever I wanted. I just worked on reducing the volume.

These past year for whatever reason I got lazy and managed to inch up 10 pounds. I had continued to weigh every day and track my consumption etc., so I could see in data driven terms exactly what I was doing; I re-established the quotas and drove it right back down again.

Sure: not elegant. But #1, it's "free", and #2, it works for me. YMMV.

Oh, and I've been an exercise walker for 10 years now- I was doing that before the big drop and have continued. That's not about physical health, it's about mental health.
posted by reacheround at 10:57 AM on February 7, 2012

I went from almost 300 pounds to 250 in a less than a year by eliminating snacks and soda, eating fruit (a lot) for breakfast, salad (a lot) for lunch, and whatever I wanted for dinner. Come dinner time I usually felt pretty good about having made it that far into the day so I tended to keep it sensible. Chicken breast, potatoes and steamed veggies, or something like that. And dessert. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted on the weekends, and I usually pigged out then. I remained a sedentary smoker throughout.

After that, I was able to maintain a weight around 250 for a couple years even though I reverted to a lot of my old habits. I think the weight stayed off because I had learned to enjoy fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and water, and those remained in my diet instead of just eating processed junk all the time. Still a smoker. Still no real exercise.

I went from 250 to 215 (and still going) in the past four months by quitting smoking, by refining my diet with a drastic reduction in sugar, carbs and saturated fats, and an increase in vitamins, minerals and lean proteins, and by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. The first step was just getting out the door in the morning, and the first goal was just to break a sweat every day. I chose early mornings so not many people would see my fat ass huffing and puffing around the neighborhood. At first I could barely run for 30 seconds before I had to stop to catch my breath. It was mostly walking. I followed what was essentially the couch-to-5k progression of running/walking intervals, and my progress was remarkable. It still is. Consistent, measurable progress is surely the key reason I've been able to stick with it. Today, only four months later, I run about five miles a day and sometimes go ten on Sunday just for fun, if I'm not out hiking in the mountains. This was unimaginable just four short months ago, and in fact my entire adult life before that. I feel great, I look good, and I actually look forward to running every day, which was also unimaginable previously. The 30-60 minute investment every day pays off with much lower stress levels, a higher metabolism (I can eat as much as I want and not gain weight as long as I stay away from large quantities of sugar and carbs), and the best part is that I actually have more free time because I need a lot less sleep now.

For weight loss, assuming you're starting from sedentary like I did, I'd recommend getting a heart rate monitor and using it while exercising. You want to get your heart rate up, but you don't want it to get too high or you won't get maximum benefit, and for the first few months the amount of work you'll have to to to stay in your targeted zone will change drastically as your body starts to get in shape.

Seriously, our bodies are incredible. They were made to do these things and to do them well. Healthy and fit is our natural state. It can be a chore to get healthy and fit if we've let ourselves go, but it's remarkably easy to stay there once we get back.

One other thing I do is wear a little choker necklace as a constant reminder to just be mindful of what passes through it. Do I really want that slice of pie? That cigarette? That can of Coke? It still surprises me a little bit that the answer is usually, and easily, no.
posted by Balonious Assault at 2:58 AM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I lost about 50 pounds in a year. I found that, after running for about two weeks, I enjoyed the challenge of seeing how far I could go. I also found that, if I simply didn't put things in my mouth without thinking about how many calories were in them, I succeeded in not eating too many. It is difficult, but its important to remember that it's possible. If you don't believe it's possible, it won't happen...
posted by Lee Shore at 8:46 PM on February 9, 2012

Thank you so much everyone. I just received my FitBit and joined LoseIt!, and I love them both, especially being able to scan the barcodes on foods to enter them. Right now, the FitBit and LoseIt! are communicating, but they have been enough to get me to walk to the office the last couple of days, which is about a 1.8 mile round-trip. I already feel better.

Thanks so very much to everyone. In a few months, I will check in on the grey and let you know how I am doing.
posted by 4ster at 11:30 AM on February 11, 2012

I lost 50lbs and have kept it off for almost 2 years now.

I count calories using livestrong.

There are a few tricks that worked for me.

I do better when I enter the meal plan for the day at the start of the day. That way I clearly know what is allowed rather than ending up with too few cals for a decent dinner.

I exercised - walking and cycling at first and then jogging once my weight was down enough not to destroy my knees.

Keep snack food out of the house except popcorn. Pop your own popcorn is my savior.

Do this with your partner - it is easier if you are going through it with someone else.

Don't go all acetic monk. Only ascetic monks can pull that off. Let yourself eat well but less. Have desserts. Just factor them in.
posted by srboisvert at 1:07 PM on February 12, 2012

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