Losing weight as a busy adult, 1400-1600 calorie range. What do you eat?
March 8, 2018 7:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm feeling inspired by the NYTimes piece by Jane Brody on her weight loss. Help me do the same? Some challenges (of course) inside.

I'd love advice, tips, recipes, or whatever you've done to healthily achieve and maintain a reasonable weight, especially if you're a small woman with a busy life. I was raised by otherwise amazing women who subsisted on instant coffee and cigarettes, so I didn't have great role models in the nutrition department.

Me: 5'1" middle aged woman. Jane Brody's reaction to diets sounds a bit like mine. Ugh. I'd like to eat three nutritious, satisfying meals a day (and a snack) and do it in a way that helps me achieve a healthy weight, even if it's slowly.

I'm pretty omnivorous, but I have food challenges: I can't eat more than a small amount of beans or really fibrous grains, and then only at dinner (debilitating GI issues otherwise, so no oats for breakfast). No fish (partner is allergic), and we don't cook red meat at home.

Activity: I get up at 4:30 am, walk to the gym for half an hour of cardio or weights 5 days a week. I walk a minimum 3 miles a day every weekday. One weekend day I hike or bike or walk more, depending on weather. Other weekend day, I sometimes take a leisurely walk.

Hunger challenges: I'm not hungry when I get up, so I'll have breakfast after the gym and shower, around 5:45. I walk that three miles to work from 6:15-7:15. I am hungry again after that walk! I'm essentially at work starting at 7:15 and I don't get home from work until 6:30, so dinner isn't until 7.

Currently, my partner makes me a salad for lunch (yay!) but I'm at a loss for quick breakfasts and dinners, and would love advice on meal timing if you have that.

Thanks so much in advance!
posted by metarkest to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
We’ve had a lot of success adding in a protein smoothie post workout (usually evenings for my wife; breakfast for me) (protein powder, almond milk, blueberries, spinach) and a homemade juice (mid morning for her; afternoons for me) (depends, but a goto is apples, carrots, kale, and ginger). The juice and smoothie both travel well in the right containers.

As for dinner, we kept it real simple during the week for years: protein on the grill or roasted in the oven (chicken or tofu), a vegetable (zucchini, broccoli, whatever) done the same way, and a simple salad. Lately we’ve subscribed to Green Chef for three vegetarian “kit” dinners per week. The jury is still out on that. Everything has been tasty and a snap to make, but the packaging is kind of a bummer and some of the meals really push it on the calories.
posted by notyou at 8:13 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

How do you feel about eggs? I am someone who did about that number of calories for a while and while it's no picnic it's certainly doable. The big thing, for me, was PROTEIN in the morning which means if beans/fiber don't work in the morning, something like eggs or string cheese or even meat would work. Some of this will also be having your partner on board which you don't mention but for me it was easier keeping NO SNACKS in the house at all absent a thing I might have in the afternoon (square of dark chocolate sort of thing) so think on that.

The big deal was finding lower calorie subs for things you like: hummus instead of butter, rice cakes instead of bread (or lower cal higher fiber bread), tea/coffee instead of juice/soda, and really looking at the packages for the stuff you eat. The difference in general health value between wraps, as one example, is really substantial (some are high calorie low fiber, some are the opposite) and a few hundred calories really makes a difference at the level you are at. Same with yogurts. Same with most things really.

The one thing that was important for me, also, was the idea of maintaining low calories but also figuring in your exercise. So if you're exercising, make sure you're eating enough around that. The term people use is "Eating back your calories" so that your metabolism is like "This person is eating" and not "This person is starving" It's a sort of heavily debated thing within the food/exercise community, but generally speaking, it's important to eat (a little) more if you're exercising.
posted by jessamyn at 8:14 AM on March 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

To add: with our simple dinner we can slide the calories up or down by adding or removing tortillas, or avocado, or a handful of walnuts or whatever to the salad.
posted by notyou at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2018

When I'm massively hungry between meals, I tend to grab a mug of miso broth (spoonful of miso paste in hot water) or a piece of fruit with some nuts.

Another suggestion, with all the exercise your getting, your lunch salad might benefit from some protein -- grilled tofu would be my go-to because I don't eat meat or eggs. Eggs, cheese (feta, stilton, whatever your preference), or grilled chicken might work better for you.

What do you typically eat for breakfast? I would find an apple with some almond butter to be filling for multiple hours. Plain greek yogurt with berries and a bit of granola or some toasted nuts might also work for you. Maybe avocado on toast.
posted by platitudipus at 8:26 AM on March 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have only ever had success at losing weight and keeping it off with Weight Watchers, so that's all I can recommend. When I stop going, I gradually return to stress eating and gain it back. Weight Watchers is basically a low-sugar, low-saturated fat approach where you keep track of everything you eat, and is very flexible. I like it because I'm a lifetime member now and don't have to pay, which gives me the incentive to show up regularly and be reminded that I need to be careful about what I eat.

Also, in my sixties, I have found that no matter how much I exercise (and I'm a master's athlete competitive at a high level) I can't eat nearly as much as I used to.

However, within those parameters, I have found it is very useful to have the same small identical breakfast every day, with protein, fiber, and fruit in it (I have a kale/banana/carrot/pea protein/frozen fruit smoothie), a very small plain lunch, and a nice big dinner with protein, vegetables, and a small serving of some kind of carb. I generally have a snack - Halo Top because it's actually ice cream and tastes nice despite the low calorie count (mostly it's pumped full of air) before I go to bed.
posted by Peach at 8:33 AM on March 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

An avocado off toast also works! Sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil, eat with a fork. Cutting out bread almost entirely has been a straightforward though not always easy calorie cut for me.

(I’ve been eating a handful of almonds for breakfast because I am not a huge breakfast person to begin with but it’s not super filling and might not work for you.)
posted by Smearcase at 8:36 AM on March 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

I also came to recommend Weight Watchers. I’ve been trying to get the baby weight off for years, and it’s the only thing that’s working. While it is, I suppose, technically a diet, for me it really has been a lesson in making better choices. I do everything on WW that the author of that article says she does on her own, only with the support of a community of other people doing the same thing.

And yes! Halo Top for the win!
posted by amro at 8:36 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have about the same schedule/habits as you - early am with gym, then work, with a longish commute. Two things - one is I take a simple on the go breakfast with me (Greek yogurt, fruit, homemade buttermilk granola - I cut the sugar/fat back, though - you could just toss on some roasted nuts to avoid fiber) to start the day off with a good meal. And, I basically try to eat protein every time I eat - so an apple with peanut butter for a snack or something. Also I switched to infused or sparkling water instead of soda, and try to avoid packaged/processed stuff. It's harder to eat to grapefruits than two "fruit bars/snacks." You'll lose weight slowly this way, but it's easy to maintain.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 8:37 AM on March 8, 2018

I'm a big fan of Perfect Health Diet. It is a nutrition book written by a couple of scientists ("PHD" - get it? Ha, ha.) who are not medical doctors, or formally educated nutrition scientists.

I would describe it as "similar to Paleo/Whole30 with a focus on eliminating known and unknown toxins, and optimizing known and unknown nutrient". You could also call it "high fat, moderate carb, moderate protein".

In terms of foods that you might want to eat, eggs and (white) rice are encouraged, along with large quantities of green vegetables.

In terms of meal timing, they encouraging 16:8 intermittent fasting to stimulate autophagy and limit idle calorie consumption (16 hours off, 8 hours on for each 24 hour day).

Their chapter on healthy weight reduction is excellent. The authors emphasize eating healthy first, with weight reduction as a secondary goal that happens naturally as a side effect.
posted by theorique at 8:47 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if you drink soft drinks at all, drink iced tea. This helped me a lot because I'd gotten into a habit with soft drinks and it turned out I just want something that tastes like something with lunch. Soft drinks are a needless heap of calories.

I think it can be easy to take a lot of calories out of your day just by finding a few high calorie things you thoughtlessly consume, dramatically forswearing them, and then seeing if you miss them at all. Ditching my frequent breakfast bagel in favor of above-mentioned almonds and ditching my lunch coke was an immediate cut of like, what, 400 calories? I miss bagels a little and soft drinks, to my surprise, not at all. (It's really sweets I miss. Alas.)

Also if you're calorie counting rather than doing Weight Watchers, I'm finding My Fitness Pal (free app) super helpful. It has tons of foods and their calories where you can look them up and slot them in, plus a place where you can note your exercise.
posted by Smearcase at 8:52 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

The only way I ever lost weight - breaing in mind that this stuff is all very person-specific! - was to track my calorie and nutrient intake on livestrong.org.

I set a weight loss goal for myself, and was able to toggle the 'calories per day' vs 'time until weight goal met' until I found a calorie level that made sense for me. Then I just recorded every single thing I ate, and made an effort to not exceed my daily goal very often. For things like chicken or vegetables, I used a cheap kitchen scale to calculate the amount before I ate it, but they also have the nutrition info for pretty much every packaged food on Earth, so I wound up eating a lot of Trader Joe's during that time.

Aside from the caloric restriction, I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, but I did wind up avoiding carbs more frequently just because they are so calorically dense. (This wasn't super restrictive though - like, instead of a regular sandwich I might make an open-faced sandwich.) To me, this was the biggest benefit of calorie counting - it made me more aware of which foods were actually contributing the bulk of my calories per meal, without specifically pressuring me into stopping eating them.

For about a week, this sucked a lot and I was hungry pretty often. Then it got much, much easier. I lost 15 pounds in a few months and then kept it off for years, long after I stopped tracking my calories.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:58 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Weight Watchers here too, although I had some issues with it. (I did a former version, and was always tempted to game the system by eating a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, which were low points as long as they had no fat.) The key for me was keeping a journal of my food, ahead of time whenever possible. After a while I had a list of dead-simple foods to rely on that were fairly satisfying, like 2% Greek yogurt, and Boca or Gardein burgers. I also learned that, for me, eating sugar during the day or drinking alcohol, even in seemingly small quantities, will make it much harder to stick to the calorie allowance. A lot of people never cut out sugar or alcohol and they lose weight; my system just doesn't seem to handle those well and I get awful cravings, especially after drinking.

One night a week, when going out to dinner or having date night at home, I wouldn't count or track anything, and that didn't seem to slow me down much. I was just less hungry the next day.

Now I can maintain without tracking anything, but to lose weight I would have to go back to keeping a journal.
posted by BibiRose at 9:17 AM on March 8, 2018

I used the "Volumetrics" books along with Weight Watchers. There's a local shop that offers vegan, organic soups and I keep them in the freezer for a quick meal. The same shop, Thesoupergirl, offers a "cleanse" that is eating soup 4x a day. I couldn't get excited about soup for breakfast, ymmv.
posted by MichelleinMD at 9:40 AM on March 8, 2018

When I count calories, I am pretty pleased with a breakfast taco:

1 small corn tortilla: 70 cals
1/2 pat of butter: 20 cals
1 egg: 80 cals
.25 oz cheddar cheese: 30 cals
hot sauce

~200 calories, maybe a smidge more. Might use a small slice of ham or turkey or salsa as well for an additional 30-50 calories.

I really find that fat and animal protein help me in the morning. Even yogurt just doesn't do it for me.

I do the egg in a little frying pan (just crack it in and break the yolk) and the tortilla on a cast iron pan. It doesn't make a mess or require much effort.
posted by vunder at 10:28 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Another vote for calorie counting and measuring/weighing food at least for a week or two. Do this without major diet change and you can normally see where you are eating too much. I prefer Cron-O-meter for calorie counting as I trust it's numbers more but it is a bit difficult to enter recipes. I send to gain weight and am type 2 diabetic so I stay low carb so I can stay off meds .
posted by ReiFlinx at 10:31 AM on March 8, 2018

Another plug for Weight Watchers. The new scale is really easy and fun to follow. There are so many 0-3 point meals I've been making that make my body feel awesome. I've gotten into the habit of putting a bunch of chicken breasts in the crockpot on Sunday nights and eating that my lunch every day with half a sweet potato and steamed broccoli. So much food for just 3 points (the chicken and the broccoli are 0). I'm losing weight and it feels very, very sustainable to me in a way that I just couldn't get right with MyFitnessPal or other calorie counting apps.
posted by orangesky4 at 10:54 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised there haven't been more mentions of the calorie goal you stated in the title of your question. I don't know your current weight and your height, which are factors to take into account, but in terms of your activity I have a hard time imagining 1400-1600 calories is sustainable for life. And yet that sustainability part was and is, as I read it, a huge factor in Jane Brody's success story. So maybe aim for more realistic goals that you can actually keep up with for a long time.
posted by Ms. Next at 11:41 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

in terms of your activity I have a hard time imagining 1400-1600 calories is sustainable for life.

I am about the same height as the OP and average weight. The general guidelines are 1200-1400 calories for weight loss and then up to 1600-1800 for maintenance, presuming you are not that active. You can add more calories to these to adjust for activity, so if you do 500 "calories" worth of exercise, you can add that to your food intake. It gets dicey for very small people because a lot of people have 1200 calories pegged at "Starvation level" below which your body won't lose weight because it's convinced you're not eating enough. As I said above, there's a lot of back and forth on these topics generally, this is just sort of bell-curve-normative information and many (most) people's bodies vary.
posted by jessamyn at 11:48 AM on March 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

Thanks SO much for the comments and ideas so far!!! You are all amazing and thoughtful and helpful!

Here are a few additional details:

I'm 5'1", 155. Would love to get to 130. Some plans suggest I should eat about 1200 calories but then I'm dying of starvation because I'm not sedentary.

I really fail when following a plan where someone/something tells me what I have to do. I've tried losing weight as part of actual medical studies and something in my brain goes haywire and says it's now time for junk food all the time. This doesn't happen the rest of the time, thank goodness. (Well, except for when I tried intermittent fasting, which had the same effect.)

I don't have a usual breakfast because between not being hungry for it at a convenient time, I go back and forth with it. Onions and garlic are a bit too much for me at breakfast, but I don't like dropping a sugar bomb on myself either. Left to my own devices and with all the time in the world, I'd eat spinach and cheese omelettes every day, or maybe fresh baked soft pretzels, but then I'd get sick of that and be at a loss. I'm not really a cereal person, and anything advertising lots of fiber is a bad thing for my gut.

I don't tend to drink a lot of my calories. I'm not a fan of sugared or artificially sweetened beverages. I'll have a small latte once every couple of weeks, and when I drink alcohol, it's usually splitting one beer with my partner or a literal 3 ounce glass of wine.

Lastly, my salads do have some protein (meat or egg or cheese) and some carbs, because without them I have no energy or will to live. (My partner is on board for anything, thank goodness!)

Once again, I am LOVING these suggestions and am marking all of them as best answers. Please keep them coming, if you don't mind!
posted by metarkest at 11:55 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Regarding calorie restrictions and macros for weight (body fat mass) reduction, here's a summary of what the PHD book recommends:

Perfect Health Diet recommends maintaining protein at or above a baseline level of 200-600 calories per day (or 15-25% of total calories) to maintain muscle mass and provide maximum satiety. (Animal experiments show that rats will keep eating "chow" until they reach a minimum protein level, which is not the case for carbohydrate or fat.)

Carbohydrates are recommended in the range of 200-400 calories per day (or 20-35% of total calories) to avoid either gluconeogenesis of protein (synthesizing glucose, needed by the body, from ingested protein) or de-novo lipogenesis from excess ingested carbohydrate (storing unused carb calories as new body fat).

Therefore, dietary fat is the macro that can most easily be reduced in order to reduce daily calories ingested.
posted by theorique at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2018

Oh man, I'm going to be another Weight Watchers recommender. I am on my second try with it (the first time I lost 25 lbs and then had some life stuff happen and I stopped). What I think might work for you:

- There's a new program that is not restrictive, but it does guide you pretty firmly in the direction of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. It does also guide you towards beans and whole grains, but again, it is not directive. I don't really like beans much so I just don't eat them much and I'm doing fine on it.

- For me, especially with this new plan, it really just kind of feels like it's helping me focus on making better choices while giving me some guardrails to help keep me from eating way too many calories. Honestly, I'm losing at a clip of about 1-2 lbs a week and it doesn't really feel painful at all. (I have a lot more to lose, though, you can realistically expect your loss to be a bit slower) And I'm like you - I have rebelled and got cranky at every other diet I've gone on.

- You can opt to get more points (if you're not familiar, each food has a point value and you get a certain number of points per day) in exchange for a certain amount of exercise over a daily minimum. It sounds like you get a lot of exercise, so this may help you keep from getting really hungry.

- I go to the weekly meetings (you can also do it online) and there are a lot of women that fit your profile (petite middle-aged women who want to lose 20 pounds) in my weekly meeting. They seem to really like it and be doing very well.
posted by the sockening at 1:00 PM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

My guess is that your maintenance calories would be around 2170, given your current weight and activity level. That's only a guess - you need to measure it.

To figure out your current maintenance, I would suggest to set 2170 as your daily calorie goal for the next 4 weeks or so, and weigh and measure your food to make sure you are matching that goal.

There is a method laid out in more detail in this Empowered By Lifting book, which is the method I use. The idea is that you weigh yourself each morning and keep a moving average so that you know for sure that if you eat this many calories, you will weigh this much.

Then you take off 5% or 10%, aiming to lose not more than 1% bodyweight per week, and taking off another 2% calories every time you hit a 2-week plateau.


I lost about 12% of my bodyweight doing this two years ago, and have kept it off barring some planned fluctuations around special occasions and holidays.

Previously I had been successful with intuitive eating, until I wasn't. When I questioned why I was having problems, I got the usual answers re: you must weigh and measure everything, otherwise you are self-deluded and doomed to failure by your own unthinking gluttony.

Well, I don't entirely agree with that. I mean, if a person really is eating carefully and can't explain why they're not losing weight, it probably is due to measurement error of some kind, somewhere. I think that's a simple fact, which people will tell you because that's the answer.

However, it's also true that very often implications creep in, sometimes stated outright, sometimes implicit. One thing that the "food scale or bust" advice implies is that it is absolutely impossible to look at a pack of steak labelled as 6oz, eat about half of it, and still credibly claim to have eaten about 3oz of steak. I don't agree that simply by not using a scale, I was doomed by my own irrationality to have scarfed down a 12oz. steak while having no idea that I'd done so. Or to have looked up "stake lol" in MyFitnessPal and recorded 3 calories because that's the first listing that came up and I couldn't possibly have known any better.

So my point here is that weighing and measuring your food, and counting calories carefully, is a good thing; I do not agree with the frequently-given advice that it's always irrational to estimate according to food labels, but more precision is definitely better in making sure you're not eating too much.

However, it's also important to make sure you're eating ENOUGH, and that may be more than popular wisdom would have you believe.


Because, another reason why I was resistant to using a scale was this: I knew I was going to FUCKING STARVE if I did so. How do I know this? Because eventually, I got so desperate at not progressing, that I did use a scale. For 7 days - and this was over Xmas vacation, when I didn't have to go to work - I faithfully ate exactly the recommended 1200 calories a day, no ands, ifs, or buts.

By the third day I was too weak to do gentle exercise for half an hour. By the fourth day I decided to eat back my exercise calories, but I knew I was doubling the likely amount of calories burned and lying to myself in order to get a tiny bit of extra food down me. By the seventh day I was no longer fit to live my life at the most undemanding level of activity.

I asked myself, is this age? Do I just accept this is what it's like to be getting older and it caught up with me all of a sudden, and the life I knew until now is over? Or, do I just believe what they say on the diet forums and subreddits and accept that weight loss involves tolerating serious hunger pangs?

(p.s. did I lose any weight that week? of course not. so the solution was probably to admit i was lying to myself and cut calories even more, even if it seemed to my deluded mind that i was only eating 1000 calories? FUCK THAT. I NEEDED SOME FOOD and, to drive the point home, took a large bite out of a passing mailman.)

Well then I stumbled across the method in the book above. And I got my answer. I was so weak and felt starving because I was, in fact, LITERALLY FUCKING STARVING.

1200 was below my BMR, for one thing; but my maintenance calories were 1904 per day.

In order to lose weight (then), I took 10% off and dropped down to 1714 calories per day. Immediately I started losing weight hand over fist.

After 15 weeks I had reached my first goal weight of 6% off. I did this without ever once going below 1500 calories - and that was at my lowest point, only for a couple of weeks, and it was REALLY HARD. I have never gone that low ever again.


So my point is that weight loss involves precision and counting calories, but also eating more calories than you've probably been led to believe.

Measure your current maintenance, measure your food, measure 5-10% off maintenance and my guess is you will see progress at a reasonable pace without serious difficulty. It won't be totally easy, as you do have to watch what you're doing, but with a bit of effort you will succeed.
posted by tel3path at 1:16 PM on March 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

tel3path makes such a good point. One thing I've noticed in Weight Watchers is that often when people aren't losing weight, it turns out they are not always eating all of their points. There is definitely proper calorie zone to be within, and simply being below a certain level of calories does not guarantee weight loss.

Weirdly, I find I have the most success with losing when I have one day a week I go a little "crazy." It's not a binge day or anything, but it's a day where I have a cheeseburger and fries and two beers at the pub or something like that. If I do something like that once or twice a week but otherwise eat my sensible food, I will almost always lose a pound or two. Whereas if I spread my extra points/calories out over the week and don't really indulge, it's a crapshoot as to whether or not I will lose.

There are a lot of theories about why both of these things happen, but they do seem to be true for a lot of people.
posted by the sockening at 3:26 PM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

There is definitely proper calorie zone to be within, and simply being below a certain level of calories does not guarantee weight loss.

Well, I feel compelled to say that's not quite my point. If I had managed to stick to 1200 calories for more than 7 days I would have lost weight. At a rate adjusted for the complete lack of activity that it would take to stick to 1200 calories, i.e., much slower.

The problem with eating too few calories isn't that it wouldn't work if you did it. It's that you *can't actually do it* because, rather reasonably, you don't want to die.

So all of a sudden you eat the sofa, exceed your ridiculously low calorie limit, scold yourself and resolve to do better in the future. (Spoiler: you won't.)
posted by tel3path at 4:02 PM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another Weight Watchers recommendation here. I lost 30 pounds on it 15 years ago and kept it off. I go back when my weight drifts up a bit and I get it under control. It just really works.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 4:31 PM on March 8, 2018

This is what has worked for me and my husband for the past few months - who knows if it will stick but we are both slowly and surely losing weight.

Our first thing was to focus on what was possible and sustainable long-term that also didn't make us feel like we were depriving ourselves. We settled on:

- Eating healthy and home-made meals four days a week
- No alcohol during the week
- Two x 45 min sessions of strength training a week
- Weekend was fine to do whatever we wanted
- 10,000 steps a day

That's it.

Our current feeding self goes roughly:

- Breakfast: Oat bar (for him), milky coffee for me
- Lunch: Giant salad + protein (leafy greens, corn or beans etc with tuna or chicken or pork)
- Snack: Oat bar
- Dinner: Protein (Piece of chicken, salmon or eggs) + steamed vegetables
- Dessert: coconut yogurt or Halo Top ice-cream

That's what we do during the work week. We naturally found that we ended up eating vaguely healthy on the weekends as well - still went out for nice dinners, still had glasses of wine, but by putting in even some effort during the week, we didn't want to lose all that during the weekend.

I didn't see any results for the first couple of weeks and now it has been steadily coming off.

Things that are essential:

- one weekly shop, so everything is there during the week and am not tempted to take away
- no other treats around the house just because (to the point that I just throw away sweets we are given which is wasteful, I know)
- healthy snacking options to the tune of: cherry tomatoes, baby cucumbers, greek yoghurt - I'm a volume eater - I MUCH prefer eating constantly than main meals, so knowing I could reach out to these anytime I wanted really helps with the "you're not being deprived" feels.
- MyFitnessPal, but I don't weigh anything (it feels weird) just scan the package of our food
- HappyScale (found through MeFi!), and weighing ourselves every day as suggested in the article. I thought I would become obsessive about it, but I didn't and this app is a really healthy way of tracking it (averages, not focused on a constant downward trend, focus on the overall progress etc)

Most essential:

Go easy on yourself. I've been lucky to never feel the need to diet or change anything I ate and my weight has stayed healthy and normal always. I realised at the beginning of this year that this was no longer the case when I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. I imagined that the weight would just naturally fall off with very little effort on my part, and while it is coming off - the first few weeks of no results was hard mentally.

Having a partner on the same wavelength as this makes it so much easier to not give in when you're feeling a little bit lazy.

Give in sometimes, it's okay. But also realise that sometimes giving in will end up making you feel worse not better - which I've finally come to accept.

Obviously it's still early days and I don't know if it will stick but I'm so used to this way of eating now, it does feel sustainable.

Oh and results after 9 weeks:

Me: 8.5 pounds, Husband: 17 pounds.

I guess (?) it's not a lot and no one but close family have noticed but *we* feel it, mentally and physically. Hope some of these tips are useful.
posted by liquorice at 5:16 PM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you are going to incorporate eggs I highly recommend one of these microwave egg cookers.

No, you won't win any points with the Alton Brown's of the world, but it is soooo convenient if you are into egg sandwiches or eggs over greens. Crack the egg, poke the yolk, stir a titch, pop in microwave for 55 seconds. While the microwave is running grab a handful of greens from the fridge, add some vinagrete or hot sauce or lemon, microwave dings, put the egg on top of the greens, salt/pepper. viola. It takes all of 2 minutes to have a healthy and pretty dang tasty breakfast.
posted by ian1977 at 6:57 AM on March 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

So many helpful suggestions! I am so thankful to all of you! You've inspired and energized me!

I think I'll try what tel3path suggests and see what happens, and perhaps also try the online Weight Watchers. That might fit my busy life rather than in-person meetings. And I'll play around with some of the other ideas and suggestions as well. You all are awesome!

ian1977 - I am a longtime fan of microwaving eggs for something fast. I've discovered that we have bowls that will make an egg the right size for an english muffin sandwich in 30 seconds. Thanks for the reminder!
posted by metarkest at 7:10 AM on March 9, 2018

You are exercising a lot, and it sounds like salads for lunch and calorie goals are in line with your healthy eating and weight loss goals. However, if you are really having a hard time staying within those bounds (as in, your experience of hunger feels overwhelming and hard to tolerate, so you overreact and blow it) you may want to try a super low carb/keto approach. I’m 48 and have found that this has been game changing for me after struggling with being overweight for my entire adult life. 80 lbs down so far and still going.

It’s challenging in the sense that you do need to be really diligent about what you do and don’t eat (carbs are in damn near all processed foods, including things like polish sausage, wtf?). However it’s remarkable easy in the sense that the experience of hunger and saturation is usually completely different and far more livable for folks who are fat adapted on a keto diet.

Just another data point if you’re in problem solving mode. Good luck!
posted by Sublimity at 12:24 PM on March 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've watched several friends do incredibly well with keto diets, which are super low carb.

I tried it for awhile my my SO went that path; I found that it was trivially easy to never be hungry, to drop fat easily, and to maintain muscle, while being mentally on top of my game. Super easy once I got the hang of it, which took a week.

The two problems:
- I like socially having alcohol, and more than a half serving broke the gains from the diet.
- I found it hard to gain much strength on that diet; adding muscle mass was tough for me.

Regardless of keto or not, if you're going to the gym daily, I'd experiment with higher protein than you'd normally think. It helps get more out of the gym, helps recover faster, and keeps you more full than the carbs it'd normally be replacing.
posted by talldean at 10:28 PM on March 9, 2018

I've tried low carb and keto, but after some time, I find my mood and energy levels suffer. But the suggestion to eat more protein is a really good one.

Thank you all!
posted by metarkest at 4:07 AM on March 17, 2018

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