Food items that helped your weight loss
October 14, 2007 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Which food do you credit most for your weight loss?

I know this borders on simplistic, but I thought it might be cool to ask this question to fish for a different perspective. I agree that there's a laundry list of healthy foods and it's good to have variety. But I'd like to know if there a specific food, drink, or entree that you credit above all for adding sensibly to your diet, satisfying cravings, and helping you through a period where you lost a lot of weight.

Simply switching to diet sodas is not quite what I'm looking for, since cutting out or moderating sugar is a no-brainer.
posted by rolypolyman to Food & Drink (56 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
Lean meats. Plus complete avoidance of white bread and white pasta.
posted by fire&wings at 10:42 AM on October 14, 2007

Check out the Shangri-la diet.
posted by ambrosia at 10:48 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fruit as snacks instead of snacks as snacks. I find diet colas mess with my system and switching to water helps a lot. Lots of water helps with cravings.

Although thats nothing to actually sitting down, writing what you eat, and seeing the amount of calories you consume.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:49 AM on October 14, 2007

Vegetables of all sorts and lots of 'em. (And I'm with fire&wings on nixing refined grain.)
posted by jocelmeow at 10:49 AM on October 14, 2007

I wouldn't credit any food I added, I would credit food I subtracted. Namely, the white devils - flour and sugar.
posted by iconomy at 10:51 AM on October 14, 2007

Just less in general.
posted by delmoi at 10:51 AM on October 14, 2007

My father-in-law swears by oatmeal. He did Weight-Watchers, and for one or two meals a day had a bowl of Quaker oats made, I think, with skim milk. It fills you up enough that you don't get hungry again later. Plus you can change it up easily, with (a little bit of) brown sugar, strawberries, or cinnamon. Good luck.
posted by farishta at 10:53 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Coffee. Lot's of coffee, black, no sugar.

Cigarettes are an option, too, but clearly not a very healthy one.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:54 AM on October 14, 2007

I wasn't even trying to lose weight at this time, but managed to drop about 20 lbs. over the course of five or six months. What happened was my dad had planted a garden in back of the garage, and suddenly had this influx of vegetables (more than he and mom could ever use). Partly to help get rid of them and partly to save money by not buying lunch, I started taking nothing but a selection of veggies with me to work every day for lunch. Usually it was just cucumbers, tomatoes and green peppers. Surprisingly I not only didn't get tired of the combo, after a few weeks I started craving it as lunchtime approached. I ate whatever I wanted for dinner; just cutting out fast food and restaurant lunches seemed to do the trick. (Once Dad's garden dried up, I started buying cukes and tomatoes at the grocery store to take for lunch, as I didn't want to gain the weight back.)
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:55 AM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

I'll second the oats, but it has to be "old fashioned" or whole flake oats, not the quick or instant type... they have a low GI and are pretty versatile... cooked or eaten raw as fresh museli, or with yogourt.
posted by glip at 10:58 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Avoidance of anything with corn syrup and switching over to water did wonders. It kind of shocked me how much that simple rule KILLED weight gain.
posted by jadepearl at 11:03 AM on October 14, 2007

Grapefruit and tomatoes for some reason.

I find them both very satiating and tasty.

And coffee.
posted by jourman2 at 11:11 AM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Diet Sodas for me. I drank ALOT of sodas. One with breakfast, about two fountain drinks with lunch then two to three with dinner. Usually a coke or dr. pepper. At about 200 calories a pop thats almost -1000 calories alone for me. Water would be better, but I love sodas ;) Plus im a caffeine junky.

That and tuna fish. I always have tons of canned tuna on hand. Need a snack? Open a can of tuna, drain the water, salt & pepper and a tiny bit of olive oil so its not dry. Delicious! (make sure you wash your cans before you throw them away or they will stink)

My last is chicken/turkey wraps which I started making myself. It meant I wasnt going out for fast food at lunch and I could make a delicious wrap out of chicken, lean turkey bacon, and avacodo wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

Oh! and for breakfast egg white burritos are fantastic. 3 whites, 1 yoke, whole wheat tortilla and a little salsa YUMMY. I eat one of those almost every breakfast.
posted by Tinen at 11:20 AM on October 14, 2007

I'll 'me too' on switching to water. It's the single best change I've made to my diet with regard to weight loss and overall happiness. It has awesome side-effects too. You save a ton of money, you feel more rested and energetic from cutting out caffeine, and you can actually abuse caffeine when you need to (one cup of black tea will keep me up a good 18 hours).

It's also self-reinforcing. The more water you drink, the tastier and more refreshing it becomes. The tastier it becomes, the nastier sodas start to seem. It's great.
posted by SemiSophos at 11:20 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Water and more veggies.
posted by konolia at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2007

Eating balanced portions from delicious recipes. After doing that for a few weeks, the idea of eating fast food is gross. It's amazing what a few simple spices can do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2007

Diet coke, for me it suppresses my appetite a bit and the caffeine keeps me going. However, after reading lately about the possible cancer causing effects of aspartame I've largely cut it out of my diet and actually think it's making me feel better.

Also, little things like low calorie ice cream bars and reduced sugar hot chocolate, that satisfy the craving for sweets, but since they also don't taste as good as the real thing, I find I crave them less because its less satisfying that the real thing. However, it is really easy to regress when you do have the real thing and you realize you forgot how amazing things like cheesecake and full fat sour cream really are.

The key for me is to find substitutes for things that I crave that will at least partially satisfy whatever craving I am having, whether for salt, fat, sugar, etc Then I can slowly phase out the high calorie foods.
posted by whoaali at 11:32 AM on October 14, 2007

Ground flax seed. Two tablespoons equals maybe 14% of the usual recommended fiber intake -- I add it to my morning yogurt or oatmeal and usually by the time lunch rolls around (4 hours later) I'm only just starting to get hungry instead of being ravenous to the point of eating my own face. It adds a really nice, nutty taste to things, and I've heard it goes pretty well in meatloaf/soups/stews and such. It's got to be ground, though -- unground flax seed will just shoot right through you.

Also, water. Water water water. Learn to love it. Float a lemon in it if you're accustomed to diet sodas and need a flavor in your beverage, do whatever you've got to do -- just drink it.
posted by palomar at 11:37 AM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]

Beans. We put a crock pot of dry beans on over the weekend, puree them and then add spices. Burritos anytime! Cheap, very filling, low calorie, and somehow helps fill that junk food shaped hole in my life. I also find that keeping fresh fruit out on the counter, especially small things like plums and grapes, really helps when I want something sweet.
posted by waterlily at 11:42 AM on October 14, 2007

Lentil soup. Filling, high protein, relatively low calorie.
posted by davar at 11:50 AM on October 14, 2007

I wouldn't credit any food I added, I would credit food I subtracted. Namely, the white devils - flour and sugar.


Also, water. Not necessarily replacing anything, but just always having it available to drink. Sometimes we confuse thirst and hunger.

Also, butter. This is only a half-joke. Fat doesn't necessarily make you fat.
posted by trevyn at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2007

lowfat yogurt.
posted by extrabox at 12:00 PM on October 14, 2007

I am going to have to try that Ground Flax Seeds out - I find I make my biggest eatting mistakes at lunch time when I work through normal lunch time and try and take my lunch at 1pm. Then I havent eatten for 5 hours and a fast food restaurant with amazing chili cheese hotdogs + chili cheese fries is right around the corner.
posted by Tinen at 12:06 PM on October 14, 2007

posted by Thorzdad at 12:15 PM on October 14, 2007

I lost some weight this past summer even though it wasn't my intention. I was playing soccer 3 or 4 nights a week, and after games, I would go out and drink beers and water with my teammates but we rarely ordered any food (something about running around in the heat kills my appetite.)

So, water and beer for dinner. But if you want to be healthy about it, less food and more water!
posted by emd3737 at 12:16 PM on October 14, 2007

This will sound really lame, but Consumer Reports backs me up! The past year I have substituted a Slim-Fast shake for lunch. Sometimes I'll add a piece of whole-wheat bread and Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. Just getting rid of the junk lunches - I lost 20 pounds. I know it sounds boring, but you get used to it and I saw quick results.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 12:29 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

i find a scoop of non-dairy protein powder in a high-fiber cereal keeps me satisfied all morning. my downfall used to be midmorning snacks--like, basically, i'd eat two lunches. this fixed it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:29 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

no rice
no potatoes
no pasta
no bread

lots of water throughout the day (8 glasses)

tuna, salmon (canned or cooked); sashimi (at least twice a week); small steak; braised vegetables; fresh vegetables; black coffee

...and a grapefruit every day.

I would eat other proteins, vegetables, fruits during the week, but the above were the mainstays of the diet. These are the foods that I like

The eating plan was easy to follow, and gave me energy while losing weight. Note the absence of alcohol, cigarettes (tsk, tsk mr_roboto) or diet sodas - that just didn't work for me.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:44 PM on October 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

Protein shakes and peanut butter.
posted by ch1x0r at 1:29 PM on October 14, 2007

nthing water. And much, much less ice cream.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:42 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

What will work for you depends on you. Your lifestyle, your food preferences. There's no set rule or list of foods you can eat to lose weight (if there was we'd all know about it and obesity would be a non-issue)

The most effective (if a little tedious) way of losing weight is calorie counting. One of the ways this works is it forces you to think about what you're eating. If you're trying to stick to a daily calorie limit, a piece of chocolate cake can seem a lot less appealing when it means no dinner.

Another thing that is important is consistency. Try to spread your calorie intake evenly throughout the day/week. No weekend treats - that doesn't mean no treats, just spread them out evenly.

But if I had to say 1 thing it would be water. As someone above me already said, sometimes hunger is a cry for water (a lot of our water intake comes from food - especially if you don't drink much water/water based drinks) If you don't like plain water, sugar-free cordials are virtually calorie free.

And limit fruit juice intake - eg. apple juice is slightly higher in calories than regular coke. (although much better for you)
posted by missmagenta at 1:42 PM on October 14, 2007

Apples and unsweetened applesauce. A whole big jar of unsweetened applesauce has just 250 calories, and is surprisingly filling and refreshing as a substitution for lunch or supper. It's yummy very cold and right out of the jar with a long iced tea spoon, and can take hours to finish.
posted by mochapickle at 1:46 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oatmeal and brown rice. And protein.
posted by synecdoche at 1:50 PM on October 14, 2007

The food I don't eat wins hands down.
posted by crewshell at 1:55 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Definitely water-- as much as possible with meals, and always, always eat breakfast. If you're not starving at lunch, you probably won't crave anything.
posted by activitystory at 2:27 PM on October 14, 2007

When I religiously worked out (45 min sweaty workout-- stairs, calisthenics and stretch) the pounds fell off no matter what I ate. As soon as I stopped working out, the pounds still come off but WAY slower.

(btw-- 44 pounds over 15 months. Size 16 to size 10)
posted by nax at 2:35 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Smoothie's for breakfast maybe? Fat free/no sugar added yogurt + orange juice + skim milk + banana (or other fruit)... I seemed to drink a lot of those when I lost a bunch of weight.

Of course I also ate a lot less of everything else, and exercised.
posted by backwards guitar at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2007

Copious amounts of Veggies.

runners up: high protein shakes and bars as meals, salmon caesar salad, radishes, cucumbers, pickles and celery as snacks.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:51 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oatmeal and beans beans beans! Of course, not together.

Also check out In praise of the crockpot for some great low-calorie options.
posted by neilkod at 3:16 PM on October 14, 2007

mochapickle and I should hang out. Applesauce, FTW. I do like a little cinnamon in my applesauce, though.

Water, water, water. I also go for iced tea, because after quitting soda I still need the caffeine or I get too sleepy to keep up with the kids (sluggish thyroid, seeing doc about this). Also, you can go to, say, Starbucks and splurge on a Tazo iced tea, so you still feel like you are pampering yourself, not depriving yourself. Women (get ready for controversy!) tend to put others first, and we sometimes think we "deserve" foods that are bad for us as compensation.

Stay away from most white foods. For "salty" cravings, pick pretzels over other chips. Baby carrots or applesauce feed "sweet" cravings.
posted by misha at 3:30 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

I used to always do this and it worked, although not as much now as it did: one can of low-sodium vegetable-style soup for lunch OR a single serving of cottage cheese (two percent), a handful of cherry tomatoes and lowfat triscuits. Both lunches are low in sodium and typically high in fiber and super-filling, plus you get vitamins, too! I used to stick to this for lunch for a couple of weeks and could lose 3-4 pounds in two weeks doing nothing else. Oh, and switch to vodka instead of beer and only mix it with soda water and a lemon or lime wedge. You'll get as drunk without the added sugar and carbs, and possibly spend less, too.

So, short answer: soup and cottage cheese.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:33 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

A huge jump in my weight loss came when I switched from 2% milk to Skim. That was some years ago and I don't drink much milk anyway but it seemed like when I made that switch is when i started noticed more weight loss. (This was, of course, in addition to a regimen of regular exercise and watching all the other things that I ate, too.)
posted by amanda at 5:04 PM on October 14, 2007

*I meant: I don't drink much milk *now* anyway -- back then I probably had a couple glasses a week plus some in my coffee and over cereal.
posted by amanda at 5:05 PM on October 14, 2007

Diet cola, since I was consuming too many calories from beverages before. Water is better for you, but it didn't have the same appeal.
posted by acoutu at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2007

Giving up soft drinks (I used to drink one every day for lunch) and switching to water as my default beverage is the single biggest weight-cutting diet change I've ever made.

I still drink a Coke every so often (maybe a couple times a month), but otherwise just a cup of black tea and a cup of OJ in the morning, and (on average) 2-3 alcoholic drinks a week.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:10 PM on October 14, 2007

I lost about 15 pounds (when I was somewhat thin to being with) when I more or less stopped drinking pop and fruit juice and switched to water/tea/coffee.

A couple years later I started drinking gin/vodka tonics rather than coolers and girlie drinks and that resulted in a bit more weight loss.
posted by thisjax at 6:17 PM on October 14, 2007

A friend swore by celery as a snack food. It's a negative calorie food, meaning you use more energy digesting it than you actually gain from having eaten it. (Except the way I eat it, which involves lots of peanut butter and raisins...not so good for weight loss.)
posted by anaelith at 6:55 PM on October 14, 2007

Fage greek yogurt (2%), for either a quick snack or dessert (add maybe some walnuts/honey/banana). Tastes incredibly rich, but only 130 calories a cup and low sugar and very high protein. It's expensive but if you figure getting any kind of take out snack costs a couple bucks anyway, go for the healthy option. Trader Joe's has 2% greek yogurt as well, it's pretty good.

Also, miso + dashi. Just about any kind of frozen greens taste delicious when made in miso soup and you can basically dump in as many greens as you want, it's really filling and super good for you (although salty).
posted by citron at 7:16 PM on October 14, 2007

For a different perspective, I've lost 12 pounds in a couple months not by cutting out any particular food, but by religiously counting all the calories I eat (with the help of and a couple Google spreadsheets). Beyond counting calories, I have no rules about what I eat; for instance, I still eat fast food regularly. Comparing my daily calorie intake and change in weight has allowed me to figure out a daily calories goal, and trying to stay under that gives me the motivation to skip that extra snack. This approach is not for everyone though; you've gotta like keeping track of things.
posted by Burns Ave. at 7:33 PM on October 14, 2007

-I've lost 55lbs by changing a lot of things but specifically food-wise:
-Crunchy things satisfy me the best.
-Celery, radishes, and carrot sticks cut up and ready for snacking with a small amount of hummus to dip them in.
-Small apples. (If I'm not hungry enough to eat an apple I'm not really hungry.)
-Tuna salad made with non-fat cottage cheese instead of mayo.
-Whole wheat pita bread for 99% of my bread needs, including pizza crust. 1% of the time I'll eat sliced wheat, sourdough or artesan. I don't miss it at all.
-A hard boiled egg--surprising how far this can go if I eat one a few hours before I work out or when I know I'm going to be w/o a meal for a long time.
- A Fiber-One bar now and then kills the sweets craving for me.
-Kashi frozen dinners - especially rosemary chicken when I don't feel like cooking. YUM
posted by culberjo at 8:18 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

No refined sugars. No white flour (including pasta). Lots of nuts, especially almonds.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:02 PM on October 14, 2007

I've lost 81 pounds in the last 10 months through eating changes. The aforementioned Shangri-La Diet has essentially eliminated my primal carb cravings, and eating well is pretty easy with those out of the way. However, the foods that made the biggest difference are those I ate during planned cheat meals. It's a lot easier to resist cravings if I know I can, nay, have to satisfy them eventually.
posted by backupjesus at 6:45 AM on October 15, 2007

Seltzer Water. I was a total soda junkie (probably the equivalent of 10-15 cans a day) and I kept trying to switch to water or diet soda, but I just couldn't get into them- water was boring and I don't like the taste of aspartame. As soon as I moved to New York and had regular access to seltzer, though, I was set. It's carbonated, so it still has the "bite" of soda, but it has no calories. Love it.

That and lots of lean meats. High protein + low fat = awesome.
posted by atomly at 7:55 AM on October 15, 2007

Whole foods and homecooked meals....essentially eliminating processed foods.
posted by kenzi23 at 2:43 PM on October 15, 2007

Before any and all meals eats an apple.
posted by snowjoe at 9:50 PM on October 15, 2007

Soup. Any meal that's mostly water will fill you up with fewer calories. Cereal for breakfast, soup for lunch, soup for dinner. Lots of water between.
posted by timepiece at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

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