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Diet ruminations

So there are proponents of the "It's the Calories, stupid" diet plans. Basically, supposedly if you cut out 3500 calories, you lose a pound. But to be honest, I don't really believe in it. There are people who can eat a lot, and stay skinny. And there are people who *used* to be skinny and eat a lot, didn't really change their eating habits, and they start getting fat as though grow older.

I've always eaten a lot. Even at my skinniest, I loved food. I've lost 10 lbs without trying, gained 10 lbs without changing my diet that much. Always ate a lot of chocolate, and my weight has fluctuated up and down since 2001. So right now, I feel like I'm at the not-skinny end of that variance, and I'm looking at my body and going... hello? Time to swing down again, please. I'm not sure why I lost a bunch before, but please repeat it! Thanks!

I'm not sure if it's just part of aging. Your metabolism gets ragged and tired from all the pesticides and junk. That's probably part of it.

And obviously, if I go on a pineapple diet like my ballet dancer friend I'll lose weight, but I'll probably shoot myself.

I read about this guy, who was 400 lbs, and had an epiphany: "I'm fat, because my body wants to be fat." And he spent the next few years convincing his body that it wants to be skinny. He ate whatever his body wanted, whenever it was hungry. But in addition to that, he fed it the nutritious food that he knew the body needed. So even though he didn't crave fruits and veggies, he made himself eat those as well. Yeah, he lost the weight. He also did visualization exercises.

I actually think that's brilliant. Maybe if I disguise some brocolli in cheese, my body will eventually start craving brocolli (with cheese). But seriously, I dislike eating vegetables. And I don't think this calorie limiting thing is the way to go. It's not sustainable, and I've never lost 10 lbs by calorie counting. I've lost a bunch of weight twice in my life, and I didn't really try or changed things that much. In fact, the second time it happened I didn't realize until a friend asked me if I lost weight. When I try, it doesn't happen. Maybe I'll just let go, but force myself to eat all those terrible tasting nutritional foods, and see what happens.

Oh and exercise. Of course.

I'm rambling. Speaking of which, I'm hungry now.

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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
zuleikhajami
Sep. 28th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
Metabolisms do slow as people age, which is why people who could eat anything when they're younger gain weight as they age. I'm 10 pounds heavier than I was two years ago with no obvious or deliberate change in my eating. However, I seem to be pretty stable at this new weight, so I accept it as my body's new, post-30 set point.

However, the data on the rise of obesity in the US supports the idea that it's all about calories. People don't have a great idea of how much they're eating, so they eat too much and gain weight. People with rapid metabolisms who can eat anything and not gain are just statistical outliers, like people with thyroid problems who eat very little but gain a lot. I don't like the idea of strict calorie counting for weight loss--I think it breeds an unhealthy attitude towards the body and food--but I think it can be done as part of a general attempt to gain better awareness of what and how much a person is eating.

Your body may learn to crave fruits and vegetables if you force yourself to eat them for a bit. That seems to be how it works for a lot of people. But if your overall health is good, do you need to bother?
antoniseb
Sep. 28th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
I'm currently in the "It's The Calories..." camp. However I think that there are certain types of food that lead me to eat more calories, and other to eat less. Aging has slowed the calorie usage a bit, but it's been a smaller factor than total intake variations.

preservationgal
Sep. 28th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
what about veggies that have a rich taste? If you cook lightly wilted winter greens (kale, collards, chard, spinach, ) with a light coating of a garlic butter, they taste way better than plain.

I also really like slightly wilted kale in a spicy rice-vinegar sauce like seaweed salad. Or, for that matter, seaweed salad, since it has all those same yummy green vitamins.

Start with foods you DO like, and see what you can add to them to up your seasonal veggies intake.

Or, I could stop giving you advice you didn't ask for.
ripresa
Sep. 28th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
no no, i appreciate advice. in fact, the veggies i do cook, it was because i was at a friend's house and had dinner and observe the way they cooked.

i do like garlic and one of those dark green veggies. i don't know what it is.. asian spinach?
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gailmom
Sep. 28th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
Granted, for large chunks of my life, I've had a pretty good metabolism. (send a thank you outward into the world) but there have been times, due to medication or pregnancy/nursing, when I've need to watch my weight, or have actively been working to lose anywhere from 10-70 pounds. I'm having to get back in these habits now, since my body seems to be shifting my metabolism. (damn the aging process. lol)

The best "tricks" I've found? If I feel hungry...first I drink 8 oz of water. Then I reassess. A lot of times, I was really just thirsty.

Also, if you regularly eat veggies, eventually you start wanting them. It took a year of feeding me veggies I didn't want, but now my kitchen witch has me actively requesting some of them (not all of them) if we go for a while without. Just like toddlers with new foods, we adults have to try something a dozen times before we stop hating it...more to start liking it.

convenience food and fast food are the enemy. THey are designed to satisfy the biological craving for sugar and fat, without nourishing you, so you will feel hungry again and crave more food. The closer to its original state a food is in, the better it is for you. SO the potato, baked, is better than fried, is better than fried and frozen, etc.

The more thoroughly you chew each bite, the more time you give your tongue to enjoy the flavor (so you aren't 'eating for the taste') and your tummy to say "hey, full here, thanks". (This is my biggest weakness...was raised by a navy man, I'm a speed eater. ;(

And no, I never found calorie counting helped. Eating good food, when I'm hungry, after I water-up, and staying active (even if it's "just" walking more) always worked better for me (though not drastically, long term better) than any weird diet or calorie tracking did.

And yeah..I highly recommend skipping the "pineapple only" diet..that sounds like a good way to go insane.

and end up hating pineapple. :P
ripresa
Sep. 28th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine you needing to lose 70 lbs! :)

You've a lovely body.
(no subject) - gailmom - Sep. 29th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
ms_goose_says
Sep. 29th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Age does have an effect, sadly. I've been lucky with my metabolism, I know that, but I've had to reassess and reinvigorate a bit at 40. I think for me the thing is...does it really give me pleasure, the food? Cause if it does, then amen, and if it doesn't why eat it? Same with the movement/exercise.

If stage combat or dance gives me joy, my body will respond. If I hate biking, I won't do it.

You are active and lovely yourself so just go with what gives you happiness.
sadie_sunshine
Sep. 29th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
One, you are beautiful and two, I completely feel you on the looking at your body and saying, hello?

While any day-to-day advice I could give you would be hypocritical, if you like, I'll start putting you on Cait and I's potluck list. We have one every month or so with a theme and all her healthy teacher friends bring delicious, mostly vegetarian dishes. I've learned several yummy ways to make previously loathed vegetables from their food.

Of course, I think the next one will be German-themed for Oktoberfest and may not be the healthiest way to start...

ripresa
Sep. 29th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Yes, definitely please.

:)

desfontaines
Sep. 29th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
Beyond the fact that you have a hot body, quite frankly, all the reading I've done points that biochemically, it's the sugars. Go watch Fat Head for a summary of it. Fits with what I know historically, anthropologically, and biologically. Too tired to say much more right now.
ripresa
Sep. 29th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
*loves you*

Oooh I love documentaries.. I'll have to look it up!
(no subject) - ripresa - Sep. 29th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC) - Expand
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dnivie
Sep. 29th, 2009 10:54 am (UTC)
It's the calories
Well, due to basic physics, it's definitely the calories. If your intake is 3500 larger than what you burn, you'll definitely gain a pound of fat, and if your intake is 3500 less, you'll definitely lose a pound of fat.

BUT, like always, that's only half the story. First, not *everything* you lose will be fat, and not *everything* you gain will be fat, in the real world, you lose some combination of fat and muscle, and there's a lot less calories in a pound of muscle than in a pound of fat. In the hypothethical case where you lose only muscle, 3500 calories will let you lose 5 pounds of muscle.

Second, your burn-rate is not constant. It changes with metabolism and activity-level. Which again changes with age, time-of-month and several other factors that are hard to estimate.

So someone can really eat pretty much the same thing, yet seemingly for no reason, gain or lose several pounds.
preservationgal
Sep. 29th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
What do you eat for breakfast on most mornings?
ripresa
Sep. 29th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
yogurt.

supposedly protein is best for breakfast but i can't be bothered to cook in the morning.
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mlordslittleone
Sep. 29th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
I lost ~35 pounds on the "dessert once a week, apples instead of candy bars, carrots instead of chips, etc." diet.

No calories or carb-free or whatnot. Just less sugar and fat. I totally still eat real butter and great cheese and whatnot, but it's not cheese soup with broccoli, it's broccoli steamed and sprinkled with Parmesan. It's not ice cream after dinner every night, but it is amazing torte when I'm in a nice restaurant and haven't had a really good dessert in awhile.

It is calories, but it's not always about counting them. Sometimes it's just about being aware of how much energy did I *really* burn sitting in my cube today? Probably not enough to justify a 4" square of lasagna? Ok. So I'll have a 4x2" square of lasagna, with a side salad (I don't like dressing, so that helps there...) and some grilled zucchini.

As for cravings - yes, you start to crave what you eat. I honestly crave zucchini (and I used to HATE zucchini!) among other healthy things. Make sure all of your culinary skills aren't being isolated from your veggies. So many folks steam their veggies and serve them just like that and wonder why no one likes them. A tab of butter on a serving of broccoli is 80 times better (not a technical measurement at all) for you than a tab of butter on a baguette slice.

Be kind and gentle (and forgiving) with yourself and your body. And if I remember correctly, you do yoga sometimes? Yoga always makes my body want to eat better.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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