100 pounds

The Worst Weight Loss Advice

I know I’m not alone in this. When I was trying to lose 100 pounds I got a ton of bad advice. There were tons of weight loss tips in women’s magazines, too, that were often a little…sketchy. It was hard navigating through the diet world and finding something that MADE SENSE, wasn’t a FAD and wasn’t UNHEALTHY. In the end, I found a method that worked well for me: counting my calories and eating whatever I wanted in moderation.

Not everything works for everyone. If you’re new to my blog, check out this old post: Why Wednesday – Why I’m Not Losing.

Here is some of the worst advice I’ve seen in articles and gotten from people when the topic of dieting has come up:

Skip Breakfast and Don’t Eat Snacks

Or skip any meal, not just breakfast. I’ve seen it before; people say they are saving up their calories for something else later–maybe it’s a potluck or a party or a special dinner. So you skip a meal, your stomach is growling, you’re cranky, you’re hungry, and by the time you get to that meal you were saving up for you go way overboard. It’s important not to deplete yourself so much that you’re woozy and ready to just binge on anything in sight!

Eating snacks throughout the day is healthy. Just make sure they are healthy snacks and not the bag of chips or donuts in the break-room at work. I’m talking about fruit and veggies, maybe some hummus and crackers or a string cheese or cottage cheese. Something filling (protein is good) that will tide you over. I love snacks. It keeps me from getting blood sugar issues (feeling dizzy or lightheaded). It keeps me from getting cranky (Michael often has snacks stashed away just in case–because he knows how I get if I wait too long to eat!). 

Skipping meals or denying yourself snacks can mess with your metabolism. Instead, try and keep things level and steady throughout the day.

Snacking is Not Bad

Foods Masquerading As “Healthy”

On The Go

Three Meals A Day

fruit

Don’t Eat Fat

This one bugs me so much! Fat is GOOD for you. Sure, not the fat in the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the giant cheeseburger. But somewhere along the years someone said fat was bad and people started eating low fat or non-fat foods…except most low-fat/non-fat foods are PACKED with sugar. Why? Because they took all the flavor out when they removed the fat. Gross.

Eat healthy fats. Avocado, good dairy (like a plain Greek yogurt instead of sugar-packed yogurts), fish is an excellent source and I love salmon! Coconut oil is great for cooking. Nuts and seeds are good fats (but the calories can add up fast, so eat them with moderation). Eggs and beans are good sources.

Always Hungry? Here’s Why

Deny Yourself All Junk Foods

This one is a little tricky. Yes, you should cut out junk food. Choosing healthy, whole foods that fuel your body is the better route to go. But completely cutting out certain foods isn’t going to work in the long run. I don’t know about you but when someone says “never eat pizza ever again” I’m gonna want nothing else BUT pizza!!

All Calories Are Not Equal

Eat Real Food

Are You a Moderator or an Abstainer?

How to Deal With Cravings

N is for Nemesis

I Had a Drinking Problem

It’s Making You Hungrier

Denying yourself ALL TREATS backfires. It will lead to binge eating. Trust me, from a reformed binge-eater, denying yourself food doesn’t work. Telling yourself that certain types of food are completely off-limits just makes you want it more. Instead, try MODERATION.

burger

Eat As Few Calories As You Can

I can’t tell you how many times I heard from people that they were trying to lose weight by being super restrictive. Even in a program like Weight Watchers…they were eating too few calories. 1200 calories a day is not enough, at all! Especially if you are also working out. You need fuel for your body and your brain.

Starving yourself doesn’t work! It can seriously screw up your metabolism and hinder weight loss. It could also cause permanent damage. My advice is to talk to a nutritionist or a doctor and establish where you should start. For me, I started at 2,000 calories a day. And then as I was losing weight and that started to slow or stall, I’d reduce that daily intake by a little bit. By the end I was eating around 1600 calories a day + some of the calories I burned in the gym. It worked for me. I never felt deprived. I never felt like I was weak or tired from lack of calories. My body felt healthy. And that’s the point. Health. 

Listen to your Hunger Cues and make better choices instead. Don’t let yourself get Insatiable!

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Don’t Eat Carbs

Carbs have been The Devil for a long time. While I admit that there are SOME carbs that should be avoided, or limited, I don’t think all carbs are bad. When I want to reign in my calories, I do tend to skip the pasta and the bread products. They just aren’t nutritionally enough for me. I’d rather eat something else that will be more filling and not “empty.” Skip the low-nutrient carbs and pick something better. That doesn’t mean all carbs should be avoided. In my diet, wild rice, couscous, quinoa, beans and sweet potatoes are a good thing! There’s also carbs in fruit and that’s healthy!

carbs

Mmmm pizza!

Yeah, so not everything is black and white!

pants

Instead of taking bad advice, read THIS POST:

Redefine Your Relationship with Food

and

An Excuse to Eat

and this one:

The “After” – 6 Year Anniversary

And then check out the series I wrote about how to lose weight:

How to Lose Weight Series: 

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Five Truths of Maintenance

And take all advice with a grain of salt. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. The gluten-free diet may have worked for your mom, but didn’t work for you. A friend might swear by going vegan or vegetarian and then you try it and find you don’t feel well. Everybody and every body is different. Find what works for you. Talk to a nutritionist or a doctor. EXPERIMENT. And when you find what works, stick with it as long as it keeps working!

What is some of the worst dieting advice you’ve ever gotten?

Reducing My Calories – Part 1

I want to preface this post with sort of a disclaimer. When I was losing 100 pounds I reduced my calories a lot, but never this low. Going from eating 5,000+ calories a day to under 2,000 calories a day is a pretty big jump. It was a drastic change for my lifestyle and my body. But it was a healthy drastic change.

I got used to eating around 2,000 calories a day and for the year and a half that I was losing weight I was striving to eating between 1600-1800 calories a day. Sometimes I ate back the calories I burned in the gym, sometimes I didn’t and created a bigger deficit. I was writing it down by hand in a journal and just adding my calories that way. It worked for me.

Fast forward a few years after maintaining my weight, I started using an iPhone app to track my calories. I maintained the 110 pound weight loss for 6 years. What I was doing was working. Now here comes the disclaimer. I firmly believe that eating 1200 calories a day is the most bottom number you can consume before it becomes dangerous. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist and you should definitely talk to a professional before doing something drastic.

I can’t say I’m excited about reducing my calories so much because of that. I don’t want to screw up my metabolism, or cause secondary issues (like immune problems or injury–which can happen if you don’t eat enough calories). As a result of these potential issues, I’m not going to be doing this super-low calorie diet for an extended period of time. My HOPE is that doing it for a week or two, maybe 3 tops will jump-start my body into losing weight.

The nutritionist I spoke to suggested I experiment with caloric intake–higher calories AND lower calories–and see what helps. Sometimes your body just gets STUCK and you need to wake it back up. Here is the food diary I have for the first week of trying this.
1

Day One

Breakfast: My breakfasts are usually pretty good and I don’t feel the need to change them up too much. What I’m doing has worked for the most part and keeps me full for a long time. Breakfast this day was 2 fried eggs, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, black coffee with creamer, and an EmergenC drink. Calories: 342

Snack: String Cheese, hot mint tea. Calories: 80

Lunch: I wasn’t quite prepared for lunches this week so the first day of the “diet” (i.e. lower calorie days) wasn’t the best. I kind of threw things together at the last minute. Lunch was a Chocolate Whey protein shake, medium sized banana, and sugar snap peas. Calories: 256

Dinner: Michael was famished after biking to work and needed a lot more calories than I did. I ended up having some leftover rice, a veggie burger, and steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing. Calories: 530

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Dessert: For dessert I had some chocolate pudding. Calories: 180

Total Calories for the day: 1456

stats
It was a pretty good food day, even being a little higher than 1300.

2

Day Two

This is a gym day and I wanted to eat a little bit more calories on this day in order to work out and not hurt myself.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 1 English Muffin toasted with cinnamon and splenda, black coffee with creamer, unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 362

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70

Lunch: I had some Carrot Ginger Soup, snap peas, raw red and orange peppers with a little salad dressing for dipping. Calories: 220

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries. Calories: 110

Dinner: I was doing really well and then it was Cinco de Mayo…I got home from the gym and Michael had made guacamole (which I love and have a hard time resisting). Dinner was 4 ounces of grilled flank steak on top of a salad with sauteed peppers and onions. I had some guacamole and chips, and topped it with a little sour cream. Calories: 790

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Total Calories for the day: 1622. A little higher than I wanted to shoot for but still less than what was my old “norm”.

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Calories burned: I did the elliptical at the gym and burned 374 calories.

tues1

3

Day Three

Breakfast: Trader Joe’s oatmeal with some brown sugar and dried coconut, coffee with creamer, unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 308

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70

Lunch: Carrot Ginger Soup and a chocolate protein shake. Calories: 240

Snack: Trader Joe’s Cottage cheese. Calories: 90

Dinner: Salad with raw yellow and orange peppers, carrots, 5 ounces of baked chicken breast, Gorgonzola cheese and Buffalo Sauce. Calories: 433

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Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries, chocolate chips and dried coconut flakes. Calories: 182

WED3

Total Calories for the day: 1424

calories

wed1

Calories burned: 604

day-4

Day Four

This day was not my best day. I did well until I got home from swimming. I was so freaking hungry I ended up snacking on some tortilla chips while I was cooking dinner. I ended up going over my calories for the day. I’m disappointed but I’m trying not to let it derail me.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, cottage cheese, coffee with creamer and plain iced tea. Calories: 342

Snack: Apple. Calories: 80

Lunch: Carrot Ginger Soup, sugar snap peas and a string cheese. Calories: 231

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, dried coconut flakes.  Calories: 135

Dinner: Spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, couscous and steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing. Calories: 730

dinn1

Calories burned: Went swimming and burned around 300 calories.

Dessert: Fun sized peanut butter snickers. Calories: 130

thur

Total Calories for the day: 1725. Too many! Went over my calories today. 🙁

Day-5

Day Five

Breakfast: English muffin with cinnamon and a little splenda, cantaloupe, half a serving of cottage cheese and coffee with creamer. Calories: 300

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Lunch: Steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing, leftover couscous, and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shui Mai. Calories: 388

This day is incomplete because I didn’t track my calories for dinner. It was Mother’s Day.

Calories burned: Went for a run and burned 443 calories. Then did yard work and burned a little over 200. 645 calories. 

IMG_7733

day-6

Day Six

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 338

Snack: Cantaloupe.  Calories: 56

Lunch: Salad with dressing and two slices of turkey deli meat, celery and baby carrots with guacamole. Calories: 249

Dinner: Couscous, spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, steamed and sauteed Brussels sprouts. Calories: 600

Dessert: strawberries and some chocolate. Calories: 120

Total Calories for the day: 1472

Calories burned: Around 80

The verdict: This first week I lost 1 pound! Stay tuned for next week!