Another Weight Loss Question

Updated on April 16, 2011
B.L. asks from Columbia Falls, MT
12 answers

Ok, so I've been keeping my daily calories at 1600 or less. But, does it matter if I have days where I eat garbage, but still make sure to keep my calories at or below 1600 calories?

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answers from Milwaukee on

You can for short term but for looong term loss you're better off eating GOOD food. I did lose 5 pounds the week before my wedding 19 years ago by eating only Peanut Buster Parfaits. It was the ONLY thing that destressed me and there was a DQ at the end of my block.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I think initially that method works.. less calories in more calories out, this despite what you eat, will cause you to lose weight. However, for long term results, I truly do believe that different types of foods (depending upon the individual) have different effects on a person. While I don't believe in "fad dieting" I do think there is truth to how different calories affect a person. Even weight watchers for which I think is one of the best programs out there has shifted their thinking in that they too realize different foods affect differently and that for example, not all breads are equal... That said, I think it depends on the individual and how much exercise you do AND how old you are.. when in my 20s..the idea of eating a limit amount of calories worked.. no matter what I ate.. as long as I stayed BELOW the designated amount, I would lose weight. whereas now, in my 40s.. it's a whole different ballgame..................... meaning, the "types" of foods I eat DO matter..
I can have a day where I eat really solid nutritional foods and limit my processed carbs.. then another day where although I ate less, I ate the wrong kinds of foods (for my own body that is) so basically it's individual... you have to find what works for you. I will say this.. even Weight Watchers now gives you about 49 points to simply binge on what you want... and for some, that works.. for others (such as myself) it doesn't... it doesn't work for me because once I allow myself to binge, I tend to stay on that binge.. it's kinda like a drunk who has only been clean for a week.. if the next week you allow them to drink, they tend to drink for awhile before ever getting clean again. in other words, "for me" I have to work my weight loss as a 12 step.. it might sound weird to some.. but I believe addiction is addiction. whether to booze or to food... in your case, sounds like you are doing ok.. but if you read more up on nutrition and the different effects food can have on the body, I think you might be able to tweak your program a bit ... otherwise, I wish you the best..

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answers from Las Vegas on

You are always better eating more nutritious food than you are eating garbage. And you can eat a lot more volume with nutritious food also. If you are eating healthy foods, then you are supplying your body with the phyonutrients, vitamins and minerals that it needs to operate and that will help you slim down a lot sooner in the long run.

Is okay to have your junk food day. When you deny a temptation instead of controlling it (deciding to devote 10% of your calories to a fun food), then it usually backfires for most people and you end up going off the wagon, so to speak. But I think it would just be good practice to get in the habit of focusing 90% of your daily intake on good wholesome food and 10% on splurge calories each day. A lot of processed and junk food are loaded with excessive amounts of sugar, salt and white flour which -- I don't know about for you but for me this definitely applies -- tends to trigger the part of you that wants more and more of that stuff instead of being satisfied with small amounts. It's a recipe for dieting disaster.

Each individual is different though so you should do what works best for you and your mind set. Just remember: you can't get fat on fruits and vegetables.

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answers from Columbus on

A calorie is a calorie, but if you eat calories with high fiber, some will not be absorbed. Calories that are from refined processed foods that are high in simple carbohydrates hit your blood streem quickly, cause a high insulin response, and are more quickly converted to fat stores if you do not use them up right away, and you feel hunger sooner than if you ate complexed carbohydrates and lean protiens that had the same calorie content. If you eat a bad fat, like a hydrogonated oil or a saturated fat, the body sees this as a fat, just like an olive oil and it treats it the same way in processing, but, a hydrogenated oil has effects on your blood lipids that are negative, and olive oil has positive effects, so it does not make any difference if you get 100 calories from bacon grease or from an avacado as far as your weight goes, but it matters for your health.

I have struggled with weight for a lot of years. The best thing to do is to not try to be perfect, and to not let one little slip destroy a whole day. If you ate the M&M's still eat the salad you had planned for dinner, if you just give up on the day and eat fried chicken mashed potatos and gravy for dinner because you already messed up for the day, it will sabatoge your whole outlook.

Eat well, most of the time. Forgive yourself when you don't, and eat well later. I do best when I avoid simple carbohydrates, and if I eat foods that have a lot of bulk and water in them. Furits and veggies are my God send. I can have a slip up if I am getting most of my bulk from foods that look like I just picked them...

Good luck to you!

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answers from Detroit on

Hi BKL---If you eat garbage, you won't be getting the nutrients the body needs to function properly. We can't get too hung up on calories because that seldom works. Counting calories leads to feelings of is better to count grams of fiber. Get as much as you can. That means you'll be eating mostly plants. Meat and dairy contain mostly fat and calories and don't contain any nutrients that can't be consumed through plants. Current recommendations are for 24 grams of fiber per day. A minimum of 50 grams is best. But increase the amount slowly to allow your digestive system to adjust. I've actually heard it recommended that we get 100 grams per day.

The point is that if you don't get the nutrients that your body demands of you, it will actually hold onto fat and store those calories because the body thinks you are trying to starve it. You didn't mention whether or not you exercise or what your activity levels are. A friend of mine, who has a very clean and healthy diet, AND very active physically, found that he wasn't able to lose some weight gained during a period of inactivity. He was adding miles to his runs, working out extra time each day and he also played in a hockey league. He ended up adding 600 calories per day and then dropped 20 pounds in a very short time. His body was starving for what he was demanding of it.

So it is also a matter of the quantity of food that you eat. The bottom line is the quality of food. Now, it is possible to have a treat now and then, but you should never have treats in the house. But you just have to decided on how much and when you want to lose that weight. Then, when you get there, you must maintain an optimal diet plan, or all of your hard work will vanish when returning to your former eating habits. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to talk about this some more. I'm taking classes taught by a Naturopath who has her PhD. The first, Wellness 101, is a class that everyone should take. It's pretty eye-opening in terms of finding out that much of what we've learned, like the USDA food pyramid, is not really good nutrition information. Good luck, D.

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answers from Glens Falls on

Does it matter to weight loss or does it matter to your health? Generally, if you take in less calories than you burn, you'll lose weight. (the Subway diet) But here's the thing, people who starve themselves to death are bloated, disoriented, and they lose muscle mass. If you put your body through the stress of not having the nutrients it needs, then you might drop some pounds but your body will go into starvation mode. And you might not know you've lost weight because your body might decide to retain fluid to protect itself. It might decide to lose muscle mass instead of fat stores. It will effect your feelings of satisfaction and maybe even your decision making. You are way better off doing a sensible diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies for nutrients and fiber, protein and moderate amounts of fat to keep you going and feeling satisfied. Maybe you are just talking about one day when you do something different because there's a special meal you want to have. I don't think that would be a big deal. But the biggest thing you need for weight loss is commitment. The best way to hold commitment strong is to adjust to healthy eating because, if you are consistent, you will crave what you eat. If you can get to that point - and really it only takes like a month of consistent healthy eating - than "dieting" becomes less of a burden because you really start to like what you are eating. And it totally reduces the risk of regaining the weight. It is truly worth learning the right way to eat. The diet program I like the best - still, after all these years - is Weight Watchers because they teach healthy eating habits and cooking. Just keep trying recipes until you find things you like that are good for you. Lower stress and getting enough sleep will completely help you, too!

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answers from Denver on

In my experience if you have one bad day to keep from going on a sugar binge or give up the diet it is ok. When my husband and I first started our life style change and had to diet to loose weight we worked out at least 5 times a week and would allow ourself to have one day of badness. I found out that if I ate healthy and allowed enough calories for a glass of chocolate milk and a 100 calorie pack during the other days, I was able to stick to the program. As a fun note, ( I do not recommend it due to you should have healthy nutrients in your body) a professor did do a twinkie diet to prove that its the calories that count ( so much for magic foods) and he lost weight.
Like I said funny but not recommended.As another mom said eating junk food makes you tired. Plus I think it depends on the person, my hubby can work out and can only have one or two bad days, but if he cheats more than that or has too many breads/pasta he will not loose, verses me where I am blessed with the metabolism that lets me eat terrible most of the time as long as I jog. Good luck

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answers from Chicago on

Try to think of calorie intake on a weekly basis. Yes it is really good that you would be around 1600 calories. Multiply that number by 7 and that will be the number of calories per week you can divide among the days. You don't want to go over by a bunch on one day and then have to seriously cut back on another day. Having a piece of cake on Sunday and then maybe being 50-100 calories short over the next 3-4 days is fine. Having a piece of cake every other day and then cutting back 300-400 calories every other day is a bad idea!

The other thing you should focus on is "eating the rainbow" during the week. Fruits and vegetables should be the main component of your nutrition plan. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables in all shades of the rainbow over the course of a week ensures that you get the much-needed variety of vitamins and minerals for a healthy, balanced diet.



answers from Denver on

Yes, it does matter. Because you are restricting calories your body has to get all the nutrients it needs from the limited amount you are eating. If you eat garbage it is basically "empty calories". It will not fill you up and you will feel much hungrier then if you choose healthy foods. Also, you will get sick easier. Finally, why are you losing weight? If it is to look good, healthier foods will keep your skin tone rosier and prettier. If it is for health, then eating garbage defeats the purpose.
Good luck on your journey,


answers from Detroit on

You have to eat healthy if you are looking to lose weight. I try to be "good" all week and I am more "free" on the weekends. We go out to dinner every Saturday and sometimes Sunday's and I will have some beers and maybe a mixed drink and boy can I tell the diff come Monday when I start all over again. I am not going to change what I do, because it really is in moderation and it's 1-2 evenings a weeks. You have to workout and eat good the majority of the time or you will not get the results you are looking for. No fun being a girl sometimes I know, but it's just the way it is......



answers from Salt Lake City on

Yes and no.

It doesn't really matter as far as weight loss - that's just the law of thermodynamics - calories in vs calories out.

But for overall health, it definitely matters. At 1600 calories, you have to make them count. You need fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. Add a multivitamin in, but make sure what you eat is good stuff. In the long run, it'll make it much easier to maintain the habit. (I lost well on 1600 calories, mostly good stuff. But I kept a quart of icecream in the fridge to reward myself if I was good the rest of the day. 1 scoop (1/4 cup) a day IF my calories were low enough).


answers from Los Angeles on

weightloss wise, it doesnt matter where the calories come from. Keep it at 1600, you'll lose weight. Eat what you need to or cravings start over. So if you need some junk, have it. Dont get caught up in guilt for a chocolate bar or mcdonalds or whatever the "slip" may be, just carry on with the diet. Eat as much raw food as you can. Fiber supplements help. Drink lots of water, even the calorie free water ones ( i love those, so addicted) Dont focus on the diet... just follow what you know for calories, and enjoy yor food! Im dieting too, and this sort of plan is working for me :)

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