Trrying to Change to "Healthier" Eating

Updated on June 21, 2009
L.U. asks from Kirkland, WA
40 answers

Hi ladies.
So this will probably be long and kind of all over the board...here goes.
My husband and I decided to join a gym. He has a lot of weight in his belly and I have a lot of weight....everywhere!
He probably needs to lose about 50lbs. I need to lose a lot more than that. It's very tough for me because I know that he will lose that weight quickly (within 4 or 5 months I am sure) and it will be very obvious and I could lose the SAME amount of weight as him and people will probably look at me cockeyed and say, "Did you cut your hair?" grr...
BUT, I understand that it took me a long time to put all this weight on, that the years will pass no matter what so I may as well try and be healthier!
I have been going to water arobics every night (it is an hour class) and have drastically changed my diet. I have always been very sure to make sure my kids eat their fruits and veggies but have not been so worried about myself or husband. We have been eating a lot more fruits and salads and trying to look at packages to make sure we are just eating the serving size (cereals, milk...). It is very hard! I have taken mayo out of my diet and make sandwhiches with non fat sour cream, there's non fat yougurt and cottage cheese and milk, and low fat crackers and tortillas.
So here's the thing....My mother was in Weight Watchers all through my growing up (she is also a big woman, as is my grandmother) and I remember her joking that if anything tasted good it was probably bad for you. I need some ideas of things that DO taste good and are good for you.
Any words of encouragement are appreciated, but receipes are even more appreciated!!

ADDITION - Nope, I haven't added walking yet to my routine, I work full time, get home at 5pm, make a quick dinner so we can eat before going to the gym, get there at about 6ish (or 7ish if that's when my class starts), work out for an hour, go home at 8, get boys to bed. I usually have a snack when I get home from the gym, an apple or some other kind of fruit, and that's it. Not snacking at night has been very difficult, for the BOTH of us! And yes, I am trying to drink a lot more water, but then I have to go to the bathroom ALL OF THE TIME!
L.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the advice ladies! Still going to the gym (2 weeks!) but having a hard time eating right on the weekends...so many parties! We are trying to stay away from the processed foods and shop just the perimiter of the store. I tried to look up Hungrygirl.com but for some reason my computer wouldn't let me (who knows why...). Can't do vegetarian, I just like meat to much, but appreciate all the advice and words of encouragement!

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R.G.

answers from Spokane on

Hungrygirl.com has TONS of receipies for girls like us who like to have things that taste good with out all the calories and fat intake. Also Livestrong.com has a link called the Daily Plate, it has really helped me track what I eat as well as plan for meals.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

One of my easy changes is to use marinara instead of alfredo. I make lasagna with polenta, marinara, riccota, and mozerella, just alternating layers. I have no idea the nutrition in it, but it's tasty and feels healthier than the lasagna my mom used to make.

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K.C.

answers from Seattle on

Hi L.,

Congratulations on deciding to be healthier. I've picked up a few tips over the years that may be helpful. Some are foods to try, and others are just general tips.

Substitute ground turkey for ground beef in recipes. It works best when the meat is going to be seasoned, especially in taco/burrito meat. The texture is a little different, but it's much less greasy.

Drink LOTS of water.

Dill pickles are a great way to satisfy a salty craving. Low cal, no fat and cucumbers are veggies.

To help with portion sizes if you buy crackers, chips, cookies, etc. Buy some snack size plastic baggies, and divide the snacks into servings. You can count pieces or use a scale to speed things up. Then you just grab one baggie for a serving and don't have the temptation of going back to the box for more.

Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are great!

I've never tried this one, but I have a relative who uses nonfat coffee mate powder and butter buds to provide the dairy flavor in instant mashed potatoes, using water for the liquid. Not sure how it tastes, but she likes it.

Use smaller plates at mealtimes. It will make it look like you're eating bigger portions than you are.

A spoonful of chocolate chips can help satisfy a craving for rich and chocolatey...if you can do just one :)

Sugar free pudding and cool whip with fruit can make a very yummy dessert without blowing your eating plan.

In restaurants, ask for a box with your entree, and put your "leftovers" in it before you start eating.

If you like to cook, there was a show on the Food Network a few years ago called "Calorie Commando." The host was annoying, but the few recipes I tried were pretty good. The recipes may still be available on the foodnetwork.com.

I like "The Weight Watchers Complete Cookbook" http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Weight-Watchers-New-Comp....

I also have a Weight Watchers "cookbook" that I found on the magazine aisle a few years ago. They may have something similar available now. It is only recipes--no articles or ads--that are quick, easy and use fewer ingredients than the full cookbook I have.

Use dry seasoning rubs to flavor meats. My favorites are lemon pepper for chicken and fish or creole seasoning for chicken and pork. They add lots of flavor without adding calories.

Plan ahead! Make a menu of meals and a shopping list before you go to the grocery. You'll be less tempted to buy something not on the list because it looks good, you'll always have everything you need to cook dinner (no emergency burger nights), and you'll save money.

Splurge on a few sessions with a personal trainer at your gym. You'll receive the education you need to make sure you're doing the right kind of exercises with the correct form to be successful.

Good luck!

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E.L.

answers from Seattle on

It sounds like you are on a good track. Cutting out processed foods is very important. However, I am not a fan of "low-fat" eating. Fat is important for your body. Most "low-fat" items contain more sugar. Sugar causes imbalances in your insulin level, causing you to store more body fat.

I really like "The Schwarzbein Principle". You should be able to get it from your local library, or order it online. She does a good job of explaining how our bodies process the different food components.

Basically, you should eat more non-starchy vegetables, correct portions of meat, and limited healthy carbs (but *do* eat them).

Here's what I often eat for meals:
Breafast:
*Old Fashioned oatmeal prepared with butter, cream and salt, half a banana (often in the oatmeal for the added sweet), one pattie of nitrite-free and sugar-free sausage (just look at the ingredient list. Most ground, loose breakfast sausage is this way.)
*Two eggs, 1/2C of full-fat yogurt with walnuts and banana slices.
*German Pancake (serves 2) 4 eggs, 1 C milk, 1 C flour, dash of salt - mix well, pour in preheated, buttered ovensafe pan, bake for 15 minutes at 400*. -- I just put lemon juice on mine, but my husband likes his with salsa. My kids like it with a little jam spread across (but I try to keep my sugar intake low.) & side of cantaloupe slices.

Lunch:
*1/2 avocado chunked, 1 tomato chunked, 1 cooked chicken tenderloin chunked, 1 T fullfat sour cream, 2 T salsa.
*turkey slices wrapped around apple slices, side of string cheese.
*dinner leftovers. :)

Dinner:
I have a small serving of meat at nearly every meal, dinner included.
*Broiled fish with seasonings on top (salmon with lemon juice and ground black pepper, tuna medallion wrapped in bacon slice and vinegar-based sauce, whatever's on sale with a nice seafood rub on it...
*Good steak, SMALL portions, with a dash of worchestershire suace.
*Veggie Sides: cauliflower and broccoli, red garnet yams (which need *nothing* added, yum!), sliced carrots, half a baked potato with butter/sourcream/S&P, brussel sprouts sauteed lightly in butter with garlic/S&P & topped with a bit of grated parmesean.
*Carb sides: baked brown rice & quinoa, quinoa alone, couscous, 1/2 slice of bread, small roll, whole wheat biscuit...all of these have butter on them.

If you want actual recipes I can give you those.

Good luck! And by the way, my kids eat all of those vegetables now (ages 4 and 2) after turning them down for a week or so. We do have a rule of them having to try everything. Except, neither one likes brussel sprouts. :) The 4yo officially loves cauliflower and broccoli.

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

L., this is one of the most difficult lifestyle changes to make – at first. The more you can avoid those seductive, prepackaged, highly-flavored foods, the more you will discover that simpler, more natural foods actually taste – GOOD! And your cravings for certain foods will go away if you can eliminate them for a time; depending on the food, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

On fat avoidance: some people find it helpful. Others (statistically, many others) do a lot better controlling carbs than fats, and the weight tends to stay off better.

You might wish to investigate the possibility that your brain circuitry has been "hijacked" by the food industry.

Modern food products are loaded with fats, sugars, flavors and textures that are carefully designed to make us want more. Like addicts, we may have to spend time away from those foods for our natural appetites for healthy, natural foods to become available to us.

There's a great new book on this subject called THE END OF OVEREATING, by David Kessler. I heard him interviewed, and am planning to buy this book. You can read reviews and see a video by this author at http://www.amazon.com/End-Overeating-Insatiable-American-...

I hope you will make this change for yourself, your well-being, and your future, not for what other people will think of you. Your husband probably will lose weight faster than you. Men generally have higher metabolisms than women, and much more of the kinds of muscle and fat tissue that can convert fat to energy during activity. So don't compare; you can't ever win that way. The "win" will come from your deep wish to be good to yourself.

Now, I'm not talking as a skinny woman, here. (I was pretty slim until menopause). Recent years have been very hard on my general health, and between chronic lung troubles and some injuries, I have a hard time being as active as I would like to be. I have gained 60 pounds I don't need over the past 12 years or so. But I do eat carefully, avoid most processed foods, and for more than 4 years have been keeping diabetes under control without medication or insulin.

And I actually really like natural foods! I have developed quite a list of favorite, fairly quick "from scratch" meals that my skinny husband loves, too. (Soups, salads and sandwiches are high on our list.) I do NOT enjoy cooking, though, so one of my favorite habits is to prepare enough of a healthy recipe for two or more meals, and then freeze some, or eat it for 2-3 days in a row.

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S.D.

answers from Seattle on

Hi L.,
Good for you for taking care of yourself and your family. It is a tough road, but it is well worth it. I have been doing Weight Watchers and it is hard to retrain yourself and to find yummy, satisfying foods. Here are some things we enjoy that are low calories and healthy:

Shrimp and / or Scallops- I cook them in a tiny bit of olive oil with seasonings- (I like Old Bay, salt and pepper)

While they are cooking I make Trader Joe's Whole Grain Cous Cous- I cook it in broth to add flavor- I dice up mushrmmos, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes (Bassically whatever veggies I have) and toss them in with the cous cous.

The shrimp goes on top of the cous cous and it is a great meal- Takes 10 minutes to make, and is really low points. Add a saslad and you've got a meal.

Other things we like:
Sandwiches (tuna, turkey, ham) but instead of bread roll everything up in a whole wheat tortilla (they sell a big package at Costco for around $5.00)

Also, Orowheat makes a new product called Sandwich thins- They look like really skinny hamburger buns. They have good flavor for sandwiches- great for grilling and a whole one is 100 calories.

Light yogurt - add lots of fresh fruit (I like berries) and sprinkle a little Grape Nuts (or whatever whole grain cereal) makes a filling, yummy summer snack or breakfast- very low points-

Taco Soup:
Brown ground turkey- cookk with Taco seasoning packet
In one big pot add:

Meat with all the juices
1 can each (with all the juices):
Corn
diced tomatoes
black beans
kidney beans
sliced olives
broth (I use chicken, but whatever you like)

It makkes a large pot of soup- very tasty- you can add (to your bowl just before eating) some reduced fat cheese- fat free sour cream, cilantro, avacado chunks, a few whole grain tortilla chips chrunched up if you like texture...

Hope this helps-
\Hang in there!

S.

let simmer until hot or for a while if you like

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M.S.

answers from Portland on

I lost 30 pounds in 3 months with weight watchers online, and what helped me the most was prepackaged meals. I cleared it with my doctor and he said that it is perfectly healthy and even said it would not be a bad idea to feed my kids. I buy Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, etc. They are perfectly portioned and have flavor! I only used them for lunches because it is so hard to plan and prepare 3 healthy meals a day. I found myself standing in the kitchen staring around for an hour trying to figure out what I wanted to eat.

One other really important thing I learned is that nothing is off limits! If you make things off limits, you will crave it and eventually your craving will win, leading to guilt which will sabotage everything. I chose one day a week that I got dessert (whatever dessert I wanted). Everything else, I just changed the recipe a little, or ate less. For example, with lasagna, I used fat free cheeses and used less. We switched everything to fat free or low fat (most of it isn't too bad and you really do get used to it). We paid more to get ground beef with only 7% fat and used only 1/2 pound in recipes instead of 1 lb.

Good luck. Remember that you are doing this for yourself and what others notice is an added bonus, but not the reason for doing it. Toot your own horn and brag a little about your progress. Keep a progress chart where you can see it to stay motivated. Only weigh yourself once a week, and remember that a healthy loss is 1/2 - 2 lb a week.

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L.R.

answers from Portland on

Yay for you! Here are a couple of things that have kept me going on my weight-loss journey:

1. For breakfast, 2 over-easy eggs and fat-free cheese on low-cal toast (no butter). Great protein, low fat, and will keep you going for hours.

2. Costco has some wonderful protein shakes with 30 g protein, and only 3 g fat. Can you tell I'm all about protein? These make a great breakfast.

3. Buy some plain roasted almonds and separate them into 20-almond portion sizes.

4. Keep some frozen grilled chicken strips on hand.

5. Balsamic vinegar and a packet of italian seasoning mix is a great alternative to high-fat dressings, and tastes better than bottles of the yucky fat-free stuff.

6. Every time you feel snacky, drink a big glass of water. It's very easy to confuse thirst with being hungry or snacky.

7. If you get a sweet tooth, try a cup of tea with Splenda.

8. I swear by Nancy's Organic Nonfat yougurt. Use it instead of mayo, sour cream, milk...mix a diced apple and some Grape Nuts in some Nancy's for breakfast, or dice up some cucumber, and mix it with Nancy's, a little salt and pepper or garlic salt, and eat it on a baked potato, as a veggie dip, or just by itself. Yum!

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K.R.

answers from Portland on

First of all, GOOD FOR YOU!!! Don't worry about whether other people notice or not, just realize you're making the choice to be around for a long time for your kiddos. My husband and I have also made some pretty significant dietary changes over the last year, mostly adding in tons of whole grains. It was kind of a hard switch for me and the kids to go to brown rice, pasta, etc. but it's paying off. Also, my secret weapon is hummus. I'm much more likely to eat lots of raw veggies if I have some hummus to dip them in, and it's much healthier than ranch. I also try to keep hard boiled eggs on hand because one egg is a fairly filling snack to push me through til dinner. My other trick is to keep a bowl of washed grapes and berries, or cut up melon out on the counter all day for me and the kids to snack on. I find it's harder for me to control my eating than it is for my husband because I'm home all day, but his day is more structured at work, so he can't just graze all day long. Having the fruit and veggies washed, chopped, ready at the beginning of the day before I get busy gives me healthy choices when I want to grab a quick snack, instead of reaching for wheat thins, fish crackers, etc. My final tip is the one that's been the hardest, but has really paid off: no eating after the kids are in bed. That used to be my biggest downfall because I would consume so many calories in the evening. Now I let myself have a bag of popcorn one evening a week. Other than that, it's water or tea. Good luck and congrats on doing such a great job!

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F.B.

answers from Bellingham on

Hi L.,
I would strongly encourage you to take a look at Weight Watchers, it isn't the same Weight Watchers that you remember from your mom. They have wonderful on line resources (recipes, food tracking, weight tracking, activity tracking, articles, bulletin boards, etc....) There is no need to even go to a local meeting you can do everything on line, however there is the option to get the on line service through a local membership too as well. Obviously there is a monthly fee, they usually have a special for first time subscribers, but I think it is well worth it for the services that they provide and the potential benefits you will gain. I know how hard it is to have a husband who just needs to basically think he needs to get into better shape and he is there (hereditary is not very fair :), so having the WW website to read and share with others going through the exact thing that you are is such a blessing (kind of like Mamasource:)
Good Luck!!!
F.

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M.S.

answers from Seattle on

Good for you for taking on your well-being. You've gotten so much advice, and here is one more opinion. We keep eating large portions because we are hungry for nutrition, which we don't readily get from all the processed and high chemical artificial ingredient foods we are purchasing. A good rule of thumb is to grocery shop only on the outer aisles--fresh produce (organic is far healthier and has many more nutrients than factory farmed produce)whole grains etc. Many low-fat items use far more sugar or worse, a fake sugar substitute. Unfortunately, once sugar passes your stomach, your body turns it into fat.

Also, any toxic material that your body can't safely eliminate gets wrapped with a layer of fat and stored in the body. This is one of nature's ways of having our bodies take care of us. So things like the chemical residue from all the pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics which are commonly sprayed on factory animals and produce end up in our food and our bodies. Organic choices eliminate having these chemical residues enter your system.

I recommend the book 'The China Study' which looks at the impact our dietary choices have on our bodies--this study was conducted with hundreds of thousands of people so has greater credibility than studies conducted with much smaller groups. Blessings to you, and the only other thing I would recommend is have your family eat what you are eating, what a gift to grant them healthy eating habits when they are young!

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R.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi L.:

I'm sure you are going to get dozens of responses on your request because this is an issue so many of us struggle with. First, let me say congratulations on making the effort at all!

I have done Weight Watchers and feel that it is the best program out there. A lot has changed since your mom did it - you can eat anything you want, it's really about portion control. I lost 25 pounds on Weight Watchers and have kept it off (plus or minus 5 pounds within my goal always) for almost six years.

I recommend going to either the library or bookstore and picking up a few of the Weight Watchers cookbooks. I have one that is called 5 Ingredients, 15 Minutes and it is a savior for a busy mom. The food is very good and the key is to use fresh ingredients and take advantage of spices and low calorie condiments. If you like sweets, Weight Watchers makes their own desserts that are in single-serving portions, so you don't have to worry about overindulging (check out the frozen dessert section of the grocery store).

One thing that really helped me too, when I was very serious about losing weight, was to buy a scale so I knew what 4 ounces of chicken really looked like, and to also divide up snacks into the portion size listed on the container. So seriously, I would count out 20 jelly beans and put them in a ziploc, so that I didn't eat too many.

It sounds like you've got the right attitude. What went on slowly will come off slowly, but taking weight off slowly makes you more likely to keep it off as your body becomes used to this "lifestyle." That's what I loved about Weight Watchers too, it was NOT a diet, it was a lifestyle. Try not to get discouraged if your husband loses weight faster than you...as you know, that's inevitable.

Good luck!

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M.K.

answers from Seattle on

if you like spicy it really helps to flavor things up with garlic, red pepper flakes, etc. i would also recommend switching low fat as opposed to no fat. many foods can be made low fat fairly naturally, whereas making them non fat almost always takes a lot of additives. also, low fat usually tastes significantly better. and make sure you get a balance of protien w/ every meal. without some fat and protein you will get hungry too fast, especially at night and that leads to breakdowns! (pint of ben and jerry's?... ahh oh)

as a person who eats a lot, the worst thing about most diets is the small portions. i feel unsatisfied, and am usually starving no matter how much water i drink. i recommend finding a way you can still eat. i go thru phases and struggle with eating healthy, but i feel good and can maintain my weight when i do this-

have one meal be a huge salad - at least 5 days a week. (huge, like in a serving bowl). add some filler foods or different types of lettuce that you like that are low calorie but make it a BIG meal, so you get to feel full after. sometimes i swtich this for big stir fry too.

for salads, taco is my favorite- use dark mixed greens for better flavor (and healthier)add lots of salsa for dressing w/ a little low fat sour cream/yogurt mixed in, add black beans,lowest fat ground meat or TVP (lots of cumin), tomatoes, a little cheese and baked chips on top.

grilled chicken breast seared w/ garlic and basil, cut into strips. put on salad with olive oil, basamic vinegar and herbs dressing. add a few chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts are good)and fruit- berries, apples or pears.

spinach salads are also good- w/ almonds and mandarin oranges or strawberries. if you like mushrooms they have almost no calories and add protien. feta or parmesan have less fat and more salty flavor with a smaller amount than most cheeses.

cajun or blackened grilled salmon is yummy on salad too. use romaine and lowfat ceasar dressing or add to spinach salad.

the key to eating lots of salads is variety and adding a little bit of things that are sweet, salty, spicy or crunchy(aim for two of those) so you actually enjoy the salad.

since it's summer, one other option is to grill up vegtables- coat lightly with a little olive oil and spices and/or salt and pepper. you need to eat a LOT of veggies- carrots are good (ginger and garlic), eggplant slices, zuchini (quarter lengthwise), red peppers are really sweet, asparagus. We do this every week- grill up shrimp on a skewer or chicken breast- or gardenburger, there are tons of flavored ones now for some protien.

you can also grill fruit for dessert. peaches & pinapple do well and satisfy a sweets craving!

good luck- it sounds like you are on the path to make really great changes! (and don't compare yourself to your husband- it is just not fair how much quicker men can lose weight)

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M.N.

answers from Yakima on

Watch the non fat or fat free foods as they usually have added sugar for flavor. Try increasing the fiber in your diet it helps you feel full longer. I have also added whole wheat pasta to our diet.I get it when its on sale or it can be spendy. My husband now loves brown rice alot healthier choice. Also watch the sodium content in lots of foods . I also stopped drinking soda since its loaded with sugar and lost about ten pounds just by doing that.
This time of year with all the fruits and vegetables that will be available makes things alot easier. Afternoon snack of vegies and some low fat ranch dip is great for you and the kids. If you live near a Trader Joe's store look at the items in their aisles you might get some good ideas for healthy choices. It may be along journey but stay on the path. Don't deny yourself things just find a healthier way to prepare it. Or give yourself a little treat each week. Sugar free fudge bars are wonderful Making things fron scratch really helps. You can do it. You are changing your whole family way of life for the best.

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G.H.

answers from Richland on

Congratulations on starting a healthier lifestyle. That's the first step in changing your way of thinking.
In 2000, I went to see Oprah. I had imagined that she would be bigger than me, but when I got there, she was much smaller. That was my Ah-Ha moment. I decided to go to Weight Watchers. They taught me about eating smaller portions, drinking plenty of water, eating every 2 hours instead of 3 large meals and lots of encouragement. I don't eat past 7pm, I eat a high fiber breakfast, and still have a dessert or treat every day.
Every week I went in, I had lost weight. After losing 4 lbs the 1st week, my husband joined. He lost faster than me, BUT I've kept my 40 lbs off better than HE has! I liked that he was on the same page. I cook Weight Watcher meals, Dream Dinner meals, and once in awhile at lunch, we have Smart Ones if we don't have any leftovers. Our kids eat the same food, too. The cookbooks have delicious meals in them. Don't listen to those who have never tried them. There are web sites that have listings of resturants and they can tell you what to order before you go out. When we go to pot lucks, I always bring a WW meal or dessert, nobody knows and they usually want the recipe.
Back then, my knees hurt so much that I couldn't walk or exercise (except in the pool). It was weight related. So, I was able to lose the 40 lbs. without exercising! Now I can walk, skate, ski, pilates, yoga- you name it. And, 8 years later, I am still a Lifetime Member of WW. I weigh in once a month and never have to pay again. If I feel like I need to learn some new tricks, I go once a week to the meetings. I cry in meetings when I hear that someone that has lost weight was able to go off their blood pressure meds and their diabetes meds. It's amazing!
And here's the best part: YOU get to buy a whole new wardrobe when you reach your goal weight!
Don't buy anything new while you are losing- borrow from friends or go to thrift stores- you won't be at that size for long. We had a trade day at one of our meetings. You bring in some good clothes that you can't wear anymore, and trade for something a little smaller.
I used to post sayings on my refrigerator doors that would help me remember that I had a goal. You go girl! You can do it!
Keep me posted on how you do.

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

L.,

I don't have much in the way of diet ideas except maybe pick up Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Loss Solution book, and recipe book.

I really just wanted to let you know that you are doing twice the workout in you water aerobics class in that hour than your hubby is in his one hour of land workout. While in the water you are using both the muscle groups at the same time, while on land you would have to use two different machines. I used to do a Mommy and Me water exercise class at a local YMCA, until schedules changed and I couldn't go anymore.

Hope this helps,
Melissa

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T.F.

answers from Seattle on

Okay, so I did not read all the posts to see if this is mentioned or not. But a couple things come to mind in reading your request.

It is great that you have cut all the fat, but one thing studies are showing is that was cut out fat and we are still getting fat. Our bodies need fat to function, but the right fat is the key. Just keep that in mind.

Also, Lifetime TV has a great show called Cook Yourself Thin. There is a cookbook and also you can get recipies on the Lifetime website. I have watched several episodes with my kids and they even say we should try the recipies as they look so good. this is very encouraging to me as i hate cooking seperate meals for me and the kids. I think that has been my biggest struggle to lose weight. I cook for my kids then when I get to fix my meal or eat my meal I am really hungry and over eat or too tired to make my meal and just end up eating what I fixed the kids and hubby.

My friend had some great success with Alli and another friend is trying SlimQuick to give her a little help. You have to find waht works for you and what you can reasonably stay with until you reach your goal.

Remember your body can adjust and settle in on how you are eating and exercising. So you may find you need to shake things up a bit every once in a while. And eat smaller meals. My aunt lost a lot of weight because she ate smaller meals during the day. It was due to her reflux issue, but when she started eating smaller meals it helped both. if she made a sandwich, she would eat half and then wait an hour or so to eat the other half.

Weight Watchers has really changed since your moms day, it might be a good idea to look into it to get help and support.

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S.H.

answers from Seattle on

I subscribe to HungryGirl.com... free... and also picked up the two books that they put out. "Hungry Girl Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World" and "Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories" all are put out by LIsa Lillien. The recipe for Holy Moly Guacamole makes six servings and has 78 calories per serving... taken down from an average of about 250 calories per serving. The food is delicious and in the book where it's not under 200/serving, I haven't found anything with a calorie count above 300/serving. I love it.

The woman behind it all (Lisa Lillen) loves to eat food that actually tastes good, as I do, and I have to say, she's done a great job compiling all of this information. My kids love it too and the recipes aren't complicated at all. My daughter loves to help me with the blender recipes. One added bonus is that a lot of her recipes are big on fiber! Awesome! I can't get enough fiber into my kids generally speaking, so I'll take what I can get.

Also, many of her recipes are designed for single servings, so you can use them alone or multiply them by however many people you are serving... keeps the leftovers and over-eating opportunities down. I just can't say enough about it!

Have a great journey on your way to being a healthier woman. There's a lot of us out there on the same road.

S.

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M.H.

answers from Seattle on

Mmm... I'm not sure i have a ton of advice on food. I can recommend making fruit smoothies, and if you get an ice-cream maker, making fruity concoctions (like sorbets) that will satisfy any of the urges you have with some nutritional value. You can even add veggies to them, or supplement powder, or whatever.
I can also recommend the Moosewood cookbooks, which are mainly vegetarian and healthy, and have a lot of different types of delicious dishes.

Beyond that, i just wanted to congratulate you on your hard work and commitment - what a wonderful thing you are doing! I hope it pays off really well for you. Sticking with it will be such a wonderful example for your kids, too!

Maybe tracking how much energy you have, and how easy things are to do, will help you during times when you feel like you still 'look heavy'. I bet you'll feel better in a hurry!

Thanks for the suggestions of the sour cream, too!

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P.P.

answers from Portland on

First up, you mention a lot of great new choices, such as reading labels and watching calories. The big thing to add to that, is to remember that just because something is "Fat Free" doesn't make it a better option. Lots of "Fat free" foods have twice the sugar!
If you truly want to drop some weight, I recommend (in addition to what you're doing now) adding in the "South Beach diet" this book of recopies and advice will help you learn how to create some recipes that taste good while having lower calories. It also cuts out sugar for the first 2 weeks or so, which gives your body a chance to shed some pounds, and stop storing the fat. It works. I used a lot of recopies after my thyroid went bad, as I had always been "naturally" thin, then suddenly, I was 50 pounds overweight after my child was born, with no hope or idea of how to get it off. I have lost 47 of those pounds, and feel good again. I had to modify how I looked at food, and learn how to count calories. It's a lifestyle, not a diet.
In addition to that, I read the books by "The Biggest Loser" teams. A smart thing to remember is that if you count calories 6 days a week, you can give yourself some wiggle room once a week, so your body will keep losing at a faster pace. Also, I was not a fast food eater, or a big junk food person, so for me, the tough part was learning to ration portion sizes. Now, as I try to keep the weight off long term, I simply pay attention to what I eat, I eat lots of whole, raw foods, and if I feel a few extra pounds creeping on, then I cut back till I'm on track again.
Try chewing gum at night, it helped me. I also found some low calorie popcorn like stuff that gives you over two cups of fluffy goodness for only 150 calories!
Good Luck, I hope you contnue with a spiring in your step knowing you're doing the right thing for your family and yourself!
Ps. I got all my South Beach books from the library--didn't cost a dime!

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M.A.

answers from Seattle on

Congratulations on getting started with your weight loss plan. I commend you for living a healthier lifestyle. You will reap many rewards from it--more energy, less health issues, etc.

As for food ideas, you can sign up for recipes at Self.com (Self magazine) and they have some great ideas emailed to you. The magazine also has recipes and break them down by calories, i.e. 400 calorie lunches or 500 calorie dinners.

Not sure on the sour cream. I always thought sour cream had more calories than mayo but I can be wrong. I switched to some dijon mustard and have been quite happy. Any processed food isn't the best b/c you can eat too much. Our family focuses on eating as many whole grains, fruits and vegetables as possible. We love watermelon and honeydew as a snack or dessert. We love the all fruit popsicles for dessert. I enjoy cottage cheese and strawberries. I also enjoy plain yogurt, low fat granola (from Trader Joes) and strawberries or raspberries or blueberries. We love apples (lots of fiber)--you can also add peanut/almond butter to add protein. And there's carrots and hummus. Costco has a wrap called FlatOut that's really good for sandwiches and is 100 calories--you can fill with lettuce, tomatoes, meat, sugar snap peas, carmelized onions, little bit of cheese and some dijon mustard. I also eat a small handful of almonds as a snack sometimes.

It's best to keep a food diary so you can track your caloric and protein intake. Make sure you eat enough protein or you will be hungry. And drink lots and lots of water (any soda can make you retain water or use up your calories for the entire day). You didn't mention what you drank.

Can you add walking to your routine? Do you eat past 7pm? Do you eat breakfast as it's the most important meal of the day?

Good luck!

M.

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A.W.

answers from Seattle on

Making the switch to healthier eating is hard, but it will become like second nature soon enough. I would check out some food blogs. I really like 101 cookbooks and tastespotting, while taste spotting isn't a blog, it has great pictures and will get you inspired. I am sure you will find the food blog that gets you inspired. I am not sure where you live but if you can subscribe to a CSA (community supported agriculture) you will come upon a wealth of inexpensive veggies and fruit and get weekly amazing recipes that will help you use up all of your wonderful produce! We used Helsing Junction Farm when we did a CSA they are great and go to seattle, and portland as well as in between. Anyway good luck to you and I do highly recommend a CSA they are great and the recipes will inspire you and get you eating a simpler more veggie centered (not vegetarian) diet.

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M.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi L.,

I think you've got some great advice so far, and I'd like to add my two cents worth.

In terms of recipes and such, try substuting low fat versions for ingredients. For example, if a recipe calls for sour cream, try using a low fat sour cream instead. Not only is it lower in fat, it's lower in calories, and frankly, I can't tell the difference most of the time. The same goes for yogurt, especially fruit flavored. In fact, you can buy plain low fat yogurt an add your own fruit to it which lower calories even more.

When grocery shopping, try to shop around the perimeter of the store...your fresh fruits, dairy products, meats, etc. are on the perimeter of the store, while the processed, high salt, high calorie (in otther words, bad for you foods) are in the center of the stores. Try and buy from the perimeter of the store.

Good for you for trying to lose weight. It's not easy, been there done that, and still trying! Keep trying! Good luck!

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B.D.

answers from Seattle on

I took a nutrition class when I started losing weight, which helped tremendously. I found out many things that I wouldn't have known otherwise. For example, be careful when it says 'fat free' because sometimes they up the sodium intake to make up for it. Another thing is, when you want to check out how much sugar you are taking in, divide 4 into the grams of sugar you see on the package. That will give you how many teaspoons of sugar are in that package. (Like I found out that in one can of Coke...there are 10 tsp!!!) Eeek! I started buying what we need at the store every week or every two weeks...I never buy more than what we need. I buy our meat at the beginning of the month, then the rest of the month I make sure to have meals planned out and buy fresh fruits and veggies. Look for what's on sale too, you can find some amazing deals and still eat healthy! I try my best to do my veggies steamed. I backed off the bread as much, although...since I'm Korean...staying away from rice was never an option. I don't cut the bread out completely. I make sure to prepare food for when I have snacking urges...make them snack ready. I cut carrots into sticks...etc. Portioning is hard. Eat slow. Food takes about 1/2 hr to digest. Which means, the faster you eat, the more you consume. Give your stomach the time it needs to register with the brain that it's becoming full. We as adults, shouldn't eat more than what most toddlers eat. Eat 3 meals and 2-3 healthy snacks in between. As for walking, I am 6 mo preg and I have a 6 yr old son. Walking is such a great way to lose weight and stay fit. Ways that can help would be to park far from the entrance of the store you are shopping at. Same things goes with where you are working. Walking doesn't have to be a power struggle. I fit walking in as much as possible during my day...whether it's the parking far or walking to the loal store (if it's within reason) for something as small as a loaf of bread. I even walk to pick up my son if it's a nice day. Sorry this is so long. If you have any more questions on this...let me know! :D

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S.H.

answers from Portland on

Your are both doing a great thing for your kids and yourselves. You seem to be on the right track but don't continue the comparison with your husband. Just support one another. If he is better at one part (say workouts) then ask him to help you with that... if you are better at diet then help him with that. Don't worry about what other people are doing to loose weight do what you feel you will be able to live with forever!

I highly recommened looking into something like Mark Bittmans book Food Matters. This isn't about dieting it is about eating healthier and nearly half the book is recipies with ideas for eating more fruits, veggies, fiber, etc...

In addition, WW just encourages those procced foods with fake sugars that are really just bad for our bodies. Instead on Non-Fat sour cream try greek yogurt, etc... look for healthy alternatives that have real flavor and substance to fill you up and give you energy (and introduce your kids to some new things). Treats are something you should not go without. Take a long bike ride to get the ice cream (and share one among the whole family) - don't just eat icy tasteless frozen desserts that won't really satisfy the craving.

good luck and keep at it little by little.

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K.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi there! Lots of great advise given thus far. I agree with the person that mentioned Weight Watchers. It has changed a lot. One of the keys to my successful weight losss was journaling what I ate. There were times when I wanted to eat something unhealthy but I knew I would have to write it down. In the time it took for me to think about it, I would make a better food choice most of the time.
Also, check out hungrygirl.com. It is free. They send out an email newsletter daily with recipes, recipe makeovers and food product research as well as better fast food choices when you are on the go. It is fabulous. Check it out!

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A.L.

answers from Medford on

Have you ever thought about joining weight watchers yourself? I've been a member for over a year now and have lost about 60lbs. It takes work but what I like about weight watchers is the fact that it still allows you to eat junk food but it limits the portions because you have to stay within a point range. For me, some of the low point snacks that I love are hummus, laughing cow cheese wedges (light), and if you need a sweets fix, the WW cookies and cream ice cream bars are great. I hope some of this advice helps.

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B.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi L.!
First off, GOOD JOB! It is so hard to eat healthy when you're not not used to it. It takes a longer time to lose the weight the healthy way! You really want it to come off slower, because you are less likely to gain it back. There are so many things you can eat. I always like to eat the full fat stuff because it is less processed. Things that have been processed are so unhealthy. Don't get me wrong, I eat like everyone. It is hard to eliminate processed all together. I too have struggled with my weight all my life. I learned to love to exercise and that has helped me. If you feel stuck and can't seem to lose for a bit, change up your exercise. Your muscle will get used to what you are doing and need to be challanged. Also, add in lifting weights. This will help you to burn more fat. Muscle burns more fat, that is why men seem to lose faster. They have more muscle. I know the trainer I work with tells me to eat about 1500 calories a day and also eat lots of chicken. I found that the biggest loser cookbook is yummy. I would love to type more, but my 2 yr old is climbing up and won't let me!!! Good luck and if you want a friend to support you, email me and we can help each other! [email protected]____.com
B.

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M.M.

answers from Eugene on

Good for you! It's a lot of hard work, but well worth the effort to eat healthier. You and your whole family will feel better.
One thing that my children (ages 12, 2, 1) and my husband and I love are fresh fruit smoothies. We go to local farms and pick out berries that we want. You can blend up the fruit with some organic yogurt and a little crushed ice. Yummy! Another trick is to peel a banana and break it into pieces and freeze it. It can then take the place of ice and goes so well with strawberries. I like to add a bit of 100% fruit juice as well...apple goes with anything, but orange gives a great kick as well.
Another trick is to only by whole grain items - whole grain bread, pasta, crackers. It's best to get rid of as much refined flour and sugar in your diet as possible. My family easily adjusted to the "denser" texture of the whole grain pastas, etc. You will find that your tastes change and you won't crave the sugar, etc as much anymore.

It's great that you are doing this now while your children are young, that way they will grow up knowing healthy eating and having a good example in their parents. Good luck!

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T.S.

answers from Seattle on

It sounds like it's been a while since your mom has done Weight Watchers. I am currently doing it online as well as my husband and he has lost over 10 pounds and I have lost about 10 pounds. I assure you, we eat whatever we want. We just count the points. If counting points isn't your cup of tea, they also have another plan you can do (although that is a little more restricting as to what you can eat). I love Weight Watchers! There are also health checks that help you keep track of things like the water you drink, the fruits and veggies you eat and a few other things. It's only $16.95 a month and you can try it free for a week first. They have amazing recipes that don't taste like diet food! There are also wonderful desserts! I feel like I can't express enough in this message how much we really love WW because it's a change in lifestyle and not a diet! Good luck and here is a WW recipe that even my kids eat!:

Chicken and Baby Carrots in Lemon Sauce

4 (4 oz.) skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (green onions) divided
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
32 baby cut carrots
1 (14.5 oz) can fat-free chicken broth

In gallon size zip-top plastic bag, combine chicken, lemon juice, half of the scallions, and 2 tsp. of the oil. Close the bag securely, squeezing out excess air. Refrigerate; let marinate 1 hour.
Drain chicken, reserving marinade. In 2 qt. nonstick saucepan, heat remaining 2 tsp. oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side.
Reduce heat to low; add marinade, carrots, and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low. Let simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining chopped scallions.

per serving: 208 calories;6g fat;2g fiber
Makes 4 servings at 4 points per serving

I get 23 points a day and 35 flex points a week. Good luck and I hope you at least check out the free 1 week trial at www.weightwatchers.com. If nothing else you can sign up for the email newsletter for free and get recipes weekly.
T.
update: be cautious of things like The South Beach Diet because you usually have to starve yourself of something like carbs. Your body needs these! Also, pills are always a temporary fix too! Most doctors, including ours, says that Weight Watchers is the best out there!

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S.W.

answers from Bellingham on

Good for you and your husband. The first step is wanting to change your habits and getting more exercise. I would have to say is to make your meals instead of eating premade meals that have a ton of sodium and extra stuff that is not so good for us. Experts say that writing things down that you eat is a good way to see what you are eating. Also, cut down on the portion size of your food. It will take time and may have bumps in the road but soon you will see some changes.

Good luck.
S.

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L.R.

answers from Seattle on

Hi L.!

It sounds like you are already on the right track, Good Job!My husband and I also need to lose some weight and we started The Flat Belly Diet from Prevention about 2 weeks ago. I have lost 8 lbs and I think he said he lost about 6 (he's not following it as closely as I am) so far! I know how frustrating it is when the men follow the same exact plan as us and they lose it much quicker. I have tried all kinds of diets and this one has been super easy for me to follow. It's hard to really even call it a "diet" because you don't feel like you are missing out on anything. It's more of a lifestyle change. One of the keys to it is MUFA's (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids- macadamia nuts, avocado, peanut butter and yes, even chocolate chips) at every meal. Another one is portion control. They make it very easy to follow. Go to:

http://flatbellydiet.prevention.com/default.asp?keycode=0...

Also, I can email you some of the recipes that we've tried-and loved- if you would like me too!
~L.

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L.M.

answers from Richland on

I don't have a recipe for you, but go here www.advocare.com/09023247 it is worth your time. I have lost 10 lbs in about 3 months and only used the Catalyst because I'm trying to get pregnant! My husband has lost 30 in the same time. Good luck.

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K.R.

answers from Portland on

just words of encouragement: GOOD FOR YOU :)!!!

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E.T.

answers from Portland on

Nice work with changing your diet! When in high school, I was a little overweight, then I became a vegetarian and lost a lot of weight...just a thought for you. Also, variety variety variety...is the key for your brain to feel full ( I actually heard this on NPR with a scientist talking about weight issues...some book..). I would say yummy spices on food, like salt, pepper and olive oil on grilled asparagus...or roasting sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, brocolli in the oven with olive oil and rosemary. Making your own food is much more cost effective and healthier...non processed foods in general. Good luck!

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

Try sparkpeople.com. It's free and very supportive. Good luck with your goals.

AMD

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H.D.

answers from Portland on

I don't have time to read the other posts..sorry.. but I tried the Zone way of eating. It's designed to regulate blood sugar. I found I had more energy and didn't feel too deprived. It's not the end-all-be-all, but I'm not sure anything is. But it worked pretty well for me.

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M.D.

answers from Seattle on

Good Luck and good for you! I'm trying to get myself motivated to lose the weight.

I'm a diabetic and some of my favorite treats are sugar-free jello and pudding. There are also sugar-free pudding pops and frozen fruit bars. It is fun to mix your jello with some low fat whip cream when it is about half way set up. I still have other vices, but those are good treats you don't have to feel guilty about!

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C.C.

answers from Corvallis on

A lot of people have chimed in already so I'll make this brief. Avoid prepackaged stuff as much as possible. Eat fresh, natural foods...whole grains, fresh produce (organic is the best). Don't eat much meat and if you do, eat lean, free-range meat. Exercise as much as you can. Walking is great...get some good walking shoes. Running, biking, swimming...all great calorie burners. Exercise is so good for our bodies and our minds. Best wishes to you!

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