Weight Loss Programs

Discussion in 'From Healthier Eating to Sports Nutrition' started by The Late Night Gourmet, Mar 26, 2018.

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  1. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Location:
    Detroit, USA
    My kids have been talking about wanting to lose weight for a while. After some discussion, I signed them up for Weight Watchers, a weight loss program that involves assigning a point value to foods. My wife - who seriously doesn't need it at all - decided to sign up, too, and then I joined them this weekend. I've always dismissed Weight Watchers for oversimplifying things by just assigning a number value to things without factoring in the specifics. But, I also have to admit that counting calories alone wasn't doing the job.

    I have used calorie counting websites, and I do exercise a lot. I always chalked up my lack of weight loss to my age and metabolism. But, when you find yourself adding up everything you eat, patterns start to emerge. I've been having mixed nuts as a snack, but I hadn't kept close tabs on how many I've had. Now, I see that 1 ounce of mixed nuts equals 1/5 of my daily food allowance: I think I know one reason why losing weight has been a challenge! This morning, I would have made a bagel to eat on the way into work. But, a bagel and cream cheese is almost half of my daily allowance, so I made half a bagel.

    Best of all, I can import my personal recipes! I add the ingredients for the recipe, and divide by the number of servings, and it calculates the point value. Since this is where I get most of my food, I'm happy about this.

    As with any weight loss plan, the more serious you are about it, the more effective it will be. It's still early days, but I can see that this will work out for me. My kids seem to like the fact that there's an app for it (and so do I): this makes recording on the go very easy.

    Some peculiarities that will take some getting used to: the point values aren't strictly a conversion of the number of calories. For example, an egg is 0 points. So are carrots, apples...basically any fruit or vegetable. This means you can have as many of them as you want. While it seems absurd to suggest that I could eat a dozen apples and have it not affect my weight, I believe the point is this: these foods make excellent snacks. Once I've "filled up" my points for the day with soup and bagel halves, I can always snack on grapes or carrots. And, it's unlikely I'd be able to get through more than 2 apples without getting sick of them.

    Has anyone else used weight loss systems? How effective were they?
     
    morning glory likes this.
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Senior Member

    Location:
    SE Florida
    I don't think just a weight loss program, without a higher level of exercise and the addition of building or replacing fat with muscle is a very healthy way to go. But that is just me. The most effective way that worked for me was a low carb (less than 40 grams per day) diet. That combined with cardio followed by weight training worked to help me go from 235# to 180# in 6 months. I mentioned in another thread that I was miserable. I blew up to 350# in my thirties and forties. I carried that into my fifties. Then at 54 I cut down on eating and started walking up to 5 miles each evening and lost 100# in a year.
     
  3. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    This would work for me as I love eggs! And I could easily live on potatoes and eggs and spinach/sprouts/cabbage. I know I wouldn't lose weight though. The calories would stack up just the same. Or I could eat huge plates of vegetables with a bit of gravy - no problem. Again I wouldn't lose weight...

    Are bananas and avocados included on the fruit list? They are quite filling.
     
  4. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Location:
    Detroit, USA
    Bananas are "free" (0 points), but avocados are one of the few vegetables that aren't: a whole avocado is a hefty 7 points.
     
  5. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Avocados are certainly calorific so that makes sense.

    But OK - can I have a large baked potato with some fat free yoghurt and fresh herbs to top it, with some boiled greens, carrots, mashed parsnips and a poached egg for almost zero points? Then I'll have a couple of bananas with some yoghurt. That is just lunch. In the evening I have celeriac soup (made with boiled celeriac and a little almond milk), a 3 egg spinach omelette (the oil for frying the omelette will count as points) plus a tomato salad with garlic and lemon juice followed by a huge bowl of mashed potatoes with onion gravy (the oil on the onion gravy will count as points). Then I'll have a large portion of grapes, strawberries and raspberries. I'll still have tons of points left so I'll celebrate with a few glasses of wine!

    I don't get it - are they just relying on the fact that most people don't eat loads of vegetables, fruit and eggs?
     
  6. epicuric

    epicuric Über Member Staff Member

    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    Sorry, but I'm very sceptical about Weight watchers. I'm sure it works to a point because it cuts down people's overall food consumption, and making the effort to join the program is driven by the desire for a healthier lifestyle, so is probably accompanied by an exercise programme. However, focusing on just calories is a vast oversimplification, as the body doesn't process all calories in the same way. To suggest that you should eat unlimited quantities of fruit is absurd - it's full of sugar! As are most 'low fat' products.

    Diet is a very personal thing, but I would agree with @CraigC on this one - low carbs and more exercise works for me. A couple of years ago I fell out with the low fat approach to diet - I truly believe it to be a myth, and that sugar, carbs and processed foods are the real villains. Now I eat mainly proteins, veg and complex carbs, and avoid cakes, biscuits, sugary drinks and processed foods in general. I eat full fat everything yet I have lost around 10kg in weight and my cholesterol level has dropped from 7 to 4. Anyway, that's just me. Good luck @The Late Night Gourmet , great effort and I think it's marvellous that the whole family are working together on this!
     
  7. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Location:
    Detroit, USA
    This must be what it is. By the way, everything you mentioned was 0 points, except for the oil and the potatoes (they're 5 for a medium potato, or 1/5 of my daily allowance).

    I understand skepticism about whether any diet plan works. But, I'd also counter in saying that the biggest part of the success of failure of a diet is the individual, not the mechanics of the plan. My sister-in-law complains that her diets never work, and all everyone who hears her say this nod their heads in unison. But, it seems that she thinks beer is 0 calories (or 0 points, which it isn't: a single 12 ounce beer is 5 points). You can't cheat your diet and expect your body to respond.

    Really, a diet is there to provide structure, and to make you think about what you're doing to your body. If you're self-disciplined enough to shave off the carbs and exercise, and that works for you, then great. My kids had no structure whatsoever. We'd get into arguments frequently about how they should take smaller portions. My son asked once how many calories are in cream cheese for a bagel; I told him a serving from a bagel shop is about 60 calories. He would then proceed to put about half the tub on his bagel, thinking on some level that it was always 60 calories, no matter how much he used. A big part of me joining is so I can help provide support for my kids. And, if it works for me, even better.

    @epicuric: I know...calorie counting alone is an oversimplification. I used to register my food on a calorie-counting site, and enter all recipes on the site so I'd have an accurate accounting of what I was taking in. But, despite this and 5 days a week of intense exercise, I wasn't losing weight. I knew that there was a lot more to diet than just calories, but I also knew that just counting carbs wasn't enough, either. The complex interactions of how my body processes specific types of food is something I don't have time to calculate.
     
  8. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Oh - I thought that it was too good to be true that they were zero! I could easily live on potatoes and eggs with various spicy sauces.
     
  9. MrsDangermouse

    MrsDangermouse Senior Member

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    Calorie counting works for me - but the golden rule is you MUST weigh and record absolutely everything you eat. No estimating your portion sizes, all fruit and veg should be recorded (yes its good for you, but it does contain calories). You have to be scrupulously honest - even if you know you've gone way over your calorie allowance. Of course the calorie counting method is much easier if you rarely eat out - unless you eat at chain restaurants its very difficult to accurately estimate restaurant food. What I really like about it is that you really learn just how many calories are in some foods compared to what you should be eating in a day...... 530 in half a Dairy Milk Easter egg :ohmy: that's a third of my current daily allowance, even if I wasn't dieting it would still be a quarter of my ideal daily allowance!

    I've tried a couple of calorie counting websites/apps - there are free ones out there, but I don't find them all that good. So I've gone back to the paid one which worked very well for me 12 years ago when I got down to 12 stones. I think paying for membership in itself is a motivation to stick to it, but also I think the fact that there is a staff behind it curating the food database to ensure accuracy does make a difference.

    I successfully maintained at a nice weight for the best part of 10 years by sticking to the lessons I learned (basically: drink less wine, eat smaller portions). Its only in the last few years that I've things go somewhat so back in January I set myself the target of losing 3 stone. The good news is that it seems to be working well again so far: I've lost a stone and a half since January :woot: I go for slow and steady and aim to lose 1lb per week - that means I still get a decent calorie allowance to enjoy myself. I'm a bit ahead of schedule at the moment, but with Easter coming up and then a holiday to the land of cheese and wine at the end of May I know there are going to be ups and downs ahead :laugh:

    I don't use low calorie or diet foods - lower fat usually means higher sugar or salt which I don't believe actually does us any good. So I just cook and eat my usual foods, but just eat less of them. I still go to the pub a few times a week and I still have treats, but I either exercise to earn extra calories or I eat less during the working day to save up the calories to "spend" on the things I like.

    Yes exercise can also help with weight loss and of course improve our overall health. But if you're eating too much in the first place then weight loss via exercise alone is extremely difficult and slow - most people lose motivation before seeing any results. There are many success stories on WLR (the website I use) from people who are unable to exercise much who have nevertheless managed to lose weight via calorie control.
     
  10. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Location:
    Detroit, USA
    This, I think, is what sabotages most diets: people aren't honest about what they're consuming, and they complain that the diet doesn't work when they don't lose weight. If nothing else, tracking my consumption shines a light on the little things I was doing that I didn't realize (like having an extra handful of cashews that I didn't need). Take away all those little things, and you will gradually notice a difference.
     
    MrsDangermouse likes this.
  11. MrsDangermouse

    MrsDangermouse Senior Member

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    Yep I think you're absolutely right there.
    Plus the recommended serving sizes on many foods are much smaller than many people actually eat - I think lots of people would be shocked for example how little a 30g serving of breakfast cereal actually is.
     
  12. Frizz1974

    Frizz1974 Senior Member

    We successfully followed the Tim Ferris slow carb plan in 2014.

    Unfortunately, after my Dad passed in March 2016 passed I gained it all back plus some but it's slowly coming off again now.

    He basically strives to keep blood glucose levels even through out the day by eating regularly & eating no processed food at all - but so is potato, sweet potato & fruit.
     
  13. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Didn't quite understand that. Were you allowed to eat those things or not?
     
  14. epicuric

    epicuric Über Member Staff Member

    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    I suspect the villain of the piece is the bagel, not the cream cheese! As a refined carbohydrate, the bagel gets digested very quickly (think sugar rush) and if the body can't use all the calories they get stored as fat. Added to this, the refined carbs trigger the release of insulin, which in turn inhibits the production of the enzyme HSL. HSL is responsible for breaking down fats so they can be burned off as energy. Double whammy. The cream cheese however, takes longer to digest, doesn't raise insulin levels and doesn't inhibit fat releasing HSL. Hence my point that focusing purely on calories is missing the point. You simply can't equate say, 100 calories worth of coca cola with 100 calories worth of chicken. The former plays havoc with the digestive system and ends up mainly being stored as fat, the latter just gets used for useable energy.
     
  15. The Late Night Gourmet

    The Late Night Gourmet Über Member

    Location:
    Detroit, USA
    I attended a phenomenally interesting seminar at work yesterday that talked about this sort of thing. Specifically, how some foods benefit your system more than others. Beans, in particular, were highlighted as beneficial for digestion: they contain fiber, and slow down digestion, which gives you that full feeling, and also help keep things moving through your system. Refined carbs might make you feel full, but they don't help you otherwise. I really do need to work beans into my diet more.
     
    epicuric likes this.

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