Weight loss & maintenance - tips

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Someone asked me to start a thread to share my tips for losing weight. I lost 60-65lbs between 1/1/10 and 9/30/10 and I've kept it off since.

A little background: I changed jobs at the end of Sept 2009. I had been commuting 45min each way to a very high stress job before changing to my new job with a new company, working from home. Before I would leave home at 7:30am and feel good when I got home by 7:30pm. I decided that the change meant an opportunity to change my habits. So I started working out (as in exercise) every morning before work. Over the holidays, I started slipping and decided that if I wanted to garden pain free, I had to get serious. (Bad back - was always in some pain and had spasms multiple times a day).

So... my new years resolution was to focus on strengthening my core. I researched exercises targeting abs and back and alternated the strength training / core training with time on our treadmill (every other day). The focus on my body led me to start counting calories. It was a struggle to get under 1800cal/day at first.

I have a spreadsheet that to this day I use. I fill in what I eat in the comments for breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks. I use an on-line calorie counter to calculate each meal's calories. And then I enter the exercise I did in the comments field for exercise and how long I exercised. I looked up on another calculator how many calories I burned and entered this as a negative value. Then I tally calories in (as raw calories) and then deduct calories burned (as net). The final column is my weight first thing in the morning.

So that's the back ground. I'll start entering tips next. Pls share what you've found helps to lose weight or to keep it off.

Thanks
Tam

This message was edited Nov 19, 2011 6:10 PM

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Food - I completely stopped eating bread, rice, pasta & white potatoes. I filled up on fresh fruits & veggies. I would have a large green salad with just a little light vinaigrette dressing & a tablespoon of sunflower seeds for lunch and have an apple as dessert. Or sometimes would have non-sweetened yogurt w/stevia & some fresh berries or pomegranate for lunch. I tried to stay at 500cal for breakfast (cereal w/whole milk & a banana) and 300 cal for lunch. Then dinner would be a stir fry or some new recipe that used meat as just a small part of the dish. I find that anything under 1200cal/day is simply too low to work for me. I found 1400cal/day about right. So I'd have about 500 cal for dinner and 200 for a snack. (Usually fruit but occasionally one of those 3oz single ice creams.)

Fresh fruits. Fresh vegetables. No crackers. No chips. No starches. No processed foods. Except as a rare treat. At first it was hard but after a while I adjusted and I don't crave that stuff like I used to.

Tam

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Exercise - I think it is critical to the process of losing and even more so to maintaining weight loss.

If you have bad knees and can't walk, you can do floor exercises. I have free weights, a yoga mat and a fitness ball. Probably less than $75 total. I've built up to about an hour's worth of exercise. It really reinforces the value of this time investment when I can work in my garden for hours or lift heavy boxes no one else can handle. :-)

Google is a great tool to finding exercises that are effective. And gardening and lawn mowing are great exercises. I now look forward to a day of mowing the grass or raking leaves because it'll burn a lot of calories so I can splurge that night with something higher in calories than normal.

Tam

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

A couple of websites I find indispensible:

http://www.calorieking.com/foods/

For counting calories. For recipes w/o calories, look up each ingredient and then tally the total for them all. And divide by the number of portions.

http://www.prohealth.com/weightloss/tools/exercise/calculator1_2.cfm

For an amazing array of activities, to see calories burned. Keep track of house cleaning, walking the dog, everything that has you moving. If you do enough activity in your day, you can skip a day of aerobic exercise (walking/running/elliptical etc). I find that its hard to replace targeted strength training so I do my free weights etc at least 2 times a week.

Tam

Lafayette, NJ(Zone 6a)

Tammy, thanks for your wisdom and advice. You are walking evidence of what you do on a daily basis.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks Loretta!

Maintenance - I gradually increased my calories to about 1800-2000 a day and generally adhere to that range. On occasion, I'll go up to 2500cal, like when I go out to a buffet with friends or family. I also exercise so my daily average is around 450cal/day. Its easier for me to burn calories in the warm weather since I garden, mow grass and can take long walks outside.

I've lost 30-40lbs more times than I can count but I never could keep it off. I'd start putting it back on the day I said I was done with my weight loss. I found Weight Watchers was the best program for gentle weight loss but without exercise, even with that one, I gained it back. I'm convinced the two keys are exercise and focusing on real food - veggies & fruits while counting calories. The biggest difference with my maintenance plan this time to any I've tried before is the exercise though.

Tam

Dahlonega, GA

Tam , I appreciate the time you are giving us . After reading your posts , I can see already what my problem is .
A little later today , I'll look into the links and comment further . Gotta go do some passive gardening before it gets too hot .
Hugs , hugs , hugs ,

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Love to hear your take-away Digger!

Maintenance - my typical day for food is same breakfast (cereal w/almond milk & a banana). Lunch is often a kefir fruit smoothie and a peice of fruit, small bowl of chicken noodle soup, some left over sweet potatoes or roasted cauliflower, a small green salad etc. I make my own kefir now using grains from a friend. Using plain unsweetened yogurt would be similar. I mix about 4oz kefir, 1/4c berries, 1/4 banana, 1-2T ground flax seeds & some stevia and using an immersion blender to grind it all up. Its about 200cal. I also have 2 brazil nuts & a cup of tea as a mid-day snack.

Dinners I try to vary a lot but really load up on veggies. I've gone days without meat but I'm not a vegatarian. Meat tends to be higher in calories and you don't really need all that much for nutrients. I try to have salmon at least a few times a month. I LOVE sweet potatoes so make a big batch of roasted sweet potatoes on their own or with mangos & red peppers. Then warm them up the next day. I also love roasted cauliflower with fresh squeezed lemon or lime. Same thing - I cook up the whole head and have it for a few days. I now have pasta every once in a while. But make sure I have a lot of veggies to provide bulk.

For an evening snack (I would not get in the habit if you're not already but I started the snack thing when I nutrisystem years ago) a little ice cream (1/2c) or some fruit. I love oranges & grapefruit so may have a couple as a snack.

Tam

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

Oh I'm glad this thread came to the top. I'm so having troubles.

So, some history on me, I'm the double nickle and up until 3.5 years ago very healthy.

7.5 years ago, had to give up our farm and dairy goats, they kept me busy, love it, to northern Ohio, oh my goodness that is one place I will not miss. right off the bat I find I'm hypothyroid and with little to no exercise, a 3.5 year stretch of sinus polyp disease, two surgeries/asthma 1 surgery for hernia repair after a very bad attack, and tons of prednisone I manage to pack on 50 pounds that I can't get rid of. Now due to us both losing our jobs and our home on a short sale (the only up side to this story) we are now living back in my birth state.

About 3 weeks ago I went and joined s_ _ _ _ s. Loved it, only to find that I contracted ringworm (I'm rather embarrassed to say) the dr said it is really know as athlete's foot but since it attacked the back of my neck and spread down my back and across the front of my body they call it ringworm. I had noticed that folks weren't cleaning the machines after they were through, which the staff say is suppose to happen, so I started doing it before I would use the machine as well as my continued cleaning after I was through. Guess I forgot about the back area where my neck touches. So now I'm going back over to ask for my money back. I have a husband who has Marfan's and I have to be very careful that I don't bring too much stuff home, as if he should get a viruses from me it might go straight to his mechanical aorta valve and that would be it for him, as there is nothing the Dr's could do to save him. He has also developed some spots on his feet, very contagious this stuff is.

So, I'm back to square one on how to get started trying to lose the weight. Too much exercise (which I found out at the club) caused the asthma to flare up.... I wish I could just be my old self, and walking 5 miles a day be what helps to maintain my weight...

So I'm looking forward to joining yall here if ya don't mind as I'm looking for all kinds of tips. I'm starting on a new diet plan have the book ordered so just waiting on it.

Jan

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Hi Jan! What a series of difficulties! I am nervous about working out in public places for just that reason. I hope you get it cleared up easily.

Can you walk? I'd think it would be warm enough there this time of year. And there are a lot of calisthenic type exercises that require no equipment.

Mayo clinic has a nice set of slides for various exercises to target various body parts. For example, for the core:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/core-strength/SM00047

Tell us what the diet plan is that you ordered.
Tam

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I have a book that I refer to as my "Bible" re: food values. It is called

"The Complete Book of Food Counts" by Corinne T. Netzer I have the 7th edition. I don't know if there is an 8th edition out or not. I would assume so, since the copyright on this one is 2006. I have found it to be a wonderful reference as to calories, sodium, carbs, etc. in foods. And it has foods from restaurants (chain ones, obviously). I have used this since my husband and I embarked on the healthy lifestyle in 2004. Both of us lost weight and won a fitness challenge. Started working out and as a result in our early 50's took up competitve bodybuilding. We still compete, in fact, our last show was a week ago.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Anna - you rock! I remember a video of you in a competition you posted.

I had a book with a similar title. It was my bible before the internet. But I still would gain back the weight I lost. Over and over. Did you have a similar battle before you changed your lifestyle in 2004?

tam

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

No, but I have had a horrible time for the spring and fall shows this year as we have had a drastic lifestyle change............we sold our milking herd last year Oct. 1st. I have to admit those cows were good food keeping me in better shape and easier to keep the weight under control. This time around (and in the spring too) I have had to do wretched cardio............Gawd, I HATE cardio.........................going nowhere fast. LOL

I have a personal trainer now to really kick my butt, make me out a workout program, and she did my diet too. I found out that I am going to need 16 weeks of dieting down instead of 12, and MORE wretched cardio. Blech!

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

real quick body ecology diet donna gates & linda schatz.

I'll be back when I get home from work. Thanks yall for the additional info and links, I am excited to have found this thread.

Jan

Dahlonega, GA

Yesterday was a sit in chair and water the new grass plugs I planted . No appetite at all but ate four gingersnaps . Last night , too tired to cook with severe tummy cramps , so ate 10 soda crackers with a tiny bit of salad dressing for a bit of moister . washed them down with 1/2 cup of milk .
Would you say I don't eat right ? Lol

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Gingersnaps might have been part of the cramp problem.............LOLOL Too funny.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I think that it's a good idea you started this thread and are posting the information from your weight loss.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I sure hope it helps someone, even if just a little.

Another tip is to never let yourself get too hungry. Have a piece of fruit or some carrot &/or celery sticks on hand to have something before its time to eat.

Never go grocery shopping hungry. Its a sure fire way to buy stuff you really don't need in the house.

Jan - I looked up that book. It has good reviews. My mom was having symptoms that were similar to a fungal infection but finally figured out it was salycilate sensitivity. She's been on a diet for over a year now to minimize her exposure and feels so much better. Its a shame she didn't get diagnosed sooner.

http://salicylatesensitivity.com/info3/

Tam

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Any recommendation on where you have been having luck finding healthy recipes?

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I find that Eating Well magazine has a lot of good options. Generally I google ingredients I have (veggies mostly) and look for recipes with lots of good reviews. I also have signed up for "recipe of the day" with Fine Cooking. When one comes by that looks good, I follow the link and check out the calories and nutritional statistics as well as reviews.

Any recipe that has lots of vegatables in it is likely to be a healthy one!

Tam

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Losing weight is so hard! Congratulations on the weight loss. I worked hard for 2.5 years and lost only 40 lbs. I watched what I ate and I walked every morning, anywhere from 3 miles to 7 miles, depending on my energy level. I was so disappointed with the slow weight loss since I needed to lose 100 lbs. It took less than 6 months to gain it all back.

I recently met with a personal trainer who said that I was doing only 50% of the process. Proper diet is 40% of the weight loss process and cardio (the walking) was only 10%. Cardio really strengthens the heart and lungs, which is a good thing, but it doesn't have much impact on weight loss by itself. She said 50% of the process is strength training (weight lifting or anything else that builds muscle). I had no idea! Tammy, it looks like you had it all figured out, resulting in your incredible weight loss. After the holidays, I'm going to try again and work a lot with the strength and endurance training in addition to the cardio and healthy eating.

Some friends of mine have started the "Do Life" movement. One of them lives here in Jonesboro and he's started a "Couch to 5K" group. We meet at a high school track and walk/run 3 miles. Some of us can't really run, but we're in training to work up to running the whole 5K. So we walk most of the time with several one-minute jogs at different intervals. The idea is that after two months, we should all be able to jog the whole 5K (3 miles). Each week, the jogging intervals are increased a little. So now we're up to jogging 1.5 minutes per interval. If you get a chance to have Ben and John visit your city, take the opportunity. They're doing marathons all over the country and even in Canada. You can find them at bendoeslife.com.

For healthy recipes, I subscribe to emails from "Diabetic Living Weekly", since I'm now a diabetic. They have sugar-free, low calorie meals that focus more on protein (what our working muscles really need).

Good luck everyone!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Butterfly Chaser, your trainer has that wrong.................your diet is 80% of your results. Yeah, I know............balderdash.............I thought that too till I did it. And, yes, it IS 80% of your results. If your diet isn't what it should be, you can work out and exercise till doomsday and you will NOT get the results you are wanting if the eating isn't in line. It's a saying in the bodybuilding groups "Your abs are made in the kitchen". So true............

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I think we are all a little different. But I agree all three ingredients are required: strength training, cardio & diet.

Tam

Dahlonega, GA

Well , I've dropped two pounds below my normal low that I've had the last three years . Feels good that I have done that much . I haven't been that low in the three years that I topped , and stayed at 241-245 Yea , I don't ever want to hit 240 again .Thirties , here I come .

mulege, Mexico

Good for you. I'm just over 200 and looking to get under and stay there. It can be done. kb

This message was edited Nov 23, 2011 2:33 PM

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

tammy

that link is incredible, gosh were do I start as so many of those symptoms are what I've experienced. Here it will be almost a week since I started using meds and the rash is some better but not gone like the medicine says it should be. It kind of makes me upset that my allergy dr missed this maybe possibility being something else.

I've got an appt with an endocrinologist dr next wed to get a new prescription on my thyroid med, maybe they can run some other test about other problems.... but gosh with no health insurance and the first visit costing 250.00 then blood work testing, and then filling the script,,, just how many times do I say ouch!

So much great info from you ladies and I can't thank you enough for sharing.

Jan

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I liked that link Indy! Good assessment and great conclusions.

Congratulations Digger! Now get in a little exercise and you'll feel even better. Nothing like loose clothing & a little more spring in the step for inspiration. :-)

Tam

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

I second Tam on that. When ever I have lost even if 5 pounds I can tell and it is a great motivator to continue.

Going to Endo Dr. on Wed, looking forward to get back on my thyroid med.

Night all, can't keep me eyes open.

Jan

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

This is the perfect place I need. I am all geared up to start dieting on Jan. 1. I need a few more things from the grocery store. I asked my doctor about diets and he said he had read all the way through the South Beach Diet and recommended it.
The first part of this diet is like your second post, Tammy. All the sweets and starches are out. The idea is to detox from carbs and also lose the craving for them.
I will miss cheese with crackers the most but I can substitute the ice cream with low-fat yogurt and fruit with a little stevia.
I lost 40 lbs early this year, but had rotary cuff surgery and was so inactive that I gained back 20 of it. So I'm trying again.
I have a lot of weight to lose but I have been having so much sacroiliac pain that the weight must come off. I garden at home and at a museum and also at a house/museum so I need to be more fit . I also have instruction on how to lift and do other work without hurting my back. I load bags of fertilizer or Black Kow in the back of station wagon and drive right over the lawn and they just dump there where I will use them.
Susan, the South Beach Diet just put out a new cookbook; it's wonderful.
I don't know how I will do strength training with a bad back. Perhaps some of you have suggstions or a link. Well, back to bed for a couple of hours.
I'm dieting with some family in a private room we set up on Facebook. Everyone's ready to start. One thing I learned from Weight Watcher years ago is to not eat cereal that sugar is in the 1st 3 ingredients. I also learned from them to save all the chicken broth, boil it down and then cool it in the fridge so I can skim the fat off. I use it when cooking a lot of my veggies and rice.
I'm going to buy a fitness ball. I love to bounce up and down on them but my house is small and crowded so I'm not sure where I'll put it.
meadowyck, I did not understand what kinds of machines you are talking about. I sure hope you got that ringworm cleared up.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Wood spirit, for breakfast cereal eat old fashioned oatmeal. Been doing it for years. I make it with water, no salt, and add some chocolate protein powder to it.

Waaaay Down South, GA

Great to see this thread come alive again. It's always easier to stick to a plan when you have others around.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

My, my..........and Susan still lives and breathes..............nice to see you again. LOL Please send me some warm up here in cold Wisconsin. :>)

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Hey Susan! did you ever get your kefir grains?

I'm going on a renewel diet - put on a few pounds with all the travel I did this year. Thankfully its only 5lbs. I'm going with kefir/fruit smoothie w/green salad for lunch and lots of stir fries for dinner. And fruit for dessert. And cutting out all pasta, grains & starches except for my organic bran cereal for breakfast. I have switched to almond milk to cut down the dairy too.

Tam

Dahlonega, GA

OK I blew it . Lost down to 229 and kept it off for months . Then I stopped smoking program two months ago and snacked it all back on plus . . Stop smoking was big success . Now back to the raw veggies and cooked greens .

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Anna, I like oat bran too.But I will buy some oatmeal too. I like fat free 1/2 & 1/2 and could probably get away with adding that. But for the 1st two weeks, grain is not allowed. Going to be tough. But I did it once before.
My family keeps talking about quinoa. Anyone familiar with that?

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I like steel cut oats too.

My sister made some Quinoa for Thanksgiving. I didn't care for it, I thought it would taste "grain-y" and it had more of an earthy taste to it. If I want earthy I will eat mushrooms. LOL

Waaaay Down South, GA

Hi Anna! It's great to see you, too. I've been so bad about keeping up with everyone. I don't know where time goes anymore now that I have Moses. LOL

I love Quinoa and oatmeal ... both regular and steel cut. I confess to liking a bit of sweet with mine. I like a tad of local honey in it. Oh, and when blueberries are in, I drop those in ... yum!

Tammy, I couldn't find the kefir. I know you said I could order them, but I just haven't done that. I guess I was chicken since I don't know anything about it. LOL

We had chicken Piccata for supper tonight, but I served it over whole wheat pasta. Hope that counts, because there's a lot of that in our future. We had 115 lemons off our Meyer lemon tree this year!

Good luck to everyone.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Wow! 115 lemons is a lot of lemonade, sorbet and pie!

I am going to go back to doing the only diet that ever did me any good. While on this diet you an eat anything you want,

BUT, first you have to eat 3 stalks of celery, an apple, half of a banana and half an orange or a clementine, a large serving

of salad... You get the idea: by the time you are ready do eat all of those barbecued ribs and chocolate cake; you are too

full to do much damage. I dropped 30 pounds in 5 months by stuffing myself full of good things just so I could eat a few bites

of something bad ^_^

mulege, Mexico

Quinoa is excellent and it's a seed, not a grain. Google it. There are several web sites dedicated to it. kb

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