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Old 06-05-2013, 10:56 AM
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Default Healthy balanced diet

I want to lose weight, and eat healthy (no extremes like no carbs, or 500 calories a day). I want to eat a healthy number of calories and a good variety of the food groups.

An example of what I'm looking for would be: 2 grains, 3 proteins, 2 dairy, 3 fruits, 5 vegetables, etc, etc. (I just made up those numbers because I don't know how many is healthy.) Also, healthy eating tips such as: stick to whole grain, limit dairy, no processed foods, blah blah blah.

What does your healthy diet look like?
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:32 AM
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Very few grains period. The grains I do eat on a rare basis are rice (typically well digested by everybody) and some corn (can't take the Midwest out of the girl.) No wheat, whole or otherwise.

Meat. Make sure you're not buying meat that is loaded up with additives, nitrates, artificial colouring - it's disgusting the stuff they put in packaged meats. Pick up a bag of sliced deli meat sometime, gross.

Actual veggies, not other stuff masquerading as a veggie. Corn is a grain. Potatoes are legumes.

Fruit is fine as long as you aren't totally overloading on it. It's natural sugar but it's still sugar. I don't worry too much about it but it's something to be aware of. http://thepaleodiet.com/fruits-and-sugars/

Avoid sugar, especially if it's been added to stuff that it shouldn't be (seriously, dried fruit is sweet enough on the merits of it's natural fructose. It really doesn't need sugar added to it.)

Some dairy as long as it doesn't make you feel bad after eating/drinking it. Go for the real, full-fat stuff.

Nuts too.


Basically, read ingredient lists. If you don't know what all those things are on it, you shouldn't eat it. If you know what that chemical is, then think really hard about if you should still eat it. You want to put REAL food into your body. I'm not saying you have to go all organic or anything, but once you actually start reading labels and realizing how much crap is in so much of our food, including "healthy" packaged foods (ever read the ingredients to a Smart Ones frozen meal? GROSS.) it really changes your whole perspective.


Also, I know some people claim "oh calories totally don't matter as long as it's REAL FOOD!" Yes, yes they do. You still need to be aware of how much and what you're putting in your body. It's hard to overeat when you're shoveling in lots of meat and veggies but people certainly do it. An absentminded fistful of nuts three or four times a day will add up.
Here's a BMR calculator to get you a good picture of how many calories you should shoot for every day:
http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

As for carbs, I actually eat fewer carbs now eating real food than when I was eating "low carb." Average is sub-50 a day. If it doesn't happen naturally just keep an eye on them, shoot for 100-150. This loops back to the natural sugars in fruit type of thing.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:42 AM
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For me it's easy, real foods, limit grains to a couple times a week, not daily intake. Lots of fresh veggies and some fruit mostly berries. meat, a serving about the size of my fist 3-4 times per day and lots of coconut oil in smoothies and foods like almonds and avocados

If it comes in a box or a can it is highly unlikely we eat it. Some stuff sure at times, but not a regular part of our diet.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:42 AM
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What beanie said.

And portion control is important.

The palm of your hand (sans fingers) is about a serving of protein.
If you make a fist that's a serving of veggies.
If you cup your hand what can fit inside that is a serving of starch (oats measured dry, rice measured wet).
The size of your thumb is about a serving of fat (coconut oil to make scrambled eggs, roughly 10 almonds).

Cut out anything processed. Generally if it comes in a box, it's not good for you. Dairy is also not the best for you and I'd get rid of it all together if you can. If you're going to eat grains go with rice or steel cut oats.

If you're gonna eat crap or more starch than you should, you best earn it. Go for a jog with a dog or play a dance game on the wii or something.

Eat often. Every 3-4 hours. When one works long shifts, protein shakes become your friend lol. I have protein with every meal (but remember I also work out 6 days a week). Planning out and pre packing your food for several days at a time is a smart idea.

I'm not paleo but what I do is leaning closer to that than anything else really.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:43 AM
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or I could have just said, what Beanie said
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:48 AM
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I'd say overall you need to count calories and meet your macro goals (protein, carbs, fat). MEASURE everything. Don't just guess on an ounce of nuts, measure it on a kitchen scale.

If you work, pack your own lunch. Every day. Do not eat in the cafeteria, or go out to lunch. You cannot eat out healthy. If you manage to stay under your calorie goal, you'll still be ingesting way too much sodium or sugar.

Eating out should be reserved for once a week and try boxing up half of your meal before you start eating. Avoid appetizers, chips/salsa, and bread. It's all filler. Chips are fried corn basically and almost all bread at restaurants is just white flour and crap.

Really monitor what you drink. Coffee? That's cool, until you add sugar and creamer etc. Read the label on CoffeeMate coffee creamer, corn syrup galore. I use half and half only. No artificial sweeteners or sugars. Drink with artificial sweeteners have (potentially) been linked to sugar cravings. I was using MIO in my water, but started developing really bad afternoon headaches. My headaches were making me tired and I was skipping the gym a lot. I cut out the MIO and now I buy fresh lemons and squeeze them into my water instead. No more headaches. One margarita at a restaurant can have upwards of 600 calories or more. Beers are usually about 100 calories each and a shot is the same; around 100 calories.

Get an app like MyFitnessPal. Track your calories. Everything you put in your mouth.

Be prepared to spend one day a week organizing and cooking meals. We do a whole crockpot chicken sometimes and then use the meat throughout the week on different things. You can do chicken salad, tacos, sandwiches etc. Processed lunch meat is full of salt.

I'd say the biggest thing is measuring your servings.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:55 AM
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Everyone has given great advice here. My addition would be to "be deliberate" about what you eat. I have been a "grazer" all of my life. Open bag = empty bag. Is there food left in the serving dish? Finish it. Whatever comes on the plate in the restaurant is gone. Etc. Portion control was already mentioned, but you need to take that to heart.

I've been updating the "weight loss progress" thread and have my ticker in my signature. I'm down 70 pounds by weighing/measuring everything and reading every label and knowing what I'm eating. If I eat in a restaurant, I'll often ask for something "on the side" if for no other reason than because they almost always come in one of those plastic cups that is a specific size (printed on the bottom by the manufacturer). I then have a measuring cup of known size and can better estimate portions from there (2 ounce dish is 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons, etc.) I log everything that goes into my mouth (I use the sparkpeople.com site with their iPhone app, others use myfitnesspal. Use what works).

Eating the right portions of the right things and getting active is the "secret" of my success and I KNOW that you can have success, too!
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:08 PM
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Thanks guys!! I've tried so many "diets". I've been doing Atkins (or something close to it at least) up until today when I finally decided I was sick of it because it just doesn't seem healthy and it's not really working. The artificial sweeteners are giving me headaches and I've been having bad stomachaches for days now.

I know that exercise is the main thing I need to add into my daily life. I just have a lot of back problems and have developed some knee/hip problems as well (surely related to my weight) and it keeps me from exercising. But we are cleaning out our pool this weekend and I am planning to do at least 2 hours in the mornings swimming (not just lounging but actually moving around) and possibly some at night when I get off work. Swimming is really the only exercise I can do right now. I had a membership at the rec center and was swimming 3 or 4 times a week (for about 2 hours a day) for a while there and it was paying off. My membership expired though and it's expensive.

When you say tacos and sandwiches what kind of bread and tortillas are you using?
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Chloe - 9 y/o Dachshund/Chihuahua | Violet - 3 y/o Siberian Husky
Rest in peace - Holly (Siberian Husky)|Misty (Siberian Husky)|Princess (Silky Terrier)
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:13 PM
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My husband is the only one who really eats bread anymore. I don;t eat the sandwiches, but I buy whole wheat bread for him.

When we do tacos I put all of my taco insides (meat, cheese, guacamole, salsa, beans, whatever) into a bowl and I eat it with no tortilla.

I went low carb a while back and while I'm not necessarily low carb anymore I never felt the need to add much bread back into my life. If I felt like eating a sandwich I'd probably put the shredded chicken into a bowl and add some shredded cheese and tomatoes, lettuce and maybe put a smidge of mustard on top and eat it with a fork.
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:16 PM
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Also, (I should think before I hit submit) homemade tortillas are easy. Just google "easy home made tortillas" and you'll get 1000 recipes. Just make it with whole wheat flour, no sugar, and fry it in a little coconut oil.
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