General Question

livelaughlove21's avatar

How does this diet/exercise plan sound?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15655points) June 17th, 2011

I’m looking to lose a few more pounds (slowly is fine, no rush) and get healthy and stay that way. I’m not overweight now, but I’m not happy with my body. I want to find a plan I can stick with for the long haul, because that’s what I have an issue with. I just wanted a little bit of input on a new plan I came up with.

For breakfast, I will eat 1 cup of strawberry greek yogurt with ½ cup of low fat granola with some fruit. For lunch, I will eat a handful of a nut blend I like (cashews, pistachios, almosts, peanuts) with some cheddar cheese and more fruit. Dinner is my least healthy meal because I eat whatever I cook for my fiance (spaghetti, sirloin, chili, ranch burgers, etc), but in a smaller portion with a veggie (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, corn, etc) on the side.

First question, what can I snack on? Sometimes while I’m cooking or in the afternoons at work I get hungry and end up eating something unhealthy that we have at work, like chips or sweets. I don’t want to overload on carbs, but I can’t exactly bring a bowl of fruit to my station while I have customers in front of me. So what are some healthy snacks?

As for exercise, I will be alternating walking at 3.4mph for 30 minutes and fat blasting Tae Bo for 30 minutes so that I’m working out five days a week. On weekends I will try to keep active, but my weeks are so stressful that I let myself relax and even indulge a little bit when I’m not working.

I know that a lot of people say that eating the same thing each day is a bad idea, but it works for me. If I get sick of it, I switch it up. But it’s a lot easier buying stuff for the same lunch than a different lunch every day because I end up wasting food.

Oh, and I also drink PLENTY of water.

So, how does my plan sound? Any thoughts or suggestions?

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27 Answers

josie's avatar

In the first few weeks, make the diet protein big and carbohydrate small. Your body will utilize the protein to begin muscle tissue development to keep up with the exercise, It will only have fat and carbohydrate to burn up as fuel. If you deprive it of carbohydrate, it will go for the body fat.
A protein rich diet is unhealthy for the long term, so back off of that in a couple of weeks.
Snack on carrot sticks, celery sticks, with a little peanut butter or hommus. Or a protein bar is not a bad snack occasionally.
It is the big dose carbohydrate foods, like pasta, sweets, fruit juice and pop that get you.
Exercise plan sounds good for cardiovascular. I few push ups and crunches will shape you .

6rant6's avatar

Kind of light on the veggies.

How about if you take your trail mix out of the lunch menu, move it to snack, and instead have a big salad at lunch – green peppers, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, the occasional hard boiled egg, tomatoes, spinach – that kind of stuff.

gailcalled's avatar

Nuts and cheese are high calorically. For snacks, use raw veggies. In addition to the boring carrots and celery sticks, you can eat raw cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, radish, kolorabi, sugar snap peas, snow peas, shelled peas, green beans, peppers of all colors, etc. See @Grant6.

You can keep a ziplock bag with veggies in your pocket or purse and nibble occasionally.

Corn is not a good vegetable, spaghetti or any other white pasta is not a good complex carb. Switch to barley, brown rice, quinoa or amaranth. Eat small portions of fish rather than meat. An egg every other day or so is a good thing.

tom_g's avatar

@josie‘s got it (protein, lower carb in the beginning).

@livelaughlove21: “For breakfast, I will eat 1 cup of strawberry greek yogurt with ½ cup of low fat granola with some fruit.”

This seems like way too much sugar to start the day off (at least to me). I would be a shaking mess 1.5 hours later if I did this. If you want to go yogurt and fruit, how about plain greek yogurt, some fruit, and a some almonds?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sun flower seed in the shell work great as a snack. Yes, they’re packed with calories, but you expend about all the calories getting them out of the shell.

Do you look forward to eating 1 cup of strawberry greek yogurt with ½ cup of low fat granola with some fruit.”? If not, find something that you would really LIKE for breakfast. Like a plain old bowl of Cheerios (no sugar) with milk.

josie's avatar

Skim milk. Cheerios, no sugar, skim milk.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I hate skim milk! Just save a few calories and use water!

tom_g's avatar

@Dutchess_III – Whole milk is better for weight loss anyway.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How so @tom_g? When I set out to lose my 40 pounds 20 years ago, I completely changed my eating habits, but I didn’t give up whole milk or real butter. But I don’t know how whole milk could assist in weight loss…it’s packed with fat.

tom_g's avatar

@Dutchess_IIIhere and here (same study I think. Forget which article is better.)

“According to researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, 1% and skim milk was associated with weight gain, not Dairy fat.
– Drinking whole milk helps curb your appetite.
– Keeps you full longer.
– Non-fat dried milk is added to 1% and 2% milk. Unlike the cholesterol in fresh milk, which plays a variety of health promoting roles, the cholesterol in non-fat dried milk is oxidized and it is this rancid cholesterol that promotes heart disease.”

Fat in food has no relationship to the fat on your body. It was an unfortunate myth that was helped along by the old-fashioned food pyramid.
I’ll try to find the abstract as well.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks. Yes, I agree, whole milk DOES fill you up!

livelaughlove21's avatar

@tom_g Sugar doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I usually have a better day when my breakfast contains a good deal of sugar.

@others I know I should be eating whole grains and stuffing my face with veggies but, as I said, I want to do something that I’ll stick with. Forcing myself to eat raw vegetables (shudder) and salads is only going to make me go back to my awful eating habits faster. I know me, and that’s exactly what always happens.

So, I’m trying to eat foods I like, but in smaller portions and some healthier alternatives. Whole grain pasta makes me gag…it’s so gritty! I get SmartOption Enriched White Pasta…it’s not as good for you as whole wheat, but it’s something. I’m not looking to drop 2 lbs a week…just slowly get to a smaller size and be healthier.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly @livelaughlove21! Don’t look at it as a “diet.” Look at it as you have new “eating habits.” Diet’s fail. You go “on” diet, it’s a given that you will go “off” a diet. Habits last a life time. Excellent mind set.

I’m not a fan of raw veggies either, but you know, celery sticks with cream cheese aren’t bad. You talk yourself into eating them the first time or two, then you find yourself saying, “Hm! I think I’ll get some celery and cream cheese! It just sounds good!”

Seriously though…cut ALL sugar out of your diet. I have had people come over and they want sugar for some reason, and I wouldn’t have any. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d bought any. I can’t stand uber sweet stuff anymore.

tom_g's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – You are right. Eat what you will be able to continue to eat through your life. You’re the only one who can make these decisions.

Not to get too obsessive about the sugar question again, but I think it’s probably the most important aspect of a healthy diet and weight loss over the long term. If you are struggling right now to lose some weight or feel better, it’s possible that you are eating too much – and too many unhealthy foods. Sugar – especially for breakfast – seems to be the one thing that you might want to push yourself on just a bit. When you don’t eat sugar for breakfast, you will find that your body will be hungry less often, and when it is hungry, you will probably have less cravings for unhealthy food. It’s not a personal thing (some people do better with sugar for breakfast, some people don’t do well, etc). It’s just how human beings work.

At the very least, experiment. See how you feel. Once you find a way of eating that makes you feel better, you’ll probably choose those things. A food that satisfies the mind and body is much more appealing than one that satisfies the tongue for a few seconds.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@tom_g I’ll do that. It’s worth a shot. Maybe I’ll try the cheerios thing, because I’ve tried plain yogurt and to me it’s so bitter and not something I’d ever be able to consume in full. What other breakfast options are there that are lower in sugar?

tom_g's avatar

If you need cereal, here are the 2 best options:
Kashi GoLean (not the GoLean Crunch kind)
Uncle Sam’s cereal

I would recommend GoLean. Tastes great, and contains 13g protein per serving. Keeps me full. I also put some slivered almonds on it.

BrianG's avatar

Hello. Diet and excercise are the only two things that will help with weight loss, but many people do not know how to do either effectively. Building muscle mass through resistance training will also increase your metabolism, causing you burn more calories 24 hours a day. It also allows you to “shape” your body to look more like you want it to look. Aerobic excersize tends to only burn calories, and only does this while it is being performed and a short time afterward, with less residual metabolic or body shaping results than resistance training offers. I am NOT recommending against aerobic excercise, but find it to be less effective than resistance training overall. Most people use a combination the two.

As far as diet, I try to watch overall caloric intake of course, and avoid processed foods. I also try to follow an “evolutionarily appropriate” diet. Such a diet includes no processed foods of course, no sugar, no dairy, and no grains, but plenty of lean meats, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. I try eat “good” fats like olive oil, and avoid hydrogenated oils. Eat as if you are a hunter gatherer tribesman, since that is in fact what you are “genetically.”

I explain what to eat this way. Imagine you are stuck in the wilderness with nothing but a pointed stick. What could you kill or harvest from the forest with your pointed stick? That is what you “should” eat. That would be an evolutionarily appropriate diet.

When I follow this eating/exercise plan strictly, I Ioose weight, gain muscle and have fewer health problems overall. I realize that some people have difficulty getting “off” carbs, but they are the one food group that is not really necessary for humans in any large quantities. Most processed snack foods are heavy on the carbs as well as other evolutionarily “inappropriate” ingredients.

I hope this helps.

Kardamom's avatar

It sounds like you need to ease up a bit on the cheese and only have a small portion of nuts each day (about an 1/8 of a cup) if you are actually trying to lose some weight. You might also want to try step aerobics, fast walking and hand weights and isometrics.

For some healthy snacks, you might try getting some of Trader Joe’s pre-bagged fruits and veggies. You can get individual veggies like baby carrots, grape tomatoes and fresh pineapple, or you can get some of the bags that have mixes like carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Make sure that you pack veggies and fruit into your lunch every day. Other good snack choices are pretzels, whole grain crackers, apple chips, Kashi bars (but don’t ever rely on meal replacement bars, because most of them tend to be very high in sodium and calories, some like Kashi are way better than others, read labels religiously) sliced fruit, dried fruit, including freeze dried fruits which are crispy instead of chewy (but don’t eat too much of any dried fruit due to the sugar content) dried wholegrain cereals like Kix, and Cheerios. Somebody yesterday (forgive me for not recalling who it was and giving them credit) suggested fat free cottage cheese with a squirt of hot Siracha sauce. Fat free yogurts are great too as are whole grain pita chips, pickled vegetables, whole grain and salt-free chips with fresh salsa or fat free dip (made with fat free plain yogurt or fat free sour cream, or home made bean dip or hummus). A hard boiled egg.

Sounds like you also need some more complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread (for your peanut butter sandwich, light on the peanut butter) and try making some salads with whole grains (that you can put into your lunch) like Tabouli, wheat berries, quinoa and brown rice.

For dinner, you should always have a green salad, along with whatever else you end up making (but be very conscious about the amount and type of dressing you put onto your salad). Vinegars and lemon juice and sprinklings of black pepper are very useful to spice up your salads. Use lots of veggies (don’t use iceberg lettuce because it is practically useless, nutrition-wise) You want to concentrate your eating with nutrient dense foods. For your salads add: mushrooms, beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, turnips, radishes, dried cranberries and dried cherries. You can also use these same veggies as snacks in your lunch bag.

Decide that you may have to change the type of entrees that you prepare for your financee for dinner, or lighten up the recipes that you already have. Use ground turkey for meatballs and burgers, eliminate or drastically cut the amount of cheese, add vegetables from everything from chili, to soup, to meatloaf, to pizza. Make your spaghetti with marinara sauce and add mushrooms, but remove the meat. Instead of hamburgers, try grilling portobello mushrooms brushed with Balsamic vinegar. Make burritos with fat-free refried beans, lose the cheese and add fresh salsa and lettuce and fat-free plain yogurt on whole grain tortillas. Make 3 bean chili, instead of meat chili. When you make a pizza, use whole grain Boboli crusts, or roll out Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust, then add lots of marinara sauce, and barely any cheese (sprinkle a little bit of parmesan, instead of heaping on the bunch of mozzarella) then add veggies galore, especially mushrooms. Learn to roast, steam and grill vegetables (and make it part of your everyday routine) like sweet potatoes, golden beets, rutabagas and garlic. Slather roasted garlic on your bread, instead of butter, or switch to using Smart Balance Buttery Spread. If you want to cut the fat and cholesterol content of your mayo, but still want great taste and texture, try switching to Vegenaise

Consciously attempt to cut down the size of the portions that you normally eat. Most Americans eat way too much food, and restaurants are notorious for loading up the plates, and we always try to clean our plates. If you go out to eat, consciously decide that you will only eat half and take the other half home for leftovers.

Learn to love and embrace soup and start serving it as the first course at your dinners. If you eat a bowl of soup first, you are less likely to want or need to eat a huge entree. Salad does the same thing (just don’t add cheese, croutons, or creamy dressings to your salads, and try making some entree salads for dinner instead of making a steak) Start eating soup at lunchtime instead of a cheese and meat filled sandwich. Make sure to make and buy soups that are low in sodium, avoid cream filled soups and meat filled soups (unless it’s chicken or turkey) and try to eat more vegetable rich soups like lentil, tomato, black bean, minestrone and hot and sour.

Making changes is hard, but you will have to make some changes in the way you eat and the foods you choose to have any lasting effect. If you “diet” for awhile and then go back to your old habits, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. You have to learn to embrace new foods that are better for you, taste great (even though you may never have even considered them before) and are easy enough to prepare for a meal, make leftovers and prep ahead of time to pack into your lunch.

Here’s a few ideas that I think you will like:

Vietnamese Steak Salad (instead of steak and potatoes)

Chinese Chicken Salad (instead of mayonaise-laden chicken salad)

Cherry Burgers (adding dried cherries to your ground meat adds amazing flavor, while reducing the fat content and upping the antioxidant levels)

Honey Mustard Turkey Burgers (make sure to choose ground turkey made from the breast meat only, otherwise it will have almost the same fat content as ground beef. The spices and add ins you use, will determine the flavor and juiciness.)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Pasta with Escarole, White Beans and Chicken Sausage (this recipe uses a lower fat chicken sausage, whole grains pasta, plus the addition of fiber filled beans and escarole for added taste and extra veggies).

Curried Chicken Pasta Salad (this is great for taking in your lunch, a dinner entree salad or taking to a potluck party).

Kale Salad With Root Vegetables (this is my new go-to salad for potllucks and weekday lunches. The best root vegetables that I’ve tried are rutabagas, Golden beets, which do not leave a bloody looking mess in your kitchen, and turnips. Instead of preparing the nuts, myself, I just use Trader Joe’s spicy pecans).

Grapefruit Chicken Satay Salad

Black Bean Chili with Turkey (make sure to use ground breast meat).

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili (top with a dollop of fat free plain yogurt or fat free sourcream instead of grated cheese).

Hot and Sour Soup (the ingredients list sounds complicated, but it really isn’t, and this soup is so good that it’s totally worth it!)

Butternut Squash Soup

Nearly Non-fat Cream of Mushroom Soup

Fresh Tomato, Basil and Sundried Tomato Soup

Hummus (which can be eaten with toasted whole wheat pita triangles or sliced veggies like carrots and cauliflower)

Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp or Chicken

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Eat a good breakfast, let yourself eat whatever foods you want for lunch but half of the portion you’d normally like and make your dinner the chalk full of fiber stuff.

gailcalled's avatar

@Neizvestnaya: What is “chalk full of fiber stuff”?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@gailcalled: The fruits and vegies. They’re great for helping digest whatever was eating earlier in the day and a sleeping body doesn’t need the greater portion of starches and proteins.

gailcalled's avatar

@Neizvestnaya : Ah, you meant “chock.” Sorry I misunderstood.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@gailcalled: Oh, I did mean “chock”. Hurray for people to be able to catch all that. Once upon a time I noticed there was a fluther genie who would correct my faux pas, that was cool!

gailcalled's avatar

@Neizvestnaya: If I spoke Russian even half as well as you speak English, I“d be up for a MacArthur genius grant.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@gailcalled: You’ve never heard me speak, I guarantee it. Also, I’m not Russian.

gailcalled's avatar

@Neizvestnaya: Sorry. I am leaping to conclusions again, which is always a mistake. Nice user-name, however.

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