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A teenager tried to sneakily take a picture of me today. I never thought my weight was of a freakish nature that it warranted me being photographed like an endangered species.(r/Fitness)
EDIT 1: TL;DR. Salad. Portion control. Aim for between 1500-2000 calories. EAT LOTS OF SALAD! Make it in advance, store it in the fridge. Exercise!
EDIT 2: Disclaimer: This worked for me. Your mileage may vary. I planned a diet around using salad to cope with hunger because it was a natural food very low in calories. I used very low calorie dressing to keep it that way. If you can’t see yourself eating salad 2-4x a day, this won’t work for you, but it’s just one of many possible ways to cut calories with less pain than suffering through hunger between meals. Always go with a diet plan that appeals to you as something that you can stick to for a long period of time, not what some random stranger suggests on the internet. 😉
Well, I’m not a professional, but I have gone from fat to fit (female, from 210 and lazy to 130 and athletic in under six months) with similar issues as your own:
It’s all well and good to say you’re going to quit drinking soda, but do stock up on some diet soda. I know some people hate it, but give yourself some time with it. Your taste buds will adapt.
What’s wrong with coffee? Have your morning coffee. There are no calories in coffee until you add cream and sugar. Go with milk and sweetener if that’s your thing. More importantly, have breakfast with your coffee. It should be a small-ish meal – enough that you’re getting your blood sugar up and keeping yourself satisfied. If breakfast alone won’t tide you over until lunch, have a serving of fruit between breakfast and lunch. Small meals throughout the day will keep you more satisfied in the long run than three squares (because they help to keep your blood sugar elevated).
No sweets? Good. Next!
I’m not big on bread, but pasta? Mmmm. Unfortunately, portion control is damn hard with both bread and pasta. Sandwiches are okay, but think pita bread (look for varieties at about 100cal/pita) and lots of vegetables with some lean meats (chicken, turkey, lean ham, roast beef) and mustard & salt and pepper instead of butter or mayo. Calorie free mayonnaise exists, but I have no idea what it actually tastes like. Stuff that pita till it’s ready to burst with lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Cucumber is damn good on a sammich. Don’t you doubt it.
As for pasta, did you know that ~35 pieces of rotini is a portion of pasta? Disappointing as all get-out, huh? Click.. Get one. Stick to 1 portion. Stick to non-meat sauces and have a salad or steamed vegetables on the side/remaining three quarters of your plate. Heck, have some chicken, too. Key word: Some. Like 1/2 a breast.
I don’t like vinaigrettes either. That’s why fat free Italian is awesome. Calorie reduced everything else is also pretty good, but you’ve got to be quite moderate with it. READ YOUR LABELS and measure out your dressing accordingly.
Lots of vegetables, some fruit. Green vegetables contain very few calories, making them excellent for purposes of satisfying hunger without guilt. Keep in mind that most yellow, red, orange or white “veggies” have substantially more calories than greens (even though they’re still pretty low). A few slices of carrot and some cherry tomatoes in your salad won’t kill you, but if you make a salad containing only green things, you can pretty much eat as much of it as you want, whenever you want, provided you don’t forget to think about the calories in the dressing.
A grilled chicken sandwich from a fast food joint probably isn’t a big improvement vs. whatever else you had in mind, but it depends on the particular sandwich. If it’s a major chain restaurant you’re going to for it, look it up. 500 calories? Not… bad, but probably not very filling. 1000 calories? No. Just no. The problem isn’t the chicken – it’s the bun and the condiments. Subtracting the cheese (if present) and substituting a creamy sauce with barbeque sauce is one way to improve it, but only if you’re looking at something that’s around 500 calories to begin with. Here’s an example. The best fast food restaurant meal is a side salad… or three. Again, mind the dressing. A packet of creamy dressing like Ranch can contain 300 calories.
A good rule of thumb is not to put anything in your mouth without first knowing what’s in it. Always read Nutritional Information labels and when in doubt, use a calorie index site like the one linked above (there are many) before you plan a meal, whether in your home our outside of it. I have to wonder, why do you have to eat fast food? Workday lunch? Is there a reason you can’t pack your own lunch? Planning your meals is key, as is portion control (particularly bread and pasta control). The best way I’ve personally found is to plan your meals a week in advance, but more importantly, try not to let yourself get hungry.
Easier said than done? Easier done than you think. You love salad? Perfect!
Step 1: Buy stuff to make a whole lot of salad, plus the lowest calorie dressing(s) you can reasonably tolerate putting on said salad. Also, buy or find a large (as in ~300oz) bowl or tupperware container and at least one small container (~32oz). A 3rd even smaller (12oz) container is optional (or you could go for two even smaller containers here). Airtight tupperware is best. Additionally, you will need either a lettuce spinner or plenty of paper towel.
Step 2: Clear half a shelf in your fridge. Wash, shred and DRY (spin, air dry or shake and thoroughly pat dry) enough lettuce to fill the big container. The drier the lettuce, the longer it’ll last. Wash and slice enough mostly green whatever-else to fill the larger of the small containers and save the smallest, if you opt for it, for tomato and onion. The reason for keeping all of this separate is A) to keep the lettuce dry and B) to keep the tomato and onion flavours in the tomato and onion where they belong.
Step 3: When you want a salad, make a salad. It’ll take you all of one minute to remove your containers from the fridge and combine their contents. Bring at least one serving of salad with you to work with the intention of eating it on your last break or just before you leave. That way, you won’t be hungry when you get home. On the off chance that you are, you’ve got plenty of salad waiting for you if it’s not yet time for supper.
Drink lots of water.
Get problem foods out of your home if you can.
Set a realistic calorie limit. Your BMR with the stats you’ve given is about 3000. This does not include calories burned during exercise, but to keep it simple (and effective), consider anything below 3000 a calorie deficit. Eating exactly 3000 calories a day is not likely to result in a satisfying rate or weight loss, so you’ll want to go even lower. I would suggest setting a limit somewhere between 1500 and 2500. A pound of fat contains 3500 calories, so at 1500 calories a day, you’d be looking at at least 3lbs of weight loss per week (to start – keep in mind that as your size changes, so does your metabolic rate). At 2500 calories a day, you’d be looking at at least 1lb of weight loss per week.
You can approach achieving and maintaining a calorie deficit in two ways:
All at once: Limit yourself to somewhere between 1500 and 2000 calories from day 1 of your diet onward. If you can maintain it, you’ll see quick results.
Ease into it: It is okay to start with a small reduction (for example, start with limiting yourself to 2750 calories), working your way down (by 250cal/week) over the course of a few weeks (again, to no fewer than 1500 calories). This is not the usual way to go about “starting a diet,” but if your main problem is eating too much, it’s not just the size of your body that you need to think about shrinking. Your stomach is in fact larger than it ought to be and it will take time for it to shrink down. As it does so, it will take less food to fill you up, but if you suddenly start eating half the food your stomach is used to, it’s going to bitch and moan about it in the form of some pretty intense hunger pangs. It’ll still shrink its whiny self down to a slimmer-you friendly size, but it’s going to complain about it for a good two weeks.
How to start out is something that is entirely up to you. Succeeding at weight loss boils down to mental discipline, which tends to erode in the face of something as demanding as a hungry stomach. If it was easy to make drastic changes to your eating habits, no one would ever fail at a diet. It’s not easy, but you can make it easier. Making smaller changes over a period of time may make it easier for you. Maybe, maybe not. You’ll see smaller changes at first with this method, which may be discouraging. Again, it is completely up to you how you want to start: Tough it out or spread it out.
Plan your shopping and non-salad meals before you head out to do groceries. More to the point, plan for the diversity you want. There is no reason to eat the same thing every week, let alone every day. Does that sound silly when I’m advising you to eat lots of salad? There are many, many varieties of low calorie dressing. Use that to keep it interesting and vary your non-salad meals to keep them interesting.
If your wife is doing the groceries, well… either give her a list, go with or go yourself. And eat first. If it involves thinking about, reading about or looking at food, eat first.
Otherwise, it’s all about basic portion control, which is a challenge in and of itself, but it gets easier. It really does.
Last but not least, EXERCISE. If the only exercise you can do is walking, walk. The best place to start however is with some strength training to give your body a little more calorie burning capacity (because muscle just does that, even when it’s not doing anything else). For that, see the side bar. >