I've decided to lose some weight but I don't know how to start. I weigh 211 lbs and I am 5'7". My doctor is always telling me I need to eat healthier and be more active. I am currently 20 years old. My two favorite food groups are vegetables and dairy, I don't eat very much meat. Also I love milk (I just drink it plain) but no matter how I try, anything below 2% milk is disgusting to me. Can you guys give me some advice on what to do?
"Healthy" food can be a little bit of a misnomer. Your body really needs a balanced diet. Now 2% milk can be perfectly fine, but if that's all you're drinking and you're drinking quite a bit of it each day that's a LOT of calories and fat. Similarly if you're eating tons of fruit, that's a lot of sugar, a lot of carbs and a lot of calories.
What I suggest is to find a program like Fitday.com, myfitnesspal.com, biggestlooser, etc. and count your caloric intake. You need to know where you are right now to know what your problem is. Aka, it's obvious for someone who eats out at McD's 5 times a week that they're probably eating out too much but a less obvious problem (which I know is my big kicker) is portions. Personally I'm guilty of putting too much on the plate and eating all of it. Now if you have one large glass (12oz) of milk- that's almost 200 calories. That can easily add up. Also some of the softer cheeses can by really really high in calories too. So right now, see what you're eating and how much it really adds up to- then you know where you need to make changes.
One option to see if you can cut out some of the calories from your milk is to see if you can use half 1%, half 2%. This might help make it less watery?? (I can't have dairy so I'm a little unhelpful here)
As far as exercise, to begin with, you just need to increase your activities. If you don't have a very active day, talk a walk around the block. If you're on your feet all day, maybe try sit ups, jumping jack, or running. What you need to do is get your heart rate a little more elevated. A good goal is 30-45 minutes starting out (especially if you're not usually active) to upwards of 1-2 hours a day for 5 days a week.
Also try to have concrete goals that are close. Aka my overall goal is 55kgs er 130 lbs?, about -90 lbs from my starting weight. I lost the first 25lbs, I bought some nice clothes. My next goal is only 10lbs away. Although it's a big one because I haven't been that weight since I was 14, the goals are reasonably close together and I think it's helped me press on instead of getting overwhelmed. Similarly with exercise - I aim for 20 laps in 30 minutes, next in 20 minutes, etc. (I only learned to swim last year.) Anyway having these goals help you stay focused and hopeful without getting completely overwhelmed by the task at hand. Also I have found that rewards help- the things that you always wanted but are like meh too much money, can't be bothered. -When I get down to a "overweight" BMI range my husbands going to get me a BBQ. Might sound silly, but I haven't been in that range in YEARS so it's a pretty big thing and I deserve some kind of gold star. :D
I'm also a list kind of person so it has helped me to make a list and have a schedule to keep on track.
I've lost 140 lbs and lost the first 100 lbs in just 8 mos and have kept it off now for going on 8 years. But people lose weight differently... You really only want to worry about one thing at a time because changing your way of life is hard! I'm not gonna lie... So I'd suggest getting your diet on track first. Don't worry so much about exercising... at least not yet.
I tried counting calories but it never worked for me. I was always left starving! I lost the weight counting carbs and eating lean meats, veggies and unprocessed cheeses, with some berries and nuts thrown in here and there. But after two years, my weight loss plateaued and I was feeling deprived so I switched to what I've been doing ever since which is what they're now calling the Healthy Plate diet (no counting calories at all!). This means half a plate of veggies (or quarter plate of veggies and quarter plate of good fruits), quarter plate of lean meat and quarter plate of whole grain/starch. With this, the most important thing is to realize that yes, veggies are super important, but you have to include lean proteins with every meal and snack, otherwise you're going to keep feeling hungry and unsatisfied. Also, make sure you take in most of your calories during the first half of the day. Eat a big breakfast, have a mid-morning snack and eat a slightly smaller lunch. So if you're on a 1200 calorie diet, this will mean you will have eaten about 700 calories in the first 7 hours of your day. For instance, my staple breakfast consists of a cup of oatmeal (dry), a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter. My lunches are usually grilled chicken salads (with TONS of veggies and a sprinkle of light dressing) and my snacks are normally nuts or fruit and nuts. For dinner I tend to switch it up between fish and poultry with lean red meats on a rare occasion, (quarter plate portion), half plate of veggies, and a quarter plate of a whole grain/starch (like brown rice, whole wheat dinner roll or sweet potato). For an evening snack, I love air popped popcorn with a few sprays of Smart Balance butter. I try my best to steer clear of sugars and white flour completely! I also don't do much dairy other than yogurt. I do take a multivitamin daily, though...
I know I said there's no counting calories at all and then went into talking about how many calories to eat in the first part of the day, but that's because as you start out, you really should write down what you're eating for 7 days straight noting calories, fat, carbs, etc. and take a look at substituting what you've been eating for healthier combinations that will not only leave you feeling full but will also be good for you. After doing this for a little while, it will become second nature to you to make the right choices as a part of your new lifestyle. And if you need any support along the way, just hit me up! I hate to sound like everybody else out there who's lost weight, but if I can do it, I know you can, too! :D
Some good advice posted above. Since your favorite foods are veggies, you should have 1/2 the battle won, since those are foods to eat the most of. AvaG is right about the 1/2 plate of veggies and the 1/4 plate of lean protein and complex carbs/starches. Be aware that can destroy all benefit of eating veggies, if you put the wrong things on them. For instance, broccoli is an excellent weight loss food, but you won't lose weight if you pour on the full fat, melted cheese sauce, or let it swim in butter ......
Make sure you eat an adequate amount of "good" fats. Those are the monounsaturated fats that come from avocados, olive oil, nuts, etc. Since fat makes us feel satisfied, a small amount goes a long way.
I also agree that keeping track of what you eat, is a good idea - not necessarily for the purpose of "counting calories"; just so you get to know the portion sizes and calories in each food you eat. MedHelp has an excellent food diary, that will also help you keep track of the nutrients in your food.
While it's true that whole milk tastes much better, if you drink very much of it, you are getting a lot of calories of saturated fat, which is the worst kind of fat. I agree that it's hard to switch to 2% or skim milk, but if you're going to lose weight, you will either have to limit your milk intake or switch. A serving of milk is one cup (8 ounces). You could try "weaning" yourself off the whole milk, by starting out with 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup 2%. Do that for a while, then increase the 2% to 1/2 cup and reduce the whole milk to 1/2 cup; later increase the 2% to 3/4 cup and reduce the whole milk further, to 1/4. After a while, you should be able to switch completely to 2%. A serving of 2% milk has 130 calories and 3 grams of fat. Then if you wanted to take it a step further, you could use the same process with 2% and skim milk.
It's best to avoid anything made with refined sugar and flour, white rice, etc. Limit fruit to mostly those that are higher fiber, lower sugar, such as apples, pears, etc.
All of that said, I also have to mention that you should get your doctor's blessing before starting a diet. You might also want to ask to get your thyroid tested (TSH, Free T3 and Free T4), since hypothyroidism can completely derail even the best diet; I know, I have it and if I don't keep my levels at a certain point, I can't lose weight, no matter what I do. Insulin resistance and/or PCOS can also wreak havoc with a diet........
Good luck and come join our new weight loss challenge, if you haven't already......
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