Lost in the Sea of Dieting
I'm sure this has been posted multiple times before but I think each person is different when it comes to dieting, and I have to admit, i've been reading a lot about all the different kinds of diets and honestly have no idea which one i'm supposed to do, what i'm supposed to eat, its very confusing really.
A bit about me, I'm 211lbs, 22 years old and looking to reduce body fat and increase body muscle, I ate rather unhealthy for a long time however the past few weeks have sacrificed a lot of every day luxeries that I would eat and drink.
I would drink around 4-6 cokes a day, now I drink only water (with the 5 cal powder to make it taste nice!) My wife and I joined a gym and although haven't gone yet (going first time this Sat!) I think I should be focusing on weights first then cardio second.
now to my problem, I'm always hungry but have no idea what to eat, I try and control my calorie intake by using the Foods tab on the fitday online thing, and for now it seems to be working. Before starting the diet I was on 218lbs so I have lost 7 lbs already which isn't bad.
I'm really only eating Salad, nuts, boiled eggs, meat+salad sandwiches (on whole wheat bread) and then some meat + veg for tea.
My wife was saying I was going about it wrong, and that its not about calories its about carbohydrates, I've read that its not about carbs its about actually eating more to burn more, I've read that cutting yourself down to aroudn 1500 cals a day is the best way, there is just too many ways!
I'm a stay at home dad, due to living on a spousal visa only, so I am not allowed to work, we are active with our 4 kids(lets focus on the weight, not my life :P) and my dog, I just want to make sure that the diet I use and the program I will soon be beginning is going to give me the end results that I am after, rather than wasted effort.
Hope this made sense!
thanks for reading and any replies that may follow!
If you want long term weight loss, forget about cutting carbs, eating nothing but protein, never touching fat and all that other fad diet crappola.
What your body needs is a well balanced diet that includes some of everything and as little processed muck as possible.
Figure out how many calories you burn (takes some experimenting) and then aim to consume less by 3-500 calories a day.
Exercise is key. Get your butt into the gym and do a little bit of everything but start slowly and add just a little weight or a little time (cardio) each session. If you start too hard you'll just be too sore to go back. And going back is everything! Minimum 3 times a week but 5-6 is a WHOLE lot better.
If you want some readable guidance, there is a great new book just out ..."Race Weight" by Matt Fitzgerald. It's NOT just for athletes and this guy writes without the faddish stuff you'll find in a lot of "nutrition" books. Really good common sense info. In the last 3 years, I've gone from 223 to 165. I'm on my way to 155 and I can tell you these last lbs are the hardest but this book has helped me a lot. I only wish I'd had it when I started.
What grumpyphil said is right. You need to eat a balanced diet for the long term. Lowering your fat intake is good for general health as well as losing weight. If you want to put on muscle then lift weights and increase your protein intake a bit. Don't try lifting more than 3 times a week, but cardio you can do as often as you like.
Calories are everything. Find your Base metabolic rate and aim for 500 calories beneath that and adjust over time. Then any exercise you do will bring your weight loss to 1-2 pounds a week.
Weight loss while influenced by composition of the food consumed is really calories in versus calories out. It sounds simple but its really true. I would concentrate my efforts on protein (chicken breast, fish-salmon, tuna, halibut, shellfish) limit red meat, carbs-go easy on breads potatos and other starches, fresh vegetables-to the degree possible avoid the higher calorie vegetables-beans, peas, corn. AVOID prepared foods. Be liberal with spice and herbs to keep the food exciting. Measure everything-do not guess about the weight/quantity of any ingredient. Drink enormous amounts of water. When hungry drink 16 ozs of water first and see if you are hungry or just thirsty. Keeping your consumption clean will not only help you lose wieght but because the aforementioned foods inherently contain less calories you can eat slightly more and remain satisfied.
Different things work for different people. According to a BBC article, there is a genetic part. For some people, low-carb diets are best, for some people low-fat diets are best, and for some people a balanced diet works. Try each and see what works.
My experience has been that there are some things which are universal. It is ALWAYS good to increase the fraction of your calories coming from protein and to drink more water (at least 2 quarts/liters daily). Protein is more filling for its calories and digests fairly slowly, filling you longer. Water helps fill you up and speeds metabolism. Simple sugars don't fill you up at all, relative to their calories, and should be replaced with artificial sweeteners when possible. Some people find that eating extra fiber (beans, green vegetables) helps them feel fuller over time.
In the end, your wife is wrong: low-carb diets are NOT a universal solution. As long as you are eating significantly less calories than your body burns, you will lose weight. Choosing the mix of fat/starch/protein in your diet is a matter of personal preference: whatever keeps you happiest for the same calories is the best diet.
Edit: specific advice on diet
You may not have enough bulk in your diet if your main veggies are in salads. You can add bulk without adding fiber by eating more green vegetables. I find salads boring as heck, so I like to do stir-fry with veggies and meat or mushrooms. Soups and satays are good ways to work in vegetables too. Or, if you're set on sandwiches, PILE them with tomatoes, spinach leaves, and onions. Onions are basically freebies for nutrition.
If you're in Britain, learn to cook a good saag with fresh spinach. Delicious and low-calorie if you omit or reduce the desi ghee/butter/cream.
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