Plants, Points, Portions, and More: A Diet Open Thread

corporette diet open threadI’ve seen a lot of commenter threads about different diets lately, and I’ve been looking into them myself, so I thought I’d start a diet open thread to collect everyone’s thoughts in one place. At the outset, I just want to remind everyone this isn’t necessarily about weight loss — some people try different diets as a way to eat healthier or break bad habits. If you aren’t interested in changing your diet, or if this talk is triggering to you, please skip this thread. In case it needs to be said: this thread is not about looking “perfect.” Bodies come in all shapes and sizes; please strive to love yours no matter what size.

But, for those of you who WOULD care to discuss it, let’s hear it, ladies: Have you tried to change your diet lately? What diets did you consider, what did you end up doing, what good habits have managed to stick with you? What’s your bottom line in gauging success of a new diet (like seeing the scale move, losing weight, getting rid of a food-sensitivity symptom like bloating or fatigue)? What role do expense, convenience, and rigidity play — as a busy working woman do you dismiss out-of-hand a diet that requires you to prepare everything at home or allows no wiggle room?

As far as my diet goes, my general goal in life is to focus on eating as many vegetables as I can. There’s that old quote from Michael Pollan that seems to be repeated in theory in everything I read on nutrition and health: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I’m not always successful at eating “mostly” plants (does wine count?), but in my little head I like the emphasis on eating more good things rather than taking away “bad” things — I feel like my “true north” is always going to come back to vegetables and lean proteins.

I don’t particularly want to ever strive to be a strict vegan, but I am trying to add more meatless dishes to our repertoire through books like VB6. I’ve done Weight Watchers for years, but I’m not super excited about the new(ish) Points system, so I’ve been pondering other diets like Paleo, Whole Food, or even old school Atkins (but with unlimited veggies) — and I’ve even been looking into some of the fitness/diet programs based on your genetics. (Several offer a discounted price if you send over your 23 and Me results — so far I like GX Slim‘s privacy policy better than DNAFit‘s, but I haven’t quite processed the difference between the results they offer.)

So let’s talk, ladies — what about your diet is working for you, and what do you struggle with? Have you tried a new diet recently, or did you make a change a while ago that is still working for you? Which diets did you consider, and what did you choose? Do you have a food philosophy (like “eat mostly plants”) or food rules (like “closing the kitchen” at a certain time)? Do you believe in cutting entire food groups out of your diet, or avoiding certain things (like carbs or sugar)? If you’re one of the unlucky few who, like me, has struggled to eat more healthily and/or lose weight for years, what was the tipping point for you?

Pictured: Pixabay.

The Best Diets for Working Women Pin


  1. Wildkitten :

    Wine is plants.

  2. To motivate myself to eat more vegetables, I decided to grow them this year. I have practically lived on a diet of tomatoes and cucumbers for the last 6 weeks.

    I am just trying to eat healthier…I would love to reduce processed foods, sugar and white flour. One problem I am running into is that I want to REDUCE the amount of nasties I eat, but most of the diet books only talk about eliminating them. I’m not going to go that far right now.

  3. Anonymous :

    I’m really struggling right now. I just feel like I can’t. I can’t make it work.

    • Wildkitten :

      One simple trick I learned is to get a microwave meal (I like evol) and a bag of microwave veggies (brocolli) and nuke them both. Add veggies to the meal and poof, super easy healthier meal.

      • I’ve tried options like that in the past, but there are still hidden items that negate the healthiness of the choice. For example, I love Evol’s chicken tikka masala and will add veggies to it. Tastes great! However, an evok chicken tikka masala bag (not the single serving bowls, those are a bit better), which feeds two people, has 930 mg of sodium in half the bag! So it’s s great way to get veggies, but I find myself worried about the heart health trade off. Both my husband and I come from families with health issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease and the processed sodium in the average frozen meal item is unbelievable and basically negates the positive effect of eating veggies with it.

  4. Anonymous :

    Never did a diet until mid-thirties when I just couldn’t shake baby weight after my second pregnancy.

    Doing Weight Watchers now and it’s working for me.

    Things I like:
    Encourages fruits/veggies
    focuses on portion sizes (post pregnancy I was used to eating for two)
    encourages activity/exercise
    feels like a sustainable change

    Things I don’t Like:
    tracking everything I eat (phone app makes it easy, I just hate doing it)
    realizing that I can never go back to eating like i did when I was 16 :(

    • I tried WW a few months ago and I feel like I’m the only person in the world who couldn’t make it work. I was on it for about 6 months and literally did not lose a pound.

      My biggest problem was that things that I know are healthy and good for me were way more points than they seemed like they should be, and then I would run out of points and be starving. And in contrast, things I dont think are very healthy (and are full of artificial [email protected]) were less points, but I didn’t want to be eating that. The easiest example is greek yogurt, like Chobani or fage, vs a lowfat/no fat dannon or Yoplait. The former was 4-6 points, while the latter was 2-3 points.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree that it allows to many ‘diet’ foods. I should have added that to my ‘dislikes’ but I don’t eat aspartame or artificial sweeteners (haven’t for about 20 years) so the ‘diet food’ parts of the plan haven’t really registered as relevant to me.

        Low fat Plain yogurt is very low points. I fill up on veggies and fruits which are no points.

        • Anonymous :

          adding that I don’t eat artificial sweeteners because I come from a family with a history of Type 2 diabetes and I feel like they used to mess up by sense for if something is sweet or not. I’m pretty low sugar overall (e.g. plain rolled oats vs. Quaker instant flavored oatmeal).

        • Anonymous :

          had the same issue with weight watchers! I’m glad I’m not the only one! Now I just track calories through an app on my phone.

  5. Anonymous :

    I’ve never been able to succeed in any diet that involves restricting or cutting back foods, let alone cutting them out completely. If I try to tell myself I can’t have a chocolate muffin for breakfast when I want one, I just end up eating two for dessert at the end of the day. The improvements I’ve made in my diet have all revolved around eating more healthy things. If I fill myself up with veggies at dinner, I have less room for dessert and therefore eat less bad stuff, but I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself. I don’t think I eat amazingly (see: chocolate chip muffins) but I also think I eat a pretty good amount of lean meats and vegetables, especially for someone who grew up in a house that was entirely free of green things.

    I’ve also found cooking at home to be a good way to lose weight and eat healthier. Even if you make no effort to cook healthy, you don’t eat anywhere near as much as you do in a restaurant/takeout and homemade food just has less junk (e.g., sodium) in it. My first year after college, all of my college weight gain melted off, even though I was making myself diet-unfriendly dishes like chicken alfredo pretty much every night. Not eating those huge dining hall portions just made a really big difference.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve actually experienced the opposite, I’ve been blowing up ever since graduation! But I agree that homecooked meals are key here. For me, working long hours usually means no breakfast, cafeteria lunch, and whatever food I can pick up on my drive home. Any tips on working more of my own cooking into my week?

      • Anonymous :

        I had the same problem when I started working, and I think the biggest thing for me was the fact that I was so much more sedentary than I was in college (where I was walking at least 2-3 miles a day around campus and around town, nevermind dancing my butt off every weekend). I end up eating breakfast at work a lot which is easy — take an oatmeal packet and make it there or bring cereal/milk at the beginning of each week. Pack your lunch the night before, and meal prep so that you can have a quick dinner to cook (or something to heat up). Ideally, I crockpot on sundays so that we have leftovers on Mondays/Tuesdays. Eating better gives you more energy too, so I try to look at it that way.

      • If you don’t mind eating the same thing for a couple of days, try to cook something on the weekend that you can eat for a couple of nights during the week. For me, it’s so much easier to get home and just heat something up.

        For breakfast, I prioritize sleep over eating, so breakfast is usually a bowl of dry cereal that I throw some raw almonds into and dust with cinnamon. I eat it at my desk at work. Mid-morning snack is an apple.

      • Sunday night prep can make a huge difference. Even it’s just planning what you want to eat for the week and doing the required shopping so you will have everything on hand. It’s a lot easier to talk myself out of takeout when I know I have all the ingredients I need at home and throwing something together will take the same amount of time as waiting for takeout.

        Once the weather cools down I try to make a big soup/roast/stew in my crockpot on Sunday. Then it’s easy to reheat and portion out for lunches and dinners

        • +1 to meal prep Sundays.

        • +1 to Sunday prep. I cook a big meal on Sunday nights and then eat it for several days. I also do prep for other meals (washing salad greens, chopping veggies, etc) so that I can make things quickly throughout the week.

          Also, if you’re cooking for one, every time you make a recipe, freeze some of it in individual servings. Then you have meals handy when you’re too tired or busy to cook.

        • Yummy! This sound’s so good! I wish I could cook, but my foray’s into cooking have been a DISASTER! Mom tried to teach me, but I am realy dumb when it come’s to cooking. I need to find something to fill me up that will NOT make my tuchus grow. Dad came into my apartement and literaly cleaned out my referigerator and threw most of my stuff out, includeing stuff from Fairway’s and Whole Food’s! FOOEY on him! My chocolate chip cookies were trashed with dad warning me that NO man would even have sex with, let alone MARRY me with my tuchus! FOOEY on him. I could have MARRIED Sheketovits, I told him, but he was a drunk! Now I am in search of a guy between 35 and 65 with money and an interest in haveing kid’s right away.

          Does anyone in the hive have a guy form me? Please let them know I am an attorney at law with a good job, tho I do NOT want to work once I am pregeneant. I also think I am generaly pretty, tho others are prettier, like Rosa, but she is MARRIED already. If there are guy’s who qualify, please have them contact me. YAY!!!

      • My trick is mid-day grocery shopping at lunch – I try to pick up something healthy to cook for dinner during the day & I keep it in our fridge at the office. It helps beat the “too exhausted to shop after work” feeling and I’m not organized enough to do all my meal planning on the weekend.

      • Navy Attorney :

        To combine easier cooking plus the veggie thread, it may help to purchase pre-cut veggies at the grocery store (to include bagged salad), and if you’re cooking for one to two, single-serving sizes of meat (or freezing it in single servings). It costs more than the whole vegetable, but so much less less than restaurant food. The chopping really is the hard work for me. I tend to food prep on Sundays by chopping my veggies for about 3 meals.

        • +1

          Also, precut frozen vegetables are the easiest thing in the world to roast. I don’t defrost them, just pull them out of the freezer and put them on a pan with olive oil and spices and pop them straight into the oven. Add a second pan to the oven with any protein — beans, fish, chicken, steak, lamb, whatever — and make some couscous or quinoa and you have a nutritious meal in about half an hour with extremely low effort. I do this really often.

      • Oh, I should clarify that this was when I was in my first year of law school – so I still had the college upsides of a flexible schedule and lots of walking, but I had a kitchen for the first time (lived in a dorm in undergrad) and was eating all breakfasts and most dinners at home and trying to save leftovers for future meals instead of eating 21 meals/week in restaurants or all-you-can-eat dining halls. I put on another “freshman 15” when I started working in a law firm, and I haven’t lost that all yet.

  6. Tim Ferriss isn’t always my favorite, but I really like the Slow Carb Diet from 4 Hour Body. I tried Atkins for about two days and felt terrible the whole time. Slow Carb is similar to Paleo but includes slow-digesting carbs like black beans. I always feel full, always have energy for my workout and still lose weight. Plus he incorporate a cheat day each week, which really helps me get through a week of healthy eating. I don’t track calories or anything, but just try to avoid dairy, sugar and bread.

  7. Anonymous :

    With a few variations, “diets” are basically the same. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, fiber, etc and avoid refined grains and sugars and junk foods (especially those that pretend to be healthy but are not, like veggie chips). You can switch it up by doing various flavors of low carb, by avoiding dairy, avoiding meat, avoiding beans (which I do not understand, Paleo people. beans are great for you), and all that, but the basic principles are close. Counting calories helps if you don’t know what or how much to eat, or can’t figure out why you’re not losing weight. If insulin-resistance or PCOS is an issue for you, carbs and/or the GI scale are important. Exercise is helpful, since it’s necessary to be a healthy human being. That is pretty much it. I think we all mostly know what is healthy, but actually maintaining a perfectly healthy lifestyle is a herculean task and life is too short to completely avoid all the stuff you’re supposed it.

    I do think preparing food at home vs eating out makes a big difference. Restaurant food is way more caloric than you think, even supposedly healthy stuff. It might not matter for a one week business trip, but a month will get you.

  8. I was here a few weeks ago, but I’ll say it again. After two back-to-back pregnancies and a medical issue involving a whopping 80 lb weight gain, and a little over a year trying to get it off without any luck, and a month of intense journaling and exercise and my doctor’s approval, I’ve been on phentermine for approximately 6 weeks right now. The first few days were a little intense/awesome (I could concentrate for hours without end and also needed to drink 47 gallons of water), but then it settled down. I’ve had no side effects, I can go to sleep at night, and it helps me to not have cravings but yet I can still be hungry. The only difference is that I’ve stopped drinking coffee, because I have the energy I need. I’ve also committed to walking/jogging 2.5 miles/day 5 days per week (difficult when you are 80 lbs overweight). As of today, I’m down 16 of those pounds. It’s a good feeling. I go in once a month and get my blood pressure and heart checked.

    I honestly don’t have any of the guilt I thought I would have. I didn’t even know that this existed until my doctor suggested it. It is helping me to get my act and my life together.

    • I’ve looked into phentermine, but I can’t figure out where is a safe/legit place to buy it. Any recs?

    • Oh, this is prescription only, right?

      • phentermine :


        I’ve also been on phentermine before. For me, I found it worked best if I didn’t take it every single day. After a few days of taking it in a row, the effects seemed to wear off. So it would work best if I took it for a few days, then took a few days off but still tried to eat really well those days. Then when I would go back on it would work AWESOMELY.

      • Yes, it is prescription only. I didn’t even know it existed until my doctor brought it up.

      • What type of doctor do you go to to have these types of conversations?

  9. smoothie newbie :

    Sort of on topic: I just got a cert refurbished vitamix for an amazing price and I would like to start doing more with smoothies. So please hit me with your favorite smoothie recipes! Looking out for stuff that would incorporate protein powder well because I’m going to start using that to help bulk.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My favorite sweet smoothie recipe is really easy and you could definitely throw in protein powder. Fill the bottom of the container with strawberries (I use frozen), pour milk up to the level of strawberries, and add 1 banana. My husband likes to add a couple tablespoons of sugar but it isn’t necessary. That’s it. Just blend it up.

      I like to make one and pour it into popsicle molds and put them in the freezer.

      • Navy Attorney :

        We do exactly the same, plus a handful of spinach. For being so simple, it is amazingly good.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        I freeze all of my brown bananas and use them for smoothies (and banana bread, of course). Blended frozen banana adds a lot of creaminess.

      • Same, except almond milk instead of regular, and also greek yogurt. I use (unflavored) protein powder and it’s great.

      • Add a heaping spoonful of peanut butter and it tastes like a peanut butter sandwich. So so good.

        • Yes to frozen bananas and Greek yogurt! Also, I’ve found that pineapple (which I usually buy in frozen chunks at Trader Joe’s) is really good at masking the taste of things that I add to smoothies for nutrition (like spinach, kale, or the tops of vegetables like beets that come attached), so would probably work well with protein powder.

    • This makes more of a thicker smoothie where you have to eat it with a spoon, but it’s so creamy and refreshing. My husband hates smoothies (seriously, who hates smoothies?) and this is the only one he’ll eat.

      Mango Tangerine Smoothie
      2/3 cup Greek yogurt
      1 16 oz bag of frozen mangoes
      2/3 tangerine juice

      This one is another favorite of mine, though it’s a similar consistency so it’s best to eat with a spoon.

      Mixed Berry Smoothie
      2 cups frozen mixed berries
      1 cup of almond milk
      4 teaspoons chia seeds
      2 tablespoons agave syrup (or honey)

    • I don’t know what flavor of protein powder you use but I make green drank without protein powder. I do spinach, celery, cucumber and/or zucchini, orange, pear, lemon, water. Blend and drank.

    • Anonymous :

      Here’s a recent fave. I’m sure protein powder would be fine in it:

      ~2 cups baby spinach
      2 tbsp chia seeds soaked overnight in ~4 oz of unsweetened almond milk
      1/2 medium banana
      ~1/2 cup frozen pineapple
      ~3/4 cup frozen mango
      ~1 tsp mint (gamechanger!)
      ~1/2-1 tsp agave
      an extra few glugs of almond milk (maybe about 2 extra oz)

    • 3 I live by (I use soylent as my protein powder)

      Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake: 1-2 cups (depending on desired consistency) Dark chocolate almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 scoop powder

      Vanilla Chai Milkshake: 1 frozen banana, Trader Joe’s iced chai (or any other kind of chai), 1 scoop powder (preferably vanilla)

      Green-a Colada: 1 cup pineapple and strawberries, 1/4 or 1/2 avocado, whatever other kale/greens you want, 1-2 cups coconut milk (or half half coconut and pineapple or coconut and peach juice if you want more tropical flavor), 1 scoop powder (add a dash of agave if you need more sweetener)

    • My 2 favorites:
      – Green Snickerdoodle: 1 frozen banana, 1 cup milk of choice (I use almond milk), 2 handfuls spinach, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
      – Chocolate-Covered Strawberries: 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup milk of choice, 1 scoop green powder (I use Perfect Food Raw Super Food Powder) or 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 scoop chocolate flavored protein powder

    • Oh She Glows has great smoothie recipes. No Meat Athlete has a basic smoothie formula that you can modify with what you like.

  10. Sydney Bristow :

    I think there’s no shame I realizing you can’t do it on your own and seeking medical help. I’m seeing a doc who specializes in weight loss. Even though I know most of what I need to do, knowing and doing are 2 different things. We’ve determined that I have an insulin issue although I’m not diabetic. I’ve been on a new medication for a couple of months and the scale is finally moving. This was after 6 months of working really hard on my diet but the scale barely moving. I’m eating the same way I was during those 6 months. It truly is the medication that’s helped.

    My doc’s plan is big on protein. Protein/carbs for breakfast, snack, and lunch. Protein and only carbs from veggies for dinner. Also focused on lots of water.

    She also understands how hard it is to stick to being restrictive. So if I want to eat something that isn’t ideal, I’m supposed to eat some protein first. She says that’s better hormone-wise and also hopefully results in me eating less of the other thing.

  11. I basically follow Michael Pollan’s Food Rules book. I’ve gotten to the point where I eat a very veggie-heavy diet and pretty much no processed food. It did take some effort to come up with go-to recipes and techniques for cooking vegetables that I like. I found a CSA to be really helpful in that regard – you’re basically forced to experiment with new ingredients every week. For people that have the time, I highly recommend it!

  12. Honestly, the thing that made me lose the most weight was cutting back on my drinking. I’d always been pretty healthy food-wise, but was consuming an unhealthy amount of alcohol. The combination of getting off hormonal birth control and cutting back my daily 2-3 glasses of wine to only having a couple of glasses on the weekend caused about 7 lbs to drop off. The amount of instant calories cut from my daily intake was at least 600 based on my heavy pours. I am small to begin with, so this was pretty significant.

    About a year and a half ago, I cut out meat and try to not to eat too many pre-prepared foods or snacks. I am not vegan, but I try to lean that way. I don’t drink milk and I stay away from animal products, but I do eat cheese, chocolate, and yogurt on occasion. I cut out ice cream (hard), and subbed in Italian ice.

    I also started running about a year ago. In addition to logging miles, I do strength training, yoga, Pilates, and I ride my horse.

    I am lucky that for me, it’s as simple as calories in, calories out due to good genetics and no other health issues.

    • +1 going from an average 1-2 drinks most nights to 1-2 drinks a week was the easiest and biggest change for me.

    • +1 on cutting back on alcohol, from multiple nights of drinking heavily per week to a limit of 2 drinks when I go out on weekends. My weight loss result was v similar — about 7 or 8 pounds.

      I’ve also found that cutting back on my drinking has reduced my tolerance, so I still get silly tipsy and have a good time on my 2 drinks. Wins all around.

  13. Since leaving my ex husband I’ve greatly reduced the amount of veggies I eat and this has actually been really good for me. While I haven’t lost weight my digestion has been much better which makes a big difference to me. Instead of having to eat salad every day (he was obsessed with salads) I eat more of the foods that agree with me (mostly carbs and fruit) Initially I started eating only what I wanted to eat as a form of rebellion post divorce, but after a month or so I realized it was really agreeing with me so I kept it up. I still eat vegetables, but I’ve really cut down on the salads and eat more of the veggies that I like (broccoli, cauliflower)

    • Anonymous :

      Wait, what? This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say eating less veggies and more carbs helped them lose weight. Pls tell me more about this diet!

      • Anonymous :

        She said it DOESNT help her lose weight but she feels better. I get this…I can only tolerate so many raw veggies (i can eat like 6 carrot sticks before my stomach will be in extreme pain a few hours later), and I can only eat so many beans. Even with a gradual ‘ramp up’ in fiber, some people can only handle so much of it.

        • I get this, too. Vegetable trays don’t agree with me. I’ll get stomach pains and bloating if I eat more than a couple pieces. I always thought I was weird and alone in this!

        • anonypotamus :

          i thought this was just me too! i love raw carrot sticks, esp the sweet ones from the farmers market, but inevitably, i’ll have TERRIBLE stomach pains a couple hours later. it took me an embarrassingly long time to connect the two and now i have to be really mindful when i am around veggie trays.

      • I have IBS-C, and I lost weight by eating less vegetables and simpler carbs since my digestive system was working more efficiently and my metabolism recovered. I am not following a specific plan, I’m just really trying to listen to my body and keep it on a routine – that’s when I feel the best and typically lose the extra water weight.

    • What was in those salads that he was obsessed with?

    • I think it’s the fact that the veggies are raw, and not the veggies themselves. Try stir-fry or veggie curries?

  14. I have done all kinds of “fad” diets as well as lifestyle changes over the years. I have tried paleo, low-carb/Atkins, the grapefruit diet, and Weight Watchers (I too, am underwhelmed with the new SmartPoints system). At the end of the day, I think what works best for me is really committing to adding more vegetables in my diet – at least two meals a day – and snacking on fruits and veggies more, in lieu of carby snacks. I still like carbs, so I’ve decided not to cut them out completely anymore, even though I do feel like they slow down my weight loss when eaten in excess. When I get off-course, I like to use MyFitnessPal (which is a FREE app) to get myself back on track. Also, exercise is key. When I exercise more, I want to eat better. It’s a cycle. If I think of it more as a lifestyle change than a “diet”, I’m more likely to stick with it.

  15. I grew up on cheap, starchy foods, so this “vegetable” thing is a work in progress. I basically have to trick myself into ingesting them as a smoothie.

    6 ounces of sugar-free apple juice, a cup of kale or spinach, a few cucumbers/broccoli/carrots/whatever I have, 2 or 3 frozen strawberries, blend and chug. I know I’m basically a toddler in this approach, but at least I get SOME good food in my system, and I do notice I have more energy/better skin when I drink my smoothies every day.

    • Haha, same. I need the book for kids on how to sneak vegetables into everything.

      • …This is pathetic, but I make bird bread for my parrotlet. (She, like me, hates veggies but needs to eat them.).

        I chop up all kinds of veggies in a food processor and mix it into corn bread and bake it, and she gobbles it up.

        It actually looked pretty decent, so I took a bite….and it was oddly delicious.

        So I’m sharing veggie-bread with my bird.

    • Wildkitten :

      I love veggies in a bad-for-you sauce. So like, brussel sprouts in bbq sauce. Brussel sprouts in buffalo sauce, etc. Not super healthy but might be something to try.

  16. I sort of half-a$$ed followed the Fitgirls 28-day jumpstart for a month and managed to lose some weight and inches, so I’m curious to see what would happen if I followed it for real. It forced me to get a food scale and cook for myself The surprisingly frustrating thing was I felt like I was eating SO MUCH FOOD and I think I was actually consuming a higher volume of food. The recipes are solid and very tasty. I found the girly girl tone of the books very annoying, tho.

  17. I did intermittent fasting for the first 6 months of the year. Basically, I skipped breakfast. I only ate lunch and dinner. I tried to eat “better” foods most days, but I didn’t stress out about it — especially weekends. I cut out most drinking during the week (sad) unless it was work or a special occasion. I lost more than 10% of my starting weight. Without doing anything really.

    I’ve since been instructed by my doctor to go on a low-FODMAP diet to try to figure out the root cause of my IBS. It’s fairly miserable. But I’ve lost a couple lbs in the month that I’ve been on it.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      I do intermittent fasting as well, and I only drink alcohol on weekends. My tolerance is really low now so I am tipsy after 1-2.

  18. I haven’t really been doing a bunch of changes to what I eat recently, but I have changed what I drink over the past little while. In the morning, I always have a giant unhealthy vat of sugary iced coffee, which you can pry from my cold dead hands, but I stopped drinking coke and replaced it with water and sparkling water. I replaced my afternoon trip to the candy drawer with a smoothie made from frozen strawberries, a whole banana, some yogurt, and a splash of OJ. It probably has the same amount of calories, but has a hell of a lot more fiber and nutrients. I have a nutri-bullet blender that lives in my office. I bring home the pitcher part to wash every night, but the base stays here.

    I have also always been pretty decent at portion control. I normally eat off salad plates and use silverware from the 1920s (thanks great grandma!) that is smaller than modern silverware. I dont know how big of a difference that really makes, but it seems like I see studies from time to time that say it does something.

    • I am a wine with dinner person too, but my wine glasses are small, not those giant goblet things people call wine glasses these days where a “glass” of wine is like 12 ounces.

    • Wildkitten :

      I use salad plates too.

  19. Anonymous :

    I’ve never tried a formal diet, but I have been trying to incorporate more whole grains and vegetables in my diet while cutting back on added sugar.

    My first major change was breakfast. I replaced processed cereals with a whole-grain oatmeal mix, which I cook in a big pot on Sunday and reheat with milk through the week. (It works fine, even if leftover oatmeal sounds icky!) I mix in fresh fruit, a little dollop of jam, and toasted nuts for protein. This generally gets me through the morning without feeling snack-ish. I got the general idea from Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordan.

    My second major change was incorporating vegetables at lunch. This was a challenge, since I never liked raw vegetables, like carrot sticks. Instead, I have been making bento-style lunches for about a year now. When I have time, I prepare lots of different vegetables and freeze them in small portions. In the mornings, I grab an assortment and toss them in my lunch box. They defrost by lunchtime. It provides good variety. I started with the Effortless Bento cookbook.

  20. Salsa and... :

    I decided to do my own (way less intense) version of Whole30 in August.. Basically, no processed foods, no snacking outside of a set snack period in the early afternoon consisting of fruit or veggies, no added sugar, and no binge-eating or any sort of “splurge”. I am going to keep eating cheese, because not doing so is cray.

    However, I finally got around to making my own salsa yesterday, and it’s amazing, and I want nothing more than to eat it with chips! What to do??

    • Have it with a fried egg. Or eat some d*mn chips, it’s not the end of the world.

      • lol, thanks. It’s really just this month, and even more so that the health outcome, I see it as a challenge for myself. But I admit I really want some damn chips.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      Yes, I eat salsa with fried eggs (yolk broken, over hard with some parm or cheddar grated on top) or omelettes too, so good. After that, if I am still hungry, I will have a small bowl of good nacho chips with the salsa :)

    • Anonymous :

      Mix it into eggs! Make salsa chicken. Make taco salads and use it as the dressing.

    • Eat it with a spoon!

      NB: this also works for cheese dip, guacamole, hummus, etc…and nutella. And almond butter.

    • Put the salsa on grilled fish! Or mix it into a baked potato. Scoop it on celery instead of chips.

    • You put it on eggs

    • Coach Laura :

      I have a terrible tortilla chip addiction but have (except for parties) switched to baby carrots for hummus, and also for salsa. Also bell pepper strips and cucumber slices. Alas, guacamole still requires chips so I just don’t eat it much as an appetizer and instead put it on taco salads etc.

  21. Mindful Eating :

    After struggling with an eating disorder in my teens, I now subscribe completely to the mindful eating philosophy. I pay close attention to how hungry I am and I stop eating when I feel the slightest bit full or satisfied, but I eat whatever I want, whenever I want it. I also try to listen to what my body “needs”, as I have a huge sweet tooth and am not so great on the fruits and veggies, although I’m trying to be better there. While I may want a scone for breakfast for the third day in a row, my body probably “needs” Greek yogurt with some fruit or granola more, and I can always get the scone tomorrow if I still want it. I’ve maintained my weight within a 5 pound range with this philosophy since college, though I haven’t had kids yet and I have good genes on my side as well.

    I also eat my biggest meals early on or in the middle of the day and then a very light dinner. I’m simply not that hungry in the evenings, so a lot of times I’ll have a small salad or yogurt instead of a full blown meal. If my husband and I are going out to an awesome dinner, then I’ll splurge and have a full meal, but left to my own devices, I’m perfectly happy with crackers and hummus in the evening. While I also LOVE wine, I’m a huge lightweight, so I only typically “need” to drink 2-3 glasses a week.

    I went low carb and counted calories before my wedding and lost an additional 8-10 pounds within a few months, but I was SUPER miserable eating that way and gained half of that weight back on our two week honeymoon. I’ll gladly be a little bit heavier if it means I can eat pasta and Mexican food.

    However, my husband and I are TTC soon, and I’m somewhat terrified of the kinks pregnancy and post-baby recovery might cause. I’m really happy with my eating habits and my body right now, which feels like a huge blessing after being so uncomfortable with myself and my with food in my teens.

    • Anonymous now :

      Pregnancy is a crapshoot. I’ve been approx. 10 lbs. over my “ideal” weight my whole life, with brief periods below and some periods above, even though I’ve always generally tried to eat healthfully and have always been moderately active. When I was pregnant though I actually lost weight somehow in the beginning and then in total I gained maybe about 22 lbs., without watching what I ate too much beyond just trying to eat clean and healthy foods for the baby’s sake. And I was really surprised at how quickly I lost the weight. I think I fit into my normal jeans a week or two post partum with zero effort. I lost all of the weight within 2.5 weeks. I always thought it was BS how quickly celebs lost weight and I think it’s a lot easier if you have help, but I also realize now that some of it is just pure luck. I’m still nursing now and am about 5lbs. thinner than I was pre-baby and though I am still trying to have healthful meals with lots of veggies and fruit, I also eat pasta and bread and all the stuff I really like, which I’ll probably have to stop when I wean the LO. I think part of it is that nursing burns a lot of calories for me but part is that somehow not thinking about it works better for my body b/c all my other “thin” periods were when I wasn’t thinking about it. Sometimes I think that I should cut out the pasta and croissants now so that I can really take advantage and lose that extra 5 lbs. but then I think, “nah, let me enjoy not worrying about calories and carbs for a change!”

      Anyway, my only point is that you may be pleasantly surprised by your pregnancy.

      • Mindful Eating :

        Thank you for this! It’s nice to hear that pregnancy does not necessarily have to equal impending doom. :)

      • shortperson :

        this was me until i stopped nursing, except that it took me a few months to lose the 50 pounds and there was some (not a lot) of effort for the last 10 pounds. after that i maintained a few pounds below my prepregnancy weight while eating much more enjoyably than i used to. now i’m eating less than i did prepregnancy and am several pounds heavier. makes me very glad i nursed for 2 years. maybe i’ll keep it up longer next time.

  22. Anonymous :

    It isn’t for everyone, but I love the Ketosis diet. It’s high fat, moderate protein & low carb (between 20-50g/day). I don’t track anything now, but when I first started I did to get an idea of serving sizes & carb amounts. There are a ton of resources and fairly good research on the impacts of the diet on our bodies. I’ve lost about 12lbs in two months and did it about a year ago and lost about the same amount. I’ll usually gain 1-3lbs in water weight after going off of it, but my measurements will stay the same.

    It takes the guess work out of what I can have, and most “bad” things are carb heavy, so having a bite isn’t an option unless I want to throw myself out of keto. In the past, the bite would turn from a spoonful of ice cream to the entire pint before I would even think about it, now I’m more controlled & the lack of added sugar makes everything taste better.

    • thigh teeth :

      This is literally the only thing that has ever worked for me. Cravings disappear and the weight just falls off when I get into keto. I think my hormones are way too sensitive to carbs to indulge in treats, unfortunately.

  23. About a year ago, I joined the nutrition program at my gym and tracked food for 90 days toward specific macro goals. It was life changing. I was allowed to eat 35-40% calories from fat, avoided wheat and sugar, and had minimal sugar cravings. I didnt lose a ton of weight, 5-6 pounds, but found a sustainable way to eat that didnt feel like dieting. In January, I decided to spring for the $300 to have a food sensitivity test and did the elimination diet. I was highly sensitive to coffee, wheat, dairy, and random foods like basil (I was using a basil herb mix on my salads every night), lemon, cranberries, salicylic acid (which is found in many foods but I also used on my face for acne for years). After 6 weeks on the elimination diet I dropped 17 pounds and 3% body fat that I hadnt been able to lose with a year of careful eating and Crossfit-like training 3 times per week, plus conditioning on my own. I am eating so many foods that traditional diets would tell you to stay away from – potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, pistachios, etc -but reducing the inflammation in my body still allowed it to let go of the weight. I was on extended travel recently and eating croissants and pretzels, etc and thought I had gained back 5 pounds but as soon as I went back to my normal eating (within 4 days) the bloat disappeared from my stomach and my pants fit fine again. My new goal is to combine my food sensitivity diet with macros to encourage additional fat loss.

    • I should add – I have Hashimoto’s, so weight loss has an additional layer of challenge to it.

    • Can you speak a little more about the food sensitivity testing and how you went about it?

    • Tell me more about this food sensitive test. Was this through your gym or through something else? I’d love to do this!

    • Where do you get this sort of testing done? The doctor?

      • I went through a nutritionist. The one I had done is MRT/ the LEAP diet. I’ll post the link below. The nutritionist gave me the testing kit and I took it to a blood lab for the draw, then mailed it in and got the results in a week or so. It’s $300 but was covered by my FSA. There’s a lot of reviews on the internet that say it’s bunk, but my philosophy was – I know I am reacting to something I am eating (I have IBS), I have a ton of other symptoms of inflammation (acne, excema, headaches) so I need to do an elimination diet, and at least this gives me a concrete plan and place to start versus my ameteur attempts. I would never have thought to cut out basil and lemon. It was also psychologically empowering, because when faced with cake, I could say “I am not going to eat this because this food will make me feel bad, and increase the inflammation I am trying to reduce” versus it being a “bad food” or my being a “bad person” if I eat it. The LEAP plan comes with a whole diet rotation plan, which my nutritionist didnt follow – he customized based on his experience and ease of use from the results, which made it much easier to follow. I no longer “feel my food” after eating, those of you with IBS know what I mean. I had a huge reduction in acne and headaches, too. I am in the Boston area but believe the nutritionist does Skype consultations. His name is George Mandler.

  24. A vote for Paleo :

    I was given an ultimatum by my doctor that I HAD to lose weight and change my diet because of a serious health issue that was developing. I started with the Wheat Belly diet (no grains, no processed foods, no sugar) and immediately felt so much better (lost 35 pounds in 3 months, reduced inflammation, improved digestion, gave me energy, improved overall health). I still had some work to do so I committed to a month of Whole 30. This really helped me figure out what foods worked for me and got me in the habit of cooking almost every night. I lost 10 pounds on Whole 30 by the way. Ever since, i’ve just stuck with eating paleo and drinking wine whenever I feel like it (and lost another 15 pounds). I cook dinner in the Instant Pot multiple times a week and that takes 30 minutes or less from start to finish- it’s so easy and my husband takes turns cooking since we eat the same way. I go to an MD who has an integrative healthcare practice and she helped me every step of the way since I had some health issues. I’ve stuck by this for about 2 years now and have kept 60 pounds off with minimal effort (on top of eliminating my health issues). It’s hard at first but once you adapt and get past the “withdrawal”, the quality of life and amount of energy you get is totally worth it in my opinion. This works for me because I hate the gym and love food…. I eat as much as I want, whenever I want as long as it fits into the paleo guidelines.

    • Can you share your favorite Instant Pot recipes? I’ve tried a few, but they’re never actually 30 minutes. thanks.

  25. I see so many “healthy” snack ideas involving peanut butter…but for me, that stuff sticks! Too easy to overdo the portion.

  26. Anyone doing the Whole Life Challenge in September? I did it this past January and had decent results. Overall I lost around 12 pounds. I’ve gained a bit of that back but plan to do the challenge again in September. I’m supporting a cousin by doing 21 day fix with her starting next week, so we will see how that goes.

  27. I did the Advocare 24 day challenge and it was a b*tch. But I lost a lot of belly fat and felt GREAT and looked so good. Not a part of the whole Advocare family or whatever, actually my bosses wife is very much into it (sells it maybe) so I got the products for free. If I had like a bikini event or my wedding I would do it again in a heartbeat and pay. I workout and eat “okay” but I definitely drink probably 5 days a week and I love IPAs and all that high calorie stuff.

    How it changed my permanent habits is:
    – meal prepping veggies and nuts for weekday snacks on Sundays (repeating theme here I noticed)
    – breakfast is a must and I do a cup of plain quick oats, half a cup of fruit usually blueberries and an over medium egg all in one coffee cup. I know that sounds gross but I actually like it now. If I don’t have an egg I do a little cinnamon and honey
    – never really went back to coffee, but I drink green tea a couple of times per day if I am tired (or bloated or feeling sick)
    – Soda water is my new treat (but it got to the point where I wasn’t drinking regular water so I had to cool it on the high class attitude so I drank enough)
    – It wasn’t part of the diet but I started eating half a grapefruit for dessert during the week since I didn’t have the sugar cravings. That part waxes and wanes.
    – prepping two healthy meals that lasts the week for lunches and dinners
    – eating more sweet potatoes and brown rice as carbs with dinner instead of other carbs. Brown rice + cilantro + garlic? Are you kidding? So good.
    – peppermint tea at night to curb those sugar cravings

    I thought the hardest part would be the alcohol but it was by far the pizza. OMG I love pizza. Also, I thought I would save a ton of money but I didn’t because I ended up paying the tab to hide the fact I had been drinking soda water (not “vodka soda”) at a couple of events where I didn’t want to hear about how dumb it was that I am doing a cleanse from my boozy networking/business associates.

    • Cutting the sugar really helped my skin btw! But it’s hard to keep up. I also mainly drink one vodka on the rocks or tequila if I am not cutting the alcohol out completely but trying to be more healthy.

    • I’m glad you had a good experience, but I wouldn’t recommend. I’ve done the 24 day challenge before and happily dropped a few pounds. But I think it was mostly because of diet changes. Generally, I think Advocare products are overpriced, and the 24 day challenge is like $200 if I remember correctly. You get some meal shakes with your purchase, but everything else you buy is supplements. You end up taking (what I think is an excessive amount of) supplements with lunches/in the afternoon, and I personally didn’t like taking so many pills and not knowing exactly what their purpose was. I personally won’t spend that kind of money again. However, spending that money make me stick to the plan for 24 days, that’s for sure.

  28. My only rule is to try and get 5 vegetables a day- one at breakfast and two at lunch/dinner. If I can do that, I feel pretty good!

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve been having a chicken sausage with a plate of green beans, snap peas, carrots, and grape tomatoes with a little hummus at lunch, then a bowl for dinner that has fresh tomato, asparagus, avocado (sometimes), fresh corn, and grilled chicken. It’s making me feel really good!

  29. Any tips on binge eating? This is by far my biggest issue, and I think it’s the culprit of my last 10 pounds. I’ve lost about 20 pounds and have 10 left that I’ve been trying to lose for 3 years. It’s like I just lose control sometimes, whether it’s carrots, fruit, or ice cream. It doesn’t matter what it is, it doesn’t matter if it’s good. I just can’t help myself. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

    • Have you tried mindful eating? It really helps hone in on if you are hungry or if you’re craving connection, comfort, or something else. Sometimes, just taking a second to notice if you are hungry, and then saying out loud “I am not hungry but I am going to eat this anyway” gives me enough to pause to reconsider.

    • Anonymous :

      No, but my MIL has this issue and addiction (normally alcohol addiction) runs in her family, so she thinks it’s related.

    • Wildkitten :

      Check out Runs for Cookies.

  30. I work with a personal trainer and nutritionist. I don’t follow a specific diet, but I track my macros on MyFitnessPal. I shoot for 30% carbs, 35% protein, 35% fat on average days and bump it up to 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat on workout days. I don’t fuss over the calories but shoot for 1700-2000 daily. I let my body tell me when it needs more/less by being in tune with my hunger signals.

    Since I started tracking macros, I have noticed a significant change in my energy level and how my body looks. I’ve always been on the thin side, but the macro balance has helped me build muscle and reduce fat. It’s really eye-opening to use a macro-tracking app because you see the nutritional value of all the foods you put into your body. It’s definitely helped me naturally increase my veggie/protein intake and decrease my previously HUGE carb intake.

    I’m also curious about this food sensitivity testing. I’m going to ask my nutritionist about it.

  31. Bright Line Eating plan- there are set quantities (which are plenty satisfying), no sugar no flour and no snacks. The first week was hard getting used to no snacks but after that it is very freeing. Lots of veggies and only grain in the am but you also eat fruit at breakfast and lunch. After trying lots of different approaches this one has been the easiest to stick with and produced the most results.

  32. Nutrisystem Fan :

    After trying every diet under the sun, I’m a huge fan of Nutrisystem. I don’t have to cook or really go grocery shopping and I’ve lost 15 in the past few months (while still going out to eat occasionally). However, I’ve learned that I have to eat under 1000 calories a day or I won’t lose – if I eat above 1200, I’ll actually gain weight. Nutrisystem is geared to 1200 calories a day, so I have to cut out some of the snacks and meal additions that they require, but I do just fine on 800-1000 calories a day (not generally hungry or cranky). I will say that after a couple of months of the Nutrisystem food, if I go out to eat and eat greasy or fattening foods my stomach is not happy for the rest of the day, so feeling sick is also a good way to curb some of my appetites.

    • I realize you are a grown person with agency over her own body, but this sounds really concerning and it genuinely worries me. Under 1000 calories does not seem healthy in the long run, as your body will go into starvation mode and eventually it will wreck your metabolism (I’ve been there), and with this kind of defecit you risk losing muscle. I would be willing to bet that this is not changing your body fat %, which I assume is what most people want when they are trying to lose weight. Please talk to your doctor and ensure that you are being safe. If you are able to exercise, you may be able to eat more calories while losing fat and gaining muscle.

  33. I’m doing a Worksite Wellness Study through my office. We’re following the iDiet:

    I started May 2nd and I just hit my goal weight yesterday. It’s basically just high fiber and high protein. It’s really good. I’m not hungry. I like a lot of the food. And the whole diet was designed by a professor in the Nutrition School at Tufts University

  34. SheWhoBrokeHerLeg :

    I like the 21 day diet for a kick start. For me, it’s all about portion control and eating enough fruits and vegetables. If i don’t let myself eat any bad carbs until I have my 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, I just don’t have a lot of room for the starchy white food.
    Doing a 21 day fix makes me get focused on eating right, and is enough time to cut my cravings for junk food/sugar (tho I do still let myself have a diet coke).
    An hour of meal prep on Sunday can have me ready for the whole week, which helps me stay on task.