Dieting advice

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 Meddins 22:44 Mon

I've finally hit the age where I can no longer exercise away my bad diet.

So I'm looking for some examples of what people have day to day.

I work in an office and I get very bored of sandwiches.

Thanks in advance 

In reply to Meddins:

I’ve got on well with the 5:2 diet in the past.

currently just fasting on Mondays, which is quite doable.

for me at least one or two days a week of being good is much easier than general virtue.

In reply to Meddins:

I cook from scratch, don't snack, don't eat carbs (bread, pasta, rice, sweets, cakes, etc) or seed oils. 

Breakfast is pretty much always coffee with cream x 2

Lunches over the past week:

chorizo wrapped around cheese, beetroot & chilli

Brie (the whole triangle) and some walnuts.

Roast beef slices & salt

Pork belly & salt

mackerel in olive oil with chilli x2

Sardines in olive oil + salt & chilli


A bowl of Bolognaise sauce + parmesan

Homemade burgers with cheese x4 for tea

meatballs in tomato sauce

Pork vindaloo

Watson's farm shop sausages x6.

Finish with 500g of 10% fat Greek yogurt  & cream.

I have been doing this for about five years.  I find it requires zero willpower from me.

I suggest an experiment to find what you can sustain.  Fat & protein give satiety, which carbs cannot.

In reply to Meddins:

Maybe I'm lucky, but I'm nearly twice your age, and just eat a conventional balanced-ish diet. I could do to eat more fruit & veg.

 Timmd 00:06 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I guess it depends on how much junk or bad food you eat? Slow burn carbs like porridge or sweet potatoes are supposed to be the better kind, I guess it depends on how active you are, how far cutting down carbs may work for you, and how your body adjusts to it.

Eggs and unsweetened yogurt, and chicken are meant to be helpful towards losing weight, and certain other foods.

Post edited at 00:09
In reply to Meddins:

Cut out the carbs. I've got mine down to about 25% of my daily intake and most of those come from fruit. Still have the odd session on the beer but I've burned off a decent amount of fat (didn't have that much to be fair.. just a stubborn layer on my belly) reasonably quickly along with swimming 3-4 times a week.

In reply to Meddins:

I seldom had the energy to make complicated lunches (when I did they ended up being lots of things in couscous, which is lots of carb, but you could replace it - not cheaply! - with quinoa (mix in pesto or lemon juice, tomatoes, peppers, nuts, olives, meat/fish etc etc to taste)).

But far easier is just to cook extra of your tea the night before and heat it up in the office. Or sometimes I freeze leftover portions in bulk and then defrost it the night before I go to work. Assume you've got healthy teas already in hand? Mine are mostly stew-ish things (bolognese, tagine, ramen, casseroles) as they're easy for chucking lots of protein and veg in.

Failing that, broad beans (if you've got access to fresh homegrown, all the better), cucumber, feta, lemon juice and mint is a marriage made in heaven. Add a small portion of grains or new potatoes and extra protein if you like. 

Post edited at 00:58
 PaulW 07:06 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I found it helpful to make a list of what I ate for a couple of months, writing them down just before I ate them.

Could then look back and see where the nutrition, and carbs, came from in my diet. Made it easier to make changes.

 Wimlands 08:17 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I had to undertake an exclusion diet to troubleshoot a few issues unrelated to weight.

Gave up Alcohol and Cheese.
Apart from that my diet was reasonably unchanged. I’ve lost 5kg over the past 6 months and I’m now looking to eat more to stop the weight loss.

 NobleStone 08:37 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I just cook more dinner and take it in for lunch. I very rarely need to buy sandwiches. 

Saying that the only way I've lost weight is through what is sometimes called intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating. In other words I don't eat breakfast. It's not really a diet and it's only worth doing if you're prepared to do it for the rest of your life.

 compost 09:18 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I typically have last night's leftovers for lunch. Have you got a microwave at work? Yesterday was meatballs in bolognaise sauce with cheese.

Low carbing absolutely works; bread, pasta etc really don't help. 

A friend has had 2 hard-boiled eggs for lunch every day for the last 2 months, made no other changes and lost over half a stone. Just cutting out lunchtime bread/ meal deals makes a big difference.

 artif 09:40 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

If you want a low carb diet 

Phil Maffetone has a lot of great recipes on his website, free to use.

I've found the two week test quite effective. 

 Fredt 09:51 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

At a certain age I came to realize I didn't need 3 meals a days, which was a habitual thing.
Don't snack.
No bread.
I'm vegan. 
And it won't just happen, you have to be very determined.
All seems to be working for me.

 Ciro 10:10 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I'm doing Zoe at the moment. Not convinced the science around individualised nutrition advice is there yet, but it has really made me think about how to integrate the well known principles of healthy eating into my day to day.

It's got me back in the habit (as others have said) of preparing proper lunches to take to work, and got me adding more variety of plants into my shopping and cooking.

It's been a couple of months and my energy levels feel much more stable, I've more or less stopped snacking between meals, and without going into too much detail, the Bristol Stool Chart says my intestines are happy with the change.

It costs a few quid, but I think the financial and time investment have helped me stay motivated through the difficult early stages of changing habits.

 john arran 10:11 Tue
In reply to Fredt:

> At a certain age I came to realize I didn't need 3 meals a days, which was a habitual thing.


A long time ago I was doing a lot of competitions and hard (for me) sportclimbing, and to stay fighting fit I trained myself not to eat if I wasn't actually hungry. I would imagine eating an apple, which for me is something I don't enjoy unless I'm hungry. If the imaginary apple was appealing, I'd eat; otherwise I'd leave it til later.

Ever since then I've been happy missing meals, often without realising it, or eating a small snack at dinner time instead of a full meal. It never feels like I'm dieting because I'm not! I'm just eating when it feels right to do so.

 montyjohn 10:57 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

> I've finally hit the age where I can no longer exercise away my bad diet.

I figured you were in your 90's or something but your profile says you're 32. You're in your prime.

Diets generally don't work. Yes you can loose some weight, but studies have shown (so I believe) that time and time again and unless you can change habits, diets don't last, and you just put the weight back on.

I've found regular exercise changes what I want to eat which can have the desired affect.

So I'm in the camp of focus on exercise and let diet follow.

 Ciro 11:12 Tue
In reply to montyjohn:

> > I've finally hit the age where I can no longer exercise away my bad diet.

> I've found regular exercise changes what I want to eat which can have the desired affect.

> So I'm in the camp of focus on exercise and let diet follow.

I was in that camp too, until health markers like blood pressure and fasted lipids started indicating that it might not be the healthiest outlook.

I now think the fact my body composition remained stable was helping me kid myself on that you can exercise away a bad diet, and that in our highly processed western world, it takes quite an active interest in diet to keep it healthy.

 wercat 11:45 Tue
In reply to NobleStone:

> Saying that the only way I've lost weight is through what is sometimes called intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating. In other words I don't eat breakfast. 

For me it works when no breakfast or lunch, particularly if combined with a long bike ride or day on the hills

best result was fasting (with the exception of a coffee to start the day) for 25 hours while backpacking from the area N of Ullswater over High Street and over to Ambleside on the 2nd day.  Couldn't believe how much energy I still had, freed from the tyranny of responding to mild hunger.

Post edited at 11:49
 Crest Jewel 12:09 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I'll assume you're eating 'ultra-processed industrial waste' or the Standard American Diet (SAD) or an export. Long term this will lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes (type 2). This is reversible by eliminating carbohydrates. Your blood sugars may be normal currently but in your later years when they begin to rise the vascular damage (i.e., impotence) will have been done. Insulin is required to regulate blood sugars. If you are eating multiple meals a day insulin levels do not return to a normal level. As a result insulin resistence will develop over time. This may lead to the paradoxical absurdity of type 2 diabetics being prescribed insulin injection because of developing insulin insensitivity. How do you prevent this from happening? Use Ketones rather than exogenous glucose (carbohydrates) to ⛽️ your body. It's true that the brain is not entirely fueled by Ketones. Glucose is necessary but not sufficient. The Liver will produce glucose to meet the body's needs. To transition from sugar burning to fat burning is an adaptive process to be done gradually over an extended period of time conservatively ( I hope that word is not too 'triggering' for UKC contributors). Vegetables and fruits are processed as sugars and your body will not qualatively distinguish this from table sugar. Even full fat dairy contains sugars and therefore carbohydrates. I eat one meal a day. I was fortunate yesterday to buy halal lamb at half the cost of supermarkets and better quality. I eat a lot of red meat and only wild caught fish. I have surprisingly high levels of energy interspersed fasting between meals of 18+ hours. Stored levels of fat ensures an abundance of calories far superior to stored glycogen. Transforming a bad diet is a start to future proofing a sustainable life in the service of your self, family and community. A contributor stated you were 32. I wish what I am doing now I was following aged 32. There wasn't the information and dissemination as there is now. I believe you are in a position to radically change your life for the better.

 Sam Beaton 12:30 Tue
In reply to montyjohn:

Largely ignoring my diet and just exercising more worked for me until the age of about 40. Then I had to start thinking seriously about diet too

 Sam Beaton 12:38 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Like others, the key for me has been reducing carbs generally and replacing more processed carbs with carbs that are as natural as possible.

I rarely eat many carbs after 4pm. After then I eat mainly protein rich foods (if I've had an active day), and/or veg/salad. Earlier in the day I will eat homemade bread, oats, quinoa, freekeh, buckwheat, spelt and sometimes potato and sweet potato, along with my protein and greenery.

​​​​​A diet will only work if it's a long term thing. Change your diet to something you'll keep going with. Don't go "on a diet" which implies stopping it at some point.

Good lunches to make at home and then eat on the go are salads made from one of the wholegrains listed above, nuts/seeds/small chunks of cheese, salad/veg bits, and home made French dressing.

In reply to montyjohn:

Tbh it was after 30 that my metabolism seemed to suddenly change and I could no longer get away with not thinking about my diet either. 

(Ofc there was also Long COVID and a sedentary pandemic in the mix so who knows what was what.) 

Someone suggested listing what you eat. Several years ago I actually found that writing down every expenditure was helping - I was packing healthy lunches but having to work through lunch, long hours etc in a stressful job and so around 3 or 4pm I'd end up going to the cafe or vending machine to keep me going. Having to write that down really helped stop me.

 The Norris 12:45 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

To answer your question. I buy 3 fillets of chicken, roast them on a Sunday evening, then just chop them up into a salad each day for lunch. Works out about 300-400 calories a day I think, and keeps me ticking over.

I also fairly regularly don't have anything for breakfast other than black coffee (no sugar). It's kinda intermittent fasting I guess, but not too strict. It tends to work quite well without feeling like I'm starving all the time, and doesn't seem to affect exercise performance. 

It's worth tracking your calorie intake, try the nutracheck app, it's quite revealing where one goes wrong! Damn those hobnobs. 

 RX-78 12:46 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Well, I am in my 50's now 😪 and eat a vegetarian diet. I haven't cut out anything but very rarely eat highly processed foods. I drink a little, and otherwise just eat without overthinking it or fasting. So bread, rice etc is included as well, snacking on peanuts and plain crisps at night sometimes. My weight has been stable at around 63 to 66kg for about 35 years now. Exercise.wise for example I did a 12 km run and swim on Saturday, a 75km bike ride on Sunday and today a 17km run and I will go climbing tonight. This mix of food and exercise has worked for me so far.

 Timmd 13:10 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

I read recently that some people find it easy to go vegie, and some really struggle due to something related to genetics or DNA (something inherent), while I've known different people take really well, or really badly, to shifting to comparable vegan or vegie diets. 

With this, and things in mind like Asians more commonly being lactose intolerance thanks to their historical ancestry lifestyles being different to those of Europeans who cultivated cows and drank their milk, and similar, one's ancestry/what is biologically inherent being a factor, it strikes me that advice from other people might be of mixed use, and a handy place to start could be keeping a record as suggested, and seeing how much processed and 'empty calories' you consume. I'm a 'carb monster', but so long as I don't eat junk food like crisps and cakes and biscuits, and anything toothsome except for 85% dark chocolate, and don't imagine I'm still in my 20's with nothing to think about but cycling to the Peak like when I lived at home, my activity levels make that work for me. It's the 'empty calories' like cake and crisps and processed foods which cycling magazines seem to suggest keeping away from. 

My Dad managed to loose 1.5 stone over about year thanks to reducing his carbs in the evening by ten percent, and keeping it like that, while being a computer using business person, involving flying and driving and sitting a lot.

Post edited at 13:15
 Timmd 13:16 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Oh to still be 20 something with nothing to think about except for cycling out to the Peak and getting home for tea, or nice views and wondering what it might be. Ta Mum and Dad.

Post edited at 13:17
 elsewhere 13:33 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

After talking to at GP surgery, I lost 15kg in 6 months but gained 5kg in the following year and am stuck there. Hence you must do what I did but not what I do!

Look at packaging - if it says "serves 4", eat a quarter, previously I'd have eaten half.

I cut down bread, rice, chips etc to small amounts.

Breakfast - porridge sets you up for the day so 30g oats & 120g semi-skimmed milk plus nutmeg or ginger (low cal), frozen forest fruit (they defrost & break up as it cooks), teaspoon of maple syrup, dried fruit(high cal)  or nuts(high cal). Previously my portion size was 40g+150g. 

Fresh fruit salad with low fat yoghurt doesn't taste virtuous, but it is.

Try to eat vegetarian or vegan sometimes to fill up on veg.

Ready meals - some are low cal.

I substituted a weight loss powder protein "meal" drink with tomatoes & fruit for lunch a few times per week. Yeugggh!!

I reduced how much food I carried for a day out in hills.

Post edited at 14:00
 mik82 13:49 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Any changes you make have to be permanent and sustainable. "Dieting" typically doesn't work as people will diet, then put all the weight back on as they go back to their previous lifestyle. People usually significantly underestimate how many calories they're consuming so once not dieting, weight starts increasing again. 

I find reducing things like bread, rice or pasta and replacing with more veg, combined with portion control and increasing protein intake to maintain satiety works well.  Others will find other approaches better. 

In reply to Meddins:

I follow a 5:2 diet, so that’s five weeks eating followed by two weeks fasting. During the fasting I only consume saltwater. During the five weeks I only eat what I can capture and kill using my own hands, so typically grubs, voles, cats and suchlike. All raw. I do allow a few select supplements: iron (typically nuts and bolts), Ketamine and creatine. 

I avoid all forms of sugar. If you look at table sugar what you’ll see is crystals. Those are the exact same crystals that will form in your brain and cause synaptic interruption. 

So far I have lost two stone, mostly through diarrhoea and chasing cats. 

OP Meddins 18:49 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Well thank you everyone, certainly food for thought (see what I did there).

I'm going to try reducing my carbs and avoid sugars, I think I've just got into bad habits which I wish to change.

Thanks again 

 FactorXXX 19:00 Tue
In reply to Thugitty Jugitty:

> So far I have lost two stone, mostly through diarrhoea and chasing cats. 

The cat scat diet?

 DaveHK 19:07 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Eat natural foods, bathe twice daily
Fill your nostrils up with gravy
Don't drink tea and don't drink coffee
Cover your chin in yorkshire toffee

 jack_44 22:20 Tue
In reply to Meddins:

Interesting podcast recently from Careless Talk with Tom Herbert that I would recommend.

My personal advice would be to learn lots about different food groups, energy expenditure, role of nutrition with exercise. Careful who's advice you listen to and if in doubt, invest in an appointment with a dietician. 

In reply to meddins

> Look at packaging - if it says "serves 4", eat a quarter, previously I'd have eaten half.

I've always taken that to mean "a light meal for one". A quarter would be a light snack.

Post edited at 23:13

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