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Moved to America, now struggling to get under control

jodie2204jodie2204 Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
Hello

I'm Jodie, originally from the UK and I moved to the US (Denver) 2.5 yrs ago. I was 237lbs at my heaviest in 2011 and got down to 154lbs in 18mths for my wedding. In the UK I managed to keep all the weight off without a thought (zero restrictions) but since I've moved here I've started creeping up up. I got up to 170lbs, I'm now down to 160 but am having to starve myself to lose every 1lb and often have 1 cheat day and lose 2 weeks of progress just like that.

I struggle to find low calorie foods here. You can easily walk into a grocery store in the UK and get a delicious filling soup or curry for 400 cals. They also sell lots of low cal 'treats like <100 cal chips and chocolate bars.

Does anyone have any tips/ tricks to make this a bit easier? Also eating out, everything seems excessive even the salads... any ideas?

Thank you
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Replies

  • broseidonkingofbroceanbroseidonkingofbrocean Posts: 161Member Member Posts: 161Member Member
    There are numerous things in grocery stores here that are "100 calorie" snacks which even display "100 calories" on the package. Look at nutrition labels when buying soups or whatever and only eat 400 calories of it? I just don't see how being in another country would make tracking calories any different.
  • 3rdof7sisters3rdof7sisters Posts: 486Member Member Posts: 486Member Member
    Read packaging and go by the USDA recommendations for serving sizes. Weigh and measure.There are plenty of low calorie choices, and almost anything you could want to eat in the US. Everywhere. Even the gas stations have fresh fruit and veggies, hard boiled eggs, etc. Portion size in restaurants are way larger than they should be, but you have the ability to eat just part and bring part home. Many of us do this, or avoid restaurants. You can always make your own food and portion it out in containers and freeze. You choose what, and how much, your are eating, it has very little to do with living in the US, as it is personal choice what, and how much you eat.

    You are in a beautiful area. A lot of opportunity for exercise.
    edited May 19
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Posts: 507Member Member Posts: 507Member Member
    We don't make it easy, do we? Actually in Memphis where I am, some convenience stores do have fresh soups and sushi. But it's more common to find fried chicken and BBQ.

    Prepping healthy snacks ahead and being your own convenience store is key. I like sliced bell peppers and other vegetables, grilled chicken or pork tenderloin, canned chickpeas, and quinoa. These things live in my fridge so that I can easily make a healthy quinoa bowl at a moment's notice. You can also make a big batch of soup or curry for the week. Yes, it's annoying having to do it yourself, but it's better than grabbing something fattening and nutritionally empty, and if you take a couple of hours on the weekend you can prep for the week.

    As far as treats you don't have to cook: packaged bags of 100 cal popcorn, oranges, Greek yogurt with berries, Lindt 85% dark chocolate (a little goes a long way.)
  • LounmounLounmoun Posts: 5,550Member Member Posts: 5,550Member Member
    Grocery stores do sell low calorie foods. Look around more.

    Cook more. You can control calories more easily.
    Buy less packaged foods.
    Divide up packaged foods into individual portions right away.
    Read labels.
    Get a food scale to help with determining portion sizes.
    Look up nutritional info and plan your order from restaurants in advance. Do things like have a regular burger with a side salad with vinaigrette dressing instead of fries.
    If restaurant portions are too large split with someone else, save half for future meals or throw away half.
    Plan meals. Log your food for the day in advance. Make sure you get enough protein, fats and fiber to feel more satisfied.
    Drink no calorie or low calorie drinks.
    Set your goal for .5 lb a week and eat more normally. Stop doing cheat days.
    Get more exercise.

    This is the kind of stuff I eat with a calorie goal of 1200-1400 a day without exercise.
    Breakfast- things like Greek yogurt, granola bars, cereal with milk, sandwich, dinner leftovers, fruit, cottage cheese (about 200-300 calories)
    Lunch- things like sandwich, salad, or dinner leftovers (about 300-500 calories)
    Dinner- something different every night of the month. (about 500-600 calories) I have homemade soup once a week usually.
    Snacks- things like fruit, chips, popcorn, pretzels, chocolate, cookies, granola bar, carrots, celery, broccoli, trail mix, deviled eggs, pickles, cottage cheese (about 100-300 calories)

    I eat out one meal a week- about 400-500 calories. Otherwise meals are prepared from home.
  • nevadavis1nevadavis1 Posts: 300Member Member Posts: 300Member Member
    You can check the calorie counts for yourself, but I get a lot of Amy's brand frozen meals and even canned products (more for my husband than for me actually) and found the calories pretty low compared to similar products by other brands.

    Sorry that I don't know Denver well. When I lived in NYC most of the kosher delis (and there were many) did a daily veggie soup that was both low in calories and very affordable. Here in DC some of the "health food stores" will have a "grab and go" case with various organic/healthy/low calorie take away from soup to sandwiches, but you do have to read the labels. An organic sandwich might actually be calorie bomb, it just depends.
  • snickerscharliesnickerscharlie Posts: 6,009Member Member Posts: 6,009Member Member
    nevadavis1 wrote: »
    You can check the calorie counts for yourself, but I get a lot of Amy's brand frozen meals and even canned products (more for my husband than for me actually) and found the calories pretty low compared to similar products by other brands.

    Sorry that I don't know Denver well. When I lived in NYC most of the kosher delis (and there were many) did a daily veggie soup that was both low in calories and very affordable. Here in DC some of the "health food stores" will have a "grab and go" case with various organic/healthy/low calorie take away from soup to sandwiches, but you do have to read the labels. An organic sandwich might actually be calorie bomb, it just depends.

    Agree. An "organic" sandwich would have the same calories as its non-organic twin.
  • CTcutieCTcutie Posts: 501Member Member Posts: 501Member Member
    Planning ahead (buying food for meal prep from a grocery store) and eating out less will help. Also- for eating out it REALLY helps if you can plan what you're going to eat ahead of time by looking for the menu online; a LOT of places still are not required and/or have sketchy nutritional info online...It's not too practical in some states here to count on finding healthy/lower calorie options without putting a little effort in, sadly :-(

    Eating out: only eat like a portion of the meal (maybe 1/2) and ask the server to box up the rest to take home.
    Ordering a kids meal when you can is sometimes enough food!
  • PrincessMel72PrincessMel72 Posts: 1,062Member Member Posts: 1,062Member Member
    At least you're in one of the healthiest, most active US states - Colorado. I just moved from there to FL and my weight loss is going better because I'm out and about more often than I was there. I'm a beach person, not a hiker. But I successfully lost 115lbs while living in Denver. It's all about counting the calories and having the willpower to say no to extra portions.

    Denver has some great healthy restaurants. If the serving sizes are too much, ask the server to box up half the meal and serve you the rest. Whole Foods is extremely expensive but there's lots of great foods there.

    Hope you're enjoying the late May snowstorm! LOL :) Good luck on your weight loss journey!
  • BruinsGal_91BruinsGal_91 Posts: 764Member Member Posts: 764Member Member
    jodie2204 wrote: »
    Hello

    I'm Jodie, originally from the UK and I moved to the US (Denver) 2.5 yrs ago. I was 237lbs at my heaviest in 2011 and got down to 154lbs in 18mths for my wedding. In the UK I managed to keep all the weight off without a thought (zero restrictions) but since I've moved here I've started creeping up up. I got up to 170lbs, I'm now down to 160 but am having to starve myself to lose every 1lb and often have 1 cheat day and lose 2 weeks of progress just like that.

    I struggle to find low calorie foods here. You can easily walk into a grocery store in the UK and get a delicious filling soup or curry for 400 cals. They also sell lots of low cal 'treats like <100 cal chips and chocolate bars.

    Does anyone have any tips/ tricks to make this a bit easier? Also eating out, everything seems excessive even the salads... any ideas?

    Thank you

    They sell those in US supermarkets too. I moved from the UK to the US ten years ago. Yeah, I packed on the pounds when I first got here, but once I got used to not eating the entire meal I was served in a restaurant, and cutting back on eating out even though it's so easy to do because of all the fantastic places to eat, I managed to get back to my desired weight.

    I was going to say more, but @Lounmoun has listed everything I was going to suggest.
  • DnarulesDnarules Posts: 1,719Member Member Posts: 1,719Member Member
    Macy9336 wrote: »
    I can sympathise with you as I noticed while living in the US it is almost impossible to buy healthy convenience foods. We take for granted the fact we can pop into an M&S attached to a petrol station and buy a 150cal five bean salad or fresh sushi. In the US there are no healthy fast foods. You have to go to cafes inside Whole Foods or pack your own food from home.

    For eating out my husband and I would ALWAYS split a meal...with him being twice my size he'd eat about two thirds and I'd eat a third and we'd both be satiated. I did like Panera though because you can buy half salads and half sandwiches. They do this because people are encouraged to have a half salad with a soup or a half sandwich. I'd just buy a half salad or half sandwich and eat that by itself. Don't fall for the Oanera ploy of do you want a pastry for only $1 more? (Noooooo)

    In the US the portion sizes are massive but over time, they don't look so massive you get desensitised into thinking you're starving yourself. Scientific studies have also shown that if you are presented with more food, you'll eat more food so that is why splitting a meal or just ordering a half size up front is you best bet to not overeat. Too, some restaurants have menus for senior citizens that tend to be smaller sized and lower calorie...i.e. Two egg omelette instead of the standard ridiculously huge three or four egg omelette. I've asked if I can order them before and usually the restaurant will let you. At times, if my husband and I don't want the same meal, we'll each order an appetiser and a side salad as our meal which works too. Follow just the portioning rules on cheat days..make cheat days be about eating what you want but not overeating/gorging on whatever you want.

    While portion sizes in many US restaurants are very large, the sentences bolded above are just completely wrong. I can go into my Lowe's foods grocery store here in NC and find a salad bar with a good selection of vegetables and fruits (as well as some higher calorie options). There are pre-made salads, both low and high calorie, with a selection of lower and higher calorie dressings. Most of our fast food restaurants have lower calorie options (ex. baked potato and side salad at Wendys; egg white sandwiches at MacDonalds; etc). It may take a little more work at first, but it is possible to make better choices.

  • RelserRelser Posts: 463Member Member Posts: 463Member Member
    There are lots of 100 calorie packs int he snack isle- ships, crackers, cookies, and granola/cereal bars. Try picking them up instead of the larger bags. As for the soups/curries- are you looking for pre-made frozen items or deli items? Deli items are hit and miss but for low cal pre made meals I really like Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers.
  • Verity1111Verity1111 Posts: 3,150Member Member Posts: 3,150Member Member
    Soup is often under 400 calories. Buy canned if you mean premade. Most cans are that I see... unless you're buying the huge ones. lol. Man. I just struggle to find a can under 250-300 and I still find them sometimes. Tomato soup and vegetable soups are the lowest I think.
  • WinoGelatoWinoGelato Posts: 10,205Member Member Posts: 10,205Member Member
    I have no idea what you are looking at in your grocery store OP, because in an urban area like Denver, I am confident that choices will abound for you to eat within any calorie range you like. Whether it be prepared by the store, or available premade (frozen meals, canned soup, etc), all of these options are readily available in the US in any major grocery chain in an urban city.

    For eating in restaurants, again, not sure where you are eating - I picked up Wendy's last night after a busy night of running errands - had the chicken mozzerella salad and it was 520 cals. Plenty of options on the menu less than that as well.

    Lastly, with 6 lbs to lose (or even if you want to lose more but less than 20 lbs total) you should be aiming for no more than 0.5 lb/week which will likely give you more calories to work with. There's no reason you should be "starving yourself" to lose every pound.

  • Macy9336Macy9336 Posts: 624Member Member Posts: 624Member Member
    Dnarules wrote: »
    Macy9336 wrote: »
    I can sympathise with you as I noticed while living in the US it is almost impossible to buy healthy convenience foods. We take for granted the fact we can pop into an M&S attached to a petrol station and buy a 150cal five bean salad or fresh sushi. In the US there are no healthy fast foods. You have to go to cafes inside Whole Foods or pack your own food from home.

    For eating out my husband and I would ALWAYS split a meal...with him being twice my size he'd eat about two thirds and I'd eat a third and we'd both be satiated. I did like Panera though because you can buy half salads and half sandwiches. They do this because people are encouraged to have a half salad with a soup or a half sandwich. I'd just buy a half salad or half sandwich and eat that by itself. Don't fall for the Oanera ploy of do you want a pastry for only $1 more? (Noooooo)

    In the US the portion sizes are massive but over time, they don't look so massive you get desensitised into thinking you're starving yourself. Scientific studies have also shown that if you are presented with more food, you'll eat more food so that is why splitting a meal or just ordering a half size up front is you best bet to not overeat. Too, some restaurants have menus for senior citizens that tend to be smaller sized and lower calorie...i.e. Two egg omelette instead of the standard ridiculously huge three or four egg omelette. I've asked if I can order them before and usually the restaurant will let you. At times, if my husband and I don't want the same meal, we'll each order an appetiser and a side salad as our meal which works too. Follow just the portioning rules on cheat days..make cheat days be about eating what you want but not overeating/gorging on whatever you want.

    While portion sizes in many US restaurants are very large, the sentences bolded above are just completely wrong. I can go into my Lowe's foods grocery store here in NC and find a salad bar with a good selection of vegetables and fruits (as well as some higher calorie options). There are pre-made salads, both low and high calorie, with a selection of lower and higher calorie dressings. Most of our fast food restaurants have lower calorie options (ex. baked potato and side salad at Wendys; egg white sandwiches at MacDonalds; etc). It may take a little more work at first, but it is possible to make better choices.

    Sorry, when in the US I ate only organic food so your sources didn't even come to mind. I have a bit of a prejudice against non organic food in the US because the production of it uses additives, pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics that are outlawed as unsafe here in the UK.
  • wellthenwhatwellthenwhat Posts: 509Member Member Posts: 509Member Member
    Even McDonald's has relatively healthy options. It's not the place or the store. it's what you buy from it
  • jodie2204jodie2204 Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
    At least you're in one of the healthiest, most active US states - Colorado. I just moved from there to FL and my weight loss is going better because I'm out and about more often than I was there. I'm a beach person, not a hiker. But I successfully lost 115lbs while living in Denver. It's all about counting the calories and having the willpower to say no to extra portions.

    Denver has some great healthy restaurants. If the serving sizes are too much, ask the server to box up half the meal and serve you the rest. Whole Foods is extremely expensive but there's lots of great foods there.

    Hope you're enjoying the late May snowstorm! LOL :) Good luck on your weight loss journey!

    Wow amazing!!!!! Well done you, inspirational
  • MelanieCN77MelanieCN77 Posts: 1,227Member Member Posts: 1,227Member Member
    I moved here in 2001 and my weight just crept and crept from day one. I never had to think about what I was eating before. I find that I have to eat as fresh as possible and that does the job. No packaged sandwiches or pre-made meals or anything like that. If you pay attention at the grocery store and try other stores than your usual you will start to get a spread of foods that work for you. Like Vons has these kosher pitas that are great and for some reason lower cal than all the other brands. That's my bread wants sorted. Whole Foods carries a great tasting full fat yoghurt without "fruit" which is really like jam in most yoghurts and I don't care for it or the calories that come with. And so on.
  • cmtiggercmtigger Posts: 1,229Member Member Posts: 1,229Member Member
    Macy9336 wrote: »
    Dnarules wrote: »
    Macy9336 wrote: »
    I can sympathise with you as I noticed while living in the US it is almost impossible to buy healthy convenience foods. We take for granted the fact we can pop into an M&S attached to a petrol station and buy a 150cal five bean salad or fresh sushi. In the US there are no healthy fast foods. You have to go to cafes inside Whole Foods or pack your own food from home.

    For eating out my husband and I would ALWAYS split a meal...with him being twice my size he'd eat about two thirds and I'd eat a third and we'd both be satiated. I did like Panera though because you can buy half salads and half sandwiches. They do this because people are encouraged to have a half salad with a soup or a half sandwich. I'd just buy a half salad or half sandwich and eat that by itself. Don't fall for the Oanera ploy of do you want a pastry for only $1 more? (Noooooo)

    In the US the portion sizes are massive but over time, they don't look so massive you get desensitised into thinking you're starving yourself. Scientific studies have also shown that if you are presented with more food, you'll eat more food so that is why splitting a meal or just ordering a half size up front is you best bet to not overeat. Too, some restaurants have menus for senior citizens that tend to be smaller sized and lower calorie...i.e. Two egg omelette instead of the standard ridiculously huge three or four egg omelette. I've asked if I can order them before and usually the restaurant will let you. At times, if my husband and I don't want the same meal, we'll each order an appetiser and a side salad as our meal which works too. Follow just the portioning rules on cheat days..make cheat days be about eating what you want but not overeating/gorging on whatever you want.

    While portion sizes in many US restaurants are very large, the sentences bolded above are just completely wrong. I can go into my Lowe's foods grocery store here in NC and find a salad bar with a good selection of vegetables and fruits (as well as some higher calorie options). There are pre-made salads, both low and high calorie, with a selection of lower and higher calorie dressings. Most of our fast food restaurants have lower calorie options (ex. baked potato and side salad at Wendys; egg white sandwiches at MacDonalds; etc). It may take a little more work at first, but it is possible to make better choices.

    Sorry, when in the US I ate only organic food so your sources didn't even come to mind. I have a bit of a prejudice against non organic food in the US because the production of it uses additives, pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics that are outlawed as unsafe here in the UK.
    Organic doesn't mean no pesticides, sometimes they use more toxic pesticides, it's just the source of the ingredients.

    And there is stuff that is legal in the U.K. That is illegal in the US.
  • cmtiggercmtigger Posts: 1,229Member Member Posts: 1,229Member Member
    jodie2204 wrote: »
    Hello

    I'm Jodie, originally from the UK and I moved to the US (Denver) 2.5 yrs ago. I was 237lbs at my heaviest in 2011 and got down to 154lbs in 18mths for my wedding. In the UK I managed to keep all the weight off without a thought (zero restrictions) but since I've moved here I've started creeping up up. I got up to 170lbs, I'm now down to 160 but am having to starve myself to lose every 1lb and often have 1 cheat day and lose 2 weeks of progress just like that.

    I struggle to find low calorie foods here. You can easily walk into a grocery store in the UK and get a delicious filling soup or curry for 400 cals. They also sell lots of low cal 'treats like <100 cal chips and chocolate bars.

    Does anyone have any tips/ tricks to make this a bit easier? Also eating out, everything seems excessive even the salads... any ideas?

    Thank you

    I find a lot of meals and salads in US grocery stores under 400 calories. And lots of snacks in 100 calorie packs.

    They also have whole departments of produce.


    You tell us that your highest weight was in the U.K., not in the US. Just look at labels. I know there are safeways in Colorado, they have salad packs that are reasonable calories, and soups too.
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