Start Slow or Cut Everything?

BPOZATIF Posts: 1 Member
Hi, i'm looking to start making changes in my diet but I'm unsure what the best way to start is. I have a lot to lose :#

Should i start slow or cut most of the unhealthy food and drink from the beginning?

I thought of cutting snacks down for a week or two. then cut down on how much bread i eat for a few weeks then reduce portion sizes etc.

Thanks for any help


  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,041 Member
    The idea is to change your habits long-term, to lose the weight AND keep it off. In that perspective, I think it's best to start slow.

    If you just log your food intake as it is now, without trying to lose weight, for a week or so, you might already see some areas where you can make simple changes. It really depends on your specific situation.
    For some people, just switching to sugar free soda will have a significant impact on calories intake, for example. Or reducing condiments. Or reducing the frequency of snacks, or finding lower calorie alternatives that taste good.

    By introducing gradual changes, you're less likely to throw in the towel and give up.

    Wishing you success!
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 9,431 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    The idea is to change your habits long-term, to lose the weight AND keep it off. In that perspective, I think it's best to start slow.

    If you just log your food intake as it is now, without trying to lose weight, for a week or so, you might already see some areas where you can make simple changes. It really depends on your specific situation.
    For some people, just switching to sugar free soda will have a significant impact on calories intake, for example. Or reducing condiments. Or reducing the frequency of snacks, or finding lower calorie alternatives that taste good.

    By introducing gradual changes, you're less likely to throw in the towel and give up.

    Wishing you success!

    While I agree the "just log for now" is really good advice in theory, I think for some people it may be hard to sustain the high learning curve of logging without getting any results for a week or more because they haven't actually changed their intake.

    OP, if that sounds like you, you might want to log and aim for a reduced calorie intake, so you'll hopefully see some immediate scale movement (don't expect it to be huge -- even if you're very heavy, two pounds a week is a fast pace, although some people initially see bigger drops because of losing water weight). Don't worry so much -- especially at first -- about what you're eating and whether it's healthy. You say you have a lot to lose, and in that situation, the health benefits of just losing some weight are likely to be far greater than trying have all you food be "healthy."

    Once you feel like you're comfortable with logging and able to hit your calorie goal most of the time, you can revisit the issue of whether there are specific foods you need to restrict or eliminate. Personally, I've found it much more helpful to focus on foods I need to eat more of to reach specific goals, like more protein or more fiber.

    First, psychologically I find it easier to think about what I want to eat for my health than to think about things "I can't have."

    Second, once I eat the things that help me achieve my nutritional goals, I generally find I have less room (both in my calorie budget and in my stomach) for less nutritionally dense foods.

    Third, I believe that eating things that benefit you nutritionally is more important than not eating things whose biggest downside is usually that they're not nutritionally dense, or whose biggest downside is that people on the Internet claim that they're bad for you.

    Best of luck on your journey.
    SNAILTURBO2GO Posts: 6 Member
    I started logging and just tried to pick better options "food swaps" for the first week or two. Honestly overtime you get really good at it! I bought the premium to be able to tap into macros and see what foods my good and bad macros were coming from. Its really taught me alot just being curious. I admit I did stop drinking soda cold turkey! A friend of mine drinks beer really bad and has talked about cutting back and even quitting for the 5 years Ive known them. When I thought about quitting soda I didnt want to fail because I knew it would really help me loose weigth. SO I stopped one day and found a replacement.. turns out I LOVE water with lemon. Im 45 days in with NO soda. I use to drink 2 or 3 32 oz sodas per day, no joke! In the first week it sucked trying to get going in the morning, it was my coffee lol. But honestly its a mental game you just find replacements. From there I changed Dinners to be home cooked, then lunches home prepared, then breakfast. I tried new stuff every few days and just kept onto what was the next best thing to have as opposed to what I wanted. So I guess it was kinda both: Cold turkey for my worst thing and then sub with food swaps once choice at a time. Im hopeful that might help you. And im not perfect either and I have had some really yucky "health" foods lol. But honestly once I stopped the sugar and high carbs I really dont crave them. Ive got onto better breads with minimal ingredients and cut portions. So right now I love Daves killer bread and bagels. Some are better than others but i only do one slice or if I do 2 its on a day where Im hiking or riding MTB where ill burn it. I replaced sweets with fruit, which works well and its kinda fun trying all different stuff.
  • fatty2begone
    fatty2begone Posts: 223 Member
    @experimentofone Quote: "So I cut out my "Problem" foods. Some were what most people would consider unhealthy (potato chips) ..... others I just couldn't control my portions of (cheese and bread"

    We must be "diet twins" My nemesis too. Just recently started eating cheese in moderation. But chips and bread are still a struggle, so I try to keep them out of my mouth... (Sometimes I fail :( )
  • JaysFan82
    JaysFan82 Posts: 118 Member
    I'm all or nothing. I know how easy it is to get off track, so I just don't bother. It's not worth it.
  • gpanda103
    gpanda103 Posts: 175 Member
    You don’t need to cut anything. What does “healthy” or “unhealthy” food mean anyways? If I’m binging on spinach and oats, are they still healthy?
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,888 Member
    I looked a lot more at what I needed to add to my diet to make it more healthful than cutting stuff out. The only thing I really cut out was full sugar soda because I was drinking 3-6 per day. Even then, I weened myself down over the course of about a month.

    I also decided to start brown bagging my lunch instead of going out every single day...but I kept, and 10 years later still keep one day per week out for lunch at work. My diet wasn't really particularly "bad"...the biggest issue was not getting enough fruits and vegetables, so I made that a point.
  • BeYourBestSelfDeb
    BeYourBestSelfDeb Posts: 66 Member
    Making lifestyle changes to me is a gradual process. Your body has been use to having whatever it wants. When you start being accountable that is when the transition begins.
    When following any diet it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor. I did and he helped me with my number of calories at my present weigh to lose 2 pounds per week. Then he told me the number of carbohydrates I could have each meal/ my entire day.
    There are a lot of diets out there but not all of them are good for you or something you can stay with indefinitely.

    As far as snacks go, I basically can eat anything I want, moderation is key. I plan it into my day. Portion control is a key factor to losing weight. Don’t try to eyeball what a cup of this or a teaspoon of this is. Get a measuring cup for dry and liquid, and set of measuring spoons. A nice food scale is helpful too.

    I don’t want to overwhelm you here, but just giving you tips to help you get going.

    You can do this! Best tip I can give you is to stay on track each day I decide what my meals and snacks will be and put it in my food diary. If it’s to much I cut down my portion or make another choice. That way there is no going overboard or guilt eating. It really is my safety net.

    So jump in, have fun and I am so glad your here.
  • azuki84
    azuki84 Posts: 164 Member
    Do what works for you. Try one method and if it works stick with it. Any type of change and to keep it permanent is a journey not a race.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 5,144 Member
    edited May 30
    I’ve been here for a while, and I think that the most bestest and considered answer is start slow, learn new habits that you can carry forward, read and learn from these boards.

    Having said that, I started fast, with an elimination diet, after receiving a prescription for thyroid meds. I asked for 90 days to lose before starting the meds.

    I was unusual. I was extremely motivated, scared, and TBH sick of sugar. It had gotten to the point I had to have regular hits of sugar- thousands of calories a day- just to keep going, yet the sugar was also making me feel awful.

    Instead of being the awful experience I assumed, the elimination diet made me feel better than I had in years, and my GERD From Hell was gone within weeks, which motivated me even further.

    The problem with or nothing people is we also have quick burnout. You have to recognize that and have a plan in place to counteract that tendency.

    For me, it was rewards and mini goals. My initial goal was to lose 50 pounds. Instead of thinking 50, which is like Everest, I broke it down into 5 and 10 pounds. At five, I went to the grocery store and (don’t laugh) swung a five pound bag of potatoes around and congratulated myself for the loss, and that I was now 10% of the way there.

    Every ten pounds was an inexpensive but truly luxurious foot massage. Every ten pounds was 20% towards goal.

    At 15 pounds, I lucked into a cute pencil dress in my goal size for $15 at TJ Maxx. I hung it sideways in the closet and stroked and talked to it every morning. I had to lift it to get to my regular clothes behind it.

    At 25 pounds I got some “halfway there” athletic leggings. Nice ones. Real athletic leggings. Not the $10 ones I’d been living in with loose fat mama tunics.

    At 50 pounds I bought new clothes and donated everything I possibly could. And regretted it about two months later when they started falling off.

    Once I passed 60 pounds, I treated myself to a trainer. I began to have other goals. Build upper body strength to achieve some yoga poses. Complete C25K. Survive Pilates, HIIT, cardio classes.

    Hey, I’m hanging in there, how about rewarding myself with a nice stationary bike for home?

    My husband joined me and I had the luxury (yes, luxury! It was super great reinforcement for me, too!) of doing all this again with him.

    I had to make it about “eating the elephant”. You know. “One bite at a time”. Otherwise I’d burn out and fall back into bad habits. And eventually, those good habits stuck.

    Even now, I’m all or nothing about workouts. I go in and give every last ounce. 🤷🏻‍♀️ All or nothing about gym gear. I have to have the wildest colors in the place or it’s no fun.

    It’s what we all-or-nothing peeps do.

    We might as well use our superpower for good, right?!
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,122 Member
    I'll chime in on the side of "slow and steady."

    Some background: there is a very clear mathematical relationship, which holds true for all human bodies (and all living bodies tbh, but I'm pretty certain we're all human here), between the amount of energy one takes in and the amount of energy one expends within a given timeframe, that affects bodyweight. We refer to it here as "CICO." Stands for "calories in, calories out." Basically: It costs a certain amount of energy to be alive (CO), and you pay that energy bill with calories from food and drink (CI). If you remember your "greater than" and "less than" signs from your arithmetic classes in school, it looks like this:

    CI>CO: weight gain (you took in more energy than it cost to be alive for that amount of time, so your body stores the extra as fat for a rainy day. Save just 100 calories like this each day for a year - that's just half a Snickers bar - and you'll have gained ten pounds of fat.)
    CI=CO: weight maintenance (you took in exactly enough energy to pay your being-alive bills that day, no more, no less. If most of your days are like this, your weight will remain stable over time.)
    CI<CO: weight loss (the amount of energy in your food and drink was less than it cost to be alive today, so your body has to dip into its "savings" (your stored fat) to make up the difference. Short yourself 100 calories like this each day for a year, and you'll similarly lose 10lb.)

    So, I am almost 31 years old, and I am obese. Which means that for most of the past 11,000 days or so, my CI has been higher > than my CO. For the first few thousand days, that was fine, I was a baby and it's a baby's job to grow. I just never quite managed to shift out of that growth mindset after about day 5000, haha. However, for the last 565 of those 11,000 days, my CI has mostly been lower < than my CO, and as such I've lost nearly 70lbs in that time. (I still have about 35 to go, I think). I've done it by making small, simple changes to my daily food and activity choices - I want to make it as easy as possible to make the same good choice again and again, forever. So I plan and prep meals in advance; I pack afternoon snacks in my lunch and plan to eat them at 3 PM when I hit that slump rather than hitting up the vending machine; I find lower-calorie swaps for less-important-to-me foods to make room for the stuff I can't live without; I find ways to move more in my day-to-day; I find intentional movement that I enjoy and will keep doing. If something's not working, I make another change, because I have to find a permanent way of living my life if I expect the new body I'm slowly unearthing to stick around. Living the way I did for my first 10,000 days got me to where I was on my Day 1, and my daily routine and menu look much different now than they did 565 days ago, but if I had woken up on my Day 1 and tried to do all of the things that are part of my routine now, I would have failed. I needed to start where I was and build up to where I am.

    Start by gathering data - you can't make changes if you don't know what specifically needs to change. Start by logging your food and activity as honestly as you can for a week or two, to see where your starting point actually is. How much are you currently eating? How much does your body actually need to sustain your activity level? How much can you increase that activity level, and/or how much do you need to decrease that intake? What can you change about your daily routine to make either of those things easier to do? Do you need to change the time you wake up in the morning, or go to bed at night? Do you need to change how or when you shop for groceries? Do you need to learn more about cooking or nutrition? Figure out one small change you can make and implement that for a week, see how it goes. If it sticks, add another small change. If it's too onerous, figure out a different change you can make and try that instead, until you find something you can sustain without feeling punished.