HALP!

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Rameci
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HALP!

Postby Rameci » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:10 am UTC

I've been browsing these forums lately and finally created my own account to get the help I think I need. I'm about 5'8" and weigh about 215 lbs. According to my doctor I'm about 50-60 lbs over weight, as I should be in the 150-160 lbs range. I'm currently a college student without a job, so time really isn't an issue for any advice. The hard part is getting the motivation to eat healthy and exercise. I've tried to do both whilst here at college, but the University seems to suck the life out of me. The school gym complex is always constantly full, so much that they're considering building a second gym for the athletic teams only, and the food in the school cafeteria is constantly fried, whatever the can make quick and efficiently for the students.

I guess what I'm looking for here is advice for food and exercise that I can do outside on my own, and for the food alternatives all I have at my disposal for preparing the food if necessary is a mini-fridge and microwave.

Thanks in advance for the advice. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated!

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Zohar
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Re: HALP!

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:50 am UTC

Start by walking, get yourself a toaster oven and electric cooker thingies (or gas if you have them), start cooking for yourself.

I'm not sure in how good a shape you are, try walking at least four times a week for 30 minutes each time. Don't run but make sure it's a good, fast pace. Slowly build up to 50 minutes or an hour, maybe five times a week. Make sure to plan ahead - don't just say "I'm going to walk four times this week", say "I'm going to walk once this Sunday afternoon, another time after that lesson" etc. And stick to the plan.

As for food, even if you can't afford a toaster oven etc., get a cutting board, a knife, some plastic cases and start making salads for yourself. Take those to uni and have only a little bit of the fried stuff, but try to avoid it as much as you can. For the salad sauce, use a little bit of oil, some vinegar/lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Little things you can do:
Don't snack, plan for meals. If you know you're hungry at 17.00, before dinner, be prepared for that with a sandwich.
Switch to whole-grain everything. It's much healthier and more nutritious for you. If you don't like the taste, do it gradually.
Try to reduce as much as you can everything you drink except water. Fruit juice, while it can be nourishing if fresh, is still a buttload of calories.
If you have coffee and/or tea, try to lower the amount of sugar you drink with it.
Pay attention to the quantities you have and try to figure out your eating habits. Do you always eat the entire bowl? Try getting a bit less food (gradually, you don't have to suffer!). Do you always grab seconds? Then take less in each serving.

For motivation - make a list of what you gain from being overweight, what are the downsides of it? See what the benefits of losing weight will be. Make sure that list is available to you and read it from time to time. If you're more encouraged by the positive, keep the "what do I gain by losing weight" list. If it's the other way around, keep the "what's bad about being overweight" list.

Don't be ashamed to ask questions in places where you go to eat - "can you put the dressing on the side?" "do you have anything that's not fried?" "do you have whole grain bread/pasta/rice?" etc.

And also, see a doctor or nutritionist if you're uncertain about how to get better.

Buy a scale and weigh yourself once a week at around the same time. Best is usually some morning, with no clothes, after going to the bathroom for the first time that day without having eaten/drunk anything. Write down your weight and see your progress. Don't be discouraged if you lose weight slow or none at all. At first you will probably lose weight fast, but then it will get slower, up to maybe a pound per week or per two weeks. This is OK, it's a good, healthy pace. As I've written below, this should not be a one-time-deal, you're not trying to lose all the weight in two months, you're trying to lose the weight in however long it takes, and trying to keep it off.

Most importantly - this is not a project. This is not a one time thing. This is changing the way you live for the better. You'll feel better, you'll be healthier, you'll still be able to eat what you want right now but it will become rarer, more special. Your tastes will probably change somewhat if you stick with it - suddenly you don't like fatty foods as much. The change will be difficult at first, so do it gradually. But make sure you try to get better.
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shocklocks
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Re: HALP!

Postby shocklocks » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:55 am UTC

I was kind of the same for you in respect with an assload of free time and no motivation. What worked for me was auctualy reducing the amount of free time I had.Try finding a job/hobby you enjoy. The more free time you have the more likely you'll be able to procrasinate going to the gym because you're free pretty much whenever and can just go later. If you absolutely have to go at a certrain time you'll be more likely not to miss it.

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Zohar
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Re: HALP!

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:09 am UTC

shocklocks wrote:I was kind of the same for you in respect with an assload of free time and no motivation. What worked for me was auctualy reducing the amount of free time I had.Try finding a job/hobby you enjoy. The more free time you have the more likely you'll be able to procrasinate going to the gym because you're free pretty much whenever and can just go later. If you absolutely have to go at a certrain time you'll be more likely not to miss it.

Ah, yes, that's good advice as well. When you exercise, having it cost money is a good idea. That way you care more. And less free time means less time to go to the fridge and it keeps your mind off food.

Another piece of advice - don't go hungry, ever. If you're hungry now, you'll eat too much in your next meal. Make sure to eat a little between big meals.
Mighty Jalapeno: "See, Zohar agrees, and he's nice to people."
SecondTalon: "Still better looking than Jesus."

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kgirlfae
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Re: HALP!

Postby kgirlfae » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:59 pm UTC

Fresh veggies make a great snack, that you can easily prepare with little more than a fridge to keep them fresh, a cutting board, and a knife. I like zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and snap peas since they're all usually pretty cheap and they're all filling (for me at least). If snacking is a problem area, the easiest thing to fix is to make sure that what you're snacking is at least healthier (substitute out calories that will work for you for calories that just hang around and become fat). Dump all the potato chips, tortilla chips, cookies, an so forth that are laying around waiting for you to eat them. If you can't stand the idea of trashing things you paid for, give them away to other hungry students and make some awesome friends that way.

Sandwiches are great, just make sure you're not using mayo or any other condiment that adds bad fat (avocado is great if you still need the creaminess of mayo, but want to switch to something healthier). I also make myself hold to the rule of 2 times more veggies on the sandwich than meat. Whole wheat bread is a must as well.

Do your dorms allow George Forman grills (or anything like them)? They're usually pretty cheap for the smallest ones, and that will be a great resource to cook some meats. Once, while living in the Dorms, my next door neighbour and I made a full jambalaya with nothing but the forman and microwave and it tasted just like it was made in a big kitchen. With a little bit of experimentation there isn't much that can't be done with just a Forman and a microwave. If you're careful with your ingredient selection, you'll find it very easy to cook healthier.

If all you have is a small fridge, you'll just have to get used to making smaller trips to the grocery store, more frequently. This will help you make sure you're getting the cheapest fruit/veggies at the time, you'll be able to buy smaller portions, and you'll be forced to stretch what you buy further. That's really helped me cut back on calories because I don't want to have to take as many trips to the store.

Good luck!

Rameci
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Re: HALP!

Postby Rameci » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:26 pm UTC

Thanks for the help guys!

All of the advice should be helpful. Sadly I'm unable to use some of it since any cooking aparatus other than the microwave provided by the school is prohibited. Granted I could smuggle on in(which is a possibility) I think I'm just gonna have to start finding alternatives for the microwave.

I've seen steam bags to cook vegetables in the microwave. Would those be good? I'm thinking yes because of the vegetables, but you can never know.

My problem with my weight hasn't been from snacking too much, or over eating. If anything I'd say it was the opposite. The crappy quality of the food provided in the cafeteria kills my appetite most of the time, the only good meal being breakfast where I can get fresh cooked eggs, generally over-medium. To give you all an example of some of the food provided, this past Monday they server fried PB&J wraps... I'll just let you all stew on that. :D

This week when I go home for Spring Break I'll try and get things ready for this change. Again, thanks!

shocklocks
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Re: HALP!

Postby shocklocks » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:17 pm UTC

Snap frozen microwave veges are fine. Some studies have even shown they retain more of their nutrients/vitamins this way. There is plenty of food you can buy day to day to snack on that is 100% healthy and doesn't require anything besides a fridge and a microwave. Raw nuts, whole grain rice, oats and bread, veges(bar corn and potato too often), salad, canned tuna and salmon, canned chicken(so long as it's low in fat and high in protein), 100%whey or casein protein shake mix, cottage cheese, olive oil, fish oil, canned beans, some fruits and a small amount of skim milk per day.

Keep your diet at between 25-40% fat(take into account your cafeterias food heavily here, don't underestimate the fat and assume the majority of it isn't healthy fat) get the rest of your daily fat needs from olive oil, fish oil and nuts. Make sure AT least another 25% of the diet is protein. Obviously as you start to incorporate more exercise this will need to go up. Sort those 2 totals out first and then get the remaining percentage of carbs from whole grain sources and vegetables. Luckily carbs are generally the cheapest of the 3 so do your best not to eat ANY rice/pasta/white bread/chips/wraps etc from your dining hall. The main thing to remember is that perfection is impossible. Pick a healthy diet and go for a 90% success rate. Because of your dependence of the cafeteria that will mean you're going to have to be strict with what you put in before dinner. At dinner however just try and avoid the processed carbs and stick to the healthiest looking option. Chances are it wil be impossible to eat 100% healthy there but so long as you do your best and keep your other meals perfect you'll be fine.

Remember however that the biggest thing isn't auctualy your diet but your eating habits in general. As has already been said try to eat 6small meals a day and plan these meals like you would your classes. Keep only healthy food in your dorm and manage your budget so after shopping/meeting expenses as much as you possibly can goes out of your wallet and into your savings account/mattress. That way you don't have food at home to impulse snack on and you can decide before you go out whether or not you will be eating, what you will be eating, can you make something at home now and take it with with you? and if not how much money you need for that meal. If you don't have the excess money on you it's impossible to impulse buy food because it's in front of you.

Since you're a student alcohol should most likely be addressed :p. Make sure you don't ruin all your hard work by drinking away your efforts. This is personal experience and I can't stress it enough. It's unavoidable at uni and missing out on the student lifestyle is definitely not a good thing. Just try to avoid randomly cracking a dozen for no reason other then boredom. Only drink when you're at events/parties/going to town. Even then try not to drink more then once or twice a month until you have your weight sorted. On top of this when you do drink stay away from the beer, jager bombs and rtds. Rock red wine(I know, it's girly. Just have a few glasses on your own before you meet up with your friends) and start drinking straight spirits. Vodka is the lowest calorie, but a couple shots of whiskey is infinitely better then a whiskey and coke. If you're unseasoned, weaken it with water.

You'll also need to start exercising regularly and properly. You can plan and schedule as much as you want but at the end of the day you need to just go out there and do it. Get yourself on a good program(I definitely advocate starting strength) Try and find a time when the gym is least crowded. The majority of people(at least at my gym) stick to the machines and cardio equipment anyway. The only equipment you need is a bench, a power rack and a barbell. The only exception is warming up where you'll need to find a free rower, eliptical, bike or if you really realllllly have to a treadmill. Buy a skipping rope or start jogging/ going for walks round campus for your cardio if the gym is too packed when you want to use it. If the gym is really that bad, either find a new one or pick up some second hand dumbbells.

And finally..
the University seems to suck the life out of me.

How you can honestly tell me that gives you less motivation is beyond me. Granted the first month of exercising/eating less will be hard work but after that your hard work will pay off well before you reach your goal weight. Your sleeping patterns will improve, you'll feel more energetic, things will become far less stressful and you'll be able to track your strength increase on a per work out basis/your weight loss on a weekly/fortnightly basis to make you more inclined to stick with it. In other words, you're going to improve every aspect of your lifestyle by sticking with it, not just your waist size.

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Hobgoblin
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Re: HALP!

Postby Hobgoblin » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:58 am UTC

Exercise will give you more energy, I swear.

The hardest part is starting- just get walking or SOMETHING for 30 minutes a day, and you'll be losing weight in no time.
Diet's easy- Cook for yourself so you can control what you're eating, and eat things where the calories from fat multiplied by three is still less than the calories. If it's equal or over, don't buy it or eat it. Simple.

Quit soda too. It's a big weight gainer. 3 [hard] weeks was all it took me, and I don't care about it anymore.
Life is the best toy anyone could ever give you, and I'm going to play with it until it breaks.

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kgirlfae
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Re: HALP!

Postby kgirlfae » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:22 pm UTC

Hobgoblin wrote:Quit soda too. It's a big weight gainer. 3 [hard] weeks was all it took me, and I don't care about it anymore.
I'll agree with this one. I went through two weeks of bad headaches from caffeine withdrawal (tea helped a little bit, but I was drinking about 64 oz of soda a day so that's quite a bit of caffeine), but I firmly believe the first 5 pounds I lost (in the first 2 weeks of my diet) were because I gave up soda. I hadn't gotten on board with an eating plan yet, and it was still too cold for me to go out running, so that was the only variable that significantly changed.

I remember 5 years ago being able to find a bunch of resources online for cooking with just a microwave. The Internets have come a long way since then... I'm sure that it should be pretty easy to find healthy recipes that involve just a microwave. There's a chance that this next suggestion might be cheating your way around the dorm rules, but when I was in school the first few months we had a microwave that actually had a browning element built in. It was kind of a combo of microwave/toaster oven. But the key is that it looked like a microwave. So when we got inspected they never noticed that we had an "illegal" heating element. It was my roommates, and I don't know where she got it, but that seems like it might be able to solve a few problems?

Other than the deep fried foods, does your cafeteria serve any salad greens or veggies? I know my cafeteria was horrid, but they always had a pretty well stocked salad bar and they had one station that served pretty over cooked, but still reasonable veggies. Sometimes it was a treasure hunt to find healthy options, but if I looked hard enough they were there. If you have a salad bar, bring in your own low fat protein - canned/pouched tuna, salmon and chicken are my favorites.

Another idea - I had 2 or 3 friends up at uni that had kitchens in their apartments. They weren't opposed to my using their stove once a week to quickly cook some things that I could refrigerate for the rest of the week (chicken breast, steak, etc), so long as I cleaned up after myself. Any chance you could meet/already know someone who would let you get away with that? (it never hurts to ask)


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