Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Susan’s Free Guaranteed Successful Dieting Plan!

 

I know. Losing weight is hard. When you get older, it’s even harder. You think that maybe the latest fad diet might do the trick, although in your heart you know that best-selling writer has no magic to offer for your weight struggle.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you can do it! Throw away your diet books, your internet print-offs, and the latest recommendation from a friend who is the worst example of a well-managed diet. (Don’t you hate people who tell you how to eat as they gobble down a cheeseburger and fries?)

My recommendations are not easy. They are not based on government dictates of a healthy diet. They will not feed your wounded spirit or reduce your over-active appetite. You probably won’t like them. But they will work. No measuring. No groups. No counselors. Just li’l ol’ me and my time-tested cooking and practices. So here goes:

  1. Don’t set goals for how many pounds you want to lose. The whole idea is that you’re going to change your whole relationship to food—for life.
  2. If you start to crave having some food that’s really bad for you (for example, a chocolate fudge ice cream sundae), put something sweet in your mouth, like one piece of Hershey’s dark chocolate. No fair making excuses that you get these cravings at least ten times a day. If you’re thinking about food that much, you need to find a hobby.
  3. Identify the foods you like and learn to cook them creatively. We often have stir-fry recipes, so lots of veggies there, with brown rice cooked in broth. We eat a lot of chicken, so you’ll find lots of marinade recipes online. (My husband doesn’t eat fish.) During this week we’re having an asparagus/cashew stir fry with peppers and brown rice; a homemade vegetable soup for our meal; “breakfast chicken” (which is a bit of a splurge, coating the chicken with a little ranch dressing and cornflakes) with brown rice and veggies; spaghetti and meatballs; and a lentil stew with lots of veggies and smoked turkey kielbasa. Most of these are easy to make or we make big batches and freeze them. We have seven batches of split pea soup and eight batches of vegetable soup in the freezer.
  4. Cut down on portions; this step has been critical for my weight maintenance. The more my age goes up, the more my portion sizes go down. Way down. But I don’t leave the table hungry, because I judge how my belly feels, not whether I feel like I want more to eat.
  5. Cook only as much as you need, or if you make something like a brisket, take only one serving and commit to freezing the rest. No seconds.
  6. Don’t cut out sweets completely. After every meal, we have our favorite tea and one—yes, ONE—chocolate chip cookie. They’re the big ones from BJs. It takes care of my sweet tooth.
  7. Exercise—yeah, I know, there’s no time. MAKE TIME! Okay, I’ll calm down. I take a brisk 35-minute walk, Monday-Friday, and work out at our gym three times per week, including some cardio. Don’t ask yourself if you feel like working out—you’ll never do it. Instead, write it on your calendar and even if you’re tired, go do it. You need to make it as regular as brushing your teeth. You do brush your teeth, right?
  8. Cut out as much bread as possible. We have a couple of little slices of French bread with our soup with butter, and my other bread splurge is one slice of pumpernickel at lunch. (I love it with a thin layer of hummus and a couple of little pieces of lox.)
  9. Eat fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. I love raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango, mandarin oranges and such, with a little low-fat yogurt. I never eat no-fat anything. Too blah.
  10. Herbs, herbs, herbs! I grew up with a mother who only used salt and pepper, and sometimes garlic. As an adult, I discovered that cooking with herbs and other flavors is so much fun! Basil is one of my favorites; then there’s rosemary, thyme, oregano. I also discovered fennel, leeks, and shallots! Experiment and learn what you like; after a while, you’ll use the ingredients that please you most.

I could make lots of other suggestions, but the bottom line for weight loss and maintenance is—are you ready?—common sense and moderation. So boring. But so true.

If anyone wants to contribute other suggestions for practical weight management, speak up. Just remember: the best diet in the world has little to do with the guidelines.

It has to do with you.

There are 43 comments.

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member

    I thought it was a strawberry diet – my husband would like the large cookie from BJ’s part. All very good advice – we have a country full of health issues, on too many drugs and overweight. With the way the awful healthcare system is going, your post is even more important.

    • #1
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:16 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Seawriter Member

    Susan Quinn: No fair making excuses that you get these cravings at least ten times a day. If you’re thinking about food that much, you need to find a hobby.

    A hobby. I know – eating. Oh, wait!

    • #2
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:16 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: No fair making excuses that you get these cravings at least ten times a day. If you’re thinking about food that much, you need to find a hobby.

    A hobby. I know -eating. Oh, wait!

    That cracked me up, @seawriter! No!

    • #3
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:18 AM PST
    • Like
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I thought it was a strawberry diet – my husband would like the large cookie from BJ’s part. All very good advice – we have a country full of health issues, on too many drugs and overweight. With the way the awful healthcare system is going, your post is even more important.

    Sorry to mislead you. It’s strawberry season as you know, so they’re high on my list of fresh fruits. Thanks for commenting, FSC.

    • #4
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Old Buckeye Member

    I would add: Drink more water. It will make you feel fuller, adds no calories, and helps keep things moving along. It’s the main thing I fail at; as a pescatarian, the fruits and veggies are easy. Your cue to cut down on bread is a good one too. When I went gluten-free for 5 years, I eliminated migraines and lost weight. 

    I sometimes curb my sweet tooth by assessing what kind of sweet is on offer and then tell myself I could do better later. I’ll hold out for the good stuff, whether or not it ever comes my way. 

    • #5
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:35 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  6. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn: Losing weight is hard.

    No it isn’t. Losing weight just comes natural…if you eat right and exercise. Its the eating right and exercising that is hard! ;-)

    • #6
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:44 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn: Cut down on portions; this step has been critical for my weight maintenance. The more my age goes up, the more my portion sizes go down. Way down. But I don’t leave the table hungry, because I judge how my belly feels, not whether I feel like I want more to eat.

    This is my biggest problem.

     

    • #7
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    I would add: Drink more water. It will make you feel fuller, adds no calories, and helps keep things moving along. It’s the main thing I fail at; as a pescatarian, the fruits and veggies are easy. Your cue to cut down on bread is a good one too. When I went gluten-free for 5 years, I eliminated migraines and lost weight.

    I sometimes curb my sweet tooth by assessing what kind of sweet is on offer and then tell myself I could do better later. I’ll hold out for the good stuff, whether or not it ever comes my way.

    I forget to add the water, too, although I’m better at drinking it. I love water with ice–so refreshing! Thanks for the other hints, too, @oldbuckeye!

    • #8
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:46 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Spin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Losing weight is hard.

    No it isn’t. Losing weight just comes natural…if you eat right and exercise. Its the eating right and exercising that is hard! ;-)

    Boy, is that true! Thanks for the correction, @spin!

    • #9
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:47 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn: one—yes, ONE—chocolate chip cookie.

    I swear Susan, it’s only one hit off the pipe this time…I swear!

    • #10
    • February 26, 2019, at 6:47 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: If anyone wants to contribute other suggestions for practical weight management, speak up.

    Don’t eat out so much.

    When you do eat out, don’t eat from the endless bread trays (if anything, take the bread home for subs another day).

    Eat just one can of soup for lunch.

    Don’t have second helpings. Stop when you clean your plate.

    Reduce portions. Not drastically – one burger instead of two, three slices of pizza instead of four, small fries instead of large. Drastic reductions take more willpower than the average person has.

    When you do cheat, go all out without guilt! It’s your reward for losing weight.

    Note: The above can be done without counting calories, but counting is the best way to go about it.

    • #11
    • February 26, 2019, at 7:11 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. PHCheese Member

    Want to lose weight get a 10 week old puppy. You’ll walk like never before.

    • #12
    • February 26, 2019, at 7:45 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  13. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn: If you’re thinking about food that much, you need to find a hobby.

    But food is my hobby. 😜

    • #13
    • February 26, 2019, at 7:46 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn: Herbs, herbs, herbs! I grew up with a mother who only used salt and pepper, and sometimes garlic. As an adult I discovered that cooking with herbs and other flavors is so much fun! Basil is one of my favorites; then there’s rosemary, thyme, oregano. I also discovered fennel, leeks and shallots! Experiment and learn what you like; after a while, you’ll use the ingredients that please you most.

    Amen to that!

    • #14
    • February 26, 2019, at 7:50 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Arahant Member

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):
    When I went gluten-free for 5 years, I eliminated migraines and lost weight.

    Definitely cut down on breads, and especially the more processed forms, such as white bread. If you’re going to eat breads, make them whole grain. On the other hand, don’t eliminate gluten unless you have to. Studies have shown that eliminating gluten can lead to other health problems. Unless one has celiac disease or is allergic to gluten, which about 2% of people are one or the other, one is better off having that whole grain bread.

    • #15
    • February 26, 2019, at 7:59 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    We have been doing the intermittent fasting thing. Basically skipping breakfast on most days, and about once a week I might stretch that to skipping breakfast and lunch and eat something small around 4 p.m. Drinking plenty of water also is part of it. It is interesting to think that when I was a kid there was no non-stop snacking (no matter how healthy). Breakfast, lunch, after school snack, dinner. Fewer people were tremendously overweight. If you stop eating at 8pm, you are going to go to sleep soon afterwards, when you wake up you have some coffee (and no, I’m not into black coffee; a spoon of half and half won’t derail my efforts), get yourself busy and eat lunch about 16 hours after you last ate. I’ve lost three or four pounds in about two weeks, and it’s been years since I was able to lose any weight. I also eat what I want, but keep it healthy and thoughtful. I love bread; baking bread is therapeutic for me. I do find the confining eating to certain times only helps me to feel more satisfied with what I am eating. When my life feels out of control, well at least I can control myself and try not to shovel junk non-stop between, oh, about 4 o’clock and dinner time. Also, exercise with some interval training thrown in. Once you see the needle drop on the scale it really is motivational. 

    • #16
    • February 26, 2019, at 8:06 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):
    When you do eat out, don’t eat from the endless bread trays (if anything, take the bread home for subs another day).

    The endless bread baskets is one of the reasons I DON’T eat out. I LOVE bread. (That’s also why you don’t see me banning it entirely. I feel terrible for those people who are allergic to gluten!

    • #17
    • February 26, 2019, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):
    When I went gluten-free for 5 years, I eliminated migraines and lost weight.

    Definitely cut down on breads, and especially the more processed forms, such as white bread. If you’re going to eat breads, make them whole grain. On the other hand, don’t eliminate gluten unless you have to. Studies have shown that eliminating gluten can lead to other health problems. Unless one has celiac disease or is allergic to gluten, which about 2% of people are one or the other, one is better off having that whole grain bread.

    Thanks for making this point, @arahant. I know you have to cut out the gluten, but I’ve tried to tell a friend she shouldn’t cut it out. I wonder why people latch onto these prohibitions when it has nothing to do with them?! I will never, ever, stop drinking coffee–high test!

    • #18
    • February 26, 2019, at 8:31 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    We have been doing the intermittent fasting thing. Basically skipping breakfast on most days, and about once a week I might stretch that to skipping breakfast and lunch and eat something small around 4 p.m. Drinking plenty of water also is part of it. It is interesting to think that when I was a kid there was no non-stop snacking (no matter how healthy). Breakfast, lunch, after school snack, dinner. Fewer people were tremendously overweight. If you stop eating at 8pm, you are going to go to sleep soon afterwards, when you wake up you have some coffee (and no, I’m not into black coffee; a spoon of half and half won’t derail my efforts), get yourself busy and eat lunch about 16 hours after you last ate. I’ve lost three or four pounds in about two weeks, and it’s been years since I was able to lose any weight. I also eat what I want, but keep it healthy and thoughtful. I love bread; baking bread is therapeutic for me. I do find the confining eating to certain times only helps me to feel more satisfied with what I am eating. When my life feels out of control, well at least I can control myself and try not to shovel junk non-stop between, oh, about 4 o’clock and dinner time. Also, exercise with some interval training thrown in. Once you see the needle drop on the scale it really is motivational.

    I love that you are paying attention to what your own body needs, @9thdistrictneighbor! I haven’t done a real diet in years, although now and then when the scale starts to move up, I start to pay more attention to what I’m eating: I’m usually eating out more or gradually eating larger portions–both which are unwise.

    • #19
    • February 26, 2019, at 8:34 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I wonder why people latch onto these prohibitions when it has nothing to do with them?!

    Everyone needs religion, and they’ll find one whether it’s one they should be part of or not.

    • #20
    • February 26, 2019, at 8:44 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Everyone needs religion, and they’ll find one whether it’s one they should be part of or not.

    I think I’ll start a Jewish sect for Chocolate Chip Cookie Addicts.

    • #21
    • February 26, 2019, at 9:03 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  22. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I lost 40 pounds 12 or 15 years ago and it was simple (not easy): accept that you are going to be hungry every freaking minute of every freaking day for several months. If you cut down on what you eat to the point where your body gets the message that it’s undernourished, it will start dipping into its reserves and consuming itself. That’s the key: your body has to be believe that burning its stored up fat is a better move than waiting for its next meal. As far as I know only persistent hunger can do that. In particular, go to bed hungry. If you can do that, you can lose weight. But it’s really, really hard to be voluntarily hungry all the time. 

    • #22
    • February 26, 2019, at 9:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    I lost 40 pounds 12 or 15 years ago and it was simple (not easy): accept that you are going to be hungry every freaking minute of every freaking day for several months. If you cut down on what you eat to the point where your body gets the message that it’s undernourished, it will start dipping into its reserves and consuming itself. That’s the key: your body has to be believe that burning its stored up fat is a better move than waiting for its next meal. As far as I know only persistent hunger can do that. In particular, go to bed hungry. If you can do that, you can lose weight. But it’s really, really hard to be voluntarily hungry all the time.

    I don’t know if that’s a good idea, @mattbartle. Like you’re saying, if your body thinks you’ve cut back too much, it won’t let you lose weight. That’s why people who go on diets all the time confuse their metabolism and stop losing weight. I still think if you just cut back a bit on portions, don’t eat after 8pm, and are patient, the weight will come off. Unless you’ve starved your body too many times. But I’m glad persistent hunger worked for you. I’d be a snarling maniac if I was hungry all the time!

    • #23
    • February 26, 2019, at 9:56 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Old Buckeye Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Unless one has celiac disease or is allergic to gluten, which about 2% of people are one or the other, one is better off having that whole grain bread.

    That’s what I started adding back in when the migraines were a thing of the past. 

    • #24
    • February 26, 2019, at 9:58 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. Skyler Coolidge

    You have to learn to embrace the hunger. The doctor just told me last week that if I want to get back to the weight I want to get to, I have to limit my diet to 1500 calories a day. That’s half an MRE. I can do it. I have to do it. I’m not obese, but I want to be thinner again.

    I’ve gone long periods of time with a sparse diet before. You have to embrace the hunger and eventually your stomach shrinks. It’s just hard to keep it up. You have to avoid social situations involving food, because if everyone else is eating, you’re going to want to eat too.

    That’s as simple as it is. Not easy, but uncomplicated.

    • #25
    • February 26, 2019, at 11:12 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. The Reticulator Member

    Those strawberries look yummy. 

    • #26
    • February 26, 2019, at 11:18 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Skyler (View Comment):

    You have to learn to embrace the hunger. The doctor just told me last week that if I want to get back to the weight I want to get to, I have to limit my diet to 1500 calories a day. That’s half an MRE. I can do it. I have to do it. I’m not obese, but I want to be thinner again.

    I’ve gone long periods of time with a sparse diet before. You have to embrace the hunger and eventually your stomach shrinks. It’s just hard to keep it up. You have to avoid social situations involving food, because if everyone else is eating, you’re going to want to eat too.

    That’s as simple as it is. Not easy, but uncomplicated.

    I think a lot of people realize your sentiments. I think your calorie account is probably close to what I eat. Then again, I’m short and slim; my body doesn’t beg for a lot (although my mind does, sometimes).

    • #27
    • February 26, 2019, at 11:24 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    I would add: Drink more water. It will make you feel fuller, adds no calories, and helps keep things moving along. It’s the main thing I fail at; as a pescatarian, the fruits and veggies are easy. Your cue to cut down on bread is a good one too. When I went gluten-free for 5 years, I eliminated migraines and lost weight.

    I sometimes curb my sweet tooth by assessing what kind of sweet is on offer and then tell myself I could do better later. I’ll hold out for the good stuff, whether or not it ever comes my way.

    It’s amazing that you were able to eliminate migraine. (The food restriction is an issue for me because I’m already anorexic.) I’m so glad you found something that works for you! I have intractable migraine.

    • #28
    • February 26, 2019, at 11:58 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  29. Arahant Member

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):
    I’m so glad you found something that works for you! I have intractable migraine.

    Migraines begin in the stomach.

    • #29
    • February 26, 2019, at 12:07 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. Hoyacon Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Everyone needs religion, and they’ll find one whether it’s one they should be part of or not.

    I think I’ll start a Jewish sect for Chocolate Chip Cookie Addicts.

    I’m not sure how this fits into the diet theme, but, for some reason, this reminded me that the DC/Maryland area now has Kosher Chinese in the form of the restaurant Holy Chow (closed at 2:30 pm Friday).

     

    • #30
    • February 26, 2019, at 1:33 PM PST
    • 4 likes

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