Asperfemme

Fasting in Grad School

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@Asperfemme If you like to have the eating kind of sensation, how do you feel about drinking liquids through straws? I wonder if that might be a "hack" at least for a couple hours at a stretch that would scratch the immediate itch (although I have no suggestions for the underlying problem). Personally, I drink a lot of water-with-lemon and iced tea (plain water is too boring and I forget to keep drinking). Both are minimal-calorie, and while they aren't great for your teeth, sure, neither are soda, snacking all the time (I think), coffee, etc. The "cleanse" thing of drinking only water with lemon and pepper (or whatever) is not great for you, but drinking a lot of that stuff between meals/snacks and also eating could be helpful.

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On 2017-01-26 at 7:53 PM, knp said:

@Asperfemme If you like to have the eating kind of sensation, how do you feel about drinking liquids through straws? I wonder if that might be a "hack" at least for a couple hours at a stretch that would scratch the immediate itch (although I have no suggestions for the underlying problem). Personally, I drink a lot of water-with-lemon and iced tea (plain water is too boring and I forget to keep drinking). Both are minimal-calorie, and while they aren't great for your teeth, sure, neither are soda, snacking all the time (I think), coffee, etc. The "cleanse" thing of drinking only water with lemon and pepper (or whatever) is not great for you, but drinking a lot of that stuff between meals/snacks and also eating could be helpful.

That's a great idea! Will definitely try. Thank you!

Edited by Asperfemme

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Re: the discussion that happened here - I am not offended, I think everyone's bodies are different and there does not seem to be any definitive research on what an ideal diet should look like.

I personally find that the more carbs I eat, the more fat I gain and it tends to make me hungrier, so I try to only reserve complex carb meals for post-workout. I find I am less likely to overeat if I eat high fat, high protein and low carb. I am attaching a picture of what I will be eating this week. This is at least $140 worth of food. I eat minimal carbs (some crackers, cooked lentils, chickpeas, popcorn, very high quality bread which you can notice in the picture). I would have the carbs in addition to all this and vary my diet; for instance, last week, I had quinoa and black bean recipes. This week, I will have hummus, the bread, and fruits (e.g., banana, not in picture but I do have some). There should be two avocados in there, too (might not be visible). I don't crave carbs when I don't eat them, but I do crave protein and fat a lot, hence also why I do my diet this way.

I crave greens, too, and eat a lot of them, but am not sure how to cut down on the spendings or the eating time. I literally eat all this during the week, with an empty fridge at the end. Any advice on making this more student-friendly would be helpful, as I used to be able to afford this lifestyle but it's getting trickier now that I am not working and focusing more on school this semester. Yes, I am vegan and also gluten-free. I do not eat anything refined, not even oils. I know when I am stress eating when I go for the crunchy stuff, whether it be nuts, quinoa chips, or crackers.

IMG_1084.jpg

Edited by Asperfemme
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@AsperfemmeI'm glad you're not offended about the conversation. I know it kind of took over this post for a while. x]

I'm not sure if this will help, but are you researching in-season foods? Buying only food that's in season (as opposed to food that needs to be shipped in from warmer climates) could potentially reduce your price per week. Again, not really sure if this would work for your location, but it could be worth looking into. :) 

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2 hours ago, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

@AsperfemmeI'm glad you're not offended about the conversation. I know it kind of took over this post for a while. x]

I'm not sure if this will help, but are you researching in-season foods? Buying only food that's in season (as opposed to food that needs to be shipped in from warmer climates) could potentially reduce your price per week. Again, not really sure if this would work for your location, but it could be worth looking into. :) 

Hi! I definitely try to buy as much in-season as possible. I have always wondered, though, how to find completely in-season recipes. Even the ones that have in-season veggies as main ingredients tend to have not in-season stuff included, too. A decent portion of the stuff in the picture is from the local farmer's market, but I inevitably end up needing to get some other stuff from the grocery store, particularly the greens, which can only be locally grown in a greenhouse. There's only one vendor selling greenhouse greens at this farmer's market now, and only the kale.

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3 minutes ago, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

@Asperfemme Do you look into recipe substitutions? Some recipes may call for certain ingredients that are out of season, but they can often be substituted or recipes adapted to exclude the out of season items.

How do you know what is possible to substitute and what needs to be followed? Being a very by-the-book person and not having had a chance to experiment much with food out of time constraints/fear of wasting something that doesn't work, I find this quite tricky to figure out.

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@Asperfemme I recently did a recipe and found out I didn't have one of the spices it called for. I just did a quick google search for "[ingredient name] substitute" and found out what I could use instead. Obviously, this would probably take some pre-planning, but it should give you options that will not hurt the overall recipe. :) 

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@Asperfemme, a couple of ideas come to mind (though these might not work depending on where you are). For buying produce for less, I'd recommend joining/shopping at a warehouse club (Costco, Sam's, BJ's, etc.; I shop regularly at Costco) or a discount grocery store (Aldi, Grocery Outlet, etc.). My experience has been that something like a pound of organic spring mix which at my grocery store is $6 is $3.50-$4 at Costco, Sam's, and Aldi. The selection won't be the same but being able to save where you can never hurts. I'd also recommend checking the grocery store circulars each week to see what's on sale ("the loss leaders") so that you can shop those and stock up where possible. 

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there's a book "power of habit" that writes about how a habit works, and how to change them. there are 3 components to a habit: "cue" "routine" and "reward". to me, a craving signifies a "cue", after which your routine is to start eating whatever it is that you crave, and your reward is the dopamine sent to your brain. the book argues that the best way to change a habit is to keep the cue and reward, and change the routine. so if a guy wanted to quit smoking, he would recognize a cue (ex. stressful situation), develop a new routine (ex. i don't quite remember, something that replicates nicotine), and get the same reward as smoking a cig. I've not really tried this myself, but the concept makes sense to me. (I don't smoke.. that was just an example)

 

not a vegan, just know that vegans have to eat more due to the lower calorie content of vegetables. but that does NOT look like a diet that would lead to weight gain, so I'm confused.

Edited by spectastic

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chris carmichael came over to give a talk to the team today. part of his talk was addressed towards nutrition and weight loss. for people who already are eating healthy and getting their micronutrients from plants, which is what OP appears to already be doing, the next step is to focus on how you're taking in those calories.

Basically, eat less calories through a few different strategies that have been proven by science:

  • eat slower - you end up feeling full with less calories than if you gobble down food like most people who are short on time (eg. everyone here, hopefully)
  • put the fork down every once a while - complementary to the first point to help you chew your food instead of stuffing the face
  • don't eat and multi task. just focus on your food
  • smaller portions. not smaller, more frequent portions, but just smaller portions.

very simple stuff, but probably still helpful to most people.

 

there was a question about intermittent fasting, to help the body burn more fat through carb deficiency, and while he sees the science behind it, it's unclear what the long term health impacts are. Plus, it requires a lot of attention and time that people just don't have. better to address the low hanging fruits listed above.

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Not sure if OP is still looking for advice, but here's my top 3 tips on what helped me lose 70lbs in just over a year.

1. Keep a food diary. MyFitnessPal is a great app for it. If you track what you eat, you feel more accountable for it. It makes you think twice before eating something if you know you'll have to record it.

2. Figure out roughly how many calories you're burning a day. You can do this with a fancy gadget like a FitBit, or if you don't mind it not being as precise, there are lots of free online calculators that can do it for you based on your height, weight and activity level. So long as you don't eat above this number, you shouldn't gain weight.

3. Try a carb cycling diet! Basically, pick two or three days a week (preferrably days you exercise on) where you eat healthy carbs (whole wheat bread, pasta, etc.) and your consumed calories are about how much you burn, then the rest of the week eat low carb (but high protein and fat instead.) You should keep your protein intake about the same all week, but on high carb days, drop your fat consumption. On low carb days, up your fat consumption! This keeps your body from plateauing if you just eat low carb all the time, and it makes controlling your eating a lot easier if you can occasionally eat your favourite carby foods a few times a week. I stopped eating pasta for about 7 months when I was just eating low carb and it made me so sad, but switching to carb cycling let me bring them back in. It sounds weird, but eating more calories and carbs can actually speed up your weight loss.

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Hmmm, seems I'm late to the party here. I won't get involved in the discussions that have already taken place, as interesting as they are, except to say that while nutrition needs can vary by individual (a 24 year old male endurance athlete has very different needs than my grandmother) there are a few pretty well-supported "standards" that can be considered to apply to everyone who is not an extremely odd case. I've seen through skimming that some people here claim to have gotten their information from "nutritionists" and I warn everyone: Nutritionist is not a protected title in most areas of the US. Regardless of your background, you can all call yourselves nutritionists if you feel like it, because it requires you to know absolutely nothing about nutrition. Dietitians are the nutrition professionals, so unless your nutritionist is an RDN I would take everything they say with a huge grain of salt. (Unless you're on a cardiac diet. ;) Haha dietetics joke.) And some of the information I see here attributed to nutritionists is something RDNs would not advise except in extreme circumstances under direct professional supervision.

OP, fasting for religious/spiritual reasons is fine if done in a healthy manner, but from a weight loss perspective, it is not useful and will most often lead to weight regain. For sustained weight loss you are best off simply counting your calories and staying under your daily energy expenditure for a long period of time until you hit your goal weight, mixing in exercise as you are able. Beyond that basic foundational approach, I recommend you seek out a dietitian if you would like to learn more about nutrition, since this thread shows that the nutrition knowledge in the public, even among educated individuals, can run the gamut between useful and dangerous, and without a strong nutrition background to separate the two, you risk moving even further from your health goals.

 

("Source": Dietetics undergrad, heading to an MPH Nutrition program in the fall focusing on obesity management and weight loss interventions, personally lost 50% of my total body weight and maintained that loss for five years and counting.)

Edited by HiFiWiFi

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@spectastic I think I am gaining weight because I cannot control my portion sizes (i.e., once I start eating, I cannot stop). I always gain at least 5 lb when in school. I literally cannot say no and just stop eating. I recently made a realization, though, that it is not stress eating so much as it is fatigue eatng. When I force myself to focus for hours and hours on end, I go for the carby, fatty foods (and begin to see my waistline expand). However, when I have plenty of time to rest throughout the day, somehow I find it really natural to recognize that I am full and to stop overeating.

My struggle right now is, I also cannot do caffeine after noon because that always makes it harder for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I need another source of energy that is not food OR coffee. Exercise tends to help but again, I've talked to people in my program and none of us have time to work out more than 2-3 times a week, and I find just going outside for a half-hour walk just doesn't do it. Any advice with this? 

@HiFiWiFi I agree about the dietitian part. I would definitely see someone if I had the time to figure this out at the moment. Right now, my days are wake up in the morning - work for 12 hours - crash in the evening non-stop pretty much every day (and counting chores). :(

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@Asperfemme I think you're running out of energy because your muscles isn't storing the glucose very well. when you starve your body of energy, your body starts to look for alternative fuel sources, like fat, and it's not a pleasant feeling. furthermore, when you overload on carbs and fat, your body has no way to process that from the blood stream, so they get turned into fat.

so find ways to eat smaller portions over a longer period of time. don't eat out of a big jar. eat out of a small bowl. when the bowl is empty, get back to work.

find foods that are complex carbs (like oats, whole wheats, etc). don't eat stuff that have a lot of sugar in them (almost anything you find in the grocery stores these days). you want your fuel to burn slow, so that it'll last longer. 

chances are, you have time to exercise. how much time do you spend on facebook, youtube, instagram. etc? (I am guilty of this) replace that time with yoga, running, or some form of real exercise. walking for 30 minutes isn't enough. you might as well do curls with a water bottle. pick an activity that challenges your body to adapt. If no adaptation occurs, you go nowhere. instead of 30 minute walk. spend 30 minutes on an elliptical. it will suck at first, and then it will suck less, and less, until it becomes routine. then pick something else that challenges your body, and make it adapt. when your body gets its ass kicked, it will come back stronger, and you will have more energy throughout your day.

also, see your school's nutritionist, if you haven't already. they might tell you the same thing we've told you. but it can't hurt.

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I shut down my facebook and instagram. I spend about 10 min per day on twitter. I'm one of the most asocial people you will ever know. My schedule is as follows: saturdays i shop for food until noon/1 pm followed by gym depending on workload/deadlines, then study, then sundays food prep all morning (plus go to the gym if i wake up early enough), then mondays i go to the gym and study all day, tuesdays gym and study, wednesdays commute to campus and then classes/study/do errands on campus all day (i bring my gym clothes and try to work out but sometimes there's too much other stuff to do), thursdays and fridays practicum 9-5 then study 5 h in the evenings, repeat. I take time off for chores at random times but everything else is non-stop focused studying or practicum related stuff. 

Gym doesn't happen as often as it sounds (above is the ideal schedule but it ends up being more like 12 hours study sat-tue). If i work out at home, it is the same time as going to the gym as I sweat & need a shower anyway, so might as well just go to the gym where I can do more of a variety of stuff.

I feel exhausted/sleepy because of long days but also when I spend the entire day indoors passively sitting down without sunlight in the winter. I can't imagine actually studying outside in the winter and can't even access the internet from there if i need to do research. The sunlight does wonders to keep you awake. Also, exercise gives me plenty of energy and boosts my mood when I can do it so I really want to more.

and i still manage to need extensions/get assignments in late/skimp on my thesis.

if you look at my diet, it's all whole grains and vegetables anyway. If i overeat, thats the stuff i binge on, but, like, 1000 calories of quinoa or oats in one sitting. My body completely loses any sense of fullness when exhausted.

Edited by Asperfemme

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Don't know what brought me back here, but since I'm here I thought I might as well:

1. Ask for updates! How is your diet/exercise routine going @Asperfemme ?

2. Clarify that every time I said "nutritionist" I was actually talking about RDNs and doctors. Sorry for any confusion that might have caused!

3. Say that I started transitioning my habits to a healthier diet (for me) last July. Right now I'm down to needing to cut out dairy, but I've cut out all the other foods I'm not supposed to eat and I've recently started adding regular exercise and step goals to my routine. It's going well so far. :) 

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@Asperfemme I am also a vegan that is mostly gluten free and even with that it can be hard to struggle with weight! I definitely stress eat and one of my goals last year was to stop and I have made a lot of progress.  Some things I found really helpful are as follows:

1. See a therapist - might sound odd but if you are over eating due to stress it means you may need a better coping mechanism. I worked with one to figure out what makes me the most stressed and to find healthy outlets for it e.g. journaling, working out, making time for hobbies. School is obviously important but so is your health and happiness and chatting with a therapist, even though it can feel like how do I even make time for that?!?! can really pay off!

2. Keep a food diary - either written or myfitnesspal as @victoriaaa suggested. Sometimes seeing your food and the quantity can be a shock, in a helpful way. It can also be helpful to buy a scale and weigh out a portion of hummus or nuts till you get used to what a serving is. I think a serving of nuts is surprisingly small to a lot of people the first time they really measure it out. Same with dressings, basically anything high calorie you enjoy start measuring out a serving and see how you feel after just eating one portion.

3. Get an accountability buddy - I'm sure there is someone else in your program also looking to improve their health (aren't we all?) that you can make gym dates with. I started swapping dinner dates w/ friends for spin classes/pilates and you still get all the fun and joking around PLUS a nice workout and MINUS whatever unhealthy menu choices you might have made. Having someone else to complain to when you are hungry or rage text when you want to eat the tub of hummus but shouldn't can be extremely helpful and makes for some funny chats.

4. Try Whole30/Sugar Free month/etc... instead of a straight up cleanse - juice fasts are doable and if you feel that is right for you then go forth and drink juice! But I have found things like a longer but lighter cleanse to be easier and helped me make more permanent diet changes since I was thinking about my food choices instead of thinking OMG I am so hungry I could eat my arm, which is how I felt on the master cleanse for the 2 days I tried it. Related to #3 do it with a buddy if you can so you can have the built in accountability. If you have a roommate that is game all the better!

Good luck!!

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