Binging and totally lost among all these diets: Raw till 4, Eat to Live, Starch... - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 05-07-2017, 07:50 AM
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Binging and totally lost among all these diets: Raw till 4, Eat to Live, Starch...

Hi everyone!

I started a plant-based diet a year ago, completely convinced of its health benefits. Although I have never had bulimiah or anorexia, I am pretty sure that I have developed a bad relationship with food since I was a teenager. My story is a common one; I grew up as a chubby girl, lost a lot of weight in my teens restricting my calories and surviving like that for almost ten years. Maybe I was not anorexic, but my mentality totally was. And plant-based diets finally freed me from that awful feeling...

Or at least that was what I thought.

Since I was so enthusiastic about this new form of eating for me, I stopped counting calories and measuring portions, but not with the right foods, but a lot of vegan processed ones (although I ate tons of fruits and veggies as well). That obviously led me to gain weight. Soooo, I researched tons of plant-based diets: Raw-till-4, Eat to Live, Starch Solution... I am very afraid that I cannot feel more LOST and scared.

It is normal for me to have huge cravings of something sugary, specially an hour or two after having lunch. I am very sure that they are a result of being hungry, but I am irrationally scared of eating too much. I am now trying to follow the "Eat to Live" plan, which means only a cup of starchy vegetables or whole grains (which I absolutely LOVE). I ate massive salads, but I guess those are not enough calories. Maybe is that why I binge?

On the other hand, I am just so scared of incorporating more starches to my diet. I love fruit, but I just can't handle having a 10 banana smoothie. It is just too much for me. But, when I eat more than a cup of steamed rice, or two middle potatoes for lunch, I just feel guilty. How many potatoes and rice are OK to eat and not gain weight? Is it true that, as long as they are whole foods and you combine them with veggies, you can eat them as much as you like? Or, as Eat to Live Plan says, we should limit them if we want to lose weight?

Just one more thing. Just for you to know how obssesed I am with weight loss, I normally weigh myself just after each meal. If I weigh 1 kg more than when I started the day, I feel totally frustrated and scared. I know this is not a normal behaviour; in any case, is it normal to weigh that much after a meal?

THANKS A LOT for your understanding and patience while reading this. I am really hopeful with a plant-based diet with plenty of whole foods, and I know that my problems with my weight right now are based on my unhealthy relationship with food, but I need a bit of help. I just see all those healthy vegans eating LOADS of potatoes and fruit and I am unconsciously afraid that it is not true. Sorry for my broken English as well, not my mother language as you may have already guessed
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#2 Old 05-07-2017, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Fah_Sostenido View Post
Hi everyone!

I started a plant-based diet a year ago, completely convinced of its health benefits. Although I have never had bulimiah or anorexia, I am pretty sure that I have developed a bad relationship with food since I was a teenager. My story is a common one; I grew up as a chubby girl, lost a lot of weight in my teens restricting my calories and surviving like that for almost ten years. Maybe I was not anorexic, but my mentality totally was. And plant-based diets finally freed me from that awful feeling...

Or at least that was what I thought.

Since I was so enthusiastic about this new form of eating for me, I stopped counting calories and measuring portions, but not with the right foods, but a lot of vegan processed ones (although I ate tons of fruits and veggies as well). That obviously led me to gain weight. Soooo, I researched tons of plant-based diets: Raw-till-4, Eat to Live, Starch Solution... I am very afraid that I cannot feel more LOST and scared.

It is normal for me to have huge cravings of something sugary, specially an hour or two after having lunch. I am very sure that they are a result of being hungry, but I am irrationally scared of eating too much. I am now trying to follow the "Eat to Live" plan, which means only a cup of starchy vegetables or whole grains (which I absolutely LOVE). I ate massive salads, but I guess those are not enough calories. Maybe is that why I binge?

On the other hand, I am just so scared of incorporating more starches to my diet. I love fruit, but I just can't handle having a 10 banana smoothie. It is just too much for me. But, when I eat more than a cup of steamed rice, or two middle potatoes for lunch, I just feel guilty. How many potatoes and rice are OK to eat and not gain weight? Is it true that, as long as they are whole foods and you combine them with veggies, you can eat them as much as you like? Or, as Eat to Live Plan says, we should limit them if we want to lose weight?

Just one more thing. Just for you to know how obssesed I am with weight loss, I normally weigh myself just after each meal. If I weigh 1 kg more than when I started the day, I feel totally frustrated and scared. I know this is not a normal behaviour; in any case, is it normal to weigh that much after a meal?

THANKS A LOT for your understanding and patience while reading this. I am really hopeful with a plant-based diet with plenty of whole foods, and I know that my problems with my weight right now are based on my unhealthy relationship with food, but I need a bit of help. I just see all those healthy vegans eating LOADS of potatoes and fruit and I am unconsciously afraid that it is not true. Sorry for my broken English as well, not my mother language as you may have already guessed

Although I enjoy the recipes promoted by the Starch Solution, Eat to Live, and Raw Till 4, none of these diet plans is promoted by mainstream vegan organizations.

The Starch Solution, promoted by Dr. John McDougall, has been criticized by de-emphasizing the importance of dietary calcium, and for claiming that vegans shouldn't take vitamin D supplements. McDougall suggests that 120 mg of calcium per day is sufficient (https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/200...friendsask.htm ) - no mainstream vegan organization makes such a claim.

The Eat to Live diet, promoted by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, has been criticized for discouraging grains (even whole grains). All mainstream vegan organizations encourage people to base their meals around whole grains.

The Raw Till 4 diet, promoted by Freelee the Banana Girl, claims that cooked foods should not be eaten until the evening. No mainstream vegan organization supports this idea.


Mainstream vegan organizations promote this type of meal plan:




Please see this website for more information: http://www.chooseveg.com/

This type of vegan diet is promoted by Mercy For Animals, the Vegetarian Resource Group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Vegan Society, and other mainstream vegan organizations.
.

_________

“Under the twinkling trees was a table covered with Guatemalan fabric, roses in juice jars, wax rose candles from Tijuana and plates of food — Weetzie's Vegetable Love-Rice, My Secret Agent Lover Man's guacamole, Dirk's homemade pizza, Duck's fig and berry salad and Surfer Surprise Protein Punch, Brandy-Lynn's pink macaroni, Coyote's cornmeal cakes, Ping's mushu plum crepes and Valentine's Jamaican plantain pie."

from Witch Baby, Francesca Lia Block, 1991

Last edited by David3; 05-07-2017 at 03:34 PM.
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#3 Old 05-07-2017, 05:37 PM
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Hi Fah_Sostenido and welcome!

Before I share anything, I wanted to mention that there is a thread here in the "Diets and Losing Weight" forum for those with eating disorders of any type to share their experience and seek or offer support. If nothing else, just reading through that thread might give you some insight and help.

Eat to Live VII: Eating Disorder Recovery Support

I am only speaking from experience as someone who has suffered with en eating disorder for many years, starting as an omnivore in 2006. I went through anorexia nervosa, and periods of bingeing/purging, recovery and regaining weight, relapses and everything in between. I am currently EdNOS (low normal weight but still struggle in some mild ways with the mental aspects and with some exercise addiction). I also tried various eating disorder treatments (some forced, some voluntary), overeaters anonymous (even though I was very underweight at that time, I was in the throes of bingeing/purging), and as a vegan I tried different styles of eating like all raw, or Eat To Live and so on. None of those worked because 1. I did not need to lose weight and 2. They served to create yet more restriction and obsession with food.

Its' difficult to know where you are coming from because we don't know anything about you...your weight, health problems, history, what and how much you eat on a given day, activity level, other mental illness, life experience. It's never really as easy as following a diet plan is it? When I read your post over and over, I get the sense that this isn't so much about your relationship with food as it is your relationship with your body and yourself. I think that is something beyond the scope of what strangers on a forum can help you with. But I can certainly relate to that anxiety, the fear of weight gain, wanting to have some sense of control over your body and maybe your life. Food is always the easiest and first weapon people turn to for that. It holds a promise or a curse. Avoid this and lose weight. Eat that and you'll gain. So much of what we learn about food is cultural, or media based and not so much on science or practicality.

I support what David3 said in his post before mine. If you want to eat a plant based vegan diet, it's best to focus on the basics such as the vegan food chart as shown above. When I first went vegan, I had a lot of worries as far as meeting various needs (calcium, protein, zinc, DHA to name a few). I discovered a book called "Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Plant Based Diet" by Brenda Davis, R.D. I LOVE this book because she goes into comprehensive detail about meeting basic nutritional needs without steering one towards any particular style (ie starch, raw, etc). She uses double blind studies as references to back up her information, and speaks in practical terms. There are also chapters specific to athletes, elderly, pregnant women, those trying to lose weight and those suffering from eating disorders. I would highly recommend this book. I have recently seen it at my local library and I ordered mine through Amazon.com. She does not push any particular agenda beyond eating as a vegan, other than to eat reasonably healthy. I like that she is a professional registered dietitian too.

Everyone is different, but what has helped me is eating four small meals a day at regular intervals so that I am never too hungry and so that my metabolism keeps working efficiently (I am not trying to lose or gain weight at this time, just trying to maintain and eat well). Large meals are triggering to me, though I can handle them here and there. When I was in a weight gain/recovery mode and also in most treatment programs, they have you eat six meals and snacks each day, even for those trying to lose weight, so that your body can regain it's metabolism and heal from years of restricting, and also gain an understanding and sense of normal hunger cues. Restricting leads to hormonal imbalances, including appetite hormones like leptin and gherlin, which are triggered and increase in response to eating too little or exercising hard while not eating enough. It is not uncommon for those who have restricted for a long time to go through periods of bingeing, which can be a response to increased appetite hormones. And of course, the types of foods we binge on tend to be those "forbidden" or easily attainable foods that require little preparation and are laden with fat/sugar, because that is what our mind and bodies are screaming for. Bingeing also encourages insulin imbalances and dysfunction, and promotes fat storage. Dieting encourages a merry-go-round of restriction, weight loss, hormone imbalance, deprivation, reactive and physical bingeing, more weight gain, and repeat cycle. The more one focuses on food and dieting, the more power food has over a person. Going back to basics, learning what your body needs to be healthy, learning how to enjoy food again without going from one extreme to the other (all processed all the time versus only fruits and vegetables etc), finding balance is key to recovery. But even more so is just accepting your body and loving it no matter what. This is one of the hardest things to do in a world that teaches us to hate our bodies, especially women. I could write a dissertation about that, and it is an ongoing struggle I battle daily, though I have come a long way in my recovery.

It has taken me a long time to become more flexible with my eating and allow for processed foods here and there while still largely enjoying whole plant foods every day. I try to focus on eating to fuel my body through all kinds of exercising that I enjoy...cycling, dancing, canoeing. But I also understand that food is more than simply fuel. Food can be enjoyed, and celebrated, and it can make you feel good. No need to feel ashamed of any particular plant food you eat. But I understand that mind set. For years I avoided fats as I feared those the most due to all the bad press and because they are more calorific. But not all fats are created equal, and some fat is essential for absorbing important nutrients such as fat soluble vitamins (D, A, E). I can eat a small handful of almonds in a day, or a few teaspoons of coconut oil in a stir fry and it isn't going to cause me to gain weight or drop dead from a heart attack. Allowing a few of these kinds of foods each day lessens the power they hold over me. When they are not forbidden, they are no longer this thing I crave. Whole grains help me feel full and warm inside and give me sustained energy. Do you ever eat brown rice, quinoa, Bulgar wheat, barley, oats, couscous? They are not only a source of fiber but protein, b vitamins, even some vitamin E and they keep blood sugar stable. Nuts and seeds provide a great source of magnesium, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids. Beans are great for protein, fiber, iron, even some calcium. Fruits supply ready energy and are sweet and enjoyable and provide water too. Vegetables are great for fiber and micronutrients. Even potatoes can supply potassium, vitamin C, and provide satiety. You don't have to eat JUST potatoes at a meal. How about some steamed or roasted broccoli and black beans with it (which can help keep blood sugar from rising and crashing versus a potato by itself)? and a nice vegan sauce? I sometimes incorporate some processed vegan foods like Just Mayo or Daiya shreds as long as the majority of the meal or snack is healthy and whole. It keeps me from feeling deprived and too strict, but is not something I rely on for every meal. It's a treat, something different once in a while. In fact, I had some recent extensive lab work done due to concerns about iron (I have bruises that are taking a long time to heal). My iron ferritin and hemoglobin were actually perfect, as well as most labs, but surprisingly (or not so), my glucose and sodium were rock bottom normal, close to too low. This is probably a good sign I am 1. not eating enough for my body to recover after strenuous exercise and 2. too strict with sugar and salt intake. It probably explains the leg cramps I have been trying to ignore, and is a valuable lesson in listening to your body, though I know this can be a challenge sometimes too.

If this is really just about changing your lifestyle to be healthier, even small changes can make a big difference. Finding some form of exercise you enjoy (such as a brisk morning walk or yoga etc), getting enough sleep, adding a few more whole grains or beans etc in each day and seeing how it makes your body feel. Positive affirmations to yourself. But to me it seems like this is something much bigger than lifestyle that you are dealing with. I would encourage you to find a therapist or dietitian to talk to, or even your doctor. I started with my doctor years ago when I was having a lot of anxiety around food and body weight and obsessive/irrational thoughts. Weighing after every meal is a sure sign that this is more than making lifestyle changes. And BTW, it is VERY normal for weight to fluctuate by three to five lbs (or a few kgs) a day. it would be more abnormal for weight to stay exactly the same all the time.

I've probably rambled way more than helped lol, but I hope you can find the support you need to make this work! You CAN be healthy and happy as a vegan without constant vigilant restricting and dieting. But vegan isn't a license to eat everything and never gain weight. The key is balance, and discovering healthy and satisfying ways you CAN eat as a vegan without needing to go to extremes which can be very triggering for a person prone to disordered eating.

Best wishes and hope to hear more from you!

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#4 Old 05-08-2017, 03:05 AM
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Unfortunately I feel those Vegan diets that promote 'eating as much as you want' also promote unhealthy binging behaviour. They may be fine for some people, maybe lots of people, but I don't think they are good for people with eating disorders or who may be prone to developing eating disorders.

I'm thinking in particular of 'Raw till 4' here which actually celebrates binging on massive quantities of food (to the degree that Freelee's stomach is displayed dramatically distended), with the promise that you'll still get 'lean'.

A ten banana smoothie would be horrible to me, I could manage maybe two bananas in one sitting but that volume of food is just unpalatable to me and I don't think these high profile diets which promote eating huge volumes of food (even so-called 'healthy' food) are a good thing for Veganism as a whole.

I'm not going to give you advice as I'm not in a position to know what's good for you, but personally I use a daily nutrient tracker (Cron-O-Meter) to keep an eye on calorie and other nutrient intake. Depending on your height, weight, age and activity levels, nutrient trackers like this can usually offer helpful guidance on calorie and other nutrient needs. Using this kind of tool has certainly helped me to cultivate more mindful and responsible eating habits. It may be something worth looking into?

https://cronometer.com/
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#5 Old 05-08-2017, 06:56 AM
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I dove right into several different DIE-t scenarios when first going vegan, mainly because I was scared straight into the decision because of a medical emergency and wanted fast results.

I painfully, but very clearly, learned that the best approach is to go slowly by adding things that would enrich my life from the inside out and stop trying to do a major overhaul all at once, except for dropping all animal products overnight. I never chose to ingest them again, knowingly, once I gave it up.

The approach of changing it all at once left me focused on the lack, not the enrichment, and that often squashed any desire I had to maintain my forward momentum. Enrichment was where it was at, so I had to redirect, which often meant allowing myself to unlearn a lot of what I, and many others, assumed we already knew.

"Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and a fool." ~Plato
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#6 Old 05-08-2017, 11:47 AM
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First you should probably go visit a doctor about your eating habits since weighing yourself that often isn't good and neither is being obsessed with weight loose or gain. Then you can see a dietrition who'll help you reach your eating goals keeping you healthy and at a good weight You might have an eating disorder and that's not good so you should focus on that before anything else
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#7 Old 05-10-2017, 07:59 PM
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I'm worried about my transition to going vegan because I have OCD.
If I don't eat enough it can trigger my OCD and well sometimes my OCD focuses on food. I don't think I have an eating disorder...I never demonstrated the symptoms of one. But, I think an unhealthy relationship with food is very common with females because of the media...a lot of diets are geared toward women. Where the more healthy ways of losing weight (not always) are geared toward men (such a eating right, good protein, going to the gym, etc.) The media is slightly becoming better toward women health and body. But it is still a deadly cycle.

I personally wouldn't follow a regimen created by these people (and sorry if I offend), but especially freelee. She has no documented research degrees in nutrition or the effect of diet on the body except from her own experience really. Everyone's body requires the same thing, but then we have body types that might require more (if I made any sense.) Consuming your dietary needs and moderation are key. Since you have an eating disorder I would really go to a vegan friendly nutritionist to help you.

You need to focus on getting the serving of every nutrient you need (which was outline in a post here), be active, and have a positive social environment. Respect your body hungers... if you crave something sweet...sugar is sugar. But how you get those sugars are still vital. Is it more healthy to eat a brownie or medjool date? The date. But is the sugar really different no. But think of everything else that is in a brownie. That is what can make it not a good choice. A lot of things taste sweet to me which is hard for me to get my fruits in. I can't handle sweet flavors even when I crave it.

When you crave sweet figure out what you are craving...just because you eat a medjool date (which I believe can have 26g of sugar in a serving size) doesn't mean it will satisfy your taste. Sometimes we eat for comfort not because our body is truly craving sugar in your case.

But I would really recommend a nutritionist who is vegan friendly and understands eating disorders.

I don't believe this whole idea that you can eat whatever and still be at a healthy weight. You need to eat the right foods, right proportion and stay active. You can't have all the potatoes you want and just sit on the couch. Our body only consumes food for energy (so it can function.) Eat food to give you the energy you need to do an activity. All other types of eating is a mental/emotional tie.


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#8 Old 05-12-2017, 04:21 PM
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I don't like any of those diets. There are a lot of plant-based YouTube personalities who advocate extreme or restrictive diets - most are women, but one or two are men - and I don't think they're helping veganism, as they are creating a mentality that veganism is about being extreme, restrictive, or weird, so they just give up. No bueno.

If you are really into health, I would recommend a whole foods, vegan version of a macrobiotic diet or if you have problems like heart disease, diabetes or cancer, to try the Forks Over Knives diet which is balanced but oil free (necessary fats come from flax seeds and avacado, instead).
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#9 Old 05-12-2017, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
Unfortunately I feel those Vegan diets that promote 'eating as much as you want' also promote unhealthy binging behaviour. They may be fine for some people, maybe lots of people, but I don't think they are good for people with eating disorders or who may be prone to developing eating disorders.

I'm thinking in particular of 'Raw till 4' here which actually celebrates binging on massive quantities of food (to the degree that Freelee's stomach is displayed dramatically distended), with the promise that you'll still get 'lean'.

A ten banana smoothie would be horrible to me, I could manage maybe two bananas in one sitting but that volume of food is just unpalatable to me and I don't think these high profile diets which promote eating huge volumes of food (even so-called 'healthy' food) are a good thing for Veganism as a whole.

I'm not going to give you advice as I'm not in a position to know what's good for you, but personally I use a daily nutrient tracker (Cron-O-Meter) to keep an eye on calorie and other nutrient intake. Depending on your height, weight, age and activity levels, nutrient trackers like this can usually offer helpful guidance on calorie and other nutrient needs. Using this kind of tool has certainly helped me to cultivate more mindful and responsible eating habits. It may be something worth looking into?

https://cronometer.com/
Several people have noted that Freelee is probably bulimic - before she did 30BAD, she had the rounded cheeks of someone who binges and purges. Now that she's slender, my guess is that she binges without purging, but has replaced purging with excessive exercise, which is still a symptom of an eating disorder. It's also why some people angrily complain they actually gained weight on 30BAD or RT4, because they don't exercise as much as Freelee does, so are taking in far too much fruit.
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#10 Old 05-13-2017, 04:26 AM
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If there is one book that makes me cringe, it's the 80/10/10 diet by Douglas Graham (he calls himself a doctor but I have yet to see legitimate credentials). When I was in the throes of bingeing/purging, I was desperate to get off that wagon. It's a terrible compulsion and very hard to stop. I had heart arrythmias, a chronic sore throat and ribs, dizzy spells from electrolyte imbalances.

Anyway, I turned to all raw for my second try to attempt to overcome my bingeing. I wanted to experience being able to eat a ton of bananas or dates or mangoes without fear of weight gain. I would eat a lot of mono meals consisting of inordinate amounts of produce (and grocery shopping I would get a lot of stares lol). It didn't take long to have horrible digestive issues. And I was freezing all the time. But I am not saying an all raw or high raw diet hasn't helped some people overcome disease and be healthier. As a weight loss tool or if you have an eating disorder, it's far more complicated than it would seem. I had to eat all the time and was literally starving hungry. I can eat a plate of beans or a bowl of oatmeal and be full for hours.

That book I mentioned, is FULL of triggering stuff if you have an eating disorder. One guy had shared (and had photos to prove it) that he lost down to 80 lbs as a raw vegan, but the author told him he was still too high in body fat because he was eating nuts to try to keep from losing more. For real? The author seemed to have no qualms about people being at very low weights. I wish I could tell him to go visit the osteoporosis forums which are chalk full of anorexics who are now having horrific fractures and pain/disability. This guy makes a fortune from selling his books, and has a nice cushy life where he doesn't have to work long hours and can afford to exercise four hours a day. Most of us don't have that luxury, and don't live in the warm tropics either. Sighs.
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#11 Old 06-21-2017, 06:09 AM
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I'm 4 years into maintaining a large weight loss, just by being mindful of my calorie intake. Earlier this year I decided to shake things up and have transitioned to a more ETL way of eating. I've completely overhauled what I eat but my weight has stayed exactly the same-within my maintenance weight range. That's because I still track my calorie intake, even while following ETL, and continue to eat the appropriate calorie amounts for my weight management goals. Weight loss, weight gain and weight maintenance comes down to calorie intake.
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#12 Old 06-29-2017, 12:15 PM
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I have been steadily losing weight with a balanced exercise program, and diet that is a combination of McDougall and Ornish, with some Fuhrmann.

I eat plenty of good starches and have experimented with how i eat them, but getting full satisfaction and comfort. Plenty of greens and green veggies(high water content ) as well as beans.


Weight loss goal is an additional 75 pounds or so and should be reached by Christmas.

Down nearly 100 so far- thankfully I am 6'8 so I can burn a lot every day.
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#13 Old 07-06-2017, 01:04 AM
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I came to this thread to offer support and any wisdom I could and am blown away from the replies I've just read!
You guys have it covered. Ha. I thus won't write the EPIC SPIEL I was going to but will say
Fah-S, it's a huge weight off your shoulders (no pun intended) going to see a dietician who is well-rounded and client-centred (rather than a strong advocate of a certain diet) and well as supportive of your ethical choices, despite that possibly being a bit of a trial to find.
Getting that external reality check, that support, accountability and someone else to do the research (it's bloody exhausting living in the age of the internet, sometimes, huh?) sounds like it would make things lots easier for you!
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