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I know some of you HAVE to be nutritionists, right???

Guys and dolls, I have a dilemma.  I'll make this as brief as possible.  I've been going to the gym for about a year now.  While I'm getting quite muscular ( 8-)), I'm not really losing any weight (I know I'm replacing fat weight with muscle weight, I'm talking about tummy fat).  Although a lot of people keep saying that I look like I've lost weight, it hasn't been much.  I mean, I've been going for a while, you'd think I'd be looking good in my two-piece bikini by now.

The guy I go to the gym with keeps nagging me about carbs because apparently EVERYTHING besides meat has carbs in it (which seems to be true according to the nutritional info on everything I have).  I finally got fed up with him bugging me about it and told him to tell me what I could eat because I'm not eating any animals.  He got all apologetic sounding then and said he honestly wasn't sure. So, I'm going to ask all of my awesomely lovely vw friends.  Can any of you recommend a good, low-carb veg diet?  I'm trying to look nice on my wedding day, you know (4 months away).  I know the obvious things like pasta, potatoes, and bread...anything else?

Also, fiber basically counts out carbs, right?  Maybe I'm not describing that right.  A friend told me that fiber reduces the total carb intake, or something like that at least.

Anyway, any help would seriously be greatly appreciated.
:D

Well, I'm not a nutritionist, nor do I play one on TV but there are a few things I do know.

The ONLY way to lose weight is to burn more than you take in, calorie wise.  Does not matter the source. 

Low carb diets are over rated, and often unhealthy.

A certain amount of carb calories can be attributed to fiber, which is undigested and therefore passes out of the body; it is not a huge percentage though, so while WW offsets carbs with fiber, I'm not sure what the practical upshot of that is.

Carbs and proteins have the same number of calories per gram (4); fats have more than twice that (9) so by weight, you gain more from fats than from carbs.

Simple carbs will affect your glycemic index radically, which MAY make you more hungry causing you to take in more calories; complex carbs affect Glycemic Index less, not to mention have more nutrition, more fiber, and tend to keep you full longer.

Now, if you mean TONED; that's a different story. If you're doing aerobics, and lifting weights on your arms and legs, that's not doing much for your tummy.  I  have no idea what sort of workout you're doing, but there are specific weight machines and pilates exercises that target the lower abdomen.

HTH. You can take it with a grain of salt from someone who is massively overweight and unhealthy but is now working really hard to overcome 49 years of eating crap. 

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i have some advice but i have to run to work, but NO NO NO to a low carb diet.

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CK, I am basically in the same place you are, excepet for the whole getting fit looking for a wedding and some annoying guys ragging on me about low carb.  I have been dedicated to my workouts, my body is changing fat into muscle but my problem area (belly) has NOT gone down nor has my weight changed.

But I think the process is a long one.  Keep doing what your doing.  Make it a part of your life and lifestyle, not just something your doing for results for an event.  I am 100% sure Katie will think your awesome no matter how fit you look for the wedding.

Eat a variety of healthy whole foods like beans, whole grains, loads of veggies and a wide array of fruit.  Monitor portion sizes and make sure your getting all your vitamins and minerals.  Best of luck!

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sorry but i have to: "nutritionist" means... nothing. you can take one nutrition or read a nutrition book and call yourself a nutritionist. i assume you meant something like a registered dietitian, which i am not, but my formal education is in nutrition, i just haven't bothered to become certified yet and don't know that i will.

ok, first of all, i'd love to hear what your workouts are/how long they are/when you work out/how many meals you like to eat blah blah blah. i'm hoping you do cardio, as well, but i think i remember you mentioning something like doing cardio in the past, so that's good if you do, if not you should start!
anyway, DO NOT GO LOW CARB! especially while working out a great deal. your body is in major need of glucose and if you deprive yourself you WILL end up falling off of your diet and binging on shit. in addition, low carb diets "work" because they send your body into a state of ketosis, meaning you are breaking down fat to make into the glucose you need, which is very bad for you. also, low carb basically means high fat. it is very hard to get a lot of calories from protein (even if you aren't vegan) unless you are eating all kinds of isolates. even if you were ABLE to go high protein, i wouldn't recommend it, since it leads to other health issues.

basically, you want to make sure you are getting in a lot of carbs so that you are properly fueled to work out and you don't have the propensity to binge on other foods (if you're feeling hungry you are going to go for the most calorie dense stuff). i suggest fruit and nothing but fruit AT LEAST for breakfast (but make sure to get in enough to make it a decent size meal in terms of calories, otherwise you'll be looking for food again in less than an hour).. fruit gives amazing sustained energy and digests really quickly. a lot of people mistake a stomach discomfort with hunger and think that fruit doesn't "stay with" them for long. that sensation is just your stomach shrinking back down to its normal size after the contents of your meal leave.. which is why it happens so quickly with fruit. You will find if you ignore it your are still satisfied and energetic after that sensation is gone (so long as you ate sufficient calories). For lunch I would suggest more fruit, or if you can't deal without savory stuff at lunch fruit with a salad that does not have any types of fats on it. i don't know if you work out after work? well, whenever you work out, make sure you get fruit after that! dinner i would say try for a low fat cooked vegan dinner, and avoid salt! (salt makes you retain water and you'd be surprised how much weight you can lose by just cutting salt) some low fat things that still have some calories (so i'm not just telling you to eat steamed veggies): sweet potato/potato/corn/corn tortillas (make them or find ones w/o salt)/polenta (home made w/o salt)/beans/ grains if you want, but i'm not an advocate of grains. any veggies you want, and for fats i would suggest not eating oil or any kind of refined fat, just things like nuts/seeds/avocado in small amounts at the end of the day/with your last meal if you desire them. hopefully you should be getting enough calories to not have that huge pull towards a heavy/fatty dinner.

have you ever counted calories before? i'm not a huge advocate of the calorie system for a few reasons, but i do suggest you check out something like fitday.com nutridiary.com or cron-o-meter and see how many calories you need (including your work outs) and try to get a large portion of them with fruit, and them have a veggie heavy cooked dinner (low fat/salt free) if you desire at night. i have seen so many people lose weight so quickly doing this. of course, a lot is an initial loss of water weight and then the fat comes off a little more slowly, but i highly suggest you try it out and see how you feel and if you start losing weight pretty quickly.

and do you have problems with portion control? if so i would suggest lots of greens and juicy fruits, since they fill you up more easily (in terms of stomach capacity)... depending on what your issue is/you think your issue is you may have certain things that will work better for you. let me know if you have more questions.

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Thanks for the responses, especially your highly detailed response Hespy.
I will try to get back to you soon, I've got some things to do.  :D

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I suggest not eating after 7PM, I think it's really helped me! Also: lots of walking, some jogging, and portion control. : )

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we enjoy carbs way too much to contemplate a low carb diet.
I love eating fruit during the day, but also really look forward to cooked dinner at night.

I don't think we've ever had dinner before 7pm though.... : /

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Hespy, how much fruit does one eat for breakfast? and also then lunch?  I wouldn't mind trying this but I dont know if I should eat an apple and a banana for breakfast or six cups of any fruit diced up?  What is the recommended portion sizes, please?!

Also what do you recommend for workouts that are midday, before lunch?

Thanks! :)

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it depends on how many calories you need, cali, if you want to eat three meals and plan on eating 3 times a day.. about 650 cals per meal. but you'd have to adjust it to your liking (like, if you couldn't eat much at breakfast eat less for breakfast, more for lunch). lately i have been eating 2000 or a little more calories per day (depending on my workouts, and i don't count calories, i just eat whenever i get hungry and don't deprive myself) and usually eat a breakfast such as: 10 peaches, 1.5-2 crenshaw melons, 7 bananas, 10 oranges, 3 cherimoyas, 1 liter fresh squeezed OJ.... the amount of fruit you need to eat to make a "meal" is pretty baffling to most people when they start eating a lot of fruit, so it's good to check how many pieces of a particular fruit you need to make up the amount of calories you need.
what do i recommend to do for a work out? anything that you want ;) I do recommend you have your largest meal after your workout though, eat as much as you want in fruit, it'll really help you replenish lost glycogen and you won't crave sweets (too fatty!) or other refined carbs later.

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Wow, that is a lot of fruit!

And I phrased my last question wrong.  I meant what do you eat after a big workout midday, and you answered it.  All the fruit I want plus salad.  Sounds good!

Thanks Hespy.  I guess I shall try to incorporate this into what I am already doing workout wise. 

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what hespy said.

also, though you need some protein to build muscle, the actual energy you burn while doing strength-training exercise is primarily carbohydrates. Among different forms of exercise, strength training has the highest proportion of carbs burned; endurance activities such as jogging and swimming burn the highest proportion of fat and protein (but still, the majority is carbs). Most fat-burning actually occurs at rest, after you have used up carbohydrate stores. Breaking down fat is a slower process, so for exercise (especially short spurts of it, like weight lifting or sprinting), the most efficient thing the body can do is use carbs, and will slowly increase the amount of fat it is metabolizing the longer the exercise lasts (endurance).

The heavy dependence on carbs is the reason behind "carbo-loading," or eating a lot of highly digestible carbohydrates the day/night before a big event (marathon or whatever) to build up glycogen stores. I think it actually really helps. I always have a LOT more endurance and better recovery when I do it. If you're doing endurance stuff too, it's always a lot easier in the morning/before eating much too. A lot of people go to the gym after work, but for me it's so much easier if it's before lunch or even before breakfast.

Some people use is L-carnitine, a non-protein amino acid that carries fat into cells to be metabolized. It's supposed to help maintain lean body mass during weight loss (you lose muscle mass along with fat during weight loss a lot of the time), and for unexplained reasons seems to be really beneficial to the heart. However, it's made in the body and most people have plenty of it, but since it is made from methionine and lysine (the two main limiting amino acids in plant foods), apparently vegans/vegetarians may benefit more from it than others (well, that's what I've read). I always had the lean mass loss problem whenever I started to run again and lose weight, and thus far the carnitine thing has actually helped. Instead of losing the lean mass, I at first maintained it and now gained some. Buuut I still have weight to lose. And I don't think it really helps the rate of weight loss, only what it is that you lose.

If I remember correctly, the recommended amount of protein for an athlete is 70g instead of 50g (not that huge of a difference, and probably only necessary if you're actually exercising a lot). As long as you're getting a sum of high quality protein (eating both grains and legumes in general), you don't really need insane amounts. All the excess protein will be converted to fat anyway.

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On the Standard American Diet, carbs=sugar and white flour. That's why people who who are on the SAD diet reccommend cutting out carbs. I am all for that too. They aren't eating the fruits and veggies that most vegans are. As an athlete, I find that I gain weight on a high protein diet, and not muscle. I'm still craving carbs, so I keep on eating and my calories pile up. I wouldn't reccommend it.

Also, yes, for people counting carbs, they take the total amount (say 21g in an apple) and subtract the grams of fiber (3-4g) to get the final carb count. So, fruits and veggies and whole grains have naturally lower "carb counts".

Congrats on your progress so far. I'm sure you'll look great when the big day comes!

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Pretty good advice above.

Don't listen to the people at the gym, they will always tell you to go low carb.  Repeat do not listen to the people in the gym.  Low carb is unhealthy and a quick fix and not good for the long haul.

I couldn't eat that much fruit like Hespy either...I'd probably get an arrhythmia from all that potassium.  Also, for me personally focusing on one food group doesn't work.  For met it's all about variety.

I also think "carb loading" is a myth that's been debunked, but everyone is different.

Probably, the best thing you can do is just watch your calories and stick to whole foods in variety...key word like I always preach is variety, vareity variety.  Stay away from pre-packaged foods high sodium junk foods like veggie burgers and get comfortable in the kitchen.  Lots of whole grains, legumes, green leafy salads full of fresh raw veggies in variety (try raw beets, red bell peppers), berries and other fruits.  Healthy fats like nuts will curb hunger too.

Whole foods tend to be on the low glycemic index which is kind of what the low carb people are after.

Watch your salt intake and drink lots of water.  Drinking lots of water (stay away from any kind of "sports" or protein drinks) will actually help pull excess water weight off.

There are some good non-soy protein powders out there.  I like one by Lifetime called "Life's Basic Protein"...22 gms of protein with only a 100 calaories.  This could be a snack or even breakfast on days you feel you aren't getting enough protein (but you probably are).

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ETA: I am not a nutritionist! :)

I agree, Tweety, I too wouldn't overdo fruit, especially because I am very sensitive to fructose and sorbitol and so can't eat much fruit. Also I read that too much fruit sugar (as well as other sugars) can lead to high triglycerides.

However, I do try to keep an eye on my carbs. I try to keep it under 200g per day, because I think I tend to get a little "soft" if I overdo carbs. If I worked out though, I'm sure it wouldn't be an issue.

I've noticed that whole grains in their unprocessed form are best, as they are lower glycemic and don't cause the insulin spikes and crashes that processed grains and flour/baked goods do for me.

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So far this morning I have had 2 grapefruits, 1 banana and 1 peach (the first one was mealy so I tossed it, uck!).  I have 3 nectarines, 1 peach, 1 mango and 8 more bananas.  Though I can imagine why one would be full with all this fruit, I havent stopped eating since 8am!  hahah

Not sure if this will work for me, but I will have a salad and finish off my fruit before the end of the work day.  Interesting way to eat.

Hespy, do you just eat the whole fruit out of hand or do you cut up all those fruits and put it in a bowl to nosh on?

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I couldn't eat that much fruit like Hespy either...I'd probably get an arrhythmia from all that potassium.  Also, for me personally focusing on one food group doesn't work.  For met it's all about variety.

I also think "carb loading" is a myth that's been debunked, but everyone is different.

lol, no you wouldn't. you know that. your body is extremely efficient at excreting any excess potassium, it's excess sodium it has a problem with (which is why we can't eat too much salt).

carb loading is a myth... the reason that it "worked" is because when it was originally done the athletes normal diet included a lot of steak, etc. so they were always carb deficient, they now know that people need more carbs and eating extra before competing isn't going to do you any good unless you aren't eating enough carbs in the first place.  

fruit and veggies have every amino acid you need, and enough, i build plenty of muscle easily when i want to on nothing but fruits and veggies (very very rarely a tiny amount of nuts or seeds). and you really don't need to increase your protein amount. really.

and it's good that we don't get a lot of methionine in our diets, since that protein has been shown over and over to be the one that if over done lowers life expectancy.

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i usually always eat the whole fruit. occasionally i'll eat a banana only smoothie or fresh squeezed oj.

you do have to work on the amount you can eat. i know some people have that problem. personally i didn't really since i ate a lot going into this (just ask people at vegfest in SF.. lol!) so i can eat until i'm just full 3 times a day and generally get enough calories, but most people will under eat calorically on fruit when they first start.

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I also fear this will cause severe intestinal distress sometime later.... hahah

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It is now 10:20am and I have eaten only 570 calories from a total of 3 bananas, 1 peach, 1 nectarine, 2 grapefruits.  The calories are from the Nutrition Data website.

I am going to try to get another banana and nectarine in before the gym.  Lunch is going to be a salad with veggies, greens, beans and vinegar plus whatever leftover fruit I can handle.

This is kind of an interesting experience.  :)

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ETA: I am not a nutritionist! :)  I agree, Tweety, I too wouldn't overdo fruit, especially because I am very sensitive to fructose and sorbitol and so can't eat much fruit. Also I read that too much fruit sugar (as well as other sugars) can lead to high triglycerides.

I'm not a nutritionist either.  I did hear the other day on one of the morning news shows not to worry about the fructose in fruit raising your triglycerides because it's such a small amount and the water and fiber content lowers it's impact.  Sodas, candies, etc. is what one has to cut out. 

I'm not sure what impact on triglycerides a fruitarian type diet has because that's a lot of fructose, but in absence of animal products the impact might be lowered.

Still for me, I've found a balance of whole complex carbs, protein and fats makes me thrive more than any diet that limits one or concenrates one thing in favor of another.  I've tried low fat diets and my hair was real dry, and I felt better adding the right kinds of fat.  I tried a high protein diet and felt sluggish and constipated.  High carb makes me hungry all the time. 

I do think one diet doesn't fit all, but I am adamantly anti-low carb diets.

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