First of all, I would like to say thank you for such an informative site. I have read almost every question and answer currently listed.
Now for my questions. I am female, 5 feet 5 inches and weigh 190 pounds. I used to work out a lot and I know that some of my weight is muscle as I look about 30 pounds less than what I weigh. I am in the process of designing a new, healthier eating plan for myself which is impeded by the fact that I don’t like vegetables and I’m not crazy about water. Right now, I eat mostly fast food, ham or bologna sandwiches and junk food (I don’t cook much). Do you know software that will plan meals for you? I have in the past used similar software called Body Craft by a Dr. Hatfield, which prepares a weekly menu, grocery list, and exercise routine, but it has a limited food listing consisting mostly of foods I don’t eat. Can you recommend a good nutrition guide that lists calorie, carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber values in foods?
And lastly, you never mentioned your opinion of the Slim Fast diet plan. I am considering it for the first three months of my new “diet” alternating the meals that I substitute so that I can learn to prepare 3 healthful meals that I like and will stick to long term.
As you recognize, your food choices are your biggest barrier to implementing a healthier eating plan. You probably aren’t going to suddenly like vegetables though vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Do you like any raw vegetables or vegetable juices? Nutritionally it doesn’t matter if veggies are raw or cooked.
Have you tried my HELP Healthy Eating For Life Plan®? You can choose what type of milk, meat or not, beans or not, snacks or not to customize your eating plan. If you are unsure of how many calories you need to achieve your weight goal, try Healthy Body Calculator® first to get a Calorie Goal. HELP will create a personalized healthy eating plan and there is a small food database linked from your plan from which you could plan menus. You will need to create a shopping list from your menus or search for recipes if you choose to start cooking more frequently. I would suggest only changing 1 lifestyle habit at a time for the highest success and would recommend starting with eating a wider variety of foods.
Slim Fast is a liquid meal replacement and similar to Instant Breakfast. It is not a long-term solution for weight loss because what foods are you going to eat when you reach your goal weight? Drinking meal replacements and eating special foods won’t help you learn new eating habits for life.
Ask yourself this question about any “diet”. Can you eat this “diet” for the rest of your life and get to a healthier weight? If the answer is no and the “diet” is for short-term or quick weight loss, you probably won’t keep it off once you go back to your higher weight food choices. Research suggests that you set a goal to lose 10% of your current body weight (for you 19 pounds). This will actually reduce your health risk at your current weight.
You said you used to work out a lot. What about resuming your exercise program? Start with 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week to increase your metabolic rate, (even up to 15 hours afterward), reduce body fat that doesn’t burn as many calories as muscle and increase your feeling of well being. While on a weight loss eating plan, aim for 60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week with the intensity to break a sweat.