I had followed the HELP diet on this site several years ago for over a year and it had helped me to successfully lose 75 pounds!!!! I want to do it again, as the weight has been slowly creeping back up over the last few years.
I did have one question, however, on some of the servings. Under starches, there is a section on starchy vegetables, are those also counted as a vegetable serving – or just a starch?
Also, some of the items on the starch list give a starch count, while others do not. Are they all considered 1 starch serving, unless indicated otherwise?
I was also playing with the HELP calculator a little bit and wanted to see what the conversion would be for an alcoholic beverage. I know alcohol isn’t the best choice for losing weight, but if it does happen I want to know how it should be counted. I saw a carb choice listed. Is that the same as a starch serving?
Thank you in advance for helping me in my weight-loss goals! Your site has been amazing!
Congratulations on your weight loss. Well done.
Thank you for your kind words. You made my day!
You are a perfect example of why following a personalized eating plan rather than one-size fits all fad diet will help you achieve your weight goals. I am guessing you didn’t continue with a HELP personalized weight maintenance eating plan which is why you gained some weight back?
You can follow your personalized healthy eating plan created by HELP Healthy Eating for Life Plan® for the rest of your life and as your weight changes, more than 10 pounds up or down then re-do HELP to get a new eating plan to achieve your weight goals. Think of it as a tune-up for your body.
When you weight a higher weight, your body needs more calories to maintain a higher weight. Same is true for when you lose weight, your body doesn’t need as many calories to maintain a lower weight. That is why you need to re-do HELP after every 10-pound change in your weight.
To answer your questions about the Starch Servings – some vegetables contain as much starch as carbohydrate like in bread, cereal, rice, or pasta. So starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas, winter squash) are listed with starch, not as a vegetable. The Vegetable Servings include 1/3 the number of carbohydrates as Starch Servings unless you eat 3 Vegetable Servings at a single meal.
All the foods on Starch Servings are equal to 1 serving unless otherwise listed. I only listed starchy foods that also have fat, meat, or more starch per serving size to make the Starch table easier to read and make foods with more starch, added fat, or meat stands out visually. Make sense?
The purpose of the different food groups in HELP is to educate people to recognize foods which are in different groups. It is much easier to remember what food groups to eat at a meal rather than remembering specific foods in a menu like a sandwich made with 2 slices of bread, 2 teaspoons mayonnaise and 2 ounces of lean meat, poultry or fish. Starch is one food group that contains a wide variety of foods that people may not recognize as starchy or know that some starchy foods also contain fat.
You are right about alcohol. It is like sugar in terms of being an empty calorie in that both have no vitamins or minerals. If your Calorie Goal is high enough to achieve your weight loss goals, you may be able to have an occasional alcoholic drink (once a month). Otherwise, HELP will caution you on the bottom of the page you enter your data that alcohol may not be allowed for the weight loss calories you chose. On HELP if you are over 21 years of age, you can select the type of alcoholic drink you want, your gender and then it will be added to the evening meal on your eating plan. Please remember that women should only have 1 alcoholic beverage a day and men only 2 alcoholic beverages a day. I would not recommend that you have an alcoholic drink every day either.
Your body processes alcohol like fat in your liver. Beer is starch plus fat. For instance, 1 1/2 ounces (1 measured shot) of any distilled alcohol or 5 ounces of wine is like eating 2 Fat Servings (2 teaspoons butter). Some alcoholic beverages like beer or sweet dessert wines also have some carbohydrate choice which I would suggest you treat like a serving of starch. So if your plan doesn’t include alcohol and you want an alcoholic drink as a special occasion, reduce the number of fat and starch servings at the meal at which you have an alcoholic drink. If you were to do this regularly, you would not be getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to build and repair itself. Make sense?
After reaching your weight goal, use HELP to create an eating plan to maintain your weight. If you don’t know how many calories to eat to lose weight and then how many calories to maintain your healthy weight, use my Healthy Body Calculator®. By adjusting your HELP eating plan based on your weight’s calorie needs, you can follow HELP for the rest of your life.