View Full Version : I think this is working, but I am looking for opinions

03-04-2003, 03:36 PM
Ok, this is my first post here so I will try to get all the info into I can before I go on about the diet I am attempting.

Currently (Last time I was home to weigh) I am 375 pounds, 5'11 and 26 years old. The job I have causes me to travel 90% of the time so I am living in hotels and having to eat out when the hotels don't have kitchens (for example when I am sent to a small town.)

I know through various sources that in order to maintain my weight I need in the neighborhood of 3700-4000 calories a day. With this knowledge I have been working to engineer a diet plan that will lost my first 75 pounds and get me in a position to start working out more along with the dieting and other life changes I am making. So far this is what I have been eating to work towards this.

Diet Stats:

Main things eating on diet:
Breakfast Burrito 290 Calories 16 grams of fat (160 Calories)
Subway Turkey6inch 254 Calories 3.5 grams of fat (34 Calories)
*Subway Sweet Onine 380 Calories 5 grams of fat (45 Calories)
Soft Taco(chicken) 190 Calories 7 grams of fat (60 Calories)

Typical Day's food intake:
1 Breakfast Burrito 290 Calories 16 gfat 160fatcals
2 S-way 6"Turkey 508 Calories 7 gfat 68fatcals
3 Soft Taco C 570 Calories 21 gfa 180fatcals
Total 1368 Calories 44fat 408fatcals

* Sometimes sub this in

Each day I sort of mix up this diet and try to do a bit better or worse on it, but the example above is a worst case for me. I try to only eat a 6 inch, but I have alotted enough calories for a 12 inch sub. I usually also pick off most of the cheese on the soft tacos to help out a little with those.

What I am looking for is just some input on things I can do on the road and places/things I can eat that will fit into the life I have to lead now. I am also looking for some people that have had to lose as much weight as I do to chime in with how it went for them in the beginning and what to expect.

Hope all of this makes sense. =) I will clarify as needed.


03-05-2003, 04:47 AM
You're not allowing yourself enough calories. If your body requires almost 4,000 calories to maintain your weight, then you are creating a deficit of 2600 calories a day. By creating such a large deficit, you're telling your body that there is not enough food and that you're experiencing a famine. Your body's response is going to be to slow your metabolism down by shutting down less important functions and by burning up your muscles as fuel. I recommend that you eat AT LEAST 2,000 calories and consider eating more like 2,500 calories. I know it seems silly to add calories to lose weight, but when I was 210 (at 5'4"), I lost on 1600 calories a day. And I'm a woman!!

Also, make sure that you're drinking lots of water, at least 64 oz, but better to be drinking 100 oz.

As far as other foods available to you .. McDonalds also offers salads and soups now. Wendys offers some great salads, baked potatoes, chili. There are tons of other sub shops if you get tired of Subway, I like my subs toasted (Quizznos). Most of the fast food places offer lower calorie fare.

I wish you well!

03-05-2003, 06:08 AM
How much protein are you getting in those foods? Not likely that much since fast foods tend to skimp on the most expensive ingredient - meat. If you are not getting adequate protein in your low calorie diet, you will likely lose significant amounts of muscle mass - not a good thing. While loss of muscle looks good on the scales, it doesn't look good on you and it sets you up for rebound weight (fat) gain.

Try to take in at least a minimum amount of protein and then adjust carbohydrates and fats to get your calorie requirements.

There are several theories on what minimum protein requirements are. Here is my take on it. If you are just trying to maintain existing muscle mass, then shoot for a minimum of 0.8 grams protein per pound of lean body mass. What is lean body mass? That is everything except fat. To figure this out you will need to know roughly what your body fat percentage is. There are some online calculators that will get close. These typically use your weight, waist measurement, wrist measurement, forearm measurement, etc. Anyway, as an example, assume you have 40% body fat. At 375 pounds, this equates to 225 pounds of lean body mass and 150 pounds of fat. 0.8 grams of protein times 225 pounds = 180 grams of protein per day. Even consuming this amount of protein, you will likely lose some muscle as you lose the fat. This is because your body needs quite a bit of muscle just to tote all that weight around. As the weight comes off, so will some of that weight carrying muscle. The key to long term weight management is to minimize loss of lean body mass. Muscle burns far more calories than fat. If you lose too much muscle, your bodies ability to burn calories drops significantly.

It is ok to eat more than just the minimum amount of protein discussed above. Say you eat a dinner consisting of a 16 oz steak and salad. 16 oz of meat contains approximately 112 grams of protein (7 grams protein/oz.). If you've eaten a decent breakfast of 50 or so grams of protein and 50 or so grams of protein at lunch, then you would have consumed about 212 grams of protein that day. Most body builders shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of total body weight, so you would be a long ways from consuming anywhere near that amount for your weight. And unlike carbs and fat, protein intake is pretty self limiting - it is difficult to overeat on high protein foods like meat and eggs.

Another advantage to getting plenty of high quality protein (meat, eggs, dairy) in your diet is that protein digests slower than carbs or fat and will help to keep you full longer. Protein also requires more energy to digest than carbs or fat; therefore, your net calorie gain from consuming protein is less than the stated 4 calories per gram.

And try to get some real vegetables in your diet. That iceburg lettuce on fast food sandwiches is about worthless nutritionally.


03-05-2003, 06:32 AM
Hello, You mentioned about being on the go and not having much time to get in a home cooked meal. How about investing in a cheap ice chest, so you can pack a cold home cooked meal? You could even carry along some fresh fruits and vegies. It would even cut down on the cost of buying fast food.


03-05-2003, 07:42 AM
Wow thanks for the responses. I guess I should respond to them in order, and with my questions.

First off with Chelle:
I am trying to keep my calories just above a threshold of my body falling into a famine-like state. I am trying to strike a balance between my desire to get off my first 75 (from 375 to 300) as quickly as possible through discipline, and avoiding eating so few calories I destroy my metabolism and muscle that I will need to finish off my diet and keep myself maintained.

I think with your suggestion I will push up my calories up to around 1700-2000. As far as my water intake I have taken it to about 58-70 ounces a day. It varies depending on the intake of the one big vice I still allow myself, which is diet coke.

Thanks again for reponding so positivly. =)

Wow your post was really informative about stuff I was really unsure of, and that was mostly the lean muscle mass. I have actually done the atkins diet before, one time for a month (I lost 35 pounds) and another time just through induction.

The problem I run into trying to keep my protein that high is I have a problem just eating the meat of a sandwich, and not the bread and ketchup or other condiments. It isn't something I have really been able to maintain. I found that trying to stick with the Atkins diet was more difficult in the long run than restricting my calories to a crazy low level. I definatly can't argue with the results of my attempt on it though. I felt good and did lose a decent bit of weight.

The big problem I face is striking a balance of protein, carbs and fat on the road. Any suggestions on keeping my protein up and my calories down while frequenting fast food places, and places like Applebees, Chilis and even the Outback on the road?

Hope all of my babbling there made sense. Again thanks for your help already and suggestions I will definatly be adding more chicken breast and maybe a steak in when I can. I just have to find a way to strike the balance up while out here in the field.

I may actually go out and buy one of those styrofoam(sp) coolers for my hotel room since I am in a small town this stay and don't have a small fridge in the room.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Again thanks to all of you for your help, and for keeping it positive. =)


03-06-2003, 02:56 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for undertakign the Atkins diet while unable to prepare food in a kitchen? In other words, having to eat out, how would you go about Atkins?


03-06-2003, 03:04 PM
First, read the book. Make sure you understand the theory behind the diet and the foods allowed under this diet. For breakfast, you'd have to order a breakfast sandwich, or the burrito, and eat the insides, leaving the biscuit, bun or tortilla for the birds. For lunch, you could go to Subway and order your usual sandwich, and then eat it like a salad. Or, you could just go order a salad from a fast food resturant. You could also order a cheeseburger, or double cheeseburger and eat it without the bun (I imagine this gets a little messy). For dinner, you could order the Porterhouse at the Outback and the steamed veggies and another salad (I think?). You might have to pick some of the veggies out (carrots, squash), but should be able to eat some of them (broccoli).

Any diet is going to be harder to follow when you don't have access to a kitchen. Its so much easier to make a "bad" choice when you're hungry and are standing in line at a resturant.

Personally, I think you should give the plan you've started with at least a month to see what your results are. But, thats just me.

Good luck with whichever you decide to do.

03-06-2003, 05:18 PM
Thanks for your reponse again. =) I am going to stick with what I started out with untill I get redeployed I think.

I did modify the diet a little and am now alternating days where I add in more protein (go get a steak and salad for dinner, and a chicken breast salad for lunch) with the diet I mentioned previously. I figured I would go high protein 2-3 days a week and the other way the rest of the time, making sure my daily caloric intake doesn't go off the charts with the change.

Hopefully this will help me retain as much of my lean muscle as possible while keeping me not starved, not protein deprived, and over a little happy with more diversity in my diet.

Also I have been pretty much on this low calorie diet since Feb. 13th and I am not sure when I am going to get home and weigh, but I expect to see a nice little difference on ths scale. I have already noticed I went down a belt loop, but since then little more has changed. I guess I should be happy with that though. =)


[This message has been edited by DmanUK (edited 03-06-2003).]

03-07-2003, 06:50 AM
I'm not sure what separates belt loops for men, but I would imagine its about the same as a pant size? If so, its probably about an inch or so? On average, 10lbs = 1 inch. So, you've probably lost about 10lbs.

03-07-2003, 11:41 AM
I'm not sure what separates belt loops for men, but I would imagine its about the same as a pant size? If so, its probably about an inch or so? On average, 10lbs = 1 inch. So, you've probably lost about 10lbs.

I have yo-yo'd quite a bit over the years going on and off diets and usually go between 330(lowest in 3-4 years) to 375(2-3 weeks ago) which is an all time high for me. One thing I have found is that following a diet usually gets my first 20-40 pounds off really fast, but I just attribute that to the massive amount I had to consume ot maintain that body weight, so the adjustment down is quick in the beginning when I get on a sensible meal plan.

Today I noticed I was already able to go down 1 more belt loop but it was not as comfortable as I wanted so I think I may have lost around 5-7 more on top of that already. I am pretty excited, but I know to try to maintain myself because I don't want to be sad when it slows down this time, as it always does.

Does that make any sense?


03-07-2003, 01:13 PM
Congrats on the weight loss so far! The suggested idea of purchasing an cooler is a great idea. I'd also recommend trying grocery stores. Some supermarkets have pre-made food (like salades, BBQ chicken, pasta,etc) which would be great for someone like you who has to eat out all the time. Most of the time you can find some healthy choices here and probably for even cheaper than if you were to go to a restaurant.

Bringing fruits and vegetables with you are a great idea and a healthy snack. They do not need to be kept in the refrigerator but if you like your fruit cold then you can just fill up your ice bucket and place the fruit on top. Now this may seem weird, but are you able/allowed to bring a toaster and plug in kettle with you? Because if you were, on some days you could make yourself toast and have some fruit, or make instant oatmeal (which you can find in the grocery store). Of course you have to make sure you are getting your protein, so I'd suggest nuts (peanuts and almonds -unsalted) but not in large quantities since they are high in fat (perhaps a handful or so).

Good luck! :)

03-07-2003, 01:40 PM
There is only a few problems with the kettle and toaster thing and that is it is quite possible for me to be in a hotel in Nashville one night and travel to a hotel in Houston the next week. I usually have to go by plane to toting around a toaster and kettle could be a bit rough. The styrofoam cooler is something I can get use, and hopefully leave for someone else as I leave places since it will be fairly cheep.


Tree Frog
03-07-2003, 06:16 PM
Hi DmanUK
Congratulations on your weight loss! That is great!
I will share what is working for me and a little of what I have read.

I supplement my protein intake with powdered whey protein with glutamate, which helps protect my muscles. I buy it at a health food store. Protein intake at every meal and snacks between lunch and dinner and at bed time are important to not only prevent muscle loss, but will stave off carb cravings, too.

The whey powder can be added to water anywhere, but I make a bottle of the mixture to take with me, and pour it on ice when out. A good place to store it is in that ice chest! Two scoops will replace a meal, which I do occasionally, and one scoop's worth is an excellent snack.

I carry cashews with me in the car, as they are low-glycemic, meaning they do not cause a high blood sugar spike that will leave me feeling tired and starved for carbs. When out, I buy salads like Cobb salad, or Grilled Chicken salad, or any salad with poultry/tuna/meat/eggs/cheese on it. Sometimes I order cottage cheese and a green salad. If I want something hot, I order a meat dinner, and tell the waiter that I don't want any potaoes, corn, bread or rice. I get a side salad with my meal to make up for those carbs I don't eat. I make sure I am full with the appropriate foods.

Sugar and refined flour causes the blood sugar to spike, and what is not used by the brain and for immediate energy gets stored as fat. Then the blood sugar drops, making it practically impossible to ignore a bun on a burger. I find that if I omit the carbs like bread or tortillas at breakfast, and eat adequate protein, I can leave the sugar and carbs alone the rest of the day. I can order a tostada salad and not eat the tostada (tortilla). Avacodo is a good fatty acid, so I eat those and olives, too.

Activity uses blood sugar, not fat. Muscle is what uses fat stores. So, if you are sitting a lot, as I am, then the excess carbs we eat are geting stored as fat, even while we diet.

I decided to only drink water, with lemon or lime juice, because the phosphorus in sodas surrounds fat cells, and the muscle can't use the fat stores until the phosphorus is "burned" off, delaying fat loss.

I am a ravin' carb addict, so believe me, making this change in eating habits would not be possible if not for a consistent protein intake.

Keep up the good work!

[This message has been edited by Tree Frog (edited 03-07-2003).]

03-18-2003, 04:05 AM
I travel a lot and I use the carbohydrate addicts diet, which is a high protein, low carb diet that works well for me. I have lost the 35 lbs I needed to lose and kept it off for more than three years. In case you aren't familiar with the diet, you eat no carbs for breakfast and lunch and a normal dinner. (you can do a search for info on the web)

When travelling, I make myself eggnog drinks for breakfast. I use eggbeaters or some similar egg substitute, which is pasturized and safe to use for eggnog. I mix it 2/3 egg substitute to 1/3 skim milk, add splenda and vanilla, a little nutmeg. I carry a box of splenda, a small bottle of vanilla, a small box of nutmeg. I buy the egg and milk as needed and carry two two quart bottles to mix the eggnog in. I have one of the little refrigerators that plugs into the cigarette lighter. ($40 at walmart or Sams) For lunch I stop at a fast food that has a chicken caeser salad, or something similar, or I have one of the low carb bars (carb solutions or eas) and a salad. I also carry the chicken low-fat vienna sausages to have with a salad for lunch. Dinner is a normal meal with moderate carbs a big salad and normal portion of meat and veggies. I lost about 1-2 lbs a week and lost the whole 35 lbs in 5 months. To maintain, I increased the calories without increasing the carbs for breakfast and lunch. It has had the added effect of controlling my rather severe hypoglycemia. Hope this helps

[This message has been edited by sbwertz (edited 03-18-2003).]

03-18-2003, 10:13 PM
when you stay in hotels why dont you go to a 7 11 or something like that and bye bread and sandwich stuff to make a healthly lunch or dinner its better than greasey foods :)

03-19-2003, 02:02 PM
Congrats on the weight loss! If you want to eat healthy at Outback or Applebee's or any restaurant, try getting fish(Outback has great Salmon) with veggies...or you can get salads like you've been doing but make sure to get the dressing on the side. Although you may be eating a salad, if you load it up with creamy or oily dressing(which Outback does) it'll just add fat you don't need. I learned a secret from a magazine about dressing's - put your salad in a sealable container with a small amount of dressing on it then shake it up. This will give you full coverage on your salad, without using as much. Good luck!