The Weight Loss Dilemma: Real vs Diet Foods

by Andie Mitchell on April 23, 2012

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I very much enjoy bagels. In fact, I’ve been known to write whole blog posts dedicated to why I eat them- Why I Eat Bagels.food_products-2

At first mention, Bagel Thins seemed contradictory to me. If I’m to understand them correctly, you’re wanting a bagel- known because of its fullness, its thick doughy center, but you’re being mindful about calories and carbohydrates and weight so you’re opting for a faux-bagel- essentially the shell of a traditional bagel with the same central hole but without the doughiness.

OK. Fair enough.

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I knew immediately that Bagel Thins would appeal to the folks who like to scoop out the fleshy middles of their bagels. They tell me they like to toast the now-hollow bagel and that what they love most about bagels is the crispness of the outside after a run through the toaster. They could do without the fluff.

I get that. Trust me when I say that no part of me mocks this scooping. To each her own.

I, however, love bagels for their complete package. I like the way the outside crisps in the toaster oven while the middle stays soft. I like the way cream cheese melts into the bread. I like chewing.

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I also like to treat bagels as a neutral food. I like to ‘own’ what I’m eating. Meaning- If I’m truly jonesing for a bagel, a piece of cake, a donut, you name it- I need to eat one of that deliciousness and then hold myself accountable for the calories, the carbs, the cream cheese under my fingernails.

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After years of dieting, something about sitting down on a Saturday morning to nosh on a stacked bagel feels special. It feels like I’m an adult rather than a monster who eats three bagels rather than one and then binges on carbs for the remainder of the day, swearing them off the next. I feel proud for being able to trust myself, to enjoy myself without going overboard.

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But still, there exist things like Bagel Thins. And from the way I’ve lustily described full bagels above, the way I urge everyone to eat the real thing rather than the fake one, you might imagine that I’d turn my healthy nose up at them. But really,

I appreciate them for what they are.

Or at least- I’m not going to hate on them. Not them or Diet Coke or fat free froyo for that matter.

Because

when I was in the process of losing weight, I found one perk: finding new foods, new products. Grocery shopping and examining labels was all of a sudden fun. And what I discovered years later, was that with calorie counting or Weight Watchers- any plan that gives all foods a green light- it’s all about making the things you love to eat work for you. It means slimming recipes by subbing in lower calorie/lower fat ingredients for their full fat sisters. It means figuring out exactly how many Reese’s Pieces you can eat for 150 calories. It’s a game of sorts.

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You can have it all if you shift a few things around and account for them. Your eating can be a Tetris game- everything fitting- if you play it right.

Bagel Thins and the like- they make that Tetris game easier. You get the illusion of enjoying something we all love but for a fraction of what the original would have cost calorically.

But when I think about the way others perceive Bagel Thins, the lovers and the haters, I find three groups of people:

1. Food Purists/Whole Foodies
This group is where I place myself most often. It’s the camp of people that prefer everything to be minimally processed. We’re keen on eating whole, real foods without additives, without a lot of chemistry lab trickery to the senses to make a food light, lighter, and lightest.

2. Peeps who applaud anything that makes it easier for Americans to lose weight and eat less fat, less sugar. The folks who run The Biggest Loser fall into this group. They like alternative versions of high fat, high calorie products because they know that the masses aren’t going to want to stop eating bagels, they aren’t going to stop craving cookies – so why not embrace Bagel Thins and 100 Calorie Packs instead? This group appreciates portion control by food manufacturers even if it costs more. Like the food purists in the first group (above), they care about health and they read nutrition labels, but they’re perhaps more lax about what they put into their bodies in terms of chemicals, dyes, and preservatives.

3. The folks just trying their damndest to lose weight.
I spent five years in this camp and I have to say- I get it. Today I find myself in the group who pushes real food up the wazoo, but still, I see the appeal of the light stuff.

Back when I was losing 135lbs, I would have eaten anything light, anything diet or sugar-free. I figured- I have a calorie budget and all that matters is- can I afford this? How much does this cost me nutritionally?

Generally, the cheaper the better.
Always a volume eater, I wanted more of something- no matter how fake- rather than less of something the size of an inch squared. Yes, I’d like 6 sugar free fudge popsicles in place of 1 Klondike Bar. Yes, I’d like a barrel of baked chips in place of 14 Doritos. Yes, I want 3 cups of nonfat frozen yogurt more than I wanted a half cup of Haagen Dazs.

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I feel differently now. I‘ve changed along the way. But back then

I thought- hey, I’m just getting accustomed to this eating less business. I’m trying to straddle the line between binge and diet. I missed quantity. Now I see that there was something good in the diet foods I ate while losing weight. Something helpful for those of us who want to feel normal before we actually get there.

When you’re working with 1400 calories a day to lose weight, it hardly seems doable to spend 500 of those on a bagel with cream cheese. Especially when you’re not sure the bagel will even hold you over til lunchtime. It’ll be nothing compared to oatmeal, you think silently.

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What I liked then- in the losing time- was finding a middle ground between discipline and dessert every day. Those light versions- the ones with several dozen calories less than their real food ancestors- they kept me from feeling entirely deprived of treats.

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Lightened foods are training wheels on the weight loss bike. No, you don’t need them forever. One day you’ll realize that you’re just fine without them- better off, even, in the long run. But for now, while you’re getting your bearings, they’re helpful. Comforting, somehow.

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All this to say- one day you’ll choose the decked out bagel over its Thin cousin. You’ll make it work. But don’t judge yourself for choosing the lighter one now.

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh April 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I tried bagel thins and they tasted nothing like a bagel to me. I’d rather have the whole wheat mini bagel which is still the same calories as the thin but has that chew tastes like an actual bagel. It’s all about balance! :)

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Lindsay April 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Couldn’t agree more! I’d pry stick with the real deal if I’m opting for a bagel. All things in moderation, right? Great read!

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Michelle in N. Cal April 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

So well written! I have never read anything like that before and it’s so much like I felt when I initially started my 50# weight loss journey four years ago. I still have my “tricks” I fall back on now and again.(I tell people who want to know how I lost weight that I started off on Lean Cuisines and Skinny Cows because, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? And I didn’t go from eating a SAD processed diet to eating clean overnight. It was an evolution.)

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Sharon April 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Great post. Thanks for writing.

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Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats April 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Wow, thank you so much for this post. I completely agree with everything you said and honestly I think Weight Watchers teaches you what to eat and then once you’ve reached your goal weight you have to train yourself to stop reaching for the stuff with the points printed on the front label and start gravitating to fresher, less-processed foods (no frozen dinners!). I still have trouble eating a healthy fruit and nut bar if the fat & calories are high- despite the fact that I know they are good for my heart! I’m definitely in this transition phase and it’s always a struggle.

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Karen @ The Tamale Girl April 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

As a frequently annoyingly self-righteous foodie/snob/purist, but also former Weight Watcher and eater of Skinny Cows, I really like this.

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Lizzy April 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

My most
favorite, on the go, inexpensive treat would always be a buttered bagel. MMore recently a sunflower flagel. But I really do see how bad they are for me in so many ways. They make my blood sugar plummet a few hours later so that I am almost shaking, Thirst and that bloated feeling. Now, even though I have weight to lose, I almost never choose a bagel. A bagel thin however, is the perfect size and vehicle for some nice turkey, lettuce, tomatoe,red onion. Wrapped in foil it is the perfect surprise sandwich in a lunch box. Just the size that is comfortable and satisfying to eat…with out guilt and some extra fiber.

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B April 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I haven’t tried bagel thins, but I did try sandwich thins when they first came out. A month after purchase, the last languishing sandwich thin had miraculously failed to sprout mold. Wonder what’s in them that keeps them “fresh” indefinitely? Not sure I want to know…

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Cori April 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Fantastic post! I’m about mid-move now, slowly going from diet this and light that to the real whole food deal. Finding success in enjoying real foods in moderation has been very rewarding. I’m catching on to mindful eating. Being truly aware of what it going in my mouth and enjoying and savoring each bite. The quality of the real foods I’m choosing is actually allowing me to be satisfied with less quantity. I’ve had my fair share of bagel thins, and these days I’ll take a regular bagel and just enjoy!

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The Brides' Maid April 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

How did you know I needed to hear this? I’ve been beating myself up about eating diet food while I’m trying to lose weight. I’ve wondered why I can’t just stick with real, wholesome food? I need my 90 calorie brownie right now, but I know that it’s just my training wheels. Thanks again! You’re amazing!

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Melanie April 24, 2012 at 1:19 am

Wow, great post. I totally belong to the first category of people. I’ve never tried diet products and I actually really don’t believe in them.

This kind of changed my mind though. It totally makes sense now. :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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MelissaNibbles April 24, 2012 at 2:18 am

Great post as always! I’m confused with the pictures though, do you still eat these things?

I just hate the name “thins”. It’s an obvious marketing ploy, but I guess companies do what they have to do.

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admin April 24, 2012 at 3:57 am

Hey! Good question. In general I eat mostly unprocessed things. But I’ll never turn my nose up at anything before I’ve tried it. I bought the Thins at Walmart the other day, thinking I’d give them a chance. They’re meh. The soup is in my cabinet and yes, I eat that from time to time (though I’m not a soup person- something about the texture). And the sugar free drink mix is delicious (also from Walmart).

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Susannah April 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

What type of sweetener is in the mix?

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Vic April 26, 2012 at 4:39 am

Yeah I’m confused too…you say you put yourself in the first category of food purist- but your eating Laughing cow (fake), sweetener (fake) and wheat (still proceeded). I’m not saying these can’t be enjoyed…but I would hardly put you in camp one. Show a real block of cheese, plain water with lime and grains that’s aren’t processed and then you have ‘real’ food.

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Susannah April 26, 2012 at 6:42 am

I’m not doubting Andie one bit, but I’m just wondering what type of sweetener is used in the mix because I’m on the fence about artificial sweeteners. I’ve drastically cut down on diet soda, but I still use Splenda in my iced tea. I’m not sure what’s good for you in terms of sweeteners – or if none are good at all. :)

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admin April 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

This is a really valid and important point, Vic. I’ll be addressing it in a post soon! Thanks for your thoughts
-Andie

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Kaitie April 24, 2012 at 3:11 am

Bagels and I have an ok relationship, but we’re not best friends. I totally get what you’re saying though. Sugar-free chocolate pudding has saved my diet many, many times.

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Bailey April 24, 2012 at 4:54 am

I came across your blog recently and I love it! You’re such a talented writer.

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Di April 24, 2012 at 5:14 am

Great post! And I think you have a great attitude towards diet foods. I ate ONLY fat-free, sugar-free foods the first time I lost weight (80lbs) and that didn’t work. I gained a bunch back. The second time around, I ate more real food and I had better luck.

I was definitely part of Group 3 on a few occasions. I was even a part of Group 2 for a while. I’m striving to eat mostly whole foods now.

One thing I’ve found since switching to real food? I don’t really crave bagels as much as I used to. I used to eat them daily. (The real ones.)

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Nancy @ Rivertreekitchen April 24, 2012 at 5:35 am

After going from a size 12 to a 4 many years ago, I’ve slipped back a bit, into choosing a huge bowl of low-fat ice milk instead of a small cup of the good stuff (ice cream being my main downfall). Thanks for this great reminder to eat mindfully.

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Tina April 24, 2012 at 5:44 am

Excellent post – I completely identify even as someone who has never had a ton of wieght to lose. I’ve found over the years, I learned to control calories but never wanted to sacrifice quantity to keep my weight in check. But over the past year and a half, the lightbulb about quality of food has gone off and it’s been a training of the mind to focus on the food more than the numbers, so to speak. I do think there are definite stages and it’s a learning process. It’s important for people to get started on their health and that might look one way…but it’s important that the journey continues for life and at some point it evolves into something truly sustainable and nutritionally valuable. I am delighted by your blog, your honesty, your transparency. Thank you for sharing so we can all learn, grow and be healthier too. I love passing your blog along to other people as well – I know everyone can find a tidbit in there that resonates with and encourages them!

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Mandi April 24, 2012 at 5:57 am

This.

I am right in the middle of this journey. I just hit my first goal yesterday – I’ve lost 20 pounds. For the first time in my life, I’ve lost *20* pounds. I have 80 or more to go, but I know – I can do this!

Reading your posts are so danged inspiring. They remind me that it’s a journey. It can be a struggle. But ultimately, I can do this.

My whole relationship with food is changing. I still love my McDonald’s – but I also love a big bowl of grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. That’s new for me. Learning how to love myself and the food I put into my body is slowly happening.

And I feel great.

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Anne Weber-Falk April 24, 2012 at 6:02 am

BRAVO!

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Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic April 24, 2012 at 6:13 am

Thank you as always for being so honest and so right on the money!!! I loved reading this! ox

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Candace April 24, 2012 at 6:40 am

I LOVE this post so much I printed it off for my co-workers to read. Love your work. I cannot wait for your book to come out.

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Katie April 24, 2012 at 6:45 am

Yes! Thank you. Somehow the tension between eating real food and highly processed dirt ones can really cause me problems. Sometimes the whole food argument in my head is really a binge on the uptake. To know that there are moments for those choices is so comforting to me. Thank you again. Hope that makes sense.

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Laura @ The Salty Kitchen April 24, 2012 at 6:48 am

This post makes me so happy. I love your voice, your honesty, and your ability to make me stop and think. Keep up the good work, and know that I’ll be having my own bagel accountability session this weekend.

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angela April 24, 2012 at 6:55 am

Yeah! You just made getting through these next few weeks more do-able and less guilt-ridden. thank you.

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Rose April 24, 2012 at 7:07 am

I have an such immense appreciation for this post.

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Mindy April 24, 2012 at 7:14 am

Great read! Sometimes you need an apple with full fat almond butter, sometimes you just want a 90 calorie Fiber one brownie:)

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Steph @ A Life without Ice Cream April 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

I’m very much in the same camp as you… I like the whole thing. If I’m going to have a bagel I want a BAGEL! But (also like you) I’ve lost a lot of weight and during about half of that time I spent a lot of time in limbo between the “whole food” camp and the “lowest calorie” camp. One thing I’ve found is that bagels are not all created equally. You can get a mega gourmet bagel for 400 cals. You can get a bagel thin for btw 100 and 160 cals. But you can also get slightly smaller fluffy bagels that are 260 calories (Old Mill). A mere 100 cals more than the bagel thins but for real bagel taste. There’s my middle ground!

It’s all about doing what you can accomplish (reasonably) and still be happy with your life/breakfast/food choices.

Great post!!

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Melissa at SquatsandSquash April 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

Love your blog, and love hearing about your journey!

Whole foods are SO important, for so so so many reasons. I’m learning that the hard way (I even blogged about my newfound realization that I’m “skinny fat” and am now having to rethink the whole “eat less to lose” mentality).

Thanks for always sharing your thoughts!

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Kate April 24, 2012 at 7:45 am

Once again, you speak my language. While I am several years into “maintenance” after losing 126 lbs, I still enjoy the “puzzle” aspect of food tracking. I have not fully adopted the only real food mentality, choosing to use some of these alternative food so I can truly enjoy it when I have the cookie, cupcake or pasta.

Thank you again for sharing your own truth and keeping the rest of us inspired and motivated by life!

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Cas April 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

I am on a weightloss journey to lose 130lbs I am down 50 from 300…its been such a struggle lately. I just lost someone so very important in my life so it feels like the stuggle will get worse… but when I am on track I am in the find something to replace camp. I dont just eat diet foods. My favorite bagel is the Cinnamon Crunch bagel from Panera Bread. Of course topped with the walnut honey cream cheese….for a total of 570 cals. Like you I think that is not going to hold me to lunch. So to replace it I eat cinnamon swirl raisin bread with 1 1/2 tsp of full fat honey nut cream cheese on it…all for the low cal price of 100. Then I added an egg and some center cut bacon for a very filling breakfast and it all totals to around 426 cals. It wasnt that long ago that I was going strong on my journey… several times in fact. But in the last 5 months I have lost 3 people very close to me..grandparents and an uncle. I went from having lost 80 lbs and gaining 30 back…I have to find my way back on track…I just dont know how just yet.

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Sarrah April 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I have also just lost someone important to me – my father, and 40 pounds into my 100 pound goal. So, the last 4 weeks (since his passing), I have lost the motivation to eat healthy – I just keep turning back to the old comfort of crappy food (which by the way, just makes me feel more crappy). Looking for the motivation that I had a month ago to keep going strong. This post has helped with that a bit.

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Cas April 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

I have the desire to eat healthy and stay on track…but the motivation and the energy are just gone… I hope we both get back there!

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Susannah April 24, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thanks for this wonderful, wonderful post. I get it. I truly get it, but it’s taken me a long time to get there. Your blog is a constant source of inspiration for me. Thank you – this is my favorite post to date!

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Beth April 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

I love the training wheels analogy. And perhaps the most important part about treating Bagel Thins as *A different food* than real bagels.

I’m about 60lbs lighter than I was in college (I’m 39) and have mostly kept it off except for pregnancy. But I’m still overweight. I did Weight Watchers after both babies which worked in terms of losing weight but almost 7 years of pregnancy, nursing, and then trying to lose the gained weight have really messed up my relationship with food. For about two years now I’ve known what I needed to “fix” but it’s time to get off my fat ass and Just Do It.

What most diet programs like Weight Watchers do is teach you what to eat but don’t necessarily deal with the real problem. The relationship with food. And honestly, I’m not sure any diet program could really do that. I’ve become a pretty militant food purist and about a year ago switched my family to all full fat dairy products. No more Smart Balance Spread (which I never gave my kids, BTW), reduced fat cheese, or sour cream. We even started buying whole milk and using it for all our kifer and yogurt. While both my husband and I are still overweight be haven’t gained anything from switching to real foods. Because that’s not the problem. Eating low fat margarine on my toast then stopping at Dunkin Donuts mid morning or McDonald’s at 10:00 p.m. is more likely the problem, don’t you think? Not to mention the vast number of times I eat “just a few bites” of nuts, a cookie, etc.. That’s what I need to deal with. Eating fake lower calorie foods isn’t going to help me at this point.

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Sylvia April 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

Great piece. Training wheels, yes! That’s exactly where I’m at.
Bagel thins aren’t bagels, but the white ones make very satisfying bagel pizzas. Cover up the hole with a pepperoni and load them up with good stuff. Somehow they always end up with fewer calories than frozen pizza. Keep up the good work, Andie!

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Stacie S. April 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

Just have to say this is one of the most well thought out posts I’ve ever read on trying to eat and lose/maintain weight in our current 100-Calorie Pack vs. Whole Foods modern day society. I appreciate that – THANK YOU.

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emily April 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

I love love love good New York bagels but I also eat Bagel Thins. I think of them as another item entirely; not as a bagel but as good 100-calorie bread. Though I would never put cream cheese on a Thin, I only use them for holding sandwich fillings.

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Katie April 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

So glad you’re back! I’ve missed you! :) HOW’S THE MANUSCRIPT?? Wonderful wonderful post as always.

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Lauren April 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

Great post! My favorite line: “I feel proud for being able to trust myself, to enjoy myself without going overboard.”

You have a way of putting the jumbled thoughts floating around in my head into clear, relatable words. I love stopping by here :)

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Shelley April 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

So incredibly well written. LOVE this post

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Amy April 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Great post! I’m actually going through the whole transition myself. I did the same thing at the beginning of my weight loss and am now getting comfortable with whole foods and putting myself into that first category. It’s definitely a lot easier than I ever thought it would be.

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Lonell C April 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I love the article!! Covered all fields of weight loss and etc! I also have created a blog on products and etc to help get you to eat right and proper workouts! A healthy life style is a long lifestyle!

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Emma April 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I really like this post! I’ve missed reading your thoughts. I just recently made the switch from eating all the diet, low fat, no sugar foods to clean, healthy “lean and green” foods and I feel so much better, fuller and no longer have cravings for fake sugar. I lost 8lbs in a week and a half just from making that switch.

I’m all for eating what you want in moderation. For me, the “diet” food just didn’t cut it anymore! And I love a good toasty bagel with cream cheese too =)

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Randi April 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

How funny – reading this post today, after buying bagels on a whim last night and having one for breakfast today. I normally don’t buy bagels because they can be so caloric, but I had a bagel sandwich today for just over 400 calories. 1 everything bagel, 1 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese, 1 egg, tomato, lettuce, mustard. On a 1400 calorie budget, that’s totally reasonable to me. I try to fit in mostly less processed foods, but do swap out some things – Splenda in my coffee and tea being a prime example because I can end up using an uncomfortable amount of sugar.

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Jules April 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Amen Sister!
I detest those “faux” bagels! But do see the vantage point for initial dieters just for calorie counting. Though for me… its best just to go for the real thing and have light meals later on. AND if I’m really sticking to my guns… half a bagel and fresh fruit!
Glad you’re back! Are you headed back to Seattle at all or did you make the official move back to Mass?

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Jenna Z April 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Wow, what an awesome post! I have just made the transition to whole foods and being ok with eating the real thing (after loosing about 80 pounds and keeping it off for over a year now) and I went through a period of HATING the very idea of diet stuff. I HATED Hungry Girl and her fake over processed crap substitutes and all her product pushing. I hated all the 100 calorie packs that insinuate that a human adult cannot do the math and portion out 100 calories for themselves. But now I’m coming to terms with it, it helped me (even if I don’t want to admit it) and it’s helping others. Everyone has their own path, I like how you say it’s like training wheels. People can’t go from Poptarts and hot dogs to kale and quinoa overnight. :)

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Christina April 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Great post. As someone who is almost at goal with my weight loss journey, I’ve really tried to focus on whole foods most of the time. I do love the Laughing Cow’s, Sprite Zero, and non fat froyo. One thing I promised myself though, is that sometimes you really just need the fat. I just got back from NYC and spent the entire time eating those things that make me happy.

A glorious bagel smeared with cream cheese and lox. A Levain bakery chocolate chip cookie and valhrona chocolate roll, and a Shake Shack concrete full of strawberries and shortbread cookies. Each and every calorie was worth it. I balanced all of this with very sensible dinners and running in the park every morning. I wouldn’t trade a thing.

I tell myself everyday that learning to lose weight and keep it off for good is finding a balance between decadence and healthfulness. I can’t have it all when it comes to treats, but I can treat myself every once and awhile.

Your blog has made a true impact on my life and weight loss. Thank you.

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Amanda April 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Such a great post, and one that I needed. I’m trying to lose weight/get stronger, especially before my family and I go on a cruise in June, but finding the balance between whole foods and calorie counting is tough as hell. I want to mostly avoid the overly proccessed stuff, but it’s certainly not easy.

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Joanne April 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hey thank you so much for reminding me why I love eating the fluffy and chewy bagel. I do purchased the bagel thins but I noticed that I feel like I am quite satisfied after I them. I totally forgot the real reason I like eating bagel. Quality over quantity!!!

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Morgan April 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Love this! Exactly what I needed. I can’t do that whole portioning out 100 calories thing because then I just end up eating every bag in one sitting. I know if I had just had one regular cookie I could have saved myself from a binge. I’m in the middle of the thin and whole bagel debate…I prefer the top half of a regular sized bagel, toasted, onion and chive cream cheese :p

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Tammie April 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

What an amazing post. After having lost 92 pounds a year and a half ago, I have been struggling since having gained about 15 pounds since having some surgery last October. I have almost always belonged to your definition of a group 1 eater. I lost all of my weight by eating healthy, real food (and exercising plenty). I’ve never eaten healthier in my life. But recently my struggle seems to be that I am either dieting or binging! Your blog has helped me realize this. And this post has opened my eyes to the fact that there ARE alternatives out there and perhaps some low sugar treats are EXACTLY what I need! I need to stop trying to do everything “the right way” and realize that sometimes we just need to do what we need to do! I can’t wait to go buy some skinny cows! I think my healthy eating day in and day out deserves a treat, and while I am in weight loss mode I think these foods might be the perfect solution!

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Melissa April 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Just wanted to say I “heart” you!!!

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Alison (Fueling for Fitness) April 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Thank you, as always, for reminding us that we can all fit somewhere along the spectrum instead of thinking that our only options are at each extreme end. You are the best. :)

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Anne April 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

MMMmmm bagels :) I love a good asiago bagel with cream cheese from Einstein Bros. But I’d be lying if I hadn’t tried to substitute the things and a laughing cow for the real deal.

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LaBelleVie April 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Thank you. I needed this post right now. My husband & I have been eating about 70% whole/30% other for the past 18 or so months. But at the beginning of this year, I started on my weightloss journey (down 20 lbs, 130 to go) and I feel like I struggle SO HARD with myself to either deny myself certain things or to cave to the diet food, to fit each day within the constraints of the point-counting. I guess I needed to hear from someone else that it’s ok to have both a pint of local frozen custard AND a package of Skinny Cow sandwiches in my freezer, to meet the needs of the day.

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brittany April 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm

“After years of dieting, something about sitting down on a Saturday morning to nosh on a stacked bagel feels special. It feels like I’m an adult rather than a monster who eats three bagels rather than one and then binges on carbs for the remainder of the day, swearing them off the next. I feel proud for being able to trust myself, to enjoy myself without going overboard” This is my goal to be able to do this…now just to get there

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Carly Ann April 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I love this post! Right now I fall into category #2. I am looking to lose about 80 pounds, so I have to make the smart choices while not starving myself. Portion control has always been my problem. If left alone, I will eat a whole box of cereal in one sitting… so I have to get the individual things to stop myself. If I buy baked chips or crackers or whatever, I have to count them out into serving sizes as soon as I get home or else the next thing I know, I’ve eaten them all!

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Tammy April 27, 2012 at 5:18 am

thank you for posting, I just found your blog and have started this process myself. I’m still in the diet/light everything phase. But thank you for helping me to not feel so bad about it. You’re quite the inspiration! Thank You

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Krystina April 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I just…don’t understand why bagels are always put on the “forbidden food” list. Why are they things that are so sparsely enjoyed? Why should people be switching to “thins” and leaving their meal more unsatisfied than if they ate a big, beautiful doughy bagel?

Bagels will never be “forbidden” for me. I used to feel so guilty after eating a bagel, but there’s no point in that. It’s just a bagel. I promise to almost anyone that eating bagels on a semi-regular basis (I eat one a few times a week for breakfast) will not make you fat. It will (probably) not hinder your weight loss in any way. But I CAN almost guarantee that switching to Bagel Thins will make you reach for the nearest because you will not be satiated.

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Krystina April 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

That was supposed to say “reach for the nearest *insert
‘junk’ food item here*…”

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mom taxi julie May 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Great post! I have a friend that is just like this, all about the fake food for less. I’m mostly the #1 with a few exceptions, mainly Diet Coke, which I know at some point I will give up.

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leona woodridge July 2, 2012 at 4:35 am

when a person is dieting, it is not necessary that he must avoid or stop eating fatty foods. Everyone must bear in mind that our body really need fats because it is part of the mechanism. The best thing to remember is to eat it in less amount, not avoid it.

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Patt March 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

I think all those pre packaged bagels taste AWFUL. I’d rather have half a bagel from Einsteins than a whole bagel thin. By the way, thank you for your website. I gave Weight Watchers a year and found the counting of points to be detrimental to losing weight–I did better before by counting calories, so here I am, back to square 1. But, I’m very happy to have found you and your experience in losing 135 pounds. I have about a hundred to go, and I know it’ll take some time. I’ve retrained my mind about food and have eliminated a lot of things I didn’t really care for but ate them because they were, well, there. Onward!

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davidschic August 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Thank you for this post! It’s very helpful and encouraging; I don’t feel like a total loser.

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