Weight Loss
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Rice vs Bread


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I've lost 50 pounds from 270+ to 220 since January. During this time, I cut out everything white -- sugar, white bread, white rice -- and mostly ate wholewheat bread (nordlander, a dark German type) as my carbohydrate. I'm also doing about an hour on the treadmill a day (600 calories).

However, recently I've been feeling a bit fatigued and last Sunday, when I had a game of tennis, I felt really powerless, low energy. I've been thinking that maybe I need to eat brown rice, too, to give me a bit more energy.

What do people think? Are the calories and carbohydrates too concentrated in rice, or are the two interchangeable as carbs? What do most dieters do? Should I expect my weight loss to slow down because of eating rice?

The "brown" rice here isn't like brown rice in the U.S., it's red in color and much crunchier husk.

 

11 Replies (last)
Fatigue has lots of causes.   Are you eating enough food, would you say?  Simple lack of energy (calories) going in can mean you struggle.  Low iron stores are another reason for tiredness.... Do you get plenty of iron-rich foods such as red meat, beans, dark green vegetables, eggs...?  And do you also get plenty of Vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron?   Another cause could be low blood sugars... you've cut out the refined carbohydrates but do you eat regularly?  And non-diet reasons can include lack of sleep, stress, dehydration.... All worth checking out.

It would be a good idea to add brown rice and other complex carbohydrates such as wholewheat pasta, sweet potatoes and other grains to your diet simply so you get more variety nutritionally.  But if your fatigue levels don't improve, do see your doctor and ask their advice.  It could be symptomatic of something more serious.
#2  
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Hi GI Jane,

Thanks for your reply, I think it may be a problem of iron. It wasn't a constant thing, because I'm doing the treadmill every day for 1 hour (split into two session, 6.6 km an hour, 5 hill gradient), but my diet is now more protein-based than carb. I'm eating about 1,800 calories a day.

So today I ate:

* Breakfast: I bowl of Weight Maintain Oatmeal (150 cals) with water, plus 2 teaspoons of raisins and 1 tablespoon flax seed, 1 orange.

Throughout morning: 3 coffees

(30 mins on treadmill, 360 cals)

Lunch: Grilled seabass, stirfried veggies (broccoli, stringbeans, mushroom). 1 liter of water, coffee.

(30 mins on treadmill, 360 cals)

Afternoon snack: 1 All-Fruit Apricot bar (100 cals), 1 orange

Dinner: 1 bowl brown rice, 1/2 chicken breast, one small can of mushrooms, half a tournament, few leaves of spinach, garlic (no oil), water.

To tell you the truth, I'm afraid of eating anything. I want to get to my weight and look like I used to, because my eating had been so out of control.

No wonder you're knackered.  Totting that menu up it doesn't come to much over 1200 at the very best and if you deduct 700+ cals of exercise you're in big trouble.   Starvation isn't a sustainable weight-loss strategy and you're already making yourself ill so it has to stop...    If you're 220lbs and average height (5'10"?) doing an hour or more exercise a day then you need about 3600 cals a day to maintain your weight.  If you only did half an hour a day you'd need about 2900 to maintain.  If we split the difference.... 3250 then you'd need about 2300-2500 a day in order to lose weight safely and still be able to function normally. 

Do add back the complex carbohydrates and start eating a realistic amount.  Use CC to count the calories accurately rather than guessing.  Do drop coffee for a while because it's inhibiting your iron absorption.   Eat some rare steaks and leafy greens rather than 'half a chicken breast'.  You'll gain initially because you've been starving.. so don't freak out when you step on the scales.  If this worries you or if you find it difficult to eat more then you may benefit from consulting your doctor and asking their advice.  Best of luck
#4  
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GI Jane, thank you. This is very tough for me -- I was in such crazy eating mode for about eight years -- Starbucks sandwich or muffin at brunch, Wendy's for lunch, fried rice for dinner, chocolate every day, waking up in the middle of the night and foraging for leftovers in the fridge, no exercise at all -- that I just decided I had to can it and do something different. I had been very thin during high school basically by eating once a day.

I though calories were about 1,800, because the lunch I was assuming was about 800 cals.

At any rate, your advice well taken. I'll have some more oatmeal now, or a piece of cheese. But I just want to keep going losing this weight, and not go back to the old ways.

 

Take a tip.... use CC to plan your day's food ahead of time and then try to keep to that schedule rather than just adding bits of cheese and oatmeal in here and there to make up the shortfall..   If you go for 2300 a day you could have a 500 cal breakfast, 600 cal lunch, 700 cal supper and still have space for 500 cals worth of healthy snacks on top.  If you build your diet around lots of wholegrains, fresh fruit and veg and lean meat/fish/beans and some of the healthy fats... nuts, avocados, olive oils...  then you'll feel very well-fed on this amount but you'll still lose weight steadily and safely.  

Also... and I think this is worth stressing... if you don't starve to lose weight you are a lot less likely to pile it all back on in the near future.    I know how easy it is to desperately want to lose the weight fast because I've been there - several times.... but take a deep breath, go the sensible route and you won't regret it.

gi-jane is offering sound advice here bemond. I think most of us had the same problem regarding eating habits. This is why we became the way we are (or were as the case may be).

You will lose weight as long as you create a deficit in your maintenance weight. You are clearly doing a lot of exercise so that creates a clear deficit alone. Increase your intake and ensure that is healthy and well balanced. You will continue to lose weight. What we all need to do is change our lifestyles so that it is a healthy balanced one. This means eating carbs as well all other foods, but at the moment to lose weight reduce it a little.

Your body requires all elements to be healthy. My problem in the past was that I was having too much of certain types of food and not enough of others.

As gi-jane says log things on CC to get a more accurate picture of calorie intake. Use it to plan the days food out. Congratulations on the weight loss so far and good luck with the rest!

#7  
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Hi Abunaimah,

Thanks for this. Very true what you and GI Jane said. I realize I need to eat also as well as doing the exercise but it's still a bit hard for me, as I said, after so many years when I just ate without any kind of control and just let my waistband expand.

Today, I had an orange, then went to the hotel next door for breakfast -- an omelet, two chicken sausages, a spoonful of fried rice -- and a coffee. Before, I would have plowed through everything and then had seconds, but it was enough even though it was half of what I used to eat.

Walked about 1/2 a kilometer to my meeting, had a couple of coffees, played tennis for an hour at three and then had a piece of rye bread with a spoon of peanut butter for a very late lunch at 5.

And then at 6 I played another hour of tennis with a coach.

We had dinner -- veggie Indian food, just some dal, veg biryani, saag paneer -- about two spoonfuls of each, with raw spinach and tomatoes. It's not mango season right now, but we managed to get some, so may have a piece of two later.

I feel fine, and not stuffed at all.

Again, greetings from Jakarta, and you keep up the good work -- you look great after losing all that weight.

 

Make sure your diet is balanced and that you are consuming enough calories, and if your body is craving a little brown rice, eat it! It's healthy and filling. Just watch your portion.

 

You may want to take a multi vitamin.

Original Post by bemond:

Hi Abunaimah,

Thanks for this. Very true what you and GI Jane said. I realize I need to eat also as well as doing the exercise but it's still a bit hard for me, as I said, after so many years when I just ate without any kind of control and just let my waistband expand.

Today, I had an orange, then went to the hotel next door for breakfast -- an omelet, two chicken sausages, a spoonful of fried rice -- and a coffee. Before, I would have plowed through everything and then had seconds, but it was enough even though it was half of what I used to eat.

Walked about 1/2 a kilometer to my meeting, had a couple of coffees, played tennis for an hour at three and then had a piece of rye bread with a spoon of peanut butter for a very late lunch at 5.

And then at 6 I played another hour of tennis with a coach.

We had dinner -- veggie Indian food, just some dal, veg biryani, saag paneer -- about two spoonfuls of each, with raw spinach and tomatoes. It's not mango season right now, but we managed to get some, so may have a piece of two later.

I feel fine, and not stuffed at all.

Again, greetings from Jakarta, and you keep up the good work -- you look great after losing all that weight.

 

I love Indian food myself and do want to caution that while of course, Indian food in moderation is fine and a-okay, be careful because some of it is absolutely wretched for you.  Naans, papadums, and any curry with cream (chicken tikka masala how I miss you) and you can easily wrack up over 2k calories in one meal.  Even the rice is over 300 cal per serving.

Not knowing if you're eating enough or not, I do want to comment on rice.  A lot of us are taught to avoid the "empty" calories until we are so afraid of them.  However, fueling for exercise-and you seem to need a lot of fuel- is different.  I don't eat rice every day but I keep it around because sometimes I need 200 calorie side dishes. 

You don't want to lower your metabolism or get injured because of this "race" to lose weight.  You also don't want to lie vulnerable to binge-ing due to feeling too hungry.  That's a real risk. 

 

Original Post by bemond:

 

Hi Abunaimah,

Thanks for this. Very true what you and GI Jane said. I realize I need to eat also as well as doing the exercise but it's still a bit hard for me, as I said, after so many years when I just ate without any kind of control and just let my waistband expand.

Today, I had an orange, then went to the hotel next door for breakfast -- an omelet, two chicken sausages, a spoonful of fried rice -- and a coffee. Before, I would have plowed through everything and then had seconds, but it was enough even though it was half of what I used to eat.

Walked about 1/2 a kilometer to my meeting, had a couple of coffees, played tennis for an hour at three and then had a piece of rye bread with a spoon of peanut butter for a very late lunch at 5.

And then at 6 I played another hour of tennis with a coach.

We had dinner -- veggie Indian food, just some dal, veg biryani, saag paneer -- about two spoonfuls of each, with raw spinach and tomatoes. It's not mango season right now, but we managed to get some, so may have a piece of two later.

I feel fine, and not stuffed at all.

Again, greetings from Jakarta, and you keep up the good work -- you look great after losing all that weight.

 

I totally identify with your situation. Its how I put on a lot of weight too. Lack of control, lack of exercise and all the rest :)

Yum, the food you describe sounds great! Just want to comment that indian food in general can be quite a healthy option. This does depend on where you get it. If you prepare it home (my wife is an excellent cook), you can ensure it is healthy.

Here in the UK the restaurants do not cook as we do at home. The dishes are created so that they are easy to prepare. For example when they cook the chicken, they will prepare the chicken well in advance and then put it into whatever curry it is needed for. All the dishes are far too oily. The stuff we cook at home is less like that, the curries are cooked from scratch and therefore are far tastier.

Anyway a place like Jakarta you are likely to get better quality curries. Mangoes have arrived in London - the ones we tend to buy are from Pakistan and they are nice and sweet but nothing like having it fresh and ripe from the tree. Enjoy!

Finally I wanted to say that before I started logging on CC I didn't realise I wasn't eating enough. I was quite satisfied at 1200 calories! The first day I logged it I was surprised at how low it was. Soon after this I had my first plateau but I had already upped my calories by then. Logging is very useful. If you eat too little you will hit plateaus at some point. So I do recommend logging on CC.

I just wish I did as much exercise as you - I am impressed by CC members as they do quite a lot. Good luck!

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