diet foods

Reducing My Calories – Part 1

I want to preface this post with sort of a disclaimer. When I was losing 100 pounds I reduced my calories a lot, but never this low. Going from eating 5,000+ calories a day to under 2,000 calories a day is a pretty big jump. It was a drastic change for my lifestyle and my body. But it was a healthy drastic change.

I got used to eating around 2,000 calories a day and for the year and a half that I was losing weight I was striving to eating between 1600-1800 calories a day. Sometimes I ate back the calories I burned in the gym, sometimes I didn’t and created a bigger deficit. I was writing it down by hand in a journal and just adding my calories that way. It worked for me.

Fast forward a few years after maintaining my weight, I started using an iPhone app to track my calories. I maintained the 110 pound weight loss for 6 years. What I was doing was working. Now here comes the disclaimer. I firmly believe that eating 1200 calories a day is the most bottom number you can consume before it becomes dangerous. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist and you should definitely talk to a professional before doing something drastic.

I can’t say I’m excited about reducing my calories so much because of that. I don’t want to screw up my metabolism, or cause secondary issues (like immune problems or injury–which can happen if you don’t eat enough calories). As a result of these potential issues, I’m not going to be doing this super-low calorie diet for an extended period of time. My HOPE is that doing it for a week or two, maybe 3 tops will jump-start my body into losing weight.

The nutritionist I spoke to suggested I experiment with caloric intake–higher calories AND lower calories–and see what helps. Sometimes your body just gets STUCK and you need to wake it back up. Here is the food diary I have for the first week of trying this.
1

Day One

Breakfast: My breakfasts are usually pretty good and I don’t feel the need to change them up too much. What I’m doing has worked for the most part and keeps me full for a long time. Breakfast this day was 2 fried eggs, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, black coffee with creamer, and an EmergenC drink. Calories: 342

Snack: String Cheese, hot mint tea. Calories: 80

Lunch: I wasn’t quite prepared for lunches this week so the first day of the “diet” (i.e. lower calorie days) wasn’t the best. I kind of threw things together at the last minute. Lunch was a Chocolate Whey protein shake, medium sized banana, and sugar snap peas. Calories: 256

Dinner: Michael was famished after biking to work and needed a lot more calories than I did. I ended up having some leftover rice, a veggie burger, and steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing. Calories: 530

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Dessert: For dessert I had some chocolate pudding. Calories: 180

Total Calories for the day: 1456

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It was a pretty good food day, even being a little higher than 1300.

2

Day Two

This is a gym day and I wanted to eat a little bit more calories on this day in order to work out and not hurt myself.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 1 English Muffin toasted with cinnamon and splenda, black coffee with creamer, unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 362

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70

Lunch: I had some Carrot Ginger Soup, snap peas, raw red and orange peppers with a little salad dressing for dipping. Calories: 220

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries. Calories: 110

Dinner: I was doing really well and then it was Cinco de Mayo…I got home from the gym and Michael had made guacamole (which I love and have a hard time resisting). Dinner was 4 ounces of grilled flank steak on top of a salad with sauteed peppers and onions. I had some guacamole and chips, and topped it with a little sour cream. Calories: 790

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Total Calories for the day: 1622. A little higher than I wanted to shoot for but still less than what was my old “norm”.

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Calories burned: I did the elliptical at the gym and burned 374 calories.

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3

Day Three

Breakfast: Trader Joe’s oatmeal with some brown sugar and dried coconut, coffee with creamer, unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 308

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70

Lunch: Carrot Ginger Soup and a chocolate protein shake. Calories: 240

Snack: Trader Joe’s Cottage cheese. Calories: 90

Dinner: Salad with raw yellow and orange peppers, carrots, 5 ounces of baked chicken breast, Gorgonzola cheese and Buffalo Sauce. Calories: 433

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Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries, chocolate chips and dried coconut flakes. Calories: 182

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Total Calories for the day: 1424

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Calories burned: 604

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Day Four

This day was not my best day. I did well until I got home from swimming. I was so freaking hungry I ended up snacking on some tortilla chips while I was cooking dinner. I ended up going over my calories for the day. I’m disappointed but I’m trying not to let it derail me.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, cottage cheese, coffee with creamer and plain iced tea. Calories: 342

Snack: Apple. Calories: 80

Lunch: Carrot Ginger Soup, sugar snap peas and a string cheese. Calories: 231

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, dried coconut flakes.  Calories: 135

Dinner: Spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, couscous and steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing. Calories: 730

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Calories burned: Went swimming and burned around 300 calories.

Dessert: Fun sized peanut butter snickers. Calories: 130

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Total Calories for the day: 1725. Too many! Went over my calories today. 🙁

Day-5

Day Five

Breakfast: English muffin with cinnamon and a little splenda, cantaloupe, half a serving of cottage cheese and coffee with creamer. Calories: 300

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Lunch: Steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing, leftover couscous, and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shui Mai. Calories: 388

This day is incomplete because I didn’t track my calories for dinner. It was Mother’s Day.

Calories burned: Went for a run and burned 443 calories. Then did yard work and burned a little over 200. 645 calories. 

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day-6

Day Six

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 338

Snack: Cantaloupe.  Calories: 56

Lunch: Salad with dressing and two slices of turkey deli meat, celery and baby carrots with guacamole. Calories: 249

Dinner: Couscous, spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, steamed and sauteed Brussels sprouts. Calories: 600

Dessert: strawberries and some chocolate. Calories: 120

Total Calories for the day: 1472

Calories burned: Around 80

The verdict: This first week I lost 1 pound! Stay tuned for next week!

Healthy Weight Cat


One of my kitties, whom I refer to as Fat Kitty on this blog, has a bit of a weight problem. He’s always been kind of a big cat. He’s really long and muscular but over the years he’s gotten a little tubby, too. The weight gain started when I got Maya as a kitten. I was feeding her kitten food (i.e. super fatty food) and Fat Kitty decided he wanted to eat it, too. He’s the love of my life and I worry about his health. I’ve tried many times to put him on a diet, to no avail. I’ve never seen any weight loss. Look at how cute he is–and how TINY he was as a kitten!

The other night I was feeding the cats dinner, Healthy Weight food from Costco. Fat Kitty was jumping up and down with excitement. DINNER! FOOD! FEED ME! FEED ME! MEOW!

Seeing the bag of food, it got me thinking. It doesn’t matter if it’s DIET food, if Fat Kitty devours the entire bowl in two seconds and wants more, it’s not going to help him lose weight. And that’s his problem. I may measure out the diet food, but he scarfs it down as fast as he can.

This goes for us, as well. We can think we’re doing well, eating right, but if the portions are out of control there won’t be any weight loss. Watching Fat Kitty snarf down the food reminded me of how important it is to watch portions, eat slower and pay attention to whether or not I’m actually hungry–not just whether there is food right in front of me.

My biggest problem has always been portion control. That’s hard for me. In the beginning, it was because I didn’t know what a serving size was. It sounds really simple, but I just didn’t know. (Why didn’t they teach us this stuff in health class? When I was in school and had to take health, we learned stupid crap I don’t even remember. Why didn’t they teach us what a calorie is, how many calories a day we should be eating, what a portion size is??)

I still struggle with portion control on occasion. Every so often I go back to measuring out my food. It’s a good reminder of what a portion actually is. Sure, eating plain Greek yogurt for a snack is a healthy option, but if I’m REALLY eating 2 portions of it and not counting it that way, the scale will most definitely reflect it. We may lie to ourselves about how many calories we are eating, but the scale will be honest. Always.

Am I tasting my food?

Am I enjoying my food?

Am I savoring each bite?

As for Fat Kitty…I’m trying to teach him portion control (meaning, he eats breakfast and dinner only–which means I have to be strong and not give in to his whining for more food). I’m also trying to get him to slow down while he eats (I try to distract him in between gobbles).

QUESTION: Are you eating a lot of “diet” foods currently? Has this helped you with portion control or hindered you?