eat real food



One of the issues I’ve been having with “dieting” lately is feeling deprived. I don’t mean the “I’m denying myself food” kind of deprived. More of the, I’m not eating smart and it’s leaving me feeling unsatisfied and hungry. I wrote about this a little while ago and talked about eating more protein and healthy fats. While I do that most of the time, I find that Monday-Friday I pack my food with calories in mind. I have breakfast at home, then bring a morning snack to work (usually fruit) then I have a low calorie lunch and if it’s a gym day I have an afternoon snack.

This has left me feeling low-energy, cranky, irritable, moody AND HUNGRY. I think Michael got sick of hearing me complain about being hungry all the time so he asked me if I’d be willing to try eating “his diet” for awhile. I said maybe. I feel pretty stuck in my ways, honestly. Eating low calorie foods. I’ve gone back to eating soup or Lean Cuisine type lunches at work that never really stick with me too long. BUT they were portion controlled and I knew how many calories I was eating. Besides, it worked for me 8 years ago, right?!? So why isn’t it working now?

Probably because I’m used to eating more. After I reached goal weight and spent 6.5 years in maintenance mode, I was used to eating a little bit more. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, really. Maybe lose that fluctuation I saw but it was never more than 5 pounds.

Also, my activity level is way different NOW than it was 8 years ago when I first started working out AND of course doing 30 minutes of swimming was going to shock my body into losing a lot of weight because it wasn’t used to activity like that. Now? After 8 years of having a fairly intense workout regiment, my body is used to this. So losing is harder.

It’s not that I was unwilling to give Michael’s ideas a try, it’s really just that I can’t let go of the calorie counting. IT WORKED. For a long time. It’s easy, I know how to do it. It’s become a habit that is part of my normal every day routine. He was asking me to ignore counting calories for awhile while I just focused on eating a high protein, healthy diet of whole foods.

Sounds good in theory right?! But ignoring calories is how I gained 15 pounds on my honeymoon. That and the daily pina coladas and Bloody Mary’s… 😉

Anyways, I decided to give it a try. I was definitely in a food rut so it couldn’t hurt, right? Plus I was tired of feeling tired, hungry, cranky and unsatisfied during the week from a too-low calorie intake. (Which would inevitably lead to me eating crap at work.)



I picked up some ground chicken at the store. It came in a tube, like the breakfast sausages (think Jimmy Dean sausage). It was made of chicken thigh and breast meat and didn’t have a bunch of weird ingredients in it. I cooked it up in a skillet with grapeseed oil and some chopped onions. It cooked up exactly like lean ground turkey meat. The color, consistency and taste was pretty close to turkey, too.


The package of ground chicken had 4 servings in it, each serving 140 calories. I was getting a little more like 5 or 5.5 servings out of what I cooked up. I added some of the ground chicken to two scrambled eggs and topped it with hot sauce. It was a low calorie, high protein and VERY filling breakfast.

CALORIES: 365 total (that number includes my cup of coffee with creamer in it).


So during the week I had two different kinds of lunches: the gym days and non-gym days. Non-gym days didn’t have carbs. An example of a lunch for non-gym days was lettuce with low-calorie dressing and a fillet of blackened salmon. (Salmon blackening below, the ground chicken for breakfasts on the right.)


CALORIES: Around 400 calories (for the salad, salmon and dressing).

Gym days: Michael made me this crazy delicious salad for gym days. It was quinoa, chickpeas, kale, carrots and chicken with pesto. Having carbs on gym days was required. This was the second week of food prep:

Carrots, blanched kale, chopped red cabbage, chopped pickled beets. The quinoa was cooking, the chicken was baking. The second week Michael skipped the chickpeas and added raw spinach to the salad and I added some raw peppers. It’s a delicious salad!


This hasn’t changed much. A protein and a vegetable.

One dinner Michael made was a burger with a piece of bacon on top of a bed of lettuce with a fried egg on top, topped with some hot sauce. Talk about protein! It was absolutely delicious and filling, despite lacking any carbs.



I was still sticking with the fruit for snacks at work. Pre-gym snacks were either pre-packaged servings of hummus from Costco (they are 150 calories) with veggies or plain Greek yogurt with some fruit in it.


This is where I fall short. The sugar. I am trying REALLY hard not to indulge in candy at work and trying to skip the desserts at home. Protein shakes are dessert on gym days. This is also beneficial for days I lift weights. 🙂

Will it Work?

I’m on week 2 of this diet, with a few slip-ups due to the holidays and parties. I am trying not to beat myself up over that because for most of the week I was doing well and sticking with it. I was also limiting my sugar successfully! That’s a huge thing for me. Right now I am just trying to get through the next two weeks of holiday foods and festivities and hopefully I’ll start to see some real progress in January.

Anyways, I wanted to share some of the foods I’ve been eating lately because it’s been really delicious and satisfying. So much more so than frozen meals…

Foodist Giveaway – CLOSED

I was asked to review the new book, Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting by Darya Pino Rose, Ph.D. I said yes immediately because it sounded like the type of book I would want to read. I’m less interested in reading books about diet fads and more into the science behind healthy eating.


The book was written by the blogger behind SummerTomato. I hadn’t read her blog before I received the book and went into it thinking I was reading a book written by a doctor who specializes in nutrition. I was impressed with how easy to read it was and then realized, OH! It’s written by a blogger!


“How horrible would it be if, in order to look and feel amazing, you had to deprive yourself of foods you love for the rest of your life, skipping birthday cake and Michelin-rated restaurants, just so can feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror? Seriously, screw that. [pg 4]”

That is exactly why I live my life in moderation! I WANT my birthday cake! 🙂

“Chronic dieters believe that success comes from sacrifice. [pg 5]”

I learned pretty early on that I would not be successful if I was sacrificing everything I loved. I didn’t want to eat a diet of iceburg lettuce with no dressing and plain chicken breast with no flavor! If we change our mindset from dieting to learning to live healthy, I think we’ll all be more successful. I appreciated the author’s real-life suggestions.

“Foodists do not diet. Modern weight-loss diets are temporary eating plans that emphasize  single nutrients and restriction over real food and lifelong habits. Foodists, in contrast, focus on real, high-quality foods in order to optimize our quality of life. [pg 10]”

She called herself a “Foodist” and I liked the term. Basically it meant that she ate real food and focused on healthy choices, without severe restriction.

There were parts of the book that felt like I was reading a blog post. The subjects were things like: 9 Surefire Ways to Sabotage Your Weight Loss [pg 22], 10 Simple Ways to Eat Less Without Noticing [pg41], 10 Simple Goals to Get you Started Eating Healthy [pg108]. But they did have useful advice.


She talks about how to build successful habits and she suggests choosing simple, specific goals. “For example, ‘Eat more vegetables’ is a less useful goal than ‘Eat green vegetables every day with lunch and dinner.’ These clear goals are effective because there is no wiggle room. [pg 49]” YES! Make specific goals! It’s crucial to success!

Mid-way through the book she had a chart that listed the sugar content for a lot of popular items for comparison. I was completely blown away. I was so shocked by this and I think you will be too:

Krispy Kreme original glazed donut – 10 grams of sugar

Yoplait Yogurt – 27 grams of sugar

Odwalla Superfood, 15 oz – 50 grams of sugar

Seriously?!?! A Krispy Kreme donut is a healthier choice than Yoplait? That is kind of sad if you think about it. It just goes to show you how much junk is in processed food.

“Have a weakness for after dinner snacks? Maybe you’re not eating a satisfying enough meal, or maybe a difficult family situation or school work procrastination is triggering you to eat more than you need. [pg 95]”

The above quote from the book really hit home for me. I wondered about my own routines and habits. I often get the munchies after dinner is over. Why? Do I need to take a look at what I’m eating? Do I need more carbs or protein in my dinner to sustain me? It’s something I need to look into.

“Once you’ve grown accustomed to vegetables and healthy food as the basis of your healthstyle, it becomes very uncomfortable to go for many days without them. I’ve noticed that if I eat in restaurants for too many meals in a row…I’ll start to crave vegetables and salads…[pg202]”

YES! This is totally me. I am so used to having veggies with every single dinner that if I don’t, the dinner feels incomplete. I am totally that person that will make a salad or heat up some green beans to go along with my slice of pizza. That chapter of her book talked about creating healthy habits and I am living proof that you CAN change your habits for the better and they will become your norm.

While I enjoyed the book, I wouldn’t say it’s really for me. I already lost my weight and I’ve kept it off for 5 years. I think this book is more geared toward the person just starting out or contemplating losing weight. In that case, this book is an excellent starting point and I recommend it to anyone interested in losing weight.

I get to give away one copy of the book to a US/Canadian citizen. To enter, follow the instructions below!


1. Leave a comment here about anything related to this topic.

2. Tweet “I want to lose weight in a healthy way with @lisaeirene” and leave a comment here telling me you did.

3. Join my Facebook group and leave a comment here telling me you did.

You can enter three times. I will pick a winner on Friday, May 24th. Good luck!