Reducing My Calories – Part 3

Here is Part 3 of the series. It’s for last week (the week before I went on vacation) so my hope is that I make some progress before I leave and that I don’t do too much damage while on vacation!

Day One

Breakfast: Cereal with milk, toast, unsweetened iced tea and coffee with creamer. Calories: 359

Snack: Blueberries. Calories: 83

Lunch: Homemade tuna salad (with curry powder and lite craisins) with celery and baby carrots. Small piece of chocolate. Calories: 261

Snack: Whey chocolate protein shake. Calories: 100 

Dinner: Baked tilapia with Brussels Sprouts and quinoa. Calories: 430


Dessert: 2 small Butterfinger minis and half a glass of milk. Calories: 151

Fitness: It was a rest day but I did a lot of walking!


Day Two

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

Snack: Green grapes. Calories: 92

Lunch: I made 2 ham wraps with Swiss cheese, a little mayo and mustard, kale and spinach and then guacamole with celery and carrots. I kind of loved this lunch! It was delicious and low calories and very filling. 1 piece of chocolate. Calories: 334


Snack: Pre-swim snack of plain Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries: Calories: 111

Dinner: Quinoa, Brussels sprouts and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai with some sriracha. I was SO hungry after swimming and needed something fast. Calories: 480


Dessert: Half a glass of milk and 2 mini Butterfinger bars. Calories: 158

It was a really decent day.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, piece of toast with some jelly (my homemade jalapeno jelly), unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 345

Snack: Green grapes. Calories: 92

Lunch: Homemade tuna salad with sliced cucumber and a Laughing Cow cheese wedge. This lunch was not quite filling enough for me. Calories: 261

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with blueberries. Calories: 111

Dinner: I was really craving a grilled cheese sandwich so that’s what I had! I made a salad with kale and Swiss chard and spinach with a piece of bacon crumbled, cucumber, tomatoes and Caesar dressing. Calories: 509


Dessert: Fun size Butterfinger and glass of milk. Calories: 240

Exercise: Did a walk during my lunch break and then went to the gym where I did some weight lifting and the elliptical. My back was really cranky at the gym so I quit early.



It was an ok day. Could have done better.


Breakfast: Rice Krispie cereal with milk, piece of toast with jalapeno jelly, unsweetened iced tea and coffee with creamer. Calories: 396

Snack: Green grapes. Calories: 92

Lunch: Back with my new favorite lunch! The ham and cheese roll up with spinach and guacamole and cucumber slices. Calories: 290

Dinner: Quinoa, bratwurst, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing and sauteed onions. It was a kind of “throw everything together” kind of dinner. Calories: 570


Exercise: Just walking, it was a rest day.

I went over my calories for the day and I was disappointed but there was a small victory–I really wanted a glass of wine with dinner but I refrained. It was either have quinoa with dinner or the glass of wine but not both and I made the decision to eat instead. Aw well, I was still a little over for the day but it wasn’t too bad.


Breakfast: Chocolate Whey protein shake on the way to the airport! I see a bagel or sandwich and coffee in my future.


I have some ideas for meals and snacks for when I get home from vacation. I think they will be helpful. Question for you readers: is this of interest to you guys? I don’t usually post food diary type posts and only intended on doing this for a few weeks but as I make progress I think I will continue what I’m doing. Do you guys want some more food diary type posts? Maybe not weekly but on a semi regular basis?


Recently I had a phone appointment with a nutritionist. My doctor thought it might help me with my stalled weight loss. I gave her the short version of my weight loss history, how I lost the weight the first time and gave her samples of some recent day’s eating. I also told her my typical workout schedule.

She was really nice but the whole thing was kind of disappointing. After I read her four days worth of my food and exercise to give her examples, she was silent. After a long pause, she said, “Um…..I don’t really have any suggestions for you….”


She went on to say that I’m already doing “everything right.” She said that my food choices are good and healthy. She liked how much protein and vegetables I get in my daily diet. She asked me about micronutrients and I told her what MyFitnessPal recorded…she said that my carb intake was decent. She said she didn’t really recommend eating less carbohydrates that what I currently eat because I’m at a good number on average.

“Based on estimated needs and reported intake pt should be able to lose some weight if she is consistent with this intake. Diet is well balanced with a lot of fiber, protein and vegetables. Moderate portions of carbohydrates. Unclear why she isn’t losing weight. Suspect she may need to aim for lower end of range ~1600/day most days.

Anthropometric data – BMI is ~25 with reported weight.

Activity – Pt is active 5-6 days/wk.”

The only suggestion she had was to try experimenting with my calories. She suggested that I try to cut my calories down to 1600 for a few weeks, and if I don’t see any progress then I should experiment with eating MORE calories to see if that changes anything.

“Options to consider discussed with patient: Discussed the option of experimenting with calorie intake. Try a couple weeks or more of upper end of range and a couple weeks of lower end. Says she already tried lower end. Discussed different macronutrient distributions for weight loss. She could try focusing on more balance with meals, especially dinner having a starch with every meal.”

She recommended adding brown rice to my dinners. Michael and I don’t eat a lot of “carby” things…Like we rarely eat pasta and eat rice maybe once or twice a month. If I eat those things they are usually in a Lean Cuisine at lunchtime. I do like rice a lot, so I’m okay with adding that back into dinners. We used to eat yams and sweet potatoes with dinner but haven’t done that in years, either. I started eating them again with lunches and I’ve enjoyed that.

She tried to be helpful, but wasn’t really. 🙁 It’s not like I was expecting a miracle or a magic pill but it was disappointing to hear that “you’re doing everything right, you should be losing weight” when you AREN’T losing…She suggested I use the “plate method”:


I don’t know that I agree with the above photo. I think the milk and dinner roll are unnecessary calories. Especially if you are already having a carb (like rice or pasta) on your plate. I like how large the serving of veggies is in this photo:


And if I’m going to add dairy to the plate as they suggest, I would rather it be cottage cheese.

I told Michael about the phone appointment and he said that maybe this is where my body is going to be just naturally. It’s very sweet of him to say that but I am frustrated about it. And to have my doctor and the nutritionist dismiss my concerns with “well you are getting older” seems like BS to me. That’s not an okay excuse. Being older does NOT mean you can’t lose weight. I refuse to accept that as the “answer” and to just give up. I am not giving up.

Then I got sick and took a big break from working out, and the back injury made my fitness levels pretty low already (just swimming and the elliptical). Taking prednisone for a week added about 3 pounds to my number. I weighed myself last week and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. But it was still not a good number for me.

After all of these setbacks I’ve decided to try and reduce my calories a lot more than I ever did when I was losing weight the first time. At the very least, my hope is that it will jump-start my body into losing weight again.

I started to analyze my behaviors and I came to the conclusion that using My Fitness Pal I was eating back a lot (if not most) of the calories I was burning in the gym. I think it is entirely mental, too. I would see the green “calories remaining” and think OOOH I can eat a little bit more today because I worked out! Here is an example of a few days:


mfp3 mfp2

Since I’ve been sick and not working out as much this isn’t the best reflection of how my calories usually go but it’s close. I TRY and have 150-250 calories left over after gym days but many days I can’t. I just don’t make that benchmark and I wish I could. But analyzing it I started to wonder if it was mental. I see the “Green Light” and think I have more calories to eat and eat them back. I need to be creating a deficit otherwise I just maintain (which is where I have been for months). I’m not really gaining but I’m not losing either.

So I changed the settings in My Fitness Pal to “lose 2 pounds per week”. I know I won’t lose 2 pounds per week, but it reduced my caloric goal each day from 1510 to 1230. That’s low for me, but I’m going to try it for a few weeks and see if it helps. I don’t know yet if I still need to create a deficit–or if simply reducing my calories to 1230 each day will kick my body into losing mode. I am going to experiment and I will let you know!

For now…I am trying to get the most nutritious and filling food into that calorie goal.