May 262015
 

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I really appreciate all the tips and ideas that people left on my post about reducing my calorie intake. There were a lot of good ideas that I’m taking into consideration. Lori from Finding Radiance left me this comment:

“I hear you. I can’t do the 1200 calories, either. That is what I am supposed to eat to lose 1 pound a week according to MFP – can you believe that? I just shoot for 1500 calories and only eat back some of my exercise calories on long ride days. It’s slow going, but working. It is also a point to consider about trying to maintain where you are. You may not mentally be happy with that, but your body might be. It could end up not being worth what it takes to get and *stay* at a lower weight now.”

She made a good point about how maybe my body is just where it’s going to be. I have been unhappy with where it’s at for months now. I’d gained 15 pounds and was struggling to lose it again. I’d lost about 5 of it, then gained it back. I had a lot of setbacks (several injuries, sickness, a dose of prednisone, some monkey-ing with medications that caused some weight gain) and was feeling very deflated about it.

Even though it was “only” 15 pounds, it felt significant to me. Clothes weren’t fitting properly anymore. The weather was getting nicer and I was preparing for a mini-vacation in Arizona and brought out all my shorts and tank tops and…nothing fit. Like at all. I had to go buy practically an entire new wardrobe and it depressed me. There were tears.

I went from a size 4 or 6 in shorts to a size 8. The small tank tops are now a medium. I was very unhappy about this and became determined to get it under control. Sure I wasn’t still GAINING weight but I wasn’t LOSING either.

This MIGHT be where my body is comfortable and just stuck. Perhaps. But I am willing to give it a try to see if I can change that. Even if I can only lose 5 of those 15 pounds I know it will make me a little but happier about my body than where I am currently at.

I told Michael about my plan to reduce my calories. He wasn’t very happy with the restriction and he was very sweet, saying, “I hope you know that you don’t have to lose weight for me.” It was unnecessary for him to say but it was good to hear nonetheless.

Reflections and Goals

I went into this restriction with some trepidation but I was feeling determined and wanted to do it right. Sure I was reducing my calories quite a bit, but I wanted to make what calories I ate SMART calories. The portion-controlled guacamole was a good idea on my part. Sure I wasn’t happy about it being processed but like I said, it was portion controlled and pairing it with some celery was the perfect snack that filled me up.

I experimented with changing up my breakfasts and eating foods that were higher in protein (more filling) like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and oatmeal. I tried my best to avoid eating frozen lunches and tried to eat real food instead. Baked chicken, salads, soups, etc. It wasn’t 100% but I did okay with this goal.

I tried to limit alcohol intake to Friday/Saturday nights only and only 1 glass. I also tried to be better about the dessert I ate: not eating it every night and making better choices (like a piece of chocolate with strawberries instead of high calorie junk). I also had fruit as dessert many times (this is easy for me to do when it’s berry season!)

I’m kind of sick of salads. I love salad and eat a lot of it, but it was becoming my lunch or dinner norm and I burned out on it.

Food prep is time consuming but VERY NECESSARY. Sure it takes a long time but spending an hour prepping the veggies for the week has saved me so much time and on evenings when I’m tired and hungry having that stuff already prepped helps me make better choices.

Tilapia! I re-discovered tilapia. We used to eat it frequently (usually as fish tacos) but then stopped and I don’t know why because it’s a great fish to eat when trying to lose weight. It’s about half the calories of salmon and is a good choice for low-calorie lunches or to pair it with some rice or quinoa for dinner.

I went back to measuring my portions. I’ve written about this topic a lot because you can track your food and do everything “right” but if you aren’t REALLY measuring your food you have no idea how many calories you’re taking in. I measured portions diligently to lose weight and then periodically throughout my 6+ years of maintenance I would go back to measuring. Basically to “check in” and remind myself what a portion was. It’s easy to slip back in bad habits.

I think this was part of my problem this past year. I was eye-balling portions because I’d done it for so long and “knew” what a serving was. But in reality, things were a little off. Clearly! The biggest shocker? I made a bunch of quinoa for lunches and dinners and measured out a serving using my food scale and my eyes bugged out of my head. Wait, what? THAT’S 200 calories worth of quinoa?!? Holy cow, I was eating twice that! For a long time. It was a good wake up call and a good reminder that I had slipped back into lazy habits. Read these old posts for more insight:

What’s REALLY a Serving Size?

C is for Calories

M is for Measuring Mistakes

How to Count Calories

Counting Calories and Serving Sizes

So I’m back to measuring almost everything. I use the food scale primarily because sometimes you can’t trust the label. Remember this post I wrote about misleading labels? If not, read it now. You will be shocked and want to immediately buy a food scale.

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Progress

I was making progress that first week and that boosted my motivation. Seeing immediately changes like losing 1 pound after a week of the new diet made me feel better about what I was doing. Before I felt like I was denying myself things I wanted, restricting, but not seeing ANY CHANGE on the scale. That SUCKS.

Week 1 of the diet: lost 1 pound

Week 2 of the diet: lost .6 pounds

Week 3: lost .4 pounds

I’m going to continue what I am currently doing for a little while longer and see if it keeps working. I don’t know that I can reduce my calories any lower, so this is it. Stay tuned!

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May 192015
 

I was able to do a ton of food prep in preparation for this week. I got some celery and sliced it up, then measured out 2 ounces of celery into snack-sized ziplock bags with some baby carrots. I made 5 bags for the workweek and I also picked up some pre-measured guacamole. I’m not usually a fan of this type of thing–I’d much rather have homemade (and nothing compares to Michael’s guacamole–it’s out of this world good) but I wanted something that was portion controlled and honestly, something with preservatives (gross) so it wouldn’t go bad too fast.

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Here is week two of reducing my calories. Like last week, my goal isn’t necessary to hit “1300” or less calories. But my goal is to reduce my calories more than what I was doing before, including HOPEFULLY not eating back all the calories I burn at the gym.

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Day One

Breakfast: Plain Greek Yogurt with sliced strawberries and some coconut flakes, half an English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, EmergenC drink, and coffee with creamer. Calories: 290

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Snack: Apple and some tea. Calories: 70

Lunch: Lean Cuisine lasagna and a piece of chocolate. Calories: 365

Snack: Wholly Guacamole with celery and carrots. Pre-gym snack. Loving this combo lately! It’s tasty and filling! Calories: 110

Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, broccoli, Craisins, light Caesar dressing, pan-seared tilapia, some tortilla chips with spinach dip. Calories: 621

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Dessert: Cantaloupe. Calories: 34

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Day Two

Breakfast: This breakfast did not work well for me. I thought it would be enough food but it really wasn’t and I was hungry within 2 hours. :( I had a grapefruit, the other half of the English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, coffee with creamer and unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 292

Snack: String cheese and hot tea. Calories: 80

Lunch: Salad with tomatoes and light raspberry vinaigrette dressing, half a blackened salmon fillet, small piece of chocolate. Calories: 285

Snack: Wholly Guacamole with celery and carrots and some crackers. Pre-gym snack. Calories: 210

Dinner: Boneless pork chop, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing and Michael’s amazing red potatoes (boiled and then sauteed with onions, garlic, rosemary and thyme). Calories: 470

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Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with strawberries, dried coconut flakes and some chocolate chips. Calories: 187

Gym: Warmed up on the spin bike, did some weight lifting and my PT exercises, then the elliptical.

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Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, leftover red potatoes from the previous night’s dinner, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 272

Snack: Apple with tea. Calories: 70

Lunch: The rest of the blackened salmon (half a fillet), one serving of quinoa. No idea why the quinoa looks green in this photo, I assure you it’s not! LOL Calories: 337

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Snack: String cheese. Calories: 80

Dinner: I saw a friend and then ran some errands and ending up getting home later than I was planning on. I needed something quick and easy! I had some chili with sour cream and tortilla chips, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing on the side. Calories: 640

Dessert: Fun sized Snickers bar. Calories: 90

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

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day-4

Breakfast: Trader Joe’s oatmeal with a little brown sugar, coconut flakes and some protein powder, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 358

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70 

Lunch: Two turkey slices made into wraps with a little mayo, mustard, spinach and Craisins. Guacamole with celery and carrots. Calories: 259

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Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with strawberry slices and coconut flakes. Pre-swim  snack. Calories: 129

Dinner: Papa Murphy’s DeLite pizza and two glasses of wine.  Calories: 694

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Exercise: I went for a swim and burned roughly 300 calories. Plus I did a bunch of walking during the day. Day-5

Breakfast: Saturday morning I had a grapefruit and and English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, a small glass of milk and coffee with creamer. Calories: 392

Lunch: Chili with sour cream and some tortilla chips. Calories: 417

Snack: Had a few bites of Michael’s popcorn at the movies (we saw the Avengers!) and had to estimate on the calories. Calories: 190

Dinner: Quinoa with steamed broccoli and Goddess dressing, Michael’s amazing garlic butter shrimp, 1 glass of wine. Calories: 656

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Dessert: Way too much chocolate. :(

Gym: I did some weight lifting and then the elliptical. Burned 577 calories. 

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Not my best day this week… :( The movie theatre popcorn and chocolate for dessert got me. SIGH.day-6

Breakfast: Bowl of Rice Krispies cereal, an English muffin and coffee with creamer. Calories: 389

Lunch: Turkey sandwich with cheese on gluten free bread. Calories: 491

Snack: Blueberries. Calories: 83

Dinner: Homemade burger with cheese on a sandwich thin, pickles and baby carrots and Laughing Cow cheese on the side. One glass of wine. Calories: 636

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Fitness: Went for a 5.72 mile hike. Burned 542 calories.

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Dessert: Some chocolate pudding. Calories: 162

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Stay tuned for next week when I post about my thoughts and weigh-in.

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