Here is a sampling of favorite meals these past few weeks:
I am a creature of habit.
We have a new puppy. Her name is Lulu. I thought Lulu was going to exacerbate my anxiety and cause problems for me and my little bubble of routine. Wrong! The opposite has occurred. This little girl has become a major soother/anti-anxiety component in my life. She is turning me into a morning person. I am so productive and getting so much done. Also, Lulu has given me time to each day, so I added exercise back into my day-to-day routine. All because of a dog that my husband could not live without.
- 0600-0630: I wake up and let Lulu outside.
- 0630-0700: I make and drink my hot green tea with lemon. I do not like eating breakfast before the sun is up and I do not like having food in my stomach when I work out.
- 0700-0800: Sometimes I go back to bed, sometimes I exercise, sometimes I clean, sometimes I play with Lulu and Boomer (my little Papillion mix), sometimes I take my older children to school, sometimes I read, sometimes I watch the news.
- 0800-0900: I get my youngest up and ready for school. I have another cup of hot green tea with lemon. I make sure the dogs are fed and then outside to play.
- 0900-1000: I make sure I have completed my first exercise (T25) by this time. I eat breakfast after I exercise.
- 1000-1100: I do laundry or clean house. I make sure to have a snack.
- 1100-1200: I catch up on my television show (Real Housewives BH/OC) and I do an extra workout routine; typically I go to my local rec center and run on the elliptical.
- 1200-1300: I eat lunch. My lunches consist of salad and protein (chicken, fish, tuna). I also like to eat fruit and/or yogurt with my lunch.
- 1300-1400: I try to rest and take a quick nap. The dogs determine this hour because sometimes I end up playing with them instead.
- 1400-1500: I take my shower and make myself presentable. I make sure I have my big snack (Shakeology) during this time because this is when I get the most difficult cravings.
- 1500-1600: My children start to come home and I spend most of my time herding cats.
- 1600-1700: I start to prep for and begin making dinner.
- 1700-1800: We eat dinner. Dinner varies for me. If I worked out twice that day, I will sometimes eat what the family is eating or I will slightly modify my dinner (for example, yesterday I had two intense workouts, so I ate a hamburger with avocado and an egg, no condiments and sweet potato fries instead of regular fries). It just depends on my mood.
- 1800-2200: I spend time with my family. We tend to relax and unwind by watching our favorite television shows or a movie together. Sometimes we play games. I have a treat, which can range from a couple pieces of chocolate to a small serving of ice cream to a slice of pumpkin pie to a doughnut. I don’t deprive myself but I don’t go crazy either.
* When I am working (I work nights 7:00P to 7:00A twice a week), the only difference is I work out once a day and I do not eat lunch because I am sleeping. I pack a healthy lunch and snacks to take with me to work.
This is life. Of course the schedule varies. But overall, this is my life, my bubble. And I love it.
Cycle 1: Accelerate: Day 1
- Breakfast – strawberry meal replacement shake and I use one cup of TruMoo chocolate milk and one cup of ice in my shake.
- Lunch – turkey sausage, chicken breast, onions, and quinoa with steamed cauliflower that had a little hot sauce on them. I mixed all these items in a pan together and ate until I felt comfortably full. (The book has a guide on “fullness meter” and “hunger meter” to assist in overeating or not eating enough). I had two cups of hot green tea with lunch.
- Snack #1 – six ounces of Greek Gods Greek Yogurt Honey with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. The six ounces (or 3/4 cup) is a LOT of yogurt, so I took my time eating it.
- Snack #2 – Yoplait Lite Key Lime Pie Yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Dinner – my leftover’s from lunch, salmon filet, chicken breast (which I wasn’t able to finish), and spinach sauteed with garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil. I had two cups of green tea with dinner.
My first day was a good day. I did not get my fruit servings in before 2:00PM so I skipped the fruit servings. Mild headache for most of the afternoon but I ate slower and drank a lot of water. I tried to keep my hands busy (because I get bored) so I crocheted when I was sitting. I wasn’t hungry but still had cravings; cheesy enchiladas and chips LOL It was mind over matter.
I got 30 minutes of mild swimming for my exercise. The book requires 17 minutes of mild to moderate exercise per day so I am ahead of the game today.
I am not counting calories, which is nice, so I am not using My Fitness Pal during this time. I will still be getting my weight and measurements but at the end of each 17-day cycle. I am anticipating reaching (or getting very close to) my goal weight after the first cycle, but we will have to see how things go and if I need to move to the second cycle before going to maintenance mode, I would be okay with that too.
I am hoping the rest of the cycle continues to go smoothly.
Jump Start the Body
I need to seriously jump start this weight loss process. I haven’t had to lose this much weight in a really long time and the traditional measures I have used in the recent past are not working as effectively. This is probably because the amount of weight I need to lose as well as my body has become very comfortable on the nutrition plan.
Many years ago I purchased a book, The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno. At that time it did not apply to me because I was already very close to my goal weight so I stored the book and just rediscovered it yesterday when I was rummaging through boxes under our stairs. I reread the box to refresh my memory and this nutrition plan is definitely the wake-up call my body needs to get going and stay on track (fingers crossed).
The 17 Day Diet is four separate cycles of 17 days per cycle. Each cycle is different to keep the body guessing and prevents plateaus. It is focused on nutrition and putting the right foods into your body. Each cycle adds different foods gradually. This plan specifically targets belly and visceral fat (which is where I carry my stubborn fat). Visceral fat is very unhealthy and my large amounts of belly fat is creating a high BMI that I need to lower to be healthier and maintain the low rates on my health insurance.
What I like about this plan (so far) is the diet is thoroughly researched and developed by a doctor who has been involved in his patients’ weight loss for many years. He designed The 17 Day Diet to promote eating healthy, focus on foods that promote weight loss and removal of visceral fat, and so you can see results quickly. He even has considerations for different cultural diets, PMS week, and carbohydrate sensitive individuals (like me). So far, I cannot find a way out of this nutrition plan (other than not doing it or giving up). It really is simple; there are grocery lists, menus, guides, considerations, etc. The only thing I do not like about this book is the weight guide. I disagree with the chart. I am 5’3″ and small framed/boned. The chart says I should weigh 109 – 115 pounds. Not a chance that I even want to weigh that much and I know I would be uncomfortable weighing that little. So I am going to keep to my goal weight (125 pounds) and when I feel great in my skin I will move to the maintenance mode. That is the good thing about the plan as well; you can move through the phases as you see fit. It is a flexible plan.
The first cycle starts with unlimited lean proteins and cleansing vegetables with two servings of low-sugar fruit, two servings of probiotic, and one to two tablespoons per day of friendly fats. Also, three cups of green tea and at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
The second cycle adds additional protein (lean cuts of meat), some natural starches (i.e. grains), and some starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes).
The third cycle adds additional protein, some different natural starches, some more starchy vegetables, and new friendly fats. This cycle adds portion control and varies the calorie intake daily to keep your body guessing.
The fourth cycle is all about maintenance. There are many tips and guides on how to maintain your weight loss.
I am going to document and track my experiences with The 17 Day Diet and you will see those posts every day going forward. Keep checking back every day to see my progress and join me if you like!
One Day at a Time
My first week was really great! It wasn’t always easy but I stayed strong and kept at it. I lost 1.4 pounds and 2.5 inches throughout my body (one inch of that was belly fat!).
Food: I had no intense cravings, headaches, or other issues related to decreasing my calorie intake and eating more healthful foods. I had to remind myself to eat breakfast, which has always been a struggle for me. My favorite breakfasts are:
- One piece of whole grain toast, 2 ounces turkey sausage, one egg, and half of an avocado cup (only 300 calories for this breakfast);
- Sometimes I substitute the toast for one serving of Kashi Waffles;
- I like to add a Yoplait low-fat yogurt or fruit.
My favorite lunches are:
- Romaine (2 cups) and baby spinach (1 cup) salad with one can of tuna, 1/2 cup of quinoa, and two tablespoons of Italian dressing; OR
- 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1 cup baby spinach sauteed with a splash of hot sauce and 4 ounces of salmon (baked with Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper).
I made sure to have a light snack between meals and I think this really helped with my cravings and headaches I normally go through when transitioning back to healthy eating. My favorite snacks are:
- Townhouse Pita Chips or carrots and Sabra Hummus or Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip;
- Pumpkin seeds;
- One Kashi Waffle;
- One tostado with half of an avocado cup;
- Two turkey breast slices.
One item that I cannot live without is Simple Truth Digestive Herbal Tea. I have at least three cups of this tea per day. I haven’t had any tummy issues, bloating, and I feel more “regular” since drinking this tea.
Dinner time is all about portion control, moderation, and creating healthy alternatives. I don’t make the entire family eat what I eat. I try to find recipes everyone would like (we have four children) and with four children it can be difficult to make something everyone will eat so sometimes I will cook a separate meal for myself.
I did well this past week; I only went over my calories once this week (I really wanted Qdoba LOL). I had a few indulgences but made sure to manage my food intake properly to allow for some Milk Duds and a glass of wine this week. Overall, food was a success!
Exercise: I was able to walk without crutches this past week. I started off slow and used two crutches, then went to one crutch. Now I’m walking without crutches, just in my boot. I started off walking for 20 minutes at a time. I walked for three hours straight yesterday and about died, so I will tone it down to an hour per day. I am just so proud of myself that I am finally moving around and getting a little exercise in my life. One step at a time (literally).
Lentils are a Great Substitute for Carbs
As you navigate your weight loss and/or healthy living, sometimes reducing carbohydrates is necessary (even for a short while) to improve weight loss and eat more healthful. If you’re like me, my body thinks it cannot live without an over-abundance of carbs. I love chips, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pasta, bread…oh my goodness, so yummy! BUT when you are trying to lose weight, eat healthy, and/or stick to a more diabetic friendly diet, carbohydrates (in excess) are not good for your body. Please note: Your body requires carbohydrates to function but in reasonable amounts, so please do not go “carb free” unless otherwise instructed by your physician.
A great alternative to carbs (and it tricks my body into thinking I’m getting a lot of food) is lentils. Lentils are a superfood and very rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate, and iron. Also, lentils contain potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin, and vitamin K. One cup of lentils contain 63% (16 grams) of your daily fiber as well as 18 grams of protein and less than one gram of fat.
Lentils are very easy to cook (only 15-20 minutes boiling/simmer). You can add them to soups, have them as a main dish, or prepare them as a side dish. Lentils are versatile and you can add your favorite spices and flavors to compliment any protein or prepare as a meal. Here is a Lentil Superfood Soup that is absolutely delicious and contains additional powerful superfood.
I made Curried Lentils yesterday where I added ginger, curry, onion, and carrots to the lentils. Warning: Cook curry in a well ventilated space or open a window prior to making these lentils (trust me, my house had a strong curry smell for hours LOL).
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- Black pepper (flavor to your preference)
- Lime juice (flavor to your preference, I squeezed a half lime into the pot)
- Place the EVOO into a pot and bring heat to medium.
- Add garlic and onion to pot. Cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add ground ginger and curry powder. Mix well.
- Add carrots, lentils, and broth. Stir.
- Add black pepper and lime juice. Stir.
- Bring to boil.
- Cover, lower heat to strong simmer.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes.
I made a double batch in order to eat a cup at a time throughout the week. I ate a cup of the Curried Lentils yesterday with tilapia. I am going to eat a cup of the lentils today as a main dish.
The Go-To Foods That You Need to Succeed
When I go to the grocery store, I gravitate toward the same foods every visit when I want to eat healthy and lose weight. These items are versatile and easy to prepare as well as foods that I find to be quite tasty. Here is a list of those staple food items:
- Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) *Recipe
- Chicken breasts (packaged, fully cooked, grilled and ready by Tyson)
- Tilapia (frozen and fresh; fresh needs to be eaten that day)
- Boca Veggie Burgers
- Boca Veggie Chicken Patty (spicy, breaded)
- Turkey breast (sliced deli or packaged)
- Tuna (canned)
- Quinoa (I prepare a week’s worth on Sunday evening and just reheat)
- Cottage Cheese
- Kefir (Strawberry by Lifeway)
- Blueberry yogurt (low fat/fat-free, aspartame free; this is because I don’t really like fresh whole blueberries)
- Baby spinach and Baby kale (packaged)
- Lemons (lemon juice in the bottle too)
- Limes (lime juice in the bottle too)
- Melons (honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon)
- Steamer bagged veggies (green beans, broccoli, carrots, etc)
- Wholly Guacamole Minis (or sometimes I make my own)
- Onions, Green onions
- King Sooper’s Fresh Deli Salsa
- Tortillas or Wraps (I choose the ones with the least amount of sugar and carbs)
- Bread (I choose the ones with the least amount of sugar and carbs, whole grain)
- Chips (LOVE La Favorita Tortilla Chips)
- La Bandarita Tostadas (at Wal-Mart) *Recipe
- Brown Rice (I prepare a week’s worth on Sunday evening and reheat)
- Low-Fat/Fat Free Italian Dressing (LOVE Newman’s)
- Low-Fat Greek Dressing (Kraft makes a delish one)
- Mrs. Dash (love them all; great for low-sodium diets)
- Garam Masala
- Spicy (chili powders)
- And pretty much all spices based on the flavor I’m going for 🙂