Weight loss menu. Simplicity is the key.

Before I started this weight loss journey last summer—back when I could eat whatever I wanted—choices were sometimes overwhelming. I’d make selections based on what I felt like eating rather than what was good for me. I rarely planned ahead, which meant I was spending a lot of money eating out.

My current limited weekday menu is actually quite liberating. I don’t have to give it much thought. My biggest challenge is alternating it enough so that I don’t get bored. I also tend to stay at my desk to eat lunch when I really should get away from my office and take a break. I get a bit more creative with my food on weekends when I have more time.

A few people have asked me what I’m eating, so I thought I’d display my very simple weekday menu here; pardon my very limited photography skills. I get a lot of my protein from dairy and nuts. I just prefer the taste of milk/yogurt/cheese/eggs over chicken/beef/seafood.

Breakfast always includes:

Coffee with 2 tablespoons sugar-free Coffee-Mate vanilla creamer

1 teaspoon sugar-free Metamucil fiber, 2 adult chewable vitamins, 1 chewable calcium vitamin

…and one of the following options:

1 cup skim milk and 3/4 c Cheerios

1 slice of toast with 1 Tbsp Laura Scudder peanut butter

1 slice of toast with 1 scrambled egg (fried with a few squirts of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)

Mid-morning snack options:

Raw Almonds, 1 oz (that's about 19 almonds) - surprisingly satisfying!

Ham and Cheese or Turkey and Cheese Roll

Ham & Cheese Roll: Measure out 1.25 oz Ham (1 slice) and 0.5 oz Cheese (cut this cheese in half)

Turkey & Cheese Rolls: Measure out 1.25 oz Turkey (2 slices) and 0.5 oz Cheese (cut this cheese in half)

Lunch options:

A salad. Always a salad. 2 cups of Romaine, 1 tsp fat free Italian (sometimes), and usually cucumbers, Chinese pea pods, celery, carrots

Dannon Lite & Fit Yogurt (1/2 cup) with Raspberries (3/4 cup)

Dannon Lite & Fit Yogurt (1/2 cup) with Raspberries (3/4 cup)

Dannon Lite & Fit Yogurt (1/2 cup) with Strawberries (3/4 cup)

One of my favorite lunches: 1 apple, 1 oz cheese and 9 raw almonds.

My latest discovery: Progresso Light Chicken Noodle Soup. Extremely hearty and satisfying!

Afternoon snack options – always a nutrition bar. Must have something sweet in the afternoon!

ZonePerfect Cashew Pretzel protein bar

ZonePerfect Cashew Pretzel protein bar

Lindora Peppermint Cocoa Crunch Bar

Dinner options. What I eat for dinner varies quite a bit. It always includes a salad similar to the one I had at lunch, as well as…

Dinner always includes a piece of fruit—usually an orange.

And perhaps:

Lemon Garlic Shrimp – 1 tsp olive oil, minced garlic, 2.5 oz cooked shrimp, lemon wedge

An omelette. Heat up 1 tsp olive oil, add minced garlic, onions and tomato, add egg. Yum.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Evening snack options:

Always a Lindora Wildberry Passion drink (15 grams of protein, 3 carbs) after our workout at the gym

What are your favorite standard weight loss menu items?

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Bargaining with myself.

Source: Pinterest.com

Until several days ago, I was holding steady at 190 pounds for four weeks. I know it wasn’t a plateau because of what I’ve been eating. I’ve been wearing a comfortable size 16 pants and size 14/16 or L sweaters and blouses (not XL or 1X). And working out makes me feel energetic, fit and firm.

I’ve been hearing these comments from people, which are actually greatly appreciated, but also give me a false sense of reality:

  • “There she is, the incredibly shrinking woman!”
  • “We have a new nickname for you! Skinny Bitch!” (This is a very, very friendly nickname from the girls at work, but “skinny” is definitely not apropos)
  • “You’re so tiny!” (Thanks, but sorry, “tiny” is not the proper adjective for a 5’1”, 190-pound woman)
  •  “Where did you disappear to?”
  • “You’re being so good.”
  • “You look great!”
  • “There’s no way you still have 58 pounds to lose. You’ll look gaunt!”

It’s such a mental battle. If I look and feel this good, and comments from others validates this, why do I need to keep going?

This is a crazy thought! I am nowhere near where I need to be.

And I’ve bargained with myself, thinking, as long as I’m maintaining, I’m doing okay. And this is true. I’ve been able to eat a variety of stuff completely off program without gaining. As long as I was “good” most of the time and working out at least a few times a week, I was able to maintain.

On the one hand, it’s good to learn how my body responds to certain amounts of food and exercise.

On the other hand, it’s like I’m acting like a little kid. Seeing how much I can get away with, without getting caught.  When I’ve weighed in this past month and discovered no change in my weight, I gave a huge sigh of relief. I deserved to gain.

At my last weigh in, I finally dropped 2 pounds. I’m now at 188 pounds.

The weird sick thought in my head? Cool. I earned 2 pounds. I have 2 pounds to play with. How easily I forget that my body is still in serious debt. There is no savings account here. I’m still 48-58 pounds away from my goal. (I’m waffling lately, trying to decide between a goal weight of 130 and 140 pounds.)

By way of example… On Thursday, I ate on program through lunch. Then that afternoon? I had a Starbucks tall, nonfat, extra hot, with whip Mocha with 3 Petite Vanilla Bean Scones. Later, I had 2 Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s at work. Deadly freakin’ good. When I got home, I had a bunch of New York Style garlic bagel crisps and lots of jack cheese (I didn’t measure or keep track) with a glass of white zinfandel. Then a salad with Romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, avocado, grated cheese, and olive oil and vinegar.

What is going on in my head? I just wanted to stuff my face. That was a relatively full on binge, spread out over about eight hours. It hadn’t been a bad day. There was nothing wrong. No emotional angst.  Just this driving urge to fill, fill, fill. This was definitely not a day of healthy, intentional, off-program moderation.

My sister called that evening while I was preparing dinner. She asked how the diet was going. I said I was holding steady and maintaining. Not perfect. Kinda off track today. I think she could hear something in my voice, because she said quietly,

“Jen, don’t stop. Please keep going. You’re really inspiring me, and you can’t quit now. That food you’re tempted to eat won’t go away; you don’t have to eat it right now. It’ll still be there later.”

Her timing for saying this to me couldn’t have been more perfect.

My husband and I made it to the gym that night, although the food I’d eaten made working out very uncomfortable. My digestive system wasn’t happy with me.  It was still a satisfying workout and I slept great. I was pleasantly sore the next day, and I did not repeat my choices from the day before.

Here’s me bargaining with myself…

I’m not in a hurry.  If I lose weight slowly, I’m more likely to maintain the loss. It’s a lifetime change, not a flash-in-the-pan diet.

I’m going to continue to work on maintenance or minor weight loss for the rest of the month.  I have three holiday-related lunches at work this coming week. I’ll be conscientious the rest of the time and keep getting my butt to the gym.

My body is getting used to eating more food without gaining. Lindora calls it the Metabolic Adjustment Phase to reset my set point weight. All part of the plan.

Then after Christmas, once I rev up my efforts, I’ll bust past this set point until I get to my goal weight. Then I’ll need to train my body to achieve a new and final set point weight. Maintenance will be the life-long, ongoing goal.

Am I giving myself excuses to mess up over the next few weeks? Perhaps. Am I lying to myself? Maybe. But I want to be as positive about this as possible. Beating myself up, shaming myself, etc. will just make me want to quit.

Bottom line is, I will not give up. A year from now, I’ll be at my goal and in maintenance for several months.

Why I chose Lindora to lose weight.

Is this true or what???? : ) I recently discovered Pinterest.com where I found this and many other inspirational images and quotes... check it out.

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, I’m working on getting my focus back on my weight loss goals and remembering why I chose Lindora to help me succeed.

The most important thing about choosing a weight loss plan is finding what works for you. There are so many options out there—some totally stupid and crazy, some healthy, some much more effective than others. Here’s what attracted me to Lindora.

Lindora works. I chose Lindora because, in my experience, it’s the only program where I’ve been able to lose a significant amount of weight. When you carefully follow the guidelines, it really works. You will drop the pounds. A + B = C.  It’s a no brainer. It’s not easy, but you can have the confidence that you will get results if you follow the rules.

Lindora is simple. Lindora provides a list of authorized foods that reflect a “low fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate nutritional plan.” The boundaries of a limited food list are extremely helpful to me. I get overwhelmed with too many choices. The list is posted on my fridge. You can’t go wrong with fruits, vegetables and protein.

Lindora recommends exercise that is doable and sustainable. I like that Lindora doesn’t push strenuous exercise. They simply exhort you to “move more.” And that means lots of walking. When I lost 60 pounds back in 2002, I walked almost every morning for 30-45 minutes.  This time around, I’m working on getting stronger and being much more fit with lots of cardio and weight lifting. I also want to have more muscle to increase my metabolism. Muscles are so productive. I love that they are burning fat even when I’m not using them.

Lindora provides accountability. When you purchase the 12-week program, you go into the clinic every single day to report what you’ve eaten the day before, receive a B-12 shot, and weigh in. I recommend this program for any first-timers. It’s pretty costly (I spent about $1,200 in 2002), but if you’re someone who has tried many, many times to lose weight, it’s worth every penny. The daily accountability forces you to change your habits.

I completed the 12-week program back in 2002. I lost 60 pounds. But then I got completely off track after injuring my lower back. I couldn’t exercise, and for some bizarre reason, I started eating like I used to. Soon after that, we became parents to our 11-year-old nephew. Life turned completely upside down for the next 8 years. I’m not blaming my weight gain on a child. His arrival into our lives was, however, a mitigating factor as I slid back into my old habits. I gained all the weight back, plus another 20 pounds.

This time around I purchased the 4-week program. I know how to do Lindora; I just needed a kick-start and a month’s worth of accountability. Isn’t it crazy how we all know exactly how to lose weight? We just have to DO IT.

Lindora preaches lifelong change. Indeed, the guidebook is called “Lean for Life.” It’s not just a diet; it’s a transformation. It’s about rewiring your brain, creating new patterns and adopting new habits.

“With Lean for Life, the focus is on learning to become lean. The process of learning creates new neural connections within your brain. These new connections create actual structural changes in your brain. With reinforcement (practice), the changes (connections) can become permanent, and before long, you’ll find that making healthy choices about what you eat seems like second nature. And it will be! Your process for decision making will have been permanently changed.”

Just because I lost the weight and gained it all back ten years ago is no reflection of the viability of the Lindora program. I didn’t stick with the program. I didn’t follow their Lifetime Maintenance guidelines. If I had, I would have arrived and stayed at my goal weight all these years.

Here are some other weight loss programs I’ve tried in the past:

NutriSystem – I joined this program with my mom way back in 1989, the summer before my junior year of college. That’s when they used to have clinics; now they just sell the food online. I lost weight that summer, but it was extremely expensive. I was spending $70 to $80 per week on freeze dried, cardboard food. It was kinda fun, though, to go back to school about 15 pounds lighter. Gained it all back in a few months though!

Weight Watchers – I’ve joined WW several times over the years and could never stick with it.  It is too lenient. There are too many choices. Too much moderation.  I kept using all my points up before dinner.  The most I ever lost with WW was about 8-10 pounds.

SlimFast – Even though it was convenient and relatively inexpensive, constant hunger made this a short-lived diet. Shakes are not food. The most weight I lost? Probably 2-3 pounds before I gave up.

Herbalife – Who doesn’t like drinking fruit shakes for each meal? I liked them very much. But again, I was hungry all the time. And the supplements were just way too expensive. I lost about 2-3 pounds before giving up.

Why did you choose your particular method for losing weight?

Restart! Tomorrow is a new day…

I found this quote on Pinterest.com. Check it out! Lots of inspirational images and sayings...

I’ve been home all week enjoying a stay-cation. It’s been so nice. My husband and I have been organizing, cleaning, sleeping in, going out to eat, cooking, baking…

Uh oh. There it is. Yeah. I’ve been totally off program all week. And we only made it to the gym 2 days: Saturday and Tuesday.

It’s the end of Thanksgiving Day and I felt ick, yuck, gross. I am done. Done with junk food and unguarded eating. Done with feeling sluggish, sleepy and bloated.

I’m not going to overanalyze why I didn’t do better. I’m just going to start fresh tomorrow.  And by starting fresh, I’m going to:

  • Commit to 30 strict, on program days between now and Christmas with no attempts at moderation. (Other than two holiday parties over the next couple of weeks, there will be no cheat meals).
  • Re-launch my Lindora nutrition plan with three Protein Days from Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27. This will help renew my focus and discipline as well as get me into ketosis (where your body burns fat for energy instead of the food you eat).
  • Write down everything I eat and post my menu here for accountability. I’ve been slacking on that for quite a while.
  • Blog more often. It helps me stay focused.
  • Learn how to pat myself on the back for what I’ve accomplished thus far, but keep myself motivated to complete the journey. Must reach my goal of weighing 130 lbs!

Staying at home this week makes me appreciate how much easier it is to eat right when I go to work every day. My hat is off to those stay-at-home moms who are working on losing or maintaining their weight. Dang! Having the kitchen right there, a somewhat flexible schedule, and managing the stress of little ones who want your constant attention… You are amazing!

Moonlighting as a Gym Rat

Name: Jennifer
Job title: Gym Rat
Employer: The Gym
Status: Part-time, 15 hours per week
Salary: Fitness and health
Why?
To pay off a creditor: My body

I’ve begun thinking about my time at the gym as my new part-time job. I was adding up the hours it takes and realized anew that it’s a serious commitment. Here’s our typical weeknight gym schedule:

8:15pm – pack bags and drinks for the gym
8:40pm – leave for the gym
9pm – begin working out (after putting stuff in lockers, tightening laces, etc.)
10:30pm – spend time in the steam room, then shower
11:15pm – head home
11:45pm – in bed
7am – wake up time (I do well with a good 7 hours of sleep)

With travel, showering and everything else, that’s about 3 hours per day x 5 times a week = 15 hours per week!

I’ve had to get a job as a gym rat because my body is in terrible debt. I’ve been withdrawing from my body account which has had a serious deficit for years.

The creditors—my heart, the cholesterol in my veins, my BMI—have come a knockin’ and it’s time to pay up before the grim reaper shows up at my door.

There’s something powerful about thinking of going to the gym as a job. Because going to work isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity. You need your job to pay the bills, put food on the table, and have the bank to have some fun once in a while.

Sure, occasionally you can call in sick or take a vacation day, but in general it’s a consistent, regular thing. You have no choice in the matter. I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!

In the beginning it’s a matter of survival, living paycheck to paycheck. Once your body is no longer in physical debt, then you get to start a savings account. Those reserves will give you more strength and endurance, allowing you to do more active and fun things. The savings will also stave off serious illness. Plus, you’ll look pretty awesome, too.

You’ll feel more alive than you’ve ever felt. It’s a good gig!

It’s my day off today (Sunday). I’ll be back at my part-time job tomorrow night.

What helps you get your body to the gym, day after day?

You wouldn’t do that to a friend. Why do it to yourself?

“Think of it this way: If you got a flat tire, what would you do? Change the tire? Or get out of the car and slash the other three tires? No! Get back on the road. Don’t dwell on it, don’t beat yourself up. That gets you nowhere.”
Jillian Michaels interview, by Amy Spencer,
Redbook, October 2011

I figure God’s trying to tell me something when I hear it twice in a short period of time. If I still have doubts, he’ll make sure he gets my attention by saying it a third time. Maybe even a fourth!

The message I received loud and clear?  Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

1. Other than the Redbook article quoted above, following are three more ways I received the message in a span of two days.

2. Relaxation Meditation Class – Tue, Oct 18
I reluctantly participated in a relaxation meditation class during a photo shoot I arranged at work this week. I entered into it with a bit of trepidation. As a Christian, I am nervous about opening myself up to spiritual exercises that do not involve Jesus Christ. So I put my filter on and had an amazing, unexpected, meaningful experience. During the class, the instructor took us through a series of steps to the point where I felt weightless and calm (e.g. tensing each limb, then relaxing it—everywhere from toe to head).  She had us imagine that our mind was a beautiful lake high up on a mountain, and that our thoughts were birds flying above the surface. When she instructed us to focus on the source of love—“whatever that is to you”—I thought about Jesus, of his light, and how he redeemed my life from the pit. Of my Mom’s face when she used to look at me with love and pride (she’s in heaven now). Of my husband’s face when he is laughing at something I said. The instructor had a soothing voice, and I felt safe. At one point, she said, “Be kind and compassionate…” My brain filled in the rest: “to others.” But she paused a few moments and then finished her sentence: “…to yourself.” Oh!

3. “Back Sliders” Kaiser Permanente ad heard on the radio – Wed, Oct 19
“…one trip to the back slider’s club doesn’t make you a loser. It just makes you human.”

4. Lindora Free Webinar: Women’s Weight Loss and Well-Being – Wed, Oct 19
One slide in the presentation read, “Handle with care.” The presenter went on to say, “Be kind and compassionate to yourself. You wouldn’t talk that way to a friend! If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.”

The last time I really messed up on my program unintentionally, without thinking about it, was a birthday party at work on October 7. I ate two small pieces of cake. I tore myself to shreds the rest of the afternoon. And then I beat myself up even more for beating myself up and not having a constructive attitude about it! It was a downward spiral. Good thing was, I got right back on plan for dinner that night, and then the next day, and beyond. I have since eaten off program, but it has been intentional… and combined with eating right most of the time and diligently exercising, I’m still losing weight. (Two pounds lost at weigh in on Thursday!)

When you really mess up, which of the following do you choose to do?

A. Lie to yourself & justify your actions
“I ate that cake without thinking. So what? I deserved it. It was a special occasion.  Cake doesn’t come along every day. “

B. Beat yourself up
“Why did I eat that cake? I’m such an idiot. I can’t control myself. I’m such a freakin’ pig. What was I thinking?”

C. Be kind and compassionate to yourself
“I wish I hadn’t eaten that cake without thinking. Next time I’ll think about it first and make sure I really want to do that. No serious damage done. Bygones!”

My usual M.O. has been to choose A or B. My goal is to choose C from now on.

It goes without saying that being kind and compassionate to yourself goes way beyond eating right and exercising. Being kind and compassionate to yourself doesn’t mean you are in denial about a choice you’ve made. It doesn’t mean you get to justify your actions or act like a victim. It means you have to be real with yourself, acknowledge what you’ve done, learn from your mistakes, and MOVE ON.

Let the four messages I received be one message for you: Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

“Back Sliders”

“Welcome to the backsliders club—the negative space in our heads we’ve reserved for our weak-willed moments. Here we can spiral down into our feelings of failure and defeat in total comfort. Look around. Hey, there’s your sister-in-law who does everything right. Over there, that woman from the gym, who’s so together. And next to her, why, that’s your personal trainer. The truth is we all land here once in a while, whether you’re trying to eat better, quit smoking, or lose weight. The secret is not to stay. Kaiser Permanent reminds you that change happens one choice at a time, and one trip to the back slider’s club doesn’t make you a loser. It just makes you human. At Kaiser Permanente, we’ve got ways to help you stay out of here, or at least keep you from becoming a regular. Kaiser Permanente. We want you to get up, get down, and thrive. Visit kp.org/thrive.”

I heard this ad on the radio driving in to work this morning – you’ve GOT to listen to this… It’s perfect. Another excellent Kaiser Permanente ad that is part of their overall “Thrive” campaign. They really nailed it! I love the narrator’s wry, dry delivery (Allison Janey) and the silly music in the background.