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?

My Weight Loss Tool Box

Image source: blog.alice.com

Soapy suds gushed from the under the door of my dishwasher, pouring across the kitchen floor. I shut it off immediately and tried to stem the flow with hastily grabbed towels. I almost cried. I love my dishwasher. My dishwasher is my friend. It was late. I went to bed. I’ll deal with it in the morning.

This morning I pulled the dishes out and washed them by hand. My husband is on day two of a nasty cold so I don’t want to bother him about fixing it until he feels better. My hands deep in a sink full of dishes and sudsy water, I thought about how important the dishwasher is as a tool in my weight loss journey.

When you’re eating healthy, you use a lot of dishes. Measuring spoons and cups. The tray on the food scale. Pots and pans. Blender. Plastic containers for weekday lunches. A dishwasher is a huge time-saving device with all this critical clutter.

When you’re eating unhealthy—fast food out of paper bags—there are no dishes. Just a lot of trash. Or when you’re eating out a lot, someone else is doing the dishes.

Losing weight is hard work.  And weight loss work requires certain tools, starting with…

A method. A plan.
My method is Lindora. There are lots of great programs out there: Weight Watchers. Slimgenics. Paleo. Body for Life from EAS. Websites like Spark People. Do some research. Find a plan that works for you. Don’t have surgery. You can do it the right way if you really, really want to. You got yourself into this mess. You can get yourself out. But you need a plan.

A way to measure your food so you won’t lie to yourself.
A lot of those dirty dishes I mentioned have to do with measurement gadgets. A huge key to weight loss success is heightened awareness of what you’re doing. If you guesstimate how much a cup of skim milk is without measuring it, you’ll always err on the side of too much. If you think one ounce of almonds is a handful, you’ll wind up eating two. Measure everything, stay within the boundaries of your program, and you will lose weight.

Food diary.
Another critical weight loss tool is a food diary. Write down everything you eat. Nothing formal. Scraps of paper. A small notebook in your pocket or hand bag. It’s like accountability to yourself. An honest food diary keeps you centered squarely in the world of what is real. I like this little notebook I got at WalMart for 50 cents. I especially like that it doesn’t have spiral binding.

Treats… I mean, protein supplements.
ZonePerfect Cashew Pretzel protein barMy favorites include ZonePerfect nutrition bars (Cashew Pretzel and Chocolate Mint) and Lindora’s protein drinks (Wildberry Passion) and nutrition bars (Peppermint Cocoa Crunch, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Chocolate). These keep me satisfied and happy on this long, long journey.

Treats… I mean, vitamins.
Vitafusion MultiVites – Gummy multi-vitamins for adults. I hate, hate, hate swallowing vitamins. For years, I refused to take them. My husband found this brand at Costco for me a few years ago. They’re like candy.

B-12 Sublingual – Just bought a bottle at my doctor’s office. Stuck a pill under my tongue this morning. Mm! Grape! I miss the B-12 shots I received while on the Lindora. B-12 helps increase your mood, metabolism and energy.

Sugar-free Metamucil Fiber Supplement. 1 teaspoon per day with 4 oz. of liquid. To help it go down better, I mix it with any flavor of Crystal Light. It’s like fake juice in the morning. Not bad.

Good tennies.
I love my Skechers Shape-Ups. I can just feel the rhythm and flow while I’m on the treadmill. I am in the zone.

Gym membership.
For years we had a room in the house set up with weight lifting and cardio equipment. We never used it. At home there are far too many distractions and reasons not to work out. Going to the gym is both a physical and mental separation. You can focus there. And the energy of people working out around you is contagious. In August we purchased a three-year LA Fitness membership – buy two, get the third year free. It’s called commitment.

Lindora recommends moderate exercise; at least 10,000 steps per day. This handy dandy Lindora Lean for Life pedometer (from 2002; no longer available through Lindora) helps me gauge how much I’m moving every day. It’s another way to be stay grounded in reality and to document my efforts.

A good laundry detergent.
Huh? What’s detergent got to do with losing weight? Recently we discovered that our usual laundry detergent was not removing the nasty, stinky sweat from our gym clothes. I thought I’d forgotten to add the detergent and re-washed our clothes with so-so results. A week later I was certain I added soap, but still pulled stinky clothes out of the dryer. Our sister-in-law told us she ran into the same issue with her two sons. She discovered Tide plus Febreze Freshness Sport. Perfect. I am happy to report we can now tolerate our own stink. : )

What are your must-have weight loss tools?