Posts Tagged ‘eating plan’


You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part II


Last Friday I discussed how to keep your exercise routine going even if you couldn’t do what I do. Today I tackle some diet-related questions I often get:

1. Lean Cuisine-eating taught me something vitally important: portion control. The portion sizes in our country are ridiculous! Some of them could feed an entire 3rd world country. Basically, Lean Cuisine taught me that portion sizes above the size of my fist are too, too big for one meal. So, I stopped eating for two (particularly since I haven’t been pregnant for 19 years).  I suggest doing the Lean Cuisine end of the MIP eating plan for at least a month so you can stop eating for two, also. Then, if that’s driving you crazy, you can branch out to other ways of eating, knowing how small the portion sizes really should be.

2. What if I have more to lose than 34 lbs? What if one Lean Cuisine doesn’t fill me up? Believe it or not, this is really the same question. People who have more than 20% of their current body weight to lose probably have bigger appetites and actually need more calories initially. So, be nice to yourself and eat 2 Lean Cuisines! I’m not coming over to your house to scold you if you deviate from my little eating plan…trust me. Make this work for you. However, before you consume the 2nd one, let me ask you to try these little tricks first:

  • Wait 20 minutes. Often, I get my “full” feeling around this time. So, try to be patient and keep your hands busy during this time by playing music, playing a game, or doing a craft.
  • Drink a 12 oz. glass of water. Often, I mistake a hungry stomach for a thirsty stomach!
  • Eat an Atkins bar for “dessert.” The Atkins bars are probably fewer calories than the 2nd Lean Cuisine and thus, the weight comes off faster. Do not get the Advantage bars–get the Endulge bars, which really taste yummy.

3. What if I can’t handle Lean Cuisines anymore? Remember–this is your eating plan, not mine. And yes, from time to time, I get tired of Lean Cuisines. (However, there are even Lean Cuisines sandwiches, pizzas, and salads now, so you probably won’t get tired of them easily. Plus, they taste pretty darn good for “diet food.”) Here’s how I survive when tired of them:

  • Eat a can of soup. I prefer an entire can of Campbell’s Chunky soup. Even some of their really high calorie versions are still under 400 calories per can! I like this option in the wintertime, when I really need something to warm my stomach or when I feel a cold coming on. New research shows that people who eat soup lose more weight than those who don’t.
  • Choose pre-sized menu plans. This will most likely require some cooking, but if you don’t mind the cooking, you’ll probably love the cheap nature of these plans (plus some even have shopping lists to make it easier for you at the store!). My DMIL (Darling Mother-in-Law) sent me a link to one and I have personally explored the other one, which is recommended by Dave Ramsey of Financial Peace University:
  • Use smaller plates in your china cabinet. The problem with our current dinner plates is that, again, they are way too big for what we should be eating. So get out saucers (yes, saucers–you probably aren’t using them anyway) or very small salad plates. If you have small bowls, that will work, too.
  • Use your fists! Judge portion sizes when you’re at a restaurant by how big your fist is. If it’s bigger than your fist, ask the server for a “to-go” box and remove the amount that is larger than your fist immediately. Guess what? You now have lunch (and maybe dinner!) for tomorrow. You can go to two fist sizes for veggies. This same formula works for when you are cooking for yourself and have more than just one portion available.

4. Are there certain foods I should avoid? Yes. The ones you can’t “downsize” on your own to make them the right-sized portion. Other than that, anything goes. Even junk food can be “down-sized.” I only get out one handful of chips at a time and put them in a small bowl. I put away the chip bag and take the bowl away from the kitchen. I eat my bowl-ful and wait for 20 minutes. If I’m still craving chips, I get myself another bowl-ful. I’m usually too lazy and too guilty to go back for a 3rd bowl! The same can go for chocolate or anything else you crave. I like things that are individually wrapped or are “wrapped” by Mother Nature. (Bananas come with their own banana peel!) That’s natural portion control without you even having to think about it! One note: A huge bag of chips labeled “Family Size” is not individually-wrapped. It says Family Size for a reason–it’s meant for your entire family. I don’t care if you’re pregnant with 6 bambinos, step away from the bag. The same goes for a box of low-cal cookies. They’re only low-cal if you stop eating the entire box in one “binge session.” The bottom-line for me was that if I told myself I couldn’t have it, I instantly craved it even more! So, I allowed myself a little to get rid of that craving and just tried to think strategically about how I could fool myself into thinking I had had a treat!

5. What if I blow it one day? There is no such thing. That’s all in your head. Why? Because you’re going to eat right for the rest of your life. If you eat right for the rest of your life, then one day is a teeny, teeny fraction of all the days in your life. So, it’s probably not going to keep you from reaching your goal weight.  Just do something now to correct for it and that now does not include starving yourself for the next 3 days. That will actually slow down your weight loss process! When I blow it, I crank up my workout a little higher that day or the next day and try to eat better from that point onward. But I don’t stress about blowing it. Why? Because stress is also counterproductive to my ability to lose weight (plus, it can bring on a heart attack for me!). So, forgive yourself and move on.

Don’t miss on Friday: You 3.0, Questions & Tips, Part III…

Tomorrow’s Post: I feel a trend coming on…

You might also like: You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part I, You 3.0: MIP Exercise Plan, You 3.0: MIP Eating Plan, You 3.0: Mindset, Part III, You 3.0: Mindset, Part II


You 3.0: MIP Eating Plan…


Now that you’ve answered, all those pesky questions about yourself, it’s time to evaluate them and begin the first day of the rest of your life’s eating plan. After answering them myself, I concluded that I don’t like to cook and even if I had time to cook, I probably wouldn’t do it with any real consistency. While I have done low cal, low fat and low carb eating plans, I eventually feel deprived. When I feel deprived, then I usually go off my eating plan with a vengeance and it takes me months (okay…years) to get back on an eating plan. At the time I instituted my plan, I didn’t have time to go to meetings, count calories, count points, etc. Thus, I began looking at the “automated eating plans” such as Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig and the Biggest Loser. All of them looked fabulous, except for one thing: the cost. They were all pretty expensive, even given their “starter” discounts.

Then it hit me: I have an automated eating plan…at my store! I had already learned that I liked the taste and variety of Lean Cuisine frozen meals and after doing some calculations, I could eat in a very similar fashion to the more notable automated eating plans for around $ 23 to $ 38 a week! This is a fraction of the cost charged by other programs. Even if I added in snacks and simple breakfasts, I could eat well for about $ 50 to $ 75 a week. And thus, the MIP plan was born.

So, here are the nuts and bolts of this program, in case you, too, think you need to enact a similar plan:

  1. Buy 14 Lean Cuisines of various kinds for a week. Eat one at lunch and one at dinner every day.
  2. Buy Atkins Endulge candy bars for snacks. Please do NOT buy the Advantage bars unless you don’t have taste buds. The Endulge bars that are my favorites are the ones that resemble Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers bars. But, they also have ones that taste like Mounds bars and brownies. Taste is important to me and these are more than edible! I even freeze mine for that nostalgic frozen candy bar sensation!
  3. In the summertime switch to Skinny Cow Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Sandwiches for snacks. I also found the mint chocolate ones tolerable, but I did weary of every flavor except the Cookies ‘n Cream over time–fair warning!
  4. Eat something you love every morning for breakfast. Why eat something you love? Because I am not a morning person and I usually don’t have time to cook breakfast in the morning. I chose raspberry almond granola that I could buy by the pound at my local store. Fair warning–this was not cheap! But, OMG! Yum-Yum! I poured 2% milk on it. If you can handle 1% or skim milk, you’re a better person than moi and you’ll probably drop the pounds more quickly. I also have a Keurig coffee latte with Truvia (I found that the real deal on Stevia tasted best to me. Hopefully, you will feel the generic is just fine. Stevia is the safest non-sugar sweetener to use, according to research.)
  5. When eating out, follow these rules:
  • Find the smallest roll or chip and thoroughly chew each bite. Count to at least 10 chews per bite, if not 20! Use salsa on chips instead of guacamole or queso dip.
  • Try to pick chicken or fish for your dinner entree, if not a totally veggie version.
  • When dinner arrives, ask for a take-out box immediately. When it arrives, put 1/2 of your dinner in the box and shut the lid. Put the box somewhere where you will not be tempted to eat it immediately.
  • Eat the remaining half. Start with the protein item first. Then, eat the veggie part next. If others are still eating, slowly eat the starchy part of your meal. When everyone else is finished, so are you!
  • Order tea, water or a diet soft drink for dinner. If dessert is tempting you, ask for flavored coffee instead and put in your favorite sweetener. Savor every sip and relish in the fact that you controlled yourself for once!

A few additional rules:

1. When you just can’t leave the highly fattening foods alone, put a handful of whatever it is in a bowl or on a plate, close up the bag or box and put it away! Now, walk away from the kitchen or pantry and eat only what’s in that bowl or on your plate. Sometimes I have gone back for a second bowl/plate, but I am usually way too lazy/guilty to make a 3rd trip!

2. For late night snacks, I keep microwave popcorn and fresh fruit on hand. I like the kinds of fruit that make me feel like I’m eating popcorn or chips. So, I usually have berries, grapes and cherries on hand. (In fact I think I can eat my weight in cherries.)

3. When others are cooking for me, I use the “fist method” to determine how much I eat. In other words, my protein source and starch portion sizes shouldn’t be any bigger than my fist. Go hog wild on the veggies!

Now, if you think you’ll wind up looking like Twiggy in one month doing all of this, then you are going to be sadly disappointed. This is a slow-paced process. But you’re going to eat like this for the rest of your life and that means that, over time, you will keep resetting your “normal weight” point and keep lowering it! So, just be patient!

Don’t miss You 3.0: MIP Exercise Plan next Wednesday! (In the meantime, get rolling on your own eating plan!

Tomorrow’s Post: Celebrating love…

You might also like: You 3.0: Mindset, Part I, You 3.0: Mindset, Part II, You 3.0: Mindset Part III, Lessons Learned from Visiting Sam Moon for the First Time