Lunch: Salad (veggie base is 3 large handfuls mixed greens, ½ cup chopped bell pepper, ½ cup chopped cucumber, ½ cup shredded carrot, 6-8 cherry tomatoes = 50 calories) with 1 hard-boiled egg (70) + 1 ounce extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (100) + ½ ounce raisins (about 2 tablespoons = 60) + ½ ounce chopped walnuts (50) + 3 tablespoons Ken’s Light Raspberry Walnut Dressing (90) = 420
Snack: 2 cups cantaloupe and grapes (100) + 1 Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheese Stick (80) = 180
Dinner: Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps (335) + ¾ cup brown rice (170) = 505
Breakfast: ½ cup dry old-fashioned rolled oats (150) made with 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon brown sugar (60), 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (100) = 310
Lunch: Pistachio Peach Salad with Honey Vinaigrette (click here for the recipe = 450)
Snack: 2 cups watermelon + strawberries (100) + 1 Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese Stick (80) = 180
Dinner: Tacos 2 small flour tortillas (80 calories each = 160) + 4 ounces taco-seasoned 93% lean ground beef (170 for beef alone + 20 for seasoning = 190) + 1 ounce pepper Jack cheese, shredded (100) + shredded lettuce and tomatoes (~10) = 460
Breakfast: Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal: ½ cup dry old-fashioned rolled oats (150) made with 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon brown sugar (60), ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons raisins (~30), 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (100) = 340
Lunch: Taco salad: 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce (10) + ½ cup chopped tomatoes (20) + 4 ounces 93% lean taco-seasoned ground beef (170 for beef alone + 20 for seasoning = 190) + 1 ounce pepper Jack cheese, shredded (100) + ¼ of a medium avocado, sliced (~60) + 2 tablespoons salsa (10) + 1 tablespoon low fat sour cream (15) = 405
Snack: 2 cups watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes (100) + 1 Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese Stick (80) = 180
Dinner: Meatballs and Veggie “Pasta” 2 meatballs + ¾ cup marinara sauce (this recipe = 320) + 2 ½ cups garlicky sautéed red cabbage and broccoli slaw (120) + 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese = 460
To make 2 servings of the vegetable “pasta,” I simply heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, then added 1/2 small head shredded red cabbage along and sauteed it until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. I then added 1 package broccoli slaw to the pan, and continued cooking until the vegetables were tender, about 3 more minutes. (If you need to add a few tablespoons of water to the pan for moisture and to prevent burning, feel free.) In the final 1 minute of cooking, I added 2 large cloves of garlic, minced, and stirred constantly until the garlic was fragrant and the veggies softened completely. I served this immediately as a bed for meatballs and marinara.
*Andie note: Mom went down to Cape Cod on Wednesday night and stayed with her sister and her family for all of Thursday and Friday. While I made suggestions like, “Try to keep breakfast and lunch healthy so that you have a bit of wiggle room for a bigger/more decadent dinner if you go out to eat,” we didn’t head into the vacation with a set meal plan because it would have been impractical, fussy, and very likely would have made Mom feel hyper-restricted (not to mention sad) while her family ate the traditional summery grub. I believed in her, and I chose to trust that she’d be OK on her own for two full days.
Breakfast: Ezekiel Cinnamon-Raisin Sprouted Grain English Muffin (160) + 1 tablespoon butter (100) = 260
*Andie note: She packed the following from home: English muffins, raisins, and almonds. While I wish this breakfast had included a protein, I’m proud that Mom packed these muffins from home and that she chose a healthy breakfast when it was probably tempting to consider something more “fun.”
*Andie note: This is a longtime habit of Mom’s. All my life, she’s been loose about meal times, frequency, and regularity of eating. As much as I’d like to “fix” this, I also notice that when I tell her, “Mom, you have to stop in the middle of the day and eat,” she often looks at me somewhat desperately and asks, “But Francie, what do I do if I’m not hungry?” I’m tempted to tell her to eat anyway, because, as far as the clock goes, most people would be hungry four hours after breakfast, but I think one of the most important lessons I can teach Mom in this journey we’ve decided to take together is to be mindful about food, to eat more intuitively. The answer, for now, is packing snacks in her purse so that she’s never without something nourishing.
Snack: Small handful raisins (1/4 cup =130)
*Andie note: I tend to think Mom would find this snack more satisfying if she had eaten a few nuts in addition to the raisins for a dose of fat and protein. 12 almonds would have tacked on a mere 80 or so calories, about 3 grams of protein, and 7 grams of heart-healthy fat. Without the nuts, the heavy hit of natural sugar in the raisins can cause a whopper of a blood sugar spike and a subsequent crash, leading to perhaps more cravings for sugar. Then again, what I said above about wanting Mom to develop an intuition about food and what she wants to eat holds true. If raisins were all she wanted, maybe raisins were all she needed.
Dinner: 6 ounce burger made with 85% lean ground beef (300) + 1 ounce American cheese (100) + 1 hot dog (180) = 580
*Andie note: Today’s total caloric intake was far too low. Far, far too low.
Breakfast: 3/4 cup dry oatmeal made with 1 1/2 cups water (225) + ¼ cup raisins (130) = 355
*Andie note: As I was walking out of the grocery store on Friday morning, I saw that I’d gotten two text messages from my stepdad, PJ. The first read, “Can Mom have a Belgian waffle?” The second, sent ten minutes later, read, “Nevermind, she went with oatmeal instead.”
Part of me–the oatmeal fanatic part–smiled with pride, while the other–the part that makes sure syrup sinks into each square of her waffle, felt heavy-hearted knowing the struggle between craving decadence and aiming for healthfulness. I thought of Mom mushing her way through a bowl of oatmeal at a restaurant while all of her other dining companions were enjoying pancake stacks and jellied toast points, and I remembered all too well that feeling. I was reminded that this meal, the one where oatmeal sat in front of Mom where a waffle might historically have been, and I knew that this was just part of the process. And that’s not to say that eating healthy means sacrifice and a constant sensation of longing. It’s not even to say that healthfulness exists as this lonely island where you’re the only option is exactly that which you don’t want; it’s just–sometimes you have to make the hard choices to achieve your greater goals.
*Andie note: [sigh]
Snack: 2 cups pineapple (160)
Dinner: 8 ounces fried haddock (~400) + “about 10 French fries” (200) = 600
*Andie note: Today’s calorie intake, like yesterday’s, is too low.
Breakfast: Waffle (1/2 cup Aunt Jemima Complete mixed with water = 225) + 2 teaspoons butter (~60) + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (100) = 385
*Andie note: Knowing how much Mom loves waffles and considering her experience Friday morning, I just had to find a way to make one for her. Aunt Jemima was the mix she had in the house already, so I worked with that; otherwise, I would have opted for a whole grain, all-natural version, like Kodiak Cakes.
Out to lunch: Chef salad with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, 1 slice each of turkey, ham, roast beef, and provolone cheese, and fat free Italian dressing (350)
Snack: 12 almonds + 1 ounce raisins (180)
Dinner: Creamy zucchini, broccoli, tomato, and chicken sauté: 1 cup sliced zucchini (20) + 1 cup broccoli florets (25) + 1 cup grape tomatoes (30) + 3 ounces chicken breast (90) sautéed in 1 tablespoon olive oil (100) with 2 cloves minced garlic (0). To create a creamy sauce, I added 1/3 cup chicken broth (5) to the pan, brought it to a simmer, then added 1 ounce of cream cheese (100) and stirred until it melted, coating the chicken and veggies. I seasoned the whole pan with salt and pepper, then stirred in ¼ cup fresh basil leaves and served it immediately. = 370
Dessert: 1 serving Blueberry Cream Cheese Crumble (this recipe!) = 300
Breakfast: 2 eggs (70) + 1 cup (25) + ½ cup spinach (5) + 1 teaspoon butter (~30) + 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese (20) + ½ cup halved strawberries (25) + 1 cup raspberries (65) = 240
Out to lunch: 8 ounces battered and fried haddock (~400)
*Andie note: Mom and I have talked about this, but in general, my take on this haddock decision was: “I applaud that you did your best given the restaurant (she did), but let’s try to limit fried food to once a week, if that. Since you had it on Friday, I would have preferred a different choice today.”
Snack: 1 slice cheese (50)
Dinner: 3 ounces steak tips (180 for the steak alone + 30 for the Stonewall Kitchen marinade = 210) + ½ grilled sausage (120) + 1 ½ cups mixed salad (10) with 2 tablespoons Ken’s Steak House Light Caesar Dressing (80) = 420
Dessert: 1 normal slice birthday cake (350)
*Andie note: 1. It was my cousin’s birthday party. 2. The cake was from White’s, our happy place.
Week 3 Weigh-In:
Starting Weight: 210
Week 1 Weight: 201.4 (down 8.6)
Week 2 Weight: 199.4 (down 2.0)
Week 3 Weight: 199 (down 0.4)
Total Pounds Lost: 11
Mom’s thoughts on progress so far:
“Hi to all my friends at Can You Stay for Dinner!
I’m heading into my fourth week on a diet and no, I haven’t started walking yet! Truth of the matter is, it has been so hot here that I can hardly stay outside for more than 15 minutes without feeling like I’m going to keel over.
I am 57-years-old and have not been able to tolerate the heat for the past two summers. The diet seems to be getting easier to follow this past week. The beginning was tough and I wanted to eat everything in sight, but now I am starting to realize that this is not just a whim but a new lifestyle and truth be told, I do like the way I feel now compared to the constantly bloated and stuffed feeling I had. I have been able to see foods that I like and not feel I had to eat them. There is always food at my work and I just don’t have it. My husband and I spent the Fourth of July holiday down the Cape with my sister and her family and I survived! My sister welcomed me into her home and told me that she had all of my favorite treats: a twelve-pack of Coca Cola, pastries, chips, and candy. I had to tell her about my diet (which was hard because I don’t believe that everyone has to diet just because I should!) She was very gracious and did not tempt me with any more sweets. We went out for fish and chips and even though I had half a piece of fried haddock, I did not eat the coleslaw, French fries or onion rings that we also ordered. I went shopping and saw a big bag of circus peanuts by the cash register (at a time when I was starving) but noooo, I did not buy them. I also spent three hours at Homegoods alone and didn’t buy my usual Coke and cotton candy when I checked out. By the way, they sell the whole bucket of cotton candy right at the register.
OK, enough about what I didn’t do, now a confession about what I did do! We celebrated my niece’s birthday at my house tonight and Andrea went and got her a White’s birthday cake and come Hell or high water I had to had a piece. You can’t pass up a piece of White’s cake (what if I don’t survive the night and I missed a perfect opportunity, damn!) After having one piece, it was almost impossible to not want another one.
That will do it for indulging for me and it’s back to business as usual. Gratefully I am eating well and loving the variety. I even had a waffle yesterday with a small bit of syrup. I had a dinner last night that was made with cream cheese, sautéed vegetables and chicken and it was delicious. I am thankful for all your support and kind words and most of all for being there for me. For anyone following along on this plan, we can do it and will do it!
P.S. Thank you, my little Francie, for sticking it out with me. I love you so much!!!!!!!!!”
*Andie note: I love you more, and I’m so proud of you [love fest love fest love fest]