Drew and I have let ourselves slowly (but very surely) get into the habit of eating whatever we want. I’m pushing the limits of my current pant size and I can’t help but think that my headache has something to do with all the junk I’ve been eating. I mean, corn dogs are great, but not as the staple of my diet. I’m not at my heaviest, but I don’t want to get back there. I FEEL better and more like myself about 10-15 pounds ago. Weight Watchers was a great starting point for us a few years ago, but it isn’t something that I feel like we can do or afford long term. Last month I kept a food diary for a few days to hold myself accountable, but pen and paper have a way of disappearing in our house and I gave up with the journal. What do I never lose for long? My phone. Earlier this year I tried a calorie counter app on my phone and didn’t care for it. So… I did some more research and digging and found MY PLATE CALORIE TRACKER. It is from Livestrong.com and I really like it so far. I can track all my food (calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates) as well as water intake and exercise. I got the lite version because it was free and has everything I need/want.
I’m telling you, having to acknowledge every single thing you put in your mouth has some sort of mega power. I surely don’t want to enter that I ate 750 calories for breakfast (which could easily happen with just a couple donuts). The app will ask for your gender, age, height, current weight, activity status and goal (maintain or rate of weight loss) and give you a suggested caloric intake for the day. For example, I am allowed 1359 calories a day if I want to lose 1-2 pounds per week. That is right in line with all the other tools I have used and research I have done. Drew, on the other hand will probably be allowed between 2000 and 2400 calories a day.
I got the app after ‘breakfast’ this morning. I put breakfast in quotation marks because it was actually a cup of coffee (with creamer), followed by a large handful of Wheat Thins a couple of hours later. That’s a perfect example of why I need to hold myself accountable. I am absolutely certain that I would have eaten like that the rest of the day had I not found this tracker and felt compelled to enter my food honestly. So, I entered my ‘breakfast’ and then thought twice before calling another handful of Wheat Thins my lunch. I opened the freezer and found a lonely salmon burger, so I pulled out a skillet and cooked that puppy up with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil. I found a lonely can of spinach in the cabinet, so I warmed that up, put 1/2 a cup on my plate and put the rest in the fridge to eat with dinner tonight. That’s 174 calories (and 23 awesome grams of protein!) for a REAL meal that filled me up for a few hours and actually had some nutrition. Now, I realize that not everyone is at home to spend 15 minutes preparing lunch, but if you are cooking dinner at night you could easily prepare a little extra to take for lunch the following day.
Fast forward to 3:30 and I was hungry again. Not famished, just wanting a snack. I cursed the box of Wheat Thins, passed over the ice cream and thanked God that there were no potato chips in the house. Then I had an idea (that I’m pretty sure I didn’t not come up with on my own). I always buy bananas at the grocery and when they are slightly overripe (some brown spots) I put them in the freezer because they make for an awesome protein shake. Since I had a protein packed lunch, I skipped the protein powder (and calories that go along with it) this time. I have an individual smoothie maker, but that’s pretty much just a tiny blender, so you can use the full size blender if you want. I put in half a cup of milk (1%), sliced one frozen banana and added 1/2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder. Blend and enjoy! You will have a treat the consistency of a Wendy’s frosty and just as yummy for only 150 calories, not to mention you just had a serving of low fat dairy and a serving of fresh fruit. FYI, a small chocolate frosty at Wendy’s will cost you a couple dollars and 290 calories.
I just happen to have something yummy in the crock pot for dinner. This morning I put 2 frozen chicken breasts in the pot and then mixed up 1 can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, 1/4 cup fat free sour cream and 1/2 a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix and spread the mixture over the chicken. Put the heat setting on low and just let that yummy chicken cook all day (5-6 hours). I did it so early today that it is already done, so I’ve just got it on the warm setting and have already confirmed (with a tiny bite) that it is delicious. If you are feeding more than 2 people then just use more chicken breast, 2 cans of soup, 1/2 cup sour cream and a full package of Ranch mix. I did the math of all ingredients and my entire crock pot has 805 calories in it. That means that even if we split it down the middle and lick that crock pot clean (which we will not!) then we will each only be eating about 400 calories. I will add a couple different veggies for sides and we will have a plate filled with yumminess for less than 500 calories.
Surely you all know that I only share all of this so you can try recipes that I’ve tried and we have enjoyed. I think it’s valuable for this reason… we can all buy a Paula Deen cookbook, eat absurdly delicious meals and gain 100 pounds this year OR we can buy an assortment of diet cookbooks & magazines and wonder where the ‘real’ food is. I’m a Southern girl who wants to eat real food that fills me up and that my husband will actually enjoy. THAT is why I share my recipes for simple, yummy and healthy food that we actually like to eat.
On a closing note, if I play my cards right then I will have a full dinner and still have a couple hundred calories left for a treat this evening!