By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow
Week 54 Weigh In:
Change this week: -7 lbs
Change overall: -76.5 lbs
I am ecstatic about my weight loss this week! It's the most I've lost in a single week this entire journey!
Of course, everybody is asking me how I did it - and I actually have an interesting answer to that. I tried a new meal plan.
I had spent some time thinking about how I was going to keep things interesting for myself after a year on my program and also how to keep things interesting in this blog. I can only write (and you can only read) so many entries on how to snack well, how to diet on vacation and how to deal with a plateau. So I thought I might spend some time periodically reviewing different meal plans or food delivery programs.
This serves a few purposes for me:
1) It shakes things up. I tend to eat the same foods over and over again and this prompts me to venture from my daily routines.
2) It gives me something to focus on. It is so easy to have an extra snack here or too much mayo there and not even think about it. Following a meal plan makes me stricter with myself and serves to help me recommit to my efforts.
3) It lets me be a guinea pig. There are so many plans and programs out there and it's a bit of a leap of faith sometimes to commit to one. Since I'm looking for things to keep me interested, this gives me an opportunity to try things out and let you know about my experience with them.
I do have some guidelines about what I will and won't try - you won't see me trying an all grapefruit diet or anything else I think is questionable as far as health goes.
I also am very committed to Weight Watchers (it's worked for me for more than a year!), so I'll still be tracking all my meals as part of that program and if I find something to be wildly different from the plan, I will probably make modifications. At this point, it's very difficult for me to even think about spending a week completely "off" of Weight Watchers -- it's a good overarching framework for me and admittedly serves as a bit of a safety net. No matter what I'm trying, if it fits within the Weight Watchers program, chances are it can't go too badly for just a week.
So, that brings me to my first experiment! I had been in contact with someone at Amy's Kitchen and when they said that they had put together a special weight loss meal plan, I offered to check it out if they wanted to send me the food. They agreed and I was off and running!
Most of Amy's foods are frozen, but they also have canned soups and chili and jars of salsa. So the products are very convenient and make meals easy. I hadn't even really given a lot of thought to the fact that they are all vegetarian, so without even planning to, I went (mostly) vegetarian for a week! That was an interesting bonus and definitely a factor for anybody out there who is deliberately a vegetarian.
The food was, across the board, delicious! They have a great variety of foods from tofu scramble pockets and hot multigrain cereal for breakfast to pizza and enchiladas and veggie burgers for lunch and dinner. I don't think there was a single meal I wouldn't eat again. Some of my favorites were the Veggie Loaf Meal, the Single Serving Spinach Pizza and the Chunky Tomato Bisque. It's also nice to look at a food label and see things like onions, lentils and carrots in the ingredients instead of a lot of chemicals and highly processed ingredients.
One of my concerns with a plan focused on frozen foods was consuming too much sodium, but Amy's has a whole line of "Light in Sodium" versions of their foods and I was able to replace almost all of my meals with lower sodium equivalents.
Here's a sample day from the plan (you can see the whole thing here):
Amy's Breakfast Burrito and
1 cup 1% milk or soymilk
1 cup nonfat yogurt
Amy's Brown Rice and Veggie Bowl and
1 cup carrot sticks
2 tablespoons light salad dressing
1/3 cup Snack Mix made up of sunflower seeds, raisins and almonds
Amy's Shepherd's Pie
1 cup salad greens topped with 1 cup mixed vegetables
Dressing made of 1 T balsamic vinegar and 1 t olive oil
½ natural canned, frozen or fresh peaches
To add 300 calories: add a snack of 1 ounce toasted almonds and 1 cup non fat yogurt
Here's a day-by-day summary of my experiences with the plan:
Day 1: I realized that the biggest drawback of the plan was the fact that it was a plan and I was trying hard not to deviate from it. I'm sure you're scratching your head, remembering back up on the top of the page where I said that having a plan to focus on was a benefit! In theory, being stricter with myself and following something to the letter was a benefit and something I was looking forward to -- but in practice, when I realized that there was no chocolate to be had for a week, there was, I admit, a bit of freaking out.
It's not that I expected there to be a chocolate snack specifically detailed in the plan, but on Weight Watchers, I can work anything into my plan as long as I have the Points to use.
Even though it made me anxious, I set out trying very hard to stick to the plan as written.
Day 2: I was torn. I was very unhappy about not feeling like I could incorporate sweets and still be "on" the plan. But I couldn't ignore the fact that physically I was totally satisfied. I wasn't hungry at all and felt comfortably full most of the time.
I worked out with my trainer at the gym that evening and was uncomfortable with the idea of skipping food after. I had saved the salad from dinner for after the gym and added some steamed shrimp for protein. I hesitate to call that a "cheat"... though the low-fat ice cream sandwich I had after definitely was. Buy hey, I went to the gym! I deserved it!
Day 3: I totally forgot that I had planned lunch with a friend! I made a quick modification by having my Amy's lunch at the office before and having a simple salad out with my friend.
Day 4: Another meal out. This time dinner, so I actually skipped the planned dinner and tried to make good restaurant choices. I had a salad without dressing to start, then a grilled octopus appetizer and side of asparagus for dinner. Dessert was fresh berries with some whipped cream on top (had to indulge a little!).
Day 5: I work out a lot on the weekends, and after an aerobics class, an hour on the treadmill and an abdominal class on Saturday, I had to eat something and obviously couldn't carry around a frozen Amy's meal with me. So I had a smoothie at the gym and then my planned dinner when I got home.
Day 6: I had planned dinner with a friend on this day, but she was coming over to my apartment, which made things easier. When I explained that I was following a plan for the week, she was perfectly happy to make a salad with me and then eat something else that I had on-hand so I could eat my frozen dinner. Perfect! I did have a low-fat fudge bar for dessert, though.
Day 7: We got a lot of snow so my office ordered in pizza for everyone who had made it in. I was sorely tempted to give in and have a slice, but instead I asked the woman who was ordering to please get some salad as well and I had that with my planned soup. Had plans with a friend after work, but, made them for after dinner so I could eat my Amy's meal at the office and then meet him afterwards.
The Bottom Line:
Amy's food: $80
Grocery items: $50
I found all of the Amy's meals to be very good! They were tasty and very satisfying and I was never hungry. It was also interesting to see that I could go most of a week without eating any meat and not really miss it. The Veggie Loaf Meal especially filled any comfort food craving I might have by mimicing meat loaf quite nicely!
Most of the foods were frozen, which made meals easy -- as long as I had access to a refrigerator and microwave. The preparation of extra grocery items was minimal and also very easy. On regular work days this was fine, but on days that have a bit more spontaneity to them or time away from the office or home, it was a little trickier.
Would I do it again:
I don't think I could do the specific plan for an extended time as I really need to have some flexibility built in to feel like I'm doing something I can stick to for the long haul. But for people with less weight to lose than I do, I could see this being feasible for a bit. I will definitely incorporate Amy's foods into my Weight Watcher's program, though, and would certainly come back to the strict meal plan as a tool to jumpstart my weight loss when I've hit a plateau or feel distracted from my efforts. I think it's a great way to shake things up and see some good results to rejuvenate my efforts.
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