Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's for dinner?

So how did I go about losing 60+ lbs?  Here's what worked for me:

My goal for breakfast was to stay under 300 calories, so I usually had 2 cups of tea between 8 and 10am, and then around 10:30am, I would have one of the following:
  • 1 pack of Lu Déjeuner cookies
  • Oatmeal made with H20 and then topped with a little bit of brown sugar, cinnamon + 1/4 c milk
  • 45g of a high-fiber cereal + 1/2 c milk
C likes to make brunch on the weekends, so on Sundays, we swapped our pancakes, eggs and bacon, for 2 or 3 light crepes sprinkled with a bit of sugar and lemon.  Another weekend option was sort of a veggie scramble - cook a whole lot of mixed veggies (onions, peppers, julienned legumes) in a pan, and then add a couple of eggs, a couple of egg whites, garlic, salt, pepper and a handful of shredded Mexican cheddar.

As a side note, I also purchased brand-new non-stick pans so I was able to cook all of our meals with absolutely zero oil or butter, removing precious calories from many of the recipes below.

Because I often work out over my lunch break, I usually end up eating lunch around 2pm.  I varied between 300-350 calories, often choosing one of the following plus a fat-free yogurt w/a tsp of honey or a clementine:

Most days I had a snack or two in the afternoon, usually between 150-250 calories depending on what I planned for lunch and dinner:
  • 1 apple or other fruit
  • a fat-free yogurt and 1 tsp honey
  • High fiber or high protein bar
  • 2 clementines
  • and if I was really craving something sweet, a s'mores pop tart!

For dinner, I also shot for 300-350 calories.  But considering C was usually eating with me, I spent a lot of time searching for recipes that were very similar to what we would normally eat, just with modified ingredients.  Because he didn't need to lose any weight, I often times would also make zucchini noodles or faux rice for me, and real pasta or rice for him. As a side note - if you are skeptical like I was of the faux rice, don't be - if you cook it right, it's actually kind of hard to tell that it's not rice!  I used frozen cauliflower to make it, and just ran the cauliflower under hot water for a few minutes before chopping it with our food processor and then cooking it in a pan for maybe 5 minutes.  The zucchini noodles were a little more time consuming, but also delicious, and can be used as a spaghetti substitute in any dish.
I really tried to avoid having dessert, but if I had to have something sweet or if I was still hungry, a clementine would usually satisfy my craving.  If I had leftover calories, I would also sometimes make banana "ice cream", topped with cinnamon (great for blood sugar control).

I think my biggest takeaway from this though was portion control.  If you are going to embark on a weight loss program, go out and buy yourself a digital scale asap.  Because of my education, I had a fairly good idea of portion control for meats, carbs, etc, but realized that I was grossly underestimating portion sizes for things like cereal and fruit.

For example, what I thought was considered a "small" apple actually turned out to be a large apple with double the calories, and when you only have 1200 for the day, a lot of small errors like that can really add up and sabotage your weight loss.   So I really paid attention to portion sizes and weighed almost everything I ate, right down to every last oatmeal flake or drop of milk that went into my tea.

The other thing that helped out a lot was planning out my meals for the week, or at least for a few days at a time.  I think a lot of times people run into trouble when they don't know what to eat, so they just grab whatever is on hand.  Planning out my breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for the week allowed me to take that option off the table, and it also ensured that I had everything on hand for my meals.  I also almost always had frozen portions of the Cabbage soup or the Quinoa and Spinach patties on hand, so I could quickly reheat them if necessary on nights when we didn't have much time.

In the next post, I will cover some of the different tools out there that can also be helpful in monitoring your health, as well as how I watched my diet while on the road.

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4 Comments:

Blogger MilkJam said...

That's so helpful! I can't wait to hear about how you did it on the road... our annual crazy busy business trips are starting at the end of the month and I'm nervous. I've been so good since Feb, don't want to throw it all to hell :)

April 9, 2014 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Sharyn said...

What a great post! I just checked in this morning from NH and read the last few about the weight loss. I've been on the same path, when my winter pants had all shrunk and I either had to face it or buy a bigger size. And I've followed pretty much the same regime as you, 1200 calories a day though I have not been able to get into an exercise routine yet. I am fairly and moderately active all day with work and walking up and down stairs. We are still snow covered here so I will start outdoor exercise when that goes.
The only way that works for me is writing down everything I eat in a notebook and only weighing once a week. So far I'm down abut 8 pounds with maybe 5 more to go. And then the issue is to keep it off which I will do with another notebook and a weekly weigh in. I believe 1500 -1700 calories is ok for my height to maintain weight but I will find out.
1/4 cup of Haagen Daz has 290 calories. yup.
Thank you for the recipes, I've been looking for more low calorie ideas that will go over well with my husband who is a pasta lover.
Soon I will go through my whole wardrobe and see if I am back in those skinny jeans.

April 9, 2014 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

I've never been able to find a high-protein bar here in Paris. I've had to order Quest and Atkins from the UK which is costly and often a total waste of money if I find I hate the taste of the bar. What were you finding here that you liked for your protein/fiber bars?

April 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Irisrainbow said...

They don't have spaghetti squash in France?

April 12, 2014 at 1:36 AM  

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