Fish Oil Pills

Fish Oil Pills

The “I Love This Diet!” plan suggests a multivitamin and 1200 mg. of Fish Oil for Omega 3s. The pills are actually small enough for me to swallow.

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I Love This Diet!

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Six years ago, I came across an article from Good Housekeeping called The Frozen Entree Diet. I was so taken with the idea that I thought I would take that idea and run with it. You see, I am aware that there are all sorts of programs where you can buy pre-made meals. I am talking about Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, of course, but I am sure there are others. I have watched the commercials, and seen the special offers at Costco, but I figured I could do that on my own. After all, there are so many choices out there: Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice are the big players. There are also choices from Amy’s, Kashi, and Cedar Lane.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people who loves to plan things. I am a planner, but not always a do-er. I got very involved in compiling a binder full of listings from every low-calorie entree I could find. I also explored single serving ice cream options. Then, I hit the wall. The truth is that I love to cook, and had my husband to consider. Still, I counted on frozen entrees for breakfast and lunch options at school. I am a teacher, with a small fridge/freezer and microwave in my classroom, and it was so simple to pop one of those things in and have food ready.

Now that I am recently divorced, I still like to cook. But I have a long commute to and from work, and am often too tired or stressed to plan and cook meals. Stress, in particular, prompted me to stop at a restaurant on the way home and eat a “snack” before going home. So, basically, I am doing very little cooking at the moment. My weight is increasing at an alarming rate, and I am spending too much money in restaurants. I began looking at Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem again, since I had still not gotten my Frozen Entree Diet Plan together.

I was surfing the net to see if I could find the Good Housekeeping article when I came across the link to I Love This Diet. SOMEONE took the idea and ran with it! It comes as a set of PDF files in a .zip folder. After reading about the program, I paid the $47.00 and downloaded the whole thing. As they state on the website, you can start that very day! I did. It was not perfect, but I was able to use what I had on hand to follow the diet that day. I also joined our school’s weight loss challenge. I am feeling very positive about this. I plan to write down what I eat in the Food Plan Diary that is provided, but I also may post some of my menus and weigh ins here.

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There are actually more additions since this picture was taken. They have added Kashi and Amy’s Organic brands in two new .pdfs. Pretty cool. I will let you all know how it goes.

Alternative Frozen Entree Diet Sites

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I am currently paying for Weight Watchers.  I am paying the $39.99 per month fee that includes unlimited meetings and access to eTools, which is WW diet recording software.  Lately I have been very frustrated with the online tools – there are so many glitches in the FlashPlayer Diet Planner/Activity Planner that it often takes several tries to get my entries to post.

I am, for the most part, sticking to frozen entrees – especially for breakfast and lunch.  Sometimes, for dinner, I will make something in a large quantity – like a soup or stew in the crockpot.  Then I freeze the remainder so that my husband has meals when I am not cooking.

I was looking up the nutritional information for a Healthy Choice entree when I noticed that they have expanded their site to include a diet and exercise planner called Start Making Choices.  I have not signed up yet, but I may.

Other sites that have diet plans are Amy’s Kitchen and Lean Cuisine.  Of course, Smart Ones has a site:  It’s called WeightWatchers, but they also have a community message board on their frozen entree site.  Kashi also has a community message board as well as coupons for free entrees.

The Amy’s Kitchen website has a pretty extensive section on what they call the Amy’s Diet Plan.  There are 14 days worth of menus and shopping lists as well.  I might try that sometime, but it has usually been difficult for me to plan ahead when I am eating or dieting.  I guess I got that from my parents.  I am a very impulsive eater.

Lean Cuisine’s website offers Wellness Tools, and you must also sign up for that.  It is supposed to include a meal planner and a fitness planner, with pre-planned menus.  I will check it out later.

Shopping Receipt from WalMart

I am trying to get back on the wagon again and am going to eat mainly portion-controlled meals for a while.  I am trying to balance the expensive Amy’s Organic and Kashi Entrees with Michelina’s and Smart Ones on sale.  It’s more complicated than that, though.  The Amy’s are organic – not necessarily low fat and calorie.  So, if I get am entree that is high in WW Points, I have to have one that day with lower points!

I stopped by Aldi first, because I hadn’t been there in a while.  I bought one each of their Fiber One Bars knock offs.  I had tried the Peanut Butter ones in Asheville last week and thought they were pretty good.  I got one box of the Millville Fiber NOW chewy bars in Oats and Chocolate and one in Oats and Caramel.  I had one in the car before I went to WalMart so that I would not “hunger shop” and it was fantastic!  Really chocolate-y and rich and only 2 WW Pts per bar.  I am going to keep them at school in case I have a craving for a candy bar.

At WalMart, I bought a couple of Amy’s Organic Dinners.  WalMart has them for only $3.14 to $3.28 each.  I bought two packages each of the Cheese Enchiladas and the Cheese Tamale Verde, because they are gluten-free and will make an easy dinner for my hubby as well.  I also bought one package of the Indian Mattar Paneer and the Tortilla Casserole and Black Beans Bowl.  That last one was a stretch, at 9 WW Pts. per dinner.  I will have to eat really light on my other meals that day.

After that, I headed for the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet section.  Those are really cheap.  I bought one entree with the old packaging – you cook it in the box.  It was Chicken Alfredo Florentine, and cost $1.18.  The new packaging looks like it has a baking dish enclosed and costs $1.68 per entree.  I cannot find information yet on the new ones, but I think I got Curry Chicken, Mandarin Chicken and Pad Thai Chicken.   There are coupons on the back to get the 50 cents you paid extra off on another purchase.  We’ll see.

I bought only three Kashi entrees this time:  Sweet and Sour Chicken (my favorite – I had it for lunch when I got home), Lemon Coconut Chicken, and the Tuscan Veggie Bake.   I then went to the Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones aisle, because the WW Points are prominently displayed on the box.  I got Smart Ones Fettuccine Alfredo Smart Ones Lemon Chicken, and Lean Cuisine Pasta Romano with Bacon (It’s also new -I ate it yesterday and loved it!).   I also bought Lean Cuisine Santa Fe Rice and Beans, and two Healthy Choice French Bread Pizzas:  one cheese and one pepperoni.  The total came to about $45, but if you subtract the two entrees I bought for my husband, it was only $37 for 17 meals.

I didn’t buy any breakfasts:  I already had some.  I have two servings of Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Oatmeal and a package of Kashi Heart to Heart Waffles – I think that’s 3 servings of 2 waffles each.  I’ll lay out my daily menus in my Weight Watchers food diary.  It’s a start.

The Meal Plan

From “The Frozen Food Diet” (Good Housekeeping, October 2005):

Our meal plan: Below, we’ve outlined what you should eat every day. We’ve left some blanks – to be filled in with choices from the lists below and on the next page. Drink calorie-free beverages, and take a one-a-day multivitamin/multimineral.

Breakfast:
-Milk (1 cup fat-free) or yogurt (6 ounces light)
-Cereal (3/4 cup Kashi GoLean; or 3/4 cup Cheerios or Wheaties mixed with 1/4 cup All-Bran Extra Fiber)
-one serving fruit (see list)

Lunch:
-Frozen meal (see lunch list)
-salad (2 cups salad greens – try to alternate varieties – with 1/2 cup bite-sized pieces of any combination of the following [raw or steamed]: cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, radishes, tomatoes)
-2 tablespoons reduced-calorie dressing, no more than 50 calories per 2T serving (like Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger) or 1 teaspoon olive oil mixed with flavored vinegar

Dinner:
-Frozen meal (see dinner list)
-salad (2 cups salad greens – try to alternate varieties – with 1/2 cup bite-sized pieces of any combination of the following [raw or steamed]: cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, radishes, tomatoes)
-2 tablespoons reduced-calorie dressing, no more than 50 calories per 2T serving (like Annie’s Naturals Raspberry Viniagrette) or 1 teaspoon olive oil mixed with flavored vinegar

One a Day:
-Milk (1 cup fat-free) or yogurt (6 ounces light)
-one serving fruit (see list)
-one serving whole grain (see list)

Twice a Week:
-1 treat (see list)

Serendipity?

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I picked up this article called “The Frozen Food Diet.” I am pretty sure it was while I was waiting in an examining room during my physical – about 6 months ago. I picked up an old issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, and came across the article. It was in the October 2005 issue and was written by Delia A. Hammock, M.S, R.D. I have looked for the same information online and have been unsuccessful. Here is what the introduction said:

“If only I had the time to diet…”

I bet you’ve said that before. We understand: It ain’t easy preparing diet-friendly foods every day, especially if you’re making something separate for the rest of your family. That’s why we’ve come up with this quickie diet – every meal in our plan can be prepared in nine minutes or less. The secret: 28 microwavable frozen meals that meet our strict nutritional criteria but still pack lots of flavor. Just press the start button on your microwave – and – voila!

Can a diet so simple really work? You bet. Our plan is based on research done by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In an eight-week study conducted there in 2003, women who ate frozen meals as their main course for lunch and dinner lost an average of 12 pounds; women who were supposed to follow a calorically equivalent diet – but who had to plan and cook everything themselves – lost only 8 pounds. The results suggest that the second group of women ended up consuming more calories because they didn’t accurately measure their foods, says LeaAnn Carson, M.S., R.D., a research dietitian at the university and one of the study’s authors. The lesson: Frozen entrees can help keep portion sizes under control.

With our plan, portion control can help you lose about 1.5 pounds per week – 20 pounds in just over three months. Time to stock the freezer!”

At the same time as I was reading this, the Jenny Craig program was getting a lot of publicity with Kirstie Alley as a spokesperson. I did look into the program, but am shy about committing that much money at the moment. I also visited a lot of other sites that provide calorie-controlled meals to people who are dieting – there are quite a few, and they have some very attractive food. Some of it gourmet-quality, organic, etc.

I have gained at least 30 unwanted pounds since I got married – hey, maybe more!  I am aware that a lot of it has to do with my lowered activity level:  I no longer ride horses, and I am not a traveling teacher anymore (I used to go from room to room and that was some exercise).  I also LOVE to eat and cook – and go out to eat, and invent new recipes… but more on that later.

I am going to devote a separate entry to “the meal plan” – so I will close for now.  I am debating about whether or not to include before or after pictures.  I am obviously a narcissistic exhibitionist (my husband’s opinion of many bloggers), but I need some way of keeping myself honest.  I also would like to share some of the great health links and information I have found – and maybe even put them into practice!

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