If you do not have an issue with the food you are eating, and are on your way to a healthy weight, then your diet is working for you. At some point you may have more time, or find it necessary to cut out the processed food, but for now, I would just continue losing weight.
That is why I asked whether you needed advice on having dinner ready, or also feedback on your menu. Since you are losing, I wouldn't change anything. We often try to incorporate advice from others, and the result could be the changes don't result in weight loss. When you finally stop losing, then you might decide to cut some processed foods, or make other healthy changes, but right now, you are losing weight, and that is what is healthiest of all.
I would use the advice on having dinner ready when you got home, and wait until there is a problem with your diet is not working to worry about it. Make healthier choices whenever possible, but otherwise don't tinker with your diet, when it is working.
I've never noticed a huge difference for me if I have too many carbs- as long as I don't JUST have carbs. I need to have some kind of protein (even cheese) to keep me from getting too hungry too quickly.
I believe the 2 cups of potatoes MUST have been a seasoned/sauced steamer bag of vegetables that INCLUDED potatoes. It was one of those cook and dump on a plate things. I certainly didn't have 2 cups of plain potatoes.
I have eaten out three times since July 5. I wouldn't consider that several times a week. (Though I did have leftovers from California Pizza Kitchen rather than eating the entire half of a pizza in one sitting). The mac and cheese recipe includes mashed/pureed butternut squash (cooked from a whole squash in my kitchen) and california blend vegetables. It's not just Kraft Mac and Cheese. I'll admit, I am getting a little (ok, a LOT) sick of having it every day for lunch. I definitely don't make a habit of cooking meals that make 7 extra generous servings. Most make about 4 servings.
I'm going to look at crock pot meals. I generally don't have a day I can devote to cooking. I work 6 days a week, and on Sundays I have church activities all day. Still, if I do the prep-work the night before (chopping/measuring) I can make a couple recipes during the week. I might not be able to get rid of my chicken nuggets and other convenience foods completely right away, but if I make a couple crock pot recipes, and cook up some inexpensive lean protein (pork, chicken, beef- I can often find some pretty good deals in the store. I found 4, about 4 oz cooked, pork chops for about $2-3 recently) in batches, I should be able to cut back.
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 7/19/13 7:31 P
Well, what you were eating July 6-11 looks MUCH better. Still, even on your best days, you are eating far too many carbs and a lot of processed food. I know that for me, carbs are much more important than calories, so this sets off alarm bells. Since you are tracking consistently, you should be able to see over time if carbs make a difference for you or not.
Serving size is another thing to think about--you are often having multiple servings where one would probably be enough to keep you full. For example, there is one day where you had 2 cups of potatoes with dinner--that's an enormous amount of potatoes, and it completely threw off your carbs for the day. A different approach could be to figure out how much a serving size is (one potato) and give yourself half. If you eat your whole dinner, along with water and are still hungry afterwards, then have the rest of the serving. Or try having your meaballs and potato along with a green salad--that might fill you up, with more nutrition and fewer carbs.
It still looks like you are eating out several times a week as well, so that's another area where you might want to think about setting some goals in the long term. There is nothing wrong with repeating meals--we all have to do it when we get busy--but repeating the mac/cheese and nuggets is probably not the way to go. I also see some places where you are spending a LOT of your nutrition budget on things that aren't going to be very filling...but you are doing better with that in general.
Have you seen the Emergency Dinner thread? I think that it is on the main Spark Cafe board. There are lots of good ideas there that you might find useful for late dinners.
Another thing to think about is fruits and veggies. First, fresh produce is cheap and tasty this time of year, so you might want to start working it into your diet now instead of eating all frozen fruits and vegetables. I would argue that you are often eating too much fruit (6-7 servings a day) and not nearly enough vegetables. Since fruits have more carbs than vegetables, over time you might want to get to a point where you are eating more vegetables and just a serving or two of fruit a day.
I think you should ignore any feedback except what you've already given yourself. You've made huge strides in eliminating some things that you knew all along needed to be eliminated; you're meeting your calorie targets; you're eating vegetables. It's not perfect, but you know what the issues are; you're tackling the ones you can and keeping the others in mind on the back burner for when you have more time and mental energy. You know this. There's no need to invite others to comment when all they will do is recommend that you do things you're not ready to do. Once you've had time for this recent change of habits to settle in and you're ready for another change, that'll be the time to ask for feedback, but right now the only opinion that means anything is your own.
Fitness Minutes: (8,109)
7/19/13 1:50 P
Do you have a day of the week where you can cook in batches? You don't seem to mind eating the same things for several days in a row. You could make soups, chilis, casseroles, grilled chicken or other meat, and freeze them, and then reheat quickly when you get home. Also, packing snack baggies on that day can be extremely useful. I usually spend about 2 -4 hours each Sunday prepping for the week, and it pays off. I don't ever have to think about what I'm going to eat. It's just there.
7/19/13 11:16 A
Way to go! Some ideas for food prep: I've been known to make food AFTER eating to have prepared for the next day. That way you aren't starving when cooking and wanting to eat everything. While you may want to get to the point of eating less processed foods, it is okay to make that change slowly. You are doing wonderfully by eating in your calorie range and making small changes here and there.
Other quick ideas: tuna salad (this is part of my plan this week: as in tuna on a salad . . . although I plan to use mustard and a little bit of light mayo as the "dressing") cook up a meat like chicken (can be done in crockpot!) for quick meals . . . sandwich wraps (could even be a mexican taco with some seasoning, etc), shredded chicken with rice, topping for a baked potato (which can be made in microwave). We ate frozen fish last night. While it did go in the oven, it was cooked in about 10 minutes . . . other cooking methods (like George Foreman grill) could make that even less time. I typically spray it with non-stick olive oil spray, sprinkle with cajun seasoning and cook. Pair that with a veggie and maybe (given time) a microwaved potato, and you've got a nice, quick meal. You could even eat in stages as each item is finished =0)
But these are all just ideas to help you meet your goals. If what you are doing meets the goals you have, then great!
7/19/13 10:01 A
Maybe you could figure out something to eat as an "appetizer" when you get home, while you're cooking your actual meal. Something like carrot sticks and hummus, or a small salad, might hold you over for enough time to grill a piece of meat - which is way better than the processed chicken nuggets. The frozen vegetables are a really good idea... even the steamer vegetables that come in a butter sauce are usually pretty healthy. The only thing to really avoid is the ones with a heavy cheese sauce.
I second the slow cooker idea. They are great, because you can do about 20 minutes of prep, then just go about your day and get your chores done, and 4-8 hours later you've got a meal. Maybe you should try cooking a big batch meal on Saturday, and another one on Sunday, so you have 2 options to choose from during the week.
Overall it looks like you are doing well. Keep up the good work!
I am losing weight (about 5 pounds in the past 2 weeks, 7 pounds total).
I eat lunch around 12pm, but I often don't get home until after 8 on most nights (with no chance to snack in between) . When I get home, I am STARVING. I have chores to do and my workout. Right now, things are so hectic that I don't really have a free day where I can cook for the week. I managed to make one recipe, and I've been eating it for lunches. On days where I get home a little earlier, I will cook up a steak fillet or a piece of pork, etc, but most days I need food, I need it NOW, and I haven't had a chance to prepare anything in advance. (Unless, of course, I eat the same thing for lunch and dinner a few days in a row.)
I seem to be making one recipe a week or so, but I've been eating it for lunches. Otherwise, I'd probably just switch what I'm eating for lunch and dinner, so what difference does that make?
And I haven't been hungry, and most days I should be eating more than I do.
I am a bit confused. Are you asking just for advice on how to make dinner, so it is ready when you get home? Or are you also asking us to give feedback on your tracker? I'll try both, and maybe you can clear it up for later posters.
Dinner: If it is to be ready, then you need to either pre-cook it, or use the slow cooker like GDBEAR suggested. I am lazy, and cook a huge meal, and split it into lunch and dinner. So dinner is waiting in the fridge, and I microwave it. 3 minutes, and I am eating. I am sure there are many ideas that will be better than that..lol, so this should be one that can be solved by responses to that. We always find a way.
Feedback: I have no idea if this is working for you, and if you are losing steadily, so if it is, then why would you change anything, other than having dinner ready for after work?
However, if you aren't losing a lb or 2 a week as you desire, even you can see that you eat a lot of processed food. Do you ever feel hungry? Can you stick to your plan? I had trouble with this when I ate a lot of processed food. From your comment about dinner, it seems that your time is limited, so what i suggest may sound impossible. You should cook ALL of your own meals. If someone else is preparing your meal, they have their own agenda. It is convenient! Healthy? Probably not. A sure sign that something isn't healthy, is if they have to invent a word for it, like quorn. If you are feeling hungry, or tired, many times it is these processed foods which cause it. These cravings make it hard to eat the proper amount of calories, and being tired helps us stick to a diet of boxed, microwaveable foods, and make us think we don't have time.
I think if you started creating dishes from whole, real food, that you would feel a lot better, and might find in the end, that you have a lot more time to make healthy meals, and maybe the energy at 8 p.m. to make your dinner.
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
7/19/13 7:22 A
I think you have done a great job making improvements.
Looks like you haven't had any binges on some of your trigger foods.
You mention that you haven't been perfect, but that's ok. After over a year and 1/2 on sparks, I am not perfect, either. I have been able to stick with the changes I made. I still can make improvements, but have come a long way.
Keep up the good work and I am glad you didn't give up!
Keep on adding veggie serving when you can. If you are making scrambled eggs or an omelet, try adding veggies. If you have access to freezer space, think about buying extra frozen ones when they are on sale (if your budget allows.) If you like oatmeal, (I know people that have an issue with the texture) it can be inexpensive and you can add things like granola, fruit or peanut butter to it.
Great job on the changes you have made!
Fitness Minutes: (0)
7/19/13 7:15 A
My first question is why are you doing 3 hours of exercise daily? That seems extreme unless I am confused on your exercise amounts. Your diet seems to lack variety since lunch daily seems to be mac and cheese. I am not a fan of cooking so do a lot of quick items. What about frozen chicken breasts and frozen fish? They cook up quick and are less processed. There is a microwave brown rice, sweet potatoes you can make in the microwave, whole grain pasta. Having olive oil and seasonings can make some healthy dressings or marinades. Having lean ground meat or ground turkey burgers made and frozen you can make some healthy burgers for a change. Some nights a quick sandwich and soup or even an omelet with sides. I believe all foods can fit into a diet so having chicken nuggets or mac and cheese is fine but variety is important too.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
7/19/13 6:13 A
Have you considered using a slow cooker? Make your dinner in the morning, let it cook all day and it's ready when you walk in the door at night.
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
3,793 7/19/13 12:20 A
Suggestions: plain greek yogurt plus fresh fruits instead of premixed olive oil and vinegar instead of dressing real butter instead of spreads real meat instead of quorn more greens eight servings minimum fruits/veggies (doesn't include starchy veggies)
I've been working on staying on track with my diet plan for the past 2 weeks, and while I have not been perfect, I wanted some feedback on my tracker for the past 2 weeks.
I know I do eat a share of frozen processed food, but I try to keep it to quick microwave protein options (the more natural chicken nuggets, turkey meatballs, vegetarian frozen protein, etc) and frozen veggies (with or without sauces). Often, I don't get home until after 7-8pm, and I simply do not have the energy to cook, so I like options I can throw into the microwave. I do a little batch cooking on occasion, but nothing too significant yet, and typically that cooking goes straight into containers for lunches during the week.
I just want to know what kind of feedback people have for me.