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  • Learning How to Meal Prep to Lose Weight - Dianne's Challenge Week 7

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    This week has been all about food preparation and managing to fit in my own workouts. I’m doing my best to continue eating a healthier, whole foods diet and home-cooked meals. When we started training, Holly suggested that I weigh and measure my foods and track the calories and macronutrients in MyFitnessPal so I’d know exactly how much I was eating. She even wanted me to track other nutrients like fiber (at or over 25 grams daily) and sugar (at or under 25 grams daily.)

    It takes a lot more time than eating out at lunch and snacking on whatever is around, but I feel so much better! My afternoon “slumps” are far less frequent, I’m sleeping better, and I feel like I have more energy and ability to focus during the day.

    I’ve gotten much better at taking lunch to work to avoid restaurant food, and cleaning up my breakfasts to cut down on refined grains and sugars. I’ve definitely made strides, but Holly wanted to see the types of foods I’ve been buying and make sure I’m preparing my meals in a way that will help me lose weight. So she let me know she’d stop by on Saturday to check in on things. 

    Friday night I took a look inside my fridge and cupboards to see what I needed and what nutrients I might be lacking. There was a shortage of vegetables, which are a major source of fiber, so I jotted that on my shopping list. I also needed to get some lean protein to help with building muscle and preventing hunger. I saw a few cans of baked beans, which are one of my breakfast favorites, but I’ve learned that the sugar and high carbohydrate content are less than ideal for losing weight and starting my morning off right. I added a few more whole food ideas to my grocery list so I wouldn’t get distracted at the store with foods that will drain my energy.Dianne after grocery shopping getting ready to prepare her healthy meals for the week - fit for wedding

    I woke up bright and early on Saturday and went for a run on the beach, then I was off to the grocery store after a quick shower.  I landed at checkout with the following in my trolley: old fashioned oats, 2% Greek yogurt, almond milk (unsweetened vanilla), organic rice cakes, almond butter, hummus, carrots, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, celery, cherries, sweet potatoes, pre-made organic chicken breast, and lean ground turkey. 

    When Holly came over and surveyed the food on my counters, she seemed pretty satisfied with my choices, so then we talked about what my plans were for preparing these foods. I told her what I had in mind, which included:

    • Breakfast: Oatmeal, yogurt, or whole grain toast with avocado and hardboiled eggs
    • Snacks: Rice cakes with almond butter and cherries, or hummus or baby carrots and celery sticks with hummus
    • Lunch: Sautéed Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and pan fried ground turkey seasoned with salt, pepper and all-purpose seasoning 
    • Dinner: ….Oops! I had totally FORGOTTEN to pick anything up for dinner - d’oh!

    I hadn’t even realized until Holly asked about dinner that I was going back to my old habits again. Dave and I almost always order take out or delivery for dinner, so it didn’t even occur to me to pick up any dinner while I was at the store. It suddenly made sense why Holly felt the need to actually show up at my house and see for herself what I was eating and how I was planning my foods. It’s so easy to think you’re doing things correctly and still have blind spots!

    I ended up going back to the store that evening to pick up some salmon, asparagus, brown rice, chicken tenderloins and frozen peas. After seeing Holly post a chicken and peas dish on her Instagram, it inspired me to experiment with cooking peas and chicken in some garlic and shallots, then top with some sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Pretty delicious, if I do say so myself!

     My Low-Calorie Italian-Style Chicken & Peas Recipe

    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
    • 1 bag steam-in-bag frozen peas
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • 1 scallion, chopped
    • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
    • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
    • Salt & lemon pepper to taste

    Microwave peas as directed. Sautee chicken, garlic, shallots, salt and lemon pepper in olive oil on medium heat until chicken is fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, then top with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan. Add in the peas, mix together and enjoy!Healthy Recipe - Chicken with peas and sun-dried tomatoes - weight loss meal

    Dave is becoming much more supportive as well. He's been encouraging of this journey from the start, but now he's making more of an effort to help me avoid temptations and remind me of my goals. He's been enjoying some of the new foods I've been making for dinner, and has been happy to skip takeout and even help me cook sometimes. It's so great to have the extra accountability and support!

    I was happy to tell Holly for once that I had gotten in my cardio sessions as planned at the Santa Monica stairs – that’s my go-to workout spot.  Unfortunately, the same wasn’t true of doing weight training on my own. I don’t currently have a gym membership, so strength training requires more motivation for me, even when Holly has told me what to do (which is why I had to hire a personal trainer!)

    Thankfully, ProSource blew me away with a surprise gift of 10-pound dumbbells and a whole set of stackable resistance bands to help me out!  I was SO thrilled!!!  Now I can get some strength training done at home or when I go to the stairs. Holly showed me some things I can do, like squat-to-press with the dumbbells, and lunges with bicep curls.  I can use the resistance bands to do tricep extensions and shoulder raises.  The resistance bands even include a door hook and ankle straps to use with the door to do some leg work as well, like hamstring curls, glute kickbacks, lat pull-downs and chest presses. (See Dianne's at-home routine below).

    I’m so excited to start this next week - I feel prepared and equipped for success. Not only that, but I am still losing weight, which keeps me even more motivated! At the end of the week I weighed in at 157.6!

    Current stats:

    Weight: 157.6

    Body fat: 29.4% (down from 29.8%)

    Inches lost: 1 inch total since last weigh in!

     

     

    Try Dianne’s At-Home Strength Training Routine (You can find explanations on how to perform some of these resistance band exercises here). If you don’t have a door anchor, tie your resistance band around a very sturdy object.

    Dianne's Challenge At-Home Strength Training Routine with ProSource dumbbells and resistance bands

     




    Vitaly Cheresh

    Author



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