What Did You Eat??? Part Two: Food Choices

*Note–please scroll down to see my before and after pictures and to get caught up on this weeks posts on weight loss!

As I poured over the many comments that were left on yesterdays post, my heart was both broken and hopeful. It was broken as I sensed the desperation in many of your gut-wrenchingly honest pleas; pleas for help, for wholeness, for answers, for healing both physically and mentally. How I wish I could reach through the screen, look you in the eyes, squeeze your sweet hand and tell you all that it is going to be okay. You can do it!!! But only if you commit to doing it God’s way. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

My heart was also full of hope. I can sense God’s spirit beginning to stir in many of your hearts and wills. You are fed up—literally!!! Sick and tired of being sick and tired. No longer wanting to be ashamed of your temple or embarrassed by your overeating and lack of movement. I can’t wait to see what God will do in the lives of each of you as you commit to losing weight FOR HIS GLORY (not yours)!

So, on to our next topic. Yesterday we discussed motivation. Today lets talk food. The second most frequent question I am asked is, “What did you eat?”

First let me say that I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is due. In 2005, I walked (okay waddled) into a Weight Watchers meeting. There I spent the next 10 months, once a week, weighing in in front of someone, which for me was imperative. I did not always follow WW and its point counting system. I counted total calories. What WW did for me was provide accountability. Having to step on the scale in front of another soul terrified me and kept me from over-eating. You know how easy it is to be easy on yourself.  When I tried to police myself, I let myself off without a ticket every time!!

You know the routine. You vow to start tomorrow. Tomorrow comes. You eat a sensible breakfast. The mid-morning munchies soon set in and by noon you’ve “blown your diet”, so you vow, “I’ll start over tomorrow.” and promptly raid the fridge. Tomorrow isn’t so hot either and by 2:00 pm, you are plum out of calories (not from eating plums, but from cramming cookies down your throat or opening the hatch and downing nearly a pound bag of peanut M & M’s!!) so you tell yourself, “I’ll start next Monday.” Then you eat like a pig until Monday comes, try to start over, blow it again by noon and promise yourself… “Okay, let’s try next month. Yeah, that’s it, I’ll start the first of next month…..” and on and on it goes.

I know. We are supposed to be talking food and I am rambling, but my rambling has a point. You must have accountability. Find a weigh-in buddy. It was the number one key component to the success God gave to me.  You cannot fudge when weighing in on the scales in front of someone else (after eating too much fudge!) You also cannot afford to blow it for days on end when you must weigh in in front of someone else. Were (and are) there times that I overate? You bet! But it was VERY short lived. Maybe I ate 500 calories of junk one afternoon. But then I’d slap myself in the face and say, “You dummy! Why did you do that? You have to weigh in next Wednesday. If you keep this pattern up, you will see the scale go up, not down! However, if you stop right now and behave the rest of the week, you’ll only be over 500 calories for the week. Why, that is only about 70 calories over per day. That won’t hurt you. Stop it now, Karen!!” And my little self-talk worked! So, find a buddy! I have switched to doing this with someone nearby rather than trekking to WW once a week (a half hour drive for me).

Now for the food…. As far as how many calories I consumed, I pulled out a formula I learned years ago, but usually didn’t apply. That formula is to take your current weight and times it by 12 if you are sedentary, 14 if you are moderately active and 16 if you exercise an hour a day. That is how many calories you would need to eat each day in order to stay at your current weight. Then, subtract 500 calories a day for each pound you’d like to lose per week.

So, lets say you weigh 200 (because it is an easy number to figure and I am not near a calculator!) You are moderately active. So, to keep at your same weight, you’d need to consume 2800 calories. If you want to lose 1 pound a week, drop the calories down to 2300. Make it 1800 to lose 2 pounds each week. Drop it further to 1300 to lose 3 pounds each week. Most experts say not to drop below 1200 calories per day.

Now, once you lose 10% of your starting body weight (in our example that would be 20 pounds) stop and refigure this all over again. Now you’d take 180 pounds, re-crunch the numbers and aim for another 10% gone. Keep doing it until you are at your goal. I am no fitness expert, but this worked like a charm for me! And breaking it down in chunks helps to keep it from seeming like a daunting task. I could wrap my brain around 10%. It seemed doable. When I thought of losing 100 + pounds, it seemed overwhelming and I wanted to reach for a fork and a cheesecake!

Now, the tricky part comes in figuring just what you will spend those budgeted calories on each day. I cannot recommend one certain method, but I will say that fads never stick. Instead, stick with foods that are as close to the way God made them as possible, but do build in some treats too. I tried to build my menu around whole grains, fruits and veggies, chicken, turkey, tuna and talapia fish, and meats with the word ‘loin’ in them—ground sirloin, pork tenderloins, etc.. I stayed away from any white things as in breads, pastas or rice. I tried to ask myself with each item that went in my mouth, “Is this worth the calories?” Because you know, when you are on a calorie budget and only have so much to spend, you want to get the most bang for your buck!

Get yourself a little notebook or datebook and write down your calories each day so you know where you stand. Also, when choosing foods, think protein and fiber. Protein sticks with you. Fiber fills you up and cleans you out! Stay away for empty calories. You know, sugars with no nutritional value. Unless it is your treat. If you want a root beer, enjoy a root beer. Just save the 180 calories for it and make treats only every so often. I had one small treat a day—usually dark chocolate. I love Coco Via bars. 80 calories of dark chocolate. (I wait until they are about to outdate and buy them for a song. They are pricey.) Or I’d have 5 Hershey kisses a day. Or a York Peppermint Patty with a hot cup of decaf coffee in the afternoon—160 calories total. In fact, I think I had chocolate every day! Then, once a week, I’d have a bigger treat. Usually after I weighed in, I would go to the coffee shop and order a hot, creamy, sweet something and enjoy it without counting it. Then it was back on the bandwagon!

You will notice that when you start, you’ll be hungry. You’ll run out of calories by 4:00 pm and wonder what you’ll do for the rest of the day. Do not be discouraged. You’ll find your groove soon. And when you do have a day like that, eat a little lean protein and a salad to get you through until nightfall and then start all over again the next day spending your calories more slowly.

Here are some examples of my favorite meals:


*whole wheat bagel and a tablespoon natural crunchy peanut butter (300 calories)

*Two large shredded wheat biscuits. Pour boiling water over. Drain. Top with a little honey and 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter. (300 calories)

*2 hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper. An orange and a piece of whole wheat toast. (275 calories)

*Egg Beaters (1 cup) omelet with low-fat (1/3 cup) cheddar cheese and a banana. (260 calories)    


*Lots of salads with light Italian dressing. I put on tomatoes, mild pepper rings, low-fat feta cheese, cucumbers, purple onions, etc… (about 250 calories)

*homemade veggie soup-carrots, green beans, celery, onions, potatoes, green pepper, corn, canned tomatoes and chicken stock (80 calories a cup)

*Tuna mixed with light mayo and relish on a few whole grain crackers (220 calories)

*Pita pizzas—a circle of whole grain pita (one half—you have to carefully split it) topped with a little spaghetti sauce, some low-fat mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni (190 calories)

* Homemade Panini with whole wheat sourdough bread, turkey and light cheese and lightly grilled with non-stick cooking spray. (350 calories)


*Fish, chicken or turkey marinated in light Italian dressing or lemon juice and pepper and grilled or broiled along with a Yukon Gold or red skin baked potato and steamed veggies or a salad.  (400 calories)

*Or—here is the key—a very small portion of whatever I am feeding my family!!! Portion control is so important. We must learn to eat half a piece of pot pie rather than half a pot pie!!!!

For snacks: I love whole grain crackers with Laughing Cow cheese or zero fat hummus, baked Tostito scoops and salsa, mangos, Braeburn apples, carrots and red peppers dipped in light ranch dressing and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. I drink flavored herb teas without sweeteners, decaf coffee with Land O’Lakes fat free creamer and occasionally a Diet Rite soda–many great flavors but it does have Sucralose (Splenda) in it and I try to stay away from artificial anything so I only have these maybe once every month or two.      

*So here is your assignment. Figure your calorie budget and then begin RIGHT NOW to stick to it. Write down what you eat. Give your body a week or so to adjust, especially if you are used to consuming large amounts of food each day. And don’t drop too low. If you try now to start eating only 800 calories a day, you’ll never be able to stick to it nor to take in enough nutrients to be healthy. And, will you please leave a comment telling us any healthy yet yummy foods you enjoy? I’m always game for more ideas and I know in my case, variety keeps me going. And here is another verse that was so meaningful and helpful to me. Memorize it! God will give you a way out every time. We just have to look for it and quite looking for excuses!!!!

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” 1 Corinthians 10:13

You can do it!!!! I believe in you! And remember, although I’d love to be able to, I cannot respond to personal emails right now. I will hop on and read all of the comments, however, and will try to answer the most frequently asked questions so don’t forget to leave a comment!

Sensible-eating blessings,


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  • Thank you SO much for this series! It has come at a time when I needed the encouragement! I have been asking God to give me a verse to help me through the cravings, and when I read this , there it was.

  • Thanks! The information you shared is so practical and ‘user friendly’! I appreciate your formula for calorie intake…I had never heard of that before and you helped make it easy for me to figure out. Also, I am thankful for the memory verses…I need God to come alongside of me to help me and empower me to do this!