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Posted on Aug 16, 2012 in Dear Diary, Weight Loss, Weight Loss 101 | 30 comments

The Game Plan: Act II, Part I

Wow. I can honestly say I am blown away by the supportive comments that I received on yesterday’s post. I’ll admit, I was having a semi-hyperventilation experience after pressing the “publish” button, but I should know better by now than to expect anything but amazingness from you all. Thank you so much.

All right, so now that the official declaration (and subsequent confession of weight gain) is out of the way, let’s talk specifics. Obviously, I’m not going to get back into weight loss mode by simply talking (er, writing?) about it (though how I wish I could!). I find myself in an interesting position right now, actually, because yes, the fact of the matter is that I’ve already done this.

So technically, you would think that I already know everything I need to do, right?

Well, here’s hoping.

See, I do know some of the things that I need to start doing. I definitely need to start actively tracking my calories again (which I’ve already started, thanks to my handy-dandy calorie counting iPhone app). I definitely need to get back into some form of cardio, since I’ve been pushing it to the wayside at the gym lately in favor of strength training (which I don’t intend to STOP, I just need to find a better balance between the two). But I am a little worried that doing all of the things I was doing before — snacking throughout the day, pretty much only tracking calories and not other nutritional stats, etc. — won’t be quite as effective this time around (for Act II, as we are calling it). After all, I was still doing those things during the entire time that my weight loss had stalled, and the lack of results got very frustrating for me. I think this was a big part of the reason why I let so many of those good habits slide during “intermission”, and thus why I gained 16 pounds back.

So this time, I want to make sure, like Samantha said in her comment yesterday, that I’m really establishing sustainable, long-term, habits that won’t mean weight gain the minute I stop actively counting my calories. Because I swear, if I have am destined for a life of recording every morsel of food that I put in my mouth and tabulating my calories every single day for the rest of my life, I would rather just be fat.

So over the next couple of weeks I’ll be detailing all of the weight-loss-focused elements that I’m working back into my diet and exercise regimen.

Part I: Eat a GOOD breakfast.

I will admit right upfront that I got incredibly lazy about eating breakfast. In fact, it was one of the first things to go. I started falling back into a pattern of skipping breakfast altogether, and in the rare instance that I did chow something down pre-lunch, it was never what I would consider super nutritionally balanced: just cereal, toast, or fruit. So, all carbs, basically. Not that eating carbs is bad, of course. You know I don’t ascribe to that mentality. It’s just that eating ONLY carbs is not good, and certainly not satiating enough for my first meal of the day. I need protein, and I need fat, and thankfully both of those things are delicious.

In fact, and this is a bit of a digression but bear with me, I think that one of the key elements of my weight re-gain was not that I was eating that many extra calories, but rather that my diet because extremely carb-centric. I mean, of course it did. Carbs are freaking delicious. But the unfortunate thing is that I’m really not active enough to be able to use up all of the extra glucose that comes with them. And what happens to unused excess glucose? Exactly. It’s stored for later use… as fat. I will tell you one thing though: I am going to be SUCH a survivor when the zombie apocalypse happens and food supply starts to run low. I’ve got a pioneer’s metabolism. I’ll starve those zombies out!

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Here’s a snapshot of this AM’s b-fast:


A whole wheat Sandwich Thin (100 calories) with strawberry preserves on one side (5 calories), a 2-egg patty (140 calories), and 2 thin slices of roasted turkey breast (30 calories). Also, a cup of blueberries (80 calories). I am incredibly stuffed now, and for 355 calories. Score! And with all the protein from the egg & turkey, I’m pretty sure this will last me until lunch.

Of course, it’s not always feasible for me to throw together a pretty little breakfast sammy in the morning. I know how lazy that sounds, but I’m just being honest with myself. I am a notorious sleeper-inner. I’m a wake-up-15-minutes-before-I-have-to-be-out-the-door kind of gal. So it’s important for me to have other options. In the past, this has always pretty much meant the box of instant oatmeal that I keep at my desk. However, my Maple & Brown Sugar Quaker hardly fits into this whole “less carbs, more protein/fat” breakfast ideal. So, the search for solutions there is still on. My friend Darcy recently told me about a recipe for pre-made smoothie you can make, which I definitely will have to try. I always like the idea of having a green monster for breakfast but I cannot stomach the idea of having to both use and, subsequently, clean a blender before work (this is the same reason that juicing in the mornings stopped working out for me). I mean, if someone wants to buy me a Vitamix I’m sure I’ll be motivated to both use AND clean it with frequency. Until that day comes though… 😉

Luckily, for now I do still have a few of the yummy bars that my new friend Kate from Kate Bakes gave me to try (she’s local to DC, and the sunflower butter raisin is the BOMB. You can order them through her website!) With 220 calories, 7 grams of protein and 4.5 grams of fiber in each bar (plus they’re vegan and gluten-free and all that jazz, but that doesn’t really matter as much for me), these are the kind of quick-fix breakfasts that actually last.

Finding solutions for everyday breakfasts is definitely one element of my previous weight-losing action plan that I need to reintegrate post-haste. So far I’m doing so good, so here’s hoping that old habits really do die hard!

Also, just for funsies (and since my last few posts have been just a tad on the wordy side, hehe), here’s a pretty gosh-darned adorable picture of Daxter that my brother Ben took with his new zillion-dollar camera:

SOOC - Sony FS700



  1. A quick protein/fat idea for breakfast might be to have hard boiled eggs pre-prepped on stand by? Also, when I count calories I noticed that I’m usually low in fat (because I don’t eat much meat). Adding 1/8 of an avocado to my breakfast helps – and it’s healthy fat! Good luck!

  2. One of my new favorite quick breakfasts is egg muffins, or mini frittatas or whatever you want to call them. On Sunday evening, I throw 3 eggs, splash of milk, some precooked turkey sausage or turkey bacon or lean ham and seasonings in a bowl, whip them up, then bake them in muffin cups sprayed with non-stick spray. Package them in twos in the fridge, zap for 20 seconds in the morning and slap em in a whole grain english muffin or toast – Voila! Filling, full of protein and yummy.

    p.s. some hot sauce never hurt!

  3. Breakfast is always a hard one for me because like you I’m a last minute get-up and go person so skipping it is easy.

    Some easy high protein breakfasts that I do (assuming you have a microwave at work) is to cook up egg patties in a pan there is a cool little ring gismo that makes them just like McDonalds then put them in ziploc baggies. Put them in the fridge to let them cool down. Then put them in the freezer. Grab one on your way out the door and pop it in the microwave at work. The other one is hard boiled eggs because they are easy grab and go. Another one is from childhood but lean turkey or ham and lowfat cheese pre-rolled into easy to carry and eat sized items.

    • I support grab and go breakfasts. Try prepping on Sunday and
      Packaging. What about keeping protein powder at work and
      throwing a scoop in with your normal oatmeal?

      I also just had a moment where I realized my carb intake was a bit
      crazy. I’m tracking this week and focusing on lowering carbs and uping
      protein. (sorry if the spacing is weird, my iPhone is being wonky)

  4. It’s good to have a plan of attack with specific goals like this – go you! One idea is to make egg muffins – I have a Mexican Egg Muffin recipe on my blog – but these things are great and I’ll make them on a Sunday to have throughout the week and you can obviously modify and add anything you want in there.


  5. I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday but I can so relate to your post. I really appreciated how calm you were about it. It’s so easy to freak out but I think that’s a sign of confidence in you this time around. You got this.

    I’m going to say ‘ditto’ to the comments above about the egg muffins – so easy to make a batch over the weekend and then grab & go in the morning. Plus? They are GOOD. (I make mine with real bacon because…bacon? Yes please, and it doesn’t add a ton of calories)

  6. I missed yesterday’s post, but you know I’m just gonna say “you go, girl!” Even though I kind of hate to say “you go, girl!” ugh. Well, you get the supportive feeling, anyway!

    I’m like you, I would ALWAYS rather sleep than make coffee, eat a healthy breakfast, watch TV, read the paper, or any other thing. I usually have office coffee and a carb bar – er, breakfast bar of some kind. Thanks to your readers who’ve given some good, fast breakfast ideas, though! I’ve been trying to back slowly away from the carbs, and the egg muffin things sound great.

    Gretchen, you’re awesome.

  7. I also wake up with just enough time to get out the door. When I want breakfast sandwiches I often make them the night before and then wrap them in a little wax paper. The next morning, I microwave it 30 seconds or so until hot. They taste better fresh, of course, but reheating usually works fine.

    The key for me getting out the door in the morning is to pack up my breakfast, lunch and snacks the night before. I eat at the office so it works for me. If I don’t, I’m likely to either be late to work or buy food in the cafeteria where I’m likely to give in to less than ideal choices.

  8. First time commenting – I just recently found your blog, and I love it!

    This post comes at a perfect time for me. Lost 40 lbs, and then gained it all back plus some so now I am extremely motivated to get back on track!

    I love oatmeal as well for breakfast, because it’s easy to quickly grab in the mornings before work. I find if I make it with milk instead of water and mix some almond butter or peanut butter in with it I stay full longer. I like to add fruit on top too!

    Good luck, and looking forward to reading more on your blog!

    • Thank you Lindsay! Good luck to you as well! 🙂

  9. Lately, I have really been trying to up my protein content in all my meals, but especially breakfast. My favorites are a TJ’s non fat Greek yogurt (120 kcals and 12 g protein for 99 CENTS!! and only 12 g sugar for the flavored ones) and 1/3 scoop of granola (125 ish kcals and 2.5 g of protein, but you could do a full 2/3 scoop and still be in a good calorie range for bfast) or a toasted whole wheat English muffin (120 kcals and, surprisingly, 7 g protien) and 2 tbs natural peanut butter (200ish kcals and 8ish g protein). They are super quick and easy and, most importantly, DELICIOUS. Hope that helps!!

  10. I’m right there with ya girl! Starting to get back into healthy mode. That sandwich is an awesome breakfast idea, thanks.

    Oh and Daxter not only has the cutest name ever, but has the cutest face as well.

    • He is kind of a looker, isn’t he? 😀

  11. Sounds like a great plan, lady! And great job on eating a solid breakfast! 🙂
    You’re definitely right about making a “lifestyle change” in general- and not going for a quick fix. A quick fix gets you right back where you started!
    Since studying for my PFT exam is my full-time job right now, I’ve been reading a LOT of interesting information. I plan to do a whole post about energy systems and fat utilization… it’s fascinating really. It’s really helpful to know “where” your body uses fat for fuel, so that you can center your workouts around staying in a specific heart rate zone. And combining strength training with cardio is definitely the best! More muscle burns more fat, blah blah blah.

  12. I’m not sure how you make your egg patties, but when I was in college I used to just microwave them in a small bowl, and in 60 seconds (roughly? I don’t remember exactly how long it takes, but not long!) you have a beautiful egg patty in the shape of the bottom of the bowl! Put the turkey on the bread the night before, nuke the egg in the morning, and you’re out the door pretty quickly!

    • Actually, that’s exactly how I make egg patties! It’s the easiest thing EVER — my sister showed me that trick. 😀

      • OHHHHHH. I was wondering about the egg patty thing.

        • Yup, I add the salt and pepper (or whatever) to the egg, mix it up with a fork, then just microwave it for 45 – 60 seconds. If you watch it, it’ll look like it’s going to blow up in there but don’t worry, it (probably) won’t.

  13. When you figure out the breakfast-for-lazy-people thing, please share! It’s probably my biggest problem, and I haven’t figured out a solution either.

    But congrats for getting back on the wagon! I lost a little bit of weight a few months ago, and then quit WW. Eating mostly whole foods (cutting out fast food completely, eating much healthier “junk” options, and cooking almost every dinner from scratch), I’ve only put back between 3-5 lbs out of about 17. I should probably start tracking calories though, because my portion control is a hot mess (or, like, non-existent).

    But you. You are awesome. Good luck!

  14. One of my favorite, in a hurry, have to leave right now breakfasts is hardboiled eggs and an english muffin. I usually hardboil 6 eggs every week so they are on hand for quick breakfasts.

  15. OK, I love this post! I know exactly how you feel, knowing what you need to do to lose weight, but thinking that a few things really need to be tweaked. As far as zombies, not sure if you can starve the undead to death. I’ve always wanted to work with a personal trainer (or workout buddy) to essentially train to survive the zombie apocalypse. I haven’t been able to find a trainer geeky enough to take me seriously or a friend who’s geeky & wants to work out with me, lol.
    As far a breakfast, stuff in muffin tins is really useful (be it muffins, eggs, etc.). You bake them all at once and ta-da, breakfast/snacks for days. I really love having Greek yogurt with fresh fruit (I’ll buy strawberries and cut all of them up to use all week) and Special K cereal. Special K has a high-protein cereal that you might want to check out.
    One last thing! I totally understand what you’re saying about blenders; they’re a pain to clean. When I make smoothies, I blend them and pour them into cup/thermos/whatever. Then I quickly rinse the blender, fill it halfway with water, put a squirt of dish-soap in it and blend that for a couple seconds. Then I dump the soapy water and do a quick rinse. The blender’s clean in just a few seconds. Once a week, I’ll take it apart and clean the rubber ring, but I do it on the weekend when everything’s going slow.
    Sorry for the long comment! I’m really proud of you that you seem in a good place and that you’re making better choices than most of the population 🙂

  16. I SO agree with the establishing healthy, maintainable habits thing. I struggle with this a lot as I’m often given advice to totally cut out certain things and be very strict(like carbs, or sweets, or whatever) and I just say that I’m not willing to give anything up. I’m just not as I’m being realistic and there are very few foods on this earth that I know I could give up forever (or even long-term). I’m not delusional and I do realize that I need to change SOMETHING or I won’t lose, but I’m not going to do it by cutting anything out entirely, I’m just not! If it’s not something I can live with permanently/do “most” of the time, then it’s not gonna get it done for me, you know?

  17. Looks like a great way to start your day! You’ve got this! Can’t wait to hear how the rest of your day went.
    PS-are you sOOOOOO excited HG is coming out tomorrow??? I’m embarassingly excited…

    • Girrrrrrl please. You better believe I preordered that ish like 3 months ago. I got the shipping notification today! SQUEEE! 😀

  18. I am super proud of you; you’ve got a great plan! 🙂

    I am in dire need of some new bfast options too. I did the “McMuffin” that everyone suggested all of last week- sick of it. A few weeks ago, I was onto making scrambles: frozen hash browns, egg whites, some onion, and cheese. This week I was onto Overnight Oats. I get sick of things way too easily though!

    Also, I just heart your pups!

  19. Sounds like you’ve got a good game plan, and that’s 80% of the battle for me!

    Another suggestion for easy egg sandwiches – did you know you can bake eggs in a nonstick muffin pan? (I got tired of the cleanup from exploding eggs in the microwave – this is way easier!) Butter the pan well, just crack an egg in each muffin cup, and bake at 350 for 12 – 14 minutes. I use the oversize muffin tins so the eggs come out the right size for an english muffin, and do a whole week’s worth in advance. If you want to get fancy you can go ahead and assemble your muffin, cheese, etc., wrap, freeze, and reheat at work. I just cool and refrigerate the egg patties. Once I’m at work I reheat the egg in a bowl in the microwave with some sausage crumbles and shredded cheese, and scoop onto a toasted english muffin. Or for variety try canadian bacon and hollandaise! Easy peasy. 🙂

  20. “Because I swear, if I have am destined for a life of recording every morsel of food that I put in my mouth and tabulating my calories every single day for the rest of my life, I would rather just be fat.”

    AMEN! I will never count calories again. There is such freedom in saying that!

  21. I’m also a get-ready-as-quick-as possible morning person and had a hard time finding breakfast items that worked for me. But, thanks to Budget Bytes, I’ve found a couple make-aheads that work out really well and are tasty as hell.

    The first is the Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2011/09/baked-pumpkin-pie-oatmeal-277-recipe.html. It seriously tastes like an pumpkin oatmeal cookie, just softer like a dense bread. There’s also banana bread oatmeal and a couple others.

    The second is frozen breakfast burritos: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2011/01/freezer-breakfast-burritos-356-recipe.html. I modified the recipe by utilizing whole wheat tortillas, adding some diced ham, and using refried beans (that I made in the crockpot so they’re not fried and totally healthy).

    As long as you’re cool with spending a portion of a weekend day making things ahead, these are great and healthy.


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