A Bride-to-Be Looks to Shave Pounds: Food Diaries

This week’s diarist is hoping to lose a little weight before the big day, but will the weekends be her undoing?
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This week’s food diarist and bride-to-be should skip the multiple cups of coffee in the morning for water and breakfast shakes instead. Photographs courtesy of Flickr users LearningLark and antwerpenR

Gender: Female
Age: 31
Height: Five-foot-four
Weight: 137
Location: Bethesda
Profession: Attorney
Self-described activity level: Overall, I am relatively active. I have been a member of a weekday boot camp program called the Sergeant’s Program for more than two years and have been consistent about going regularly. I am in good physical health, and I am at a healthy body weight. I am also pretty disciplined about watching what I eat, minus a cookie or two. I am also newly engaged, so I’m eager to lose a few pounds to look my best on the big day. However, since I like to eat and I have a busy social life on the weekends, these pesky last five pounds seem parked and ready to stay.

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DAY ONE

5:10 AM: Alarm goes off. I’ve never been good about getting out of bed right away, so I proceed to hit the snooze button several times. I finally get out of bed around 5:30, quickly get dressed, and head out the door to my morning boot camp.
5:50 AM: Boot Camp begins. Thursday is upper body day, so our instructor leads us through a warmup, followed by a short run to a set of pullup bars, where we do four sets of pullups, pushups, and dips. After completing the sets, we run back to our home base to lift free weights and complete several series of abdominal exercises.
6:50 AM: Workout is done! On my drive home I finish the 20-ounce bottle of water I brought with me.
7:40 AM: Breakfast time! I tend to get into routines where I eat the same thing almost every morning for months on end. Until this week, breakfast was a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios or Life cereal. Now protein shakes are my breakfast of choice. I make a large shake using one scoop of EAS Whey Protein Powder (chocolate flavor), about a cup of frozen mixed berries, and some skim milk. After a quick whiz in my mini food processor, breakfast is ready. I gulp it down with a cup of coffee in front of the Today show and then run out the door to work.
8:45 AM: Arrive at work. Grab a cup of coffee in the office kitchen. We are out of milk, so I’m forced to use a bit of powdered Coffee-mate. It’s surprisingly delicious. I buckle down and get to work.
10:30 AM: Need more coffee. Make one more cup in the Keurig, again with a bit of Coffee-mate.
12 PM: I am officially hungry. On my way out the door this morning I grabbed a cup of peach Chobani Greek yogurt, a Cameo apple, a bag of cut-up red peppers, cucumbers and celery, a piece of sunflower bread, and a Laughing Cow light cheese and called it lunch. I eat the yogurt and the bread in my office in front of my computer. Nobody in my office goes out for lunch, so I eat in my office every day.
1 PM: Yep, still hungry. I grab the apple and eat that, too.
3 PM: Now it’s time for the veggies.
6 PM: I have plans to meet up with the fiancé and some friends to celebrate a friend getting a new job, so I pack up for the day. The bar we’re going to is a hole-in-the wall English pub with really good food. Since I’m trying to lose a few pounds, I decide to go home first and throw something together for dinner rather than indulge in curry fries and onion rings.
7 PM: Arrive home. I throw a chicken breast on the grill pan, and eat that with some leftover Greek salad and a piece of sunflower bread. When I’m done, I change out of my work clothes and head out the door to meet my friends.
8 PM: Arrive at the pub. I drink two beers and manage to avoid the curry fries.
9:30 PM: Go home. Watch a little TV, and lights out by 11.

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DAY TWO

5:15 AM: Alarm goes off. Again, I do the whole snooze routine and finally get out of bed around 5:30 to change for boot camp.
5:50 AM: Boot camp begins. Today we have our substitute instructor, who is relentless. There is basically no downtime under her watch, so I know I’m in for a tough workout. She leads us through a quick warmup and then to a nearby staircase, which we run up and down countless times. We also do several lower body exercises, including lunges and squats.
6:50 AM: Workout = done! The best thing about this program is being done with my workout before 7 AM.
7:40 AM: Make another protein shake similar to yesterday’s. Watch the Today show. Complain to myself about how annoying it is. Why do I always watch this show?
8:45 AM: Arrive at work. Drink two cups of Keurig coffee, again with a little Coffee-mate.
12:30 PM: Time for lunch. I brought almost the same thing for lunch that I brought yesterday: a huge Cameo apple, Chobani peach yogurt, and veggies. I eat the yogurt and the apple in front of my computer, as usual.
1:30 PM: Veggie time. I’m still hungry, so I go down to the little carryout next to my office and buy an individual bag of PopChips and a Diet Coke. These things are the best—only 100 calories, and so delicious!
6:15 PM: Head home from work. I am having friends over for dinner tonight, and since we are all watching our weight, I stop at the grocery store and pick up some salmon, string beans, and baby potatoes for dinner, plus a small block of chocolate to share for dessert.
7:30 PM: My friends come over, and we eat a little cheese and break open a bottle of wine. We bake the salmon with a little dill, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon; then boil the potatoes and steam the string beans, and serve with a little butter. Delicious dinner!
9:30 PM: My friends leave, and I watch some TV.
11:00 PM: Lights out! Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day.

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DAY THREE

6:45 AM: Alarm clock goes off. Yes, at 6:45 on a Saturday. My fiancé is the youth group boy’s basketball coach at our church, and they have a tournament this weekend. Lucky me—I got roped into scorekeeping three games, starting at 8 AM. I snooze a few times and finally get up, shower, get dressed, and head out for the tournament without eating breakfast.
7:30 AM: Stop at Starbucks for a grande regular coffee with skim milk. There is no way I am scorekeeping three basketball games without coffee.
8 AM: Score keepin’ time!
11:30 AM: Finish scoring, and I am famished. I head over to the church and grab a bagel and cream cheese. It’s not that good, so I only eat half. I say my goodbyes, and head home to change for a friend’s baby shower.
2 PM: Arrive at baby shower. I help myself to a little guacamole and a few tortilla chips, some Brie en croûte, a small portion of pasta, some salad, and a brownie. I also drink a little water and a Diet Coke.
4:30 PM: Leave the baby shower. By now I am pretty tired, so I head home to relax. There is no rest for the weary, though—in a few hours I have the pleasure of chaperoning the dance for the basketball tournament at my church. Chaperoning the dance is definitely one of the “perks” of being engaged to the coach.
7:30 PM: Before the dance, the fiancé and I head out to meet a friend for a drink and a bite to eat at Open City in Woodley Park. I have a glass of wine, two small slices of cheese pizza, and two or three grilled Buffalo wings. We settle the check and head to the dance around 9.
9 PM: Arrive at the dance, which is actually very fun. Many of the parents are there, who are really fun, and there’s wine in the back for the grownups. I have another glass of wine, and then manage to embarrass myself on the dance floor later in the night, much to the fiancé’s dismay.
11 PM: The dance is over, so we stay and help clean up. We head home around 11:45.
12:45 AM: Lights out!

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DAY FOUR

9:30 AM: Oh, the joy of waking up without an alarm clock! I get up, and enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning. I eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and drink several cups of coffee. I’m not feeling that great, so I decide to make some chicken soup.
12:30 PM: Eat a bowl of chicken soup for lunch, with an apple and two slices of sunflower bread with butter. I do a few hours of work, clean, and watch a little TV.
3 PM: It’s hard for me to be home all day and not graze a little, so I eat some Fruit Pastilles (a type of English gummy candy) and another piece of sunflower bread.
6:30 PM: My fiancé’s birthday is on Tuesday, so we meet up with his family for his birthday dinner. We go to an Italian restaurant that lists the calorie count for every item on the menu. It’s pretty hard to order a bowl of pasta that weighs in at 1,400 calories, so I order a piece of salmon that comes with spinach, and drink only water. I also eat two big pieces of bread with olive oil. Bread really is my downfall.
8:30 PM: Dinner is over, so I head home. It’s Sunday night, so that means laundry, cleaning, and The Good Wife.
10:45 PM: It has been a long and busy weekend, and I am exhausted. I tuck in for the night.
11 PM: Lights out!

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FROM THE EXPERT

Mandy Mirzaie, a bariatric dietitian and certified weight management specialist at the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, says:

“Our journalist is an active and fit individual who currently is at a healthy BMI (body mass index). She includes fruits and vegetables in her daily lifestyle with lean meat choices, and tries to make conscientious decisions when eating out. This is a great start to a reasonable goal of losing just a few pounds for her joyous day.

“In looking at her daily needs, inclusive of her current activity level, I calculated them to be approximately 1,900 calories to maintain her current weight. To lose roughly half a pound weekly, she will need to consume 1,650 calories daily. Currently, during the week her daily intake is a little lower than her weight-loss calorie needs, and on the weekend she falls within weight maintenance. With her current plan, she should be in line to lose almost half a pound weekly. There are just a few things we can adjust to boost the healthy nature of her days and keep her on track with her goals.

“During the week, the early morning boot camp is beyond commendable and shows excellent motivation. Drinking milk or a ready-to-drink meal replacement before class will give our diarist fuel to maximize her workout performance and energy levels. Continue with the post-session breakfast shakes that include protein, carbohydrate, and fiber. This shake, over her standard Cheerios, will assist with satiety and muscle recovery during the morning. I recommend adding 12 to 16 ounces of water to assist with hydration. Coffee may help our energy levels, but it has a natural diuretic effect. Her midmorning snack of light cheese and some of the veggies, along with a caffeine-free fluid source, will help with hunger levels at noon. For lunch, the Greek yogurt is a great choice over standard yogurt, as it contains protein equivalent to 2.5 ounces of lean meat. The rest of the veggies, fruit, and bread are a great way to round out the meal. For dinner, choosing a homemade meal over dinner out Thursday night was a wise way to save calories. At the pub, I would encourage one light beer versus two.

“The weekends are always a tricky time when we can get off track from our weekly routines. So far, our diarist is maintaining her calorie needs for weight maintenance on the weekend, though here, too, small changes can help. I recommend always starting the day with breakfast that includes a protein and a fiber-rich carbohydrate choice. In busy times, the shakes used during the week can work, or a fruit with a quick scrambled egg or a fiber-filled protein bar. Again, increase non-caffeinated, calorie-free beverage intake. Adequate hydration is roughly two liters daily and will keep her functioning at her best. The water in our blood helps transport oxygen and nutrients to all the cells of our body.

“I think it is important to enjoy ourselves at social outings and allow for small indulgences. At the baby shower, for instance, our diarist could have saved 100 to 200 calories by doubling the salad serving and cutting either the brownie or the chips with dip. At the dinner meal, substituting salad for one of the pizza slices would potentially save 100 to 150 calories. To shave just a bit more during the weekend and stay within weight loss range, our diarist could eliminate the wine at the dance for an additional 90 to 110 calorie savings. As enjoyable as adult beverages can be, they tend to quickly add up in empty calories and do not provide a source of satiety. At dinner the following day, she does an excellent job of making wise food choices in the salmon and spinach and sticking with water as the beverage of choice.

“I believe if our reader maintains her current patterns of intake and activity and remains mindful on the weekends, she will meet her goal of dropping a few pounds by the big day. Continuing daily journaling of food intake and activity is highly recommended, and the best way to maintain accountability of our food choices.

“Congratulations, and best wishes for continued happiness and health to our diarist!”

Are you brave enough to keep a food diary? We dare you. E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com with your contact information and a paragraph or two about why you’d make a good diarist.

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