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Weight Loss
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I don't know what to eat!

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Hello all, I'm fairly new to this! I have been cutting back calories for about 2 weeks now and just today started logging in what I ate. I'm supposed to be eating around 1300 calories a day to lose 1lb per week but I seem to be only eating roughly around 900-1000. I mainly stick to diet dinners, yogurt, and fruit. Not sure where I could add more calories! I went through a phase of aneorexia in high school and am afraid that's what my mind is going back to. I feel if I eat more I will be gaining weight instead of losing!

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Do you cook?  If so, start replacing some of those diet dinners with meals made with healthy oils like olive and canola oils, lean meats, whole grains, and lots of vegetables.  If not, it's time to start learning.  You can also make sandwiches with whole grain bread, make salads and use olive oil dressing and avocado.

I think one of the main reasons people who cut calories sometimes feel like they can't eat enough to get to their calorie target is that they cut out all the foods they feel are "fattening" including healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts.  These are healthy foods that happen to be calorie dense.  An ounce of walnuts is 200 calories and a dose of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.  Personally, I'm a big fan of almonds.

ETA: Oh, and if you've been eating the "diet dinners" because it makes it easier to count calories, it's time to buy yourself a food scale.  That will make it easy to count the calories in everything.

As dolphinclick asked, do you cook at home often?

For me, personally, it's the only way I can control what I eat, so I tend to cook every day, at least one meal.

A great way to get extra calories is with grains like brown rice and my new favorite find, quinoa (which may be a little harder to track down depending on where you live).

Quinoa has a lot of protein, but also packs a lot of calories. It's also easy to prepare. You just put it in a pot, add water (twice the amount of quinoa), bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes. It's really flexible, and I don't even measure the water or the quinoa any more, just cook it longer if it's too watery.

I've started using low-sodium chicken stock instead of water, so that there is more flavor.

Also, nuts are healthy and high in calories. Stick to almonds and cashews for higher nutrition. Just 11 almonds is going to give you nearly 100 calories. On those days when you are coming in at 900 calories, a handful of almonds is going to easily add 200 to your day.

I have limited time, so I pick a day where I can do some food prep.  I will grill two chicken breast and slice them for topping salads. From your post, it doesn't look like you are getting enough veggies.  Buy the pre-made salad (the ones with more then just iceberg lettuce), so you can grab a handful of salad, grab some chicken and your set. 

3 cups of salad mix is about 20 calories.  3 oz of grilled chicken breast is 130-140 calories.

ditto on the almond suggestion, yes they have fats, but you needs some fats for your brain and healthy skin. Also contains potassium.

good luck.

Losing weight will take time, so you need to start thinking long term.  How many weeks can you eat Lean Cuisine and yogurt without wanting to give up?   If you change your eating habits to healthy choices, as opposed to convienient ones, it will become a learning experience.  Otherwise, if you reach your goal you still wont know anything about eating to maintain your ideal weight. 

Why not check out the 'What did You Eat Today' thread?  People just post what they've eaten, it will give you tons of ideas: 03-235

Yes, these are definitly signs of your anorexia trying to prey it's way back into your life.  You don't need that!   I am in recovery from anorexia/bulimia/anorexia athletica and was seconds away from dying!!!!!!!!!  The more you restrict the more you put your health, longevity of life, and body into a slow starvation mode; thus be severly malnurished on only 900-1000 calories.  That's a range some anorexics do only consume.  If you are trying to lose weight you need to do it the healthy way and don't fall into the trap of dieting.  It never works!  Let me put it this way, if you continue to restrict to an unhealthy point your body will slowly shut itselft down due to the lack of nutrients and adequate fats, carbs, and all essential elements.  It will also slow down your metabolsim.....which is not good!!!!!!!!! 

Quite the contrary on your philosophy on "I feel if I eat more I will be gaining weight instead of losing."  If you restrict like I said your metabolism will be afftected and slow down, and in response your body will pack on the pounds.  Food gives you energy and if you include at least 30min. of physical activity 4-5 times a week you will slowly see a difference.  But you also need to include they are important for you as rewards and having a balance of that in your meal plan.  If you do incorporate weight training and do gain weight...remember it is most probably lean muscle mass....thus it weighs 2x more than fat.  The more you exercise you will gain weight....however you will be lowering your fat and lean body muscle ratio.  Hope this makes sense.  My anorexia I battled for 14 years is put to rest for me.  It only took a near death experience for me to realize that being thin is NOT what's important.  I finally have a good weight of 119 (better than 85lbs) and get in a jog 4 times a week and eat whatever I want....peanut butter, ice cream, coco puffs, chicken, .....  My thyroid was injured do to restricting so much and now have to take medicine to speed it up.  So, my best advice is to do this in a healthy way and you will see results. And eleminate the word diet.  They don't work. 

Just wanted to say thank you for your beautifully well written response.  I could relate to everything you said and it has made a difference for me today.  So again, thank you for taking the time to respond.  I'm sure your message will have an impact on others as well. 

What to eat. Yes, that can be difficult. For good nutrition, it's often recommended that a fruit or vegetable with every meal will help you get in your recommended amount of servings per day (3-5). Also, listen to your body. Do you feel satisfied after you eat yogurt? That and fruit in the morning may be all you need. Are you *starving* by lunch time? Consider a heartier breakfast like an eggwhite omlet and maybe have a little cheese and crackers for a snack. Eating a wide range of foods can keep you within your calorie count and also provide the nutrition you need without supplements. There's tons of nutritional guidance on this site. Best wishes!

Get some 100-calorie snacks to eat between meals if you're really craving something like chips or something sweet.  It will help your sweet/salt craving and add some calories along the way.  I also like to snack on hard-boiled eggs which gives you some protein and will add calories as well.  Goodluck!

Thank you all for taking time out of your day to help me out! I appreciate all of your advice and will take it into consideration! This morning I'm having a large banana with a granola bar to try to gain some calories. I take One-A-Day Womens Active Metabolism vitamins with my breakfast and it usually makes me feel a little nausea until lunchtime. I'm horrible at cooking but my husband is amazing at it so maybe I will try to take some lessons from him and come up with our own healthy recipies! Maybe we could come up with something amazing that all dieters could use! It's still going to be difficult for me to work on the whole calories thing but I'm sure going to try! It's time I lost this weight for good! Thank you all again and I hope you all reach your goals! (I know you will :) )

I have the same problem! I have no idea what to eat on a day to day basis. I do not cook (I know, shame on me) and for dinner I often have cereal because I cannot think of anything else. I sometimes come close to my 1500 calorie a day allotment, but when I get to about 1200 I panic and don't eat anything else! I also eat a lot of frozen dinners because yes, they are cheap and easy to count calories with. When I do cook, I believe that I do not cook anything that is terribly unhealthy for me, but I just don't like to take the time to do it.

Original Post by preetzter:

I have the same problem! I have no idea what to eat on a day to day basis. I do not cook (I know, shame on me) and for dinner I often have cereal because I cannot think of anything else. I sometimes come close to my 1500 calorie a day allotment, but when I get to about 1200 I panic and don't eat anything else! I also eat a lot of frozen dinners because yes, they are cheap and easy to count calories with. When I do cook, I believe that I do not cook anything that is terribly unhealthy for me, but I just don't like to take the time to do it.

 What about if you figure out ahead of time what to eat to get to your calorie allotment, and then on that day just eat without writing it down again?  It's kind of an ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand thing, but it would work for me.  Look around on the web for a 1500 calorie a day meal plan ( would be a good place to look for one, or maybe one of the diabetes awareness websites), and maybe on the weekend plan out your daily meals for the week so you know without actually having to keep a running tally in your hear and can just enjoy the food. 

Does that make sense?  Sometimes things sound clearer in my head than on paper :)

Yes this absolutely makes sense! That really is a good idea! Thank you so much!

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You could try some of the 100 calorie snacks.  They have some healthier choices out there.  You can google them and find some to your liking.  The ones I buy and enjoy are Emerald 100 calorie Almonds (a healthy one), Orville Redenbacher's 100 calorie popcorn.  I get the kettle corn but there are other flavors. Pringles also makes 90 calorie packs of pretzel sticks.  I het the honey butter flavor.  I have to be careful with those.  Also, if you like Pasta you can try some of the Lean Cuisine dinners that have more calories.  I don't like them all but I've picked out a few that I like.  I like the Swedish Meatballs (320 cal), Lasagne the one with low fat mozerella (410 calories)  Guessing on that one.  I also like the Grilled Chicken with pasta w/cream basil sauce (250 calories).  And of course there's always fruit.  I think Bananas have the highest amount of calories.  But all fruit is fat free.  And I try to drink 4 bottles of water a day.  If I don't I'm not hard on myself I just get back on track.  I notice that my stomach is shrinking.  I'm looking to lose 10 more lbs to get me to 145. If it as easy as the last 25, I will go for 135 which would be ideal.  But I am enjoying the discipline and importance I've placed on my health mentally and physically. 

Also, please watch out for those diet dinners - has anyone noticed how high in sodium most of them are? One of the worst is "Smart Ones" which carries a "Weight Watchers" seal! It's one thing to be counting calories and losing weight but when so many of these processed low cal foods and snacks are laden with sodium it  defeats their purpose as you will just end up with salt bloat and is very bad for your blood pressure, which tends to be a side symptom for many with weight concerns! I find as I read this site daily, I have become naturally smarter about food choices and sodium content has become the latest revelation to me. Eat the foods you like, but watch content; adjust recipes to use lower calorie alternatives or whole wheat versions of breads, rice and pastas because, in the end, you will be eating for the rest of your life and it has to be food you LIKE and will eat on a regular basis to maintain your weight loss. I love my pasta, but make it right and the calories and other levels of things like salt will not be a factor.  I will never again buy a tinned pasta sauce or tomatoes because of that. Read your labels carefully!

For Dinner and Lunch, my husband and I grill a whole bunch of meats at once -- we grill lean hamburger patties, chicken breasts, sirloin steak and then we freeze them into individual 3-4 oz servings. It's easy to quickly assemble a lunch or dinner. One frozen grilled meat, frozen peas, frozen spinach, frozen mixed vegetable, or canned grean beans, corn, etc. and we have a meal to quickly microwave. Or assemble a hamburger, chicken sandwich or buy a premade salad and toss on the grilled chicken.

Buy a low-fat ham, they last a long time and make a meal or a sandwich from this. Or use deli meat.

It's not too hard to take vegetables from a can or a bag and pour them onto a plate and add a piece of meat. Also, it is easy to wash a potato and microwave or bake it or even heat it up later at work or at home, same with mashed potatoes or whole grain rice. There are already bags of grilled chicken breasts at the grocery store  Smile Also I buy the frozen lasagnas that aren't real high in fat.

I also prepare baked chicken -- not to hard to bake a chicken, just wash it off, sprinkle on seasonings and bake it. Casseroles, crock pot meals -- I also preprare and freeze. The crock pot meals you can prepare in the mornings and come home to a meal. Just put in a piece of meat with BBQ sauce -- that is easy.

For breakfast, I prepare healthy recipes for waffles and french toast and freeze these. I cook low-fat sausage and center-cut bacon ahead of time and freeze these -- okay so these aren't so good for us, but it is a small portion. Then I assemble a quick breakfast from these. Or you can boil eggs that night before and have one of these with toast.

Every evening I prepare our breakfast and lunch for work. Simple microwave meals. Takes about 5 minutes to grab these items from the freezer and assemble them into meals into microwave plates.

I cook about 3x at most a week because I have so many leftovers and I cook in batches.

Every week I make sure we have fresh fruit. We have 1-2 fresh fruits a day. Buy oranges, pears, apples -- these last a long time. When you buy bananas, strawberries, or any fruit that spoils quickly, eat them first and eat the other fruits later. 

Make a meal plan that you like and then setup a routine habitual pattern that is EASY for you. Cook when you have time and rely on your frozen food for when you don't have time or don't feel like cooking. This works for me!

It's an understandable problem, and I get that mindset.  The important thing to remember is that your body does need a certain number of calories to function properly AND lose weight, so don't stress :-) 

Here is something to think about- diet dinners are great because they are portion controlled, know how many calories are in them, etc. but they generally are higher in fat and in sodium than one would think.  Just try to mix it up.

I don't know if you cook (I don't), but I have found that it is basically impossible to screw up ground turkey: you can get it in the "rolls" like you would ground beef, and it comes in 93% fat free or 99% fat free varieties...basically cook until it is brown, and then the possibilities are endless: mix in sloppy joe mix, mix in vegetarian refried beans to make a Mexican style meal, cook like hamburgers, homemade meatballs etc. 

ALSO there are some fantastic Jenni-O pre-made/cooked turkey meatballs, which are found in the meat section not the freezer section of the store.  They are fantastic- great for meatball sandwiches or with green chili on top. 

Are you eating breakfast?  This is an easy way to add some calories too.  The Carnation Instant Breakfasts end up being around 200ish calories, depending on what kind of milk you use, and are a great breakfast item, especially if you couple it with fruit, or toast, or another "breakfast" item. 

I hope some of this helped!  It is great you are being so aware of your mindset...keep it up, and you will be fine!

My heart breaks for you as it really sounds like you are returning to your anorexic ways.  Probably the first thing to do is have a serious talk with yourself about your goals and timeline.  Nothing to drastic or too fast.  You know if you don't eat enough your body thinks it is starving and won't lose weight!  Now, for the plan of action; might I suggest following a weight watchers points system?  I am currently trying to help my daughter take off the freshman 15 and we have been at it for a week.  She's picking up the points and has found online values for many restaurants (that's eye opening to say the least!)  Anyhow, you stay between the points for the day by eating anything you want.  It's a matter of how you want to use those points.  Most fruits are 1 point for a cup.  Most vegetables are zero unless they are starchy.  We are loving pita's with hommus (or veggies dipped in it).  Cool watermelon is an amazing heat buster and it is so sweet!  Kabobs are so much fun in the summer, so go for it!  We are staying away from red meat, so chicken, seafood and some pork are our proteins.  We make a great WW fritatta that is so easy.  Bake a couple of potatoes and let them cool.  A package of frozen spinach drained and squeezed dry.  Saute a teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add some onions and garlic until soft.  Add diced potatoes and sprinkle with spinach.  Cover with 1 cup of egg substitute.  Sprinkle with nutmeg, cover and reduce heat to medium.  About 10 minutes later it is done.  Delicious and 8 points for the entire thing (we cut it into servings and enjoy for a few days). 

Be strong and stay healthy.

One thing I learned is that by consuming too few calories your body could think it's starving. A simple ways to add calories - things I try to limit because I consume too many - Cheese, most cheeses are around 100 calories per 1/4 cup or per individually wrapped slice. Also adding a piece of toast with a little butter will also add about another 100 calories to your intake. Good luck, and take care or yourself:)

God bless.

Try the site.  I was struggling with hitting my goal calories and it helped.  It gives you targets and breaks down things for variety.  I agree about the food scale 100% and premaking food.  I like to set up my meals for the week on sunday; pre-measured and packaged- better than frozen and without the sodium.  Also try eating 5 times a day.  about 3 hours apart.  You get the cals you need, don't get hungry between and you build awareness of what your body needs.

On suppliments:  dump the grocery store stuff.  most don't digest (put on in half an ounce of water mixed with half an ounce of vinagar and if it disolves in 8 hours it's usable by your body).  Find a good healthfood store and talk to their suppliment person- Solray Once Daily is a good one but play with it some; they shouldn't make you feel sick.

Last; invest in a scale that measures body fat.  Most places that carry scales have at least one that does body fat too.  When you are exchanging fat for muscle it can be discouraging when the number on the scale doesn't go down.  The bodyfat measurement on the scale helps you keep perspective on the trade off.

Good luck!

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good morning....I also have just started, thank goodness with a friend who is an expert at all this calorie counting stuff and eating properly.  But for myself, the hardest part was trying to figure out what to cook.  I  found that the easiest way was to eliminate all the mind boggling dishes and  give myself a month to have great salads and stirfries only. Then i didn't have to decide what to cook.   I loved them so much that is what we have been eating almost every day.  I put everything but the kitchen sink (that is actually what i call them now sink salads...and all my friends want my recipe!) into my salads, including a few nuts and dried raisins. Try and find some Jicama (hicama), should be in your specialty item section.  It is a hidden miracle vegetable, so good and crunchy, makes a salad special.   I make sure that I have cooked chicken breasts on hand at all times and can put some in my salad or stir fries.  Canned salmon is great too on salads, to add, as it has all the great nutrients and oils required for the daily balance.  I hate breakfasts and have never eaten them, and that was the hard part, so now i have found something i like which is rye crisps or flatbreads.  I have 3 with a skim of peanut butter and it fills me up for the morning.  I vary everything now, but still have the salad at least once a day and I have been right on target with calories and havn't fallen below a B+ yet. Good luck with everything, it will work out...persist and READ LABELS.

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