And We Begin, Weight Loss Battle of the Exes--Week 1 by Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D.

If there is one thing I can say about my ex-wife is her ability to make everything a competition with me, which makes her my nemesis. This week we have weighed in officially and know our starting points. If she thinks I'm losing this and wearing a belly shirt, she is sadly misguided or having a nightmare in the daytime. I am in the final lap of pneumonia that I had the previous weeks--no sweat. I can beat her even at 50%--at least that's what I better tell myself so I'm not on my knees in a belly shirt singing her praises. I have yet to tell her what happens WHEN she LOSES.

Each week, we will check in to compare notes.


The goal is to see who can lose the "most" weight from now until March 3, 2020. My current weight is a whopping 218.4 lbs. [Rajah] to her whopping 181.2 lbs. [Felicia]

The goal is to shift our eating habits to a realistic meal plan and begin a workout regimen that can support our daily schedules. One such plan will need to allow for breathing room. If you are interested in meal plans, there is one such below.


Examples of a meal plan include the 4-Week Fat Burning Meal Plan


The Get-Lean Grocery Shopping List


Make sure your spice cabinet is stocked and go to the grocery store to get the following items:


Plain Greek yogurt

Fresh/frozen berries

Other fresh fruit (bananas, grapefruit, apple, etc)

High-fiber high-protein breakfast cereal

High-fiber/high-protein frozen waffles

Natural peanut butter

Eggs

Low-fat/fat-free milk

High-fiber/high-protein whole-grain bread

High-fiber/high-protein whole-grain tortillas

Large chicken breast

Lean skirt steak

Lean deli meat (turkey, roast beef)

Ground lean turkey breast

Canned tuna/salmon

Fresh/frozen fish (salmon, tilapia, etc.)

Canned beans (black, lentil, pinto, etc)

Fresh/frozen vegetables

Butternut squash

Baked/sweet potato

Avocado

Low-fat cheese (sliced and shredded)


The 4-week fat-burning meal plan


Day 1


Breakfast: Triple berry medley smoothie

½ cup blueberries½ cup raspberries½ cup strawberries½ banana½ cup high-fiber cereal½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt1 cup 1% or skim milk1 scoop whey protein powder½ cup ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

Lunch: Tropical chicken salad

1 large cooked chicken breast, shredded¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup pineapple, 1/3rd cup mango

2 Tbsp chopped water chestnuts

2 cups spinach1-ounce almonds

A few slices of avocado

Serve with high-fiber whole-wheat crackers.

Dinner: Shrimp stir-fry

½ lb cooked shrimp

½ bag mixed frozen stir-fry vegetables

2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in wok. Serve over ½ cup cooked brown rice.


Day 2

Breakfast: Spinach, onion, and feta cheese scramble on whole-wheat English muffin

2 eggs + 2 eggs whites

2 Tbsp low-fat feta cheese

¼ cup Vidalia onion, chopped

¼ cup fresh or frozen spinach

1 high-fiber whole-wheat

English muffin

Salt and Pepper to taste

Lunch: Tuna fish roll up with Minestrone soup

1 cup Minestrone soup

1 can of tuna (canned in water)

2 Tbsp low-fat mayo

1 tsp whole-grain mayonnaise

Sliced tomato and lettuce

1 whole-wheat high-fiber wrap

Dinner: Garlic chicken

1 large chicken breast

¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/8-cup skim milk

¼ garlic clove

1 tsp Tabasco and lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag. Toss chicken in bag and coat. Bake at 350 degrees for ~20 minutes. Serve with: ½ cup whole-wheat couscous and 1 cup zucchini/summer squash medley.


Day 3

Breakfast: Peanut butter & banana sandwich

2 slices whole-wheat bread (with at least 4g fiber per slice)

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 sliced banana

1 tsp drizzle honey

Toast whole-wheat bread

Spread peanut butter and top with bananas, drizzle with honey and enjoy.

Lunch: Chicken pizza with roasted veggies

1 large chicken breast

½ cup tomato sauce

¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 cup chopped vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini)

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken breast and vegetables on a sheet, and season with salt and pepper. Spray vegetables with non-stick cooking spray, then spoon tomato sauce on top of chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min or until chicken is cooked through. When 5 minutes left, top chicken with cheese and let melt until finished cooking

Dinner: Crunchy baked tilapia

6 ounces tilapia topped with 3 tsp Kellogg’s high-fiber bran cereal, baked

1 cup sautéed high-fiber vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, carrots)

1 small baked sweet potato


Day 4

Breakfast: Strawberry oatmeal 

3/4 cup cooked oats1 scoop strawberry protein powder (or other flavored powder)

1 cup of sliced strawberries

1/2 cup of banana

Lunch: Chicken and red onion quesadillas with a side salad

¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced1/3-cup balsamic vinegar

1/4-cup low-fat cheddar cheese

1 large boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded

2 high-fiber whole-wheat tortillas

Combine onions and vinegar in bowl and marinate for 5 minutes. Drain the onions and set aside. Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray, and heat over medium heat. Add onions, and cook until onions have softened about 5-7 min. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Place tortillas in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (they will overlap). Warm for about 45 seconds on each side.


Sprinkle cheese on each tortilla. Cover cheese with the shredded cooked chicken and top the chicken with the marinated onions. Fold the tortillas in half, press gently with a spatula to flatten, and cook for about 2 minutes, until the cheese begins to melt. Flip the quesadilla and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the second side is golden brown. Serve with side mixed green salad and 1 tbsp. light dressing

Dinner: Spicy chicken sausage and whole-wheat penne

1 low-fat chicken sausage 1 cup chopped mushrooms and red pepper ½ cup whole-wheat penne ¼ cup tomato sauce 1 tsp. red pepper chili flakes

Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray and sauté pre-cooked low-fat chicken sausage, mushrooms, and red bell pepper in a pan. Toss over cooked pasta and tomato sauce. Service with side mixed green salad and 1 tbsp. light dressing.


Day 5

Breakfast: Berry parfait

1/2 cup low-fat Plain Greek Yogurt + ¼ cup low fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt½ cup blueberries½ cup cherries½ cup blackberries¾ cup high-fiber cereal (suggested: Go Lean Vanilla Almond Crunch)

Lunch: Greek bowl

4-6 ounces cooked lamb, cut into cubes1 tsp olive oil½ tsp chopped fresh garlic½ tsp oregano½ red pepper, diced¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved2 Tbsp low-fat feta cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1 whole-wheat high-fiber pita

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with whole-wheat pitas and Tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki sauce: ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cucumber diced, lemon juice, minced parsley and dill, salt and pepper to taste

Dinner: Salmon with mixed vegetable quinoa

6 oz baked salmon, seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice

½ cup cooked quinoa with 1-cup sautéed mixed vegetables


Day 6

Breakfast: Oatmeal blueberry pancakes (serves 6)

2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats6 egg whites, beaten1 cup skim milk

2 tsp oil

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup blueberries

Non-stick cooking spray

Blend all ingredients (except blueberries) in a blender until fairly smooth (normal pancake mix consistency). Then gently fold blueberries into mixture. Heat skillet to medium heat, then coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour ½ cup batter onto the skillet to form each pancake. Cook, flipping once so that each side is a golden-brown color.

Lunch: Turkey chili rice bowl

Non-stick cooking spray

½ cup lean ground turkey breast

¼ cup chopped onion

½ cup canned red kidney beans, drained

¼ cup chopped red tomato

½ cup water

¼ cup chopped green pepper

1 tsp chili powder

¼ cup brown rice

Low-fat grated cheddar cheese (optional)


Cook rice as instructed, set aside. Spray a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray, and add ground turkey, onion and cook until turkey is brown. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chili is thick. Add rice and serve with low-fat grated cheddar cheese if desired.

Dinner: Steak and potatoes

5 oz seasoned cooked skirt steak

1 small baked potato with 2 tbsp. non-fat sour cream and chives

1 cup steamed broccoli


Day 7

Breakfast: Breakfast burrito

2 eggs + 2 egg whites

1/4 cup black beans, rinsed

2 Tbsp chopped red onion

1 small jalapeño, seeded, minced

2 Tbsp low fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 tsp hot sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Non-stick cooking spray

1 high-fiber whole-wheat tortilla


Combine, onion, jalapeño, and hot sauce in bowl. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Cooks eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir in black beans and cheese. Remove from heat and fill the tortilla with egg mixture. Top with onion, jalapeño, and hot sauce mixture and roll into a burrito. Serve with salsa on the side.

Lunch: Salad bar

Mixed greens, Mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, artichoke, beets, hearts of palm, asparagus, cabbage

¼ cup butternut squash

1 oz almonds

1 serving grilled chicken

Toss together with 2 tbsp. lite balsamic vinaigrette and serve with a few whole-wheat high-fiber crackers.

Dinner: Chicken tenders with tangy mustard dipping sauce

½ lb chicken tenders

½ tsp paprika

2 tsp salt1 tsp pepper

1/3 cup sliced almonds

¼ cup high-fiber Kellogg’s bran buds

Sauce:

½ cup orange juice3 tbsp. Dijon mustard1 ½ tablespoons honey¼ cup water

Preheat oven to your broil setting (around 400-450 degrees). In a shallow dish, mix together the paprika, salt, pepper, and almonds. Coat each chicken breast fillet with almond mixture and place onto a Pyrex dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Place chicken in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning once halfway through to brown on both sides. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whish together the orange, juice, mustard, honey, and water until sauce is smooth.


Substitutions for Week 2, 3, 4


The following recipes are substitutions you can make at any time to Week 1’s Meal Plan to keep each meal as exciting as the last.


Breakfast substitutions:

Easy eggs and waffles

Spray microwave-safe bowl with non-stick cooking sprayScramble 1 egg+ 2 egg whites, 1 tbsp. milk, and a little salt and pepper in a bowl

Pop in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds

Serve with 2 toasted high-fiber high-protein frozen waffles topped with 1 cup berries

High-protein and fiber cold cereal

Mix ½ cup low-fat milk with 1 scoop of whey protein powder well, until smooth

Add ¾ cup high-fiber cerealAdd 1-cup berries of your choice

Open-faced California omelet

Scramble 2 eggs + 2 eggs whites, ¼ cup chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp. low-fat cheese

Serve over 1 slice of toasted whole wheat high-fiber bread

Top with sliced avocado½ grapefruit on the side

Lunch substitutions:

Salad and pizza

1 slice thin-crusted whole-wheat veggie pizza with grilled chickenLarge mixed green salad with 2 tbsp. walnuts on the side with 1-2 tbsp. light dressing

Salmon “burger”

1 can salmon (in water) mixed with 2 tbsp. low-fat mayo, 2 tbsp. chopped onion, salt and pepper

Top with lettuce, tomato

Serve on a whole-grain bun

1/3 cup 3-bean salad on side

½ cup steamed string beans

Roast beef and Swiss on whole-grain bread

3 oz lean roast beef1 slice low fat Swiss cheese½ cup grilled green peppers and onions1 tbsp. low-fat creamy Italian dressing2 slices whole-grain bread (with at least 4g fiber per slice)Serve with crudité (raw carrots, celery, broccoli) and 2 tbsp. fat-free ranch dressing

Dinner substitutions:

Chicken tacos

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded

2 tbsp. low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded lettuce

½ cup chopped tomatoes

½ cup black beans

2 Tbsp salsa

2 high-fiber tortillas

Serve with a side salad

Salmon kabobs

Chop 6 oz raw salmon in chunks

Chop ½ red pepper and ½ red onion

Arrange salmon, red pepper, and red onion on a wet skewer

Brush with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper

Grill until salmon cooked through and veggies soft

Serve with ½ cup quinoa and ½ cup mixed vegetables on the side

Turkey dinner

6 oz herb-roasted turkey

1 cup sautéed broccoli and mushrooms

½ cup cubed sweet potatoes


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