My Food Plan

I did not jump into this way of eating and give up damaging foods and behaviors overnight. It took time. I am still a work in progress. Do not beat yourself up on this journey. It is all one meal at a time, one bite at a time. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you have not already started, take the first step today. I am not a medical professional. I do not have a degree in nutrition. I make no claims as to the effectiveness of this food plan on anyone but myself.  This food plan developed from my own experiences and through living with it successfully over the past five years. I consider it to be balanced and inclusive for MY body. It is working for me. 

If you wish to adapt your way of eating please remember that this food plan was developed through trial and error on my body. For any food plan to work for you, YOU must be honest with how YOUR body and brain react to the foods and quantities you consume. The more honest I am with my reactions to individual foods the more success I enjoy. The pounds that I took off in 2010 could have come off in 2009 if I had been honest to myself in 2009 about my addiction to sugar. When I was still having milk fat it slowed my progress until I accepted the physical and mental addiction/obsession I had to butter, cream and cheese. Then I went back to 'thinking' that I 'could' have sugar. That was poor thinking for me. I gained back over 40 pounds. Now I am eating right so I can lose them again and stay at a healthy maintenance weight for me.

In looking at my food plan, if you note I am missing an essential element for long-term good health please contact me and enlighten me on what is missing.

The way I eat stays constant but the individual foods change. Sometimes I eat the same breakfast five days that week and some weeks there is a different breakfast every day.

PLEASE NOTE: I consider all non-starchy fruits and vegetables to be good food choices any meal. When I make mention of carbs or low carb foods and limiting them, I refer only to those vegetables or fruits considered to be high starch, such as bananas, potatoes, peas, corn and some winter squashes.

These essentials do not change:
  • I weigh and measure my food for each meal because this WORKS* (see note at bottom)
  • I keep track of my calories, carbohydrates, fats, protein and fiber because this WORKS
  • I write my food down every day because this WORKS 
  • I refrain from sugars, most wheat products and some milk fats
  • I do not eat products made from soy because my body reacts with horrible gas

These vary by day and activities:
  • Time of meals
  • Number of full meals and number of small meals (snacks) each day

I choose from two basic breakfast plans
  1. Three to four egg whites with veggies and/or lean protein of 1 serving of low fat ham, turkey, or chicken. Twice a week I have an egg yolk if I want one. Sometimes I have a slice of wheat free-sunflower seed bread with breakfast. 
  2. One serving oat bran or other hot cereal, 1/2 serving walnuts and 1/2 cup of fruit - usually berries, 1 banana or 1 medium apple. Sometimes I have four egg whites with the hot cereal.

  • Any vegetable that tastes good with eggs is fine - leftover cauliflower can be delicious
  • Occasionally I will have turkey bacon or regular bacon but normally I avoid fatty proteins
Behaviors I Try to Avoid:
  • Skipping breakfast. Duh! you've heard it all your life: Breakfast is important. I think it is a magic bullet. It makes the rest of the day easier. Do not skip breakfast. I can have a lighter breakfast but I consume food each morning.
  • Fast Food locations. 
  • Waiting too long to eat breakfast. I try to eat within 90 minutes of rising in the morning.

I start with thinking about what I plan for breakfast. If breakfast is a carb loaded meal then lunch is low carb. Lunch can be anything that is healthy, measured and weighed, but no sugar or wheat. I do not eat fried, breaded or creamed foods. This still leaves me many food choices each day. Being a human creature of habit I often repeat the same meals over and over in a given season. However I do try to vary my foods to ensure I am getting a good array of minerals, nutrients and vitamins. Here are some frequent lunchtime meals:

  • Protein based salad with veggies and fruit with a low fat dressing or no dressing if the protein is hot
  • Greek yogurt with cucumbers, tomatoes, nuts and avocado
  • Greek yogurt with berries, nuts and perhaps a whole grain like uncooked oats
  • If I had breakfast choice #2 that morning I might have choice #1 for lunch

Behaviors I Try to Avoid:
  • Fast food locations. Even their salads. Contact me if you have questions about why. 
  • Skipping meals or not having a plan ready for lunch before I go out that day
  • Grazing. Food has to be gathered, measured or weighed. I should not eat out of containers in the closet or straight from the fridge. 

Dinner is the meal I most often eat with other people each day.  Dinner can be extremely varied and complex or exceedingly simple. I try more for simple. Dinner usually consists of:

  • 4 to 5 oz of protein, mostly lean. Occasionally a sausage sneaks in
  • 2 or 3 servings of vegetables - which can include a salad or not
  • a complex carb (not every day) 
  • for cooking I use EVOO 

Typical Dinners include: 

  1. Grilled chicken breast, 1 c green beans, tomato with basil and oil, 1/2 c butternut squash
  2. Lean pork loin, 1/2 c cauliflower mash, asparagus, carrots, salad
  3. 94% lean ground beef, 1 serv zucchini salad, black beans, tomato salsa
  4. Grilled Salmon, lentils or quinoa, broccoli and tomato and carrots
  5. 15 Bean soup and whole grain rice and a salad
  6. Chicken or fish tacos minus the taco, fat free re fried beans, fresh vegetables
  7. Roasted vegetables with lamb or ground turkey, Greek seasoning and cucumber tzasziki

Missing from the list:
  • Pasta dishes - I refrain from flour because of what wheat does to my body and I have also elected not to replace it with other processed non-wheat sources. I have tried them all and they just do not taste worth the effort. I have found some great recipes from substituting eggplant for pasta and for today that is what I enjoy.
  • High fat proteins - since I have them only occasionally I did not add them to the top choices. Occasionally I will make sausage and peppers going heavy on the veggies and light on the sausage. One average Italian link is my serving. I cut all the links into equal portions so that when I measure it out I am getting no more than I should for my portion.

Eating Out:
I enjoy eating out but if I feel that the temptation to experiment with fire will be too great I skip it and stay home or bring my food. Yes, you can bring food into a restaurant to supplement what they can offer. I do not leave myself vulnerable to being left hungry in a place where food abounds. With so many people having food allergies I have yet to find a restaurant that will not allow me to add my food to their table - as long as I am not rude about it or neglect to patronize their menu for things I can have. For instance, I might order a grilled salmon entree and skip the buttery rice pilaf in return for an extra serving of steamed vegetables or, if they will not substitute, I will bring out my own vegetables or rice from home. I do not eat where I cannot bring in my food. It has taken me a while to take this position. Once I did - no one cared . . . I have never been challenged to take my food and leave. 

Eating out guidelines:
  • Most restaurants have a website. Look at the menu online. 
  • Call the restaurant if you have questions about a preparation.
  • Ask the waiter how something is prepared. If he does not know he needs to go find out
  • If you cannot have milk fat or sugar or flour or anything else remember that it is YOUR job to make sure you do not have it. Besides asking, let them know it is critical that those items are not in your food. I have found that many people 'think' low fat milk is the same as skim. Be ready to send back anything that tastes too rich to be fat free
  • Meats and fish are often basted in butter or oil. When you order state that you do not want butter or oil used on your dish. (I think stock based fish is so much better than butter!)
  • When they bring bread to the table move it to the side farthest from you. Same with the butter. If you have to reach across the table, you are less likely to eat it. Ask them take away the bread. When we eat Chinese food out we have them take away the duck sauce and friend noodles. 
  • If I am with people having dessert, I can ask for fruit. If they do not have fruit I can enjoy another glass of sparkling water. I am there to enjoy my dinner companions, not to try the latest dessert concoction.  - it took me a long time to reach this attitude so if you are not there today do not give up. 
  • Tastes, Bites and Licks - the Unholy Trilogy. I am a food addict. There are certain foods I know cause me to have an addicts mind and body. To stay free from the insanity they breed I do not have these foods on my food plan today. Thus it is just as dangerous for me to have a taste, bite or lick of an item that is offered to me from someone else's plate than it would be for me to have the full serving on my own plate. 

I have from one to two snacks a day - depending on my other meals and schedule each day. This is a change in that I was allowing myself three snacks a day but have come to see I was using that third snack as a crutch. Now I have one or two each day. Each snack consist of one of the following:
  • 1 cup mix roasted vegetables with 1/2 Tb of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fat free ricotta mixed with sugar free flavor extracts
  • A serving of any fresh fruit
  • A serving of V-8 100% Vegetable juice (watch for sugar)
  • A serving of naturally dried fruit (I have a dehydrator)
  • 100 calorie serving of fat free sliced turkey
  • 8 oz Greek yogurt, with or without a serving of fruit and or walnuts
  • A Quest Protein Bar - (sugar, soy and wheat free)
  • 1 serv white meat chicken - we usually have some cooked chicken on hand and protein is my snack after a workout
I will occasionally add to this list of snacks when I remember more or try something new. Sometimes I need to take things off the list if I find I start craving a particular snack beyond a reasonably sane level.

I last updated this page on January 26, 2014. 



E. Jane said...

Thank you, Jane, for adding the dinner information to your food plan. It looks to be a very healthy and satisfying plan. I am looking forward to some recipes.

I have made progress (not perfection) with my weight loss journey, and you have really helped me organize and get it together. Thanks, again.

Carbzilla said...

I didn't really know where to post after finding you on Lisa's blog (110pounds). Bless you bless you bless you! I love your story and your spunk and can't wait to read more! Not to mention I'm a HUGE Disney fan (we honeymooned there and have owned DVC since 2003. Now my husband works for them but that's a total coincidence). Your journey is amazing and such an inspiration to your fellow food addicts (aka ME!).

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I love this list!!

Why do you avoid milk fat? Yogurt doesn't have milk fat? Just curious.

Jane Cartelli said...

Fat free yogurt does not have milk fat. I only eat fat free yogurt for that reason. :-)

Once I realized that I was addicted to anything with milk fat: cheese, butter, ice cream, half and half, cream . . . .and by extention anything that was made with these ingredients - I realized I needed to remove them from my plan of eating if I were to have any sanity going forward. Once I honestly accepted that, made peace with it and became willing to let them go, my day-to-day life became so much easier. I just had to get to where I realized that I was obsessed with eating because there was something that was giving me a mental and physical obsession - an allergen irritating my body and brain. Remove the allergen and I no longer have a stuffed body or a fat head. ;-)

Jane Cartelli said...

August 31, 2011 - I just updated my food plan to reflect any and all changes I have made in the past two months.


Karen said...

Jane, Thank you for posting about this. I love your Bites, Licks and Tastes guidelines. Unholy trilogy- so true.

Thanks again for posting what your day-to-day looks like. I found it very helpful.

Anonymous said...


Do you really never have chocolate, ice cream, cake, cookies or anything we'd call "traditional desserts"? Not even on your birthday? How did you accomplish this? Not having cake on your birthday, or skipping dessert even on Christmas, seems very extreme to me. Any tips on how you tell yourself no?

Sandy Daigler said...

Jane, I just found your blog. Great, great stuff! I've been maintaining a 100 pound weight loss for 4-1/2 years and I can relate to everything you say. I eat in a very similar way to how you do, although I don't measure portions every time. I eat just about the same breakfast and lunch every day and mix it up a little for dinner, but not much. I do eat dairy, but in limited amounts and it has to be no-fat. What I had to stop eating were sweet foods, even those with no-calorie sweeteners, they stoke my appetite too much. I look forward to reading more.

Cindy said...

Thank you for providing this food plan. I have lost a fair amount of weight myself but have been stuck for the last 2 years. It is important for me to see what other people are doing and see what I can incorporate into my life for the rest of my life. After so many years of eating too much of the wrong things it is really hard to stop myself from falling back into my old ways.

Susan said...

Hi Jane. Found your blog and want to thank you for sharing your story. I am on a journey to lose 100+ pounds. Your first statement on this page is soooo real for me right now: I did not jump into this way of eating and give up damaging food and behaviors overnight. I'm pretty much having a constant struggle 2 months into this new lifestyle choice. But I will continue, and prevail, as I work through it! Thanks for your inspiration!