Operation Fatty: Presentation Matters When Cutting Calories

I’m determined to lose weight so when my trainer told me I needed to keep my calorie range within 1300-1500, I knew I’d be counting calories and reading labels. She told me to start out by eating what I normally do but smaller portions and when I can, swap out something. We started with soda.

If you’ve followed me, you know I have an issue with Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Okay, perhaps an addiction. She asked me to try ALL the diet drinks to try and switch out. Her favorite? Diet Sunkist. I decided to just buy Diet Sunkist without buying anything else. I’ll try those in time but I have to say, I was SOOOO pleased with it. There was NO aftertaste at all!! It tasted just like an orange soda. So right there, 200 calories were cut out of my diet.

Now since everyone was gone this evening, I decided to make a Lean Cuisine meal part of my supper. Since we all know how small those meals are, I decided to add a couple of things but not going over my calorie budget. The average healthy meal is usually 600 calories or less so I kept that in mind. After adding up calories, I decided that I would be able to add some brown rice and vegetables and if i’m lucky, sneak in a mini DP.

The Lean Cuisine was 250 calories. The 1 cup serving of brown rice was 230 calories. I know..that’s a lot but I was really hungry. The vegetables (Great Value Broccoli & Cauliflower) were 25 calories per serving. I had two which equals 50. That totals 530 calories. YAY, I’m doing good so I’m telling myself I can drink a mini DP afterwards.


Aren’t the little trays in the prepackaged food meals kinda ugly? I’ve learned to take it out of the tray and place it on the tray. This particular dinner was baked chicken with stuffing and mash potatoes.

I took it out, put it on the plate, along with the cup of brown rice, and the 1 1/2 cups of Broccoli & Cauliflower. After adding all that to my plate, I was shocked out how full my plate was!! What if I had left the food in the little tray and not added brown rice and vegetables? I guarantee you that I would have been hungry within an hour. I knew that I had to add something and seeing it on a real plate is much more appetizing and it looks like you’re getting a lot.

That’s a LOT of food huh!! Now here’s my other strategy. I decided to eat in a certain order..sorta. I knew that the chicken & stuffing had the most calories of the Lean Cuisine meal so I decided to eat the vegetables first, then the rice mixed with the taters. Before I could even get to the chicken and stuffing, I was stuffed! I don’t know how many calories are just in that portion but I’m figuring it had to be enough to allow me to have that mini DP, which happens to be 100 calories.

Am I gonna make my goal of 1300-1500 calories for the day?? I SURE AM!! I had 300 for breakfast, 330 for Lunch, 200 for a snack, and now 600 for supper. With a total of 1430 calories I’m barely sliding in there but keep in mind, I was previously taking in 2000+ calories. I’m proud of myself y’all. It may not seem like a big step to you but it’s a HUGE step for me. And now that I know I like Diet Sunkist, I know that I’ll be able to cut more calories by drinking it instead of DP.

Point of the story….put it on a plate whether it’s in a tray, bag, box, or whatever. Add some fresh vegetables when you can or if your calorie count allows it, add a slice of whole grain bread.

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  1. says

    I love diet sunkist! It is my favorite. Diet a&w rootbeer is really good also. Those are also often 10 for 10 at my grocery store. I stock up! Diet seara mist is pretty good too!

  2. says

    When I was diagnosed with diabetes I was a Pepsiholic. Real, sugar laden, caffeine fulled Pepsi. I couldn’t stand the thought of a diet drink. I was advised to mix regular and diet and it wasn’t too bad. Now a 12 pk of diet, caffeine Pepsi will last 1-2 months and I’m drinking a ton of iced water and Crystal Light. I don’t even miss my regular Pepsi anymore. Well, on occasion I do remember what one tasted like when I’m eating my favorite Chicken Encheladas or Pepperoni Pizza but other than that I don’t miss it at all.

    I’m proud of the strides you’ve taken and wishing you continued success and willpower to stick with it.

  3. says

    That’s pretty clever Lori. The plate certainly looks like it has a ton of food on it compared to the little trays.

    How is the Lean Cuisine flavor wise? I typically go with the Healthy Choice meals because they have that little dessert in them. It helps curb my sweets craving.

  4. says

    Double check that you’re getting enough calories.

    To make that quick of a change can put your body into starvation mode. My husband went from about 2500 cal intake to 1600 a day and his body would go shaky and a doctor friend told us that such a sudden change could cause his body to shut down. He just did it a bit gradually and then was fine.

    I do love the idea of adding veggies to frozen diet meals, though. Pure genius!

  5. says

    YUM :) I’ve been following a much healthier diet for a few months. Recently my bootcamp instructor started looking at my food log and offering some tips. A few things that have helped me are to max out my water consumption and to eat something every 2 hours. It’s hard to keep snacking but I just choose yummy things like red pepper, almonds, carrots…

    Good job on Operation Fatty :)

  6. Nicole says

    I’m doing the same thing – calorie counting. Except I gradually have been going down in calories. It has been working so far. Plus I exercise now too. Good luck!