How Our Family Lives With The 17 Day Diet!

The Beach

Made it to the beach and didn’t make my big time goals. I did find a swimsuit that I really liked and just enjoyed the heck out of our vacation with the entire family. What a special time for all of us!

During my beach week, I gained 2 pounds. Ok, that is not bad. I am actually really happy since I said, “NO DIETING this week.”  I ate homemade ice cream, cereal, pancakes & syrup, bacon, you name it!

Now, we have returned home and are psyched up about getting back into the exercise and healthy eating routine. My hubby started today when he got up at 5 am to do the spin class (cycling) at the YMCA, and I started by doing the stationery bike at the YMCA for 45 minutes (watching HGTV renovation shows….LOVE this method of taking my mind off exercise!) and eating roasted chicken for dinner. We did have baked sweet potato fries because they had thawed  on the way home from the beach and we had to eat them or throw them away. My boys are so into now and are loving tracking their food intake versus exercise.

I re-stocked the refrigerator and have healthy salad ingredients ready to throw together for our 10 ingredient salad lunches. I also picked up my beloved Lean Cuisine frozen meals for their portion control for some lunches.

I probably should re-read the 17 day diet book again to refresh myself. My goal this week is more veggies, more exercise.


Ok, I am happy to announce that I hit my second 10 pound goal. I have been flirting around this 20 pound point for a little while with various trips distracting me from reaching this goal.  I was so happy to see the scale Sunday morning when it said I had made it.

Today I am renewed, and ready for another good week. 25 week days until the beach. I hit the cardio hard on the bike this morning and did an hour and a half. Thank goodness I can watch HGTV while I exercise.  Sometimes it is the only thing that gets me through that last 20 minutes. I have to see how the renovation turned out!

To reach my two hour goal, I will take my dog for a walk this afternoon and we’ll both be happy!

My chocolate protein shake this morning was enhanced by my remaining coffee and a dash of cinnamon.  Having some yogurt for a mid-morning snake and then for lunch I will have a vanilla shake with frozen fruit in it.   Over the weekend I stocked up at Costco on their frozen Lean Cuisine meals and I love those! Later in the week I will have them for a lunchtime treat.

I am excited to be making progress.

Note: The woman in the picture is not me.

I feel a bit like Barney, that purple dinosaur my boys used to watch, when I drink this shake!

Someone asked me about the protein shakes I am making and I thought I would share my variations here.  We had some various types of protein powder in the pantry that were from previous health oriented phases in our life, and so I am using those protein powders.

I have a Muscle Milk vanilla whey based protein powder and an EAS chocolate whey & soy protein powder mix that I use.

Using the vanilla protein powder, I mix different things in each time to make it more interesting. Usually, I pop in a 1/2 c. of frozen mixed fruit that includes blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Totally yummy and quite colorful!

Sometimes I will add cinnamon instead, since I heard that spice makes you feel full longer, and other times I will add just frozen strawberries.

In the afternoon for lunch, I usually pick the chocolate protein powder and will toss in a bit of leftover cold coffee.  I add cinnamon to that too.  Alternatively, I will add a teaspoon of cocoa powder and ice cubes.

Great news! I lost weight again last week. Down 1.6 pounds. My new plan is working.  Over the weekend, I splurged and had couple of martinis, ate some pizza, and chocolate. Didn’t overload, but didn’t scrimp either. Now, it is Monday morning and I am hopping back on my 2 hour cardio target each day and shake routine. 30 days until the beach! I have to admit that I didn’t hit 2 hours each week day, mostly averaged 1.5 hours though and I count that a victory.

Do you like protein shakes? What do you do to make them more interesting?

My aunt told my mom about this one and I took lots of liberties with it! The story is…my aunt lost LOTS of weight by eating this salad for lunch each day.

You know how things get passed around and you aren’t really sure if you got all the ingredients? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with this one! Just be sure you have a lettuce type thing in it and you’ll be fine!

Find 10 different things to put in your salad. Make them healthy things! Here is a list of some of our favorites:

  • lettuce: iceberg mix, spinach, fancy greens, or whatever mix you like
  • fruit: mandarin orange sections, strawberries, dried cranberries
  • nuts: walnuts, pecans, pine-nuts (toasted, honey glazed, roasted, plain)
  • colorful tortilla strips
  • protein: grilled chicken breasts, sliced left over steak, strips of ham (oops! I mean that wonderful turkey I found that only tastes like ham!), boiled eggs, a tiny amount of bacon bits
  • cheese: swiss cut in strips, grated cheddar, low fat skim mozzerella, laughing cow skinny cheese
  • veggies: red, green, yellow, & orange bell peppers, red onion, white onion, green onion, carrots – chopped or whole baby ones, celery, fresh broccoli, fresh baby spinach
I usually look in the pantry and refridgerator and see what I have on hand. I try to chop up a bunch of veggies to have handy during the week, so it makes it super simple to pop together a salad at lunchtime me or for the hubby’s nightly salad prep for lunch the next day for him. I make the salads for my husband & I different from our boys by putting higher carb items on it for them.
Top with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing and YUM!  We all love this, though my older son likes a different dressing.
Last night’s salad was served as a side to a main course, so I didn’t include meat.  Here is what is in the picture above:

This particular salad included:

  1. lettuce
  2. boiled eggs
  3. bacon pieces
  4. cheddar cheese
  5. Swiss cheese
  6. strawberries
  7.  red onion
  8. carrots
  9. red bell pepper
  10. balsamic vinegar & oil dressing
Do you have a favorite salad combination you can share? Please do! I would love to hear how YOU make a salad!

Today is day 32 in the countdown to the beach and I feel good. Can you hear the echo of that James Brown song?

This is the view from where we’ll be staying with our extended family in June. Isn’t it inspiring? Amazing? Wonderful?  I am popping it on here to remind me why I need to be able to wear shorts.

You know those little summer clothing items called skorts? They are a combination of a skirt and shorts and have a kind of flap over the front? I really want to find a comfy one to wear. I used to wear those all summer long! Of course, that was when I was probably 50 pounds lighter. Well, it is another goal.

Maybe I will dig my summer clothes out and sort through them today to see all my old favorites that I have saved. I probably have 4 different sizes in plastic storage bins.

I know I really should locate my swimsuit, but just can’t face it yet. Maybe in 2 weeks?  That being said, I have to admit that after only 3 days of this new intense cardio program (well, it is intense for ME) I can see a positive difference in my thighs. That is really hope inspiring.  32 days. What can I do in 32 days?

Last night’s Pesto Chicken was a huge hit again!  I can’t believe I haven’t included this awesome, yet simple, recipe I modified from the South Beach Diet yet.  Here it is!

Baked Pesto Chicken


  • Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • Pesto

Place 1/4 c. of your favorite pesto in the bottom of a baking pan large enough to hold your chicken breasts.

Flatten chicken breasts slightly and place in pan on top of pesto.

Top with more pesto. Cover, and bake for 40 min. at 375 degrees. (At this point the original recipe calls for uncovering, topping with swiss cheese, but we don’t miss it!)

Test with meat thermometer to make sure it has reached 165 degrees for safety, then enjoy!

Served with our favorite green beans. This time, I used fresh tiny haricot verts and quickly boiled them while I sauteed some chopped white onion until it was tender, threw in a few bacon bits for a splash, then put those on top of the drained green beans.

I got a huge surprise from my two boys also! Last time I prepared Pesto Chicken, they were less than complimentary about it. In fact, I remembered them saying, “I DON”T LIKE THIS!” So, I prepared one of my “10 Ingredient Salads” for them and they both were really disappointed they didn’t get served the Pesto Chicken! Those chicken breasts were large enough to share, so we did, and everyone was happy, plus they got the salad veggies.

Dessert was fresh fruit (strawberries & blueberries) served in parfait glasses! What a special looking treat. I think our tastes have definitely changed while on this program. After 115 days, I guess they should!

One thing about this meal I really loved was that it was so easy. I prepped the chicken earlier in the day and held it in the refrigerator. Green beans were just a “take them out of the bag and toss in boiling water” kind of thing while I sauteed the already chopped white onions and bacon bits. The fruit was the only thing that took a bit of time and I had help from my son. Do you have an easy “go to” kind of healthy dinner or recipe to share? I would love to hear!

Whew, we really ate like we wanted and I tried all kinds of new things: Malaysian food at Penang, cannoli at Mike’s Pastry, lobster rolls (which were like chicken salad but with lobster). Of course, we had warm Doubletree Cookies every night and sometimes during the day – when my boys would talk the front desk into giving them some. 

We walked everywhere we could and took the subway. It was hard on my poor feet with plantars, but I think it did keep the pounds from piling on. I only gained a little bit over a pound!

Monday began my COUNTDOWN TO THE BEACH!  7 weeks until I have to put a swimsuit on in front of my entire family. Argh.  I am so thrilled we are going to the beach and have been looking forward to it since we scheduled it. But, the reality is, my body just doesn’t look the way I want it too. I am realistic enough to know that 7 weeks will not turn me into a Barbie doll body, but at least I can make significant progress and will feel better if I am doing something about it.

I thought about making my own “7 week” plan, and have decided to look at it as 7 weeks of focusing on the week days to really make a difference in my fitness level. That is 35 days.  I want to make each of those 35 days really count. Thinking this way kind of helps keep me motivated .

My new plan is that on weekdays I will have protein shakes for breakfast & lunch, eat yogurt and fruit for snacks and have a decently healthful dinner. As usual, lots of hot green tea or herbal tea is allowed!  On weekends, I may loosen up a bit and that way I can tell myself to wait until Sat. for something that is really tempting me. I find that it really helps me get past that craving, then when Sat. comes there are many times I don’t indulge.  Isn’t it funny, the types of psych games we plan with ourselves?

Also, I upped the cardio exercise to 2 hours per weekday. For the majority of that cardio, I am doing the stationary bike at our YMCA due to foot issues, and have added a 15-30 min walk with the doggie to add a bit of variety. We’ll see how that walking part goes and if it doesn’t cause me too much pain, I will increase the walking since it is so much easier to fit it into our schedule.

My son told me about a cool site that you can put your food in and track exercise and everything else is super easy on it. I just started using it and he’s right, it is easy! I love seeing the nutrition numbers, and it will let you track your water consumption too. is the site. Tell me what you think!

Wish me luck on counting down the days until we go.  I will still be looking for healthy menu options for our main course meals, so if you have some tasty ones to suggest, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Eating out can be a challenge. Below are my typical rationalizations for overeating or making poor choices and my “much healthier” ways to overcome them.



  • Since you have paid for this food you must eat it! (Most of the time, you can take it home and eat it at another meal. Another tactic – get someone else to eat it!)
  • You work hard, you deserve a treat! (Remember that you can eat whatever is tempting you after your stricter phase is over, or that you can consider treating yourself to a healthy life by NOT eating it.  Delay eating it until the weekend when you are not as strict and perhaps you’ll choose to not eat it at all!)
  • It looks soooooo good!  (It will still be there when I am at my goal weight.  It looks much better on that plate than on my thighs! “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!” as my female relatives say.)

That being said, I love to eat out and there are also times when it cannot be avoided.  So, here are my current “go to” menu selections for eating out and staying healthy!

Chipotle’s vegetarian burrito bowl – no tortilla to add carbs, but loads of flavor. Since they build it for you when you order, you can control what is on it.  Here is the nutritional info so you can put your own special together.  My veggie burrito bowl totals up to 450 calories, and if I want to add some fresh guacamole and a few chips it is another 220 calories.  I know when I walk in that is what I am ordering and am VERY happy about it.  Most of the time I will get it without the cheese since I don’t taste it much and that will save 100 calories too.  My husband usually adds the chicken which is 190 calories, but doesn’t get the black beans which are 120. Both my boys get it with the chicken or beef and love it!

Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. They offer this salad as a full size with a full breast of grilled chicken at 540 calories, or a half size with half the protein at 380 calories.  The size I order is based on how I have eaten that day, and I will typically order the smaller size. At first I thought it wouldn’t be enough food, but it certainly is now! I guess my appetite has shrunk as I have been on this program.  I use everything that comes with it and enjoy the pecans, cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, and love the raspberry vinaigrette!  Generally, my boys will opt for  burger and the fries, but at least I am able to keep on track.

Subway’s Oven Roasted Chicken 6 inch sub!  My newest favorite, and a special thanks to my husband for introducing me to it!  Load on the spinach and red onions, great bread, and the chipotle southwest sauce and I am all set!  This sub is 343 calories the way I build it.  As long as I don’t get chips, I am happy with the calorie count and the flavor is great.

So, if I find I am out and can’t plan ahead these are my “no fail” “no think” great options! Not bad, eh?  I would to hear what menu items you have found that fit your plan and are easy to grab and go!