I know I have still not reached my goal weight, although everyone thinks I do not need to keep going and should stop. I am 30 years old and work in law enforcement. Shift work and double shifts and made it tough for me to get into a routine, eating right and exercising. I was at my all-time heaviest (182 pounds) and I knew I had to do something. A few guys I work with lost a ton of weight on a diet I later learned was Ideal Protein. I did not research, and everyone said that diet is unbelievable and the weight just falls off. They were not lying. It was tough giving up bread and cheese, but well worth it.
One of the biggest obstacles for me was the veggies. I hated vegetables and ate very little of them. The only ones I liked were restricted (tomatoes and carrots). I did a LOT of experimenting and trying different recipes and variations until I found something I like. I knew that if I did not make all of my food for the week, that there was no way I would be able to keep up with it. So on my days off, I would make all of the food for the week.
I first started mixing it up with chicken and steak, but then I found ground turkey to be the easiest option for me. I brown the turkey on the stove then I mix in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of minced onions, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, and a dash of both onion and garlic powder.
Now for the veggies, I mix 2 cups of mushrooms that I chop up into smaller pieces. One of the best things I bought was a dicer, so I take 1.5 cups of rainbow bell peppers and dice them. I then cook them with 2 teaspoons of virgin olive oil, for about 10 minutes. I also dice 1/2 cup of onions to give me my 4 cups for the day. I usually make a salad for lunch with lettuce, cucumbers, and celery. I will also mix in some of my onions, peppers, and mushrooms. I then add some Walden Farms Thousand Island dressing. For my dinner, I mix the ground turkey, mushroom, and peppers together and microwave them. After, I mix in the uncooked onions and add some Walden Farms Thousand Island dressing, SO GOOD! I can and do eat this every day. It is not only the easiest recipe I found, but the best tasting and filling. I have tried miracle noodle pad thai but found it too spicy. I was making cauliflower sushi that were messy but tasty, but there was a TON of prep time and I think the soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger were not quite Stage 1 compliant.
I know some people love and hate Walden Farms, I am on the love side. I tried a lot of their dressings, and yes some are better than others. My personal favorite is the thousand island, but the italian is also very good. I did NOT like the peanut butter but am excited to try the PB2 powdered peanut butter once I reach Stage 4. The chocolate dip is not bad either.
Now onto packets. I tried A LOT of different ones, and it took me awhile to find my favorites. All I eat right now are the crispy cereal (that I make into pancakes), pre-made pudding, pre-made chocolate drink, cookies, and bars. Some of the soups are ok, but nothing great. I also really like the maple oatmeal, but I would rather a cookie or a bar for my carb item.
I mostly eat the crispy cereal, made into a chocolate chip pancake that is NON-RESTRICTED! What I do is I first take a plastic sandwich bag and put some Walden Farms Chocolate Dip in the bag. I then cut a small piece of the corner off. I then take a dinner plate and spray Smart Balance cooking spray (no calories or fat) and make chocolate chips. I freeze the plate. Once froze, I put the chips into a bag and leave in the freezer. If you put them in the fridge or leave them out, they will melt!
I found the recipe for crispy cereal pancakes but tweaked it. I take 1 egg white and mix in 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and little bit of cinnamon. I was putting some drops of stevia in there too, but stopped because I never really tasted it. I then crush the cereal by rolling a cup over it. You do not have to do this, when you cook it, the cereal still makes a good pancake. I bought a pancake maker from CVS Pharmacy and it works awesome. I then mix in some chocolate chips, spray with the Smart Balance Butter Cooking Spray, and get one nice looking pancake! Now for my favorite Walden Farms product, the MAPLE SYRUP! I could drink this stuff, I would never guess it is zero calories!
I like to take the pre-made chocolate drinks, and blend it in a blender with ice. It makes a pretty good smoothy.
If you stick to the diet, it works, plain and simple. You can't cheat, and if you have to, have a little more protein or salad. I motivate myself to run so I can have an extra pancake or shake.