How I Lost 30 Pounds with I Love This Diet
My Weight Loss Success During Quarantine
Losing weight, for me, seemed like a crazy dream.
I longed for some magic lamp genie to pop out, snap his fingers, and make the excess weight just disappear.
See, I knew I had the desire to lose weight, but definitely not the motivation.
It just seemed too hard. An uphill battle I didn't have the energy to fight.
The inspiration, unfortunately, came much later. And let me tell you how...
Working 9-5 is the daily grind for many people. But since I love my job, I always considered it to be a necessary sacrifice. Work hard, help people, save money. Right?
As a teacher, however, I was often left drained and with little "me-time" left at the end of the day.
This lack of self-care lead to one thing and one thing only: weight gain.
So, as I was dealing with being overweight, overworked, and depressed, the unthinkable happened. A worldwide pandemic...
How COVID-19 Impacted Me
When COVID-19 hit and life drastically changed for everyone, I saw the world completely change.
As a teacher, I saw the signs very early on in 2019. And it only got worse from there.
Massive panic spread like wildfire. Millions lost their lives, jobs, homes, loved ones, and so much more. The digital world came flooding into our everyday lives and lockdown ensued.
I couldn't believe what was happening around me. And living in Los Angeles County meant I was seeing a huge community get hit hard.
My entire neighborhood transformed into something I couldn't recognize. A ghost town, eerily stretching in every direction.
And like many, this new world brought about a huge internal change in my lifestyle. I was forced to work from home, stay inside, make every meal in my own kitchen.
It was the perfect time for me to get serious about my biggest goal: lose weight.
"The Wild Diet Chase"
I grew up watching my mother struggle with weight.
She was always on some new diet plan, raving about some new weight loss trend she read in a magazine, or excited about some new research she heard about on T.V.
But to me, it seemed like she was on a wild goose chase, always searching for the next best diet, always on the lookout for this elusive secret that would magically work and she'd lose the weight forever.
I knew I didn't want to go that route of jumping from one diet to another, which leads to the dreaded yo-yo dieting effect.
Gain weight, lose weight, gain weight, lose weight. Ugh! What a nightmare.
What I Wanted in a Diet Plan
I knew I had to find a plan that would work for me short-term and long-term. I needed a diet plan that would help me lose weight and keep it off.
OK, to be clear, I am a student at heart, but I didn't really care to go about becoming the next nutritional guru just to get healthy.
I wanted a full-blown tell-me-what-to-eat program that took the guesswork completely out of the equation. None of this macros-counting, calorie-crunching, naughty foods lists, or unrealistic Fitspiration-like goals of perfection.
And most of all? I didn't want to cook every day to lose weight.
The truth is, I don't mind cooking. And quarantine had me cooking a lot more than usual. I even got into baking, which was a bit of a disaster, but let's just keep that between us...
But, I was beginning to grow weary of the daily cooking and also wanted to avoid complicated diets like keto and paleo. I just wanted something easy.
A Walk Down Frozen Meal Memory Lane
A random Pinterest search one day led me to one of I Love This Diet's infographics. It showed how the diet program was structured around healthy, dietitian-approved frozen meals from the supermarket. I was intrigued!
Now, I am no stranger to frozen meals. I mean, who didn't grow up eating Kid Cuisines? If you raised your hand, then you missed out!
Kid Cuisines are kid-sized frozen meals with classic staples like chicken nuggets and french fries. And they totally made my day as a kid.
In my 20s, I would enjoy the occasional Marie Callendar's or Hungry Man from the frozen food aisle and be slightly impressed with how cheap and tasty they were.
And yeah, I remember all the cute diet-y names from the other brands like Healthy Choice and Smart Ones, but like everyone else, I assumed the taste for the low-calorie options was awful.
Where did I come up with this frozen food bias? Who knows!
Regardless, I was hesitant to try out the healthy frozen meal alternatives and really wondered whether or not I could eat them long enough to lose the weight.
To sample it for myself, I tried out one of the new Lean Cuisines. I didn't think that anything coming out of the microwave would be delicious, but it was!
Lo and behold, I was delightfully surprised by how much the frozen meal game has changed.
Making the Decision, Following the Plan
So, I bit the bullet and signed up for I Love This Diet, knowing that I could enjoy eating frozen meals every day.
I Love This Diet's program was so easy! It told me how many calories I had to eat every day and gave me dozens of food lists, recipes, and online diet tools.
As long as I avoided non-approved frozen meals, I was on track. And inside tip: there are a lot of supermarket frozen meals that you must avoid!
It was clear early on that the dietitian's rules were no joke. Almost all of the supermarket frozen meal brands had a fairly substantial list of meals that I Love This Diet did not consider good for weight loss.
In general, I Love This Diet does not approve frozen meals that are high in sodium or saturated fat. They are also very strict about other nutritional categories, as well.
What I Ate Every Week on I Love This Diet
I stuck to the approved frozen meals from Lean Cuisine and pretty much bought the same things every week.
I only cooked once or twice a week and always used the I Love This Diet approved cookbooks.
Also, full disclosure: I don't eat meat. So all of the Lean Cuisines I ate were vegetarian. I can't speak about the meat-based recipes, but the varieties I ate to lose weight were tasty.
- Cheerios with almond milk OR
- Blueberry, banana, almond milk smoothie OR
- Toaster waffle & fruit
- Lean Cuisine Mushroom & Spinach Pizza OR
- Beyond Burger with Sandwich Thin and green salad OR
- Quesadilla with Salsa (I Love This Diet's Cookbook Recipe)
- Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli OR
- Tofurky Jumbo Hot Dog with Sandwich Thin OR
- Chickpea Tacos (I Love This Diet's Cookbook Recipe)
- ¼ avocado with Sandwich Thin (I ate this almost every day!)
- Sargento Balanced Breaks (cheese & nuts)
- Apple & 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- Rice cake & 1 Tbsp hummus, tomato slice, lettuce
- String cheese & cherries
My total calories clocked in at around 1250-1300 usually. But at 170 pounds, I was given a maximum of 1500 calories per day. So, if I felt hungry, I always had wiggle room.
When I dropped the first 5-10 pounds, they reduced my calorie max to 1400.
And as a female, the rule was: always eat at least 1200 calories.
Finally, Weight Loss Success
Over time, I finally reached my goal weight! I felt amazing!
In general, it averaged out to be about 1-2 pounds a week in weight loss, with a total of 30 pounds!
The first 2 weeks, I lost a lot, which I suspected to be water weight. But it stabilized after some time.
There were also rare weeks in which I didn't lose at all, but I tried my best not to freak out.
I Love This Diet worked for me because I was able to eat foods that I like every day. Even though there's a huge variety, I only stuck to select foods that I'm very particular about.
I Love This Diet was also really easy for me because I didn't have to think about what I was going to eat each day.
My menu was pretty much already laid out and as long as I went to the grocery store to replace my staples, I was able to stick with it.
It also got to the point where I didn't have to count the calories anymore. I knew what to eat every day to stay within my calorie range.
I didn't weigh myself every day, either. I found that to be too stressful. I just clocked in my progress every week or so.
My time in quarantine really forced me to take control of my health. And being 100% committed to I Love This Diet made things incredibly easy.
Why I Love This Diet Works
I think that to really be successful on I Love This Diet, you must be willing to stay consistent.
I ate the same things... Every. Single. Day! And I went shopping for the same foods every week!
I was able to eat foods I love, not worry about cooking, rarely exercised, and STILL lost weight.
So many other diet plans force you into these strict categories: no carbs, no grains, no sugar... The list of restrictions for some of these diet plans can make you feel like a failure even before you've begun.
But I experienced none of that on I Love This Diet. I felt free to eat when I was hungry and never felt locked up in a "dieting cage."
There is no diet guilt or naughty foods list, so there's no pressure to be strict on yourself. It felt very empowering to finally feel in control.
My relationship to food totally changed. I don't need large portions to feel full and I eat fruits and veggies every day. That's something I never thought would happen.
So, if you love pizza, pasta, stir-fry, panini sandwiches, and you need to lose weight, I Love This Diet is for you.
There are literally hundreds of frozen meals to choose from. Just because I stuck to Lean Cuisine, doesn't mean you have to!
I Love This Diet proves that you can lose weight without starving yourself or restricting yourself. And if you hate cooking or exercising, don't worry, you can still be successful at losing the weight!
After all, it was really more than just weight loss for me. It was about being in control of my life.
So when I reached goal, I knew that I had to share my story.
Because if I can lose the weight that I've been struggling with for years, then you can too!