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Keys To My Successful Diet

Updated on August 4, 2023
Link has list of smoothies with calorie and nutrition values.
Link has list of smoothies with calorie and nutrition values. | Source

New Year, New Diet by Mary McShane

Published January 6, 2014 by Mary McShane

As we enter another new year, people who have weight issues or just want to tone down and firm up always seem to be reading diet articles on websites and in magazines. But do they ever finish a diet plan that they start?

This diet is compiled from my own research. I started this diet right after Thanksgiving, going on five weeks now. I have averaged nearly three pounds weight loss per week, a total of 16 pounds. I have about 8 more to go and then I will continue a modification of this diet to maintain. I think the most important part of this plan is scheduling eating times and portion control.

This one is so easy even a life long diet protester can do it.

Medical Disclaimer: The information and reference guides in this article are intended solely for the general information for the reader. This article is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care. Please consult a licensed and qualified health professional before starting any new diet plan.

Now that the legal part is taken care of, please read this article all the way through or print it out for reference. You will be required to make one trip to the supermarket per "week", to do 30 minutes of meal planning per "week" and to do 30 minutes of non-labor intensive exercise per "day."

Sound good? Good. Here's what you need to do.

The goal weight loss of this diet is approximately 2 pounds per week

How much total weight do you want to lose by the end of 4 weeks?

See results

Weigh Schedule

Since most people approach Monday mornings with less enthusiasm than the rest of the week, Monday mornings is a great day to "Weigh In" on the scale. As you see some weight loss on this diet, perhaps Mondays can stop getting a bad rap.

Weigh yourself in the same manner each week, with or without clothing, using the same scale on the same vinyl tile floor each time. Do not place scale on carpet or ceramic tile.

If you weigh yourself more than once a week, you will probably not stick to this diet. Body weight usually fluctuates for everyone at different times of the day and the week because of constipation, retaining fluid, hormonal changes, earth's atmospheric temperature, humidity, and stress.

Write your weight on a POST IT note with the day's date and tack it to the refrigerator. This will be your reminder all week what you weighed on Monday. For each subsequent Monday, scotch tape the new POST IT note on top of the old one and leave it on the refrigerator. At the end of 4 weeks, you will have your beginning weight and your ending weight to see your overall results.

Weigh ONLY once a week, on Monday, in the morning (or because of work schedules -whatever passes for morning in your world) within 5 minutes of getting out of bed, after your morning urination, and before eating or drinking anything.

Calories, Sugar, Fat & Sodium

Calories: Limited to 2000 calories per day. Each 500 calories you cut from your diet equals one pound of weight loss per week. This takes into consideration that moderate exercise will burn about 1500 to 2000 calories per day for women and about 2200 to 2800 calories per day for men.

Calories from Fat Per Day: Total fat 65 grams, Saturated fat 20 grams or less

Sodium: Limited to 1500 mg. per day. Every 400 mg equals two pounds water retention weight. Diets high in sodium put you at risk for high blood pressure, so 1500 mg per day is moderate, compared to other diets. Water will flush out the excess salt, and any excess fluid will go with the salt. While salt has no effect on weight gain, it is when products try to reduce caloric values that we see a higher sodium content in the product. (Low fat/no fat = higher sodium/salt)

Buying foods in their natural state, canned in water, or flash frozen is best because there are no preservatives, sugar or salt added. Prepare your foods with the least amount of added fat ingredients. There is no limit on spices or herbs (no calories).

While sugar free and artificial sweeteners are necessary for diabetics, these products are not ideal when trying to lose weight because they leave you craving for real sugar.

This diet uses Real Cane Sugar, no substitutes.

In order for this diet to succeed, limit yourself to 2 Tablespoons of Real Cane Sugar (or products made from Real Cane Sugar - example Stevia, Truvia) per day.

Try not to use artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes or anything that says reduced calorie, reduced fat or fat free.

Skipping Snacks or Meals

Even if you are not hungry, do not skip snacks or meals. Eat something. The object is to keep food in your stomach consistently throughout the day. Never go more than four hours without eating. If your last meal will be later than two hours before you go to sleep, eat a smaller sized meal.

Eating Schedule

Spread 2,000 calories over the following:

Upon waking: drink 8 ounces of plain water (bottled or filtered, but not tap water)

Eat Breakfast: within one half hour of waking (example: 8AM and about 350-400 calories) Link to low calorie breakfast choices. Try to get the most fiber in this meal.

Eat Mid-morning snack 1: one hour and 30 minutes after breakfast (example: 9:30AM and about 200 calories)

Eat Mid-morning snack 2: one hour and 30 minutes after mid-morning snack 1 (example: 11AM and about 150 calories)

Eat Lunch: one hour after mid-morning snack 2 (example: 12Noon and about 300 calories)

Eat Mid-Afternoon snack 1: one hour and 30 minutes after lunch (example: 1:30PM and about 150 calories)

Eat Mid-Afternoon snack 2: one hour and 30 minutes after mid-afternoon snack 1 (example: 3PM and about 150 calories)

Eat Dinner: two hours after mid-afternoon snack 2 (example: 5PM - try to shoot for before 6PM about 400- 450 calories) Link to low calorie dinner recipes.

Eat Last snack of day: two hours before going to sleep (example: 8PM - no later than 9PM about 200 calories)

Drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of plain water 15 to 30 minutes before each food schedule, including snacks.

If you eat more calories at any one meal, cut down at the next meal, or spread the loss over the next two meals, but don't skimp on the snacks. You need the calories in the snacks to get you through the day to the next full meal.

High protein low fat foods, easy to make

Milk, Coffee, Tea, Juice, Lemonade, Lemon Water & Smoothies


Unlimited. Best to drink either filtered water or bottled water. Must drink one cup (8 ounces) water before each meal and snack.


One gallon of either Skim milk, Reduced Fat Milk, or you can choose Almond or Soy Milk = 1 week. This will also count toward the milk you add to your coffee, use to scramble your eggs and add to any other recipes.


One cup regular unflavored coffee per day, with one to two teaspoons sugar and two to four tablespoons 2% milk, if desired. No designer coffees or flavored creamers.

Tea - in addition to regular water intake. No additives except for a teaspoon of sugar and lemon if desired. No limit on hot tea. See below for ice tea.

Green tea, unsweetened regular tea, chamomile tea, lemon tea, raspberry tea. One teaspoon sugar is fine to add to hot tea.

Lemon water - 1 gallon = 1 week

Per serving: 8 ounces filtered water with one tablespoon of Real Lemon bottled juice or one wedge of lemon. Add a half teaspoon of sugar and ice, stir well. I usually don't use any sugarin my Lemon Water, but when I make Lemonade, I add sugar because there is more lemon in it. Warning: Lemon water acts as a physic so that you will move your bowels within four to six hours of drinking an 8 ounce serving. It cleanses your body systems, especially detoxifying the liver.

I usually make a gallon Lemon Water per week this way. I microwave two cups of water to boiling, remove from microwave and let sit for 15 seconds. Then add one cup of real cane sugar and let it sit to become a syrup (about 30 mins). I fill up a gallon container (usually use a thoroughly washed milk jug) with three and a half quarts filtered water and add One Half (1/2) cup of Real Lemon bottled juice. After 30 minutes, I add the syrup that I set aside to the filtered water and top it off with more filtered water to fill the jug. Refrigerate 4 hours and it lasts me for a week. If you want it more lemony like Lemonade, increase Real Lemon bottled juice to one and one half cups, or use the juice of six squeezed lemons. Lemons are acidic and keep good flora in stomach and intestines. You will move your bowels every day that you drink it.

Homemade Ice Tea (Sweetened with sugar) 1 gallon = 1 week

I make ice tea like this: I boil three and a half quarts of filtered water and add 8 tea bags, let steep for 20 minutes. I make the syrup as I do for Lemon Water and after 30 minutes I add it to the brewed tea, topping it off with filtered water. I add one Tablespoon Real Lemon bottled juice or half a sliced lemon. Refrigerate 4 hours and I have a gallon of ice tea for a week.

Juices - 64 ounces = 1 week

I buy bottled all natural juices in the 64 ounce bottle, with no sugar added. One 64 ounce bottle lasts one week. When I get ready to drink it, I usually cut each 8 ounce serving with at least 3 ounces of water because the 100% juice causes me some intestinal distress.

Smoothies - Best food of the day!

Limit one smoothie per day. I like to drink mine as my mid afternoon or evening snack. See link at right for links to lots of sites for more smoothie recipes.

Protein milk shakes - 10 ounces = 1 serving. Limit two per day

Invest in a container or two of protein powder. (click link: it explains types of protein powders). Protein digests slower and keeps you from getting hungry, keeping your blood sugar level for a longer period. I prefer to use milk instead of juice or water to mix my smoothies. I buy one 5 pound container of vanilla and one of chocolate every 4 to 6 weeks. 1 scoop in 10 ounces of low fat milk is about 250 calories and I can get 40 servings from each 5 pound container. I like Supplement Warehouse because they price match any other website if you find the same product cheaper, plus give you 5% more off the price. One 5 pound container costs about $25. I buy two or more at a time with a promo code (google supplement warehouse promo codes; I wasn't allowed to put the link here for you to click) to get buy 1 get 1 free on certain items, free shipping or ten percent more off the order. Shop around. If you are unsure about whether you will like the taste or not, buy a small container at GNC or Walmart to give it a trial. Try to stay with one flavor not mixed flavors to make sure you'll like it. If they offer pre-made, read the label well.

I found that the plain chocolate tastes best because manufacturers can't screw up chocolate too badly. The ones that have kiwi or mixed flavors always taste a little "off" to me. So I stick with one flavor formulas - vanilla bean, chocolate lovers but I don't care for chocolate malt; others do.

I tried to put a lot of links in this article to make navigation easier and HP flagged me for including more than two links to any one website. So the "one flavor" link in previous paragraph will show you a sample of nutritional labels and, once you get there, click around to get an idea of prices.

How To Shop In The Supermarket

Always shop with a list. It might seem silly but you have a better chance of succeeding with a diet if you plan out the meals you will be eating over the next week and make a list.

If you regularly eat red meat (beef, liver, etc.), this diet only includes a small amount 90/10% or 85/15% ground sirloin to be broiled or pan fried. That is the only red meat on this diet. The rest of the meals consist of certain kinds of fish, chicken and turkey. No ham, no venison, no pork.

Mostly everything that is healthy for you in a supermarket is on the outside aisles - last aisle to the left, last aisle to the right and across the back of the store. The inside aisles are usually packed with high calorie, high fat, processed foods - foods that start out in one form and end up in another form.

It is always best to shop the perimeter of the store several times per week to get the freshest foods. The freezer aisle and the inside aisles need to be approached with caution and a pair of reading glasses. Don't leave home without them.

Never go to the store Hungry. Taking a bottle of water with you is a good idea and keep taking sips of it as you shop through the store. If you don't want to drink water because of bathroom pit stops, chew sugarless gum or suck on hard candy. Start your shopping with produce, continue to meats and poultry, to dairy and frozen foods, to breads, and finish with starches and carbohydrates.

I usually recommend that food portions should be the size of your fist, however I have learned to never underestimate the luxury of having a food scale. If you do not have a small food scale, it is a good investment for your meats and fish. Instead of buying meats, fish, and poultry in small packages that are close to four to five ounce servings, you can buy larger family size packages and divide them when you get home. A small food scale will help immensely to measure portion sizes for your lunch and dinner meals. All other food portions here are in cups or ounces.

Hansen's sells all natural Soda, Juices, Teas (with real cane sugar)

Example of Hansen's all natural juices
Example of Hansen's all natural juices | Source

Soda Poll

How many 12 ounce servings of soda do you drink per week?

See results


If you drink soda (Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, any carbonated beverages, either diet or regular) on a daily or even weekly basis, you should know that soda is a weight gainer, no matter if it is sugar free or not. It is the ingredient called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in soda (and many other food products) that makes it bad for you. ALL diet carbonated soft drinks containing phenylalanine will always include this statement, “PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE,” for individuals who suffer from phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder in which the body can’t process that amino acid. If the phenylalanine level gets too high in these individuals, it can damage the brain."

That statement alone worries me for normal people.

Beginning in 1970, the sugar in our foods no longer comes from sugar beets or sugar cane. It comes from corn. When corn lobbyists converged on our politicians in Washington DC loaded with reasons why syrup made from corn would have many uses in our food supply, laws were passed that changed the way companies use ingredients that make up our food supplies. Since 1970, companies have been adding High Fructose Corn Syrup to their products.

When you consider that soda is a caustic substance that can unclog drains, remove oil stains on your driveway, remove paint from metal and defrost a frozen windshield, you should rethink putting this stuff in your body.

If you are a true Coke, Pepsi, or Sprite addict, limit yourself to two 12 ounce cans of sugar free soda per week. Read labels to determine which brand and flavor soda has the lowest sodium and sugar values.

There is one brand that advertises NO High Fructose Corn Syrup, NO preservatives, NO sodium, and NO artificial coloring. Hansen's Blue Sky line (clicking will take you to ebay link for price comparison) of soda, tea, lemonade, coconut water and juices are a little pricey but they are all natural. Here's the link to their company website to check them out.

Aero Jump Sculpt Michael Olajide Aerospace Nyc Dvd New Boxing Jump Rope Workout

Jumping or skipping rope can burn 500 to 1000 more calories than jogging or treadmill,depending on your jumping speed. You can be burning 10 calories for every minute of jumping. This PVC rope has ball bearing handles allowing for speed and ease in jumping. Comes with Ultimate Abs video.


Exercise is always more pleasant to do when you add music to the activity. It will help keep you from falling into a monotonous pattern. Vary your exercise each day to a different type. The idea is to get a good cardio workout. You can choose to:

  • walk leisurely while swinging arms
  • power walk while swinging arms,
  • swim,
  • do floor exercises,
  • follow an exercise program on TV or video
  • use exercise ball or pulleys,
  • dance,
  • jump rope,
  • march in place to music while swinging arms,
  • walk up and down your staircase,
  • walk the length of your house,
  • use a treadmill,
  • use a stair stepper, or
  • use a rowing machine
  • doing the bicycle exercise on the floor or bed

Whatever you need to do in order to get 30 minutes of exercise per day, do it.

While it is not always convenient to be outdoors or get to the gym, marching in place (swinging arms and marching to music), jumping rope or walking up and down your staircase (or the length of your house) at least 20 times with 5 minute breaks every 5 rounds are fine substitutions.

If you cannot walk, but you can stand: while in standing position, use upbeat music to do twist and turn exercises from the hips up while swinging arms or using rowing motion.

The first week, 30 minutes of exercise is recommended, with 10 minutes added each week so that you are exercising 60 minutes a day by week 4. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids before, during and after.

At the end of 4 weeks, try to maintain your achieved exercise schedule while following the diet. This article is a 4 week plan but can be optimized for up to three months.


Weekly Supermarket List

Beef, Chicken, Turkey, & Fish - 4 ounces = 1 serving. Plan out your meals for the week so you buy enough of each item. Alternate days so you don't eat the same two days in a row.

Chicken - for lunches, dinners, soups and salads - No more than 4 servings of Chicken on menu per week.

Fish - Tuna, Flounder, Cod - No more than 3 servings of Fish on menu per week.

Turkey - for lunches, dinners, soups and salads - No more than 3 servings of Turkey on menu per week.

Beef - 90%/10% or 85%/15% ground sirloin only - No more than 2 servings per week. You can make it as a burger, or added to a sauce for over pasta.

Pasta & Grains

2 cups whole grain pasta per week.

Minute Rice or Brown Rice - limit to 4 servings per week.

1 cup oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, or cold cereal (preferably any of the Chex brands or Raisin Bran)


Clear broth soups that have less than 450 mg of sodium "per serving" - READ LABELS. Progresso, Healthy Choice, Low Sodium Campbells are good choices. Limit servings to one cup. If you make homemade, use low sodium broths or homemade stock from your chicken. I use penne pasta for my noodles, Barilla White Fiber, but you can use any brand. One cup dry pasta equals two cups cooked pasta.


If you do not have a gluten allergy or wheat allergy, Premium Saltines have the lowest in calories from fat and sodium content while still tasting good. Compare:

6 original Triscuit crackers only has 120 calories, but 36 calories are from fat equaling 4 grams total fat and 180 mg sodium.

5 Ritz crackers (original) has 77 calories, but 34 calories are from fat, with 122 mg sodium.

5 regular salted Premium Saltine (original) crackers has 66 calories, 10 calories from fat, 142 mg sodium. Limit yourself to one serving of 5 crackers per week because of the salt content. Nabisco brand Saltine Crackers has 70 calories, 14 from fat and 150 mg sodium for 5 crackers.

5 Water crackers (Dare and most brands, except Excelsior which has 220mg sodium) has 60 calories, 13 from fat and 120 mg sodium. While these are a good choice, you can eat better tasting crackers to satisfy cravings for about the same calories from fat and sodium content.

Stay away from all brands of FAT FREE crackers because they are very high in sodium, as are most fat free products. If you are a Cheez-It lover, you might be interested to know that 27 crackers have 160 calories, 72 from fat (8 grams) and 250 mg sodium.

Suggestion: Premium Saltines puts out a wonderful new product called Premium Saltines Rounds with Rosemary & Olive Oil. 6 crackers equals 60 calories, 10 calories from fat, with 140 mg sodium per six cracker servings. No cholesterol, no trans fat. I highly recommend them as long as you stay with the recommended serving of 6 crackers. If you eat 3 crackers with soup it's only 30 calories. You can eat them for your snacks with peanut butter, a slice of cheese or low fat onion or vegetable dip.

Breads - Limit yourself to one or two servings per week. Read labels.

English Muffins (Thomas Original, Whole Wheat, or 100 Calorie) are all high in sodium between 210 mg and 315mg.

Bagels are high in sodium (450 mg). It is best to limit yourself to one to two per week.

Blueberry Muffins (made from mix) for 1/4 cup serving is 120 calories, 9 from fat with 200 mg sodium. Weight Watcher's brand for 1 Blueberry Muffin is 190 calories, 2.5 grams from fat, 370 mg sodium and 15 mg cholesterol.

It is a personal choice, but in an effort to keep your sodium under 450 mg per day, I'd go with the offering that has the least amount of sodium and fat from calories. The link on Weight Watchers is which is another excellent website for monitoring your calories and keeping a food activity log.

Cookies -2 Keebler Pecan Sandies Shortbread Cookies has 160 calories, 90 from fat with 105 mg sodium. However, Keelber Sandies Bites by the pouch is convenient and the calorie count isn't too bad. 1 pouch offers 80 calories, 32 from fat (3.5 grams) with 110 mg sodium. For 8 Nabisco Reduced Fat Vanilla Wafers, it has 120 calories, 18 from fat, with 110 mg sodium. For 8 Nabisco Regular Vanilla Wafers, it has 140 calories, 54 from fat with 115 mg sodium. This is one instance where Reduced Fat wins out. So you really have to read the labels for nutritional values.

Fruits & Vegetables


Again, going by the size of your fist or 1 piece of fruit = 1 serving. Lemons, limes, oranges, bananas, any berries. Limit bananas to one a day. Limit lemons to using with lemon water or on squeezed on chicken or fish.

Canned fruits should be with no sugar added. If packed in syrup, drain well and wash carefully. Stewed fruits make a nice addition to lunch and dinner menus. Add fresh fruits to plain yogurt for better nutrition. Use fruits as snacks.


Must eat two servings vegetables at dinner and at least one serving with lunch for a total of 21 servings per week. Must eat one salad per day. 2 cups chopped lettuce/greens = 1 serving (with 2 tablespoons salad dressing)

If you buy canned vegetables, either buy with no salt added or dump out liquid and rinse well. Read labels for sodium content.

No Corn. No Beets. No Sweet Potatoes.

Limit two Idaho Potatoes per week, baked with a pat of butter or boiled.

Limit four servings Rice per week (white, brown, minute or long grain)

1 cup = 1 serving for Green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, squash, kale, celery, avocado, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, zucchini, green beans, wax beans, green bell peppers, onions, asparagus.

No limit on spices or herbs. Mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup, limit yourself to 2 tablespoons per day.

Breakfast Foods

Except where noted, serving size is according to your calorie plan for the meal.

Cereals (brands as listed above) - 1 cup = 1 serving

Eggs - limited to two at a time, no more than six per week. Can be scrambled (with whites only or with yolks), hard boiled to add to salads, or poached. Here's a link to low fat cooking with eggs.

Pancakes - whole grain two pancakes = 1 serving

Oatmeal, Maypo, Buckwheat - 1 cup serving size

Breads (as listed above) - 1 slice = 1 serving, toasted with either one teaspoon butter or low salt margarine - One loaf of bread should last you one week. Read labels for best choices.

Yogurt - preferably Greek low fat or no fat yogurt - 6 ounces = 1 serving. Other brands: If buying plain, add fruits. If buying with fruit, check for concentrates and additives.

Snacks & Desserts

As noted above, you can eat fruits and vegetables, smoothies, cookies and crackers. Sometimes I eat 1 cup of oatmeal or cream of wheat as a mid afternoon snack.

You can eat protein bars that have real sugar and low sodium.

Peanut butter - 1 teaspoon on toast/bread/crackers.

American cheese slices - 1 slice = 1 serving. I like to cut up a slice of cheese and spread it on the six Premium Saltines Rosemary & Olive Oil crackers for a mid afternoon or evening snack.

Buy one five pound bag of Real Sugar and it should last you a month or more. Don't buy artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes. They will make you crave sugar more.

Desserts can be cookies, fruit, smoothies, angel food cake, and yogurt.

Here's a link for a hub on low fat snacks.


Do you think this is a diet you will be able to follow through with?

See results

I know this is a lot to take in at one sitting. It's probably best to print it out or copy and paste it into a document to put on your desktop.

Be sure to check with your physician before starting this or any diet plan.

Please give it a four week tryout. You have nothing to lose except a few pounds and an investment in nutritious foods. Stop back and let other readers know how you are doing.

Good Luck.

© Mary McShane

© 2014 Mary McShane


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