Diet diary #4: calories in < calories out. Simple right? Not so fast. Recipe.

Day 112, -46 pounds, feeling good.

Mini muffin cup baked turkey burgers, 68 calories and 8 grams of protein each

Evidently, the mental game of making helpful choices is always going to be most of the battle. Yes, the calorie count has to come out right at the end of the day. But that’s actually the easy part. Getting there has not been a single straight path since the first few weeks.

Figuring it out a little at a time:

  1. Rules are meant to be broken, but not very often. The metabolism restart meal (“cheat meal”) has been essential twice so far, but it can be tempting to throw one in when it isn’t needed. Potential pitfall.
  2. Wandering into the kitchen to forage when I’m not hungry is a sign something emotional is going on. Like it or not, time to figure out what’s wrong.
  3. Language counts. Turns out, the name “Cheat Meal” metabolism restart carries a negative, not a fun, connotation for me. I’m thinking of those as Course Corrections instead. And, when circumstances call for an occasional treat outside of the goal macros, if it can be incorporated into a successful calorie count for the day, it is an “Exception,” not a cheat. Positive, intentional thinking.
  4. Waking up knowing that yesterday was successful is better than going to bed after a delicious tray of oatmeal-raisin-pecan cookies (!) That thought has carried me through the former evening munchies many times because it’s easier to continue success than correct a mistake. And, more importantly, the number on the scale often holds steady for several days now; if I know I’m following the plan, I can be confident the results are coming. It’s reassuring to “trust the system,” as Christopher says.
  5. The discoveries aren’t always completely fun, but it’s worth it. I’m seeing fine lines on my face for the first time. And it appears that one of the delicious protein powders I thought was such a great meal hack causes skin breakouts. So, getting 30 grams of low-calorie protein for breakfast has become more difficult, and that yummy vanilla shake in the evening is OUT. But overall, this is completely worth the work. It is already so much easier to live, move, and wear my old wardrobe.

If you’re on this journey too, stay with it and make needed changes along the way.


Here’s an easy recipe for turkey burgers that can be prepared ahead and portioned for specific meal calorie/protein goals.

Out of the freezer, warmed up, and ready for breakfast.

Baked Turkey Burgers

40 ounces 93% lean ground turkey

150 grams diced celery

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

122 grams diced onion

Seasonings: rosemary, Adobo, smoky paprika, whatever sounds good to you

(Don’t worry about these proportions. I just used what I had on hand, entered the ingredients in the app, and let My Fitness Pal do the work for me.) Stir all ingredients together and portion into mini muffin cups. I do use the food scale for uniformity. Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through (check at 20 minutes.) Either freeze in serving portions or quick freeze separately on a cookie sheet and store in a zip-top bag.

This recipe makes 27 individual mini burgers, each with about 68 calories, 3.6 grams fat, .4 grams net carbs, and 8 grams protein (according to the My Fitness Pal recipe creator.) A main course full serving for me is 3.

A typical breakfast here is 2 or 3 of these little burgers, 40-50 grams of low-fat cottage cheese, and 4 or 5 cherry tomatoes.

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