Putting My Mom on a Diet: Week 11 Meal Plan and Weigh-In

Putting My Mom on a Diet: Meal Plan Week 11 #weightloss #motivation  | AndieMitchell.com

If you’re new to the series, I’m putting my mom on a diet (because she asked me to, and I’ve lost 135 pounds myself (naturally). So here’s what you need to know: Part 1, here is the plan I designed for her, and here are her weekly updates: week 1week 2week 3week 4week 5week 6week 7week 8week 9week 10week 11week 12week 13week 14week 15week 16week 17week 18week 191 month eating on her own1 year later


This week, Mom was completely on her own. Every food choice on this meal plan was hers. She had the whole week off from work, spent a chunk of it vacationing in Maine with family, and relied solely upon her own intuition to guide her. It was both freeing and frightening at first, as you might imagine. But the self-trust that I know she will cultivate is so, so vital to her journey.

Next week there will be pictures; I promise!



Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Special K Red Berries (165) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 265

Lunch: 8 ounces fried haddock (~400) + “about 10 French fries” (200) = 600

Snack: 1 two-inch square of penuche fudge (~250)

Dinner: 1 hot dog (~180) + 2 teaspoons yellow mustard (10) + 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (20) + 1/2 cup homemade potato salad (250) = 460

Dessert: Edy’s Outshine Fruit Bar (70)

Total: 1645




Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Special K Red Berries (165) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 265

Lunch: 8 ounces broiled (breaded and buttered) haddock (~400) + 1/2 cup coleslaw (~200) = 600

Dinner: 1 1/2 cups penne pasta (300) + 1 1/2 cups homemade bolognese sauce (made by my aunt; ~300) = 600

Dessert: Edy’s Outshine Fruit Bar (70)

Total: 1535




Out to a late brunch at a diner: 1 fried egg (70 for the egg alone + ~30 to account for 1 teaspoon of oil/butter used to pan-fry it = 100) + 1 slice multigrain toast, dry (100) + 1 five-inch pancake, lightly buttered  (~200) + 2 tablespoons maple syrup (100) + “a few home fries” (? ~150) = 650

Snack on the drive home: 2 cups red grapes (120)

Dinner back at home: 4 ounce 85% lean ground beef bunless cheeseburger (240 for beef patty + 100 for cheese = 340) + 2 tablespoons ketchup (40) + 2 cups mixed salad (20) + 1 tablespoon Ken’s Light Options Balsamic Vinaigrette (30) = 430

Dessert: Skinny Cow Cookies ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream Sandwich (150)

Total: 1350




Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s (165) + 1 banana (100) + 3/4 cup 1% milk (~85) = 350

Lunch: None

*Andie note: Imagine the frown lines forming on my face. Now imagine that, every time Mom misses a meal, the grooves deepen.

Dinner: 2 grilled hot dogs (180 each = 360) + 2 teaspoons yellow mustard (10) + 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (20) + 1/2 cup Bush’s Boston Recipe baked beans (150) = 540

Dessert: Skinny Cow Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream Sandwich (150)

Total: 1040




Breakfast: Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin (160) + 1 tablespoon peanut butter (100) + 1 banana (100) = 360

Out to lunch: 1/2 of an egg salad sandwich (1 slice rye bread (100) + 1/2 cup egg salad (~250) = 350)

Snack: 1 slice bakery-bought cinnamon babka bread (200)

Dinner: 1 four-ounce breaded chicken cutlet (250) + 2 of PJ’s famous meatballs with 3/4 cup marinara sauce (320) = 570

Dessert: Skinny Cow Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream Sandwich (150)

Total: 1630




Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s (165) + 1 banana (100) + 3/4 cup 1% milk (~85) = 350

Out to lunch: 8 ounce ground beef burger (assuming 85% lean, which is fairly standard, would mean 60 calories per ounce = 480) + 1 ounce cheddar cheese (100) + 2 tablespoons ketchup (40) + 1 1/2 cups steamed baby carrots (75) = 695

Dinner: I really don’t know what she had, or where she was for that matter. If she told me, I’m blanking. Sorry, friends.




Breakfast:  1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s (165) + 3/4 cup 1% milk (~85) = 250

Out to lunch: 8 ounce ground beef bunless burger (assuming 85% lean, which is fairly standard, would mean 60 calories per ounce = 480) + 1 ounce cheddar cheese (100) + 2 tablespoons ketchup (40) + lettuce and tomato (~15) = 635

Out to dinner: 1/2 of a large Asian Chicken Salad (from a small deli/restaurant; ~350)

Dessert: 1 slice bakery-bought cinnamon babka bread (200)

Total: 1435




Week 11 Weigh-In:

Starting Weight: 210

Week 1 Weight: 201.4 (down 8.6)

Week 2 Weight: 199.4 (down 2.0)

Week 3 Weight: 199 (down 0.4)

Week 4 Weight: 196 (down 3)

Week 5 Weight: 194.4 (down 1.6)

Week 6 Weight: 193 (down 1.4)

Week 7 Weight: 192 (down 1)

Week 8 Weight: 188.8 (down 3.2)

Week 9 Weight: 187.6 (down 1.2)

Week 10 Weight: 186.4 (down 1.2)

Week 11 Weight: 186.4

Total Pounds Lost: 23.6


Maureen and Mom
 My aunt Maureen (left) and Mom in Maine


Mom’s thoughts on progress so far:

“Hello everyone,

Thank you so much again for all the wonderful comments, they really made me feel good.

What a week! I happened to be on vacation and spent most of the time with my sister, Maureen ( she is the one who knows every bakery from here to New York), my husband Paul, and brother-in-law, Mike.  We had a great time in York Beach, Maine.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time and I needed to do that and get away in the worst way.
We toured York,  Ogunquit, Wells and Kennebunkport Maine.  We had great weather–not necessarily sunny during the day and really chilly at night, but it was mild and great for sleeping.  We stayed in a scary old house right on the water and fell asleep listening to the waves crashing against the rocks.  We were right on Short Sands beach and could walk to Long Sands beach and downtown York.  Maureen and I shopped from one antique store to the next and she loves shopping as much as I do.  Maureen also loves candy as much as I do and she is a dentist no less!  I have to say we did some seriously good eating, with lots of fish and seafood (Maine is known for some of the best, and I would totally agree).  I only eat haddock, not lobster or any other seafood, so I had several haddock dinners, an awesome full brunch of pancakes, eggs, multigrain toast and some homefries.
As soon as Maureen could get out of the car, she headed right to the candy store and found the best penuche fudge ever.  I love fudge, especially penuche, and wasn’t going to have it, but I couldn’t resist.  We all went for delicious ice cream at Brown’s Ice Cream in York, but I felt guilty getting one–considering the fudge I’d already had, so I didn’t get anything, but I did advise the rest of the group to make sure they ordered the brownie sundae with all the fixins.  Even though I didn’t get one, it made me feel better to know that they were getting the loaded one.

With all this said,  I don’t really think that I did too badly considering that I made many good choices and did turn down several things that I would have gobbled up in the past.  We also walked and walked. Many times, we walked the beach in the morning and again at night.  We toured around the many towns we visited in Maine and I spent many hours walking around all the shops with Maureen.   Unfortunately I did not loose any weight this week, and I am sure without the heavy walking I did, that I would have gained some instead.  I feel bad, I should have maintained total control, but Andrea was not cooking these meals and was no where in sight to check the portions.  Also, I am getting very sad as Andrea has told me that in November she will be moving to New York and this is killing me worse than you would imagine it should.
I am trying to get as much sleep as I can now because when she moves away I won’t sleep again.  Do you think she might want me to come every weekend? Because I certainly could make myself available.  Maybe this little town is not all it’s cracked up to be and I, too, would be happier in the Big Apple!!!

Take care,


*Andie note: Mom, first, I wish you had considered sharing a sundae with someone at Brown’s Ice Cream. To think of everyone eating one, and you sitting there looking on–it hurts my spirit. We all have room for ice cream in our lives in these situations (unless we have food allergies, in which case, no). Second, the food guilt has got.to.go. It’s because I love you that I harp on you getting rid of it. Abandoning the heavy regrets that weigh on us when we feel we’ve eaten inappropriately is crucial because food guilt doesn’t serve you. In fact, it often just creates a negative cycle of restriction and overeating. And the shame that is born of that negativity is by far the worst flavor I’ve tasted. Please, please remember that this journey is about progress, not perfection.
Third, and last, you love to break news before me, huh? It’s like when my college acceptance (and rejection!) letters came in the mail when I was a senior in high school, and you would tear them open them before I got home because you couldn’t bear the anticipation. Yes, New York. It’s only 4 hours away. Remember when I moved Philadelphia in 2009? Then to Connecticut for a brief six months? And those years in Seattle? Remember how we talked twice a day, every day? God we were weird, but so, so in love. The point is we’ll make it.

Friends, I think Mom did really well this week considering the total lack of structure to her days and the vacation in Maine. I’m the type who is pretty relaxed about eating on vacation (brownie sundae!), so I find her ability to maintain her weight this week to be admirable. And the fact that she did it all on her own, while still making choices that satisfied her? Gold star.


CLICK HERE for a printable version of this week’s meal plan!



39 thoughts on “Putting My Mom on a Diet: Week 11 Meal Plan and Weigh-In

  1. Anne

    Maryellen! Take a bow!!!! You should be sooooo proud of yourself. Your selections were good and the walking was great! I was in Europe last summer on a cruise for 12 days. I ate bread three times a day WITH butter! and had gelato at least once or twice a day. We walked tons and I only gained1/4 of a pound. I was THRILLED!!!! Walking saved me! Be proud of yourself and move forward. Keep on keepin’ on!!! pat yourself on the back girlfriend!!!

  2. Paulene

    Your note (the first 2 point particularly) hit home. I wish I have read something similar to that many years ago or I wouldn’t have been suffering from the occasional “evil thoughts and deeds” (yes, I have a name for them). On another note, I’m very happy for your mom. And your notes to each other are heartwarming to read. I’m actually starting to feel very encouraged to share/force my mom to join me on eating and living healthily. If sharing doesn’t work, well then there’s always the second option. :) Anyway, I wish you both success and happiness! I look forward to more posts on this series.

  3. Theresa

    Your mom did so great this week! She made such good choices (though I agree with you, Andie, she should have split a sundae with someone). And honestly, any vacation in which you come home having not put on any weight is a success in my book!

    PS. Thank you for addressing the food guilt! Agree 100% with what you said – especially the part about progress, not perfection.

  4. Olivia

    I’m confused by how she didn’t lose any weight based on the calorie counts of her days! They seem low enough to produce a deficit…. confused!

    1. T.

      I’m confused too! It does seem like if calories is the main thing that matters she should have lost.
      I’m wondering if it was that the foods were fried and higher sodium compared to the salads and veggies so that caused water retention? OR
      Maybe the portions or calories were higher than estimated since many were restaurant meals and not as carefully portioned out?
      Does anyone else have an explanation?

      1. Lynda

        In reply to Olivia and T. – I’ve been on my weight loss journey now for several months (down 41, with more to go) and have noticed that when I eat at restaurants heavily during the week I either maintain or gain. I’ve chalked it up to the increased sodium/water retention and the fact it is difficult to really know the portion you are being served. I have also found that when I get right back to my plan the next week, if I gained weight, it comes right off. I’ve had a handful of weeks that I’ve gained or maintained that I can tie back to certain indulgences – I will say, I do not regret any one of them :) I enjoyed every bite, every drink and just keep on my journey. My ultimate goal is not to be “skinny”, but to find a balance and begin a new healthy friendship with food.

        1. T.

          Thank you Lynda–that is actually a very helpful reminder that even though I might make the best choice possible when eating out, home cooked meals are probably safer bets in terms of ingredients, preparation and portion size. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned. And thanks Cathryn for your insight as well!

      2. Cathryn

        Our bodies are complex organisms and not everyone’s body functions in exactly the same way. Despite popular opinion, it is not always as simple as “calories in/calories out” for weight loss.

  5. Silvia


    I was on vacation visiting relatives a couple of weeks ago and, while not going off the diet I certainly did indulge a bit in a more responsible way (I managed to eat slice of pie and understand that that did not mean I was bad and that I did not have to eat the whole pie bc “what the heck”). Andie’s counsel rings so true with me, too, but it’s so hard to let go of the guilt. I moved on with the best attitude and approach to “it’s the long term what I need to focus on.” I came back home and stuck to the diet for a week or so.

    Then I got tired of journaling everything I ate and took a break for a few days. I was fine on my own but after a few days I could feel myself beginning to fall completely off the wagon so I snapped back into journaling. That also meant having to fight destructive guilt and self-punishing thoughts that were just beginning to raise their destructive head. Thinking of you and Andie helped me say “stop it.” I’m glad to say it’s been four days of sensible, regulated eating; and my new “weight loss” jeans are still fitting fine. This experience also taught me about the “diet break,” what it is, it’s importance, and how to get back on track instead of wallowing in guilt and self-loathing and going off the deep food end.

    So, Maryellen, kudos to you to navigating it on your own and….on holiday!!! Also, one thing that has helped me a lot is walking. Like Andie, I try to walk 3 miles everyday (sometimes it’s 2–i do most of my errands on foot). I hate the whole “put on clothes, drive to gym, come back, wash them, change” production. I simply walk in my normal clothes (jeans/pants and T-shirt) and it is, plain and simple, the best fitness routine for me. I’ve done it all these years, even when eating way too much. But when I watch what I eat, the walking helps keep my body in check (not just calories but the bloating) and, perhaps more important, keeps my sanity.

    Andie, I also want to thank you for helping me keep extra in touch w/feelings. When I was overindulging two weeks ago it wasn’t only about the food-I also feeling really vulnerable and envious and w/low self esteem because of professional reasons. I realized this in a way I hadn’t before and it helped me ‘get it together.’ I don’t have to eat because I’m feeling bad about myself.

    Again, thanks to you two. Your honesty, bravery and experience has made me more confident and less afraid about weight loss in the last three months. I’m wearing a loose size 14 instead of a 16. I’m aiming for a loose size 12, my ideal and sensible size from years ago. But, I’m glad to be where I’m at!!


  6. Silvia

    Sorry about the back to back posts!! I have to say Andie: can’t wait for your memoir to come out and I want to wish you a wonderful move to NY! Wowsa! Good for you!

  7. Rocio

    LOL I loved the letteres between you two. I loved how she gave out the news about you moving and I love that you left it there even though it wasn’t something you had shared yet. Moms will always share things that we don’t want to share ourselves yet or ever maybe haha. Mary Ellen great job as always! I would have eaten that sunday but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…I like your prespective on food though Andie, maybe you should talk more about that…how do you balance out between yes I will have this and not feel guilty and losing the weight.

  8. Radu

    Glad to see the success!
    Looks like portion control was a big factor, yet still managed to maintain a healthy, balanced nutrition including occasional small indulgences !
    I recommend all my personal training clients to do the same, just watch what they eat and how much. Desserts and sweets should be eaten sparingly on occasion to prevents dietary fallouts.
    I made a post as well about portion control, check it out everyone :)

  9. Sinead Regan

    Your Mum did amazing while on vacation and managing to enjoy herself at the same time.

    Never truer words written about food guilt. As a recovering binge eater/serial dieter I would be racked with guilt whenver I ate something that was off plan or something I felt I didn’t deserve to the point that I would think what the heck I have failed so would revert to binge eating for days until the restrictive diet would start again. Nowadays I have learned to be easier on myself and draw a line under it

  10. Maureen

    Maryellen…..You did so terrific on vacation! You’re right that without all the walking you might have gained some weight. Exercise is the key to being able to have a little freedom in the things we eat. Bravo to you for your success not just on your vacation week, but through this whole journey you’ve been on.

  11. Hootie

    Maryellen, I read this week that exercise causes tiny tears in muscle that hold water while they repair themselves so you may very well have still lost weight without the exercise :) water weight can make a big difference. Andie is right! Let the food noise go!

    Andie, ahh why do I feel like I will miss you too though your computer will follow you everywhere? I kind of think of you as a gypsy by now. I hope you continue to find enough inspiration wherever you are to keep sharing your life and love here :)

  12. Leslie

    I just had to say that I loved reading this post. It seemed so real and genuine to me. I am definitely going to return and check out some of the recipes. I am so ready to make lifestyle changes. I tipped the scales at 511 and am not at about 480. I started my own blog at http://www.weight4baby.com

  13. Heather

    You and your mom are so, so brave and lovely.
    Thank you for being so vulnerable.
    Your mom’s weight loss blog is a true inspiration to me.

    I am sending lots of good wishes to you both.
    Also, Mary Ellen, you really look fantastic.
    I have a ferocious sweet tooth, so I feel lots of empathy for you and your love of sweets.
    At my wedding, I thought nothing of spending more on cakes (yes, I said cakes) than my dress.
    I think you are doing amazing, and I am wowed by your progress.
    You look gorgeous!

  14. Sandi

    Any vacation on which you have a good time, allow yourself a few treats, and come home weighing just what you weighed when you left is a win/win/win in my book. Isn’t that what we work for? So we can have a few special treats now and then? Whether they happen to be a coveted item of clothing, something special for your house, books (!), or a much loved food treat, that’s what we work for. Enjoy it, you earned it. Kick the guilt to the curb.

  15. Lucy

    Hi Andie and Maryellen,

    Firstly, Maryellen – congratulations. You are really going well and staying strong-willed over a holiday weekend *while on vacation*, no less, is inspiring.

    Andie, I found your site only recently and have devoured almost every post like so many peanut butter M&Ms. The way you write is just so honest and from the heart, I just wanted to thank you for it. It is helping me more than anything else I’ve found in my efforts to get healthy without sacrificing my true self.

    I know you’ll love NYC – I moved here just under four years ago and am still constantly and pleasantly surprised by it. One tip: make the first thing you sample a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate rose from Zucker Bakery on the Lower East Side; it’s a life changing event for your tastebuds. ;)

  16. Beth

    Maintaining weight loss on vacation is a huge win! Go Maryellen!

    I have a question about tracking calories/food, which is what do you do it on? Just in your head, or on paper/journal, or do you use a webapp? I’m curious what you find to be the easiest to fit into daily life.


  17. Cathryn

    Andie –

    Thank you so much for your “Andie’s Note” this week. I’ve been following along with this weight loss series and it makes me physically *cringe* everytime a moral judgement is placed on a food item or food group. Food is food. There are no “bad” foods or “good” foods. One is not a “good” or “bad” person simply for eating a particular food.

    I completely agree with you that the shame and negativity we heap upon ourselves when we start to moralize our food choices is dangerous and counter-productive to our health (both physical and emotional). So, again, thank you so much for making a point to talk about that!

  18. Haley

    I am so very impressed!! I look forward to reading your posts every week. More so than you could imagine! Andie, your notes are always so well-written and sincere. Everyone should read your wise words!

  19. Heather

    I am so unbelievably impressed with all the work you have put into this meal planning, and all the work your mom as done for herself! It really is amazing, and something she should be so proud of. I told my dad about this, which seemed to peak is interest. I’ve just sent the links to all these blog posts to him in hopes to inspire some healthier cooking & meal planning for him and my mom…truely an inspiration, Maryellen! Keep it up, you’re kicking butt!!!!

  20. Donna

    Andie your blog is on my “must-read” list. Not only do I thoroughly enjoy your genuine style, but the comments from your friends are helpful, too. I really enjoy the perspective of this group, like a circle of friends who encourage each other without judgment. I’m so excited for you and your upcoming move to NY. We’ve visited twice and my son is looking at colleges there. I am sure you will thrive wherever you go, and you clearly have a secure and solid foundation in family.

    Maryellen, you look like a million bucks! So happy for you that you are learning the balancing act of healthy eating and little indulgences.

    Thank you both for being yourselves and sharing your lives with us!

  21. Gordon@TheFatLossFactory

    Great job with the meal planning so many of us neglect the diet part of fitness, and it’s nice to see all the healthy food choices your mom has made. Also dieting on vacation is a whole different beast than when your not. Keep up the good work losing those pounds and living healthier.

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