Putting My Mom on a Diet: Week 15 Meal Plan and Weigh-In

Putting My Mom on a Diet: Meal Plan Week 15 #weightloss #motivation | AndieMitchell.com

For new readers, here’s a brief refresher: I’m putting my mom on a diet, here is the plan I designed for her, and here are her weekly updates: week 1week 2week 3week 4week 5week 6week 7week 8,week 9week 10week 11week 12, week 13, week 14. Welcome!

Friends, I’m so sorry this is late. I was out of town through Monday visiting my best friend in North Carolina, and have spent the days since catching up on other projects. Not fair to you, that’s for sure. Last week, to shake things up on the dinner front, Mom agreed to let me incorporate some of my old favorites. Our regular roster was getting stale, and adding in a few new-to-Mom recipes proved fun, with the exception of quinoa. I don’t know what I was thinking. That aside, next week, week 16, will mark 4 months (!) and we’ve got some progress photos to share. I can’t wait to see the side-by-sides.

Hope you’re well!




Breakfast: Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin (160)

*Andie note: Mom is on her own for breakfasts and most lunches, so when she told me at the end of the week that she “had a dry English muffin every day in the car on the way to work,” I was a little bit “huh?” about it.
“Dryyyy?” I asked her.
“Francie, I was running out the door. And I like it plain!” I guess I’ll just have to eat peanut butter for the two of us.

Lunch: 1 Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Lavash Bread (100) + 3 ounces Dietz & Watson maple-glazed ham (90) + 1 ounce Hoffman’s sliced cheddar cheese (110) + 2 teaspoons yellow mustard (10) + lettuce and tomato (15) = 325
+ 1 cup red grapes (60) = 385

Snack: 1/2 ounce walnuts (about 12 walnut halves = 100) + 1 Honey Crisp apple (100) = 200

chicken with garlic balsamic tomatoes

Dinner: 1 serving Chicken with Garlic Balsamic Tomatoes (240) + 3/4 cup brown rice cooked in chicken broth (175) + 1 cup steamed spinach (~50) =465

Dessert: Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich (150)

Total: 1360



same B, L, S as Monday (745)

cheeseburger salad with big mac dressing

Dinner: Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing (445)

same dessert as Monday (150)

Total: 1340



same B, L, S as Monday (745)

quick red beans and rice with andouille sausage

Dinner: 1 serving Quick Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage (500)

same dessert as Monday (150)

Total: 1395



same B, L, S as Monday (745)

cranberry quinoa salad

Dinner: 1 serving Cranberry Quinoa Salad (350) + 3 ounces grilled chicken breast (plain jane with salt and pepper = 90) + 1  1/2 cups mixed green salad (15) with 1 tablespoon Ken’s Light Honey Mustard Dressing (40) = 495

*Andie note: I wish I could say otherwise, but Mom does not dig quinoa. It’s a texture thing, she tells me. This salad, for those who are more adventurous than she, is awesome nonetheless.

same dessert as Monday (150)

Total: 1390



Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s cereal (165) + 1 banana (100) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 375

Out to lunch: Cobb Salad with 2 tablespoons light creamy Italian dressing at a local sub shop (500)

Dinner: Chinese take-out
2 chicken fingers (200) + 1/2 cup fried rice (~200) + 1/2 cup tangerine beef (~200) + 2 crab rangoon (~75 calories each = 150) + 2 tablespoons duck sauce (80) = 830

Dessert: Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich (150)

Total: 1855



Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s cereal (165) + 1 banana (100) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 375

Lunch: same as Monday (385)

Out to dinner (a party at my aunt’s house): 4 ounces chicken piccata (a cutlet about the size of her palm, as she told me = ~175) + 2/3 cup Parmesan risotto (~250) + 1 cup Caesar salad (100) = 525

Dessert at the party: sliver of chocolate cake (200) + 1 small chocolate chip cookie (100) = 300

Total: 1585



Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s cereal (165) + 1 banana (100) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 375

No lunch

Snack: 2 cups red grapes (120)

Dinner: Bunless cheeseburger (4 ounces cooked 85% lean ground beef (60 calories per ounce = 240 total) + ½ ounce Cheddar cheese (50)= 290) + 1 hot dog (160) + 2 tablespoons ketchup (40) + 1 teaspoon mustard (5) + 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (15) = 510

Dessert: Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich (150)

Total: 1155



Week 15 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 (same)

Week 12 Weight: 186 (down .4)

Week 13 Weight: 183.6 (down 2.4)

Week 14 Weight: 183.2 (down .4)

Week 15 Weight: 182 (down 1.2)

Total Pounds Lost: 28 pounds


Mom’s thoughts on progress so far:

“Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all your wonderful support and guidance, it is the reason I am still going on!   I have to say that I am really quite used to eating better in more ways than one.  I find myself stopping to think about what I am going to eat and the consequences of poor choices before I actually put anything in my mouth.  I never did this before, I just thought constantly about dieting before and after I ate my candy/cupcakes/junk food.  I always had the best intentions and would have visions of myself dressing in the most gorgeous outfit, having the perfect hairdo, with cool jewelry on, and then I would somehow go off the deep end and eat a whole bag of circus peanuts (damn, those are so good).  After I ate them, I would feel so ashamed of myself for having no willpower, and vow to start again tomorrow.  As Andrea once told me “there will always be a celebration to blow your healthy eating; sometimes you just have to sacrifice.” How right she was.  Everyday at work, someone brings in some baked good and I look at it now and think, “maybe later,” but thankfully later never comes.  I can’t tell you how glad I am at the end of the day that I didn’t eat it, because a lot of times, the food isn’t even that tasty.  I sort of like the challenge, the idea that maybe this time it is working, and I want to be in better shape.

I took out my winter clothes from two years ago and shockingly enough, all the stuff that I loved fit me.  I have to admit despite the fact that I am glad to be slimmer, I was sad that I had to give away the new pants that I had just recently bought in July to fit my overweight body.  I had found some amazing outfits back then, and now they don’t fit anymore.  I struggled with the thought that maybe I should pack them away just in case Edie eataholic shows up again and I need the larger sizes.  But no, I parted with them and told myself that I don’t want to go there again anyway.  Funny thing I still struggle with is thinking about eating even when I’m not really hungry, just a bad habit that I am sure I will eventually break.  I did attend a few parties this weekend and I did not go overboard in any way.  I made choices and still got to eat fabulous food.

I am moving a lot more easily these days, and my achy body feels so much better.  I can get up from a chair and stand up fully without my usual lower back stiffness.  I walk a lot quicker and I am not as winded as I was before.  Not being able to catch my breath when I walked just a short distance was really scary.

Thank you so much Andrea, for giving me all the chances you have given me and for not just calling it quits when I whined.  I want to keep going because the truth of the matter is that I really don’t know what I am capable of and what it will be like to be at a healthy weight again.    Thanks again everybody for just being there with me and listening to me.

Take care,



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



31 thoughts on “Putting My Mom on a Diet: Week 15 Meal Plan and Weigh-In

  1. T.

    Maryellen- Whew! I’m glad you’re still in it. You are my inspiration, seriously. Great job and thanks for blazing a path ahead. I hope to follow in your footsteps.
    Andie- that chicken w/ tomatoes looks amazing. Also the red beans & rice. Thanks for the great ideas! And no problem on having it up later than usual, it’s just usually so punctual I panicked and thought, “Maybe they quit!” :)
    You both are awesome rock stars.

  2. Anne

    OMG Maryellen!!!!! I have laughed so hard with your “Edie eataholic”!!! You are so funny and so straight forward and shoot from the hip kinda gal! I am so proud of you! I am going to start planning and paying better attention to my food as you do. Is Francie part of Andie’s full name as in Francis? Have a great week and keep up the GREAT work. Congratulations on your weight loss and your real effort.

    1. Maryellen

      No Francie is not part of Andrea’s name at all. Her name is Andrea Maria Mitchell, but her Father was Robert Francis, so for some reason I call her Francie. I grew up with my father always calling us nick names like lovies and so on and never really calling us by our real names but then I was one of nine children, maybe he couldn’t keep the names straight.


  3. Mariah Engel

    I just want to applaud you for how well you are doing. I always admire realistic weight loss plans, ones that are life style changes, not just a quick fix. You have consistently taken off a substantial amount of weight, and I think that is wonderful. Keep up the good work!

  4. connie

    I have been anxiously awaiting each week’s post and I admire you and the changes you’ve made so much.
    I am most struck and inspired, oddly enough, by the list of each week’s weights. Many times they are less than a pound. I look at them and think, “I’ve been on diets before where my weight losses looked like this.” The thing is, I would see weight losses of less than a pound for weeks in a row, then maybe a pound and a half, and I would always quit. I would think that it was just not getting me anywhere and the sacrifices were just not worth .4 pounds week after week. But you kept with it and those losses really amounted to a significant difference in a short time! You have accomplished a fantastic thing with those .4 pounds at a time! I have been a professional dieter for the last 35 years and have a 130 pound gain to show for it. I also thought about jumping on and doing this alongside of you back at week two- If I had I would be 30 pounds lighter now! Thank you so much for the example you are showing and the lesson that I am maybe finally learning from the two of you- that slow and steady and healthy and not putting your life on hold is the way to go.

  5. Ksenija @ Health Ninja

    Maryellen, you are such a rockstar! I cannot wait to see your progress pictures, I bet you look fab! Too sad you are not a fan of quinoa. I am in love with Andies quinoa salad and usually pair it with some greens for a quick and delicious office-lunch. You should probably try substituting another grain the next time. I bet it would also taste grate with barley or buckwheat!

  6. Cathryn

    Hi Maryellen – Just wanted to point out that you, and everyone, can dress themselves in a “most gorgeous outfit”, have “the perfect hairdo”, and rock some “cool jewelry” at any size or shape no matter if they ate spinach or circus peanuts. A person doesn’t have to be thin or smaller to look gorgeous. I think you are just as beautiful in your “before” photo as you are in your “after” photo.

    I am so happy to read that physically you are feeling better – moving more easily and with less stiffness. Even if you had ended up not losing any weight at all, but benefited in these ways from your healthy habits, I would call that a most awesome success.

    I feel distress when you focus negatively on your weight and body size instead of focusing on how amazing your body is and how it is responding to your new healthy habits.

    None of this is to discourage you (just the opposite in fact). You are one bad a** woman ;) Don’t disparage yourself!

    P.S. I don’t care for quinoa either! :)

  7. Crystal K

    You two are such an inspiration. I am at a loss when it comes to eating healthy. I grew up eating unhealthly and no matter how much I read and try new “diets” or trying to eat all the healthy foods that everyone posts or I read about, I always return to my old eating habits and usually end up eating more than I did before! Which equals more weight gain! It’s depressing. I ran upon your blog and was inspired so much by your story, both of you. I read through everything and looked at the weekly meal plans and they seemed so normal and uncomplicated and like stuff I would eat and not feel like I was depriving myself. I’m in week 2 now, I lost 5 lbs so far (and that’s without exercising) I felt hungry the first 2 days but not at all anymore! I can’t believe I lost any weight because the food is so good! I make the meals for my whole family and they love them. I literally get on here everyday :) thank you so much! I can’t wait for your book and cookbook to come out! I’ll be the first in line to get them! And I’ll tell all my friends too. Now I just need to find some exercises that I like and I’m on my way!

  8. LG

    This is such an interesting read – nice work on staying on course for almost 4 months!!!

    In my experience, the “thinking about food when not hungry” just doesn’t go away. Ever. :0( But I find when I eat six small, balanced meals throuought the day, it keeps my Hunger low, Energy levels high and Cravings at bay. I use this “H.E.C.” to check in with myself sometimes.

    Also! I recently made a new food rule. If I’m craving something, I can either 1) eat it WITHOUT guilt or 2) not eat it. I have removed the third option of eating and feeling super guilty and then probably eating more. This is the beginning of something beautiful. :0)

  9. Becky

    Maryellen– just so, so amazed and impressed. Oh, how I can identify with all you wrote about how you would think about dieting before and after splurges! I am sadly still stucky in that stupid habit!

    And Connie, I could have written your post! Same here, as I look at Maryellen’s weights and how it has added up, I think, “I should have started when she started!” Because I remember at the time thinking, “Oh, this is so great, I can follow right along.” But then I didn’t. : (

    No time like the present, I suppose! Thanks again for the inspiration.

  10. Mary W

    Maryellen- Tailor, tailor, tailor!! A good tailor is worth every penny. All of the pants and clothes that you just bought and love could’ve been taken to the tailor and made to fit you perfectly!! Just keep it in mind for ALL your clothes – both for now and in the future!
    Keep up the great work! I love seeing the progress. A few years ago I lost about 30 pounds by working out 6 days a week in preparation for my wedding. I am working hard to get back to that after having two kids. It’s such a struggle! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  11. jeannine

    I’ve tried so many times to like Quinoa, it looks like hair or something to me. My sister is allergic to it. Congrats, you are so inspirational!!

  12. Elgpa


    If anyone reading is disappointed because you didn’t update sooner, they need to get a life! I love reading your updates, but like everyone who is contributing to society by working and living, we all get busy and can’t always produce the same level of output all the time.

    Put yourself first, Andie, and don’t apologize for doing what you have to do in your offline life. That’s how you’ll stay healthy and sane.

    Mama Andie: Two things. 1) You’re kicking ass – congratulations! 2) The only way you will keep the weight off is if you take the weight off your mind. Read that again. I don’t mean distract yourself. I refer to learning how to recognize the weight for what it is beyond just overeating/inactivity i.e., for most women the weight/eating is a result of all the other things in our lives we aren’t giving ourselves (time to do NOTHING, time to meaningfully connect with ourselves/loved ones, etc.) and then turned to food to try to alleviate the stress of not nurturing ourselves in those other ways.

    I have struggled with emotionally triggered eating issues my whole life, and the one thing that works is feeling good in other ways that aren’t food related. I have also educated myself about the root of emotional eating and out of control eating. Read Martha Beck’s Four-Day Win. It’s an excellent place to start.

    Keep up the amazing work!

  13. Lisa

    Mary Ellen,
    You are such an inspiration to me!! You and your daughter’s relationship sounds so much like mine and my daughter. She is a dietitian and is constantly trying to help me make better food decisions. I have never been a big eater, but I do some of the same things you used to do, like grabbing a sweet instead of eating a real lunch etc. What I am interested in is knowing what you drink while on this weight loss adventure. With so much negativity about diet drinks, and myself being slightly addicted to Coke Zero was just wondering what you have as a beverage.Continued Good wishes to you!!

  14. Nick

    Wow, the Chicken with Garlic Balsamic Tomatoes looks delicious! It’s really inspiring to see Mary Ellen’s progress. I’ve been following this for a while and it’s just motivating to see the changes. Great work!

  15. Albert

    Wow! I cross my fingers, Maryellen! Do you involve some physical training? Maybe walking for some distance? These two things, right food and physical activity need to be done together. Great pictures! The most I liked Cranberry Quinoa Salad and Quick Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage. In the last, do you use the whole rice? It seems so. Thanks.

  16. Donna

    We’re still following along, watching Maryellen’s progress, and pressing on with our own changes to healthy eating, happy exercising, and a balanced lifestyle. The comments on this blog are a wonderful support group. Andie, Thanks for the new recipes – will try them this week! Maryellen, You are honest and true. Your hard work to make these changes is paying off, and we are always on your side – no matter your size. Thank you.

  17. Teri

    You are making awesome progress! I can’t wait to see new photos. I’m going to follow the meal plan for myself. Everything looks so tasty!

  18. Debi

    I love and appreciate these posts! I am just a little older than you, MaryEllen and have longed to lose weight but could never seem to find a reasonable way of doing it. Thanks you, Andie, for the delicious recipes…for taking the time and effort to generously share. And thank you, MaryEllen, for showing us that it CAN be done!

  19. Jane

    You are doing so well, and what an exceptionally wonderful daughter you have! She’s true a gem. You know, I often remind myself of something that Andie said in this blog (which I have been visiting now for years and have always loved): “Eat in a way that you can be proud of. Always.” It’s the simplest and best advice, and it’s become for me a little mantra I try to remember everyday. Keep up the great work! You and Andie have much to be proud of.

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