Putting My Mom on a Diet: Week 5 Meal Plan and Weigh-In

Putting My Mom on a Diet: Meal Plan Week 5 #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

As you read through this meal plan, keep in mind that Mom was on vacation last week. Even though she was technically at home, she was rarely at home; she was out and about all day, every day, doing her favorite things. While I’m completely happy that Mom got some time for herself, you’ll just have to imagine my crazy frustration when trying to pin her down for a balanced meal. The wild swings in calorie intakes reveal our very real day-to-day struggle.



cranberry almond oatmeal

Breakfast: 1/2 cup dry old fashioned Quaker oats (150) made with 1 cup water, topped with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (14 grams = 80) + 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (70) = 300

No lunch

*Andie note: Mom was out all day and told me later that evening that she simply “lost track of time,” so she never ate. For the record, this has almost never happened to me.


Dinner: Grilled cheeseburger (5 ounces cooked 85% lean ground beef (60 calories per ounce = 300 total) + ½ ounce American cheese (50)= 350) + 1 Parker House roll (120) + 1 1/2 cups zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes (~30) sauteed with garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil (30) + 1 ear corn on the cob (~100) = 630

Dessert: 1 Hood Fudge Stix (60) + 1 Edy’s Outshine lime popsicle (70) = 130

Total: 1060

*Andie note: We must do better than 1060.




ham and cheese wrap

Brunch: Ham and Cheese Wrap
1 Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Lavash (100) + 3 ounces all-natural baked ham, thinly sliced (100) + 1 Laughing Cow Light French Onion Cheese Wedge (35) + 2 teaspoons mustard (10) + 1 cup baby spinach leaves (<5) = 250
+ 2 cups cherries (140) = 390

hot dogs and beans

Dinner: 2 all-natural all-beef hot dogs (160 per hot dog = 320) + 2 teaspoons mustard (10) + 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish (15) + 1/2 cup Bush’s baked beans (150) + 2 cups mixed green salad (30) + 2 tablespoons Ken’s Light Caesar dressing (80) + 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (35) = 640

*Andie note: Hot dogs make Mom’s day. For real.

chocolate cake

Dessert: Small slice of chocolate cake (200)

Total: 1230




cascadian farm cereal

Breakfast: 1 1/2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s (150) + 1/2 medium banana (~50) + 3/4 cup 1% milk (75) = 275

turkey wrap

Lunch: same wrap as Tuesday(250) + 2 cups red grapes (120) = 370

No dinner

Total: 645

Big-time Andie note: This day upsets me. Mom took a solo day trip to Cape Cod to do some decorating at her sister’s house. I made sure to pack her a lunch in a cooler because I know how she is when she’s in creative mode: go-go-go. I knew she’d be so wrapped up in decorating that she wouldn’t take time out for a meal unless it was prepped and ready to be eaten immediately. That worked well. What didn’t work so well was Mom’s decision to not stop for dinner. I called her and said, “Stop and get something.” She told me she wasn’t hungry at the time, but that she might just have a bite to eat when she got home. “You can have leftovers or even a bowl of cereal if you want something really quick. Just eat something.” She rushed off the phone in a decorating fluster. The next morning I asked, “Well?” And no, nothing. “I didn’t want anything,” she told me, “and it was so late by the time I got home…”
If she wasn’t hungry, that’s one thing (and to be honest, I’m not sure how that could be true), but time of day is not a good enough reason to eat so few calories.




Breakfast: 2 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s (200) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 310

corned beef sandwich

Lunch: Corned beef sandwich
2 slices Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Bread (220) + 2 ounces Dietz & Watson Corned Beef deli meat, sliced paper thin (60) + 1 Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb Cheese Wedge (35) + 1 teaspoon mustard (5) + 2 large leaves romaine lettuce and 2 thick slices of tomato (10) = 330
+ 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe (~75) = 405

haddock dinner

Dinner: 8 ounces of Butter-Crumb Baked Haddock (use this recipe and substitute haddock = 300), 1 cup sauteed peppers and onions (40 for raw vegetables + 30 for 1 teaspoon olive oil = 70) + 1 1/2 cups Parmesan roasted cauliflower (get the recipe in this post = 120) = 490 

Dessert: Hood Fudge Stix pop (70) + 1 Edy’s Outshine Lime Fruit Bar (70) = 140

Total:  1345




Breakfast: 1 3/4 cups Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch (~200) + 1 cup 1% milk (110) = 310

*Andie note: OMG, this is the organic and better-for-you version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Mom bought it for herself at the supermarket and, well, the rest is sweet, sweet history.

Out to lunch: Turkey sandwich (2 thick-cut slices turkey breast with lettuce, tomato, and mustard on a bulkie roll) = 400

Snack: Small vanilla soft serve cone at Dairy Queen (230)

Dinner: 1 cup cooked pasta (200) + ~1 1/4 cups super-duper quick & easy meat sauce (260) + 2 cups mixed salad (30) + 1 tablespoon Ken’s Light Caesar dressing (40) = 530

Make the super-quick & easy meat sauce: In a large skillet, brown 1 pound of 93% lean ground beef with 2 minced garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, add one 24-ounce jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I highly recommend Rao’s brand, which is pricey, but worth every penny). Add 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil and stir to combine. Serve immediately over the cooked pasta of your choice.

Dessert: 1 Edy’s Outshine Blueberry Fruit Bar (70)

Total: 1540




egg and toast breakfast

Breakfast: 1 egg (70) cooked in 1 teaspoon olive oil (30) + 1 slice Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Bread (110) + 1 teaspoon butter (~30) + 1 teaspoon Bonne Maman raspberry preserves (~20) + 2/3 cup strawberries (~30) + 1/2 cup blueberries (40) = 320

No lunch [Andie sigh]

Snack: 1 1/2 cups cherries (100) + 1 cup cantaloupe (50) = 150

chicken and sweet potatoes

Dinner: 5 ounces marinated and grilled barbecue chicken (150 for chicken alone + 60 for marinade/sauce= 210) + 1 1/2 cups cinnamon-dusted sweet potatoes (get the recipe in this post = 200) + 1 1/2 cups steamed Italian green beans (50) = 460

Total: 930




Much to my dismay, Mom skipped breakfast. She slept later than expected and was then rushing to get ready to go downtown to a friend’s daughter’s baby shower.

Lunch at the baby shower: dressed salad (100), sauteed green beans (75), small piece of baked haddock (200), 2 thin slices grilled steak (150), slice of cake (350) = 875

steak tips

Dinner: 5 ounces marinated and grilled steak tips (300 for steak alone since beef sirloin is 60 calories per ounce + 40 calories for marinade = 340) + 1 medium baked potato (150) + 1/2 tablespoon butter (50) + 1  1/2 cups steamed green beans (50) = 590

Total: 1465


Week 5 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)

Total Pounds Lost: 15.6


Mom’s Week 5 Thoughts:

“Hi to all my friends,

I am happy to say that I am still dieting, which for me is pretty good since I never stick with any diets.  In the past I have tried many and made it through the daytime only to come home and have Yodels or half moons from Roche Brothers grocery store (I would stop on the way home from work and pick up two–one was never enough).  Believe me when I tell you that I have not done that for the past five weeks!  I have been loving the variety that Andrea has made for me, and enjoyed the fact that now I can have some Edy’s Fruit bars or another light treat.  I really do appreciate a sweet here and there and these fit the bill and keep me from straying.

I would still have to say that grocery shopping is still rather unbearable for me as I notice that all the junk food I love is always on sale ( I am amazed at the sales they have for all my snacks).  These past two days have been trying and difficult to not want to eat up, and yet I do notice that my clothes are becoming looser and that makes me stop and re-evaluate my weaknesses.   I have such a love for red meat and Andrea thinks I eat too much of it, but I don’t really like to eat too much chicken or fish (I will only eat haddock.)  I told Andrea the other day that  I can’t believe how bad I look when I walk into a dressing room and see myself as I’m approaching the mirror down the end of the dressing room.  You feel good when you weigh yourself and see the numbers dropping and you sort of get this false sense of “I’m not that big!” Until you see yourself in a mirror from far away, and then that tune changes to, “Oh my God, why bother? I am way too far gone.”  I don’t know where Andrea got her motivation or will power, but it was not from me.  Please don’t hate me for being so frank, but I can’t believe what I see sometimes looking back at me.

With that said, there are a lot of horrible things happening in the world and my diet is so much easier than the tragedies that people are living with, so please excuse my whining!  I am a very lucky person to have Andrea’s help, fabulous meals and your friendship!!!

Thank you all, wishing you all much happiness.


P.S.  I call Andrea “Francie” because her dad’s middle name was Francis and I always loved that name, so Andrea is my little Francie.”




47 thoughts on “Putting My Mom on a Diet: Week 5 Meal Plan and Weigh-In

  1. sarah

    I just love these posts. Maryellen, I’ve often comment to Andie that i admire your relationship so much. I have a daughter (who turned 7 today) and I strive to have a wonderful relationship like yours. My girl is a lot like me and that can be frustrating….Keep up the good work. losing weight is SO hard, I’ve yet to be successful at it.

  2. Ksenija @ Health Ninja

    Your posts are so inspirational – It makes me wonder if I could help my mom to finally lose her pounds in a sustainable way – I will probably put your posts through google translator and hand them to her. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Maryellen!
    And stop skipping meals… just kiddinh ;). I truly cannot believe how people don’t get hungry – I eat 4-5 meals a day and turn into a little hunger-beast if I have to skip one of them.

  3. Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine)

    I’ve decided to stop the dieting and gymming for a while, because I was beating myself up too hard over not seeing any change. No scale for a while, and I’m just going to try to see if making healthier choices works, without the counting and the gym and the weighing. Frustrating as all hell.

    You are so strong for staying with it! You will greet that mirror with pride, and soon. You have a wonderful teacher to guide you!

  4. Mary

    Maryellen, congratulations to you for all your hard work so far! I was particularly taken by your “dressing room mirror” comments since I’ve been there myself a gazillion times. Here’s my coping mechanism – always, always remember that that mirror has one purpose, and one purpose only: to allow you to check to make sure that the hem of your skirt isn’t accidentally tucked up into your tights! It doesn’t reflect your spirit, your strength of purpose, your health, your friendships, your joys. None of it. It’s a wall that just happens to have a reflective covering. I know that it’s much easier said than done (boy, do I know), but try not to be disappointed by what you think you might see in a mirror – your family and friends truly see a beautiful woman on a mission to become healthier, and that’s all that matters! You’re doing GREAT!!!! :^)

      1. Andie Mitchell Post author

        Mary, this comment is so, so beyond wonderful. Thank you for offering such loving perspective. I love this: “It doesn’t reflect your spirit, your strength of purpose, your health, your friendships, your joys.” Amen.

  5. Michelle Christine

    Congrats on a weight loss during a vacation week!

    I too enjoy the Edy’s Outshine Fruit bars….coconut is my favorite. Andie, I am curious about your reasoning with adding in treats at this particular stage. Why not sooner? Yes, I love a sugar fix. :) In fact, I plan to pick up the cinnamon crunch cereal today when I stop at the market.

    I feel your pain about the dressing room mirror. I have often thought, Why bother? I’ll never be really small/tiny/skinny. I’ll still be medium sized at very best.” Yet, I love Mary’s response and will try to hang onto that.

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Hey Michelle Christine!

      Good question! I wanted to wait to introduce daily/routine sweets into Mom’s diet because when we started this whole thing, she was really, really dependent on desserts. She had sweets at several points in her day. A bag of candy after lunch, treats before dinner on her drive home from work, cake/ice cream before bed. I guess my goal in removing them for a bit was to restart her system, to lessen her dependence on sugar, and to move new foods into the spots where sugar once was. It was an effort to give her a few fresh weeks away from the daily hit of dessert.
      And now, after a period of reset, when she does have dessert, a small portion is more satisfying than it was before. Fruit is sweeter. A light treat is enough.
      Now, I don’t know that I’d recommend this for everyone, nor would I be able to say with 100% certainty that it’s the best way to go about handling sugar cravings, but it seems to have worked for us.

  6. Gayla

    Maryellen…your doing wonderful…If you think you were “whining” you should listen to me! Keep up the good work…and I know it is work.
    Andie (my little Francie…love it) …your pictures are great. Makes me want to stay on track…
    Thank you both…

  7. Sally

    Keep it up, Maryellen! Your discipline is very admirable! I love the Francie explanation. My Dad’s middle name is Ray, and my parents call me Rae or RaeBird all the time! Great minds think alike I guess :)

    Best of luck in week 6!

  8. Jennifer

    I have read your blog for years and it has been very helpful and inspirational on my own weight loss/fitness journey. Like you, I love good food and I am thrilled to find another person who knows that you don’t have to give up the things you love and have a balanced life.

    I feel really silly that the reason I am commenting for the first time is because I got the cinnamon cereal and it is delicious!

    I think what you are doing for your mom is wonderful. You are encouraging and helpful and I have never felt bad about myself while reading your blog, so I know that your mom feels the same way.

  9. KJ

    Hi Andie (and mama!)

    I’ve been following your blog for years now, and I’m happy to see that your mom has decided to make a healthy change…and I’m also a little jealous because I have been back on the big WW bandwagon (Weight Watchers) for about the same time as mama, I am about half her age, and I’ve barely gotten a 4 pound loss. So, this is HUGE!

    However, I, like Andie, am concerned at the “under 1,000 calories” days. I know that I would be positively falling over and a cranky cranky sourpuss if I was doing that! Your fans (perfect strangers!) are concerned about you…Please don’t do that to your body – you are doing awesome!

    Love from Long Island,


    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      KJ, thank you! Congrats on your own weight loss so far. Weight Watchers is a great plan.
      And as far as Mom goes–agreed; I’m making sure that this week is different–no undereating!

  10. Silvia

    You can read my thoughts, apparently. I quote you: “You feel good when you weigh yourself and see the numbers dropping and you sort of get this false sense of “I’m not that big!” Until you see yourself in a mirror from far away, and then that tune changes to, “Oh my God, why bother? I am way too far gone.” ”

    Just my feeling this week after dropping 3 pounds or so. I feel great to think I’ll be less enormous and then, pow, walking down the street I get a glimpse of myself and the good feeling crumbles and the self hating begins. But let’s march on together and not let the negativity get in the way. The “health” mantra, especially now that I’m in my 40s, is becoming increasingly compelling. The thought of having to inject myself with insulin makes me shudder so I figure I might as well keep walking and watching what I eat–regardless of how I look.

    Thanks to you both marvelous women for this blog!!!

  11. April

    You guys are really inspiring to me. I don’t know if my mom and I could embark on such an adventure without killing each other. Maryellen, hang in there, you are doing great! It’s hard to see gradual changes in your own body, but you can bet it’s starting to show and will keep getting better! Andie, I’m with you on the skipping meals. How does that happen? If I miss lunch or dinner, I’m cranky and shaky and unproductive. It just doesn’t happen, no matter how busy I am.

  12. Gmere

    Maryellen, I know exactly what you are saying! I’m about your age and weight and have also lost about 15 pounds in the past few weeks using Andie’s advice of “eat your vegetables.” I, too, FEEL better and thinner, but am perpetually shocked that what I SEE when I catch glimpses of myself is nothing like that thinner me. I try to remind myself that I am losing weight for my general health and to alleviate pain in my lower limbs. But still. . . why in blazes can’t you and I look as good as we feel?

  13. Tracey

    Gosh, you have the best sandwich ideas! Do you have to ask for the Dietz & Watson Corned Beef deli meat at your deli counter..or is it something already packaged in the fridge area?

  14. Emily

    Maryellen, due to a technology hiccup on my side, I haven’t read Andie’s blog in a few months. For me, that made today like Christmas — oodles of new posts!!

    I have intently read your meal plan and weigh-ins, and I have loved every single meal and description. As someone who often eats too little, it’s excellent to see how Andie gets your calories up where they need to be. Plus, the meals seem to be both beautiful, easy and delicious!

    Keep it up, ladies!

  15. Mary

    I have just caught up reading all 5 weeks and cried. I need to lose weight because of the medication I’m on and just can’t seem to stick to dieting because I see no results. I walk daily and “try” to watch what I eat. This is giving me some hope. I need someone to hold my hand and walk me through each day. Hopefully, starting the first of the month (my son’s wedding is this weekend, not a good time to start a diet :-/), I will start with Week 1 and stick to this plan. I’m not looking for the dramatic results Maryellen has had, but I’d be happy with just a couple of pounds gone at the end of 5 weeks.

  16. Suzanne

    I think that you are doing great! I too have those feelings like I am too big now so why bother. I really need to get healthy for myself and my family. I hope that I am able to follow your example soon. Andie – thanks so much for posting the menu details & recipes. I may have to try this plan!

  17. Lizzy

    Hi Andie! I just wanted to say that I love your blog! It’s so inspirational :) I’m really enjoying these posts on your mom’s diet and am curious if you’re going to do a follow-up series on teaching her how to maintain the weight she loses and not to slip back into old bad habits? That would be so great!

  18. Katie Marini

    Hi Andie (and Andie’s Mom),

    I’ve been a reader for a long time and I’ve even personally chatted with Andie via email (my maiden name is Photiadis). Back then (gosh, it must have been over 2 years ago), I was desperately trying to lose 90 pounds. I was pretty successful and ended up going from my highest weight of 240 to 145–yay =). However, I had many, many, many weeks that looked a bit like your Week 5. Skipping meals, eating under my allotted calories, and turning food deprivation into a point of pride (I have a competitive streak). Before I hit goal, there were nights when I would eat a mango for dinner and tell myself I just wasn’t hungry.

    As I saw the numbers go lower on the scale, I thought I could keep the game up forever. But I couldn’t. It really wasn’t possible for me (an overeater at heart) to become a bird-like eater, who could subsist on less than 1000 calories a day. Over time, I realized that my health was suffering as a result of my eating habits. I noticed that I was bruising really easily. And then one day, I fainted. My boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to stop the madness. And slowly I started to eat more normally. But I had no clue what “normal” was. All I knew was overeating and dieting–too absolute extremes. So, here it is, 3 years and one baby later and my weight is back up to 190. Not great…

    Anyway, long story short, next time I do this, I am going to practice MODERATION. Diets, for me at least, do not work. And because I have a competititve nature, I always end up trying to undercut my calories. I truly believe the only way to bring about lasting change is to start small. Andie, I would encourage both you and your Mom to re-evaluate this diet and make sure that it’s sustainable. Good luck!

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Katie, it’s great to hear from you! Congratulations on all of the major life events–marriage, a baby!

      I hear you and I appreciate you. Mom did get overzealous last week with her eating. Also, I have to think that since she was on vacation and not in her normal routine, it wasn’t the best showcase of her standard way of eating–the other 4 weeks seem to be a much better representation. But yes, moderation is the heart of my intentions. Always always always.

      Love to you,


  19. pat

    In terms of lifelong eating habits, one thing that is very difficult is to learn is to balance not eating when you’re not hungry (i.e., avoiding mindless eating) with not skipping meals. In some ways, the two things work at cross purposes with each other. Learning to listen to your body and not eating when not hungry is very important to long term success, but not eating regular meals can upend the entire thing because you get too hungry. It’s a process :)

    Keep up the good work, Maryellen.

  20. Lara

    Just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying this series of posts. It’s inspiring me to clean up my act, too! Way to go, Maryellen!

  21. Andrea

    Just wanted to put in a word of encouragement. Kudos for passing on those “real deal” snack sales. Those things cost you so much more in the long run. Please don’t skip meals! You have to think of your body as a machine. If you don’t keep the machine fueled up, it can’t do its job. Right now part of its job is converting some of your unwanted weight into energy. Give it some help! You are doing a great thing for yourself–we are all pulling for you!

  22. leighway

    My husband and I happened on this posting about two weeks ago and we immediately began a food diary and counting calories. We are both about your mother’s age and each are waaay overweight and sick of it! We’ve tried all the other fad diets and this, so far has been the easiest way for us. He wouldn’t consider WW, so we’re on our own. I love the access to fruits and veggies and these daily menu posts are a god send.
    MaryEllen, don’t give up. We are modeling ourselves after you…btw…I lost 4.4 lbs first week!

  23. Hannah

    I really love these posts, not only because it’s great to see Maryellen work through this journey as well as see your relationship as mother and daughter unfold, but because I struggle the way Maryellen does. I’ve never been an overeater, in the definition of the word, so much as the kind of person who skips meals due to lack of hunger then eats one meal that’s anywhere from 600-1000 calories in one sitting. Your mother’s struggle to find the desire and time to eat every meal of the day and reach a safe, healthy number of calories is the one I’ve always had when trying to eat healthy, and seeing the meals she prepares for herself as well as the ones you make for her really help me combat that. So thank you, to the both of you, for making this a series on Andie’s blog. And keep up the good work, Maryellen, we’re all rooting for you! :)

  24. Kelly Mcauley

    Well done Mary Ellen! I’ve been following your progress from the start and I’m so impressed and inspired by how amazing you’re doing.

    Although your “dressing room mirror” comment makes my heartache a little. Losing weight and becoming a healthier/more confident person is fab but I just hope you know that you’re stunning and your body was beautiful even before you lost a single pound. Maybe some of us will never be stick thin but who cares? Embrace your rockin’ bod and keep up the good work!

  25. Morgan

    Thank you so much for sharing. You’re such an inspiration Mary Ellen. I am the largest I’ve ever been at this point, and I look into the mirror and get so frustrated with myself. But then I remember when I was 10 pounds lighter and thought the same thing. I’ve learned to just wear clothes that I love myself in. You’re amazing!

  26. Nancy

    I would love to see some progress pics. Sometimes we don’t notice the changes as the pounds are dropping, and having pictures every 10 pounds or so is a nice way to look at the progress over time. Keep up the good work! I really admire this family project.

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