Lean Cuisine, Deep Dish (Craveables) Spinach and Mushroom Pizza — Diet Food Review

Trying to preserve more of my calories for dinner today, as I feel like I’m going to have an almost ravenous hunger spike today.  For lunch, I chose one of the lower calorie items from my freezer: Deep Dish Spinach and Mushroom Pizza.

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Look, Mom. I did my own photography today. 

I thought today, instead of the messy rambling I did last time, that I would set this review up into categories.  Maybe that will help break up the terrifying wall of text and you’ll be less scared about reading about my mouth’s emotions.  We’ll see; let me know your thoughts.

Visuals

Once again, Lean Cuisine has done a pretty damn good job at making the food actually look like the picture on the box.  This looks like real food and I don’t worry too much about how many machine bowels it’s passed through before ending up in my mouth.  It doesn’t look like it was squeezed out of a test tube — that’s a success!

Taste

I feel like this really needed some love in the spices department.  The flavor was extremely mild.  Sure, it’s a vegetarian dish, and spinach and mushrooms have very mild flavors to begin with, but even the sauce lacked a punch.  It wasn’t bad, but if the sauce had instead been mixed with a fuckload of garlic and cayenne (I like foods that make my breath so stinky that no one will ever consider kissing me for the rest of my life).  If you like foods that are easy on the stomach and don’t taste like much more than a mild cheese, you’ll probably like this.  Me, though?  I like to eat things that don’t taste like nothing.

Texture

This pizza did a lot better in the crust department than the flatbread from last night did.  While the crust on the bottom was a bit squishier (likely due to having moisture cooked in from being covered in a heavy amount of sauce), the edge crust surprisingly had a little bit of a crispness to it.  The edges are pretty similar in texture to a pizza dough you might make at home.

Portions

The pizza took up the majority of my dinner plate, so it’s pretty large. It’s not all that thick despite being deep dish, but it was pretty filling anyway.  I had it on it’s own for lunch around noon and didn’t feel hungry again until 6:30 or so.

Calories

This weighs in at 350 calories, which isn’t bad. You could have some veggies on the side to round it off closer to 400, which is apparently the recommended meal size.  By recommended, I mean dogshit.  Do you know how many times I’ve eaten a 400 calorie meal?  Like twice.  I think one of those times when I was still breastfeeding.

TL;DR Section for you nerds who want to read a blog without actually reading a blog:

PROS

  • Cooks surprisingly well for bread in a microwave
  • Low calorie
  • Pretty filling

CONS

  • Tastes like virtually nothing

FINAL RATING… 5/10

I didn’t have a thrilling experience, but it wasn’t painful.  It was just meh.  I would probably eat this again because I’m a fat fuck.

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What They Don’t Tell You About Weight Loss, Realization #1

Nobody gives a shit about your weight.

I’ve been heavy my whole life, so I’m very accustomed to the idea that everyone is constantly judging you quietly and the main thought at the forefront of their mind while talking to you is, “Damn, how long do I have to keep looking at this cow?”  While I’m sure that’s true for some, those likely aren’t the people you’re associating with regularly. If they are, please, ditch them for something more enjoyable.  You’re better than that.  

When I started losing weight one month ago, I was (okay, still am) very excited to proudly announce every pound less of me there was.  I’d tell my boyfriend, my mom, my grandparents, Twitter, Instagram, that cute old lady at the supermarket.  Fuck, I’d tell people I didn’t even know because to me, it was a huge deal.  Losing weight consumes the very center of your life and thoughts.  Every pound is a victory and deserves to be celebrated.  Unfortunately, you need to be happy with the idea of celebrating alone.

Don your party hat, bucko.  Toot toot.

The first couple pounds, my family was pretty supportive.  “Good job!” and a gradual slow in offering me sweets.  After about 5 pounds or so, their enthusiasm started to dwindle.  This morning, at 9 pounds, they honestly seemed like they couldn’t care less.  I guess that’s because they couldn’t.  My weight doesn’t affect them.  My health does not benefit or hinder their existence.  They probably aren’t thinking about how dedicated I am throughout the day.  It’s a sad truth, but people usually don’t care much about other people.  The only person who has to this day maintained a consistent amount of encouragement towards me is my partner, and I am extremely fortunate to have someone who engages in my feelings thoroughly.  When I struggle, he does too, and he has absolutely been my cheerleader through this journey thus far.  Sadly, I am an exception and not the norm.  Odds are, you probably won’t have the huge support system you were hoping for (and maybe expecting) when you began your journey.  It’s so important to be losing weight for yourself and not someone else because of this.  If you truly want something, you can be your own support system.

 

TD;DR Section for you nerds who want to read a blog without actually reading a blog:

  • Your friends and family don’t give a rats ass about your quinoa.
  • Be your own best friend, because no one else wants to.

Lean Cuisine, Chicken Ranch Club Flatbread Melt — Diet Food Review

Looking at the freezer that I’ve stocked to the brim with various boxes of “health” branded mystery meals, I happened upon the idea to start writing reviews of the ones that I try in an attempt to add a little more interest to the process of trying to fool my previously food-addicted palate into submitting (quietly) to the low-calorie lifestyle I’ve adopted.  For those who are unfamiliar with my approach to shedding pounds, I haven’t really changed much. I eat what I want, but I keep a scale and a calorie count at hand at all times.  I do my best to cook myself great meals, but the biggest thing that has yet to change about me is this:

I’m really fucking lazy.

Okay, not lazy in general, but when it comes to food? You mean to tell me I have to take the time to make food every day? Cue the diet ready-meals.

In my experience, anything that says “healthy” or “diet” on it that isn’t a fresh piece of produce sucks.  A diet piece of cake cannot exist in a way that’s going to satisfy my confectionary lust in the way I so desperately need.  What’s worse is health nuts trying to pass off bird food as an appropriate replacement for other, more delicious foods.  If you try and tell your brain that a squash tastes exactly like spaghetti, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Learn to appreciate healthier options for what they are, and you’ll have a great time.

Chicken Ranch Club Flatbread Melt

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This idea didn’t occur to me until the thing was half eaten, so I borrowed a picture from Lean Cuisine’s website.  I’m sure they won’t mind, seeing as I don’t get paid for this shit.  

The first thing worth mentioning about this is that I surprisingly didn’t fall victim to the classic marketing technique where the picture on the box is 8 quintillion times more attractive than the real thing.  That picture up there is actually exactly what it looks like, in other words; pretty fucking nice.  It looks more like it came off a panini press or my oven than my microwave.

The bread is a little thicker than the flatbread I’ve had in the past, and it’s got some kind of garlic/herb crusting on the outside which I thought added a much-needed touch of flavor and color.  Unfortunately, as expected, the bread did end up kind of spongey from being in the microwave.  Have you ever made eggs and toast and had the toast be done way before your eggs, so you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds just before eating them so the butter melts? No? Well, it’s like that. Kind of soggy and soft.  It wasn’t terrible, but if you have the time to pop this in the oven for a few minutes instead, I think it would turn out way better.

The description says the filling is a mixture of “white meat chicken, tomato, bacon, and a ranch sauce”. There’s also some kind of cheese in there, but I guess Lean Cuisine decided it got to be the third wheel in this sandwich relationship and wasn’t worth introducing up front.  There’s not much to be said about the chicken.  It’s seemingly grilled and lightly seasoned — a little too lightly for my tastes, but there’s enough else in the sandwich to make up for the lack of spices.  I only encountered a single tiny piece of bacon in the entire sandwich. Luckily, it was on my last bite, so I got to remember it fondly in aftertaste. The sauce didn’t taste very much like ranch dressing to me, but it wasn’t bad.  Very creamy. The flatbread melt didn’t really taste like something I’d consider “diet”. It tasted pretty close to actual food that I’d make at home. Even better, it was actually filling and took up half my plate! It was big for a frozen meal.

Overall, this was one of the better frozen ready meals I’ve had. My only real complaint, again, is with the bread texture, which can probably be fixed by baking it instead.  I still have to dock points for it though, because if you’re marketing a food as microwavable, the result should be just as good microwaved as it would be baked in an oven.

TL;DR Section for you nerds who want to read a blog without actually reading a blog:

PROS

  • Surprisingly large in size + filling; acceptable as a meal
  • Cheese!
  • Tastes like actual food and not food for birds
  • Low in calories (370)

CONS

  • Bread gets spongey in the microwave
  • Singular lonely bacon seeks attractive, tan, greased up, bacon lover
  • High in carbs, if that’s something you care about — I don’t (52g)

FINAL RATING… 8/10

Weight Loss: Week 1 Reflection

One week ago, (9/29/2016) I got on the scale and about shat my pants — which are beginning to get alarmingly tight, might I add.

262? Really?

Yeah. Really. No good. Not for me, with my super teeny 5-foot-2-inch frame. Not good for anyone, except maybe titan-sized body builders. I’m sure they could probably get away with it….

I remember being about 15, (I’m 20 now) sitting at about 185 pounds, losing my mind over the impending doom of that little one turning into a two. To me, in that moment, hitting 200 was the end of the world.  I even had some – less than serious – thoughts that if I hit 200, that was it.

Bang.

Dead.

Mid-teens me was absolutely terrified of pushing the barrier from “pretty chunky” to “fat as fuck”. There was nothing in the world that could possibly happen to me that would be worse than that. 185 isn’t healthy for someone of my stature by any means, but the weight that little one at the front of the scale reading is incredible. 199 feels so much smaller than 200. I ended up starving myself and surviving almost exclusively on diet green tea (because antioxidants and fad dieting!) and vegetables for two weeks (not to mention slamming the gym twice a day until I passed out) until I inevitably burned out from the totally unrealistic lifestyle I was trying to force myself into.

Fast forward to last year.  I knew I was at least 200 pounds, but I avoided going to the doctor like the plague because I was an adult and responsible for my own medical bills, so I didn’t know my exact weight. I noticed my clothes didn’t fit quite right, but I chalked it down to shrinkage. Shrinkage, right.  I was working a really shitty retail job that paid me in middle fingers, and started noticing tons of pain in my ankles. While I won’t divulge too deeply, as it’s a sob-story for another post, it ended up losing me my job (something I am not-so-secretly overjoyed about) and landed me in surgery.

Fun thing about surgery; you actually have to see a doctor. And do you know what doctors have? Scales. It was at this point I became aware of how much weight I had put on. I believe at the date of my surgery (July 15th, 2015), I was roughly 250. The funny thing is that it didn’t even phase me. I didn’t care.

The prior year had been spent cramming spiritual self-love mumbo-jumbo down my own throat.  It worked, which, in retrospect, is not such a bad thing. I was at a point where I had learned to dress for my size and flatter my shape, and learned to love myself regardless of how I looked. I got really into plus-size fashion, and debated starting a fashion blog; a plan, which, obviously, never came to fruition. I was happy with myself. I didn’t feel ashamed when I went outside with shorts, because fuck you, it’s 98 degrees and my comfort is more important than your disgust in seeing my cellulite.

I think it’s extremely important to be okay with yourself as a person before engaging in making any serious personal changes, weight loss or otherwise. It’s crucial to be able to take successes and failures gracefully and not let them ruin your drive for getting what you want. If you love yourself fat, you’ll still love yourself if you have slip ups — which you will have. For me, personally, trying to lose weight because I felt fat and ugly never worked out. When I thought I was fat and ugly, even if I lost weight, I still felt fat and ugly.  I became much less perceptive of changes, and focused solely on how intensely I could hate myself and punish my body for something I did to it. I did this, not my body. My stomach did nothing wrong, I failed to take care of it. Our bodies are innocent.

It has been one week since I began my official weight loss journey, and this week has been filled with joy and successes, compromises and slip-ups. Despite fucking up a time or two, I am pleased to say a few things:

  1. I logged my calories every single day without fail, and did not “cheat” or lie once.
  2. I remained under my limit by 100-300 calories each day.
  3. I burned 968 calories yesterday without trying — cleaning is your friend, let it count as exercise.
  4. And, most importantly, I weighed in at 259.0 pounds this morning; a three pound loss.

I began noticing yesterday that eating less has provided me with so much energy and life. Typically, I’m extremely lethargic from the time I wake up until I go to bed. The littlest things will exhaust me. Getting out of bed is a chore; I’ll wake up at 11:00 am and lay in bed for an hour before I feel awake enough to get up. As of four days ago, despite not changing the time I go to bed, I have woken up naturally with no alarm at 8:30-9:00 am and been fully energized upon waking. I have had the energy to clean my entire house top to bottom, and dance while doing so.

I have smiled more this week than I ever have before.