The Diet Diaries- Kim, the Working Mother who Struggles to Lose Weight

Yes, it’s been more than half a year, but The Diet Diaries are still a thing.  For those who are new to us, each article in this series features a reader of my blog, who keeps a food log and a diary about their eating habits for one week.  Previous entries in this series have been written by Sharon, Samantha, Tyler and Petronella.

Today’s entry features Kim Hardy, an overweight 41 year old working mother who struggles to eat well and work out consistently.

Kim Hardy


Female, 2/28/1974 (age 41), 5’5”, 208.8lb, BMI 34.6, Cholesterol: 146, BP: 117/79

Current food plan/focus:

Calorie restriction – I have set MyFitnessPal to a 2lbs pre week weight loss goal (1260 cal) and macros of Carbs 25%, Protein 45% and Fat 30%. Although I would like to build muscle, right now my focus is on fat loss.

Fitness/Health history: 40 years in a flash

I will preface this by saying, “I’ve never been thin”. I was not an obese child, but I never received the presidential fitness award either. I played varsity Lacrosse in College and weighed in at a healthy 154. An athletic, pear shape, size 8 suits me and my body just fine. After college, I attended grad-school where my focus shifted to sedentary activities and All-you- can-eat “Crabby Mondays”. As a single, professional, I had the resources, time and desire to once again get healthy, so I joined a gym and weight watchers. I made time to preplan meals and if not I hit the salad bar after the gym. Habitually, at 3:30 I left work to work on me. I focused on cardio endurance and building muscle. Classes, weights and cardio, as well as a stint with a personal trainer, left me feeling and looking great. At 33, I was confident, weighed 147-155, wore a size 8, and had some muscle definition.

Now hold on to your hat… In 2008 I got married to a man that never stops, relocated to a new job/town, and got pregnant for the first time (34). In 2009 I had my first child by C-section (35) and returned to 155lb. In 2010 I had a 2nd child by C-section and have yet to return. I have yo-yoed around 175lb since.

I told myself if I didn’t make it (fitness/weight loss) happen by age 40, it wasn’t ever going to happen. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, at age 40 I quit. Quit me and packed on 36 pounds in 16 months. My doctor called me out at a routine check-up, “What’s going on?” “You’ve always been able to handle the stresses and difficulties that come your way.” “We need to get you some help and you need to be accountable!” She also made me promise to be 10 pounds lighter by next year. So there I sat, miserably staring at a number I vowed never to see, 212 pounds.

A co-worker gave me a fit-bit, I started using “My Fitness Pal” again (son some weekends), I saw a dietician who said I make great choices and have good food knowledge, but she never saw the binges that I didn’t write down… and I was still losing weight, briefly. I asked my husband to start P90X with me. We’ve done it before and he could afford to re-chisel his muscular physique. The first week went great, the second was a bit spotty as we worked to install a pool in the evenings.

For a Type A personality, is public failure any worse private failure? I privately lie to myself in my food log, I eat “bad” food in private, and I have my fitness Pins (Pinterest) set to private. I don’t want anyone to know that I’m working to improve my health, but my fitness failures although privately planned are evident to everyone in my expanding rear end and shapeless fashion trends. I’ve been living in this lie for too damn long!

Day 1 


Last night I made my best effort to “booby-trap” proof my food. This should be a fairly efficient morning. Got my chocolate/coffee/protein shake made and actually remembered it on my way out the door. I also managed to grab my lunch and snacks (forgetting only salsa and my vitamins). At 7:30 my stomach was growling. (I’d forgotten about the shake.)

9:30 – Break Time

Despite what I find in the break room (a Cracker Jack's pusher), I have brought yogurt. I will not cave to this temptation…besides I’m not hungry. I just finished my shake 15 minutes ago.


I am so OVER running errands at lunch! I grabbed my sugar snap peas and headed out. I was just here yesterday. At least I have things for lunch when I get back to work, so I avoid the grievous mistake of impulse buying a bag of mini donuts…I did give them a second glance, but I’ve lost that battle too many times before.


Bored, always ready for break at 2:30, but it’s not until 3:00…drank 20oz H 2 O and checked e-mail.


I think I just ate because it was break time (2 hardboiled egg whites, one yolk). I was feeling tired and looking for a “pick me up.” I didn’t wait to find out if the eggs helped. I ran over to the other building and got a Diet Dr. Pepper.


Preparing dinner…this is my worst cheat time. I stand in front of the fridge doors open. I stand in front of the pantry doors open. I just want to start snacking. Everybody is in the kitchen with me and we opt for a super-fast dinner, so we can get outside. SAVED! I skip the Mac & Cheese and try to balance out my macros with deer steak, edamame, and some sunflower kernels.


I’m serving ice cream sandwiches and watermelon to the kiddos. I want one of those sandwiches. I’ve had three in a single setting before…LIE…OK four, I’ve had four. I could eat a watermelon spear, but I honestly don’t know if it is more important to eat my calories or balance my macros. Forget it! I walk away, without even licking a finger, and finish off the remaining sunflower kernels that I had put aside from dinner.


My workout partner opts to mow the lawn instead of joining me. I hit the elliptical, and chug down 40oz of water. America Ninja Warrior is on the boobtube-inspiring.


Winding down and I don’t know what to do- hovering around 1000cal. I think this is too low. I’m not hungry, but choose to eat some cottage cheese. I hope I’m not shooting myself in the foot!

This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…come on, it’s day 1. Even I can have will power of steel on day one.

total carbs 79grams, 286 calories (23%)
total protein 142g, 598 calories (48%)

total fat 42g, 361 calories (29%)

Day 2 


I left the milk out on the counter yesterday. I know, I shouldn't cry over spilt milk, but this just means another
trip to the store and food modifications. In college, I was voted “Most Likely to be Almost Organized.” It is amazing how this rings true each day of my life! I made it to work with my coffee and spiked it with sugar free chocolate creamer. That brought a smile. I knew I had a spicy egg white/flatbread/Special K thing in the freezer, so I was good to go.

9:30 – Break Time

You can almost convince yourself these whipped yogurts are desserts! I couldn’t convince my kids of that, so now I have about ten more of them to fit into my diet.


I snag milk in record time and actually get to sit down and eat my lunch. I’ve got some hunger pangs. Corn tortillas, avocado, and red pepper gets topped off with Fiesta Juan’s Artichoke Spinach Dip Mix. The dip is more like salsa and adds great taste for only 5 calories (Disregard the sabotaging lid which states, “Don’t forget the cream cheese!”). I drank lots of water to turn down the heat and snagged a Diet Dr. Pepper for later.

3:00 – Break Time

Diet Dr. Pepper and Turkey Jerky, I Love this snack. I thought the Jerky was a good choice but didn’t add it to my journal before I ate it. I think I’ve already gone carb overboard today and it may be difficult to fix. (I had to eat something as I was ordering the six pizzas for my son’s birthday party Saturday. I need to pick up a nutrition guide, so I can see how much that pizza is going to hurt…)


I ate half my dinner while I was prepping: celery with peanut butter, and cucumber. No biggie, better that than eating something else. I saved my hunk of grilled chicken to sit and eat with the family. We all drink water, but the natives are getting restless and demanding the presence of “better stuff, like noodles”. (yes, Raman)


This is ridiculous! I just spent 30 minutes online searching for a perfect protein snack to complete my day. That’s 30 minutes I will never get back! The idea of eating an egg white lacks any appeal. (I’ll have to make some egg white poppers flavored with sugar free jello…but that doesn’t help me now.) All I want is something sweet. Eat the egg and I will still want something sweet. Not even the internet can point to something that meets both criteria and happens to be in my house. It’s settled! Proteins lose, calories win. I’m having some perfect, ripe raspberries and frozen grapes. No guilt, it’s all good : ) I’m satisfied and happy.

1181 calories
127 grams (41%) carbs
99 grams (32%) protein
37 grams (27%) fat

Day 3


Smooth sailing this morning! I enjoy my chocolate/coffee/protein shake. Much better choice than HOT coffee on a hot summer morning!

9:30 – Break Time

Opened my snack drawer at work and decided to go with the wasabi and soy almonds. After all, they were on top. Great flavor, but a little salty.


I’m kind of hungry, so I break for lunch early. (One of the small joys I have is my reasonably flexible work schedule). I head to Sam’s to stock up before my company arrives tomorrow. I take my yogurt and hard boiled eggs with me. Without them for protection, it would be impossible to ward off the hotdog, soda combo for less than $1.90. The trip is a success, half the cart is full of fruits, veggies, and lean protein…the other half (not wholly successful) contains alcohol.

In an honest side note, I’m not so worried about the pizza and cake at the party Saturday. I have plans in place to handle those. It’s the alcohol. My parents have an extensive wine collection and their visits include pre dinner drinks, a wine paring with dinner, and after dinner cordials. My brother’s a great cook and drinks craft beer while we dine and visit. It’s a carb nightmare, but it is something that I don’t want to forego entirely. (They will be here six nights.)

3:00 – Break Time

Just a quick break, so I grab a few sugar snap peas. The “Veggie Lady” at school introduced these to my daughter and now, they are her favorite. We even added them to our garden and always try to have them on hand.


It’s late. I just drooled on the shake pictures at Sonic, as I got the kids dinner. I really wanted one of those shakes. A month ago, I wouldn’t have even hesitated. I am so hungry that I can’t even get all the groceries put away before I fix myself something to eat. I whip up a spinach and feta omelet (1egg + 3 whites). I offer each kid a bite and they like it. At their request, I gladly head back to the kitchen to make them each one. They don’t finish entirely, so I modify my food log and finish theirs too. -I have a slight feeling like I lost this one. I felt triumphant by giving away two bites, but I ended up eating my entire portion and then some. I let it go since I still have calories left. (I think running out of calories at the end of the day is one of my greatest fears. I’ve been in situations where I felt he only safe diet option was to go to bed.)


I still can’t erase that Sonic shake from my mind, so I get out the blender. ½ frozen banana, raspberries, vanilla protein powder, water and ice…Not bad. That did the trick. Now I can work on getting the house ready for guests. Housework counts as cardio…right?

1167 calories
85 grams (28%) carbs
120 grams (40%) protein
43 grams (32%) fat
Day 4


Late start and I have one sick kid and a house full of company flying in at noon. I eat my usual yogurt while the kids eat cereal. They each steal a bite. Right now I’m in such a rush to get things done, I don’t have time for much more.


I make a large chocolate/coffee/protein shake and we head out the door for another power shopping experience. I hate shopping! I finish my shake in the car and hope it lasts. Honestly, we were racing against the clock and didn’t have time to focus on food/hunger or anything else.


The family has arrived and we sit down for lunch together. Everybody seems to be eating something different, so I pick and choose the healthy options. Two tomatoes, low fat cottage cheese and an ounce of unsalted almond land on my plate. They seem to satisfy and I finally have a chance to enter everything in my fitness tracker. I’m not doing too bad.


My stomach growls… I’m hungry, but I’m outside working and can’t pull away. At four thirty I’m still hungry and make a plan to start dinner. I cook with my brother (He can make anything taste good : ) He cooks with wine and pours one for himself. I opt for a Bud Select. All total, including dinner, I drink three.


The pork tenderloin was SO good. I cut my pieces from the center to avoid the glaze, but I had to have one bite. It tasted fantastic, but it was a little hard to record. The green beans were canned from our garden. I ate one 2” potato (we grew that too) and the onions and orange peppers (grew them three) were seasoned and reduced in white wine. Everything was good, and for me, everything tastes better when someone else cooks it. (We often make it a game to have as many things from our garden as possible in each meal. It makes us proud.)

That was it for me. The meal and company were so satisfying I wasn’t hungry for anything more. I enjoyed the conversation and interaction and not once did I wander to the fridge and stare inside.

1238 calories
96 grams (38%) carbs
95 grams (38%) protein
28 grams (24%) fat

Day 5


I made muffins and omelets for everyone. I didn’t partake in the muffins, but had a filling portion of egg white/spinach/feta omelet. This may be my new favorite breakfast. Not to mention, egg whites make far prettier omelets than whole eggs. (If it looks good, it tastes good.) I enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee with some sugar free chocolate creamer.


Mom locks my keys, both purses and our cells in the running car as we finish up some errands. We have to call to be rescued. UGGH!! I almost got a drink before we left the store…now I really wish I had. We go back inside, wait in the AC, and find a water fountain to camel up.


Lunch is served! I grab this and that to combine for a meal. I made some homemade (healthier) guacamole and decide to splurge on the 7 chips to eat with it. I thought it was well worth it, until I look at my overall fat intake for the day. I wish I had though twice, or eaten half of what I did. The scale has been moving in the right direction and I don’t want to sabotage that. Tomorrow I need to be back on my A game.


We grab the city dwellers and head for the rodeo. Admission includes an AYCE dinner of smoked pork, grilled corn on the cob, beans, baked potato, etc. They have the fixings to make dinner into a sandwich or a taco. I should have stuck with my initial plan to eat the pork without dressing it up, but I opt for the taco even adding some cheese and sour cream. I forgo any sauce, potato, or my own corn. My daughter LOVES corn on the cob, but currently is missing four front teeth. Once she is done with her ear, I offer to “clean it up”. That was equivalent to a half ear. What did I drink? Everything in sight! (3 bottles of water and a diet Dr. Pepper) It was BLAZING hot without a tree in sight.


It’s family game time. I should be in bed, negating this entry all together. But, I’m enjoying myself and everyone is drinking and snacking. I eat one Wasabi and soy almond before the excess fat of the day enters my mind. I quickly switch to a small portion of turkey jerky. I can make that last longer! No drink for me…why start at this hour?

1303 calories
82 grams (26%) carbs
91 grams (29%) protein
62 grams (44%) fat

Day 6


This morning, I start with a fruit and yogurt parfait: non-fat yogurt, raspberries and grapes. I’m trying to intentionally keep it light, since today is the big birthday celebration. I’ll have water, thanks.


I ran some last minute errands and picked up the cake. It really looks good! Once again I ask myself why I ordered my favorite kind of icing. I also picked up a fruit and veggie tray to try to combat whatever this cake is going to do. I ate the remainder of the pork tenderloin from the other day, keeping lunch minimal. I have to decorate the cake, so I strap on my willpower and get to work. (Did I say how good this cake looks?) During clean up, I licked my finger before I even thought about it. I guess I could have tried to spit it out, but that seemed kind of ridiculous.


I ate three tootsie roll minis, as I made up the goodie bags. The act seemed mindless (well, the 1 st one did). I unwrapped them for the birthday boy and apparently for myself. I asked myself how I was going to record one tootsie roll. When I had trouble coming up with an answer, the answer became to eat two more. Then my senses kicked in and said, “No more!” I should have delegated that job.


We have six kinds of pizza. I have one slice of the Gourmet Veggie. It’s pretty darn good. I also had some artichokes, carrots and grapes. Then we brought out the cake. This cake was actually a cupcake cake. It appears that in making one of these things the cupcakes are iced individually, then are placed together getting a second layer of icing. Holy Crap! The initial plan was to eat half a cupcake, but I abandon that game plan and eat a whole serving. There is so much icing, I go ahead and charge myself with one and a half servings, so I don’t feel like I’m cheating my food log. Then my sister-out-law asked me where my beer was…and I drank a beer.


The kids are ready for a second round of cupcakes. The first one was good, but I intentionally savored it so I wouldn’t go back for more. I have another beer instead. Today I indulged, I intended to. I also put a lot of forethought and effort into how I wanted it to happen. It wasn’t a complete success, but more importantly it wasn’t the start of a backslide.

1298 calories
103 grams (49%) carbs
57 grams (27%) protein
57 grams (24%) fat

Day 7


I previously made hard boiled eggs to have on hand and took advantage of them this morning. I ate three egg whites and one whole egg, dressed with season salt. I added a half banana to the mix and a cup of coffee with chocolate creamer. I was content with my breakfast and ready to start the Day. Every day should start with chocolate!


Decided to run to KCMO and visit a museum. We fueled up before we left and I choose a small portion of chicken, some turkey pastrami, and cottage cheese. I vegged it up with some sugar snap peas. Unfortunately, I thought that would last me, and neglected to pack any snacks for myself as I walked out the door. I regretted that decision.


Headed home I was famished. My stomach was growling and all I had on me was M&M’s, and a pretzel rod. I ate them and recorded it, but wished I had brought a better snack choice with me.


I was still hungry at dinner and ate well as a result. I ate a mozzarella and chicken sausage on a bun, a spinach/romaine salad with veggie toppings and yogurt Caesar dressing, and well as some lentil pasta. That filled the void. I also started drinking. Red bull and vodka started the evening.


It was game night and although the snacking was minimal the drinking continued. All total I added two more red bulls and 4oz of vodka. When that ran out of the bull, I added two Coors lights. I wrapped up the evening with over a cup of kettle corn. You have to do something to drown out the experience of playing Cards Against Humanity with your parents.

2103 calories
225 grams (54%) carbs
122 grams (29%) protein
31 grams (17%) fat

John’s notes:  I think she might have failed to account for the fact that alcohol itself has 7 calories per gram, in addition to whatever carbs are in an alcoholic beverage. Beyond that, she did really well this week, and ended up at a substantial deficit.  

If you’ve read all of the diet diaries so far, two patterns become clear.  First, people tend to do well during the week and poorly on weekends.  A big splurge on the weekends can wipe out the slow but steady progress you were making during the week.

And second, they all do pretty well overall during the week they’re keeping their diary.  The mere fact that they’re keeping the diary and sending it to me helps them tremendously.  There are two facets to that- the awareness they get from keeping the diary in the first place and tracking everything they eat, and the accountability factor of sending the diary to me.  You will be far more consistent with your diet when you’re held accountable to someone else.  

Also, note her admission that she lied to her dietician about her binges.  That’s a powerful truth that most people aren’t willing to admit.  Take a moment to think about whether you do that, and if so, why.  Take another moment to think about why she may have been honest with me, when she wasn’t with her dietician.     

I plan to be way more consistent about posting these articles, at least for the rest of this year.  If you want to make sure you don’t miss them, sign up for my mailing list.