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Weight Watchers Update

This is what was on the flip chart when I attended Weight Watchers this past week. I somehow forgot that the first meeting of the year is packed with those who put weight loss on their New Year’s Resolution list and ended up spending the entire session standing in line waiting to be weighed.

I removed 1.8 pounds!

I decided to use 2012 as a time to start Weight Watchers again. To measure, to track, to be conscious of what I am doing and what is going in my mouth. Deciding on chicken instead of steak, researching before eating to know that the vanilla cupcake is a whole PointsPlus lower than the chocolate, and deciding that to enjoy a cupcake for a coworker’s birthday I will have a lunch high in vegetables so I can still stay on target.

I got my husband on the plan, and he has kept the fridge and pantry full of vegetables, fruit, and low-PointsPlus foods like chicken breasts, low-fat cheese and dairy products, and FiberOne bars. I bought Weight Watchers-brand snack bars and chips to have in my desk drawer for times of cravings (by the way the ones with coconut in them taste just like Girl Scout Samoa cookies!).

But the quote above is so true. With Weight Watchers, I am relearning what is healthy. Healthy isn’t necessarily depriving my body of certain foods, removing all carbs, counting calories, being obsessive in any way. It’s making healthy decisions with healthy foods. With Weight Watchers I no longer fantasize about Ben & Jerry’s or Tostitos with a jar of Doritos brand queso, or a whole box of spiral pasta with butter and cheese and garlic powder. My husband is cooking kale, and the smell of the garlic and greens is making my mouth water.

I was talking to a coworker about the grapefruit diet, which I did back at the beginning of last decade. My sister and I did it together, we both lost a ton of weight. We dined on lobster and butter-drenched broccoli, cooked cheese in the microwave until it was crispy and dipped it in sour cream. We ate tons of fat, hardly a single carb, dropped dress sizes, and I had the worst stomach pains and gas. I dreamed about watermelon and blueberries, salivated over baked potatoes and felt terrible guilt whenever I broke my diet. On Weight Watchers when I spend a day, a week, or even a month not tracking or thinking about Weight Watchers, I don’t beat myself up. I just get back on track and the weight comes off again.

And when I am not 100% on track, I still have taken many life lessons from Weight Watchers to heart. I drink water all the time, I eat breakfast every day, I keep trigger foods out of my house without feeling deprived, I choose produce over most anything else.

This was another quote that my Weight Watchers leader shared at the meeting, and such a true one.  It’s a new year, and if what you’re doing isn’t working, then stop doing it.  There’s no point in torturing and depriving yourself if you aren’t getting the results you want or enjoying the life you currently have.  Each person is different, with different needs. I am not saying Weight Watchers is the Holy Grail, but I am saying that if you’re feeling like a hamster on a wheel with your current plan, there may be a better choice for you.  Take care of yourself, nurture yourself.  Losing weight should be to better your body and your life, not be torture.

How was your week?  What are you doing to get on track for 2012?

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Weight Watchers Update

I haven’t been to Weight Watchers in a very very long time. Not only that, I completely dropped the plan. Some habits have stuck – drinking lots of water, cutting out some things I don’t love enough to eat like bread baskets and dessert, choosing the salmon over the fried chicken and staying away from most fast food. But that’s about it. On Thanksgiving I ate turkey skin and drenched everything in gravy. That weekend I ate two pieces of pumpkin cheesecake and washed them down with two glasses of wine while I was sitting alone in my living room watching Bravo. Yeah, those sorts of things.

So when I got on the scale last night and saw that I gained four pounds I wasn’t surprised in the least. I hoped it would be more like two pounds, but I think a big number like four was just the kick in the pants that I needed.

The meeting was, as always, really helpful. I usually get there and think this is a waste of my time. I could be home with my family, I could be returning that dress to Target, I could be writing a blog post for tomorrow. But then I calm down, settle in, and learn something. As always, it seemed as though Weight Watchers knew what the scale would say to me, and made the meeting fit around it. On the board was written:

How do you use the weight you get at the scale?

Good question. How do you react to a gain? Do you curse the scale and get frustrated? Do you choose to give up, or fight even harder? How about a gain? Do you high-five yourself, or do you stop to think about what was different that week and how you can keep up the good work?

When I first saw the gain of four pounds, I was sad. Disappointed. Frustrated. But then as I settled into the meeting I realized I had no reason to feel that way. I totally dropped the plan all together and gee… what did I expect to happen? I can’t be disappointed if I didn’t put forth any effort. I am going to use the gain at the scale as a warning of what can happen if I don’t stick to these new life habits through Weight Watchers. I don’t want to go back to when I felt as though I was a stranger in my own body.

The next topic we discussed was:

How have you made the plan uniquely yours?

People discussed how they never use Activity Points, even though they regularly work out. Another woman said she never uses her extra points until the weekend, and then keeps them for going drinking with her friends. Another woman said that if she dips into any extra points, she never removes weight so she adheres to her daily 29 – no more, no less. It really showed how Weight Watchers is customizable – you don’t have to eat the same breakfast every day to remove weight, you don’t have to be stuck with rice cakes and celery stalks. You can eat birthday cake and get drunk with your girl friends on the plan and still be successful.

So my plan is to get back on the plan. The past couple days I have stuck to standbys – oatmeal breakfast, 6” turkey subs at Subway, Progresso soups, fish and salad for dinner. But this weekend I am pretending to be a new member of Weight Watchers, reading up on it, getting the proper food in my fridge, tracking on a daily basis.

Weight Watchers 2012:
Note to those who are doing Weight Watchers on their own – eTools has updated where if you were at 29 daily PointsPlus, you may now have a daily value of 26, 27, or 28. Weight Watchers also updated the plan for 2012; from an email I received from them today:

Come to your meeting:

  • Learn more: Pick up your new Meet PointsPlus 2012 booklet
  • Recharge your efforts: Stay for a PowerStart® Session with a new PowerStart tracker filled with a week’s worth of preTracked meals.
  • Learn ways to personalize your plan: Options for greater flexibility.
  • New weekly PointsPlus activity goal: To help you move more.

Check out our site and see what’s new:

  • New site design: Find what’s relevant to you, faster

Coming Soon:

  • New tools: Calculate and track at the grocery store with the new Barcode scanner app

I went to check out the new Weight Watchers site – they now have it set where you can access your eTools from any part of the site.

As for Weight Watchers as a whole, they are more strongly promoting “Simply Filling” which is a plan very similar to Weight Watchers Core of yore – you have certain low-carb/high-protein “Power Foods” that you don’t have to track. I did Core many years ago and liked it because I didn’t have to measure and track as carefully as classic Weight Watchers. However with the new PointsPlus I think both are easy, it’s more about what is best for your personal tastes and lifestyle.

While my leader has always encouraged us to stay after the meeting for the new member Getting Started meeting for a refresher, Weight Watchers 2012 is taking that a step further with PowerStart. From the Weight Watchers site:

PowerStart is a three-part introduction to the PointsPlus program, over three weeks, with your Leader. This is an interactive session during which you’ll practice living with the PointsPlus program. You’ll ask questions, take part in practical exercises, exchange ideas with other Weight Watchers members and get a week’s worth of meal ideas that help you on your way to success.

Each of the three PowerStart sessions starts with a quick briefing on the program essentials, and then dives in to different skills you’ll use to succeed. No matter what week you start, you’ll learn valuable skills that will see you through your first week on Plan. In weeks two and three, you’ll add to that solid base, with the opportunity to ask follow-up questions with some time on Plan under your belt. At the end of the three weeks, you’ll get another book, Living PointsPlus, that will help you keep going all the way to your goal.

Most important of all: You can attend these sessions any time. If, after your first three weeks, you’d like to review what you learned in week 1 with the benefit of three weeks’ experience, then you’re more than welcome to stay. If you’ve been on Plan for weeks, months, even years — join in and really master the basics! Not only might you learn something new; you might also teach something to those around you.

I am looking forward to learning more about the changes to Weight Watchers and I will be sure to share it with you.

So how have you been with your weightloss journey? Any successes? Setbacks? New tips or recipes you would like to share?

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Weight Watchers Update

The biggest reason I hesitated doing Weight Watchers again was worrying about numbers. What would be my weight? What would the scale say each week? The last time I did Weight Watchers I had a scale in my bathroom and caught myself weighing myself sometimes three times a day – I would be so excited when I saw a loss, and so frustrated when I saw a gain. I got so into the number on that scale, I missed the bigger picture. Yes, I want to lose weight – I want a smaller number on that scale. But I want to live a long and comfortable life. I want to have energy, I want to feel comfortable in my skin, I want to remove stress from my heart and other organs. I want to avoid the health issues that my relatives have and had.

However I knew I had to lose weight, and I knew Weight Watchers was a lifestyle choice, not an actual diet. I knew I could start it and continue it for life without feeling as though I couldn’t socialize, enjoy what I like, go on vacation, eat birthday cake (or drink a birthday cocktail!). I also knew that though I hate scales, I knew I had exceeded THE NUMBER.

I think we all have THE NUMBER – a weight you promise you will never and can never exceed. For me, that number was 200. I had exceeded 200 once before in my life, and I practically starved myself to return to the land of the 1-somethings. Even if I was 199, well I wasn’t THAT NUMBER. And then I got pregnant. I exceeded 200 pounds around 32 weeks and when I saw that number I almost threw up. It took a lot of reassuring by my midwives, my husband, my self to justify that number – I was creating a PERSON in my body, I will probably lose at least 15 pounds within my first week postpartum, yadda yadda. But it still hurt, a lot.

In the next eight or so weeks, I gained even more weight. The midwives told me I may lose all of that before I ended maternity leave, especially if I was nursing my child. I kept telling myself that, and kept saying the phrase, “Nine months in, nine months out.” I believed that by Emerson’s 9-month birthday I could be back to my pre-pregnancy weight and size.

Nine months came and went, and I was still over THAT NUMBER. A year went by, I was still above THAT NUMBER. I doubled that time – Emerson was18 months old and I was nowhere near my pre-pregnancy weight or size. And that’s when I started Weight Watchers.

I have not been removing weight quickly on Weight Watchers, but I have not been 100% with the plan. I don’t exercise as much as I should, some days I don’t track, and some days I don’t even think about Weight Watchers. However I am slowly but surely losing, or at least plateauing.

Last night I went to Weight Watchers for the first time since December 9th. I removed 1.6 pounds. This is a nice amount to remove, but it also bought me comfortably below 189, another number that means a lot to me.  Enough that a little slip from decadent New Years Eve party food won’t put me back up into the ’90s.

I hovered between 160 and 190 for about a decade. I have finally gotten back into that zone that I am familiar with. I was 184 before I got pregnant. I was a size 12, but occasionally fit into a 10. I wasn’t thin, I was still considered obese by doctors, but I really felt at ease in this body. I believe I will be at 184 before my 36th birthday.

Last night at my Weight Watchers meeting, we discussed weight loss contracts for the New Year. What we plan on committing to in order to reach our goals. I want to be a size 10 before June, before going back to Bonnaroo, before bathing suit season. This means I need to amp up Weight Watchers. I need to move my body on a daily basis, even if it’s 30 minutes of dancing and moving in front of the TV while Emerson is playing. I need to track more regularly and really become knowledgeable with PointsPlus so I can more easily gauge good choices when out at restaurants and social events. I need to be committed.

2011 is tomorrow – a new year, a new chance to be kinder to my body, show it the love it deserves. Healthy foods, plenty of water, more sleep, more exercise. It’s never too late to care for yourself, to get back on track. What contract will you make with yourself for 2011?

Weight Watchers Update

It is getting progressively harder to find time for Thursday night Weight Watchers meetings. Work has really ramped up; I already have to leave by 5:15 on Mondays and Tuesdays to be on Emerson Detail since my husband teaches those evenings. I end up staying late on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and many Fridays to catch up. Also it seems every blogger event and concert I want to attend is on a Thursday night.

I want to look for a meeting at a different time… but I don’t know of any time that would be better. Life is just so darn crazy right now. I am typing this at 8:30am while Emerson eats oatmeal and watches a movie; I have the dishwasher, dryer, and washing machine going, have already cleaned a bathroom and the kitchen. We’re leaving in three hours for a cousin’s son’s 6th birthday in Towson. As soon as we get home, my husband is heading to a concert. Tomorrow I am hosting a CAbi party and between the end of this birthday party and 2pm tomorrow I need to clean my house, go to the grocery store, figure out food for the party and write an article. This is my life in a nutshell, and I am not sure there is any time better than Thursday nights for Weight Watchers.

I rant and I whine, and then this was the quote posted at this week’s meeting:

You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make time.
-Charles Bruxton

Work won’t always be this hectic, I just need to plug through. And I need to make time for Weight Watchers, and my health.

In this week’s meeting we were to write down our typical day. What time we get up, go to work, eat lunch, etc.

  • 5:30 – Hit snooze a couple times, put in contacts, floss, brush, take shower
  • 6:00 – Go downstairs, let out dogs, eat oatmeal and a piece of fruit, drink 22oz. water while checking email and possibly watching something on the DVR. Sometimes I get inspired and do an exercise video, crunches, or sun salutations. More often than not I don’t.
  • 7:00 – Head back upstairs – do hair and makeup
  • 7:30 – Get Emerson dressed if my husband hasn’t already
  • 7:45 – Get Emerson in the car, take outfit photos
  • 8:00 – Get to Metro, use commute to read The Express or a book
  • 8:45 – Arrive at office. Fill water bottle, get cup of coffee, begin checking email
  • 9:00 – 5:15 – The day varies. Sometimes I get a lunch, more often than not I eat at my desk during a conference call or webinar (or while updating my blog).
  • 5:20 – Get to the Metro to head home. Use commute to read
  • 6:00 – Husband picks me up from the Metro
  • 6:10 – Husband goes and takes a shower, I get Emerson’s dinner ready and feed her dinner while checking the mail, doing laundry, washing dishes or some other task
  • 6:45 – Hang out with Emerson. If it’s nice out, we go outside to play, if not we’ll hang out in the living room. Sometimes I have so much to do, it ends up being Emerson plays alone while I get chores done.
  • 7:45 – Bath and bedtime for Emerson
  • 8:15 – Begin making dinner
  • 9:00 – Eat dinner with husband, more often than not at the coffee table while watching TV
  • 10:00 – Go upstairs to get ready for bed
  • 11:00 – Lights out

We’re supposed to look at our schedule and see times where we can exercise or be more healthy. I can see right away that I can use my hour in the morning to actually exercise rather than watch TV (I can also stop hitting snooze and have more time). Many in the meeting said they use their lunch hour to walk, but I really don’t get lunch hours but just a couple times a month (and then I have to use it for errands). I have gotten better and bought a bunch of frozen meals and stocked the work freezer so I don’t grab a cup-a-noodles or Au Bon Pain when rushed for time. I also have healthy snacks in my desk for that same purpose.

As Emerson gets older, and as this new work project settles in, I will have more space in my schedule, more opportunities to make time. But for now, I am trying to do my best with what I have.

And this week I removed 1.2 pounds. So since my last Weight Watchers update, I can now fit my wedding band, wore a pair of size 10 jeans, and now officially weigh less than I did before I got pregnant!

It’s funny, before I got pregnant I was doing yoga twice a week, kigong twice a week, and hitting the gym from time to time. I was in far better shape, but wore the same size and was the same weight. I just think, if I MAKE the time for more exercise… imagine how much slimmer I would look and how much better clothes would fit me!

So the goal is to figure out how to make more time for me, my health, and my future. I feel I have the food under control (not really tracking on a daily basis, but creating systems so that I have easy access to WW-friendly meals and snacks), now it’s time for the exercise.

And for those who don’t attend Weight Watchers meetings, there was a fabulous recipe in this week’s Weekly I wanted to share. We’re totally making it this week!

Coconut Curry Shrimp
8 PointsPlus per serving
Prep – 10 minutes, cook – 8 minutes
Serves 4

2 sprays cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp mild (or hot) curry powder, to taste
½ tsp table salt
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
½ cup light coconut milk
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 cups cooked brown rice

Coat a medium to large skillet with cooking spray; add oil and set over medium heat.  When heated, add curry powder and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until curry is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add white parts of scallions; cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes more. Add coconut milk, stir to blend. Add shrimp; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green parts of scallions; serve. Yields about about 5 to 6 shrimp, ¾ cup rice, and 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce per serving.

Notes: Add cilantro, hot peppers, or tomatoes for a completely different twist. Service this recipe with fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to cut the spice (will affect PointsPlus value).

Interesting fact: ½ cup of light coconut milk is 2 PointsPlus, while ½ cup of regular coconut milk is 7 PointsPlus.

How have you all been doing? What have been your setbacks, and what are your recent accomplishments?

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Weight Watchers Update

I am have been experiencing the weight loss see-saw:

  • February 10 – Gained 2.6 pounds
  • February 17 – Removed 5.2 pounds
  • February 24 – Gained 2.4 pounds
  • March 3 – Removed 3.4 pounds

Sound familiar to anyone else? I can remember having this happen to me during a previous Weight Watchers experience. I am slowly but steadily removing weight each week, I see the results on the scale when I change my diet, my exercise, my lifestyle. Then after around 15-20 pounds I get on the see-saw. It’s frustrating, it’s confusing, it makes it so easy to fall off the wagon. Who cares, I’m going to gain this week anyway. I haven’t changed anything, why the amazing highs and depressing lows?

1. I am not exercising. Diet can only do so much, moving my body more will speed up my metabolism, tone the excess weight I currently have, improve my outlook, regulate my appetite. This Saturday my sister gave me the greatest gift – she came to watch Emerson in the morning so I could go to my husband’s yoga class. It felt so good to have an hour and a half dedicated to just me – I closed my eyes and focused on the poses, the stretching, my breathing. After, I felt an inch taller and ten pounds lighter.

As a mom, and a full-time working mom at that, I find I never have time for just me. I can wake up really early when Emerson and my husband are asleep, but I’m still dealing with three dogs breathing down my neck, trying to get pet while I am in Downward Dog. I feel guilty for trying to exercise, and end up spending that “me” time doing laundry, working on the blog, paying bills, reading the previous day’s mail.

I have gone to the gym only once since being back on Weight Watchers. It felt great – my neighborhood gym isn’t packed early in the morning, and it’s a comfortable atmosphere. I don’t need to join, I can pay $4.50 for each visit. It makes sense to bag my lunch and pay for the gym. However when I go, I get really stressed out in the morning trying to stay on time. The gym doesn’t open until 6, I don’t get back to the house until close to 7 and I have to leave the house by 7:30 to be on time. I make excuses and don’t go.

I could walk in the mornings, but I make excuses that it’s too cold, too wet, too dark. Even if I bundle up in my coat and take a leisurely stroll around the block, it’s better than sitting on my butt surfing the ‘Net and watching reruns of Golden Girls.

2. I am breaking diet, regularly. I add full-fat cheese to my Eggbeaters breakfast burrito. I grab a handful of pistachios from my husband’s snack bowl. I take a second serving of dinner and wash it down with a beer or glass of wine.

I go off plan one day, get back on track the next day, break plan the day after. I don’t track, then track religiously. I guesstimate on portion sizes and “forget” that I ate a snack-size Hershey bar or put creamer in my coffee.

3. I have been getting lazy. I let me husband buy the groceries and don’t give a him a list of what I need and then blame him for me not having any WW-friendly food. I don’t pack a lunch and eat far too many 6” turkey sandwiches at Subway and decide I “deserve” to switch it up and get myself a higher-point sandwich (or maybe something like Chipotle or a cheeseburger). I don’t make time for breakfast and grab something unsatisfying at the gift shop in my building’s lobby just to stop the stomach from growling. I don’t make time for a proper dinner. I don’t have healthy snacks to munch on late afternoon so I don’t race home and eat the entire contents of the refrigerator.

If I am not consistent with my lifestyle change, how can I expect my weightloss results to be consistent?

That being said, even though I keep taking a step back, I still take two steps forward. I am 0.2 pounds from removing 10% of my body weight and that feels amazing. I have already achieved my pre-pregnancy weight, and know that the body is excited about removing more bulk from its frame.

I am so glad I decided to share this journey with all of you. You hold me accountable, and remind me that I CAN’T give up. Your comments – feedback, support, questions motivate me and I can’t thank you enough!

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Weekend Weight Watchers Update

I think I need to start calling this my weekend Weight Watchers update, since I have been a Friday slacker. Fridays have been busier than expected lately.

So this week I gained weight. A hair over a pound. This is the first time I have gained during the Weight Watchers process. And I am not surprised.

1. I missed two meetings
2. I haven’t been tracking every day
3. I fell off the wagon

Falling off the wagon for me is eating foods that aren’t worth it. I’m talking having a crappy day, come home, and throw some regular tortilla chips in a Tupperware container, sprinkle a ton of regular shredded cheddar on top, a bit of Frank’s Red Hot, microwave for 60 seconds and eat in front of the TV.

On Weight Watchers, eating less fat, more fiber, more vegetables caused me to stop craving so much of the heavy, filthy foods. I would come home, look in the fridge, and desire a pickle, or maybe some Wasa crackers with Laughing Cow and tomato. If I was starving while cooking dinner, I would munch on celery sticks dipped into my homemade super low-point ranch dressing (Hidden Valley ranch packet with 1 cup skim milk, one cup reduced fat mayo). I stopped wanting the pasta, the homemade crappy nachos. But then you try it once, maybe it’s PMS, maybe it’s not going to the grocery store for fresh produce… next thing you’re back to craving things like salt and vinegar potato chips and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

So I know what I did, and what I need to do to get back on track.

Weight Watchers tip – did you know you can attend any meeting for free? Even if you aren’t a member, you can attend. You can’t weigh in, can’t get the materials, but you can sit for the seminar. And I find the seminars so darn helpful. It’s as though Weight Watchers knew I would gain this week, and made the meeting tailored for me.

This week was about positive self-talk, being your own cheerleader on the road to weight removal success. It’s about dealing with the gains, the plateaus, the tiny removals that feel like nothing (did you know 0.8 pounds is the weight of a coffee mug? Doesn’t that seem like a lot more weight to remove when you can compare it to something?).

This week my leader said, “You are going to gain weight at some point during Weight Watchers, so get mad now.” Her point was, it’s so easy to have a week of gaining get you off track. You’re mad, this doesn’t work, this plan is stupid. You just can’t lose weight, you’re a failure. You punish yourself, and you veer even farther off the plan. Instead of saying, “I was bad,” say, “This is the choice I made.” Because it’s true, every bite you ate, every minute of exercise you did or did not do, it was a choice.

We can make excuses until the cows come home about no time and our lack of control in our weight loss situation. The boss kept you late, the husband didn’t go to the grocery store, it was your birthday, your friend’s bachelorette party, they brought donuts into the office, the kids got up early/went to bed late. And let’s not forget about that metabolism you got from your mom, your thyroid, your bad knee. But if you have time to be on the Internet checking blogs, you have time to eat properly and move your body, at least a little.

Do what you can with what you have, where you are.
– Theodore Roosevelt

So you can’t run a 5K, or you have a bad back. You work 12 hour days and come home to three kids. You can’t afford a gym, let alone farmer’s market fresh produce. You can hardly boil water, let alone make recipes from Weight Watchers cookbooks. Do what you can with what you have, where you are in life. It’s better than nothing. It’s better to lose the weight of a coffee mug, than no coffee mug at all. And it’s better that I gained less than two pounds this week than dropping Weight Watchers all together and probably gaining far more.

This Saturday, our friend had a festival for a type of alcohol at a nearby bar. We went, and ate bar food. I had a Bloody Mary, a Miller Lite, a couple sips of this liquor that tastes more like lighter fluid. I ate Buffalo wings and crab dip and French fries. I knew I would have a day like this. Soo for breakfast, I made my Eggbeaters, and I cooked it with chopped up wedge of Laughing Cow and a couple slivers of red onion and some thin 98% fat free deli ham. I put it on top of one half of a Thomas multigrain Bagel Thin. I drank a ton of water all day. Before I went to the bar, I ate half of a banana so I wasn’t ravenous. When I came home, I drank more water to help flush out my system. A couple hours later I was hungry so I had some leftover grilled fish from the previous night’s dinner on a ginormous salad of just vegetables and had it with tea. I didn’t go to bed hungry, I didn’t feel deprived, I planned accordingly for day’s event. And this is how I plan to handle this week so I can again remove what I gained and push forward with this Weight Watchers journey!

And for those starting just now, here are my previous posts about Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers Update

“You will gain weight. Go ahead and get mad now.”
                              – Donna, my Weight Watchers leader

Last week I didn’t write a Weight Watchers update because I gained. I gained 2.4 pounds. Now I could blame it on being busy at work, no time to post, but really it was because I was embarrassed. I am putting myself out there for the public, admitting I am on Weight Watchers. You all are seeing my success or failure. And I failed. I was embarrassed to admit it.

But my leader is right, you WILL gain weight. We all gain weight, it’s just what we do AFTER we have gained weight that matters. So many people blame the program they are on – it just doesn’t work, it stopped working. They blame their life, their spouse, their job, their hormones.

I blame me. I know why I gained. I ate French toast and bacon and drank a lot of wine. I ate sticky hot and sweet drumsticks with the skin still on, baked potatoes with real butter, and didn’t do a single bit of exercise. Of COURSE I gained, and I have no one and nothing to blame except myself.

Instead of feeling defeated, I felt it was my body reminding me that I need to always think about which is better – another piece of bacon, or a smaller size of dress? Syrup on that French toast, or living five more years? A second glass of wine, or watching Emerson walk down the aisle some day?

This week I decided to get back on track. Track what I ate, try to walk and move more, make smart choices.

This week I removed 5.3 pounds. Got off what I gained, and THEN SOME! Woo-hoo!

I still ate amazing food, I still didn’t hit the gym. However, I Went back to the basics. I drank water – LOTS of water. I stuffed my desk with oranges and bananas and apples for mid-day snacks. I ate on smaller plates, and filled the plate first with vegetables. I made sure there were great veggies and fruit in the home to enjoy. I stayed away from my trigger food – pasta. And it worked.

Last night my mom picked me up from the Metro so we could go to Weight Watchers together. She said she saw me walking towards her car but she didn’t recognize me because I had a different silhouette. She said she had to get used to me being this thin. Last night I also went into Ann Taylor and tried on a size 12 suiting jacket – fully lined, no stretch. It FIT. And it fit so well and looked so good I BOUGHT it and am wearing it today. Do you know how long it has been since I have worn a size 12 suiting jacket? I didn’t even wear a 12 when I interviewed for my current job in 2007! I seriously think it has been five years since I have worn a size 12 jacket.

You will gain weight. It’s a given. You’re human. Birthdays, vacations, Superbowl parties, nights where you just need some ice cream or wine or mac and cheese. It happens. The thing is, you can’t give up on yourself. Start fresh the next day. Wake up, get over your mistake, start new. It’s worth it, and you’re worth it!

Weight Watchers Update

This week I removed 3.6 pounds – that means I only have to remove 0.4 pounds more to be back on track again.

3.6 may seem like a lot but there are a couple factors:

  • Last week I wore a denim shirt and leather skirt to weigh-in while this week I stripped down to a ribbed tank and silk skirt
  • I actually tracked this past week, first time really using eTools on a daily basis in MONTHS
  • I went down to 26 PointsPlus

As I mentioned last week (and active Weight Watchers members know), PointsPlus changed to PointsPlus 2012 and one change is your number of allotted points in a day. While some stayed the same, many who were previously at 29 points in a day found that their allotment dropped (no one is below 26 points). When I logged into eTools this week, it asked me my current weight and informed me that my new number was 26.

Old Pocket Guide, meet New Pocket Guide!

While some are grumpy about this change, I embrace it. With pretty much all fruits and vegetables being 0 PointsPlus, I often had a hard time using my daily allowance, and I felt that it gave me too much gray area to eat things not that good for this body. The change to 26 was the kick I needed, where I really had to think about each bite going in my mouth, again having to make smart choices.

I also got back to tracking, which was a major eye opener. I had been on auto pilot with Weight Watchers for a while, guestimating values and portion sizes. It’s easy to forget a cookie or snack-sized candy bar (or spoonful of Emerson’s mac and cheese) when not actively tracking. I used to have eTools as my homepage when I opened all my computers, but over time I switched it to iGoogle. This week I went back to my work computer opening to eTools for a constant reminder to track.

So on to PointsPlus 2012 – how is it different from 2011’s PointsPlus?

PowerStart Sessions
I mentioned this last week, but with PointsPlus 2012 they are really encouraging folks to stick around after the basic meeting for three weeks of PowerStart Sessions. Not only will these meetings be an introduction to Weight Watchers newbies, but give tips and life lessons to veterans on how to succeed with PointsPlus 2012.

Adjusted Daily PointsPlus Allotments
Many who were previously at 29 daily PointsPlus now are at 28, 27, or 26. They surveyed many members and found they didn’t eat all their PointsPlus value each day, and found they were more successful shedding weight with a subtle decrease in their daily allotment. In this week’s Weekly, Weight Watchers states, “…a daily target as low as 26 will also support safe weight loss with no adverse health effects, without compromising flexibility, and while satisfying the recommended intake of vitamins and other essential nutrients.” Weight Watchers feels that if you were happy at your old target of 29, you can stick with that target. The Weekly also offers tips on when to possibly bump your target up or down depending on travel, hunger levels, or to give yourself a “boot camp” or recharge. The goal is to lose ½ to 2 pounds a week, and you should choose a target that fulfils that without making you feel deprived.

Encouraged Flexibility
Based on the meeting and the new Weight Watchers materials I received this week, I feel Weight Watchers is really pushing the fact that their plan is flexible and customizable. They want to show members (and potential members) that there is no one specific diet for anyone. Every human has a different reason for being on Weight Watchers, has different unique goals during the plan, and has different unique lifestyles. Weight Watchers can be customized to your lifestyle, personal tastes, and weight loss goals. Leaders, the website, and the PointsPlus 2012 materials regularly discuss bumping up and down your target (though never below 26) to survive holidays and vacations without deprivation or to boost weight loss (again they regularly mention you shouldn’t usually be losing more than 2 pounds a week – they even asked me about my 3.6). They’re really focusing on slow, steady but long-term weight loss.

My leader always ends our meeting with at least one inspirational quote; the two featured here are the ones she shared. While Winston Churchill’s quote fits perfectly with PointsPlus 2012, I loved this quote for me and fellow emotional eaters. It’s so easy when you’re feeling blue to counteract it with a piece of cake, a gallon of ice cream, a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And while these foods will fill your belly, comfort you and possibly remind you of happy times, they aren’t a replacement for happiness. So before you dig into your favorite comfort food… stop and ask yourself WHY you are eating it. If it is to be happy, consider what will provide true happiness – a bubble bath, listening to your favorite album in its entirety, 15 minutes of meditation in a quiet room, two chapters of a novel uninterrupted, a walk in the woods, a phone call with a good friend. This is something I need to be better with – when my husband works night shifts and the baby is asleep I often go to pasta or cheese to keep me company. I find the Bravo channel or reruns of Sex and the City seem to go well with cheese quesadillas and a very large glass of red wine. Lately I am catching myself, and deciding to feel happiness by actively doing something and thinking of the long-term effects of my decision. It’s hard, but this quote helps me stay focused.

How was your week? Any successes? Setbacks?  Recipes or tips you’d like to share?

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Weight Watchers Update

This week I removed 0.6 pounds. Last week I removed 0.6 pounds. The time before it was 0.6 pounds. I guess 0.6 is my lucky number. I’m not complaining, I would rather lose 0.6 pounds than gain it. However, I do feel as though I am in a bit of a rut.

As always, I feel Weight Watchers reads my mind and the meetings are spot-on. This last meeting, we were asked to partner up with someone, discuss “I could lose weight if only…” I think we all do this – if I only had more time, if I only had money for a personal trainer, if I only had a personal chef to make me delicious healthy meals, if I only had a supportive spouse who didn’t bring potato chips into the house, if I only had blah blah blah…

Well my thing is exercise. I never find the time for it. So I told my partner. She said she walks around the neighborhood lake every Saturday morning before yoga (which is taught by my kickass husband!). She said we could walk together. I hemmed and hawed, saying Emerson’s schedule is difficult, the dogs, the this and the that. She said she knows where I live, it’s 10 minutes to the lake, 20 minutes around the lake, 10 minutes home… do I really not have time for that? I can bring Emerson in the stroller. So I said sure, some time we could do it and forgot about it.

Friday around 4:45 this woman emails me and asks if we can switch to Sunday. Sundays we do the farmers market and then I had plans, so I said I was busy. Darn, I am out of town next weekend so we’ll have to wait until I return. She replies, “Well then I guess we’ll have to do Saturday. See you at the lake at 8:30!” Damnit, I was stuck!

So I set my alarm for 7:30, got myself together, woke E at 8 and by 8:30 we were at the lake. We did the walk around the lake, then walked to a nearby playground. We took the long way home, walked by another playground and then another. I got home at 10:30am and felt more awake than I would have after a big cup of coffee. I was a sweaty, disgusting mess but I felt great. Not only that, Emerson also got some great activity time at the playgrounds. We came home, had a snack, played indoors for a bit to cool down and calm down before her noontime nap.

Usually while Emerson naps on Saturdays, I am a bump on a log. I may write my article for, may fritter away time on the Internet, may even take a nap myself. This Saturday I had so much energy I started gutting the house. I listed a bunch of stuff on eBay and Freecycle and started organizing our home office.

Now, I am not going to lose 50 pounds by doing a 20-minute walk once a week, but it’s better than nothing. And having a neighbor and friend hold me accountable forces me to do it. And this weightloss is about permanent life changes, baby steps to a new me.

Of course we can’t all afford personal trainers and chefs, but we can make very small changes to our life for the better. Summer is a great time to start new habits – longer days, fresh fruit, weather nice enough to take a walk or swim some laps in the local pool. What do you feel is holding you back from losing weight? What can you do to overcome that obstacle?

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Weight Watchers Update

This week I removed 0.8 pounds.

I don’t really see this as a victory, more like a wakeup call.

I missed the last two Weight Watchers meetings due to blogger and DC fashion events. I drank champagne, ate fries drizzled in truffle oil, had a couple steaks the past weeks with big glasses of red wine. I guess I should be happy I didn’t gain, but almost all of last weekend was spent in the bathroom with a stomach bug.

I can’t remove permanent weight by eating anything I want and then letting illness gut my gut. That’s far too close to how I stayed as a size 4 my sophomore year of college.

So this week I am back on track. Eating far more vegetables, drinking mainly water, and trying to get in exercise. Yesterday I went for a walk with my husband and Emerson, we walked for three hours all around town, the lake, the woods. This morning I did sun salutations and crunches. Each morning I have been trying to do something, even if it’s only ten girly pushups. At least it’s more than nothing.

Work has been really busy, which means no lunch hours, long days, early mornings, a good 12 hours sitting on my rump staring at two computer screens. I forget my lunch, and end up dashing downstairs to the building’s lobby gift shop for a Cup O Noodles and bag of Cheez Its. Ginormous coffee with breakfast, a Diet Coke at noon, and another coffee at 3pm to keep going. Get home and stuff my face with randoms from the fridge – leftover pasta, a slice of cheese, a handful of tortilla chips while I get Emerson’s dinner ready. Next thing I know it’s 9pm and I haven’t eaten a proper dinner. So I end up until 11pm to be able to eat and properly digest though doing it in front of the television. Wake up between 4am and 6am and do it all over again. No wonder I don’t have more success with the weight removal.

Mornings are the only time that are mine, and I need to be smart with it. The gym near me doesn’t open until 6am which makes it a rushed work morning, but the weather is better so I can start walking. When it’s raining or I don’t have time, I always have time at least for three sun salutations. And though I have been awful with my lunches and late dinners, I have stuck to breakfast every morning – either oatmeal or eggbeaters with a slice of Laughing Cow on a light English muffin or whole wheat tortilla.

Yesterday I went to the market and bought some Lean Cuisines and Weight Watchers frozen meals. Not the best, but if I take them to work they are there when I can’t leave my desk and are a smarter choice than ramen. I already brought some Weight Watchers bars (those minty chocolate ones they sell at the meetings are insane – like a brownie and a Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookie had a baby) so I have a PointsPlus-friendly treat ready for late afternoon. I also have some bags of microwave popcorn in my bag ready to take to work to replenish my snack stash I let lag.

I just have gotten so lazy with Weight Watchers. I don’t track, I justify, I’ll counteract a filthy dinner with no lunch. As my leader says, I am making my own plan. And I am not as smart as Weight Watchers, do I can’t possibly be as successful with my plan as I would be if I stuck to the Weight Watchers plan.

The past two weekends I have dug around in my attic, looking for clothes that may fit again. Most of the clothes in the attic now fit, though much doesn’t fit this new shape of body. And though they do fit, the sleeveless dresses and tops look dreadful. My armpits are flabby and strange from weight gain and loss and lack of muscle tone. My belly is firmer than it was this time last year, but still hangs down and is obvious in unlined trousers and sheath dresses. My legs have always been large, but they were firm. Not any more. I really need to care for this body, not just with diet but with exercise to keep it strong and healthy.

I keep saying I need to get back on track, but now I have the desire. Maybe it’s the warmer weather, maybe it’s knowing Bonnaroo is in less than two months (as well as swimsuit season). Whatever, I am embracing it and going to take advantage of it!

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Weight Watchers Update

I gained 1.4 pounds this week.

My mom says that she found that getting your period always made her pack on two pounds. If that’s true for me as well, you could say I actually lost 0.6 pounds…

Or maybe I just need to ramp up my plan.

I still don’t exercise outside of walking to the farmer’s market on Sundays. I broke my Camelbak bottle so I am not sipping water at home the way I do at work. I bought Smart Ones instead of Lean Cuisines because they were on sale and they are way more unsatisfying (and taste to be higher in sodium) – by 2pm I am craving every filthy thing available in the snack bar in the office lobby and counteract it with a cup of coffee or tea, leaving me jumpy but still hungry.

My husband made Candy Corn Pancakes. Regular pancake batter, added candy corn, cooked as usual. Insanely delicious fun treat, and proof that I am still enjoying far too much of that bag of candy corn in my kitchen… and not sticking to the plan.

So I gained 1.4, but that’s nothing to freak out over, nothing to get depressed over, and surely no reason to fall completely off the Weight Watchers wagon.

This week we talked about how our lives have changed since starting Weight Watchers – habits we now have that are just a part of our lives. One woman says that when she gets back from the market, she writes the PointsPlus value on the outside of each food package – she can then know quickly how many PointsPlus it is, and it also reduces temptation, having her look for a lower PointsPlus item for a snack. Our leader said she does the same, and also writes down how much is in each serving. Another mentioned an iPhone app that will scan barcodes in the grocery and report the PointsPlus value – she uses this before putting anything in her cart. Another mentioned that she never buys bread and I realize I am the same – the only bread in the house is the type that my husband and daughter like for sandwiches; we never had loaves of sourdough or artisanal bread in the house because I will eat the whole loaf. I was impressed by one woman who says she gets off the Metro one stop early and walks the rest of the way to work. Another woman mentioned how since she started Weight Watchers she now always has breakfast. I mentioned how I now drink water all the time.

It’s amazing how even if we don’t track our PointsPlus every day, and how we may veer away from the program, we still have habits from Weight Watchers that affect our lives on a daily basis. Whether it’s how we shop for groceries, get to work, or start our day.

And whether I gain 1.4 pounds or remove 3… or stay the same for a week… my life has forever changed for the better because of this program. And while this weight removal has been a slow process, it’s not going to all come back. And I am not going to go back.

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Weight Watchers Update

I have been a slacker with my Weight Watchers updates because I have missed a lot of meetings. Last week I did attend and found out I removed 0.6 pounds while at Bonnaroo. At first I was disappointed – I mean how many activity points did I earn each day walking and sweating and all that? But then, I didn’t really follow Weight Watchers while there. I often chose water over beer, grilled over fried… but I still was NOT on the plan.

Lately I have been a bit of a slug. With the warmer weather I have been more active, but I haven’t been good about tracking. It’s hard to see any progress… until I saw pictures from last year at Bonnaroo.

While doing my Bonnaroo posts, I did a Google Images search and came across a picture of my husband from my friend Insana’s blog. She went with us last year, is a photographer, and captured so many great moments from the trip. And not so great moments, like me when I am not aware that a camera is focused on me.

I saw these pictures and it told me what I didn’t want to know. I was fat, and in terrible shape. I needed to do something and fast.

A year later, I am around 25 pounds lighter. Not a drastic change, but enough that I weigh less than I was when I got pregnant. Enough that I feel more comfortable in the heat, fit better into clothing, and happily survived another Bonnaroo.

When I feel frustrated, when I feel complacent I need to look at these pictures. Pictures of where I never want to be again.

At my Weight Watchers meeting, the leader asks for our “before” pictures and she has them on a big sheet of poster board. It sits at the front of the room, and you can see these photos of overweight folks, look around the room and see those same faces attached to smaller bodies. It’s really inspiring. I have always deleted bad/fat pics of me because I didn’t want to accept the truth. Now I see them as motivation to stay on track.

What do you use for motivation and to not go down that slippery slope back to your old self?

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Weight Watchers Update

Lookie What I Have!

If you are a regular at Weight Watchers, you know this is a pretty big deal. For those who aren’t doing Weight Watchers, this rose-gold doo-hicky is a keychain you receive when you remove 10% of your body weight.

10% of my body from this time last year is gone. Adios. Ciao. Bye-bye. And it’s not returning.

Last night I shared my success and my leader asked me to stand up and show my new body (and my shoes). She asked if I felt better, and yep I do. It has been a very slow removal of weight, so a lot of the changes I haven’t even noticed. But I looked down at my sky-high blue suede heels and said, “I can wear heels again.”

It seems like such a superficial achievement but it means so much. A year ago, I couldn’t wear more than a 1.5” heel because they just plain HURT. I went to a podiatrist totally convinced I had a hairline fracture in my foot as a result of a traumatic delivery of Emerson. The doctor took some X-rays and said nope, foot is fine, it’s just that I pronate. Well I have pronated my entire life, I had orthotics in my shoes as a child and it’s just something I know and do. But the reason this lifelong pronation was causing me such extreme pain was because the extra body weight that was pressing down on those poor pronating feet. It made my feet larger, wider, and utterly miserable.

A year later, over 10% lighter, I can wear heels again without pain. I can walk from my house to my town center without being utterly exhausted with a pounding chest. I can put Emerson on my shoulders and dance around the house to The Dead Weather for an entire song… actually now I can do it for three songs straight. I dash down the nine flights of stairs at work (when not wearing sky-high heels) and get to the bottom and can go straight into the lobby and out the door, instead of hiding in the stairwell, gasping for breath, trying to compose myself.

And yes, there is the fashion. I can wear structured jackets again, and pencil skirts. Today I am wearing a pair of size 10 jeans and I am slowly re-building a wardrobe of heeled shoes.

I still have a ways to go, but the accomplishment of 10% feels pretty darn amazing. I want to achieve more goals so I can add charms to this keychain. I want to continue to get strong and healthy.

I missed the past two weeks of Weight Watchers meetings – one night I got stuck at work super late, the other time I went out with friends. When I don’t attend meetings I am not as good at tracking and choosing smart foods. I wasn’t expecting a loss last night – I would have been thrilled to be the same. But seeing the loss that fully and completely put me at over 10% removed was confirmation that Weight Watchers is no longer a diet for me, but a lifestyle change. That I can go two weeks with not really thinking about it and still removing a bit was awesome.

I have been pretty comfortable at this size. This is the weight and similar size I was before I got pregnant. I have built up a wardrobe of great pieces and feel as though I look as good as I feel. It would be easy to stay where I am. But I know for my body, my organs, my life I need to keep going on this journey.

And hey, I am darn-patootin’ close to getting a circle charm for my new keychain!

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Weight Watchers Update

So an update on Weight Watchers, after finishing my first week.

I sort of wish I had never done WW before because I catch myself saying, “yeah yeah” when the leader speaks or I read something in my booklet.  I know points, I know portion control, I know all this.  But obviously I don’t because I am overweight.  My friend says that overweight women know more about health and nutrition than any skinny woman and I agree.  It is so degrading when thin friends tell overweight friends to drink more water, add just 10 minutes of exercise a day, park at the end of the parking lot to get walking in, to eat dinner on a salad plate, blah blah.  Most women who have extra pounds on them and have for a while know all this.  They know how many calories they should consume, what percentage of a meal should be protein, complex carbs, how much water to consume.  The majority of women who are overweight aren’t so because of lack of information or knowledge.

So I read the Weight Watchers info and I get bored because it is nothing new to me.  I have done Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers. I have been a gym rat, a yogaholic, a person who wore a pedometer every day to get her minimum of 10,000 steps.  I have done Diet Fuel, Xenadrine, and a couple other pills that were popular in the ’90s.  Low carb, high fiber, high protein, all veggies, grapefruit juice, and plenty of other randomness over the decades.  I read the books and the Web sites, I subscribed to all the fitness magazines.

But nothing has stuck.  I did lose like 25 pounds before my wedding thanks to South Beach, but it came back.  When we lived together after college, my sister and I did a variation of the Atkins diet where we  drank grapefruit juice each morning and were able to splurge every other weekend and I lost like 15 pounds with that.  In college I went through a period where I walked five miles a day with ankle and hand weights, took step aerobics twice a week and hit the gym three times a week and got down to a size 6.  And each time, I lost interest, lost motivation, found it too extreme to fit into daily life and quit.  And gained it back… and then some.

I was able to maintain a size 12 until I left retail.  Switching to a desk job was better for my personal life (and my body – varicose veins were right around the corner), but it wasn’t better for my figure.  I gained 25 pounds in one year by changing nothing except my job.  I didn’t realize how active I was working retail and how much my metabolism would slow with sitting all day.  I did Curves with a coworker for a while, morning gym jaunts with another, but always ended up having reasons to miss a day.

Anyway, I am trying really hard to see Weight Watchers with fresh eyes.  So what if I know this stuff, I am obviously not applying it to my life on a regular basis.  I put the booklets in the bathroom so I can re-read and get it imprinted on my mind.  I have subscribed to a few WW-related blogs on my Google Reader.  I am trying once a week to make ahead snacks and various foods so I can’t feel as though I don’t have time for a proper meal and end up snacking on something bad.  I am seeing this not as losing weight, but changing my lifestyle.  I changed my lifestyle when I got married, changed it again when I had a baby, this is just as important of a thing in my life.  I can’t enjoy parenthood or wifehood or any hood with excess weight straining my knees, my heart, my whole self.

So anyway, first week I lost 2.6 pounds.  Not too shabby.  I did track every single day, but I did go over points two different days.  Again, I love love LOVE the eTools with Weight Watchers – I keep it open all day and can easily drop in things like the International Delights creamer I put in my iced coffee, the oatmeal I had for breakfast in the car while my husband drove me to the Metro.  It’s so easy to “forget” the creamer, the snack sized candy bar from the receptionist, the two olives you munched while cooking dinner, the mayo you had on your sandwich if you don’t track until the end of the day.  Seeing “ Plan Manager” in my tabs at the top of my browser is a constant reminder of this life change.

This past week I couldn’t stay for the whole meeting.  My husband had to sub for another yoga instructor so I had to take Emerson to the meeting with me.  Emerson is a really chill kid but she is also a toddler and wasn’t going to be quiet during the meeting.  She wanted to run and talk to people and explore.  I stayed to be weighed in, to chat with my mom (she joined too and it was her first week), and then went outside to let Emerson play at a playground until the meeting was over so I could meet up with my mom.

I have told my husband he can’t sub for a teacher on Thursdays unless he can score a sitter for Emerson during the meeting.  I no longer take yoga or ki gong because I can’t fit it into our crazy schedule.  But I can’t blow this off any longer.  The meeting is a whole hour and it’s a 10-minute walk from my house.  No more excuses, and it’s not fair to not be able to have that hour to just myself.  He agreed; for that short of a time a neighbor can easily watch Emerson even in our own home.

This past weekend was a tough one.  On Saturday I went to a party that had an amazing spread.  I DID have a cheeseburger, but I did go sans mayo.  With the rest of the food, I had 3 shrimp with a touch of cocktail sauce, 5 potato chips with some onion dip, 2 light beers, 2 jello shots, a cup of some sort of vodka punch, and then just plain fruit or veggies and a lot of water.  The next day I was pretty good – mixed greens salad and put my fork in dressing instead of putting right on the salad.  I had more veggies and fruit and two crackers with hummus.  I drank sparkling water and did a lot of running around behind Emerson.  Then the next cookout, I had a cheeseburger and salad and two non-light beers.  But instead of feeling like crap, I just pushed forward.  Yesterday I ate on track, and today I am completely back to my routine.

I look forward to meeting this week.  I may not have lost, but I know I didn’t gain like I would if I wasn’t on Weight Watchers.  And I plan to take in this week’s meeting as though I am a newbie to the weight loss world, soak up the tidbits and messages.

Weight Watchers Update

You know you have been slacking on your Weight Watchers meeting when they send you the “guilt trip” postcard. I got one in the mail on Wednesday from the women who man the scales, saying they missed me. Good thing I was already planning on going the next evening!

And… I removed three pounds!

I think this is half due to me staying on plan, and half due to me being so busy and stressed lately that I often forget to eat.

Though, I must say pre-Weight Watchers, when I was stressed I would eat everything in sight. At work, I would go down to the gift shop in the building’s lobby and get a Kit Kat, a small bag of Doritos or Cheetos, maybe some gummi bears and wash it down with a Diet Dr. Pepper. Or I would treat myself to a venti java chip Frappucinno from Starbucks. After a crazy week, I would self-medicate with half (sometimes a whole) box of pasta with butter, cheese, salt and pepper and pair it with a giant glass of red wine.

Now, while I still love pasta I really can’t eat more than one bowl. The idea makes me nauseous. Saturday night my husband and I decided to celebrate getting through the drama of the week – we made ourselves Jack & gingers and ordered subs from the local deli. Before, I would have eaten a 12” with fries, now I order the 6” and eat sans sides. And feel sated. Not full, not hungry, just right.

So I have been stressed, and overwhelmed, but I have been able to stay relatively on Plan. And this week’s meeting topic really fit with why I have been able to stay on track.

We discussed what we have in our kitchens. First we went around the room, each of us mentioning one item that’s in our house that we shouldn’t have. Some said chips, others said ice cream, one guy said Froot Loops and I admitted I have half a bag of candy corn. We discussed the difference between having anything you want because essentially everything is on the Weight Watchers plan, versus trigger foods. I may have candy corn and grab a small handful every so often, but it’s not a trigger food for me as say, chips can be. Give me a bag of Lays and a tub of sour cream and both are gone within an hour even if I am not hungry. Something I learned with Weight Watchers is to keep trigger foods from my house, even if I have to get stern with my husband.

We also discussed go-to items we always have in our kitchen to stay on the plan. We each went around the room, saying what part of the kitchen we are in (pantry, fridge, freezer, etc.) and what our three food items were. For me, it was the freezer and I always have steam-in-bag broccoli florets, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, and frozen blueberries. The broccoli is a fave because it’s a food both Emerson and I enjoy. I can steam up a bag, give her some for her dinner, stick some in Tupperware for the next day’s lunch, and the rest I throw in a skillet with some crushed red pepper, spray olive oil (love our Misto), and garlic for a delicious post-work/pre-dinner snack. Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are utterly delish, taste like real ice cream and curb sugar cravings. And frozen blueberries – I will add to a smoothie, defrost completely and put in my morning oatmeal or eat alone, or eat half frozen for a treat that is like little pods of sorbet.

I have realized a great key to my success is having the food I need always available so I won’t stray and eat crap. I always have oatmeal for breakfast, and my husband knows to shake the tub before heading to the grocery to see if we need to replenish our stock. The refrigerator at work is stocked with Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers meals with my initials on them so I don’t even have to plan each morning on what to take for lunch. In my desk at work I have snacks like 100 calorie almond packs and Weight Watchers snack bars. And at home, I have plenty of fruit and vegetable snacks like canned pineapple, Gala apples, steam-in-bag frozen produce, celery and Laughing Cow cheese.

When weightloss gets too complicated, it’s easy to give up. Who has time for constantly counting points or preparing special foods? But planning in advance makes it easy. If the food I need is available and things I already know the PointsPlus value for, there’s no excuse. I can coast until 6pm without worrying about PointsPlus value thanks to my routine breakfasts, snacks, and lunches. Dinners we are starting to plan in advance by making a list throughout the week and shopping on Sundays. It is becoming a rhythm, it is less something I think about, more a lifestyle. I can see on a daily basis how Weight Watchers has really changed how I think about food.

This hasn’t been a quick weightloss, but it feels permanent. And when I think of where I was a year or so ago in mindset, and how I think now… it is a huge change and accomplishment. Slow and steady wins the race!

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Weight Watchers Update

So this week I was flat – didn’t lose, didn’t gain. As that this was two weeks that included two Thanksgiving meals, lots of wine, and dinners out… I don’t feel so bad about it. Also there was hardly any exercise.

This week they informed us that Weight Watchers changed to PointsPlus. PointsPlus doesn’t just create points based upon calories, fat, and fiber. Now they also consider protein and carbohydrates. No more little slider tool in the back of your tan book – you need to buy one of their PointsPlus calculators (in my meeting they are $5.95 until the New Year and then going up to $11.95), use their online eTools (requires subscription), or get the free app for your SmartPhone.

TONS of grumbles in the room when they stated this. While everyone was bitching about the change, I download the app on my Droid. Super simple, super easy to find, and free. I also bought a calculator, though I am really anti-purchasing WW-specific stuff.

In theory, PointsPlus is extremely appealing to me – everything I hated about Weight Watchers is now gone – the need to eat all these fake foods to stay in my points range. I went to the grocery store and checked out English muffins. I used to eat the Light/High Fiber muffins which are… fine but a bit tasteless. Well now the regular Thomas English muffins made with whole grain are the same points as all the low-fat, high-fiber, super-light, etc. versions. Fruit is now 0 points which I think is FANTASTIC – fruit has so many healthy benefits and satisfies my sweet tooth. I love that I can share a banana or apple with Emerson, or indulge in a whole tub of blueberries or raspberries this summer without guilt.

I now have 29 daily points. About 70% of our meeting attendees are at 29 points, the rest around 32 points. The sample woman in the marketing is a Lifetime member, a Leader, and is also at 29 points. This is just a bit more than what I already was allotted with the old program, while it’s a drastic increase for my mom and other women in the room who are at a lower weight. I see it as having to be more creative with my food choices since with this new program, a lot of things have gone up in points (hello my standard breakfast oatmeal or English muffin).

The thing is, PointsPlus in the long run is healthier, and I think makes becoming a vegetarian or pescatarian more possible while still losing weight. A recent New York Times article quoted a blogger as saying PointsPlus is, “Weight Watchers meets Michael Pollan.” And I love that fact. It takes away the bit of guilt I have had being on Weight Watchers. I can buy one type of food for everyone in my family, and eat healthy whole foods.

That being said I haven’t fully committed to PointsPlus just yet. It’s hard – I used to go to the market or a restaurant and just choose that which was low fat and high fiber and then get home and figure out the points. I knew what sort of foods to buy – the lunchtime Lean Cuisines, the Laughing Cow cheese, the wood-like English muffins or bagel thins, stockpiles of frozen veggies, whatever fresh veggies that were in season, and the ever-present bottle of spray fake butter. Now… I need to kill the battery on my SmartPhone walking around figuring out Points for items. Can I eat garbanzo beans? Is the Ronzoni pasta now better than the Barilla? How much is creamer for my coffee? I haven’t had the time yet so I have been eating pretty much like I did before.

Thursday night was leftovers, so I had a can of Progresso 1 pt soup (actually 2 if you consume the whole can which anyone does, and I didn’t check to see the PointsPlus value), some steamed broccoli with garlic and crushed red pepper, and half of a tuna filet from a previous meal. Friday during the day I hardly ate anything because I have been feeling ill – think I had oatmeal and a cup of low-fat banana yogurt and a half of a banana chopped into it. Friday night we steamed shrimp and had it with a big salad of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, red onion, and then a bit of blue cheese and walnuts sprinkled on top. Yesterday I went to a holiday party and scarfed down more crudités than anything else because I really didn’t know Points and wanted to enjoy a couple glasses of Cava. Today I plan on really reading up, getting to understand PointsPlus and learn my new arsenal of easy foods I know I can rely on.

How are you guys doing with PointsPlus? Are you making the switch? Any tips you would like to share?

Weight Watchers Update

The big smile on my face isn’t because I am engaged (still happily married), but because MY ENGAGEMENT RING FITS AGAIN!

Seriously, this is the best Mother’s Day present EVER! At least once a week I try on my wedding set, hoping that it will fit. Each time, no luck, can’t even get it over the last knuckle. Then Sunday morning I tried it… and it slipped right on! The wedding band doesn’t fit yet (it was always a bit smaller than the engagement ring), but that’s okay. Baby steps!

This week I removed 0.2 pound. Nothing spectacular, but it’s better than a gain. I was more active, I was tracking more than the previous week, making smarter decisions. I’m okay with this small amount because it is still progress and I didn’t feel deprived this week or as though I was on a diet.

And even though it is only two tenths of a pound, it was exactly what I needed to get back into wearing a ring that I haven’t been able to fit since the first trimester of my pregnancy!

Fellow Weight Watchers folks, how was your week?  What successes did you have, what learning experiences did you encounter on your journey?

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Weight Watchers Update

A way to watch Emerson & get active!

I didn’t want to go to Weight Watchers last night.

I keep writing about how I am getting back on track, but I’m not. I’m lazy. I drink beer and eat chips and steaks. I don’t exercise and take the elevator at work. My back hurts, I get winded, I am a soft sloppy mess. I missed Weight Watchers last week because I was enjoying mussels in cream and cocktails with fashion bloggers and I knew that if I weighed in this week it would be a gain.

The thing is, every other time I have stopped Weight Watchers or any diet is because I have fallen off the wagon, feared what the scale would say and so I just don’t get on the scale and numb myself with some carbs or wine.

I went last night. I removed 0.2 pounds. Granted, I was wearing my lightweight cotton dress (and yes I removed the jewelry and belt and shoes before getting on the scale), but it was a removal, not a gain.

And then the meeting was about “Exer-cuses” – excuses to not exercise. That is me all over the place.

I don’t exercise because I don’t have time.
I don’t exercise because every time I get on the floor the dogs are all over me.
I don’t exercise because I hardly ever get lunch breaks (and when I do I use them to blog).
I don’t walk in the mornings because I’d have to get up at the crack of dawn to have time for it and a shower.
I don’t exercise in the evening because it’s the only time I can see my husband.
I don’t exercise on weekends because I need to catch up on cleaning the house, laundry, and seeing my daughter.
I don’t exercise in the morning because it may wake Emerson.
I don’t join a gym because I just can’t spend any less time away from my family – I’m spread thin as it is.
I can’t go to the gym at lunch because I don’t have the time… and then I would be all sweaty or wet from a shower.

Yeah, I have a lot of exer-cuses but none of them are valid. As my Weight Watchers leader said last night, “You can make time for anything; you already make time for the things you want to do, now you need to make time for the things you have to do.”

So I have a couple less hours of Emerson time in a week; but I’d rather give that up for an extra decade on this planet with her. To miss her eating dinner one night so I can see her walk down the aisle at her wedding; to miss a trip to the playground so I can attend her college graduation; to miss one bedtime a week so I can be there at the birth of her first child. Sounds like a worthy trade.

A big exer-cuse I have is that I don’t have the gear to be active. I have one old pair of sneakers and no other decent shoes to walk around town. My wardrobe is geared towards work and social events; I don’t own lots of things that can handle stretch and sweat. If I had some more shoes that could let me walk a mile at lunch (or walk home from Weight Watchers, or to and from the grocery store) I would be more likely to hoof it. If I had knits and cotton pieces that flexed and dried fast, I wouldn’t need to take a half hour on a Sunday just to be ready enough to go on a hike with my daughter and husband.

I make huge exer-cuses about my mornings. I say I don’t have time, but I wake up at 5:30 to leave for work between 7-8am. The gym opens at 6; I could easily throw on a tank and some yoga pants, drive down there, spend 30 minutes on a machine and be back in time to take a shower and get ready for work. I could also be out the door by 5:50 for a 30-minute walk around town to save even more time. My sister gave me a walking video which I did maybe twice; it’s a free thing I can do in my living room to switch up the routine and still be on time for work.

So many exer-cuses.

In this week’s Weight Watcher Weekly it says, “Losing weight helps you look good in clothes. Exercise helps you look good naked.” As the weather gets warmer and I am exposing more skin I really agree with this. Wednesday evening we had a friend over; the three of us were on the deck and I was in cutoff denim shorts. I looked down at my pale, large, soft, dimpled thighs. These thighs that don’t see the light of day on an ordinary workday, but will be exposed on blazing hot summer weekends. They were begging for some exercise, they looked so neglected. My arms are a similar situation – soft, saggy, neglected.

So I have fallen off the food wagon a bit… but I think what I really need to do to take care of myself and get back on track is to exercise. My goal this coming week is a baby step – at least twice this week I will do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio. Walking, elliptical, exercise video, something. If I can do two times and stick to it, I can then up it to three or more. But I’ll try twice a week for now and get into that groove.

What are your exer-cuses, and what do you think you can do to battle them this week?

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Friday Weight Watchers Update

I have been on Weight Watchers now for eight weeks. I have missed two meetings and weigh-ins, maybe five days I haven’t tracked my food, but every day I have thought about it and been committed to it. I haven’t gone hardcore because I have done Weight Watchers… I think this is my fourth time at it. But this is the second longest time I have been with it because I haven’t been hardcore. Baby steps, tiny life changes, tiny adjustments for the long haul.

And because of it, I have now removed almost 5% of my original weight. I seriously think I will achieve that goal by next week’s weigh-in. Yesterday I weighed in and found out I lost three pounds. Three pounds!

Yes, I got my period so I lost all that PMS bloat. But I also moved my body every day, I drank my water, I ate my breakfast, I tracked every single day all the food I ate, and was honest with portion sizes. I wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t use any activity points and didn’t eat all my extra bonus points. I never felt deprived, I never felt frustrated or annoyed.

This week in the meeting, a fellow WW-er said that she indulged in a bucket of French fries that week and actually got sick from it, when before she could have wolfed it down without a second thought. I realized the same has happened to me. Last night after Weight Watchers, my mom came over. My husband was busy and didn’t get dinner cooked and suggested getting Chinese. I don’t think I have had Chinese takeout since starting Weight Watchers, and it sounded amazingly delicious. I got my standard – Mongolian Beef, made spicy. I put the rice on the plate, added half of the dish. I usually do this and then go back for the second half (after consuming my egg roll and/or hot and sour soup). Well I couldn’t even finish the first half of the Mongolian Beef. Too much rice, the meat was too saucy, too salty, too processed tasting. I felt icky afterwards, and was so glad I didn’t indulge in soup or egg roll. I drank three glasses of water to try to flush my system, it just felt so… wrong.

That’s not to say I haven’t eaten bad food. I had Chipotle this past week, this Sunday at the family get-together I had a small handful of sour cream and onion ruffled chips with dip, Tuesday night I had a regular beer and I salivate just thinking about the ribs my husband made last Friday. I guess the difference is that Chinese food is the type of thing I eat mindlessly. It’s the type of dinner we have in front of the TV, where you hit a commercial break, look down and are shocked that your plate is empty. And I think these eight weeks have gotten me out of that mindset. If I had the same Chinese in a restaurant with a glass of wine, conversation, distraction I would have eaten even less, and probably would have enjoyed more. I wouldn’t have ended up with indigestion waking me at 1am (of course on a night when Emerson crashed at 7pm and didn’t make a peep until 7:45am). Like Weight Watchers tells you, it’s not about depriving yourself, it’s about moderation. You CAN eat anything, it’s just about quantities and balance.

So this morning I put on my beloved Seven jeans and they fit, but they are loose to the point that they look dumpy. These are the jeans that used to make my ass look fantastic and every time I put them on my husband asked me if I lost weight. I put them on this morning and my husband joked that I had put on his jeans. Yeah, they looked that unflattering. Last night my husband was sitting in a chair in the living room, I was lying on the floor below him watching TV and half-heartedly doing crunches and he was playing around and put his foot on my breast. He took his foot away… and my bra stayed dented. “What the hell is wrong with your boob?” he asked. I had to explain that my breasts are shrinking And don’t really fill this bra currently, especially when lying down. It kind of sucks to be in this middle stage – not small enough for a new wardrobe, but my current wardrobe looks a bit off on my slightly changed frame. I don’t know whether to buy new clothes, alter what I have, and if I do buy or alter, what should I buy that won’t also be the wrong fit in another month or two.

Ah, another reason to buy dresses – all my dresses still fit!

The weather is supposed to be spectacular this weekend. Tomorrow morning Emerson and I are getting up bright and early to attend a baby consignment sale in Reisterstown, Maryland. It is being held by a relative’s church. If you live near Baltimore and are interested in attending, send me an email and I can give you the deets. Last year my husband’s aunt gave us a giant trash bag of clothes for Emerson that she got at the sale and she only paid $25 for all of it. The older a child gets, the less gifts you get and the more I need to build up Emerson’s wardrobe. Sunday we are having breakfast at my mom’s house and I am going to finally clean out all the random stuff I am still storing in my childhood bedroom (hello souvenir glass from prom and my zip-ankle Guess jeans). This means I still have most of the days to enjoy the weather – no plans of yet but I hope to spend as many hours as I can outside!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend – take care of yourselves, love yourselves, and do something to pamper that fabulous body of yours!

Weight Watchers Update

Last night I got to Weight Watchers late and barely heard the meeting. However I did remove 1.4 pounds! Woo-hoo!

But what did I do once I got home? Grabbed leftover potato chips and French onion dip from Emerson’s birthday and scarfed down a ton of it while downing two icy cold Miller Lite tallboys. Self-sabotage.

Does anyone else do this? You’re riding high – you’re losing weight, you’re seeing the difference. Your clothes are loose, people are commenting on how great you look, you feel amazing. And then you do something really stupid. Maybe it’s ordering pizza and eat the whole pie. Maybe you down an entire carton of Ben & Jerry’s. Or maybe you’re like me and those chips that have been in the pantry for a whole week suddenly call out to you and you grab them by the fistful, dunk them deep in the dip and swallow so fast you hardly taste it.

The difference this time is after a few minutes, I stopped. I realized what I was doing, and I was angry with myself. It didn’t even taste that good, I wasn’t even that hungry. Before, I would justify it. Oh well, already broke the seal, might as well continue. Oh well, I’ll balance it out with a healthy day tomorrow. Oh well, proven time and time again I can’t keep weight off…

This time I got myself to stop it, I knew it was better to stop now. If I continued, I would bring back the craving for such foods. I would finish that bag, and feel like crap. My stomach would hurt, it would be so full and I would just drown out that feeling with a third beer, or a sweet something to cancel the fatty/savory or just give up and go to sleep. I knew I didn’t want to go down that road again.

Today I have been “good” and I plan to stay that way from now on. The old me would throw the chips in the trash and cover with more trash. The new me closed the bag, put it back in the pantry and KNEW I wouldn’t binge again. Looking at that bag will be a reminder of how closely I came to falling off this wagon.