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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

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

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

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

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

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 haven’t done of these updates in a very long while… because I haven’t been to a Weight Watchers meeting in a very long while. Work has been hectic, I have had social engagements on Thursday nights, and I am the type where I go on my own plan if I am not held accountable with meetings.

So when I see that in six weeks I have only gained 0.6 pounds I’m excited… but also know that is pure luck and chance. I have been on my own plan, I am not doing the right thing, the healthy thing.

I eat Subway or frozen meals for most lunches because I know the PointsPlus value without having to calculate. Most mornings I eat oatmeal – again something for which I know the PointsPlus value. The rest of my life is totally random and not on the plan. I’ve been drinking wine, eating French fries and French bread pizza. Some nights I don’t eat a proper dinner (Wednesday night was the leftover piece of my daughter’s quesadilla, a handful of baked Doritos and a plum), and some days I am so busy at work I look up, it’s 3pm and I end up dashing downstairs to the lobby gift shop for a Cup-o-Noodles and a banana. I’m drinking far too much diet soda and coffee, and not enough plain water. I have also consumed three Georgetown Cupcakes this week alone.

I may be “staying on track” with my weight, but this isn’t a way to have long-term success, and it’s not the way to be a healthy individual. My weightloss journey isn’t about fitting into a certain size of clothing. I am beautiful just the way I am right now. This is about getting myself healthy and creating life-long habits to help me live a long and enjoyable life and be a role model for my daughter.

I am glad I was able to get back to my meeting last night. I was shocked by how few people were there – it was me, my mom and only 10 other individuals. We usually have 30 or more people attend. I think at this time of the summer people have given up on their diets – they have already had their moments in the swim suit, and far too many barbecues and happy hours to keep track any more. Right around the corner is the weather where you can attempt to hide in layers of heavy fabric and hibernate. I’m not going to hibernate – weight loss shouldn’t be about fashion, it should be about quality of life.

With the weight I have already removed, I have seen an improvement in the quality of my life. I don’t get tired as quickly, winded as often. I have more flexibility and bounce back faster after minor injuries. I can carry my tall child with ease, keep up with my husband, sleep better and have a more normal appetite. I always had good cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, but I bet they would be even better now. I want to keep this going. Keep this body strong and healthy. And yes, if I can fit into a pair of normal jeans or tall boots along the way, well that’s icing on the cake!

My meeting leader usually writes some topic-relevant quotes on her flip chart; I find these to be really helpful and inspiring, a great way to sum up what we learned that day. This week was about overcoming plateaus – something I know far too well. These two quotes really hit me:

Failure is not an ending, it’s feedback

I think this is a great way to look at life in general. It’s easy to get frustrated and quit. Having a plateau, falling off the wagon… it doesn’t mean it’s over and time to give up. It’s feedback – something I’m doing isn’t working right and I need to use this information to improve.

Winners have a way, losers have a reason

Amen. I am queen of excuses. I can’t exercise because I don’t have time, I don’t have time to count PointsPlus because work is so crazy. I didn’t stay within my PointsPlus because I was too busy/not feeling well/didn’t have time to go to the grocery store/the sky is blue. I have all sorts of reasons for my failure… but they are just excuses. A winner figures out how to succeed in spite of obstacles.

So how have all of you who are trying to remove weight? Any successes? Temporary failures? Recipes or tips 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

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

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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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

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

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

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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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

I haven’t had a Weight Watchers update in a couple of weeks because I haven’t attended a meeting in a couple of weeks.

The month of January is pretty hectic for my family. First week was Emerson’s birthday, the next was my mom’s, the next my sister’s, the week after is my birthday. On top of that, January is always busy at work. I was proud to even attend one meeting last month.

I was also proud to see that after so many birthday meals and toasts and parties I still was able to remove 0.8 pound. I actually expected a bit more – I have been on a roll lately.

What’s new:
– FINALLY Weight Watchers is a Lifestyle, not a Diet. I don’t feel as though I am suffering with my food choices and they are becoming choices I enjoy. When I go against Weight Watchers I feel sluggish, slimy, heavy.

On my birthday, my husband took me to a local microbrewery/restaurant. I walked in and smelled burgers. We looked at each other and said, “I’m getting a burger.” I got one with blue cheese and bacon with a side of fries. I ate 80% of that amazingly delicious burger and at least half of the fries along with two glasses of Malbec and felt utterly disgusting. We went home, Emerson went to bed, my husband and I were sitting in the living room. He was sitting in his chair, I in my spot on one of the couches and we both looked as though we had climbed K2 – tired, slouched, done. We ended up not doing anything that night and were in bed by 9pm. We knew it was due to our filthy dinners.

We agreed to eat healthier meals the rest of the weekend. The next day, I had oatmeal for breakfast, edamame and sushi for lunch, and homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner and I had so much energy! I felt as though I had completed a detox. It reminded me how heavy foods may taste good, but they aren’t worth it.

– I’m All About the Sippy Cup. I have a Camelbak bottle at work with a Bite-n-Sip valve and without even noticing, I will down over 64 ounces before 5pm. I now have one at home and carry it everywhere with me. I feel like Emerson, who carries a sippy cup as though it’s her security blanket. However I was noticing that though I am great with water consumption at work, I find myself not drinking (or drinking wine or Diet Coke or beer) when at home. Now I get at least another 26 ounces in my body each weeknight and at least 60 ounces each weekend day.

– I Am Down Two Sizes. I mentioned this in a previous post, but I finally comfortably fit into a 12 petite. This is not a generously sized stretchy 12, but lined items from brands like Calvin Klein, Halogen, and Ralph Lauren. Not yet able to fit into dresses of this size, but it feels good to strut around town in a 12 petite pencil skirt and I can’t wait to dig into my spring clothing in the attic.

– I Put on a Bathing Suit and Didn’t Want to Vomit/Cry. I will have a post soon detailing this experience, but I was approached by to try out their program where they do a virtual consultation and help you find the perfect suit. I readily agreed to this because last year I wore the most God-awful suit from MiracleSuit that made my boobs look saggier than they already are, and the cut totally added ten years to me.

My new suit arrived (in a size 12 thankyouverymuch) and it’s awesome. So awesome, I left it on and put on my bathrobe and surprised my husband with it when he came home from teaching. He thought I looked pretty smokin’ too!

– I Hit the Gym. Okay, I went to the gym ONCE, but it’s better than no gym at all! Work has been hectic and it’s hard to fit in exercise either before or after work. I have been doing morning stretches and the occasional set of crunches, have been taking lunchtime walks when I have a lunch (and it’s not gross out), but really want to get regular moving into the routine. I think I need to schedule gym time, just like everything else in my week to ensure it happens. Even if I only go once a week and only get a chance for 30 minutes on the elliptical, it’s better than nothing at all.

I am feeling pretty good about this new me, this new life. It’s not a strain like it was a couple months ago – I don’t constantly feel deprived, and when I do go over points I don’t feel so guilty or defeated. Yes, I want to lose weight to look good, but I keep reminding myself this isn’t about how I look, but how I live. I want to be strong, I want to be healthy, I want to see Emerson graduate from college and get married. I want to end the cycle of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure that plagues my family. I want to be able to keep up with my husband and daughter, and enjoy activities that over the past decade I have stopped doing because of this larger, softer, weaker body.

When I think about clothing, it actually makes me feel like giving up. My beloved black patent wide belt is on its last notch and will need to be replaced within five pounds. My black pencil skirt was too big and it took a long time to find an equally classic, well-made and simple replacement. Some of my shoes are too big, and I have had to replace all of my jeans – even jeans I purchased just three months ago. Part of me is scared to try on my stash of spring clothes for I fear most if not all will be too big or hang wrong on this new body. I desperately need to go bra shopping. I don’t have the money to replace my entire wardrobe every 15 pounds, and I really don’t like shopping. It would be so easy to stop now – stay in this better body that has clothes that fit okay. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s cheap.

But a new wardrobe is cheaper than a triple bypass. A new pair of shoes is a worthy investment if I can extend my life by a decade. Who cares about a belt if I can keep up with my very active husband and toddler? I want to ride the tandem bike we bought ourselves as a wedding gift – it has been YEARS. I want to take Emerson to the pool and teach her how to swim – I was on swimteam from 2nd grade through high school and was a lifeguard all through college – I should be the one teaching her, not my husband. And for these experiences, it’s worth it to save up for that new pencil skirt in a smaller size.

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.

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

They say the scale doesn’t lie. Well, that’s true but this week is a reason why I don’t have a scale in my home.

As the woman at the scale said, “Looks as though you’re becoming an expert in plateauing!” Swell. Third week, the same weight.

However, I don’t feel and I don’t look the same. My Seven jeans which were a bit loose are now clown-like on me. Last week I wore a pair of Talbots trousers that I found too tight a year ago, and now I can take them off without unbuttoning them. The Ann Taylor LOFT jeans that I bought a month ago are now baggy and the waist folds over, it’s so loose. Even my trusty Old Navy matte jersey wrap dress which I have had for years seems to big and I had to move the safety pin that holds the neckline in place because it was gaping. Casual acquaintances and coworkers I don’t see as often are asking me if I have lost weight.

My appetite has changed. I can’t eat as much in a sitting, and I have less desire for “filthy” food. This weekend we went to brunch and I ordered my regular – two eggs, potatoes, toast and meat. I ordered bacon and gave it to my husband. I ate one piece of rye toast, both my eggs and half my potatoes and gave the rest to Emerson. I drank a full glass of water and a cup and a half of coffee with Splenda and some cream… and I was completely satisfied. I wasn’t stuffed, but even better… I wasn’t craving anything more. Today I went to the Post Office to drop off some eBay sales and smelled fries from some local place. It was 2:30 – I had breakfast at 7am and since then all I had consumed was a clementine. I decided I deserved fries, and bought just them, nothing else for lunch. I ate them, and ¾ of the way through I started feeling sick. Too much fat, too much potato, not enough vegetables. I threw the rest of the fries away.

I thought, “Who AM I?” I am the girl who when living in the sorority house in college was dared to eat nine pot pies in one sitting and did it. And went out drinking that same night. I am the woman who can eat more than my husband. I have always been the woman who eats faster than anyone else, I shovel it down without a thought and never have a feeling of being stuffed, of overeating. I love the FEEL of chewing, of eating. I have always ignored any feelings of being full to feel the pleasure of consumption. I can’t do that any more.

The best part, I have removed enough weight that I FEEL lighter. I want to move! When music is on, I want to dance. I bop around while prepping dinner, I dance with Emerson while watching Yo Gabba Gabba, this morning I didn’t groan, but looked forward to doing my sun salutations and crunches.

So maybe I have hit a plateau on the scale, but I really don’t feel as though I have in life as a whole.

So PointsPlus – what are you all thinking of this new plan? I obviously haven’t seen great changes with it, but I like it. I like being able to keep clementines and apples in my desk drawer for when I have a craving for something sweet. I like that I can eat out at places like Au Bon Pain or even Chipotle, be smart with my choices and still have enough points left over for a healthy and satisfying dinner. I like that a 6” turkey sub from Subway (no cheese, no mayo) has LESS points than a Lean Cuisine. I feel as though I have more options, more variety, the ability to get creative with recipes and not fill dinners with weird tasteless fake and fat free versions of things.

Yesterday I was a masochist and went to Target.
In the rain.
Two weeks before Christmas.
I know.

Anyway, since I was stupid enough to go there, I decided to make the most of it and shopped the entire store. Did you know Target has organic fresh spinach and wild-caught sea scallops? Yeppers, they do. So I bought a bag of each. Last night I seared the scallops in some olive oil with garlic, thyme, and sage. After cooking them in the pan, I added a quarter cup of white wine and used it to scrape up all the brown stuff and make a sauce. Poured it on the scallops. Then I added a bit more wine and some water to the pan and then the spinach and steamed it until the leaves were wilted. While doing this, I prepared some quinoa that was seasoned with a pat of butter that softened garlic, sage, and thyme. Put the spinach on the quinoa, and the scallops on top with a drizzle of that sauce that was created. It was utterly delicious, satisfying, and the entire meal was only 12 points. When you have 29 points in a day, that isn’t bad at all!

I know what I need to do to get over this plateau is add exercise to my routine. I just need to figure out where to fit it. Even if I only work out one day a week more than I do, it’s better than nothing. I think I have been good with my food intake – I am really learning to listen to my body, I am craving new things (hello spinach and quinoa!), I am watching the size of my portions. However this can only go so far and I now need to start moving this body on a more regular basis.

So how do you fit exercise into your busy schedule, especially now that it is so cold and gets dark so early? And how are you doing with PointsPlus?

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?