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Posts Tagged ‘Weight Watchers’

My husband and I co-lead a weight loss group at our church. There are 12 members, all at very diffect places in their journey to live a healthier lifestyle. A couple of the people are making the choice to do something about their health for the very first time in their lives. I can tell how happy they are to get started, but also a little fearful. When they ask for help, I’ve been trying to take myself back to square one. That’s led me a lot of thinking about the very beginning of my weight loss journey. Namely, the feelings that came along with it. And oh, are there feelings. Desperation. Shame. Fear. Frustration. Excitement. Pride. 

For so long, weight loss had seemed to overwhelming to me. I wanted to eat right. I wanted to exercise. The catch was, I had no clue how to do either. Don’t get me wrong. There was plenty of information out there. “Eat this! “Lose 10lbs in 19 minutes!” “Cut carbs!” “Don’t eat meat!” I was confused and I was scared. Confused about where to begin. Scared to stay the same. Scared to change. Scared to fail.

I started by taking baby steps to exercise more, but with no real direction. I joined a ladies’ gym and bought a workout DVD, doing one of those things on most days of the week. It was a good start, but I didn’t understand what to do next or how to do it. I would sort of start to acknowledge that I needed to change the way I ate, but then I’d freeze up. I was too afraid to face how bad my diet really was. Frustrated, my exercise would decrease until it was nonexistent. Back to square one. My efforts at exercise were going to be derailed completely if I didn’t get a food wake-up call.

For me, that was the orientation session at my very first Weight Watchers meeting. I remember being fascinated as the leader explained the basics. She was making weight loss simple, logical, formulaic and kind of fun…all at the same time. No way that was possible! Suddenly, I was excited about getting started. I finally had control over getting healthier. I had a plan. It was a huge relief. For the first time ever, I felt like I really could do this!

After the meeting, I bought the expanded member kit. (Which I still have. I can’t stand to part with it, even though the information is obsolete on the new PointsPlus program.) I’m a Type-A person through and through so I wanted all the information I could possibly get my hands on in order to learn. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.

I went home and absolutely devoured these books. I read through them like they were novels. I highlighted foods I already ate for easy reference. The next day I spent 3 hours at the grocery. T-H-R-E-E. In a place I didn’t even really like. I was giddy with excitement. It was almost sick. 🙂 Calculating points, which can be a tedious task, suddenly became like a game to me. I was actually taking the time to look at nutrition labels and paying attention to what I was putting in my body.

I learned A LOT in those first few weeks of my new eating style. Writing down what I ate laid it all out there in black and white. It was eye-opening. The biggest shocker for me was portion sizes. It was nothing for me to consume large helpings of firsts, always seconds and sometimes even thirds. Actually measuring out a 1-cup portion of pasta was eye-opening. Before, I’d been known to eat an entire box of pasta in one sitting. By myself. In one sense, I felt ashamed. How could I have not known that was a problem? I also felt relieved by the fact that I did know now and I was changing.

The more I learned, the easier it got. I started taking baby steps, but this time with a distinct purpose. I started packing my lunch for work instead of buying it in the cafeteria. I started walking on my lunch hour instead of listening to the radio in my car. Grocery shopping took less time, too. Some things, like buying more fruits and veggies, became intuitive. I also became familiar with the points values of my go-to foods and didn’t need to calculate them or look them up every time. I’d take the long way to fill up my water bottle which accomplished two things: drinking more water and moving more. I still think it’s funny that I rewarded myself with a water mug after losing my first five pounds when, before, a reward would have been a giant piece of molten lava cake. (Still have the mug, too. It’s my all-time favorite.)

So why have I been dwelling on these “before” feelings? I don’t think it’s dwelling as much as it is using them to motivate myself and to help the people around me who are just getting started.  So often, I take for granted the things that are common knowledge for me now, but that were HUGE revelations back then. A couple weeks ago, one of the women from our group was in awe of the can of pumpkin + cake mix muffins. Another lady jotted things down furiously when we talked about the food pyramid and portion sizes. It was really cool to see them learning something from our group and getting so excited about it, but in my head I was thinking “How can you not know this?”  Then I remembered that this was me just a few years ago.

On days when I just cannot get my butt out the door to the gym. On days when I don’t want to track. On days when I want to eat that whole box of pasta. Those are the days I want to remember what it was like when I didn’t know what to do. And then I want to remember how excited I was when I finally had a doable plan, a direction. There I was, getting excited about those first steps to taking control of my eating. And, in turn, my life. I want to use those memories to remember why I’m so grateful for my healthy lifestyle. It’s not because I should live this way. It’s because I’ve made the decision to do so and worked hard for it.

What was/is the first step you took toward a healthier lifestyle?

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Hey, Cutie!

I hate oranges. I know hate is a strong word, but it’s appropriate in this case. It grosses me out just watching someone else eat an orange. I don’t like the taste. I don’t like the texture.

My aversion goes beyond the actual fruit. I can’t stand orange juice, I don’t eat orange-flavored candy, I think orange glaze on meat is disgusting and I always turn down baked goods that taste anything like an orange. Heck, I don’t even really like the color orange.

Given these things, I have no idea what made me bite into the Cutie I was feeding to Peanut. But I did and…

it. was. HEAVEN!

Despite the appearance, I didn’t think it really tasted anything like an orange. There was no waxy, stringy texture and the flesh was super sweet. The closest thing I could even compare the taste to would be fruit punch. Yes, fruit punch. I know it’s a strange comparison, but that’s what they taste like to me. I love fruit punch so this is most definitely a good thing.

I’m so happy that I’ve discovered these. I love fresh fruit and have been eating even more of it since starting the launch of the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. This gives me yet another option to enjoy!

Speaking of Cutie, it doesn’t get much better than this:

Have you ever steered clear of a food because you just knew you wouldn’t like it, only to find out that you did?

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This past week I reunited with some friends I haven’t seen for a while. After spending some time with them, I’m noticing that I feel better about myself both physically and mentally.

First, my tracker. (Pardon the icky food stains on the cover. I keep it in my kitchen drawer and often journal while I’m cooking or just after I’ve eaten.)

One beautiful thing about working for Weight Watchers it that I get to listen to 3 meetings per week while I’m on the clock as a receptionist. Last week the topic was tracking. For about a month now, I’ve been doing the whole “I’m tracking in my head” thing. If you’ve ever been a Weight Watcher, you probably know what I mean. I’ve been keeping track of the PointsPlus values I eat and what I have left in my head, but not putting anything down on paper. The message I heard at the meetings really hit home and I felt like a fraud knowing that I was slacking on something we stress as being so important to our members. That’s when I decided to recommit to tracking 100%. I went home, turned to a fresh week in my journal and started immediately by filling out the weekly goals/challenges plan and writing out my exercise plan.

All week, I wrote down every. single. thing. I didn’t guess on any PointsPlus values. I looked everything up unless it was a food I eat regularly and was 100% sure of the PPV. And guess what? It was actually fun! Maybe that’s my Type A showing, but I enjoyed going back to the basics and looking at my eating in such a logical way. I also found myself measuring out more of my portions instead of eyeballing them and working hard to get in my Good Health Guidelines so that I could check off those little boxes.  I definitely noticed myself eating less BLTs (bites, licks & tastes) and made better choices overall because of the accountability. Does it take extra time? Yes, but not much. Is it worth it? Heck yes!

The gym was the other “friend” I reunited with this week. 

We only pay for our gym membership from November-April each year. The rest of the time my husband is too busy at work (sometimes 80-90 hour weeks) to really utilize the facilities and I can run, walk or bike outside and do DVDs at home.  This year, I really slacked about getting signed back up and it was almost January when I reenrolled. The owners gave us the last two weeks of December for free, but I was too caught up in the holidays to take advantage of that bonus. My loss, for sure. This past week I got my behind in gear when I realized we were paying for something that wasn’t being used.  It felt so good to be back.

As you can see, the gym is really small. I’ve actually seen hotel fitness centers that were bigger and had more equipment. Plus, it only costs $25/month for both of us and it’s about a 2 minute drive. We’d have to drive about 30-40 minutes to get to the closest, more standard gym and those start at about three times the expense. It may not be fancy, but they really do have everything we need.


There’s only one elliptical (in the middle of the last picture) and it has a mind of its own. You can set your resistance and crossramp, but it chooses to adjust itself at random times during your workout, even when it’s on the manual setting. Sometimes pushing the buttons brings it back where you want it. Sometimes it doesn’t. Today was a “doesn’t” day. I ended up with much more resistance than I wanted for much of the workout. I still cranked out about 45 minutes. The owners bought three new treadmills with TVs last year and had cable hooked up. They told me at least one new elliptical is next on their list of upgrades.

The beautiful thing about such a small gym is that I’m usually the only one there, espcially when I go in the middle of the day. Thank goodness this was the case yesterday. Here’s me (pardon the not-sure-what-I-was-thinking expression) after 45 minutes on the posessed elliptical:

Do not adjust your monitor. Those yoga pants are, in fact, electric blue. They didn’t look that blue on the Victoria’s Secret website when I put them in my cart. I almost returned them, but they’re super comfortable and were only $6 so it’s worth sacrificing my pride. I feel like an 80’s aerobics instructor when I wear them. Has anyone seen my leg warmers?

Dinner was another old favorite. Spicy Turkey Meatloaf with Ketchup Topping and roasted potatoes.

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times before, but this was by far my best execution. The ground turkey came packaged as 1.2 pounds instead of the 1.5 pounds the recipe called for. I used just one package and the only change I made was to eliminate the chicken broth. It was still very moist and actually stayed together even better than my previous attempts.

What do you like about your gym? What would you like to see improved or added?

Don’t forget! My giveaway for the Dr. Weil audiobook ends tomorrow at midnight EST.

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Tummy Troubles

The last thing I’ve wanted to talk about for the last 2 days is food, hence my lack of posting. I’m going on 48 hours of icky tummy syndrom that’s made it impossible to keep food in my stomach for longer than 20 minutes. At first I thought it was dehydration because it started toward the end of my 4-mile run on Tuesday. I started chugging water and that only made me feel worse. Long story short, I have no idea what’s wrong. I feel fine and then as soon as I put something in my stomach I feel like crap. I think I’m on the uphill swing because I was able to eat a protein bar before my run today with no ill effects. The bad thing is that I have no food pics to share because I thought you’d get tired of seeing plain toast. 🙂

Enough whining. It’s too nice of a day for that. I just finished a fabulous run that left me feeling fully in control and prepared for Saturday’s 5k. I’m aiming to beat my time (36:12) from my last 5k two weeks ago and I KNOW I can do it. I just know it. Another reason for my great mood is that I was down 1.8 at weigh-in before the run. Woo to the hoo! I really feel like I’m headed in the right direction to getting my body back after baby. I feel stronger and I can notice positive changes in the overall way my body looks. I still have a ways to go (about 45lbs) to get back to my goal weight, but I’m encouraged by the progress I’ve made so far.

I’m proud of myself for focusing on fitness this time around instead of just that number on the scale. When I originally lost the weight a few years ago, I didn’t work out AT ALL until after I’d lost 55lbs. The weight was coming off fairly easily just by eating less so why did I need to exercise? My reality check came when I hit my plateau and couldn’t take off any more weight. That’s when I joined a gym. I started out by taking step classes 2 days per week and gradually worked my way up to working out for 1-2 hours every evening after work. Lo and behold, adding activity helped to bust my plateau and I made my goal weight six months after joining the gym. Besides being where I wanted to be on the scale, I noticed a huge difference in muscle tone and my energy level. I also started to focus more on eating the right foods instead of just eating less of the not-so-healthy stuff. Thus began my passion for a healthy lifestyle. I liked losing weight, but I LOVED the way I *felt* when my main goal was getting healthy. It just so happens that eating right and exercising go hand in hand with both.

Mmmkay. So, that was a pretty long post for not really having anything in mind to write about when I sat down to post. I hope I didn’t bore you to tears. Hopefully I’ll have some food pics to share with you tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday!

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Starting Seeds

Hey ya’ll! What’s shakin’. I’ve been super busy lately, but nothing exciting enough that you’d care to read about it. My eats have been repetitive and boring lately, too.

One exciting thing that happened last weekend was that I started my herb garden from seeds! I heard that they’re predicting the final frost around Mother’s Day. I counted backwards from then and decided that I’d better get my behind in gear if my cute little seedlings were going to be ready to go into the ground then. The weather was beautiful last Sunday so, after a trip to the local hardware store (coolest. place. ever) for supplies, I got down to business and got my hands dirty.


seed starting tray (the lid is underneath), seed starting mix, gardening glove & seeds

Here are the herbs I planted:

Dill:

Cilantro:

Thyme:

Parsley:

Oregano:

Basil:

Lavender:

I also planted some Zinnias. I love these flowers, but had tons of trouble finding them in the nurseries last year so I decided to give them a go myself.

Fingers crossed that these seeds do better than my first attempt two summers ago. I didn’t do much research before that debacle so I’m hopeful that doing my homework pays off with this batch. I promise that I’m not turning UFC into a gardening blog, but you will probably see lots of progress pics of our outdoor endeavors as the summer goes on. That is, if anything survives. LOL

On another happy note, I weighed in at Weight Watchers a day early this week (so yesterday) and I was down 2.6! I was beyond thrilled. After last week’s big loss, I was half expecting a gain. That obviously wasn’t to be. My total post-pregnancy weight loss is now at 17lbs and counting.

I’m SUPER excited for my 5k on Saturday. I did my last pre-race run yesterday and I feel like I’m truly ready. My main goals are to 1) not walk at all and 2) finish in under 40 minutes. My pace with the stroller is around a 14 minute mile and without it’s around 12. I’m running sans stroller so I know that’s totally doable. Now I just have to decide on the most important things…a playlist and what to wear. 😀

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Good morning, bloggies! Guess what? It’s FRIDAY!!! Who’s excited? I know I am. It’s going to be a busier than usual weekend for us, but all fun stuff.

Starting the morning off with some great news, I was down 3.8 at Weight Watchers weigh-in yesterday! Woo to the hoo fo sho! It was a huge boost to my confidence after two weeks of small gains.

In my running news, Peanut and I went to visit my parents in my hometown on Wednesday. I’d intended on using their treadmill, but it ended up being out of commission. I took to the streets (well, sidewalks) of my old neighborhood and did 2.5 miles in 28 minutes to complete C25k Week 8 Day 2. Obviously I’m still not fast, but my pace was a little quicker than it is when I’m pushing the stroller.

I’ve eaten mostly leftovers for the last few days so I didn’t take pictures. Tuesday night was a fun dinner. My husband got home early and we grilled out.

chicken & vegetable kabobs + foil-packet asparagus

I dumped all of mine into a bowl with some leftover brown rice and tossed it all in just a little bit of dijon mustard. I also added a couple of cherry tomatoes.

My husband loves BBQ sauce and received this as a gift recently:

Unfortunately, he wasn’t a fan. He said it had too bourbon-y. I found that funny because the sauce came from this place, a bourbon distillery. LOL I’m not a big BBQ sauce fan, but I did take a taste. All I could taste was vinegar.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! I’ll be tweeting from my phone tonight during Food Revolution. 9 EST. Be there or be square. 🙂

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The day started off a little cloudy and rainy. By 10AM the sun was shining and it was up in the high 70s. In Ohio! In MARCH! Unfortunately I didn’t even get to go outside and enjoy it until after work.

I guess I’ll start from the beginning. Breakfast at home was a toasted Weight Watchers bagel with peanut butter. My camera was already in my purse in the car so I skipped the picture. Trust me, though. It was ooey gooey goodness at its finest.

As I said, the commute was pretty rainy. I didn’t see any lightening, but I did hear some rumblings. The time change means it’s back to driving in the dark in the morning. It’s a fair trade off for having an hour of daylight when I get home.

I got settled in at my desk and had an organic banana around 8:30.

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I was hungry again at 10:30 and wanted something hot. I went ahead and microwaved my can of Progresso Light Vegetable & Barley soup. I had a “side” of string cheese.

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Another Tuesday. Another workout at work day. Yesterday was pretty heavy on the lower body. We did a few new things that were really tough including grass diggers, various squats, BOSU trainer weighted step ups and opposite extensions on our toes rather than our knees. Hurt so good! I’m afraid this might be our last month. Some of the ladies seem to be getting burned out on the time commitment and others are questioning the intensity. We pay a set rate per session divided by the number of people participating. If they drop out, the cost might skyrocket and others might leave based on the expense. I hope this isn’t the case.

The workout left me pretty hungry. Mini-meal #4 of the day was Sabra hummus, baby carrots and a delicious plum.

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This is the first time I’ve tried Sabra (thanks to all the mention in bloggie land) and it was wonderful! I liked the texture a lot better than the brand I normally buy. I bought the original flavor, but the “Insanely Hot” variety was tempting. Anyone tried it? What are your thoughts?

I spent the rest of the afternoon working away while sipping on decaf hot tea. Late in the afternoon my stomach was growling and I treated it to a Pumpkin Pie Spice Clif bar. Dear Clif, PLEASE make this flavor and the Iced Gingerbread flavor available year round. They’re just too dang good to be seasonal!

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I was shocked when I finally hit the doors at 5:00PM. It was still in the 70s with glorious sunshine. The pooch loved hanging her head out the window on the way home and got a little upset when I rolled it up to get on the highway.

My husband was already home when I got there. He had every door of his “man cave” (our large garage/outbuilding) open and he was working away on some random projects. I sat and chatted with him while he worked before deciding that I wanted to take advantage of the weather and MOVE! I walked to the village municipal building to drop off the water bill, then around the corner to mail a letter at the post office. Once my hands were free, I broke into a jog and took the long way home. It felt SO amazingly good to exercise outside again. It put me in a great mood for the rest of the evening and it was like a shot of instant energy.

When I got back I washed up and started dinner. The original recipe came from a friend, but I’ve tweaked it over time to suit our tastes a little. Here’s my version:

Chicken Baseballs

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2 cups chicken breasts, cooked & chopped
4 oz. cream cheese (I use reduced fat.) or 4 wedges of Laughing Cow Swiss cheese
2 tsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (increase/decrease to your taste)
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine all ingredients (except the crescent rolls) until well blended. You can put it all in the food processor or just stir it together in a bowl.

3. Divide crescent rolls into 4 equal pieces (2 triangles per piece) and seal the seams together to form 4 squarish rectangles.

4. Place 1/4 of the chicken mixture (about 1/2 cup) onto each piece of crescent roll.

5. Fold corners or each crescent roll over the top of the mixture to form a pouch.

6. Place “baseballs” on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake until the crescent rolls are done, about 20 minutes.

Here’s a closer look at the inside:

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They’re really tasty, almost like individual chicken pot pies. You can add whatever other seasonings you like. They’re also good with extra veggies (like carrots and celery) added to the mixture.

No real need for a starchy side because of the crescent rolls. We had ours last night with corn and cottage cheese. I had one baseball, my husband had 2 and then he swiped the last one to pack in his lunch.

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After dinner we settled in the living room to finish watching The Biggest Loser before heading to bed. This season is so much different than last year. The people this time seem to genuinely care about and like one another while the last go round was full of pettiness and mean spiritedness.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

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