Category Archives: Meetings

Anchors Away!

April 7th’s meeting could have had a nautical theme since we were talking about anchors.  But anchors come in all types (not just the nautical kind).  Our leader, Pat, mentioned that she looked up the definition of anchor because at first she thought of it as just something that weighed you down.  Not the most positive mental image.  But she discovered another definition that worked for us – source of security or stability.

She asked us what we saw as anchors or sources of security/stability in our lives.  Some of us felt that belief in the plan and that it works was an anchor.  Others said that a picture of “before” could work to remind you of where you were and how far you’d come.  Clothes can be an anchor or reminder – now they now longer fit or you are now fitting into something you couldn’t before.   Pat mentioned that a member in a different meeting said her collar-bone was her anchor.  She couldn’t feel her collar-bone before she joined WW and now she can.  Nice thing is her collar-bone/anchor goes with her everywhere and is a constant reminder.  I like to use my key chain that I earned from WW as my anchor.  I use it for my work keys and every time I take it out to unlock a door at work it reminds me of where I was and how far I’ve come.  One member reminded us that the meetings and the people who attend can be anchors for us.  If she needs support she can just call on one of us to help her through that spot.

Meetings are definitely a good anchor to have no matter where you are in the plan (beginning, maintenance or lifetime).  Remember this is a lifestyle we are working on and not a life sentence!  If you had a bad week you need a meeting and if you had a good week the meeting needs you.

So what do you use as a reminder or to anchor yourself on your journey across the healthy lifestyle sea?

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Work in Progress

Finally caught up on blogging, well until I attend today’s meeting 🙂

Last week’s meeting was about acknowledging what works for us in the program.  Lots of great info came out of that meeting.  One member commented that she had been going crazy with grapes the previous weeks.  Turns out you can have too much of a good thing.  I know this as well – if I eat too many high glycemic fruits I pay for it.  Even though fruits are zero points you can have too many and they can add points on.  If you still want to keep fruit in your program just try to pick more lower GI (glycemic index) ones like berries and less high point ones like bananas or watermelon.

Several of us commented that sleep is very important to the weight loss journey not to mention just general health.  I know for a fact that weeks where I didn’t get enough sleep that scale (as well as my general well-being) reflected it.  Make sure you get at least 6 or more good solid hours of sleep.

One member had a wonderful insight (I do like where she comes from – she makes me see things differently and for that I thank her).  She sees each meeting as a class.  It is a refresher on what she needs to learn.  What a wonderful way to look at things.  I was really surprised that I, as a trainer, didn’t think of that.  Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees and you need someone else to point it out.  I’ve always said my favorite part of training is when I too learn something.

One member said that she used to say “well I only lost __ lbs.” but when she picked up a 5 lb. bag of flour it reminded her of just how much she lost and what she had been carrying around.  Sometimes we need those tangible reminders to see what is working for us.

We then listed all the things we know work on the Weight Watchers program:

  • Number one thing mentioned was – Tracking!  Indeed I had fallen off the tracking bandwagon and last week really saw the results of it.  This week I got back on and look forward to my weigh-in today.  Tracking really is the strongest tool in our arsenal  You can’t change your bad eating habits if you don’t know what you are eating.  We think we know but we can easily block out that candy bar or bag of chips if we don’t write it down!
  • Exercise – just move.  It doesn’t have to be at the gym just add more movement to your daily routine and the effects will show.
  • Portion control – along with tracking these two really make a big difference.
  • Water – drinking it not only fills you up but your body needs it.  I read an article once that said most of us walk around dehydrated – we just don’t get enough water.
  • Setting small OBTAINABLE goals – instead of looking at that final number and thinking I can’t possibly lose __ lbs.  Focus on the first 5 lbs, 5%, 10%, etc.  Not only are they easy to set and reach when we celebrate at the meetings all of us feel good.
  • Setting REASONABLE expectations – if our expectations (I’ll lose 4lbs this week) are set too high we really are setting ourselves up for failure and get easily discourage.  Don’t sabotage yourself that way.
  • Forgive yourself – this segue ways perfectly from the previous point.  If your expectation is set too high – learn from it, forgive yourself and move on.  We are all human, we are going to make mistakes but the best thing we can do is learn from it first and then forgive ourselves.
  • Don’t deprive yourself – this is one of my favorites.  So many people start off with good intentions and try to cut every bad thing out of their diet (no sugar, no salt, no chocolate, no……)  That is great but not very realistic.  Go ahead, have your cake and eat it too.  Just make sure you track it, acknowledge it and forgive yourself if you need to.  Giving into those occasional “goodies” (whatever yours maybe) makes doing this program a whole lot easier than those “diets” out there that make you give up everything.  Goes back to being realistic with expectations.
  • Honesty – I liked this one.  Let’s be honest, we aren’t always so honest with ourselves, our tracking, our exercise, etc.  We are only fooling ourselves but really we aren’t because we know.  Be honest in your tracking, exercising, etc. even if your honesty is that I didn’t track this week or I didn’t exercise as much.  Just keeping yourself honest will let you see patterns and figure out how to do things different or better next time.
  • Healthy Checks – making sure we get all of those in (love seeing the smiley face).  I was one who didn’t believe that the 2 teaspoons of healthy oil was important.   I knew that oil was high in fat what on earth was Weight Watchers thinking?   But I remember how things changed for me once I started doing that religiously.  Good lesson for me to learn that they have researched this, tested it and it works.  What I was doing wasn’t so don’t think I know better.

And I’ll add to this that Meetings is definitely one of the things that work.  They are now my Saturday morning class.  I owe that to myself.  I love the wisdom that comes out in each meeting.  I love learning new things or being reminded of old ones.  For me it is an important part of my program and it is part of what works for me.

We are all just works in progress but hopefully we can use some of the great wisdom documented here to help us with our progress.

 

Making the Negative, Positive

Almost caught up on blogging 🙂  March 17th’s meeting was about “Nix Negative Thoughts”.  Something that we as humans often do that undermines our successes.  I wasn’t sure how this meeting would go but I loved how Pat, our leader, focused on the positives and not the negatives.  She turned those frowns upside down.  And so did the members.

One member mentioned that having children can actually help you.  Because they are so active they keep you more active.  You can take a moment while waiting between soccer games, dance practice, etc. to move.  Be inspired by your kids and their energy levels.

Pat asked us if we got motivated more when the scale was up or down.  Several members said that when it’s down it motivates them more, pushes them to tighten up the program, makes them mad so they refocus their efforts.  One very wise member pointed out that her life isn’t about the scale but about being healthy.  She didn’t want to focus on the number on the scale but all the healthy choices she was making because of joining Weight Watchers.   In the long-term it isn’t about a dress which will be gone in a few years while she will still be here.  I loved her very POSITIVE attitude!

Although tracking can be a chore for some (I’m one of them) let’s turn it around.  We all agreed that when we track we do much better.  One member said she tracked everything religiously.  It didn’t matter if she went over her allotted number of points she just tracked it all.  What great accountability and a fantastic record to look back at and see what worked for you and what didn’t.  I truly love all the wisdom shared by our members.  Another member said that she liked tracking because she was in control of that instead of food being in control of her.

One member who said it made him angry when he gained (it motivated him to do better because when he thought about it he knew what he did wrong that week) – shared a very funny quote from Rodney Dangerfield “Willpower is when you get the electric chair and for your last meal you still stay on Weight Watchers!”

Some things we can do when those negative thoughts creep up on us:

  • recognize them – sometimes just giving them a name or acknowledging them gets them out-of-the-way
  • don’t dwell on them – counter them with some positive thoughts (okay, I gained this week but it was ONLY .6 lbs! or okay, I gained this week but it will motivate me to look at what I did and correct it)
  • embrace flexibility – one of the great things about this program is you customize it so it works for you (e.g. simply filling vs. tracking)
  • bounce back – when things don’t go exactly as planned, acknowledge it but focus on what you can do to move forward – forgive yourself, after all you are only human 🙂
  • plan in advance – planning out your menus or things you have to do that week will help you keep on track

Are You On The Level?

First off I most apologize for being so behind in my blogging.  I could give you plenty of excuses (legit ones even) but I won’t insult your intelligence.  I made choices in my life and blogging the last couple of weeks just wasn’t one of them.  There I owned it!  Okay onto the good stuff.

Our March 10th meeting was all about all about measuring.  It was a great reminder (especially to me since I’m on maintenance and have gotten a bit lax in my habits) to all of us that after doing the program for a while we tend to loosen up.  Our challenge was to take a look at how we measure our portions.

Lots of things can get in our way (just like getting in the way of blogging) and they keep us from measuring (or tracking, etc.).  Life gets busy, too many commitments, we eyeball or guess at sizes, in a hurry, eat out too much or use incorrect measuring instruments.  As one person pointed out if you’ve been eyeballing your measurements it tend to get a bit bigger over time.  What started out as a quarter cup can especially sneak up to a half cup without us realizing it but we are only tracking the quarter cup points!

Some suggestions were to use a smaller plate.  Almost every chef/cook I’ve ever talked to or watched on TV will say that you “eat with your eyes first”.  This isn’t all about Martha Stewart and presentation (although that isn’t to be discounted) but we can actually trick ourselves out by using smaller plates, bowls, etc.  Our leader, Pat, gave us a prime example.  In a normal size cereal bowl she placed 3/4 of a cup of cereal.  It looked like there was hardly anything in the bowl.  Our minds  might think we are getting cheated or that won’t satisfy me so I’ll just add a little more.  She took the exact same cereal (and amount) and then placed it in a smaller bowl it looked like a bonus!

Measuring is important.  Sometimes you are over doing it but other times you might be surprised to find out you aren’t giving yourself enough.  Some suggestions to help you stay “on the level” with your measuring:

  • Use the proper tools (like the very attractive Weight Watchers Easy Measure Spoons)
  • Level those measuring spoons (1/2 cup is not a ROUNDED 1/2 cup)
  • Ask servers about the portions (servers/waiters can be your best ally)
  • Track those extra BLTs!  (bites, licks, tastes = they add up)

Our leader, Pat, remarked at our next meeting that she focused on her dairy creamer in her coffee.  She had not been measuring it and had just been guessing by the color of the coffee as to when to stop.  She was really surprised to find out that she was using too much.  Also she discovered that if she used Half & Half instead of dairy creamer it got lighter a lot sooner (so less tablespoons).  Nice to know even those who have done the program for years need reminders to measure.

Excusersize

No this isn’t a name of the latest craze going around the gym.  It is something we all fall prey to at one time or another.  We make excuses for not exercising.

So what kind of excuses have you made?  Here are some:

  • it’s too boring
  • it’s too hard
  • I’m too tired
  • I don’t know how to do that type of exercise
  • takes too much time
  • the weather isn’t right to (walk/run)

Getting the body moving is obviously healthy (and this doesn’t mean having to spend hours at the gym either) but what other benefits are there?  Here are some that our members came up with:

  • it can help to lower your blood pressure and/or cholesterol
  • can lessen the amount of medication you may need to take for some conditions (but don’t substitute exercise for meds without checking with your doctor first)
  • can help to lower stress
  • can help elevate your mood (especially good if you are prone to depression)
  • can get more done in a day if you are up early and get the exercise out-of-the-way
  • gives you more energy
  • it can be a social activity and can help you make friends (dog walking, group exercise classes, etc.)
  • vent to a friend while walking (good for your mental and physical health)

So we know it’s good for us and we know the excuses we come up with but what can we do to keep “excusersize” out of our lives?

Members suggested the following:

  • be creative – one lady does squats while drying her hair!
  • break activities into small chunks – makes doing exercise more manageable
  • start small – you don’t have to run a marathon – walk before you learn to run
  • sneak it in whenever you can – you don’t have to set aside a formal time to do it, just find 10 mins here or there and MOVE
  • check your expectations – don’t set them too high so that you fail make them realistic
  • starting out slow and build gradually
  • challenge yourself when you get stuck on a plateau – ramp it up just a little to get over that hump
  • have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work (can’t run because of the weather – do your exercise inside on a Wii Fit or something)
  • remember it doesn’t have to be so regimented – not always the same time every day – mix it up a little
  • go at your own pace – don’t worry about others around you they also started at a slower pace when they were beginning
  • park at the further end of the parking lot
  • take the steps instead of the elevator
  • Most importantly if you don’t exercise when you  had planned to – let it go, forgive yourself and MOVE on.   Just get out the next day and move.

Our leader, Pat, asked by show of hands who liked exercise and who didn’t.  I’ll admit I’m definitely in the “don’t like” category.  But I’ve learned that I need it.  I can’t maintain a healthy life and enjoy the things I want to do without it.  All the time I wasn’t exercising I was paying for it.   It is hard for me to get up at 4:50 every morning and go to the gym but I love the benefits.  I feel better than I have in years, I have more energy, I love the feeling after a good workout (endorphins), I look better too!  So every time I go to excusersize I try to remember how much I love the benefits of exercise even if I don’t like doing the exercise itself.

I Have A Food Allergy…

…I eat food and break out in fat!  This was a quip by our leader Pat at last week’s meeting.  But it’s true for those of us at Weight Watchers.  (I’m not trying to make fun of anyone who has a true food allergy – they are very serious and should be very carefully watched.)  Last week’s topic was eating out.  How appropriate since one member mentioned that her husband was taking her out to eat – again!  He felt she had worked hard enough over the years she deserved to not have to cook.  He felt he was being kind to her but she was worried that she couldn’t keep on her WW journey eating out all the time.

She had good reason to be a bit worried.  Studies have shown that everything from portions to how food is made in restaurants is always MORE and not in the good way.  Portions are usually 2-3 times the amount they should be and lots of fattening things like butter and oil are used instead of healthier options.

So what can you do?  Only eat a salad at your favorite place?  Don’t go out at all?  No, there are lots of tips and tricks you can do to keep on your journey, enjoy the food and still eat out.  Here are some of the suggestions our group came up with:

  • Think about what you are going to eat ahead of time
  • Check to see if they have a web site and review the menu
  • Have a salad first (dressing on the side)
  • Use your mouth!  Tell them you are on Weight Watchers.  I’ve done this and often found that the waitress (or in one case the chef who actually came out and suggested the point value of items for me) has been there done that and can make suggestions.
  • Ask how things are cooked.  Steamed veggies sound very healthy but one place mentioned that they put butter on it afterwards which changes things.
  • Split a meal with someone else.
  • Use the kid’s menu – smaller portions of meals and they are cheaper!
  • Many places will let you substitute healthier options for some of those less healthy sides.
  • If you have something like syrup for waffles or pancakes – do it like you would salad dressing.  Ask for it on the side and then dip your fork into the syrup and then into your waffles/pancakes.
  • If eating out with several people suggest that you all share (ala family style).  I’ve done this often at Chinese restaurants so everyone gets a taste or small portion of several great tasting dishes.
  • Get your “doggie bag” early and immediately put half of the portion in there and pack it up.  If you only have half the portion on your plate you are less tempted to eat the whole thing.
  • Decline breads – lovely as they maybe the carbs do add up.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water and not soda.  Unsweetened iced tea is also an option.
  • Look for the right words in the menu – broiled, baked, steamed, etc. are much healthier than fried, au gratin, battered, etc.
  • Pour salt or ketchup (just like one of the Real Housewives of Orange County) over the remaining food so you aren’t tempted to eat more than you should.

Follow these suggestions and you can still eat out but you’ll eat smart.

 

B.L.T.’s

No, not bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches (although that sounds really good right now) but instead Bites, Licks, and Tastes.  Our meeting on Saturday was all about tracking.  I’m glad it was because I’ve not been doing my best with it recently.  It was a good reminder for me to hear.  We talked about all the different things we track and not just WW items.  Some members keep track of their kids schedule of activities, gas mileage, car maintenance, but we also keep track of our points, our healthy checks (water especially), and those activity points!  If you stop to think about it we do a lot of tracking during a week.  Some found that tracking points is a chore and I have to admit that I can fall into that category.  Others like doing it because it gives them a real sense of accomplishment.  All I know is we do better when we track (I’m certainly proof of what happens when you don’t track).

Some members really liked the smiley faces you see in e-tools when you’ve hit your markers for your healthy checks.  Who says kids are the only ones who like to get star stickers or smiley faces for doing something correctly?  I loved the saying one member’s doctor said to her (and I paraphrase) “Do you go out and write ridiculous amounts of checks when you don’t have the money?  Then why are you spending your points that way?!”  That really hit home with me – don’t spend points that my body will have to pay for later.  Don’t get into debt with your money or your body.  Neither is healthy for you.  Track now so I don’t pay later.

Our leader, Pat, talked about an option for some that might make their tracking easier – Upside Down tracking.  This would probably work better for those who don’t use e-tools and use the paper tracker.  Instead of you thinking 6am until 6pm one day and factoring your points then – try 6pm until 6am the next day as one day.  Same number of points for each day but maybe turning things upside down might work better for you especially if you don’t have a normal 9-5 kind of lifestyle.  I love that Weight Watchers gives us options to be flexible with the plan.  I really believe that is one of many reasons why it works for so many.  Being able to tailor it to your life and needs makes it so much easier to makes those changes become a habit and a lifestyle change.

We ended the meeting with this great reminder that all those B.L.T’s do add up!

P.S.  A member mentioned something about the YMCA having a special offer going on.  I tried Googling about this but couldn’t find anything.  If you know more about this would you please comment.  Thanks!

So Was Bill Cosby Right?

Those of us old enough to remember Bill Cosby’s standup routines before his successful television series probably remember his take on breakfast.  I love how he justified giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast.  Now a study has come out saying that Bill might have been right after all!

Both the The Telegraph (in the United Kingdom) and Today Health both mentioned a study that says eating chocolate cake as part of a full breakfast can help you lose weight.  I brought this up at our Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday.   I’d be happy to “take one for the team” and try doing this for a week.  So I went home and made this recipe from Skinnytaste.com.  Regardless of whether you watch your caloric intake or not this has to be the most tasty, moist, chocolatey cake I’ve ever eaten.  Great thing is it’s only 4 points!

I don’t know that I truly condone chocolate cake for breakfast as we all know sugar and refined flour aren’t the best things for our bodies.  Many of us have sweets listed as our trigger foods but I think the main idea I get from this study is to make sure I don’t forget to include some of my favorites (like chocolate cake) into my diet.  Deprivation only makes you crave things more and give in with disastrous results.  So my solution is to make a point friendly cake (I made it into cupcakes for portion control vs. a sheet cake) and enjoy every once in a while.  After all, Bill couldn’t have been completely wrong, could he?

Best Laid Plans…

…of mice and men or in this case woman.  How ironic that talking about planning was part of the last Weight Watchers meeting I attended.  I had “planned” to blog about that meeting a few days after it happened instead of 2 weeks later.  I “planned” to attend last weekend’s meeting but Mother Nature had something else in mind.  Sometimes the old saying of “Man makes plans and God laughs” is very true.

Our leader, Pat, started off the meeting with a quote “Goals you want to reach without a plan is just a wish”.  Planning is a big part of Weight Watchers and having a healthy journey.  I have learned that planning my meals out for the week works better than when I don’t.  I don’t plan down to the detail of x meal is on x night but I do plan out what meals I’m going to make for that week and buy accordingly at the grocery store.  Several other members shared that they too find that planning their meals works well for them.

Planning includes finding new recipes.  I love how many recipes are on e-tools as well as all the great Weight Watchers cookbooks.  Keep in mind that if you use a cookbook that was released prior to the PointsPlus 2012 plan you might need to re-calculate things (just double check that the points listed are still the same).  Also another feature of e-tools is the recipe builder.  A great way to find out if that recipe you think is low points truly is.  You enter in the ingredients and number of servings then recipe builder figures out how many points per serving.  A member shared that a great web site to find new recipes is www.skinnytaste.com.  Great thing is you can find recipes based on the amount of points you want to use for that meal.

Another great way to plan is double your recipes.  Use the extra portions as lunches for the week.  Use convenience foods to help you plan better.  Chopping takes up a lot of time but you can use pre-chopped vegetables to help you fix those recipes quicker.  But what if you don’t always have the time to cook meals?  Great thing about this plan is that you have options.  Weight Watchers makes a lot of great food you can buy and don’t ever have to cook.  So it doesn’t matter whether you are a budding Bobby Flay or have two left hands when it comes to the kitchen you can still plan ahead and use options to help you achieve your goals.

I Believe In The Power Of Oops!

I’m a big believer in people learning more from their mistakes than their successes.  I remember one of my first bosses, Betty Crader, having that saying on her wall.  At the time I didn’t know how true it was when I was a teenager but now that I’m *cough* “older” I know it couldn’t be more true.

Every Saturday morning at 11am I attend my Weight Watchers meeting in Towson.  I’ve long said I think one of the biggest reasons Weight Watchers is so successful is due to the great information shared at these meetings.  Not just from the leader but all that attend (no matter how long they have worked the program everyone there has a different perspective and wonderful wisdom to share).  This past weekend was no different, I sat in the meeting all ready to start taking notes that would eventually become this blog post.  What’s that saying “best laid plans of mice and men” or maybe “man makes plans and God laughs”?  Interesting thing was the topic was “believe”.  Well as my post states, I believe in the power of oops!

For Christmas I got the brand new Asus Transformer Prime tablet.  The geek in me is loving it beyond words.  I was using it at the meeting to take notes (a lot easier than on my smartphone).  I used an app that came with the tablet but didn’t really like how it had been functioning.  So Wednesday night after an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich (the latest version of Android) I started looking for other note taking apps.  Downloaded several and tried them out.  They were better than the original app I was using so I decided to uninstall the first app.  OOPS!  I completely forgot all my notes were there and away they went.

So what did I learn?  I learned that I’m human and I make mistakes (or bad judgement calls especially late at night – I was up late due to my dogs waking me and not being able to go back to sleep).  I learned that when sleep deprived don’t do anything rash.  I learned that I should not only backup my documents on my laptop (something I already do) but on my tablet as well.  So first thing this morning I performed a backup of my tablet.  Hopefully I won’t need to use it but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Sorry my post isn’t so much about all the great information shared at our Weight Watchers meeting but I think we can all learn something here and apply it to our journey.  Remember we all make mistakes – acknowledge them, learn from them but most importantly forgive yourself for making them.