Blog Archives

Life Just Got a Little Easier

Life for those of us who shop and try our best to stick to our points just got a little easier.  Weight Watchers just released a new app for Android and iPhone that is a real-time saver at the grocery store!

The new Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner app scans the UPC barcode on packages and then automatically calculates the PointsPlus value.  On top of that greatness alone it will allow you to track right from the app so you don’t have to get out of it and open the other app or use the mobile site.  It also keeps a history of items you scanned (helpful if you use certain products on a regular basis).  And if for some reason it can’t find the UPC barcode in the database it offers to bring up the calculator so you can figure it out manually.

Not only all of these great features but it also allows you to add it to a shopping list!  I really love this because I’ve been playing with several apps lately that keep your grocery list on your phone via an app.  I’ve really liked ZipList as it also puts the items in order by whatever store you are shopping.  It also has a list of recipes sites (not the official Weight Watchers site but one that uses the PointPlus program) and you can click on a link that will add the ingredients from the recipe into the shopping list.  But with ZipList if I came across a new items at the store that I didn’t know the points value for I had to exit the app and then go over to the Weight Watchers app to use the calculator.  Now with the new barcode scanner app from WW I can have both my shopping list, scanner and calculator all in one place.

The is the best early Christmas present WW could have given a person like me.  Thank you!

Salad Lovers Beware

Many of us and not just those on Weight Watchers love salads.  The latest salmonella scare has hit bagged salads.   So double-check that bag before you make your lunch or dinner!

While on the topic of salads I thought I’d mention a few tips about making them so you don’t blow all your points.  If you are using eTools you maybe familiar with the “cheat sheet” sections.  I find them very enlightening because they teach me how to make better choices in regards to certain foods (such as the grill, cocktails, Mexican, etc.).  They also have one for salad savvy.

Don’t fall into the trap that all salads are healthy or low points because they have lots of veggies.  Things like chicken, cheese, avocados, and croutons can suddenly make a 0 point meal bloom into 20 something points!  I learned the hard way early on in my weight loss journey.  I was at lunch with a friend and in too much of a hurry to consult my eTools or use my smartphone to surf for nutritional information for the restaurant.  We were at La Madeleine and I saw the Spinach Salad with Chicken and thought not only yummy but should be low point.  That was until I looked at their nutritional information later….10 points just for the salad.  Okay, I can handle that.  Maybe a bit more than I normally allow myself for lunch but still a healthier choice than some menu items.  That was until I looked up the dressing!  I got the balsamic vinaigrette thinking it was a better choice.  I took my smartphone with the Weight Watchers app and was appalled at the  number.   Not every restaurant does salads the same way.  SO a spinach salad at one place maybe high in points and not at another – make sure you check and don’t assume.

A trick I learned long ago that sticks with me now is a big help in keeping those salad points down.  Make sure you get the dressing on the side.  Many places are offering that as the default way salads come but make sure you ASK (see my post on asking).   Another great tip is to either take a fork full of salad and dip just one small part into the salad dressing or even better yet just dip the fork into the dressing first then stab your salad.  You will certainly consume less fat and calories from the dressing this way and the salad will still taste great!

Healthy 2 Go

One of the hardest parts of staying on my weight loss journey has been choosing healthy choices when I’m on the go.  Fast food restaurants are a plenty but they often don’t have many options.

I’ve discovered a surprising place that stocks fresh fruit and vegetables in individual packages, string cheese and even yogurt – Royal Farms!   Most convenience stores attached to gas stations seem to only stock sweet treats and fatty snacks so I was very surprised to find that Royal Farms also had healthy alternatives.

This is great for a quick snack while you are gassing up your car but what if you really need a full meal?  I would recommend if you have a smartphone that you either access the site Dotti’s Weight Loss Zone or download the app (for Android and iPhone).  Practically every restaurant is listed and they have calculated the Point Plus value for items on the menu.  This helps making a decision as to which restaurant to eat in as well as what food to eat a whole lot less stressful when you are on the go!

 

Tools, Tools, Tools

Today’s meeting focused on tools.    Our leader made a very good analogy to stress how we all need tools to get the job done.  She said when her husband needs to cut the grass he uses tools – lawn mower, edger, and blower to clean up afterwards.  He couldn’t do a proper job of mowing the grass without these tools.  We can’t do a proper job of losing weight without some tools as well.

Weight Watchers offers all kinds of tools to help us.  Whether you prefer paper (Complete Food Guide, Dining Out Companion, tracking diary) and a calculator, using eTools or the WW apps on a mobile device – with these tools at your disposal you can’t help but succeed.

eTools has several sections I find helpful but my favorite section is the Recipe Builder.  You can look up ingredients or if you have the nutritional information you can enter that into the calculator and then tell it how many servings the recipe make.  eTools will calculate how many points in a serving.  You can then add it directly to your tracker online.   As our leader reminded us the other week – it is important to remember that when you cook fruits or vegetables it changes the molecular structure of them and therefore the points change.  The recipe builder takes that into consideration.  It has been very helpful for me as some recipes I thought I had weren’t as “healthy” or low point as I first thought.  By using the recipe builder I know I’m getting a more accurate point tracking than I would if I didn’t use it.

A member at our Saturday meeting said she liked the Cheat Sheet section of eTools.   Cheat Sheets can help you realize how where you are spending your points – the salad bar, pizza, breakfast, Mexican, and even cocktails.  You can either drag and drop items and watch the points add up or use comparisons to see what you like compared to healthier options.  I think this section is very big eye opener.  Everyone thinks salad is not only a healthy choice but one that probably doesn’t have many points.  You’d be surprised when you start adding things like avocado, croutons, cheese, grilled chicken just how quick those points increase.

Another member said she really liked all the great recipes.  I agree.  You can find recipes in the Food & Recipes section or in the Recipe Swap under Community.  You’ll never run out of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

I personally love eTools and still haven’t discovered everything it has to offer.  I’m sure there are more tools there that will help me with my journey.  So if you have a monthly payment plan you have access to eTools – so add it to your healthy toolbox!

“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.” – G. Wellacher (the quote that ended our meeting today – just had to borrow it)