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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  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.


Reflecting On Things Past To Move Forward

I guess it’s inevitable that at the last Weight Watchers meeting of 2011 we should do some reflecting on our success this past year.  More importantly I like to look at where I might have failed (or in less harsh terms – where I slipped up and had learning moments).   Mistakes are what make us human and give us the most opportunities to grow/learn.   There are so many great quotes regarding mistakes I can’t pick just one.  But looking back at the good and the bad is important part of your health journey.

If you subscribe to eTools you have reports on your fingertips that can help you see patterns.  Take time to review them.  Look at the weeks where you lost and the ones you didn’t – what is different about the weeks that you lost weight?  Do you track often or rarely?  How about your healthy checks – do you succeed at completing those each day?  If you don’t use eTools try tracking your weight loss on a graph that can help you to see patterns sometimes as well.

Several members looked back at the year but especially the holidays and saw where they needed to improve.  One member mentioned that she realized that she drank a lot of diet soda while off for the holidays (something she doesn’t do so much the rest of the year).  It struck a chord with me and I got to thinking about how much Diet Coke I had the past week (and may have explained some of my weight gain that week – although a lot of it was from giving myself a bit too much permission to have goodies during Christmas).  Our leader mentioned that a lot of sodas have too much sodium in them.  I found an interesting article on all the diet soda/sodium and breaking the habit.  I mentioned that canned foods (such as tomatoes which I use in a lot of recipes) also have sodium but luckily we have the no-salt version as well.

So take a moment to look back at 2011 so you can move forward with your health goals in 2012.  I for one am going to limit my soda intake to 1 per day now that I’m back at work.  The rest of my liquids will be water (fizzy or flat).  Remember to track not guesstimate – guesstimating can work against us in many ways (either we aren’t allotting enough points or too many).  Try to make small changes as they are not only the easiest but make this health journey more of a lifetime goal than a momentary one.  But the one thing I think we all need to do when we look back at the past year is forgive ourselves for any slip ups and move on.  Look at those slip ups but use them as learning moments (what could you have done differently?).   Don’t forget while looking back to celebrate all those things you did that made a difference.  Look at those and continue (if not magnify them) these in 2012.

Need some help keeping your promise of a healthier you?  Here are 8 different apps/tools you can use on your journey to better 2012!

I wish all of my readers a very healthy, happy New Year!

A Day of Food

Thanksgiving can be an extra stressful time for those of us watching the scale or at the very least trying to have healthy alternatives.  Although the turkey is definitely in the healthy category (without skin) the rest of the sides just seem to destined to challenge us.  If it isn’t the food that is the problem well-meaning relatives or friends may bring the challenge.

Many of us have to split our day among different households therefore eating two dinners.  As one member shared one family the Mother likes to serve everyone and serves them exactly the same amount no matter what.  Another member shared that a family member is offended if you don’t eat the dish they brought.   These won’t be the first or only challenges you will face but be thankful that Thanksgiving is a Day of Food.  Remember you do have a choice – you can choose to lose, choose to maintain where you are or choose to gain.  None of these choices are wrong – do what works best to make your Thanksgiving enjoyable.  Just remember give yourself permission and  get right back on the plan the next day no matter what your choice.

Some tips to keep in mind that might help you on Thanksgiving (or any big family gathering):

  • Eat smaller portions.  Eating some of  “Aunt Sue’s” favorite calorie/fat laden dish won’t add as many pounds to you and will go a long way towards appeasing her.
  • Schedule time to get out and exercise.  Take a walk with the family before or after the meal.  Since many of us have to get up early to finish thawing the turkey or get things started – go for a quick walk before everyone else is up.  Take that time for yourself then so you can enjoy family and friends later.
  • Help out in the kitchen after dinner.  Instead of sitting around watching football – move around the kitchen packing up leftovers or clearing dishes.
  • If you are hosting the event – send EVERYONE home with leftovers.  Less temptation for you if it isn’t in your fridge.
  • If you are going to someone’s house bring a dish that is Weight Watchers inspired.  I recently held a party where I made nothing but WW recipes – no one even knew and said how good the food was.  I was able to enjoy too knowing I was eating healthier versions of those recipes.
  • Remember things go better if you plan.  Plan ahead as to what you will eat for the big meal.
  • Know ahead of time what the point value for certain foods are (see list below).  Remember your portion sizes (bring your WW serving spoons – not only are they nice looking but they will help you remember what is a 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.)
  • Don’t skimp on meals that day.  If try to save up points from breakfast or lunch you may find yourself too hungry by the time the big meal is served and you will more than likely go over on your points.  Try to fill up on power foods earlier in the day so you stay satisfied.
  • Use the Recipe Builder on e-Tools to take an old family favorite and make it healthier.
  • Again, decide what you want to do today (lose, maintain or gain) – this maybe a day of food but it’s really about family and friends.

If this is your first Thanksgiving on Weight Watchers think of it as a learning experience.  It is mine and I will take note of what worked for me and what didn’t so that next year I can improve my strategy.  I wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Menu and Points Plus Values

  • Tossed salad, 1 cup (no dressing) – 0 pts.
  • 1 Dinner roll (no butter) – 5 pts.
  • 1 tsp. Butter (regular) – 1 pts.
  • 1 slice Turkey breast (w/skin) 2 oz. – 3 pts.
  • Stuffing (1/2 cup) – 3 pts.
  • Ham (no glaze) 2 oz. – 3 pts.
  • Ham (glazed) 4 oz. – 7 pts.
  • Giblet gravy (1/4 cup) – 2 pts.
  • Cranberry sauce (1/4 cup) – 3 pts.
  • Winter squash (1 cup) – 0 pts.
  • Mashed potatoes (1/2 cup) – 3 pts.
  • Baked sweet potatoes (1 large) – 4 pts.
  • Steamed green beans (1 cup) – 0 pts.
  • Green bean casserole (1 cup) – 4 pts.
  • Fruit cocktail (light syrup) 1 cup – 4 pts.
  • Corn (1 cup) – 4 pts.
  • 1 slice Pumpkin pie – 11 pts.
  • 1 slice Pecan pie – 14 pts.
  • Wine (4 oz.) – 4 pts.
  • Coffee or tea (no sweetener) – 0 pts.

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)