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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.

 

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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.

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.

Hitting That Dreaded Plateau

I’ve been very lucky that since I joined Weight Watchers in June of 2011 I’ve had pretty much a downhill journey.  Of course occasionally the numbers crept back up the hill a bit but the following week I was back on track with losing.  I thought I was going to be lucky and miss the dreaded plateau altogether.  No such luck.  My scale has stayed constant since last Saturday.  Worst part is last Saturday was one of those “I gained a little bit” weeks.  So I’ve been trying to tighten things up this weeks in hopes that the scale will drop again.  It hasn’t.

Help!  What do I do?  I’ve reviewed my points (staying pretty much within my daily allowance and only occasionally dipping into my 49), making sure I definitely hit all my Healthy Checks, been hitting the gym (or walking the dogs or raking leaves) so I’ve definitely been moving….so what else can I do?  For once this isn’t about me offering information or advice, I’m looking to you the reader to help me.  Whether or not you’ve done Weight Watchers or just a diet what did you do differently to get unstuck from a plateau?

I read this on the Weight Watchers site “It’s a phenomenon familiar to most people who’ve tried to shed excess pounds: You’re close to your weight-loss goal, and suddenly the numbers on the scale refuse to budge.”  That’s exactly what is happening to me, I’m 7 pounds from my goal weight.  So I guess this plateau is to be expected.  I’d just like it to move along and not stay for an extended visit.  Please comment with any suggestions you might have to help me (and others who experience this) get over this little speed bump in my/our journey.

Get Up Off Your Seat & Get Up On Your Feet

Another Saturday morning meeting and again helpful information was once again provided at our Weight Watchers meeting.   Exercise seemed to be the topic of the day but especially moving more and sitting less.   We talked about TV time and what you can do to keep active.  Commercial television, DVR or TiVo and the pause button on remotes can be your best friend.

One member said you can move during the commercials instead of channel flipping (something we are guilty of in our household).  Suggestions ranged from cleaning up the kitchen after dinner or throwing in a load of laundry to at least keeping your hands busy by doing some cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting or scrap booking. One person even mentioned they do their tracking for the day while watching TV.

DVR or TiVo your favorite shows.  Then you can watch for 40 mins (if hour-long show) by fast forwarding through the commercials.  You’ll have at least 20 mins. left in that hour to find a way to MOVE.  Take those 20 minutes to pack tomorrow’s lunch, take out the trash or even a “potty break” (but use the furthest bathroom in the house to get the move moves in).

Another member said she only allows herself to watch her shows if she is exercising.  Whatever you do, whether it’s exercising on a machine or with weights or just getting up from the “Boob Tube” during commercials it will go a long way towards helping you.  For instance did you know by sitting for long periods of time you are actual more at risk for certain types of cancer?  Check out this video from Lynne Brick of Brick Bodies (my gym).  She sent out this Fitness Tip the same weekend as my meeting!

Ch-Ch-Changes

We all have decided to make a change.  We changed our old habits which got us to come to Weight Watchers in the first place to new habits which are part of our new journey.  Change is hard for most humans.  Taking that first step is the hardest and the most important.

An underlying theme of our meeting this past week seemed to be – Change.  Several of us (myself included) hit goals from 5 lbs to 25 lbs to Lifetime.  Our leader asked each of us what we did differently.  What I got out of it was we all changed something.  Not just that first change (of joining Weight Watchers) but at some point into the process we changed things up.

One member has a personal trainer who makes sure her exercise isn’t the same all the time therefore keeping her body guessing.  You don’t have to have a personal trainer to do this.  Do you walk?  Change your route one or two days a week – find a place with more hills – or just go the opposite way around the track.  Not only will it give you a different view but your body will realize things aren’t the same and you’ll be pleased with the results.

Change your food.  Don’t always eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Perhaps you eat a lot of chicken, turkey or fish – go ahead and have some lean beef one day.  I had a leader who swore that she did this and that week she lost 5 lbs.  Now your results may vary but keeping your body guessing by changing up food and/or exercise will definitely give your weight loss journey a boost.

So don’t be afraid to change.  In this case change can really be your best friend.

Exercise Takes Time

Today at our meeting a member shared that she is working with a personal trainer.  This trainer reminded his clients that if they are feeling more hungry it is because they are exercising more.  Try not to give into unhealthy snacks.  This resonated with me.  I’ve been feeling more hungry lately.  Having join my husband’s gym lately my type of exercise has not only changed but increased.  So I’m going to make sure I have more Power Foods around me so I don’t give into temptation.  But I also need to remember that I’m not to deprive myself.

She also shared that when you first start WW program and you increase your exercise you may not notice a change.  Her trainer says it takes about 3-4  months for your body to register this change.  So keep at it.  The change will happen even if your body doesn’t register it right away – it takes time but it well worth it!  I’m not an athletic or exercise type of person.  However, I love how I feel afterwards.  It is definitely the hardest part of the program for me but it is a necessary part of the weight loss equation.  I just have to look at my weight tracker to know that sticking with it is so worth it.

 

Beth Tribe