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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

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.

Plan IT!

We always have the “IT” option.  We can lose IT, maintain IT or gain IT (pounds that is).  The holidays are no different but they certainly do present some challenges we don’t have to deal with the rest of the year.   Many of us are presented with an over-abundance of food and not the most healthy choices to boot.  So what can one do?  Plan IT!

Whether you plan just one meal, one day or one week – making a plan ahead of time can help.  Decide what your plan of attack will be if you have a holiday party to attend.  One member suggested that you make one pass around the table of food so you can do a bit of recon.  Decide what you are willing to spend your points on ahead of time.  Fill up on the power foods of course but don’t forget to treat yourself (we don’t believe in deprivation) to some of the desserts or whatever your favorite weakness is.  Another trick I’ve often heard is eat something before you go to the party.  That way you aren’t so hungry when you get there and are less likely to eat too much.  Minimize the amount of alcohol (empty calories that really can rob you of your points) and don’t forget to keep plenty of water by your side.  Another member suggested after you make your plate step away from the table.  Go and socialize.  Talking to others can keep you from going back and filling up once you are already full.  Another member said – share IT.   If you really love desserts – share that slice of pie or cake with a friend, co-worker or family member.  That way you can have half the points and still enjoy yourself.

Remember no matter what your plan is, try to eat slower.  It takes the brain time  to catch up to the stomach and say it’s full.  Eat but then wait 20 minutes or so.  Then assess your fullness level.  Also this time of the year with heat on the environment is drier – you maybe thirsty and not really hungry.  Try drinking some water first and then see if that doesn’t satisfy you.

So whatever challenges you this holiday season make a plan (to lose, maintain, or gain) but more importantly don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to the plan.  Look at it as a learning experience especially if this is your first time trying to avoid all the goodies out there.  We are only human and even the most season veteran at the weight loss path will fall off the wagon on occasion.  Trick is they immediately dust themselves off and get back on.  Just keep moving forward with whatever plan you choose.

Happy Holidays to all!

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.