Month: December 2011

2011 Highlights

2011 was a BIG year for me. It’s crazy to look back and see how many great things happened for me this year, and that all my hard work actually started paying off! It’s also hard to believe that this will be the last post of 2011… the new year is so close!

Some highlights from 2011 include…

I hit my goal weight.

Two years, two months, and nine days after joining Weight Watchers on March 3, 2009.

I made Lifetime at Weight Watchers.

I started working as a receptionist for Weight Watchers and also trained to be a Leader.

I’ve led two meetings so far and should be up and running with my own meeting early next year!

I had my first speaking engagement at the Healthy Living Summit.

I got a promotion at my day job in August after two and a half years at my company. Woohoo!

I ran my second half marathon and shaved 5 minutes 32 seconds off my time from my first half.

finishermedal

I appeared in two magazines, one big local magazine and a national one!

The Washingtonian in September 2011:

And Fitness Magazine in October 2011:

fitnessmag11

My blog was also featured on several media sites in 2011, including:

I’d say 2011 was pretty good to me!! I feel so lucky to have had so many great things happen this year, and I want to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of YOU for reading, commenting, emailing, and tweeting me while I change and evolve and go through this journey called life. I am so excited to have a platform to share my successes and struggles, and the fact that people actually come here to read about it still blows my mind! I am so grateful!

How was 2011 for you? What is the biggest highlight from your year?

Half Marathon: Take Three

So somehow, this week marks the start of a 12 week training program for my THIRD half marathon.  You can read all about my first half marathon, the Philly Rock ‘N Roll Half, and then see my training plan and recap of my second half, the 2011 DC National Half. I can hardly believe that I have two under my belt, and that I’m now gearing up to run my third, and I can honestly say, I’m pretty excited about starting training!

For my first half marathon, my goal was just to finish. I woke up really sick the day before the race, so I ended up putting no time pressure on myself and had an amazing time running and just going at a pace that felt comfortable. Crossing that finish line was such a monumental moment for me because it really proved that I had changed my life, and was the first time I ever thought of myself as an athlete in my entire life. Reading the recap brings me to tears every single time.

finishedwmedal

During my second half, my goal was to PR, or finish faster than my first. I didn’t know exactly how fast I could go, but during the race, I was NOT prepared with the numbers of hills that presented themselves along the course. I knew I had worked on my speed a lot since I did speed work for the first time while training for the race, but the hills really got to me. They tore at my running confidence and made me rethink the training I had done because I felt a lot more confident going into the race than I felt while actually running it. I was frustrated that I had spent so many months training hard for the race, yet felt unprepared with each new hill I faced on the course. That said, I still shaved over 5 minutes off my time and got a new PR.

finishermedal

I think part of the reason that running races is so addictive is that every time you run one, you learn a little bit about yourself and your training, and how you can improve the next time. Since you see the flaws in your training while you’re running and can think of things to do better the next time, it makes you want to sign up for another race so you can test your ideas and give yourself a chance to perform better.

For this third race – the DC Rock n Roll Half on March 17, 2012, my goal is to PR again. I don’t have a set time in mind, but I just know I want to go faster than 2:10:46.

My plan is to use a modified version of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan, which is what I did for my second half, but here is what I want to do differently this time around:

    1. Incorporate Hill Training – As I mentioned above, the hills KILLED me in my second half marathon. The next half is the same course as the last one, so I know I need to be prepared to tackle the hills. I did most of my half marathon training indoors last time around, but there are lots of hilly routes around my apartment that I want to use during this time’s training.
    2. Incorporate Strength Training – I am the epitome of an all or nothing person in every area of my life. When I am training for races, I tend to ONLY run. The last six weeks or so, I’ve been strength training at least once a week, and it’s making a big difference in how I feel and how my body looks. I know that strength training is essential for injury prevention and will also make me a stronger runner, so I want to commit to strength training AT LEAST once a week, and hopefully twice. My goal is to sign up for a Body Pump/Club Strength class at least once a week to help me reach this goal, and to do that on days when I have a shorter run planned. I also have The Shred that I “love” (loose term) which can work as another form of strength training if I am short on time or can’t get to a gym.
    3. Run More Times in a Week – During training for my second half, I ran 3 times a week much more than 4 times a week. This go-round, I’d like to aim to run 4 times a week much more than 3x a week. I know that getting out there and getting more mileage, even with shorter 3 to 4 mile runs, will help make me a stronger runner and better prepare me for this half marathon.

So I think that’s it! I can honestly say that I am excited to be back to a training plan for the time being where my workouts are mapped out and I don’t have to make too many decisions about what to do for a workout on any given day.

What is one fitness goal of yours for 2012?

An Unplugged Christmas

I’m alive!

You may have noticed, but I took an unplanned, but also completely necessary, week and half off from blogging! I was so caught up last week in getting ready to leave for Christmas that I decided to take a few days just to live my life rather than writing about it. Since I’ve been back in DC on Monday, I kept wanting to write about my Christmas break, but the words just wouldn’t come. So, I listened to myself and decided to wait to write until I felt like it, and here I am!

Christmas this year was really fun, but really different than any Christmas before it. I took last Thursday and Friday off from work, and headed up to Brooklyn, NYC on Thursday morning. The drive itself was pretty uneventful, and I made it there in just about 4 hours to see my sister and these guys!

ClaireandBen

Ben and Claire!

We all ate a low key dinner at home on Thursday, and my sister asked me to babysit for an hour while they ran to IKEA to get a few things. One hour turned into three, and once the third hour approached I was very ready for the parents to return because the kids were both having minor meltdowns and reiterating the fact that I am not yet ready for my own kids. Thank God they’re cute!

We ended up getting on the road a little later than planned, and headed to my sister’s new house in Woodstock to celebrate Christmas.

Woodstock

It’s a super cute 4-bedroom house that she just bought in the last few months and it was my first time there. It is nice because it’s big enough to accommodate everyone, though I wish it wasn’t quite so far from DC!

My parents ended up coming to meet us there on Friday and we spent a few days doing Christmas-y things, including making frosting:

clairecooking

To decorate a gingerbread house:

gingerbreadhouse

Drinking hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps (for the adults only, don’t worry!) and homemade marshmallows:

hotcocoa

And then the COOLEST part, which was seeing the REAL Santa Claus! On Christmas Eve every year, Santa Claus makes a grand entrance onto the green in the center of Woodstock. His entrance is always super hush-hush and only a few people know beforehand how he will arrive and from where. In years past, I’ve heard he’s arrived by hot air balloon and even on an elephant!

It was coooooold outside, but I stayed warm by giving a headride to Claire and singing Christmas Carols while we waited for Santa.

kiddos

And then finally the time arrived and Santa made his grand entrance on a Rocket Car!

santa

The car lit up with fire in the back.. and the look on the kids faces was PRICELESS despite the crappy photo.

clairerocketcar

It was so cool! He even made time to talk to and give a stocking to each and every kid who came out to see him arrive.

We went home afterwards and had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of fondue with cranberry walnut bread (!), basic sourdough, veggies, and apples. And of course, plenty of wine, and a fig tart for dessert. We woke up Christmas morning and Claire and Ben were thrilled with all the gifts that Santa brought for them!

clairebenchristmastree

Highlights included a metal detector for Claire (yes, really) and a toolset with a working drill for Ben.

After we opened presents, I took Claire to the park to get her outside and we played on the jungle gym and then a little soccer in the parking lot. I asked her to smile for a picture so I could show her mommy:

Claire

And she told me I was allowed to put it on Facebook, too. Kids these days!

While Christmas was super fun this year, I was sad because my other sister Wendy and her family couldn’t join us. Since Harper was born so early (23 weeks!) he is still very susceptible to getting sick and cannot be around anyone who has a cough/cold. Unfortunately several members of the family were sick (‘tis the season), so they ended up being unable to come to the house. That, along with the 7 hour car ride home, were the only two negatives of the holiday.

Outside of that, I also went extremely overboard on eating and drinking for the ENTIRE weekend. I ate more desserts in those 5 days than I have all year probably, and found myself eating to the point of uncomfortable fullness more times than I care to share. I did manage to get outside for one run on Saturday, but that was the only exercise I did for the entire break. On my drive home on Monday, I was feeling GROSS and really ready to get back on track. I’m proud to say that it’s my third day in a row on track with eating, and then I finally got my butt up and to the gym this morning to start training for my half marathon. More details to come later this week, but I’m ready to get a head start on some resolutions for 2012!

What is your favorite holiday tradition that your family does year after year?

Food-wise, I love fondue on Christmas Eve and challah bread french toast on Christmas Morning. Non-foodwise, my family usually has all the guys and gals buy matching pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve night/while opening presents. This year we didn’t do it, but we’ve done it every other year and I hope to start it back up in 2012!

The Plan: Take Three

I honestly cannot BELIEVE that Christmas is less than a week away… and that we’re so close to 2012! Insane.

I had a really good weekend, starting with my work holiday party on Friday. I stuck with my word and went way overboard on both food and drinking and ended up home in bed by 9pm on Friday! Haha. Granted, we did start drinking at 2, but I was one of the first to go home. I just can’t hang like I used to! Saturday I just laid low, got my nails done, and watched Netflix!

Now that I’m done with Lost, my new Netflix obsession has become Breaking Bad… it’s SO good. I’m into the second season (only because the first is only 7 episodes) and I think it’s just as addictive as Lost! Only seasons 1-3 are on Netflix though so I’m going to have to form a plan of attack once I’m ready for season 4, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Sunday involved a great workout (40 minute run, 20 min stair master) followed by a boozy buffet brunch and then more Breaking Bad… Not a bad way to end the weekend!

This is a short week for me because I leave mid-day on Thursday to drive to NYC. I’m staying at my sisters on Thursday and then we’re driving up to her house in Woodstock on Friday morning for the weekend and to spend Christmas… I am so excited!

Here’s the plan to get me from now to then food-wise:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Oatmeal w/spinach, garlic + cheese Red Lentil Soup (WW Recipe) Carrots + Hummus Holiday Potluck – Sweet Potato Red Bean Stew (recipe coming this week!)
Tuesday English Muffin w/PB + Banana Veggie wrap w/hummus, cheese + avocado Apple + Cheese Tofu w/veggies + brown rice, peanut sauce
Wednesday Oatmeal w/pumpkin + greek yogurt Leftover tofu + veggies w/peanut sauce over greens Hummus + Veggies, Apple Out for dinner
Thursday Egg whites on a sandwich thin w/cheese + salsa Veggie wrap w/hummus, cheese + avocado Car snacks! Dinner in NYC with my sis!

 

And workout wise:

    • Sunday: 40 min run, 20 min stairmaster (check!)
    • Monday: The Shred or Bootcamp
    • Tuesday: Spinning
    • Wednesday: Body Pump + Cardio
    • Thursday: REST

And rather than set concrete goals for the week, I want to work out more than not, eat balanced meals, and most of all get to NYC on as little stress as possible. A little shopping, a lot of gift wrapping and packing, and a lot of hours in the car lay ahead this week!

Are you traveling for the holidays this year or staying put? When do you leave?

Meltdown

So yesterday was an awesome morning.

NOT.

On Wednesday night, I got home and had a letter in the mail from the DMV. I thought it was going to be the results from the appeal of a ticket I got a few month ago so I opened it semi-cheerfully expecting good news, but instead, it was a notice that my car had been towed.

tow notice

Apparently, I had parked in an embassy spot right by outside my apartment and hadn’t noticed. Joy.

Now I know what you might be thinking… How the hell did you not notice that your car was missing?

Good question.

I use my car VERY occasionally. I really only drive it on the weekends for grocery shopping or if I go out to Virginia to shop. Day-to-day, I walk, bike, or take the metro everywhere, so I don’t check on my car everyday. And you’re right… I probably should.

But anyways, crappy as it was, I decided to make the best of it and head to the place where it had been towed to when the office opened at 8am yesterday. And even though I live in one of the most accessible parts of DC, they of course decided to tow it all the way to the other side of the city in a less-than-stellar part of DC that is not at all accessible by public transport.

So, I hopped on the metro to the closest stop and then took an $11 cab ride to the facility. I walked in with the notice, my title, and my license (everything they said I would need), and said I was there to get my car.

“We have your car marked to move to another lot today, ma’am. Let me check on it.”

“Ok…”

“Yeah, it’s already been moved to the other lot.”

But it’s 8am and the letter said you opened at 8am today.”

Well the office opens at 8am, but our guys start working at 6am. Yours was the first car they moved.”

“Great. Well where is it?”

So then he hands me a set of MapQuest directions with a 30 minute car trip printed on it to get to the other lot.

“But how am I supposed to get there? You have my car!”

Insert full-blown meltdown on my part. I really tried to hold it together, but after leaving my house at 7:15am to get to this place in the middle of nowhere to claim my car (and still be at work on time), they had moved it to the complete opposite side of the city that was only accessible by car.

Tears will do pretty wonderful things. After being brought tissues and told that yes, I would be late to work, but sit down, they arranged for a tow truck that was bringing another car to the other lot to take me with it, so I ended up getting a ride to the lot (after waiting 30 minutes).

I ended up getting to the other lot where my car was, filling out a bunch of paperwork, and trying not to let the artwork on the wall taunt me too much.

Tow Photo

So 3 hours of my morning in all 4 quadrants of DC and $180 dollars later, I got my car back. And then I made sure not to park it in an embassy spot. I guess I’ll be checking signs a little more carefully going forward!

On a brighter note, today is my holiday party at work followed by a work happy hour, and I’m not planning on exercising moderation in any way. 🙂

What are you looking forward to most about the weekend?

Is Every Holiday Party a Splurge?

We see it EVERYWHERE and while the exact numbers vary from study to study, one thing remains true:

The average American gains a significant amount of weight between Thanksgiving and the New Year each year.

When I was losing weight, I’d normally pick one time during the week to go all out with food/drinks and use it as a cheat meal/day/night. Since I was weighing in on Thursdays, it would normally be Thursday immediately after weigh in, and I’d eat any and everything I wanted until I went to bed that night. If I had a happy hour/party going on sometime during the week, I’d usually change it up and move my cheat day to the day of the event. This strategy helped me to stay on track for the rest of the week while not feeling deprived because I still had my splurge time in the week to eat and drink anything I wanted.

The problem with this strategy is that now that the holiday season is upon us, we all get SWAMPED with parties, luncheons, happy hours, and events, involving everyone from coworkers, to friends, to family. If I end up going all out with eating/drinking for every single holiday event I have, I will definitely end up several pounds heavier and start the new year in much worse shape than I am right now, which is not something I’m willing (or able!) to do.

When I was leading my second Weight Watchers meeting a few weeks ago, the topic was Budgeting for the Holidays, and how to make the most of your PointsPlus during the holiday season. We talked about different strategies for holidays and when I asked the group what their strategies were in approaching the season and managing their points, many people had great ideas.

    • Make it a point to get a workout in the day of a party so you earn extra Activity Points/burn extra calories to prepare for the event.
    • Don’t go to any events hungry – eat a snack beforehand so you’re not starving when you get there.
    • Alternate alcoholic drinks with seltzer or water so you’re staying hydrated/not getting as tipsy.
    • Bring a clutch that you have to carry (as opposed to one you can sling over your shoulder) so you only have one hand free for food or a drink, not both.
    • Focus on the company and people there, rather than the food/drinks (easier said than done).
    • If it’s a potluck, bring a healthy dish so you know you have at least one “safe” option.
    • If you’re hosting, use Weight Watchers recipes for some of the dishes but don’t tell anyone because they’ll never know.

One of my favorite tips that was given was this:

“I try to remember that not every holiday party is a splurge. I take a look at my week/month, and pick the events where I really want to go all out, and then try to stay on track for the other ones.”

While that idea makes PERFECT sense, it’s something I really struggle with executing because I tend to have a hard time not thinking about parties/gatherings as splurges. Sometimes, I’d rather avoid going to a holiday party all together rather than try to be moderate at it. Even typing that out sounds ridiculous – like I don’t trust myself after all this time to “behave” at events!

So this year, I am really going to try to adapt this strategy and realize that I can still have a fun time if I don’t eat and drink too much.

My first test was last night. I had a holiday party a good friend of mine was throwing for her colleagues/clients/friends. I have several events going on later this week, including holiday parties on Friday and Saturday, so that one was not the one I wanted to go all out for. I wanted to have fun of course, but wake up feeling good about myself today rather than feeling guilty for overdoing it when I didn’t want to.

Here’s how it played out:

I had to go to a Weight Watchers training thing right after work/before the party, so I brought a significant snack with me to eat while at the training (a 5 pt+ Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Larabar – YUM) so I didn’t show up famished to the party.  I got there and ordered a glass of seltzer with lime and walked around saying hi to everyone that I knew. I had never thought to actually wait a minute to get a drink, but it really made a difference!

After making the rounds, I switched to a glass of white wine (3 pts+) and then went over to assess the food situation. There was a tray of fresh fruit, plus an antipasto plate that was loaded with eggplant, artichoke hearts, tomato mozzarella, and marinated mushrooms, so that’s where I put most of my attention. I had a few plates loaded up with the fruits and veggies, and then threw out my plate and fork and called it a night eating wise.

I ended up switching back to seltzer after the first glass of wine, and realized I actually felt pretty good and decided to stick with seltzer. I think that’s the first time ever, in a party setting, where I actually managed to have just one drink and feel good about it! I stayed at the party until just after 9, and then I headed home feeling good and not stuffed or even a little tispy.

Some of the tricks that I used to make last night’s party a success:

  • As cheesy as this sounds, I actually visualized myself having a good time at the party WITHOUT overdoing it with food/alcohol. Visualization is one of the “tools for living” that Weight Watchers uses, but I had never really tried it before. I normally just picture myself elbow deep in the buffet, throwing back glasses of wine like it’s my job, but this time I really pictured myself being moderate, and I think it helped!
  • I actually rode my bike to the party because it was the quickest way to zip around from work, to Weight Watchers, to the party. Being mindful of the fact that I had to bike home really helped me to not overdo it.
  • I signed up for a 7am Body Pump class this morning, which as I’ve mentioned before is really hard to get into, so having that class in the back of my head helped too.
Overall, I am really impressed with myself for actually exercising moderation. I still had a great time, had a glass of wine, ate the food at the party, hung out with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, but managed to leave feeling good about my decisions health-wise, too. That’s the first time I’ve done that in this type of setting in I can’t even tell you how long. Yay!

What is your holiday party strategy?

What’s In The Bag?

Yesterday morning as I was packing all my food for the day into my lunch bag, I was struck by how much I was able to fit in there.

I have one of those mini reusable shopping bags that I bring my breakfast/lunch to work in each day, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s seen better days.

Lunch Bag

I’ve been using this current bag for about 5-6 months, and while it’s definitely a bit crinkled and getting worn out, it still does the trick. I got it at Pier One Imports for 99 cents… the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

I’ve experimented with several other types of lunch bags, but none of them are big enough to hold everything that this one holds!

Inside the Bag

Check out what I was able to squeeze in:

Lunch

So what’s in there?

Starting from the back bottom left…

    • 3/4 cup cooked steel cut oats with pumpkin, cottage cheese, and vanilla stevia (4 pts+)
    • 2 cups Tempeh Chili Verde (5 pts+)
    • 2/3 oz. Lite Shredded Cheese (1 pt+)
    • 2 cups Hazelnut Creme Coffee w/Coconut Creamer (1 pt+)
    • 1 bell pepper
    • 1 banana
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes
    • 1 small honeycrisp apple
    • 2 small tangerines
    • 1 babybel light (1 pt+)

I had the banana with the oatmeal for breakfast around 9am at my desk along with the coffee.

Around 12:30, I had the tempeh chili verde with cheese, plus the grape tomatoes and tangerines.

Around 2pm, I ran out and got a tall americano with skim milk from Starbucks (1 pt+).

Around 3:30 I had the Babybel Light and Apple for a snack.

And then, at 5:20ish, I ate the bell pepper because I felt like it before heading out the door.

Do you bring food to work with you, are you able to go home for lunch, or do you mostly buy it out?

I bring my breakfast/lunch to work pretty much every day except maybe 1-2 times a month. It took a while to get used to, but now it’s second nature and I almost always pack it the night before so I’m ready to go in the am.

The Plan: Meals, Workouts, and Goals

Happy Monday! I hope you had an awesome weekend like I did… I ended up going out on the town Friday night and overdid it with both food and alcohol, so I opted to stay in on Saturday night and that was the best decision ever. I finally finished Lost, got to bed super early, and woke up before 9am yesterday without an alarm! I got all my grocery shopping done at Whole Foods and then went on an 4.5 mile super hilly run (the same route as last weekend), and was back in my apartment around 11am. It felt so good to get so much accomplished so early in the day! That left the rest of the day for hanging out with friends and ordering sushi for dinner as a reward for being so productive.

I also made a batch of Tempeh Chili Verde yesterday, which was my first time making or eating chili verde ever. It’s quite different from regular chili since it has no beans in it, but it is very tangy and flavorful and I really loved it! I followed the exact recipe on the Weight Watchers site (a win in itself for me since I never follow recipes!), and it made four generous 2 cup portions with just 7pts+ each, including sour cream and cheese for a garnish.

tempehchiliWith three servings left to get me through the week plus the rest of my groceries, here’s what I came up with for a meal plan:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Egg Whites, Cheese + Salsa on Sandwich Thin, Banana Tempeh Chili Verde (Sunday leftovers) Cottage Cheese w/Tangerines Savory Oats w/Spinach, Cheese, and Egg (new fav!)
Tuesday Pumpkin Oats w/Cottage Cheese Veggie Wrap w/Hummus + Cheese, Popchips Fage 0% Blueberry Acai Amber’s Holiday Party
Wednesday English Muffin w/PB + Banana Tempeh Chili Verde Cottage Cheese w/Apple Eggs and Toast w/ Fruit
Thursday Pumpkin Oats w/Cottage Cheese Veggie Wrap w/Hummus + Cheese, Popchips Apple w/Babybel Cheese Light Tempeh Chili Verde post WW
Friday Toasted Waffles w/PB + Banana Work Holiday Party Luncheon Fage 0% Mango Guanabana Work Holiday Happy Hour

Workout Plan:

    • Sunday: 4.5 mile outdoor run (check!)
    • Monday: 5:45 Club Strength Class/30 mins cardio
    • Tuesday: Rest
    • Wednesday: Body Pump/Cardio
    • Thursday: Spin Class
    • Friday: Rest
    • Saturday: Body Pump/Cardio

Weekly Goals

Setting those goals last week REALLY helped me to stay on track. I ended up getting five workouts in (!!!) for the first time in weeks, and also made a conscious effort to get in my bed before 11pm each night. Last Wednesday, I even got in my bed and was asleep by 10pm! That is very unlike me, but my body really liked it. I also didn’t have a single drink Sunday through Thursday, and this was a big factor in staying on track with eating and exercising since I tend to not make the best decisions under the influence.

Since last week’s goals were so successful, I’m going to keep a very similar list for this week:

    1. Stick to 26-29 PointsPlus per day Monday through Friday.
    2. Limit drinking to 2 glasses of wine at Tuesday night’s party, and no drinking the other nights.
    3. Workout 3 times during the week Monday-Friday.
    4. Get at least one morning workout in this week.
    5. Drink at least 64 oz. of water while at my desk each day this week.
    6. Be in bed by 11pm the latest each night Monday through Thursday.

How many holiday parties/lunches/events do you have this coming up in the next week? Are they for work, friends, or family?

Five Friday Firsts

Happy Friday! This week presented quite a few firsts for me, some for the first time ever, and some for first time in a looong time. Here goes.

This week was…

The first time (ever?) I’ve tracked every single thing I ate ALL week.

When I first started Weight Watchers, I used to have a free day/night/meal and would just assume I’d used up all my extra points (and I’m SURE I did!) and try to stick to my daily points for the rest of the week. This past week, I tracked everything, down to the few vodka sodas I had, grilled cheese and fries out at a bar with friends, and the quesadilla and cajun fries I split with another friend (also over the weekend). I ended up being 13 PointsPlus in the red, meaning I not only used ALL my 49 weekly points, but also the 34 activity points that I earned, and then 13 more… Yowza.

The first time I’ve actually lost weight in a LONG time.

I guess there’s something to be said for tracking what you eat (you know, the whole premise behind Weight Watchers) even if you’re not on your best behavior. So, even though I ate more than my allotted points by 13, I ended up losing 2.6 pounds this week! I am SO happy. I’m still 6 pounds over my goal weight, but 2.6 pounds less than I was last week!

The first time I’ve ever worked out over lunch.

Yesterday, I took a 12:15pm spinning class and it was an awesome middle of the day pick-me-up! I have never worked out during lunch before, and logistically it was definitely a bit challenging. The spinning class was a tough one and had me dripping sweat (and burning 444 calories according to my Polar HRM), so showering/blow drying my hair/getting back to work was really tough to do in my hour lunch break. I definitely don’t think it’s something I can do every day or even every week, but every once in a while it’s a nice change!

The first time I’ve gotten in a morning workout in months.

Wednesday morning, I ran 4.6 miles in 45 minutes (on the treadmill – it was POURING!) and it felt SO GOOD to have my workout done first thing in the morning, despite the fact that running was not the original reason I was at the gym at 6:50 am (see below).

The first time I’ve gotten on the list for BodyPump.

On Tuesday morning just before 7:30am, I called to get on the list for Wednesday morning’s 7am BodyPump class. Despite the fact that the list opened up at 5:30am, I was number 30 on the list calling less than two hours later! Miraculously, I actually woke up and got the gym despite the pouring rain, and when I checked in at the front desk, the class was canceled!! I was SO mad because I’ve been trying to make it to BodyPump for what feels like months now, but I tried to make the best of it and ran for 45 minutes instead (see above). I called yesterday morning to get on tomorrow’s 10:15am BodyPump class and was number 18, so fingers crossed that tomorrow marks the first time I actually TAKE a BodyPump class!

Did you have any firsts this week?

PointsPlus 2012 Breakdown

I’ve gotten a LOT of questions about the new Weight Watchers program that rolled out this week, so I figured I’d do a post addressing the changes and see if you guys have any additional questions!

PointsPlus 2012 is very similar to PointsPlus, it just has a few minor tweaks from the original PointsPlus to make it a little bit more flexible. Since PointsPlus was the biggest change to the Weight Watchers program since it started, they wanted to test it out for a full year, get member feedback, and then go from there.

The basic premise is still the same – every food has a PointsPlus value that is calculated from looking at the macronutrients (fiber, fat, carbs, protein) and how hard your body has to work to break down the food. The values nudge you towards foods higher in fiber and protein, and lower in fat and carbs, but nothing is off limits.

Each day, you have a PointsPlus target that you have to eat at minimum, and then you get additional weekly PointsPlus that you can use or not use. You also have the opportunity to earn additional PointsPlus through activity, and as long as you stay within your daily, weekly, and activity pointsplus, you should lose weight at the recommended rate of half a pound to two pounds per week, over time.

So, what changed with PointsPlus 2012?

1.) New Daily Minimum

With the original PointsPlus, the minimum Daily PointsPlus Target (DPPT) was 29 PP, but with PP 2012, it has been lowered to 26. After a year, Weight Watchers was able to determine that people could still get in all the required nutrients per day with 26 PP. I am sure that largely has to do with the 0 PP fruits and veggies!

2.) Flexible Daily and Weekly PointsPlus Target

You know your body better than anyone. Everyone’s DPPT was recalculated this week, and some people who were at 29 PP were switched down to 26, 27, or 28. This number is FLEXIBLE, so if you were losing weight at 29 and were adjusted lower, feel free to switch it back up! This has more to do with people who were eating 29 PP and weren’t losing.  Also, the weekly target is now flexible. For some people, the 49 Weekly PP was too much. You can adjust this down from 49 if you feel like that’s too much for you, or else keep it the same.

3.) PowerStart

The Getting Started Session has been replaced with a 3-week PowerStart Session. Members felt like too much information was given at the GSS, so it has been broken down into three rotating sessions that have activities and are geared at program basics, bonding with the leader and other members, as well as focusing on managing your environment. After meetings, the Leader will go through a PowerStart session with you. These are GREAT and really let you walk away with something you can do right then to set yourself up for success!

4.) Activity Points Goal

Before, the idea behind activity was to “move more”. There was no target besides getting up to 28 PP over time (4 PP per day), but the new weekly PointsPlus target has been set at 14, which is about 2 a day. If that is too much for you, it is certainly flexible, but 14 is a good place to start.

5.) Switch between tracking and Simply Filling by the day

Besides the well-known tracking method, Weight Watchers has a method for people who don’t like to track called Simply Filling. The idea behind it is that you focus on eating Power Foods and eating until you are satisfied. You still get your weekly PP allowance, but you don’t have to track anything that is a Power Food.

Previously, you could only do Simply Filling/Tracking for a week at a time if you wanted to move back and forth. With PointsPlus 2012, you can do it by the day. So, if you have a party you’re going to and you don’t want to track, you can only eat Power Foods and not worry about tracking!

6.) Free E-Tools for Lifetime Members

This is AWESOME. Before, Lifetime members had to pay for E-Tools, which are the online tools for tracking your food, activity, and creating recipes, but for Lifetime members who stay current with their weigh ins, you get them for FREE. Woohoo!

So that is it! Nothing major, just a few things to make the program more flexible for the members. As you know, I am a HUGE fan of Weight Watchers, and I feel that these changes are great additions to the program. I think they will only help with member success, which is Weight Watchers #1 company value (for real).

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