Month: January 2012

Top Tips for Making Your Resolutions Stick

I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it… =)

In all seriousness, it’s always a joke that New Years Resolutions are really just to-do lists for the first three weeks of January, but making real change is possible, and it’s in your hands. Success breeds success, so as soon as I started seeing the numbers on the scale go down, which was my version of success since I was trying to lose weight, I got more motivated to stick with the changes and make them long-term lifestyle changes rather than temporary quick-fixes.

stopwaiting

Here are my top tips for making this happen for you, too:

1.) Plan Ahead

plan_ahead_poster_in_love_en_amour

I cannot stress this one enough. You don’t have to be crazy like me and make a whole weekly meal plan for everything, but have a few healthy options on hand for each meal of the day. If you have super busy weeks, take an hour or two on Sunday to whip up a big batch of stew or chili, some oatmeal, and brown rice or quinoa that you can use throughout the week for meals. Always make sure to have a few key items on hand for quick meals during the week so you can have something on the table in under 10 minutes if need be.

If you go out for lunch during the week, look up a few key places that you go and browse the nutritional information on the website so you have some healthy options in your back pocket when the situation arises. Same thing goes for dinner if you know you’re going out – – look at the menu before you go and make a plan!

Outside of meals, plan when you can add in some activity as well. I always take a look at my week and figure out when I can squeeze my workouts in. Lately, that’s largely been before work because I’ve had my weeknights swamped with plans, and I know if I don’t go before work I won’t have the time to go at all. This hasn’t always been the case for me, so check out this post to see how I transformed myself into a mostly morning exerciser.

2.) Control Your Environment(s)

Think about all the places that you eat. The theory behind this one is that if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. And this is NOT limited to your kitchen. Think about your desk at work, your car, or anywhere else that temptation arises. If you know you eat at your desk, fill a snack drawer with whole fruit and other portion controlled snacks that you have on hand for when hunger strikes. If you are a car eater – do the same thing so that you’re not tempted with a drive through. If you live with a significant other or kids and they have “their food” that you don’t want to touch, put it in a separate cabinet so that it’s not the first thing you see when you open the pantry.

3.) Set small, attainable goals

setting-goals

One thing that I love about Weight Watchers is how much of a good job the program does with breaking down big goals into smaller ones. When I first started to lose weight, if I thought about 88 pounds as one chunk, there is no way I would have been able to stick with it. Instead, focus on your first 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 5%, 10%, and celebrate each time you hit one of these goals. I know a lot of people roll their eyes at “just five pounds” but I challenge you to go pick up a 5-lb sack of potatoes next time you’re at the grocery store to realize just how much 5 lbs is. And, celebrate each time you meet a goal in a non-food related way. Maybe a manicure, a new book, a bubblebath, a massage, etc.

4.) Celebrate non-scale related goals or victories

There will be times when no matter what you do, the scale won’t do what you want it to. I heard one time that weight loss should be a side effect of treating your body right rather than the goal, and it is really true. Focus on what you CAN control, like working out X times a week, getting X servings of veggies in a day, or getting X hours of sleep per night. When you meet these non-scale related goals, reward yourself just like you would for success on the scale.

5.) Think of healthy living as a positive thing

It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to lose weight and focus on what you can’t have. No french fries, no M&Ms, no nachos, no drinking, etc. Change your mindset. Think about what you can ADD to your life rather than what you must take away. A serving of fruit, an extra glass of water, or a walk a day will go a long way in helping you on your healthiness journey!

So tell me.. do you agree with these tips? What would you say is your #1 tip for someone who is starting to change their life and really wants to make it happen?

Dietary Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

When I was in second grade, I gave up all red meat and pork because my two older sisters did it, so I thought it was the cool thing to do. Despite the occasional “bratwurst that is made from vegetables” (Thanks, Mom) I ate this pseudo-vegetarian diet for most of my childhood until I was a senior in high school.

It was at that time that I began my first real attempt at losing weight. I thought it could be fun to try to lose some weight before my senior prom, so I opted for Atkins, and decided to reintroduce meat to my diet. Since I am not one for moderation, I went from a white-meat-only kind of gal to a bacon-on-everything person pretty quickly. And I loved it.

The only thing that stuck from that first stint on Atkins was the pounds and my taste for meat. I kept eating meat in moderation, and sometimes not at all in moderation, throughout college and into adulthood. When I joined Weight Watchers in March 2009, my meat consumption dwindled quite a bit because I could eat eggs, beans, and tofu for fewer Points than meat, and I just liked the way I was feeling when I ate meat less. It also kept my grocery bill a lot cheaper, so I was enjoying less meat on several levels.

Fast forward to February 2010, and I decided it would be a good experiment to see if I could go meat-free for 40 days (in conjunction with Lent) and I was feeling so good that I decided to stick with it, and have been a pescatarian ever since. I didn’t miss meat at all, and in all honesty, it made it easier for me to eat healthy and to make decisions at restaurants because there were less things to decide between!

There hadn’t been a time that I actually WANTED meat in all that time, and giving up meat was never meant to be about depravation. It just worked for me at the time, made me feel healthier and kept my grocery bill cheaper.

It wasn’t until over the last few months that I even thought about meat or started missing it. My family is really into good food and also has been, which is where my foodie core comes from. For my fam, a lot of this taste for good food includes meat. For example, at Easter last year, we had a whole pork shoulder… wrapped in pork belly. I didn’t eat it, and wasn’t even tempted to, but during the last few months I have been feeling a little more conflicted about it.

Then it all changed a few weeks ago.

I went to one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Bangkok 54, and they have this appetizer called the House Special Duck Roll. It’s basically a homemade savory Asian pancake/crepe with duck and hoisin sauce in it, and is to die for. It was what I would always order before even looking at the menu when I would go there in my meat-eating days.

When I opened the menu, the duck roll screamed out at me. I wanted it. Bad. I tried to put it in the back of my mind, but it wouldn’t go away and I realized that I really did want to order and eat the duck – so I did. And you know what? It was absolutely delicious and lived up to the expectation. And, I didn’t get sick or feel weird after to boot.

So, right then and there, I decided that I am going introduce meat in moderation back into my diet. I’ve been doing so slowly, and have decided that while I will still eat mostly pescatarian/vegetarian, when I want meat, I’m going to get it! So far, I have tried duck, chicken, and bacon (mmmmmm), and haven’t had a single stomach issue or regret.

I went back and forth about whether to post this, but decided to go for it. Now that we’re into January, I will be sharing some menu plans that will have some meat incorporated into the meals, so I think it makes sense to put the recent changes I’ve made to my diet out there!

Are you a vegetarian, vegan, meat-eater, pesctarian or what? If you do eat meat, how often?

Please feel free to (respectfully) discuss in the comments or ask any questions you may have.

Five Fabulous Things on Friday

I have some exciting things to share on this Friday morning!

1. Shape.com did a feature of my story under the headline “7 Women Who Kept Their Weight Loss Resolutions” that went live today!!!

I’m featured along with several other amazing weight loss bloggers, so it’s really an honor to be there! While I “only” lost 18 pounds since rejoining Weight Watchers in December 2010, my resolution last year was to actually get to my goal weight after dancing around it for so long, and those 18 pounds were the hardest part of the journey (and the hardest to keep off, apparently!). I finally got there in May 23, two years, two months, and nine days after signing up for Weight Watchers. Check out the article here!

2. I just found out that I am officially going to be a Weight Watcher’s leader

starting the week after next!!!!!! I am SO excited that the time has finally come for me to have my own meeting, I can’t even put it into words!! More details to come!!

well-being-logo-v4

3. The Washingtonian’s Well+Being Blog

They did a piece on my weight loss story early last year, touting me a “Health Hero” (which still totally blows my mind to see next to my name). Earlier this week, they posted a follow up article checking back in with me, called “Checking Back in with 2011 Health Heroes.” They even used the picture from my spread in the Washingtonian Magazine from the September Issue!

Beth Klein Washingtonian 

4. The guy behind DietingSmarter.com emailed me a few weeks ago to ask my take on why so many people don’t achieve their new years resolution to lose weight. The article, “Make Your Weight Loss Resolutions Stick in 2012” was published earlier this week. Click over to see my advice, along with several other awesome weight loss bloggers, for tips on how to make this time “for real”.

Attune Foods

5. And FINALLY, I am so excited to announce that I am going to be partnering as an ambassador for Attune Foods for the first half of 2012 (and possibly longer depending on how it goes)!

In case you’re not familiar, Attune Foods is a small company that makes healthy foods with the simplest of ingredients. I first discovered them at the Healthy Living Summit in 2010, and have been hooked ever since. You can check out my profile by clicking here, as well as see the other ambassadors here.

The products are actually already in the Weight Watchers E-Tools, and my favorite is probably a tie between the Cinnamon Grahams (3 pts+ for 2 big ones that are DELICIOUS) as well as the chocolate probiotic bars. Those are harder to find on the shelves, but they clock in at just 3 pts+ a pop and are a good size for the number of Points. I also eat the Uncle Sams cereal when in need of a crunch with greek yogurt and fruit. The ingredients: Whole wheat kernels, whole flaxseed, salt, barley malt. That’s it! While the cereal clocks in higher in PointsPlus (6pts+ for 3/4 of a cup), I usually use 1/4 of cup (same as a serving of granola) which is just 2 pts+ and the perfect amount.

I will be writing a monthly blog post for them in the “Weight Loss Wednesdays” column, and I’ll link to it on here so you can see. The theme for this month is “Real Change”, and there are a few other ambassadors who will be contributing to the column as well. I’m really excited to be working with Attune Foods!!

2012 is shaping up pretty well so early in the year!! 🙂

Share with me one great thing in your life from 2012!

Weight Watchers Roundup

I know I’m not alone is setting New Years Resolutions for 2012, and I’ve been getting tons of questions about Weight Watchers because I know this month is a big one for people to join! Some get annoyed that so many people start the year with high hopes of losing weight/changing their lives and hate the lines at the gym or the lines to weigh in, but I totally embrace people who start fresh in January. I was one of them!

Three years ago in January 2009, I set my resolution to “get healthy”. I had no idea where it would lead or exactly what it would entail, but I know that my life hasn’t been the same since. That January, I joined a gym and started working out, and then two months later joined Weight Watchers on March 3, 2009 and haven’t looked back.

With my niece Claire during the 2008 holidays:

with my niece claire

With my nephew Harper on New Years Day 2012:

2011 holidays

Well, that’s not exactly true, because I actually quit Weight Watchers for a while there, but with the roll out of PointsPlus and finding the scale creeping back up once again, I rejoined in December 2010, got to my goal weight in May 2011, became Lifetime in June 2011, and have been struggling to maintain ever since.

I thought it might be useful to do a post with links to past posts of Weight Watchers resources, but please don’t hesitate to ask any questions if you’re just joining Weight Watchers, are thinking about it, are a WW veteran and have a question, are thinking about wanting to work for them at some point, or just want to know anything about the program in general!

Weight Watchers General Info

Weight Watchers Meal Ideas

Working for Weight Watchers

Do you have any motivation quotes that you love and care to share?

I shared mine yesterday: If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Plans for the New Year

Happy New Year!! Can you BELIEVE that it’s 2012? I cannot…

I know a lot of people are against setting New Years Resolutions, but as you probably have guessed by now, I am all about making attainable goals to keep myself on track. I think as we get older, time passes so quickly that if I don’t have my eyes set on some goals in the future, it just goes by and I’m in the same place I once was.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

So true.

So, in light of the new year, I’d like to put some goals in writing so that at this time next year I can look back and see how far I’ve come (or not come). Here goes:

1.) PR in my third half marathon March 17th.

I already posted about my training plan and goals for the race this time around, and while I don’t want to set a specific time goal because then I’ll just set myself up to fail, I do want to finish faster than my second half, which I finished in 2:10:43. I have a good training plan in place, and if I stick with it, I really think I can accomplish this one!

2.) Get back to my goal weight and maintain it throughout the year.

I have been struggling with a few extra pounds since September, and it’s time to get back to goal once and for all and stay there. Ideally, I’d like to get around 160 (164 is my official WW goal weight, which is the highest for my height of 5’8) so that I have a little leeway in case a few of those pounds creep back on like happened this time around.

3.) Keep strength training a part of my exercise routine.

In the last several weeks I’ve been strength training at least once a week and have been loving the results and how strong it makes me feel. Before a few weeks ago, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d strength trained consistently, so I’d like to keep it up for all of 2012 and continue to strengthen and tone my body.

4.) Get completely out of debt.

I posted about my battle with credit card debt here, here, and here, and I was actually on schedule to be out of it by the end of 2011. Because I unexpectedly had to move and come up with a security deposit for my new apartment, that set me back a little bit, but my goal is to be out of it in the first half of 2012. I am down to about $2,500 in debt, from where I started at $11,000.

5.) SAVE MONEY.

This is a big one. I have an emergency fund set up already, but ideally I’d like to have 6 months of expenses in savings by the end of 2012.

6.) Plan a vacation abroad.

I’d love to actually take a vacation overseas in 2012, but I’d settle for having one on the books by the end of the year. I haven’t been on a real vacation since March 2010 (!!!) and I really need to get one on my radar.

I still want to continue to set monthly goals that will feed into these ones (and weekly as needed!) but these are the BIG things I hope to accomplish in 2012! I know that if I focus on dedicating myself to these goals, I can do it!!

7.) Read more and watch less TV.

I’ve already made a big improvement in this category since getting rid of cable when I moved into my new apartment, but I miss those days where I would come home from work and plop down on my couch excited to dive into a book, rather than get through the current series I’m watching on Netflix.

8.) Go to bed earlier.

I’ve found myself staying up way too late during the week for no particular reason. I’ll be poking around on the internet, watching a TV show I’m not that interested in, or just randomly doing something around my apartment instead of going to bed. I don’t mind going out a little during the week and staying up later if I’m doing something fun, but if I’m just putzing around, I’d prefer to just go to bed earlier! I want to aim to be in bed around 11pm or earlier most nights during the week when I have nothing else going on.

What is your biggest goal for 2012?

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