Weight Watchers

4 Ingredient Baked Onion Chicken

I’m currently making my way through the depths of my pantry, and one ingredient I have on my list is Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix. I stocked up on it earlier this year when it was on sale and have made french onion dip with greek yogurt a few times, and have also used it with beef in the slow cooker. Until last week though, it never occurred to me to use it with chicken, and now that boneless, skinless chicken breast is on the Zero Points list with Weight Watchers Freestyle, I was especially excited to experiment!

This Baked Onion Chicken recipe is super simple to put together, but has so much flavor it’s hard to believe how easy it is. The entire recipe uses just 4 ingredients (5 if you count salt & pepper!) and has just 10 SmartPoints.5

The hardest part is coating the chicken, and if you make sure to let the extra egg wash drip off the chicken before adding it to the dry mix, as well as use a different utensil in the dry mix (again, so it stays dry) than you use for the egg wash, you should be good to go.

As it’s baking, the coating crisps up nicely so there’s good texture on the outside, while the center stays juicy and delicious.

I cut the chicken into strips and found the amount of coating to be just enough, especially if you ignore the last strip.

But feel free to cut into different shapes (chunks, thin sliced chicken breasts, chicken tenders, etc.) and adjust the ratios as you see fit. In any case, this dish should go over well with the whole family, and may just become part of your regular rotation.


Print Recipe
4 Ingredient Baked Onion Chicken
This is a super simple, delicious way to change up your typical chicken recipe and make a dish that's so flavorful on it's own you don't need any dipping sauce! Serve over a salad, with oven baked fries, or with rice and veggies for a full meal. For those following Weight Watchers Freestyle, the full recipe has just 10 SmartPoints, so feel free to divide into however many servings you desire. Enjoy!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Get your coating station ready. First crush onion soup mix in the packet as best you can, then add to a shallow bowl with the bread crumbs, stirring until well combined. Add salt and pepper if desired. Then beat the eggs with a fork in a separate shallow bowl.
  3. One by one, coat the chicken strips! Take a piece of chicken and dip it in the egg mix, then let the excess drip off before dropping it into the bowl with of dry coating. Use a separate spoon to coat chicken in the dry mix, and then place the coated chicken on a lined baking sheet. Repeat process until all chicken strips are coated.
  4. Once oven is preheated, put the chicken in to bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through. The chicken should be cooked through with a crispy coating while still juicy when you bite into it!
Recipe Notes
  • Options for tweaking this recipe include cutting the chicken into different shapes and adjusting the ratio of chicken to mix and baking time as appropriate; as well as using panko or seasoned breadcrumbs, and if you use seasoned, just omit the salt & pepper.
  • For coating the chicken, a fork in the egg wash and a spoon with the dry mix works best for me, plus making sure to let the excess egg wash drip off the chicken before adding it to the dry mix.

Thoughts on Weigh In Day, Plus Weigh In Results

When I first joined Weight Watchers and meant it back in March 2009, I chose Thursdays as my weigh in day and it worked pretty well for me that time around. I found that the weekdays were much easier for me to stay on track, so weighing in on Thursdays gave me enough time to make progress during the week, plus I had a regular leader/meeting I pseudo-liked on that day.

The downside was that I \found myself in a cycle where after my weigh in, I’d overdo it big time because not only was the weigh in behind me, but it was the start to the weekend. An indulgent Thursday lunch and/or happy hour would morph into a full weekend off track, and then inevitably Sunday night would come around and I’d be in a bit of a panic from how much I’d eaten during the weekend. I’d plan out my week and be really “good” with being on track so that I made up for the damage done (and then some), but it made the process a bit more frustrating than it probably needed to be.

This time around, one of the things I’m doing differently is experimenting with having Monday or Tuesday as my weigh in day, and it seems to be working really well. I find that the weekdays are still easier for me to stay on track, even after weighing in, and by the time the end of the week and weekend roll around now, my next weigh in is just a few days away, so it helps keep me accountable. I originally was set on having Mondays as the day, but I do tend to be a little more lax with the plan over the weekend, and am leaning more towards Tuesdays as my regular weigh in day. Tuesdays give me a bit of a balance – one or two days fully on track post weekend before weighing in, but still early enough during the week where I won’t run into the issue with my weigh in day overlapping with the start of the weekend.

Weigh In Results

And now, for the weigh in results. I rejoined Weight Watchers on October 30, so it’s been just over 5 weeks following the SmartPoints plan (which is now WW Freestyle, and I’m slightly obsessed). I saw a big loss of 6.8 pounds with my first weigh in, with a small gain of .8 pounds at the next weigh in, meaning I went into vacation down 6 pounds from the start.

As I mentioned in my last weigh in post, I wanted to be mindful during my trip to Antigua, but also to enjoy myself and not be obsessive, and I did a really good job striking that balance. I was really active when we were there and snorkeled every single day for at least an hour, plus walked a ton. We also ate a lot of fish, cooked at the villa most of the time, and I didn’t drink that much which was not intentional, but I’m sure helped. I committed to myself that I’d weigh in the week I got back from my trip even if it wasn’t pretty, and I’m proud to say that I weighed in last Tuesday and was actually down 3.8 pounds (over the two weeks), bringing my total loss up to 9.8 pounds!

After the weigh in, I was super motivated to stay on track to pass the 10 pound threshold, and then came down with a really bad cold that I went to the doctor for on Thursday, and it turned out I had an ear, sinus, and upper respiratory infection and needed to go on strong antibiotics to kick it to the curb. That actually made the weekend super easy to stay on track since I wasn’t doing much except resting and eating soup, so when I went in for my weigh in yesterday, I was pretty excited to hit not just the 10 pound mark but also my first 5%, with a weekly loss of 2.6 pounds (!), bringing my total to 12.4 pounds down in just over 5 weeks on the program. (As an FYI, this is a higher rate of weight loss than I expect long-term, as WW recommends an average of .5 to 2 pounds per week.)

I was given a keychain plus 3 charms for hitting all those milestones, and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself for being so committed to my goal before the start of the New Year. It feels so good to have shed over 10 pounds and makes me feel really confident going into the holidays. These results are just what I needed to stay motivated to keep going and make more progress before 2018, with just 3 weigh-ins left for the rest of the year!

First Impressions: Weight Watchers Freestyle

Hey guys! Yesterday the new WW plan rolled out, Weight Watchers Freestyle, which is basically an extension of SmartPoints (SPs), with a few tweaks that I am pretty excited about. If you’re a WW member, everything will update on your weigh in day (and unfortunately they’ve freezed Weigh In Day changes this week while the new program rolls out, so you really do have to wait). Emily from Emily Bites wrote a great overview of the changes to the plan (and has had more time to digest, so her review is more thorough!), but I thought I’d share my take on the biggest program changes.

1.) Weight Watchers Freestyle adds a bunch of new zero point foods.

Previously, it was just fruits, veggies, and some random flavors (think salsa, vinegar, herbs, etc.) that made the cut of zero point foods. I remember when that change first came to be and we were all freaking out over bananas being zero points rather than 2 points. There were of course some doubters saying “How can they be zero points when they still have calories!?” and many of us came to realize it was never bananas that were making us fat in the first place. Now, in addition to all those “free” foods, they’ve added a bunch of lean protein options to the list, and here are the new additions I’m most excited about:

  • Eggs (including the yolk!!)
  • Beans (including black, refried, chickpeas, etc!!!)
  • Fish and Shellfish (including Sashimi!)
  • Tofu (any kind)
  • Nonfat Plain Yogurt (greek or regular)
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Edamame

For someone like me who struggles with rules, these new additions are a very welcome change to the program, because it gives flexibility with what you can eat when you’re out of points for the day. Before, I may have chowed down on a copious amount of fruit while still not feeling satisfied because there wasn’t any protein, but now I can have a legit satisfying meal with ZERO SPs. Some meals I’m super excited about creating zero point versions of:

  • Egg Muffins (these ones are zero if you omit the cheese!)
  • Turkey Chili (Ground turkey, onion, bell peppers, beans, Rotel, chili seasonings, plus corn and black beans if I feel like it!!!)
  • White Bean Chicken Chili (Ground chicken, white beans, garlic, onion, seasonings)
  • Curried Chicken Salad (using chicken breast, grapes, onions, greek yogurt and curry powder)

2.) The Daily Points have adjusted (gone down) to account for the new Zero SmartPoint foods.

Mine went from 31 to 23. Losing 8 SPs made me cringe for a bit at first, but when I reframed my thinking to see it as a way to eat exactly the same amount as long as I included at least 8 SPs from the “new” zero point list, it made me feel a lot better about it. For example, looking at A Day of Eats: What 31 SmartPoints Looks Like, there are 4 SPs from the eggs in the morning, 3 SPs from the lean ground turkey bolognese (1 for oil), and 2 SPs from the salmon for dinner would take away 9 SPs from the daily total (and I also will probably switch to nonfat greek yogurt over the 2% because it’s just too tempting, which would take away another 2 SPs for 11 less for the day). And, like I noted above, it’s now pretty easy to come up with a zero SP meal that’s satisfying if I do run out of SPs for the day, so overall I’m feeling good about this change, too.

3.) We can now rollover up to 4 SmartPoints a day into our weekly points.

This, I love. And, I think it makes sense given how many foods are on the zero point list. It used to be that you had to eat all your daily points… or else! And considering many of the foods that satisfy did cost SPs, it made sense that this was the case. Now, I think there’s an opportunity to make the plan work for us even more, which is especially awesome given the time of year. Planning is one of the key things that makes anyone successful on Weight Watchers (or in life, really), and being able to carry points over may make some of us plan our weeks out a bit more when we know events, celebrations, and/or challenges are coming up.

Today is my very first day on Weight Watchers Freestyle, so I’m still learning the program and will see how these changes on paper play out in real life as I go. Overall, I’ve been really loving the SmartPoints program, and have been having a lot of success with it, but these changes make me even more excited about the program.

20 Best Healthy Aldi Finds (With SmartPoints & Calories)

I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping, which I know makes me pretty weird by some standards. That aside, Aldi is one of the grocery stores I’ve only recently discovered, and I’ve been going about once a month to stock up since the prices are so much less, though it’s a bit far from me to be my go-to grocery store. I put together a list of my top 20 healthy Aldi finds and have included SmartPoints and calories per serving below so you can look out for these items next time you go if you’re interested. Please let me know what other healthy items you’ve found at Aldi that I’ve left off this list in the comments. Enjoy!

SimplyNature Peanut Butter Powder with Cocoa (1 SP | 40 cals)
SimplyNature Green Pea Crisps (3 SP | 120 cals)
Earth Grown Veggie Burger (3 SP | 90 cals)
Friendly Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (1 SP | 30 cals)
Fit&Active Shredded Cheese in Mozz (2 SP | 70 cals) Cheddar (3 SP | 90 cals) or Four Cheese Mexican Blend (3 SP | 90 cals)
Fit&Active Turkey Bacon (1 SP | 25 cals)
Fit&Active Fresh Ground Turkey (3 SP | 160 cals)
Fit&Active Fresh Ground Turkey (3 SP | 160 cals)
SimplyNature Free Range Chicken Broth (0 SPs | 5 cals)
SimplyNature Unsweetened Apple Sauce (0 SPs | 50 cals)
Little Salad Bar Layered Dip (2 SPs | 30 cals)
Never Any! Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage (4 SP | 140 cals)
Never Any! Uncured Black Forest Ham (1 SP | 60 cals)
Appleton Farms Breakfast Ham Slices (1 SP | 60 cals)
Fit&Active Flatbread Multi-Grain with Flax (2 SP | 100 cals)
L’Oven Fresh Sandwich Skinnys (3 SP | 100 cals)
Rice Cakes in Lightly Salted (1 SP | 40 cals) or Caramel Corn (2 SP | 50 cals)
Milleville Rice Squares (3 SP | 100 cals)
Northern Catch Wild Alaska Pink Salmon (2 SP | 90 cals)
Souther Grove Pistachios (4 SP | 120 cals)

Two Weeks on SmartPoints: Takeaways & A Gain

I may have been stretching the truth when I said I was just looking to maintain this week after having such a big loss my first week following Weight Watchers’ SmartPoints. Truth be told, I was obviously hoping to lose again, so when I went in yesterday to step on the scale, I was pretty disappointed to see that I’d gained .8 pounds. I started to pout, but forced myself to stop when I looked down and saw that I’ve still lost 6 pounds total from the start, which averages to 3 pounds a week, aka more than I should get used to losing. And, before stepping on the scale, I’d walked in feeling pretty good about the week. So, rather than mope, I thought I’d share some takeaways from my first two weeks back on SmartPoints.

  1. Losing weight is hard! Even though I’m more familiar with this concept than I’d like to be, switching back into weight loss mode these past few weeks has reminded me just how hard it is. Every single day I’ve found myself having to make unexpected food-related decisions, like whether to take the free sample of fried chicken at the food truck (I did, and it was delicious for 1 SP which maybe should have been 2) or a treat from the tray that was passed around at a work meeting (I didn’t, and kept picturing everyone’s dirty hands all over them any time I considered going back on that). It’s just in your face all the time, and makes it much harder to stick with your plan than if there weren’t temptations at every turn.
  2. It really is a good idea to look up the SmartPoints value before I eat something, just so I know. Especially as I’m adjusting to the new system, seeing the high SP value of certain foods (ahem, anything with sugar) really makes me consider if it’s worth it when I do it on the front end.
  3. If I know I’m going to have something pretty point-y (see #2), adding it to the day before so it comes out of my weeklies instead of out of my dailies helps me stay on track. There’s something disheartening about seeing your daily SmartPoints dwindle, especially if you have a treat earlier in the day. I’ve found that even though it doesn’t make a difference except in my head, I’m able to stay on track after the “treat” better when it hasn’t blown my whole day of SmartPoints.
  4. Social gatherings and weekends are still my biggest challenges. I am really good and on track during the week, but having less structure on the weekends and alcohol during social gatherings, definitely makes it harder for me to stay on track. One thing I used to do that I’ve considered reintroducing, is dedicating my weeklies to the weekend in chunks. So, since I get 42 weeklies, I’d give myself 20 extra for Friday night (or Thursday night, or whichever other night I had something coming up) and 20 extra for Saturday, which made it feel like I still had some flexibility to indulge but gave me a good framework to limit myself. Again, just a mind trick, but whatever works, right?
  5. I don’t mind having the same few things for breakfast every day. I’ve found myself having the same two things for breakfast almost every day — either eggs or oatmeal — and I don’t get tired of it. I usually have hard boiled or fried eggs with veggies and toast, or steel cut oatmeal with cottage cheese and fruit, or with spinach, cheese, and egg for something savory. I look forward to those same things each morning and don’t mind having the same exact variation day after day.
  6. I do mind when it comes to lunch (and dinner). I’ve gone two days in a row having leftovers for lunch and can barely make it through the second day (third serving). I’m trying to overcome this without having to go crazy cooking by rotating what I’m having for lunch so I don’t have the same leftovers more than two days in a row. It seems to be working!
  7. “Free” fruits and veggies definitely makes me eat more of them than I would otherwise. Shifting into the SmartPoints budget mindset makes fruits and veggies being 0 SPs that much more appealing. I’ve found myself eating 2-3 servings of fruit and 4-6 servings of veggies most days, which is much more than I’d been having pre-recommitting to WW. I’ve been eating lots of frozen berries and bananas from the grocery store, plus honeycrisp apples, baby spinach, onions, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli from the farmer’s market.
  8. There’s something refreshing about seeing my renewed daily SmartPoints budget at the top of the WW app each morning. You always hear “everyday is a new day!” but those refreshed dailies really drive home that point, especially if I’ve gone a little overboard the day before.
  9. Even just weeks committed to a new regimen can make a big difference in how you feel. I’m sure there’s a bunch of factors contributing to this (see you Saturday, Antigua!), but I definitely feel GOOD and like I’ve had extra pep in my step these last couple weeks.

Since I leave for vacation on Saturday, I won’t weigh in again until I’m back from the trip. My plan is to enjoy my vacation and not be obsessive about WW or let it prevent me from enjoying myself, but I do want to try to be mindful about what I’m eating and make an effort to be active. In an ideal world, I’d see a loss on the scale, but I realize it’s pretty ambitious since I’ll be traveling, so I won’t beat myself up if that doesn’t happen. Onto the next!

The Real Reasons Why

For a good part of the last year or so, I’ve been wanting to focus on getting healthier and losing weight, but with so many changes and health issues along the way, I just haven’t made progress in the ways I was hoping to by now. And somehow, it’s already November and 2017 is almost behind us (thank GOD for that though), which is really hard to believe. Since I feel like I’ve stepped out of the fog hanging over the last several months, rather than letting a few more slip away with no progress, this week, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers. And while I’ve joined a few times over the last couple years here and there, this time it feels different. I think I’m just ready to commit to making my health a priority again, and have the bandwidth to focus on it for the first time in a while.

One of the things I love about the Beyond the Scale Weight Watchers program is the whole “beyond the scale” part. At the beginning when you sign up and weigh in for the first time, they have you to take a few minutes to write why you want to lose weight. The receptionist actually had me write something down right then, which I think is good because it forces you to think about it. They say the more specific and detailed you can be the better because then you can start to visualize it, which can be pretty powerful, especially in moments of weakness.

After leaving the meeting, I’ve been thinking more about all the whys – why do I want to lose weight in general, why Weight Watchers again, why right now – and thought I’d share what I came up with. It’s really easy to list off surface level reasons, so I forced myself to dig a bit deeper with each.

  1. I don’t want to be back to the “before” and I’m terrified that’s the direction I’m heading if I don’t make some changes.
  2. Weight loss is mostly related to what I put into my body, which is something that’s totally within my control. Lately, so many things have felt outside my control, especially related to my back issues, so I’m looking forward to focusing on something where the outcome is completely up to me.
  3. I want to get excited when I see someone has tagged a picture of me on social media, rather than be filled with dread for how bad I might look in the picture.
  4. I’m currently a size 12, which is towards the top end of the range of sizes regular clothing stores carry. I want to be able to shop at regular stores, not have to go to the back of the rack to pick the biggest size they carry, and to feel good when I try on the clothes.
  5. I want to feel proud of my body again. I worked so hard to lose all the weight last time, and I’m ashamed I’ve gained some of it back, especially after undergoing plastic surgery to memorialize my hard work.
  6. I want to wear a bikini with confidence again. I vividly remember the first time I ever wore a bikini in my entire life by myself at a public pool in DC, and how liberating it felt. I truly believe that people should wear whatever they’re comfortable in, and I’m at the point where I don’t feel comfortable bearing my stomach.
  7. I want to be comfortable changing in a locker room or in front of friends again, instead of turning towards a wall and doing it quickly in a panic or going into a private bathroom stall.
  8. My parents have a long list of health issues related to being overweight, and I’m at the age where those things aren’t too far off if I don’t get it under control. My dad had a heart attack at age 40 (!) and both my parents have struggled with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being prediabetic/Type II diabetes. I don’t want the same fate.
  9. Holidays are a really tough time to lose or maintain weight, so rather than let myself spiral out of control these next few months, I want to focus on taking care of myself and get a head start. Time goes by so fast, especially as we get older (it’s science!) so rather than let a few more weeks turn into a few more months, I’m starting now.

Week One on SmartPoints

So you guys, I have to say, I’m really proud of myself. Something I’ve seriously struggled with in the past is how to balance losing weight with keeping up with my life. If I’m being “good” and recommitting to weight loss, I tend to shut myself away, avoid social situations, and honestly, get scared and overthink any hurdle that might come my way. I avoid going to happy hour or going out to dinner, and try to suggest doing something healthy like a workout for my social time, rather than making time for a workout earlier in the day, and letting my social time be, well, social.

This time around, I’m trying to be more reasonable and think long-term. Am I going to avoid going out to happy hour with friends forever? No. Am I only going to see my friends if I can convince them to join me for a workout? No. (Especially because my best girlfriends have fallen in love with SoulCycle and while I tried it once and liked it fine, I cannot bring myself to pay $33 per class without feeling sick at the thought.) Am I going to eat a small, well-portioned meal at home before meeting friends out for dinner and just order seltzer at the restaurant and seat myself as far away from the bread basket as possible? Nope.


So, this last week, I took a looser approach to following SmartPoints and did the best I could, while still having a wonderful time with my friends, going out to eat much more than normal, and even taking a work trip to Boston. Last Thursday, one of my best friends from college who lives in NYC, Leah, came down to DC to visit for the weekend. Thursday night she came over and we ordered Mexican food. I ordered a healthy meal – chicken fajitas – for my main course, and even got queso and guac to share for starters. And I had chips and queso and guac, but I tried to be mindful while I was eating it. I made myself slow down a bit and stop before I overdid it, and even saved part of my fajitas for another day. In my past life, I would have fixated on avoiding the queso so bad that I am sure the stress alone would have added on several pounds.

Leah was around for the rest of the weekend, which included girls night Friday with wine at a friend’s place and dinner out at the Homestead (omg so good if you are local to DC) and brunch at The Republic on Saturday followed by some day drinking and snacking.


We called it an early night Saturday and then I got back on track on Sunday. I went grocery shopping, planned out a few meals for the week (including Skinnytaste’s Banh Mi Rice Bowls which I hiiiiiiiighly recommend) and took my dog for a long walk.

Then, Monday I took a trip to Boston for the night for work and got back late Tuesday night, and again, normally this work trip would stress the hell out of me when I was first getting back on track. In my past weight loss attempts, I would have figured out how to fit in a workout, located a grocery store that I could get to easily once I got there, called my hotel ahead of time to ask for a refrigerator, overthought the meal options, and overly stressed myself out for a work trip I would have to take regardless of how it affected my weight loss efforts. Instead, I just took it for what it was and tried to be as healthy as I could with the options I had, drank plenty of water, and stayed on my feet a lot. I even met another best friend from college, Lindsay, for dinner on Monday night at Lincoln (SO GOOD!) and had a lobster roll for lunch during the work event on Tuesday.

Lobstah Roll

I hadn’t weighed myself at home once during the week since last week’s weight in, and with all the friend time, meals out, and travel, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to weigh in this morning. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I stepped back on the scale today and was down 3.4 pounds from last week! I honestly got giddy on the scale even though I still have a ways to go, and it made me feel confident that I can do this. Again.

Thrilled with The Gain

Going back to Weight Watchers to weigh in for the first time in a while can be pretty daunting for anyone, but I have been putting an extra layer of pressure on myself because I used to be a Leader, and was so afraid that someone might recognize me and wonder what the hell happened and where I went wrong.

When I feel the negative self-talk rise up and I know I am being hard on myself, sometimes I try to imagine that a close friend is sharing those same emotions with me, and I try to think through how I would respond to them. And usually, it’s quite different from what I say to myself (in my head mostly, luckily) and it helps me to change my tune.

I would say, “Don’t be ridiculous. Going back is a huge step in and of itself and it’s something you should be proud of, not scared of! Trust me, I know it sucks to have to face gaining weight back, but no one will be nearly as critical of you as you are. And honestly, even if someone does recognize you, what’s the worst that could happen? It would probably be refreshing more than anything because as anyone who has to lose/has lost a lot of weight genuinely understands, it’s not easy. Stop being so hard on yourself. I’ll be happy to go with you, if you like.”

I won’t share the self-directed commentary I had floating around before forcing myself to snap into gentle-mode, but suffice it to say that the version for my close friend was much kinder than the insults swirling around in my head.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I’ve been in a join, quit, rejoin, quit, rejoin cycle with Weight Watchers for the last year and a half plus. I went a few times throughout the year in 2015 where I saw the biggest gain from when I was Lifetime (about 35 pounds up from my goal weight), and then I went on April 26 and May 3 of this year (two weeks in a row!) and actually lost 3.8 pounds in that week, but that was followed by crickets… until yesterday.

When walking in, I honestly didn’t know what to expect with regards to what the scale would say. I haven’t been weighing myself regularly, and am not sure that I’ve been on a scale since May 3 to be honest. So, with baited breath I stood in line and soaked in the new-to-me SmartPoints merchandise while I waited for my turn at the scale. I saw a journal with a quote from the founder of Weight Watchers, and it helped reiterate that I was indeed making the right choice.

Choice Not Chance

My turn came, and as I walked over to step on the scale, I exhaled a bit when I realized that I had never laid eyes on the woman about to weigh me in my life, so she couldn’t possibly know who I was. She pulled up my profile and directed me to step on the scale, and then she goes, “Aww bummer. You’ve gained this time.”

Luckily, I had prepared myself for that, so I didn’t collapse on the spot. I did sheepishly remind her that I hadn’t weighed in since May 3 and had just recommitted the day before, and then I took back my booklet and sulked away from the scale.

But then, I opened up my booklet not sure what number would be there, and I had in fact gained weight, but it was only 1 pound since May 3! It could have been a LOT worse. I am pretty sure that’s the happiest I’ve been in my whole life from gaining a pound, so I’ll take it.

How To Start Again?

At first, maintenance seemed so easy. It was really hard for me to change my mentality from wanting the scale to go down each time I got on it, to hoping it stayed the same. And I think because that switch was so hard mentally, I was much more careful with what I was eating while I got my head around the concept, which is why maintenance was so “easy” at first.

When I think back to that time in my life where I hit my goal weight and then became a Lifetime member, I’m honestly not really sure I ever accepted that I was AT my goal weight. I thought I could stand to lose a few more pounds and while I didn’t want the scale to go up, I didn’t necessarily want it to stop going down either. I was still in weight loss mentality. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin despite being at a healthy weight, and I knew I couldn’t ever be happy with my body unless I did something drastic. So then I did.

Since then, I’ve gone through many phases in my relationship with food. I’ve been in great places. I’ve been in bad places. And since I’ve gone back and forth for my entire life, I guess it’s no surprise this cycle has continued, even though it surprised me. Before the surgery, I thought the complete opposite would be true. I thought that life after surgery would be the final chapter in my weight story. I was SURE that there was no way in hell I’d ever let myself gain back any weight after going through something like that to help my physical appearance. But it turned out to be just the opposite. I think in a way, after I had the surgery, I was so much happier in my body than I was at any of my previous weights that it almost gave me a free pass to eat and live how I wanted, regardless of the impact it would have on my health and weight.

And the healthy habits always slip away oh-so-slowly. An extra glass of wine here. An extra piece of pizza there. A missed workout one morning… and it’s a very slippery slope, especially for someone like me who has the tendency to be very all-or-nothing about so many things in my life.

I’m glad to say that I’ve snapped out of it before I got back to my before weight. I have truly recommitted to doing Weight Watchers and actually went in yesterday, weighed in, and purchased a monthly pass. (More on that in a different post.) While I know there will be ups and downs this time around and always, I feel in a really good place mentally and ready to do this.

A question that comes up again and again, sometimes just in my own thoughts, sometimes when talking with family and friends, and sometimes in emails and comments I get from readers, is how to start again? How to get out from under that blanket of guilt and shame that accompanies regaining weight and stand tall to face reality? How to stop sliding down that slippery slope before you get back to the bottom? And you know, I’m still not sure of the answers, but I do have a few ideas.

1.) Start with accepting the truth and forgiving yourself.

Anyone who has struggled with their weight knows how easy it is to come up with excuses and deny, deny, deny. That picture was just taken from a bad angle. These jeans must have shrunk in the wash. Stretchy pants are just so comfortable, of course I wear them all the time! I think getting to the place where I could admit that I was truly off track was the hardest part of it all. It felt like I was admitting I failed. But I didn’t. I just need to re-start. The time is now. Wishing and hoping that things were a different way doesn’t change a thing. Untagging yourself in pictures on Facebook doesn’t mean it wasn’t you. Not pulling out your summer clothes because you’re not sure if they will fit doesn’t solve any problems. Pretending that you’re not blogging just because you’re too busy doesn’t mean you’re using that extra time towards your health goals.

And the second major part of this step is to forgive yourself. It’s so easy to say mean things to yourself when you look in the mirror, to feel hate, shame and anger for letting it happen. To feel guilty and embarrassed to see people now that you’ve put back on some weight, especially those who complemented your transformation initially. But you know what? What’s done is done, and harping on it is not going to help. Accepting that we’re all human, we make mistakes, and we’re finally getting to a place where we are ready to commit to changing our lives once again is an essential piece of the puzzle.

2.) Set small goals based on where you are NOW.

After accepting that I actually gained some weight back and it doesn’t make me a terrible person, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty – the actual eating healthier and moving more portion of the program. While Weight Watchers is what I’ve found works for me, that’s certainly not the case for everyone. Some people are bogged down by tracking or do OK with restricting certain things from their diet (ie. Atkins, paleo, gluten-free, etc). Whatever works for you is what to do. But the important part is to set goals based on the RIGHT NOW. It doesn’t matter if I’ve run almost 30 races, including 5 half marathons, in my past life. If I haven’t been exercising regularly in almost a year minus a few brief stints, I have to start much smaller than running a half, or maybe even running in general. If I’ve been eating crap for every meal every day for a while, starting with adding good things (fruits and veggies, water, exercise, etc.) to make less room for the bad is key. Set myself up to succeed by making goals that are attainable right now is essential.

3.) Accept that it’s a lifelong journey.

This is the part I always get caught up on, which leads me back to #1 and #2 here. I have to admit that I can never stop trying. I can convince myself the opposite is true as much as I want, but that’s not the truth. I can never be one of those people that just eats intuitively and slowly devours a single piece of pizza, smelling and tasting each bit of it, and then feels satisfied. No matter how much I wish that was the case, or how much I convince myself I am getting there, I’m always going to be the kind of person that has to do a self check and realize I really don’t want to eat the entire pizza, so maybe it’s better that I don’t start. Or, maybe I do want a piece or two of pizza, but I need to move the box out of the room or throw it away to stop myself from going too far. I’m always going to be learning what works and doesn’t work for me, especially as I move into my 30s (in a few weeks – eeeeek!) and go through changes that impact my lifestyle and health.

And for me, I think step 1.5 was to realize that even though I have a blog, I don’t have all the answers, and that’s ok! I’m still very much figuring this journey out and the whole reason I created this blog in the first place was to have a place to document it. So turning away from my blog because I was struggling with my weight was the exact opposite thing I should have been doing. I convinced myself that not blogging regularly was not directly correlated with struggling to be healthy. And that, my friends, was a lie.

But you know what? I’m back. And maybe that denial phase was yet another part of this journey. And that’s ok. After all, I am only human.

Here We Go [Again]

Soooo that whole thing didn’t last long. I stayed off the carbs for about two weeks, but then I decided to have a cheat day, which turned into a cheat two days… into a week… into, ever since that cheat “day”. I went away to New York to visit my sister this past week, and then car camping over the weekend, and while it was SO fun, I left there feeling pretty gross. Bloated, overfed, over boozed, under exercised, and just… blah. So, on the drive home, I strategized and you’ll never believe what I ended up deciding.

Back to Weight Watchers.

I know it works. I know I can do it. I know it’s sustainable. And I know I can’t do something that restricts entire food groups for long, so here I am. I’m considering actually returning to meetings as a member for extra motivation, and will keep you guys posted with what I decide. But for now, I wanted to share my menu plan for the week. Since I got back yesterday evening, I headed right to the grocery store to stock up on fruit, veggies, lean protein, skim milk, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc… aka everything I haven’t been eating for the last little while. I didn’t feel like cooking when I got back, so things are pretty simple for the week. The main things I’m cooking are salsa chicken and baked potatoes, and neither of those are too labor intensive. Without further ado, I’m feeling ready to do this!


Breakfast Lunch Snacks
Tuesday Greek yogurt w/banana + shredded wheat Turkey sandwich w/sliced apple, cheese + mixed lettuce, carrots w/salsa, air popped popcorn cottage cheese w/berries Salsa chicken over salad w/corn, black beans, + peppers
Wednesday Overnight oats with greek yogurt, skim milk, cinnamon, chopped apple Leftover salsa chicken salad English muffin toasted with tomato and cottage cheese Loaded baked potato w/broccoli, cheese + black beans
Thursday Veggie omelet with cheese + veggies, english muffin Leftover loaded baked potato w/side salad greek yogurt w/berries + raw oats Poached eggs over brown rice + spinach
Friday Green smoothie w/skim milk, banana, spinach, berries, greek yogurt, frozen berries Leftovers turned into fried brown rice w/egg + veggies cottage cheese w/apple Out!

Outside of sticking to my meal plan and detoxing, some of the goals I want to focus on this week are:

  1. Exercising 3x before Monday.
  2. Drinking 6 cups of water during the work day.
  3. Eating all my meals at home or prepared from my kitchen (to save $$ too!) for the rest of the work week.
  4. Getting enough rest and shooting to be in bed by 11 most nights.

Here we go!

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