Weight Watchers

Wednesday Weight Check #10

Another Wednesday, another weigh in vlog…

Not the best result this week, but also not the end of the world.

Wow I look ecstatic…

This week I was up a little bit, but I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if I was up by much more so I’ll take the small gain.

For the most part since recommitting 10 weeks ago, I’ve felt really in control with my eating. I’ve splurged many times throughout those weeks of course, but it never felt like it was spiraling out of control. This week though, it started right after weigh in and just wove itself throughout the week. I’ve felt like over the last many weeks theres been a day or two where I’m like, “Woah there Beth, reel it in” (I don’t talk to myself, I swear…) but it’s never been more than 1 or 2 days during a week.

I’m not really sure what caused it exactly, but this week I felt off track more than on track, and it just wasn’t a good feeling. I’d had a big dinner planned for Saturday night which I was looking forward to (and could have reasonably induldged on without gaining had I planned my week better, but I just had slip up after slip up leading into the dinner, and it just sucked. Especially because I knew this week would be even more challenging…

But, enough of that – today is a new day.

I’m actually leaving for San Francisco tonight and I am SOOOO excited. My goal for this week is to have fun, try to make good decisions about when to indulge, keep up with exercise, and enjoy myself! If I can maintain or keep my gain to less than a pound, I’ll be happy. If it’s more than that, I will deal. If I lose, something isn’t right. Winking smile

What’s your favorite place to visit in the states?

Mine is a tie between New Orleans and San Fran!

Attune Foods: Back to the Basics

As you know by now, I am struggling to get back to my goal weight. Click over to the Attune Foods Blog to read about some of the reasons I think I gained back the weight, and what I am doing to stop this in its tracks to get back to a healthy weight.

I do not want to get back here.

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or here

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But I do want to get back here:

Time to get back to the basics!

Leave some love over there in the form of a comment!

Wednesday Weight Check #8

Another Wednesday, another weigh in video. Good results this time!

This was taken fresh out of the shower last night, so forgive my lack of makeup. Smile

In the video, I mention that I also took measurements last night for the first time in 5 months, and I was down an inch almost everywhere on my body, including each arm plus my waist, bust, and chest, and 1.5 inches on each thigh! Exciting to see 8” gone over the course of 5 months, though of course I still have a ways to go.

This week, I really want to focus on getting more healthy fat into my diet. I am honestly not eating that much dietary fat day to day, so my goal is to have one serving of oil, avocado, and/or nuts (am I missing anything??) every day this week and prioritize getting it in.

I also have a 10k coming up this weekend so I want to perform well on that and I am just going to trust my training rather than set specific time goals, because that tends to work best for me!

Also, I was going to make another goal to change up my activity a little bit, specifically with cross training, and last I tried zumba for the first time ever! I absolutely LOVED it and got such a great workout. I was drenched!

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Plus, I loooooved that the women in the class who were the best, plus the instructor, were all curvy ladies! I fit right in.

Do you do group exercise classes? Which is your favorite?

Wednesday Weight Check #7

Yesterday’s weigh in results were… not good.

But you know what? I’m not letting me get it down. A number is just a number and I am not going to let it dictate how I feel about myself.

Weigh In #7

While not thrilled with the results, I am honestly feeling so good right now. I ran 7 miles on Saturday at a sub 9:00 minute pace. Below 9 minutes! Me! So that is what I’m trying to focus on, rather than the number on the scale.

For the week ahead, here are my goals:

    • Keep up with planning splurges rather than having unplanned ones.
    • Focus on having a lot of protein at each meal.
    • Try to limit fruit to 3-4 servings/day (it’s getting a little out of hand, especially when I ear most of my activity and all of my weekly points).
    • Track everything.
    • Focus on living healthy, not getting too caught up in the scale.
    • Adjust to working at home! This week I start working from home two days a week, which is going to be challenging/different for me.

Here’s to a great week!

Weight Loss Mode Weekly Plan of Attack

As you (hopefully) know, I am really committed to losing weight and getting back to my goal weight, and have been back on track and focused for about a month now. One of the main “secrets” to my success with weight loss is having a plan of action. We do an exercise at the Weight Watchers PowerStart Session called PowerPlans for new members, and during it we take a look at our week and look at different events/things we have coming up. This way we know where to use our extra points (or calories) and also just have an idea of what our week is shaping up like. I do this for myself every single week, and it makes such a difference!

Eating

In terms of food, I’m sort of disappointed to say that I think the special formula for me personally to lose weight is for me to eat just SOME of the activity points that I earn, and none of the weeklies. Now, I earn a ton of activity points, so I’m getting somewhere between 50 and 60 per week, and when I have about 20 of those leftover, I tend to have the most success on the scale. This is new for me, because I used to be able to eat all my weeklies PLUS my activities and still lose, but that’s just not doing it for my body anymore.

This may have something to do with the free fruit, because I do eat A LOT of fruit – probably about 4 (and sometimes more) servings a day. I usually have 1-2 pieces with breakfast, one with lunch, one with my afternoon snack, and one serving after dinner. But I absolutely love fruit and know that it’s good for me and not something I abuse, so I don’t want to cut back on it for now.

All that said, here’s my menu plan for this week (though some changes are made below the plan):

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, sliced banana out to Nooshi – planning on sushi + seaweed salad* cottage cheese + sliced green pepper, clementines Grilled tofu, sauteed spinach, baked sweet potato**
Tuesday Toasted english muffin w/cottage cheese + banana Lentil + Feta Salad String Cheese + green grapes Homemade refried bean + cheese burrito
Wednesday 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, sliced banana Homemade refried bean + cheese burrito cottage cheese w/clementines Making dinner w/ Erika
Thursday Toasted english muffin w/cottage cheese + banana Lentil + Feta Salad string cheese w/clementines Grilled Hamsteak w/veggies + brown rice
Friday 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, sliced banana leftover grilled ham + veggies cottage cheese w/red bell pepper TBD – movie night!

Just to be totally clear, in general, I do eat more than what is written above. I eat at least my 30 PointsPlus per day, and tend to shoot to have 5-7 for breakfast, 7-8 for lunch, 2-4 for an afternoon snack, and the rest (11 – 16) for dinner/dessert. I normally workout after work, so I’ll have a snack like a smoothie, a corn tortilla with turkey and cheese, or a glass of milk while I get dinner ready, but it just depends on how my evenings play out.

Also, these menu plans DO NOT always turn out as planned. Case in point – yesterday.

* = So that was the plan, but what did I end up getting instead? Grilled shrimp vermicelli, which is actually a pretty healthy option in general. But, it came with a fried spring roll (not written on the menu – weird) and about 2 cups of vermicelli noodles. I was planning to try to only eat about 1 cup of the noodles and for a second thought about not eating the fried spring roll, but it was just so delicious I kept eating and eating. In the end, I ate the entire plate, and calculated the PointsPlus value at 20! Twenty! Crazy, especially since I picked something on the healthy side. That said, I didn’t freak out about it, and really really enjoyed the meal, so in the end it was worth it.

** = Because of the point above, dinner ended up being a lot lighter since I was only working with 5 pts+. I had a smoothie when I first got home from work (4 pts+) and then two grilled 97% fat free Hebrew National Franks (2 pts+), a string cheese (1 pt+) plus some frozen mango after soccer. I only ended up going over my points by 2 for the day and even went to bed satisfied. Win!

Activity

With the PowerPlans session, we also look at our week in terms of where we can fit in activity, but this isn’t as much of problem for me. I’ve been really good about making time for exercise consistently for over 2 months, and am feeling REALLY good in that department. I’ve been working out about 5 times a week at the gym or outside, plus taking a 30ish minute walk over lunch to get a little more movement in during the day on weekdays. Also, I signed up for a recreation soccer league which will have games once a week that started last night (and was SO FUN and such a great workout!), so I am pretty excited to be doing something fun, social, AND active all at once.

Here’s a look at my plan of action for this week, activity wise:

    • Sunday: Color Run 5k (more like 2.5 miles)
    • Monday: Soccer (!!)
    • Tuesday: 3.5 mile run outside + weights
    • Wednesday: Speedwork (3 miles of intervals)
    • Thursday: cross train
    • Friday: rest
    • Saturday: 6 mile run

Which would you say comes easier for you – being active or eating well?

For me at the moment, it’s definitely the activity that has been coming easier, but it hasn’t always been that way!

Wednesday Weight Check #4

Hi guys! I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s post from Matt. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, I suggest you take a minute to do so because it’s pretty powerful stuff. I’m looking for more submissions for the In Her/His Words series, so if you’d like to share your story, please email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com.

Without further ado, here’s my weigh in video with yesterday’s results.

I wish I had more of a say in the still shot shown above…

I am pleased with the movement on the scale, though of course I wish it was more. These are THE HARDEST pounds I’ve ever lost – and trust me, I’ve lost (and gained) many, many pounds in my lifetime. It’s frustrating, but I know the only thing I can do is keep on trucking.

One thing that is really good is that I feel completely in control. I haven’t had any out of control eating in weeks and it’s not even something that is tempting me, which I think is a good sign that I am feeding my body what it needs, honoring my cravings, and making smart decisions about fueling.

My goals for the next week are:

    • Eat less processed foods (minus the Salted Caramel Smoothies I bought yesterday…)
    • Eat more protein (switching out pop/baked chips for cottage cheese at lunch, eating a bigger serving of Greek yogurt at breakfast, etc)
    • Keep on going with mindful eating and being active

If I do all these things, I hope to be reunited with the 170s at this time next week!

Tell me… what are you most proud of from this past week?

In His Words: Matthew’s Story

“If you don’t change your life, you will die early Matthew.”  Could there be a more powerful statement in your life at age 27?  My name is Matt Frates and I once heard that from my doctor after a medical scare shortly after my 27th birthday.  Being forced to process my own mortality at a time when I was supposed to be in my prime was, and still is to this day, the largest pill I have ever had to swallow.  I had to deal with the fact that I was not invincible, and the destructive lifestyle I unconsciously chose to live would have dire consequences on my future.

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The next day I received a work email about a session of Weight Watchers starting the following week.  That, my friends, was “the sign.”  It was time to get my life together.

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For all of you readers out there, whether you have lost weight or have yet to take that plunge, we all will have that moment where we are ready, and boy do you have to be.  I marched into that WW meeting ready to take on the world, thinking about how I needed to lose this weight to be in the place I should be.  I signed up, I paid, and I stepped on the scale.  BAM!  I was slapped in the face with the true reality.  I weighed 312 pounds.  Come again?  I will spell it out; three hundred and twelve pounds!  I was embarrassed and I was scared, but I was motivated.  I wasn’t there for anyone but myself.  I was ready to do whatever it took to change my life and my lifestyle, NOT to go on a diet.

That day, February 25, 2010, was the start of the rest of my new life.

Making life changes is never easy and I started by going home and throwing away all the food I had in my apartment.  It was time to start fresh.  I bought all new food, made menus, and stuck to the plan.  The first week I lost 6.2lbs and the following week 2.9lbs.  I was on a roll.  I began exercising five days a week, tracking all of my food, yet still enjoying life.  Throughout 2010 I lost close to 50 pounds by sticking to my points and exercising vigorously.  My exercise involved massive amounts of cardio, which included the elliptical, the stationary bike, and rowing machine.  I loved seeing the amount of calories burned at the end of a gym session. The day when I hit 1000 calories burned I thought was the best accomplishment of my life.  I was set for life right?  Or so I thought.

In mid-June of 2010 I received a phone call from a good friend asking me if I had heard of an event called the Warrior Dash.  I had not, but upon checking it out, I saw that it was a 5k (3.1 miles) with obstacles.  I knew I hated running but the concept sounded like so much fun.  Starting in July I began to get my butt on the treadmill and attempt to run.  It was ugly for sure, but I made it to the point where I could run about 2 miles of the 5K distance.  The event was in Amish country Pennsylvania and it was a blast!

matt3

What is significant about this story is the fact that I finished in 49 minutes when I had expected to finish in well over an hour.  I felt so good about myself and what I had done that I began to think I could do it again.  You know what I found out?  I actually enjoyed running!  I did my first 5K on Thanksgiving of that year and then my first 10K two weeks later and it became official, I was hooked.

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Since then, my journey through weight loss has taken on a completely different meaning.  No longer was it just about the weight or even about the food.  It became about something so much deeper.    Running, not food, became my new passion, my new addiction.  It filled my body, my mind, and my heart with something food never could.  All the mindless eating I had done to satiate the repressed and misunderstood emotions I was carrying around could never have given me what the sport of running has over the last two years.

MattGW2012

Over that time I have competed in 19 races, including five half marathons and a Tough Mudder. On October 7, 2012 I will run my 20th and most challenging race to date, the Chicago Marathon.  The marathon and its 26.2 miles will be a microcosm of my journey through weight loss.  It will be long, it will be difficult, but ultimately it will end with a feeling of satisfaction that nothing else can give.  It will not be the end of this journey, just steps into another phase of it.

mfbefore-after

As I sit here writing the conclusion to my story I thought of three powerful thoughts that have kept me so successful over the years.  The first tip I can give is never look at losing weight as a diet.  The word diet implies deprivation and carries a negative connotation with it.  Think of it as the start of the rest of your life because this is about changing your lifestyle. The second tip I can give is to always remember that satisfying your mental appetite is just as important, if not more, than satisfying your physical appetite. Weight loss is not a sprint it is a marathon.  That may sound cliché but it’s true.  Many of us know emotional eating all too well and it does not go away once we are ready to change our lives.  Just be aware of the mental aspect of weight loss because it will be there through the bad times AND the good times.  Lastly, and most importantly, never doubt yourself.  If my story can teach one thing it is that ANYTHING is possible.  When I started I never thought I would have become the person I am.  That desire, that sense of purpose is in all of you.  Some of you may have found it and for some it may be dormant, but it is there.  Always believe … always.  Good luck to you all on your journeys and thank you for taking the time to hear about mine.

Yours in health,
Matt

Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

I have been REALLY digging lentils lately. I literally made a lentil and feta salad with parsley, red onion, and red pepper FOUR times over the course of two weeks. Four times! So when I saw this Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew pop up on WeightWatchers.com as the recipe of the day, I couldn’t look the other way.

Now you may be thinking – slow cooker (the one I have) in the summer? Is that really a good idea? And the truth is, it really is! I set this baby up to cook before heading out to hike this past Sunday, and when I got back to my apartment, not only was it not burnt to the ground (which is still a concern of mine every time I use the slow cooker), it wasn’t even hot like if I had cooked something over the stove or in the oven.

I made this recipe exactly as prescribed, so I can’t call it my own – but I can offer one suggestion. Use less salt. The recipe called for 1 tablespoon, and it was just way too much. I  would recommend going with half that, or even less honestly. There are so many spices going on in this recipe that I’m not sure you really even need the salt. I have step by step instructions below, along with a trick for peeling ginger that works like a charm. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker South Indian Lentil Stew

    • Prep Time: 20 mins
    • Cook Time: 6 hours on low (or 8.5 if you hit traffic on the way home from hiking)
    • Servings: 6
    • PointsPlus: 6 per serving
    • Source: WeightWatchers.com

So first up, the ingredients:

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A lot of them! For simplicity’s sake, here’s what I put together the night before in the slow cooker:

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  • 2 cup(s) dry red lentils
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

The recipe says if you’re missing a spice or two, it’s no big deal, but I happened to have them all on hand except the mustard seed, so I picked some up at Whole Foods in anticipation of making this.

With all the spices and lentils premixed, this left just the following to deal with in the morning:

    • 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
    • 10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
    • 4 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or vegetable broth
    • 1 small uncooked onion, minced
    • 1 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

Since nothing had to be done with the tomatoes, spinach, or broth, it meant the only prep I had to do in the morning was deal with the onion, garlic, and ginger.

First up, the onion and garlic – no problem.

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Want to know a cool trick about peeling ginger? The secret lies in the following tool that you probably already have you in your kitchen:

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A spoon! The spoon peels only the skin off the garlic if you use it like so:

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Sort of scraping the skin off. It works so much better than a pairing knife or anything else. Thanks to my sister Heather for teaching me this trick because you don’t waste any of the ginger itself!

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After everything is prepped, toss it into the crockpot with the lentils, spices, tomatoes, and spinach.

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Mix it all together.

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Then pour in your broth.

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And you are ready to go. When you come back to it 6 (or 8.5) hours later, the liquid will have absorbed and you’ll be left with a thick lentil stew.

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Mix it up and then add your two final ingredients:

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, minced

And you are ready to eat!

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This stew was absolutely DELICIOUS. It’s full of flavors, textures and is so, so satisfying. Since it was 6 servings, I ate one on the spot and then put the other 5 in containers for lunch during the week.

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I ended up freezing two of them for later, but let me tell you – it’s even better the next day as leftovers since the flavors have even more time to mesh together.

If you want to print the recipe, click over to the WeightWatchers.com version, but don’t forget to cut the salt at least in half!

Do you ever use your slow cooker in warmer weather? Share a favorite crockpot recipe in the comments if you have one!

Ode to a Perfect Weekend

I looooove the weekends. That makes me unique, right?

This past one, I had the PERFECT weekend in my book.

Friday night started out with a healthy date with my friend Kelly. I stopped by my old office to say hello at the end of the day (where she still works) and we headed over to the gym for a quick workout. I ended up doing 20 minutes of intervals on the stairmill and then a quick strength training circuit and felt great. Afterwards, we grabbed some salads at Chop’t (the new seasonal Tabago Jerk Cobb has only 6 pts+ by the way and is DELICIOUS) and then headed to E Street Cinema to see Celeste and Jesse Forever.

celeste and jesse forever

Source.

Though the movie doesn’t have the best ratings for some reason, I LOVED it. It was hysterical laugh-out-loud at some points, and touching to the point of tears in my eyes at others. A little depressing overall but really, really well done in my opinion.

Saturday I woke up bright and early and headed to Whole Foods to do a little shopping. I wanted to make this South Indian Lentil Stew I found on WeightWatchers.com and knew I would be out all day Sunday, so wanted to pick up what I needed first thing. After coming back from WF, I met my friend Jess at the gym and did 45 minutes of intervals on the stairmaster and led her through a strength training routine, which was fun! Afterwards, we did a little shopping, and then headed to meet up for our friend’s birthday in the late afternoon.

It brought me right back to college, party bus and all. We were supposed to go to Annapolis for a crab feast, but when we got there 32 people deep, they couldn’t make room for us. Next thing we knew, we got asked to leave for being too rowdy and ended up at Red, Hot and Blue, a barbeque place. It’s funny because there’s actually one in Arlington, which is just a quick trip on the metro from where we started, but we ended up traveling via bus to eat there. Whatever the case, we had a great time and it seriously brought me back to feeling like I was 21.

Sunday morning I had some exciting plans – my very first hike! Lauren had emailed me to see if I wanted to come up to Frederick for a hike and said that Ashley would join us. I jumped at the chance! My friend Tegan came with me for the hour drive up to Frederick, and before I knew it, we were at the start of the trail.

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We ended up doing a 5.5 mile loop which took about 2 hours, and I LOVED it. The views from the top were breathtaking!

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It was seriously the most perfect day. Since the ground was so rocky and uneven, I had to pay attention just enough to really be in the moment, but I felt SO relaxed. Plus, we were talking the ENTIRE time, so it went by so quickly and did not feel like even close to 2 hours.

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I can’t believe I waited so long to go for a hike!

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Perfection.

Is there anything you waited a long time to do for no good reason?

Outside the Box

This week at Weight Watchers was a recipe swap. Since only me (the leader) and one member brought in recipes (I gave the rest of them a pass since the meeting was at 7:30am after all), I decided to shift the topic towards rethinking kitchen staples. The whole idea behind the meeting was to think about why changing things up in your diet is important, and here is what we came up with as a group:

    • It keeps us from getting bored.
    • It adds variety.
    • It refocuses us, because when we eat the same things all the time we feel safe with them.
    • It allows us to eat seasonally and buy what is fresh at the market.

And something else I wanted to add but didn’t – it keeps our bodies guessing. I think sometimes our bodies get really accustomed to what we eat if we tend to eat the same things over and over, so you sort of surprise it when you introduce it to new foods and can push yourself out of a rut.

After covering the basics of why it’s important to change up the diet, we talked about some staples that we all have in our kitchen and ways to rethink them.

First up, hummus.

    • Discoveries: Trader Joe’s makes a tahini-free hummus that has just 1 pt. as does Cedar’s brand
    • Uses: On sandwiches, in tuna salad with a little greek yogurt, in egg salad, with hot dogs in a tortilla.

Next up, beans.

    • Sprinkle on salads.
    • Mash up with salsa and cumin and melt cheddar over the mixture on an English muffin or pita.
    • Make your own bean dips/spreads.
    • Add to stirfries.
    • Mix with corn, canned tomatoes with jalapenos, and red bell peppers, cover with sliced polenta, top with cheese and bake for a casserole. Yum.

Last one discussed, frozen veggies.

    • Stirfries with chicken or tofu
    • Egg scrambles
    • Fried Rice or another grain
    • Soups
    • Frozen spinach for smoothies

Some other random things that came out:

    • Roast eggplant rounds and store in the fridge to use for the “bread” on sandwiches.
    • This recipe yields pesto that is 2 pts+ for 1/4 of a cup. You could freeze it into 2 tbsp portions in an ice cube tray for just 1 pt+ a pop.’
    • Health Salad is one of my favorite recipes and the one I brought for the swap.
    • Cooking Light, Real Simple, WeightWatchers.com, and SkinnyTaste.com are some favorite sources for WW-friendly recipes.
    • When you don’t tell people you are making a healthy or Weight Watcher friendly recipe, they won’t know – they’ll just think it’s delicious!

Tell me – what’s one staple you always keep on hand in your kitchen and what is your go-to use for it?

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