A Day in the Life with my 3 Month Old

Let me start out by saying I know I am so lucky to have a realllly good baby. She sleeps a lot, goes down fairly easily (most of the time), and is bright eyed and smiley a lot of the day. I thought it’d be fun to capture a day in the life with her at 3 months and kept waiting for a “typical” day, but then realized — there really isn’t typical at this point! Every day is different and I don’t have her on a schedule except the one that’s led by her. So here goes – our day last Thursday!

8:00am – My alarm goes off and I jump out of bed with a start and run to the baby’s room to make sure she’s still breathing. She is. I was up from 4-4:45am feeding and soothing her back to sleep and she’s still out, so I go make coffee, respond to a few work emails, and tidy up downstairs.

9:05am – I hear Riley crying so go up to her room to start her day in disbelief that the hour I had is somehow gone.

9:15am – I bring her downstairs to nurse her until she loses interest and seems full, about 30 minutes.

9:45am – We play on her mat and I read her a book. Sometimes she likes it when I’m down on the mat with her, but sometimes she prefers to be by herself so I give her some space ha.

10:15am – She starts yawning so I pick her up and rock her a bit to try to put her down for a nap. I put her awake in the Rock ‘n Play and she falls asleep within 5 minutes.

10:30am – Realize I’m starving so go downstairs to make breakfast – scrambled eggs with leftover roasted broccoli and cheese, plus a piece of peanut butter toast. I also respond to a few more emails.

11:05am – I commit the cardinal sin of parenting and wake Riley up to change her diaper and get her dressed for the day because I’ve been wanting to make it to Baby and Me Yoga every Thursday since I’ve been cleared to exercise (7 weeks now) and decide today is the day I’ll finally make it.

11:25am – Arrive at the studio and go to register for the class online and realize it’s not happening today. Argh! I check the schedule for next week and the class is actually at 11am, not 11:30am, so learn the lesson that it’s best to check the schedule before you head out of the house (and/or wake your sleeping infant). Try again next week.

11:30am – Decide to reroute to the Dollar Store. Riley is not having it, so I rush through to grab the few things I need (gallon Ziplock bags, sponges) and a few things I don’t need (cheap K-cup coffee I’ve tried since and is NASTY, shockingly) and check out. Riley proceeds to spit up all over herself on our way out the door.

11:45am – Drive back home and eat a serving of my new dollar pretzels on the way.

12:00pm – Change Riley out of her clothes and into a new diaper as soon as we get home.

12:05pm – Sit down and breastfeed for 20 minutes.

12:25pm – Take Riley upstairs to her room, put her in a new outfit, add a sleep sack, and put her on my shoulder to pat her back for 10 minutes until she seems sleepy.

1:35pm – Get a solid hour of work in. Riley is still in her crib but I can’t tell if her eyes are open on the monitor, so I go up to check in person to make sure she’s still breathing. She is. Back to work.

1:55pm – Realize I’m super hungry so whip up a quick lunch. I take chicken breast and marinate it in soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar and fish sauce while the broiler heats up, then put it under for 8 minutes. I also take a cup of cooked quinoa and mix in chopped scallions and heat it up in the microwave while the chicken cooks, then top the whole thing with 1 tsp each of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Delish.

2:15pm – Can’t believe she’s still sleeping, so I start writing this blog post. (Funny how I’m just now finishing it almost a week later.)

2:35pm – Riley wakes up, so I bring her downstairs and let her have some diaper free time on the play mat. We just switched to cloth diapers a few weeks ago and I’m told diaper free time is important to help keep things dry and prevent rashes. We also do some tummy time which turns into torture time after 1 minute every time, even though she’s really good at it.

2:50pm – Time to nurse her again.

3:35pm – Riley falls asleep in her Rock n Play for another nap.

4:25pm – Riley wakes up and it’s back to the mat for playtime. Good thing she looks at it like it’s new every time still.

4:45pm – Riley gets a little cranky so I nurse her for a few minutes and then put her back on the mat for tummy time

5:05pm – John gets home and joins Riley on the floor for play time

5:30pm – She’s hungry again so it’s back to the boob.

5:45pm – She falls asleep while nursing and goes down for another nap in the crib.

6:30pm – She wakes up and starts talking to herself so we leave her in the crib for about 20 minutes since she’s content.

6:50pm – Bring her back downstairs for more diaper-free time where she proceeds to pee AND poop with her diaper off. Good thing I have her on a waterproof mat haha

7:15pm – Bath time! She absolutely looooves the bath – it’s so cute. One thing that surprised me as a new mom is how quick baby baths are since you can’t let them get too cold. She’s probably in there for a grand total of 3 minutes but is smiling and cooing the whole time.

7:30pm – She’s hungry again so it’s back to nursing for session 3092834 today. Exaggerating obviously but it feels pretty constant!

8:00pm – She’s exhausted and keeps falling asleep in my arms but screams her head off every time I try to put her down. Finally I put her in the crib and leave her for a few minutes to see if she calms herself down. She doesn’t. I go back in to get her after 5 minutes and bring her back downstairs. John’s on the phone with his sister so we both chat with her for an hour or so while Riley sleeps on me the whole time.

9:00pm – I put her down in the Rock n Play soooo carefully but she immediately opens her eyes. I hand her to John because I am staaaarving and need to make something quick to eat — frozen veggie burgers it is.

9:35pm – Change into PJs and her nighttime diaper and feed her one last time.

10:00pm – Play the game where she falls asleep while I’m holding her but screams bloody murder as soon as I put her down for a good 30 minutes which feels like hours, but finally she tolerates being put in her crib and she is out for the night. Fingers crossed she makes it through the night like she has been for the last week or two.

10:30pm – I come back downstairs and melt into the couch while watching trashy TV but am exhausted too so don’t even make it through a show. Whew!

PS: That night she slept straight until 7am, got up to eat for 15 minutes and then went right back down until 10am. I know I’m super lucky and make sure to be grateful for it every day, especially during the tough moments!

My First Week on WW Freestyle

Last Wednesday, I went back to a WW meeting and rejoined at just a few days shy of 3 months postpartum. I’d been toying with the idea of rejoining for a few weeks and after all the traveling around the holidays (and then a cold and stomach bug – ugh!) I finally did it. My weight was… more than I wanted it to be. Roughly 24 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, and another 14 or so above my goal weight, so I’m looking at losing about 40 pounds to be in a place where I’m comfortable.

I’d done WW Freestyle for a few weeks towards the end of 2017, but I didn’t dive in that deep before getting pulled in other directions. This time though, I’m one week in and fully committed to getting to a place where I feel good. I am super proud of myself because I tracked every single day this week, including Saturday when I went wayyy overboard and had 75 SmartPoints at a friends house for dinner. I also found myself planning more and makng much better decisions while out to eat which is always something I struggle with.

5 Takeaways from My First Week

Being on WW really helps me reign in my eating. I love having the structure of the SmartPoints budget, while also having nothing off limits, because I tend to go straight towards anything I “can’t have”. I’ve planned more, made better choices while eating out, and have eaten lighter/lower SmartPoints to balance out times when I know I’ll be having more and love the flexibility the program gives me.

It works really well for me as a nursing mom. I am hungrier than I’ve ever been while nursing (even more so than when I was pregnant!) and get 16 (!) extra SmartPoints every day while exclusively breastfeeding. On top of those, there are so many zero point foods that are actually satiating, so I can definitely eat enough to fuel myself and my milk production and stay on the plan.

SmartPoints definitely steers me towards eating healthier and having more protein in my diet. I absolutely love that lean chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, and nonfat greek yogurt have been added to the Zero points food list, on top of fruits and veggies like before. That means when I’m running low on SmartPoints I can have a whole meal that’s actually satisfying for next to nothing, like scrambled eggs with veggies or white bean chicken chili.

I’ve eaten more fish this week. I looooove that salmon and fish have been added to the Zero points list! I ate salmon twice this week and would normally steer clear of it even though it’s healthy because it was so many Points in previous versions of WW.

I love that WW has focused more on whole foods. They’ve removed all artificial sweeteners and colors from their products, and all the recipes on the weekly cards are full of real foods and things I can feel good about eating. Previous versions of WW included recipes with lots of artificial ingredients and fat-free cheese, which I never feel great while eating.

Weigh In Results

So in all honesty, I was really proud of myself even before stepping on the scale this week. I felt great about the decisions I made this week, while not feeling deprived, and ate in a way that feels sustainable. I also cut back significantly on sugar and tracked every single day, even when I went way over my daily SmartPoints. But obviously, I was hoping the scale reflected my hard work, and I was ecstatic to see I was down 5.4 pounds! I know a lot of that is water weight, and that I can’t expect to lose like that every week, but I walked away feeling really proud of myself and excited about week two on the program.

My Pregnancy in a Nutshell

Pregnancy was good to me and overall pretty uneventful. I found out early (when I was 4 weeks and some days along) and decided to wait until the baby was born to find out the gender, which went against every Type A vein in my body, but turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.

I only had a week and a half of the dreaded morning sickness during my first trimester and never even threw up; I just felt awful and nauseous for a few hours each day. Even though in retrospect it was only a short while, it felt like an eternity while I was going through it. Other than that, I was suuuuper tired, which lasted well into the second trimester, even though everyone told me it would go away after the first. I kept waiting for that burst of energy everyone assured me was coming, but I’m not sure it ever arrived.

The only other less than fun part of pregnancy for me was the glucose test which I had at 26 weeks. For that, you drink a sugary drink and then get your blood sugar tested after an hour. A lot of people told me the drink was sickeningly sweet so I was a little worried, buttttt I actually liked it.

Orange flavor for life

However, my test came back borderline with a result of 137, so my practice made me do the 3 hour test, which was much less fun. For that, I had to fast from midnight the night before, and then drink a sugary drink that was the same volume but twice the sugar as the one for the 1 hour test, which was in fact sickeningly sweet. With the 3 hour, they take your fasting blood sugar, and then take it again 1, 2, and 3 hours after the drink. I did the test on a Friday, which was apparently the day a student was working in the lab. I’ve had my fair share of blood work and never had an issue before, but that student definitely needed more practice. She did the fasting blood draw, and then the one hour blood draw, and after that my arm stung so bad I was afraid to go back in for the last two draws. I ended up speaking with the front desk and they had someone else do the last two blood draws which were less unpleasant. But, I started feeling sooo sick and shaky between the 2nd and 3rd hour of waiting and had to ask for a room to lay down in. I was only allowed to drink a limited amount of water and just felt so gross for the last stretch of the test. Fortunately, I passed all four of the blood draws and didn’t have gestational diabetes, but the testing experience was not one of my favorite parts of the pregnancy.

As many of my longtime readers know, I had a tummy tuck back in 2013, so I wasn’t quite sure how, or if, that would impact the pregnancy. I obviously spoke with my providers about it and was told that it shouldn’t have an impact, besides showing less and/or later in the pregnancy, which definitely panned out to be true for me. I started taking photos at 16 weeks and barely had a bump until towards the end. While to some that might sound awesome, for me, I was really wanting to look pregnant when I was that far along in the pregnancy so it was kind of disappointing that I wasn’t obviously pregnant until 7 to 8 months. The grass is always greener, right?

For the record, I was really trying to look preg in all these photos

My goal for the birth was to have a low intervention, unmedicated vaginal birth and I did everything I could to make that dream a reality. In terms of birth prep and education, I did a tooooon of reading, listening to podcasts, went through training to be a doula so learned a lot about pain control methods and positions for labor, and also took the home study Hypnobabies course.

Physically, I stayed active throughout the pregnancy with lots of hilly walks around my neighborhood and going to prenatal yoga twice a week, which I loved. I also started seeing a chiropractor every week that specializes in the Webster Technique, which is a specific way of manipulating the pelvis to make positioning ideal for pregnancy and birth. I gained around 30 pounds total, which was more than I wanted to, but still in the range of normal, and I tried to be relatively healthy with my eating with the occasional (ok, more like regular) treat in the mix.

As I got into the home stretch at 34 weeks, my mom and sisters threw me a baby shower, which was awesome. They had it at Zaytinya which is one of my favorite restaurants in DC, and about 22 of my favorite ladies came and showered me and my baby with love.

A lot of my favorite people!

It was such a fun way to celebrate my pregnancy and the baby to be. I got so spoiled and felt so good and excited to meet my baby just 6 short weeks later, which barely felt like enough time to get ready. Little did I know that things would change drastically over the next several days and that my baby would be making a surprise early entrance less than a week later.

Let’s Catch Up

Soooo it’s pretty crazy that it was a year ago yesterday that I wrote about getting engaged, and here we are one year later and so much has changed. You know how they say you should take your time with big life changes rather than piling them all on at once? Well, I’ve never been one to like being told what to do, so let’s catch up on what’s happened since then.

In January, we bought a house in Alexandria, which just outside of DC proper, and moved from our one bedroom apartment in Dupont Circle to our 4 bedroom house in February (which sounds much bigger than it is).

In early March, I became a wife when we got married in DC in front of 70 of our closest friends and families.

A few days later, I found out I was pregnant and became completely fascinated with all things pregnancy and birth. I researched and read everything I could get my hands on and ultimately decided to go through training to be a doula, which I completed in August.

Our baby was due November 9th, but she had plans of her own and made her appearance just over a month early on October 7th via emergency C-section. So much for the unmedicated vaginal birth I’d been planning on, though it was perhaps a good introduction to parenthood to realize you can plan as much as you want, but good luck with that.

Meet our daughter, Riley Sue.

That photo was taken a day after her due date, so she was just over a month old at that point. Riley is now two and a half months old and becoming a mom has been one of the most amazing, humbling, challenging, and rewarding transitions of my life.

I am excited to share this new chapter of my journey with you, as I learn to navigate life as a new mom, work towards being healthy / losing the baby weight, and adjusting to life in the ‘burbs. I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

How He Asked: The Perfect End to Antigua

At the tail end our Antigua trip, most of my family was on the same flight home a few hours earlier than the flight John and I were on, so, after they all headed to the airport, we had some time with just the two of us. Originally we were talking about going sailing, but with the time to get down to the water and back, we’d be rushing around, so we decided to just hang back at the villa and pretend it was ours.

We spent time soaking in the view and swimming around in our private infinity pool and the couple hours flew by. We had a taxi coming to pick us up at our villa around 1pm for our (what I thought was) 4pm flight, so we got our stuff ready to go and around 1:10pm, I called down to the front desk to check in on the taxi and make sure it was coming to our villa and not the front desk. They informed me it was running late (duh) but that it was coming and to just hang tight.

Since I’d been so unplugged all week, I hadn’t checked in to our flight yet, so decided to try to do it on my phone while waiting for the taxi. Once I logged in, I quickly realized that while our flight was at 4pm Eastern time, it was at 3pm local time (!!!!) so not only was our cab running late, but our flight was an hour earlier than I thought. I turned to John and told him we were definitely going to miss our flight, but we decided there are much worse places to be stuck and basically said “Oh well”.

The rest of the story went something like this.

John: Babe, come out on the balcony.
Me: No! We don’t have time! Let’s get our stuff outside and be waiting for when the taxi arrives if we have any chance of making this flight!
John: Come on, let’s soak in the view one last time. The taxi’s not even here yet.
Me: Ugh… Ok.

So, I begrudgingly walked out onto the balcony and we soaked in the breathtaking views one last time.

John: This is so beautiful.
Me: I know. I can’t believe we have to leave!
John: I want to do this forever.
Me: …
John: Do you?
Me: Huh?

And then, slightly confused, I turned around to face him, and he was down on one knee saying sweet things I can barely remember but finishing with, “Will you marry me?”

In the same breath, I said “YES! But, we have to go now!” so he put the gorgeous ring on my finger and all of a sudden I had a fiance!

The above picture is from later because we were in such a rush to get to the airport that we didn’t take any engaged pictures in Antigua!

We ended up in the taxi a few minutes later and the local driver knew the roads like the back of his hand so he booked it to the airport, with John and me giddy in the backseat. Somehow, we made it to the airport with just over an hour until our flight took off, and made it through all the lines and to our gate with a few minutes to spare.

And while many people might think that was the exact wrong time for someone to propose, for us, it was perfect. The only person we told we were engaged was the customs agent when he asked us how our vacation was, and it felt really special to have our little secret for several hours on our trip home until we made it back to the states and could start calling our families and closest friends. John had been saying the trip was his favorite vacation of all time, and I have to say, with that ending to the trip, I can agree.

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.

Enjoy!


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

Servings
servings

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins

Servings
servings


Instructions
  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)

A Tropical Thanksgiving: Antigua 2017 Recap

2017 was the first Thanksgiving of my life where I didn’t eat turkey for dinner, and I have to say, it was probably my best one yet. My dad’s 70th birthday was in August, and for this monumental birthday, he wanted to have the whole family together on vacation over Thanksgiving. We originally rented a villa in Anguilla (hey, that rhymes!), but had to shift gears after the hurricanes wrecked havoc on the Caribbean, and somehow Antigua made it through unscathed.

There were 12 of us total – my folks, me and John, both my sisters, their husbands, and their four (total) kids. If I’m being honest, I was a liiiiiiiittle nervous about having the entire family under one roof for a whole week for the first time in… years. We’re all pretty intense and 12 people, including 4 kids between 2 and 10, is a lot, but everyone got along really well and it was one of the best vacations I’ve been on!

To start, the villa we stayed at, Perfect Sunshine, was absolutely breathtaking. Here’s the view from the back porch, looking out over our private (!) infinity pool and the resort itself.

And this is was view from the back balcony every.single.night.

Another reason I loved this trip so much was that John and I went snorkeling every day while we were there, and saw some pretty cool stuff!

The island itself has 365 (!) beaches, and we made the rounds visiting quite a few during our stay.

One of the other really fun things we did was take a sunset cruise, which was actually my and my sisters’ gift to my parents, and we spent about 4 hours cruising around on a private catamaran.

And then when the sun started to set it was hard not to be mesmerized by the view.

The one downside, and I’m not even sure I’d call it that, was that food was REALLY expensive in Antigua. We cooked breakfast at the villa each morning (and by “we”, I mean my sister Wendy) and for the most part ate one meal out per day and cooked the other at home. We had some great meals out, including lunch at the Beach Bum Bar & Grill (times two).

Lunch at Papa’s By the Sea (side note: it’s REALLY hard to take a selfie and get 12 people in the photo. This was my best try…)

And probably my favorite meal of the trip – a whole red snapper grilled with garlic butter, plus fries, veggies and salad on the side from OJ’s Bar & Restaurant.

The only other thing that was less than ideal were the roads in Antigua. I’ve traveled in the Caribbean quite a bit and there’s usually potholes and narrow roads, but Antigua took it to a whole different level. The roads were so narrow it didn’t feel like two cars could get through side by side, and cars were randomly parked on the side of the narrow streets all over the place. Our villa was a bit isolated so we had to drive about 45 minutes to get to the other side of the island, and it was really intense each time. We ended up on a few dirt roads that were mostly just potholes on top of each other and I definitely considered getting out of the car and walking a time or two.

The best part of the trip was getting to spend solid quality time with my family, which is much rarer than I’d like it to be these days. I remember when I first got out of college and went home for the holidays and was shocked that I only got one day for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It felt like it was time to head back to DC/get into work mode before I’d even realized the holiday was upon us, and that’s continued to be one of the things I struggle the most with in terms of adulting.

The upside to that is it makes times like these that much more precious.

Who knew I was such a sap!?

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