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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas and Virtual 10K Race Recap

Merry Christmas 2012
Happy Holidays to you!  I hope that you were able to spend lots of time with family and friends celebrating the Christmas holiday.  We spent last weekend in Wisconsin with my family and Christmas day was spent with my husband's family.  I love being able to spend time with both families though it does come with a little anxiety on how to control my food intake.  To balance this out we tried to increase our activity level.  When in Wisconsin we hit the hotel fitness room and then later the pool and when we were home we took the dogs on some long walks.  We even found a new path to walk which, even using a couple of short cuts, makes the total route about 3.5 miles (which is longer than my daily 3.1 mile route).

Speaking of distance... late last week on a blog that I read was mention of a Virtual 10K Race.  What is this you ask?  There had been talk about the lack of races around Christmas but since everyone was travelling it wasn't possible to get everyone to meet in one spot and go out so a couple of bloggers organized an event where you register online, do the 10K at your leisure between Friday and Monday and then register your time with the organizers (they provided a form to do this).  So I signed up and told Dan about it and he mapped out a route and we figured we could confirm the distance using my Forerunner.  Unfortunately, less than halfway in, I thought I'd turned the timer off by accident so we didn't have an accurate read.  Note to self, always trust the Forerunner.  At the end of the walk we'd gone 4.35 miles and I was disappointed but exhausted and freezing and I didn't think I had another 1+ mile in me.  So we called it a day but I was determined to do the full 6.2 miles.

Yesterday after a brief, but emergent, trip to the vet's office I headed over to the fitness center.  The rules said it was OK to complete the miles on the treadmill so that was what I was going to do.  I'd never used this treadmill before but there was a 10K program button right on it.  I wearing my new Foot Pod for my Forerunner except that when I calibrated my food pod I did something wrong and my watch thought I went 12 miles.  I didn't.  I barely made it through 6.2 miles but I signed up for the full 10K and so by the grace of everything in me I was going to finish.  I did.  It just took me a LONG time.  I didn't have an exact time because even the treadmill was conspiring against me.  The treadmill said I completed it in 4:53... I'm guessing some numbers were missing there!!  It was more like 1 hour 44 minutes and 53 seconds, though I can't be certain but it was pretty close to that.

My hips are sore today (but after 15+ miles between Friday and Monday something was bound to hurt!) so I was happy it was Tuesday, aka REST DAY!  It was also the last weigh-in of 2011 and I was fairly happy with that too.  Oh, and I made a new page - you should check out my race schedule for 2012 and let me know if you're interested in joining me for any of the races.  Some races are still tentative but I did them this year so am planning on doing them next year too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm taller and I weigh less.... It's a Christmas MIRACLE!!

Over Thanksgiving I was in Wisconsin and I went along on a drive with the deer hunters.  For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology - in my case it was a hike.  I didn't carry a weapon, aside from my witty personality, so I was basically along for the extra activity.   Somewhere along the way I picked up a little friend and didn't realize it until the next day when I sat down and felt like I had a sliver in my back.  Anyway... not sure what it was, even with the medical opinion of many relatives (did I mention this was a good time for me?! *insert eye rolling here*) I went to the doctor who told me if the appearance didn't change to come back and see the nurse practioner, which I did last night.  As the nurse is walking you from the waiting room to the exam room she says ok we're going to get your weight and height.  My weight was .5 pounds more than 30 minutes earlier when I'd been in my WW meeting (apparently the grande skinny latte that I got on the way to the doctor's office adds that extra half pound?) but the best news was that I was also taller than I thought.  Not like now I'm 6'2" which would have been all kinds of awesome... no but I am 3/4 of an inch taller.

Anyway... weigh-in last night was great, especially considering the train wreck of food I ate over the weekend. I was extremely please to realize I lost 3.4 pounds!  I've also discovered that if you make oatmeal from actual oats instead of the instant packet that your serving size is like quadrupled.  This morning I made 1/2 c. of dry whole grain oats, added 14 grams of cranberries (I measured them because I didn't know if they were free points or not.  They are.) and 10 grams of chopped dates.  I also grated some clementine zest over the oatmeal and cooked it all for like a minute.  I added a little splenda to counteract the tartness of the cranberry and came out with a WHOPPING size portion of oatmeal this morning.  Seriously, this portion is huge.  What have I been doing this whole time messing around with the instant packets???

Have you made any great health finds lately?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That can't be right...

About a month ago we were on our way to my in-laws house to celebrate Thanksgiving (we celebrated early with them because we were going to be out of town on the actual day) and we stopped to get gas.  I ran in to get a couple of drinks and I found Arizona Cranberry Ice Tea.  I thought it was terribly festive so I tried it and it was awesome.  I looked around every where I went but I couldn't find it, except at this one gas station.  Until last night.  I found the motherload... BRILLIANT!  I almost started to load up the cart and then thought I should probably calculate the Points+ value on that.  So I did and the can was 6 points.  Then I calculated the Points+ value on a regular can of Arizona Lemon Iced Tea and it was 9 points.  NINE FREAKING POINTS!!!  Well that certainly explains why my weight loss hasn't been very much the last few weeks!  I'd been drinking 3-4 cans per week.  Apparently I'm back to Diet Snapple (which is delicious) or figuring out how to make my own Cranberry Iced Tea.

Have you ever thought you were doing really well and then found out that you made a huge error like this?

If you're looking for a holiday alternative to cookies - try out my Gingerbread Muffin Recipe.

Gingerbread Muffins

Gingerbread Muffins
WW PointsPlus Per Serving:  3
Makes:  23 Muffins

1 serving(s) Betty Crocker Super Moist Spice Cake Mix
1/3 cup(s) molasses
1/2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1/3 cup(s) unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup(s) Egg Beaters Egg substitute

1. Mix together cake mix, eggs, molasses, applesauce and milk.
2. Pour into paper liners and fill 3/4 full. (I did 23 cupcakes)
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly touched.

I really wanted to have something sweet for the holidays but didn't have time to roll out cookie dough and cut them all out so I opted to make muffins instead.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Now I get it...

You know that commercial last year that played before Christmas that said... 'Give a give a give a give a  Garmin...' and I hated it because that song would get stuck in my head for days.  However, after purchasing my own Garmin Forerunner 405 I get it.  In fact I'm kind of wondering how I did all the miles I did before I had it. After the race this weekend I knew I wanted to start running more so this week I've been trying to include a little running into my usual 5K route.

Today I had an early conference call so I didn't get to go out until this evening.  As I was out I realized I should change my route a little bit so I could do the mostly unlit part while there was still some daylight.  I also used the fact that there was more traffic around as a reason to run a little more - crossing intersections etc... Time wise this was the most I've ever run and I feel pretty good.  It's exciting to be able to see that I'm going faster or at least longer for the time I spend running.  I kept wanting to go faster when I was walking but I could never seem to get over the 15:30 hump, at least not consistently.  Before you start thinking... ok wait, you've been "running" for 4 days this doesn't make you a runner.  Yes, I realize that, trust me.  I also know that if I start small that my desire and ability will grow.  I never thought I'd be regularly walking 3+ miles a day but I am.  Anyway, my point is that I'm starting small...

Most of my running today was early on in the workout, but there was one longer part about 2.25 miles in when Tucker (who I regularly call 'Little Guy' because he's so much shorter than Briscoe) turned and looked at me and I swear he said. "WTF?  Next time take the tall one!"  :)

Seriously - I'm clearly in the 'jog' zone.  How awesome is that?  I went back and compared the data from the 3 workouts this week and each day I spend more time in the higher number zones than the day before.  Apparently you can even be in awe of yourself.  Sorry to brag... now we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race for the Light Recap

I can't believe this is my recap from my last race of 2011 - that's crazy!  We drove to Oshkosh on Saturday and despite the rain it was a nice drive.  Once we got to town we hit the Under Armour outlet store and I got to pick out my birthday present from Dan.. a shiny new water resistant jacket!  It's a pretty orange color, it's warm and blocks the wind and I love wearing it.  Then we met Brenda and Alex (my sis and bro-in-law) and headed over to the Boys and Girls Club/start/finish line of the race.  When it was time to line up it was a little crazy - I thought there were supposed to be separate areas for the runners and walkers but there were no signs so Dan and I just lined up towards the back of the crowd.  Then we were off ...

Before the race
The course wound through some neighborhoods and a park in Oshkosh and was really quite beautiful with all the holiday lights and decorations.  There were even people standing on the sidewalks with jingle bells cheering everyone on.  How cool is that?!  I found the night race a little harder to navigate than I had anticipated because I was really afraid of falling. Brenda and Lucinda (Brenda's friend) came back and met us about a mile from the finish and they were apparently talking to me and I didn't hear them at all, though I was also wearing headphones.  We were probably about a tenth of a mile from the finish and I looked at my watch and thought, "Oh crap I'm not going to PR and I'm not even going to make sub 50:00.... oh hell no" and I looked back at Dan (he was having some shoe/foot issues) and then I took off running for the finish line.  Yes, I ran.  I desperately wanted to finish in less than 50:00 even if I didn't PR.  It felt amazing to cross the finish line and I finally have a picture of me crossing the finish line where I'm not looking down was nice too.  :)

Ok, maybe 2012 will be a better year for photos!?
So it wasn't a PR but it was a fabulous race because...
1)  I got to do the race with Dan (it was his first race so he got an automatic PR - way to go!!)...
2)  It was during Christmas so it was awesome to see all the lights and decorations...
and most importantly
3)  Because we raised $1000 for Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc (CADASI).  THANK YOU for supporting me through this journey and for supporting CADASI too.

There is one other little bit of information I wanted to share.  On our bibs for the race we'd gotten a coupon for RoadID and given the close calls with cars that Tucker and I have had while out on our morning walks I finally broke down and ordered one.  I got the kind that you put on your shoe.  Anyway, they sent me a coupon so if you want to order one for yourself, use the following coupon ThanksJen9720463 to save $1 - the coupon is valid for 30 days at

How was your week?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's like Pisa but in Wisconsin!

Last week I was on vacation all week which was great.  Dan had to work on Monday and Tuesday and then we left to go to Wisconsin right after my meeting last week.  Between the previous weekend and Tuesday it felt like we'd spent about 3 days in the car.  The first weekend we drove up we didn't take the dogs because we were only there over night so our dining options on the road were pretty easy.  By easy I mean we could actually stop somewhere and have a meal instead of trying to eat while driving or (gasp) stopping for fast food. So before we left on Tuesday I packed some sandwiches, string cheese and crackers.  This was a tremendously satisfying and tasty meal.

I'd really planned ahead when it came to snacks and eating the weekend before (last Saturday really) so that I would have plenty of healthy options to choose from.  Lots of apples and clementines to snack were easy to grab for snacking.  I'd gotten a few bags of those steamer vegetables with cheese sauce.  On Wednesday I took my niece and youngest nephew to town to buy hats and mittens to donate at the Credit Union for little kids who have no hats and mittens.  Seriously, how great is that?  Way to go CU!!  Anyway, then I took the kids to Burger King for lunch.  They ate and I had an iced tea.  When I got home I made one of those bags of steamed vegetables.  They were so good I ate the whole bag but it was only 3 Points+ so I figured it was alright.

Now you don't have to go to Italy.
Just head to Wisconsin!
Thanksgiving was great - I got to cook with my Mom most of Thursday.  We made turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, roasted squash, cranberry sauce (she made that ahead actually), and two different kinds of dressing (one WW friendly, one was my Grandmother's recipe).  We also had pumpkin pie and Points+ friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins.  Yes, this may sound like a lot of food and it was but luckily it was pretty much gone by the end of the weekend.  The best part was that I got to have a little bit of some of the more indulgent things but really kept to the Points+ friendly items for the bulk of my meals.

I also braved the weather (and the traffic) by walking a lot last week, including past this funny silo.  It occurred to me, as I was walking, that people in the country don't really walk, nor do they walk their dogs.  This didn't stop me though the hills nearly did!!  I even spent some time in the woods with the hunters (though I was only walking along) on one of the drives they did.  I racked up 33 Activity Points, used 8 of them but I didn't use any of my Weekly Points Allowance.  I thought this was really good.  The scale might have disagreed because it stayed exactly the same as last week.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you follow traditional recipes?  Find new favorites?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Activity Goals?

I've heard quite a bit about the Garmin Forerunner watches but I thought that I was fine with the app I'd downloaded on my phone.  However, after more than a few activities with data reported that I knew was not correct I decided that I wanted more reliable data when it comes to my training.  I'd done some research on the models out there and finally decided on the Garmin Forerunner 405.  I've been using it for about a week and I love it.

The data that is tracked on the watch gets transferred (wirelessly) to the website.  There is also software that you can download onto your computer called Training Center, in case you will be in an area without internet access.  I have used both and like the web interface because it lets you easily share the data with others but I like the computer client because the graphs are nicer, in my opinion.

Here is a graph of a walk I did this morning from the Training Center Software:

I'm also giving you the link if you want to see the info, from the same activity, that gets stored on Garmin Connect

I really want to work towards spending more time in the slow jog zone.  This morning I took Tucker on a 2 mile walk and then came back, put Tucker in his house, and then took Briscoe on the same route.  I thought this was pretty good time/pace but look forward to getting faster (Briscoe does too!!)

Anyway... I was playing around with the website (Garmin Connect) today and found that you can set activity goals.  SWEET!!  So I set a goal for December to walk 60 miles.  There are 4 full weeks and if I walk 5 days a week for 3 miles .... Can I do it?  Could you?  Have you set goals like this for yourself?  If so, what are/were they?

As a reminder, my last 5K of 2011 is coming up fast and I could really use your help to raise money for the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center.  Please see the top left side of the blog for the link/more information.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another 5K, a new PR and my holiday menu

Last Sunday I did a 5K walk with my bestie Sheri and her daughter Brianna.  My friend Kim from my WW meeting ran the 5K too.  It was to support the Helping Paws Animal Welfare Association in Woodstock, IL.  Brianna volunteers there, I love a good 5K and who doesn't love helping the animals?!

The weather was odd that day, it was super windy at the starting point but as I got going into the course the wind was blocked or it died down and I was wearing my new Under Armour jacket that has a pretty warm inside.  I started to get hot and could tell I was sweating a lot, so much so that my sleeve was practically dripping, but I kept pushing through.  My reward was a new PR of 48:48!!  That's nearly 10 minutes off my time since the first 5K I did back in May.

Tuesday I had to be in the city for a work event so I missed my regular meeting but I made it to a meeting tonight.  My leader handed out paper plates and we were to write down all the things that we were going to eat for Thanksgiving.  Then she asked us what we'd wrote and she went through the common PointsPlus values for the foods.  It's always interesting to see the appropriate serving size and hear the PointsPlus values for each item.

Luckily, I'd put a lot of thought into this a few weeks ago because we are going to be at my parents house for the holiday.  Mom is making the turkey, mashed potatoes, squash, stuffing/dressing, and pumpkin pie.  I am making roasted beets, coconut topped sweet potatoes, caramel apple salad, stuffing with sage and chives and a batch of pumpkin muffins. When I tallied up my items, including turkey, my plate ended up being 15 PointsPlus.  That's not too bad considering the rest of the day will hopefully be pretty light.  I'm also going to try to get in a LOT of activity points next week so that even if I indulge a little bit that I won't punished for it on the scale.

Have you made holiday plans?  Do you make special arrangements so that you can stay on plan or do you just hope that you'll be able to eat healthy?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whew! And a whole lotta Congratulations!

Me, Nitro (golden retriever), Brianna, Sheri, Briscoe (black lab)
Some people did some amazing things this weekend.  First, my friends Judy and Kim ran a 15K on Saturday.  Then on Sunday Kim completed the Willis Tower Climb.  Seriously, these ladies are awesome and both inspire me so much so CONGRATULATIONS to both of them.  On Sunday my friends, Sheri and Brianna, and I hiked two miles to raise awareness for canine cancer (Briscoe had a tumor removed from his thigh last year so he walked with me and Nitro had a tumor removed from his thigh last week so he walked with Sheri and Brianna)

My best "coming to the finish line" photo (so far)
There was also a little marathon in New York City.  A couple of the bloggers that I follow were running in it and I read a recap of the marathon on the Carrots 'n Cake blog today and giggled when Tina said that each bridge she crossed she told her running mate, Theodora, that she was going to make the bridge her bitch.  The mantra kept them both motivated and Tina and Theodora had amazing PRs.  So obviously CONGRATULATIONS go to them.

Before I got on the scale today I said I was going to make the scale my bitch because I was tired of the measly losses I'd had the past couple of weeks.  I wanted to see the numbers really moving again.  I did!  I was down a whopping 3.4 pounds this week.  I really bumped up the effort and amount of activity I had, not even using weather as an excuse one day last week. I was active on 5 days last week and racked up 26 activity points.  Clearly, when I took a short break from the activity (because I was sick and the weather) the weight loss decided to take a break too.

During the meeting Karen asked the group how many people have trouble losing weight during the holidays.  Lots of nodding and raised hands and then she issued a challenge for us.  Her meeting groups would compete against each other to see which group could lose the most weight.  Awesome.  I like a good competition as much as the next guy and this will, hopefully, help keep things even more in check over the holidays.  I mean being accountable to yourself is one thing but to be accountable to a whole group of people?  Yikes!

Have you ever been a part of a contest like this?  How did you do?

PS - Big thanks to Bob for the great photos

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Disappointing or Encouraging?

My weigh in yesterday was something I'm not entirely comfortable with.  I lost 0.2 pounds which isn't a lot but at least I lost(?).  The last few weeks have been a little odd - first I was sick so I pretty much didn't work out for 10 days.  Then I had my 9K race and after that I sort of took a few days to rest up (that's what I interpret the scale telling me last night).  So I'm determined to get the scale not only moving in the right direction but moving at a pace that I am more comfortable with.

A few weekends ago Mom was here visiting and she brought me the mother load (no pun intended) of squash from Dad's garden.  I've been roasting about 4 per week and eating lots and lots of vegetables.  I mean, yummy freshly roasted squash is amazing.  I like to boil a potato to have with it and that is just so delicious and very satisfying except that I think with all the vegetables I'm actually eating too much.  So I'm going to have to get that under control.

I'm also planning on getting a lot of activity this week and I'm hoping that Mother Nature will cooperate with me.

When you get on the scale and don't see what you expect, are you disappointed or encouraged to try harder?  If you try harder, what do you do?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My motivation

Originally, I wasn't going to post because I just posted it on Sunday.  In case you missed the "news", I walked my first 9K!!  But I was asked a question last night in the meeting that I thought was important and it made me want to blog again.  So, here we go...

During the celebrations portion of the meeting Karen celebrated my 9K and asked me how it felt.  Amazing, and exhausting and fabulous (of course).  Karen asked if I'd share my weight loss total (there were a few new joiners in the room) so I said I joined in July of 2010 and I've lost 131 pounds (which is apparently wrong after I calculated it last night) and one of the members asked me how do I stay motivated?

Now THAT is a really good question that I answered during the meeting but then thought about it some more... and wanted to kind of answer it again.  Before I started Weight Watchers I would read food blogs - people taking pictures of all kinds of rich and glorious food?  Yes, please!  I'd also been reading a blog called Carrots 'n Cake (CnC) which has quite a lot of food pictures and recipes but it is also filled with information about fitness (the author is a marathoner and regularly writes about running and strength training).  I really started leaning towards reading CnC rather than the other food blogs because Tina's recipes were healthier and generally after posting a recipe or picture of food she talked about working out which always reminds me that you can have good food (and drink) as long as you also get in the activity.  I've mostly done away with the other blogs that only sported the high calorie/no activity posts in favor of something healthier.

The ultimate reason to stay motivated, and one that I mentioned in the meeting last night, is that I don't want to be defined by my weight anymore.  I've spent my entire life being overweight and being limited to what I can do, what I can wear or where I can shop and frankly I'm tired of it.  I want to be able to do things without having to think, I can't do that cause I'm not in shape for that.  For example, next year I'll be married to the most awesome man for five years and we're going back to Alaska (we were there on our honeymoon) and one of the things I want to do is hike a glacier.  We kind of did it last time but had to stop and rest about a hundred times on the way up and we never made it to the edge of the glacier.  These are the kinds of things I want to be able to do.

Oh, and maybe do the Hustle up the Hancock.  I'm still thinking about that one.

One more thing to note... this year has been a whirlwind and I'm going to end it with a bang!  I'm doing a 5K on December 3 which will support the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center in Oshkosh, WI.  I set a fundraising goal of $500 but would love to raise even more than that.  Please consider donating through my fundraising page to help raise money for this great charity.  Your contribution is tax deductible because this is a 501(c)3 charity.

Here is the full link, if you want to spread the word to help me raise more money:

Here is some information about the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center:
Launched in 1984, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. (CADASI), is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit agency serving individuals and families in Winnebago and Green Lake Counties who are struggling with the devastating effects of domestic abuse. The agency also educates the community on the dynamics of abuse and how it can help in the fight against domestic violence. It is the only agency providing comprehensive domestic violence programs and services to communities in both counties.
Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services is committed to ending the cycle of violence by providing safety, support and advocacy to all abuse victims, as well as cultivating community awareness through collaborative education and prevention programs.
Our agency's vision is to reduce the incidents and the effects of domestic abuse in the communities we serve and create a long term and lasting difference in the lives of families affected by abuse.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I DID IT!!! (The 9K version)

Crossing the finish line
I walked my first 9K today and I will definitely do it again. There were some things I wish I'd done differently, like not getting sick last week and missing out on some crucial training days, which really would have just put my mind at ease before and during the race.  The view from the course was amazing as we walked past Lake Michigan and through North Avenue beach and finished in Lincoln Park.  

It's easy to be inspired by the other people in the area and there was no shortage of runners, walkers and bikers along the course.  When I see them I want to go faster which was kind of a struggle from time to time because it takes me off my game which frustrates me.  I know that the more I do this (more training and more races) that I will get comfortable being at my pace and this desire to constantly go faster or keep up with others will pass, or at least subside.

About a mile away from the finish line my fabulously supportive and funny sister-in-law, Laura (who ran the race today), came and met me and gave me the push to get through the end.  I don't know why but it was reassuring to see her along the course and being able to talk to her took my mind off the fact that my side hurt and my legs were getting tired.  It was exactly what I needed at the moment that I needed it.  (THANKS LAURA!)

My unofficial time (based on the app on my iPhone which I forgot to stop when I crossed the finish line) was 1:25:49 which was 5 minutes faster than when I walked the 9K in training.  I was happy although I think the app hit a couple of glitches while I was walking so I'm really waiting to see what my chip time was before I get excited.

After the race we headed to Revolution Brewing for some lunch and drinks.  It was certainly a high PointsPlus day but one that I thought I earned considering all the activity.  I suppose I'll know for sure when I get on the scale on Tuesday.  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Intestinal Issues and Weight Loss?

For those that don't know ... here's a little history lesson.  About six years ago I was having some horrible abdominal pain, fevers, and diarrhea and after a few doctor's visits, a ruptured appendix, more barium "cocktail" than you should be allowed to drink in your lifetime and a few hospitalizations I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.  Crohn's disease is a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, fevers, vomiting and some other really sexy symptoms.  My disease is in remission thanks to some great doctors, potent medication and surgery to remove a blockage.

Anyway, a few weeks ago a member in my Weight Watchers meeting made a comment about having some GI issues that stopped her from being able to succeed on the plan because she could no longer tolerate the (mostly free) fresh fruits and vegetables which, let's face it, really make the plan awesome.  I remembered something my favorite GI (I've had a few) told me shortly after I was diagnosed.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are harder for your body to digest.  He told me why but my brain was a little bit on overload at the time and I don't remember. He told me that if my symptoms started to flare up (that's what they call it when the disease is active) to switch to cooked, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.  They are easier for your body to digest and to absorb all the vitamins and minerals that we need from them.

I just wanted to put that out there for anyone else who struggles with GI issues because it is possible to work this plan even when your tummy doesn't really cooperate with you.

If you have other questions about Crohn's or GI issues in general and how I deal with 'em, hit me up in the comments section and I'll try my best to answer.  Clearly I'm no doctor (but I've watched a lot of medical dramas!) so I can't give you actual medical advice but I will tell you what worked for me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coconut Topped Sweet Potatoes

Coconut Topped Sweet Potatoes
WW PointsPlus per serving:  3
Makes 4 servings

2 sweet potatoes (or about 1 pound)
2 T. Brummel and Brown buttery spread made with Yogurt
1 t. cinnamon
2 Splenda packets
1/8 c. coconut (flaked and sweetened)

Slice the sweet potatoes in half
Cook them (the original recipe said to cook them in the microwave but I baked them for about 45-55 minutes in a 455 degree oven)
In a small bowl mix the buttery spread, cinnamon and splenda until blended well.
Top the potatoes with the buttery mix and then with the coconut


I originally saw this in a Weight Watchers magazine and adapted it slightly (the original recipe called for cinnamon sugar and 1/4 c. flaked, sweetened coconut).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's the Point?

I've been sick since last Tuesday with a nasty bug... it resulted in two days off work and cancelled weekend plans.  Most depressing was that I hadn't been able to take my morning walk in over a week.  This was depressing because I have a 9K coming up on Sunday and I really had my training plan mapped out.  Plus, my scale at home was not showing any weight changes.

I went to weigh in and my leader (having seen me last week at the start of the bug) asked me how I was feeling.  I answered that I was feeling a little better, then I stepped on the scale and while I didn't know what my weight was from last week I knew that I'd lost weight. How much?  3.8 pounds.  3.8 POUNDS!!!  Karen, my leader, is always so excited about loss (only one of the reasons I love her) and even gave me 3 exclamation points on my name tag (another reason I love her).

During the meeting we talked about small changes.  This is all possible and it works because of small changes. Today after lunch when I normally have dessert I had a pear and oh my goodness it was so sweet that I didn't have any desire to have anything else.  How great is that?  That this little change could make such a big difference over time.

One of the ladies in my meeting, Melany (I hope I spelled her name right but apologize if not), said that her change was to only drink water.  She used to drink Diet Coke and had a drink of one over the weekend and immediately switched back to water.  She's fabulous and I congratulate her for making that choice.  We also celebrated that she lost 10% which is awesome and should be celebrated!

When I got home I was telling Dan about my loss... I said I've lost 131 point something.  He said, what's the point?  I said I dunno.  He said the point is to lose weight.  Oh, he's HIGH-larious, did I mention that?

So... wish me luck with my 9K this weekend.  I'm doing the Title 9K on Sunday.  If you're in the Lincoln Park area and want to come cheer me on... feel free!  We're heading over to Revolution Brewing to celebrate afterwards.  :)

What small changes have you made or what small changes can you make?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vegetable Pizza

Vegetable Pizza
WW PointsPlus per serving: 4
Makes 8 servings

1 whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's

4 servings Trader Joe's Lite Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 t. olive oil spray or cooking spray
2 servings Trader Giotti's Fat Free Pizza Sauce
1 c. onion, chopped

1 c. red pepper, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
About 1/4 - 1/2 c. white flour

If you want a crisp(ier) crust DO NOT follow the instructions on the package for the pizza dough.  You will take the dough out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you need to start kneading it.  

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Spray the pan with olive oil (I use one of those misters so it's like aerosol but it's really just olive oil) or you can use non-stick spray
Flour your work surface
After the 20 minutes has passed, begin to roll out the pizza dough.  You want to roll it for a little bit then let it rest, then roll a little more, etc... so that the dough has a chance to rest otherwise (Mom says) it gets tough
Once it's rolled out, place it on the pan and put it in the oven to bake for about 12-15 minutes.  Basically you want it to start to get a little crusty and firm.  Then you'll take it out and flip it.  This might require two people (or place a second pan on the dough and flip it if you don't have two people) to get it to flip over without breaking but trust me this step is totally worth it.
Load on the sauce, vegetables and cheese
I also sprinkle on some Italian seasonings (basil, thyme, rosemary and fennel seed)
Put it back in the oven to bake for about 15-18 more minutes.  The crust should be nice and crispy and the cheese nicely melted.

If you want to chop up one AmyLu Italian Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Onions as an extra topping it will increase the Points+ value by 1 Point+.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Trick or Treat?

Image courtesy of
Being on Weight Watchers makes me nervous around Halloween.  Not because I don't enjoy the constant door bell ringing followed by the dogs barking like they've never seen another living soul but because I can't buy the appropriate amount of candy.  In years past I would buy bags of candy, sometimes even in the beginning of October (in the name of research cause you don't want to give out the duds!) and then of course I'd have to restock by the end of the month in time for the little wee ones to arrive (and be scared to death of the barking dogs).

This year after reading a magazine article that suggested this I've decided to go candy-less, or at least candy minimal.  Dan suggested I should buy one bag, though I haven't decided if I'll listen to him this time.  So, should you be wondering what I'll be handing out when the ghouls and goblins come a calling I've prepared a nice list... some of these I'm getting, some I'm considering but all of them are festive.  Not to mention I'll be a hit with all the neighborhood Moms.  That was sarcasm which makes more sense if you knew that metal kazoos were on the original list I read.  You can get 'em at for $2 but I'm cheap and refuse to spend that much money on kids I don't know.  Interestingly, I went to that website (again, in the name of research) and was surprised to find how many different kids of kazoos there are.  Anyway, still not spending that much on kids I don't know.

(Caution:  Some of these are apparently not suitable for children under 3 years old - or so I read)
 * Temporary Tattoos or Friendly Frights Kids Tattoos
 * Plastic Spider Rings
 * Halloween Activity Pads
 * Halloween Pencils (cause you can't have an activity pad without a pencil!)
 * Halloween Erasers (see above reason)
 * Halloween Silly Bandz
 * The mega assortment of lots of the above
 * The girl themed mega assortment

What are your plans for Halloween?  Are you stocking up on bags and bags of candy?  Do you buy candy that you don't like to eat so you won't be tempted?  What are your tricks and treats to deal with this sugar laced holiday?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Upcoming Races

Yesterday when I talked about my GLORIOUS NUMBERS I mentioned that I was doing a few races in the next couple of months.  Here's my schedule so far:

October 23 - Chicago, IL - Title 9K

November 13 - Crystal Lake, IL - Panting for Paws

December 13 - Oshkosh, IL - Race for the Light

That's what I know so far... show some love in the comments section if you're doing any one (or all) of these events.  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Glorious Numbers

Tracking what I eat and how much activity I get (I still am not sure that what I do can be considered working out?) means that I have a lot of data from the past year to look at.  So, I thought I'd give you some numbers today.

The first number is TWO  (For those who just inserted The Count  from Sesame Street saying ah ah ah, ONE bonus point for you) which is the number of 5Ks I've participated in, so far.  The first 5K in Eagle River, WI I finished in 57 minutes and 41 seconds and the second in McHenry, IL I finished in 55 minutes and 3 seconds.  I have three more races coming up this fall so if anyone wants to join me, post a comment and I'll send you more info.  I'm doing one in Chicago, one in Crystal Lake. IL and one in Oshkosh, WI.

ONE.  The number of dogs I will take walking with me at any one time.  I took both of them once and they literally had their leashes wrapped around me and I fell down.  A bunch of other bad stuff happened on that walk (some of which is funny now) so I like to think I've learned my lesson.

I've lost ELEVEN points since we started the Points Plus program.  As you lose weight you lose points so this is a good thing but sometimes I'm dumbstruck by how far I've come..

EIGHT is the number of huge bags full of clothes that have gone off to Goodwill so that I can't slide back into bad habits and bigger sizes.  I've kept one pair of pants so I can take an 'after' photo but that's it.  I even broke down and donated some dresses (yes, actual dresses!) that had sentimental value.

For my next race I will walk 5.5 miles.  On October 23 I am walking in the Title 9K.  I'm excited and nervous about it all at the same time.  The follow-up stat to that is likely 1 (number of beers I will drink at Revolution Brewing after the race) and about 52 (number of glasses of water or iced tea I will also consume).

Since I started "training" and tracking activity in May I've walked 182 miles.  According to the software that I use this amounts to more than 25,000 calories burned.  Yeah, it's gonna take me awhile to get used to that number all the while it will be climbing as I tackle more activities.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Milestone Photos - 125 Pounds!

July 2010 about 2 weeks after joining Weight Watchers

I don't mean to overload you with posts today (apparently I have a lot to say!)  Here's the link in case you didn't read my earlier post about my new goals and a contest I entered.  I can't believe that it's been over a year since I started this little trek.  Realizing I've lost 125+ pounds is pretty awesome.  My bestie Sheri said that I lost a person... my response was that it could be two if it were an Olsen twin!  Anyway, since I hit a new milestone it was time for a new picture but I sometimes forget where I started so it's nice to take a step back and revisit the old photos.  I also updated the About Me page so that you can see all the photos.  What do you guys think?  I changed the way the comments work so it should be easier to leave feedback for me here.  :)

October 2011 - Down 125 pounds

New Goals and a Contest

A few weeks ago when I went to my meeting my leader discreetly gave me a piece of paper.  I didn't even realize what it was until I started reading it.  Weight Watchers holds a contest to find it's most inspiring members and gives out prizes.  This year it's a trip to New York City, $5K cash, and a styling session with Tim Gunn.  Seriously, the cash would be fun, a trip would be awesome but a styling session scares the crap out of me.  Anyway... to enter this contest you had to provide some information, including before/now photos, an essay and your weight record including your goal weight.

Uh... what?

Yep, when I joined WW I never set my ultimate goal.  I kind of knew in my head that if I stuck with it that I wanted to be in my weight range based on my height because then you get to be a Lifetime member and don't have to pay for meetings anymore.  I never really thought about it anymore than that though because I knew it was a pretty long ways off.  Except, now that I wanted to enter this contest I had to decide.  So, Karen and I looked at the weight ranges for my height (and yes I've gotten shorter since I was in high school.  Blech) and I decided to shoot for something in the middle... so my goal... to weigh 148 pounds.  I realize that sounds like a funny number but it's well within the range so that even if I gain/lose a little bit I'm within my healthy weight range.

I'm not putting any other conditions on it.  Not I'll weigh 148 pounds by X date.  Nope.  I don't care when I do it, I just want to hit my goal.  That and I want to do more races (more about that later).  There, now I've blogged it so it has to come/be true, right?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Extra Encouragement

This week I had the great honor of taking a very special guest to my meeting with me.  My Mom and Dad were traveling through and spending the night here so Mom agreed to go with me to the meeting.  I asked Dad if he wanted to come but warned him it is generally a group of women.  He said all women?  Yep.  He said, no, I think I'll stay home.

So Mom went to the meeting and she got to meet some of my favorite people in the world and was surprised when there was only one celebration last night.  Mine.  For losing 128.2 pounds.  (It's really the .2 that makes it impressive, right?!)  I kinda thought I would hit the 125 mark but I didn't realize that I'd do it quite so spectacularly   My total loss this week was 4.4 pounds.  I honestly don't know how.

What a better way to hit a milestone like that but to have the extra encouragement from Mom and the fabulous Tuesday ladies.  I was especially touched (in case you hadn't noticed or you don't know my Mom, she's a hugger) that everyone rushed to give her hugs and welcome her to the room.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to have Mom and Dad here to celebrate with me and Dan.  Oh and to have home made pizza!  That's like a mega bonanza in my book.

PS 1 - The Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough is really pretty good.  Thanks for that tip Pat!
PS 2 - I'll update the pictures as soon as I get a new "I've lost 125 pounds!" picture taken... hopefully later today or this week.  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oktoberfest... are we still celebrating?

Over the weekend we held our annual Oktoberfest celebration.  For us this means catered food from a German restaurant in Rockford, soft pretzels from a bakery in Chicago and eight, count them eight, different kinds of beer and lots of friends and family.  The part that I was most nervous about was the trip to Austrian Bakery in Chicago.  I walked in there pretty confident and the moment I spotted the cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and cookies in the display case I started to remind myself that nothing would taste as good as the feeling of getting on the scale and seeing the number go down.  I walked out of the bakery with the pretzels, rolls (for charming husband and his tailgating friends the following day) and one loaf of Cranberry Walnut bread.  I was pretty proud of myself.

Catching up with friends and family is always fun and Saturday night was no exception.  I kept my alcohol to a minimum and loaded my plate with fruit salad and fresh vegetables.  I took smaller portions of the sausage, kraut and potatoes so I could feel like I wasn't depriving myself.  I also kept filling my cup with Crystal Light Peach tea (my favorite non-alcoholic drink) which helped a lot.  I'd given myself the day off from journaling on Saturday which turned out to continue on Sunday since we ate left overs.

By Monday I'd emailed my fabulous sister-in-law asking if she would please take the rest of the left overs.  She agreed and came to pick them up on Monday night.  My leader, Karen, congratulated me on doing this and said that food like that will be in the waste or on the waist.  She's so clever, isn't she?  Apparently what she's teaching is working because I weighed in 1.4 pounds lighter this week.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Realistic Role Models

Today I had to be at my office for a meeting which ran way longer than it was supposed to and I didn't make it home in time for my meeting.  Luckily I ran into many of my Tuesday ladies as they were coming out of the meeting so I got lots of updates on how everyone's week went before I went to weigh in.  After my weigh-in I was talking to Pat about role models.  We both agreed that it is important to have realistic role models that we can find inspiration from.  This got me thinking about role models.

I'm extremely lucky to have some great role models.  First my sister, Brenda, has faced and conquered her own weight problems and is now competing in various races from 5Ks to marathons to triathalons.  She gives me great advice on any number of health and fitness topics.  I'm also lucky enough to have a 100+ pound loser in my meeting group, Dianne, who is so fabulously encouraging all the time regardless of the kind of week I've had. She has reached goal and become a lifetime member and still comes to meetings weekly.  It's great to see that not only can you lose a lot of weight on this program but that you can keep it off.  Lastly, my sister-in-law has battled cancer and is excelling in races like the Warrior Dash.

Since I started this journey I've also found out that there are a lot of people who are inspiring me to get active.    Several of my friends have done the Warrior Dash over the weekend.  Congratulations to you all! My friend, Don, is running the Chicago Marathon in a few short weeks.

I guess what I hadn't realized was that I have an extensive list of role models.  Wow, how amazing is that?  There are even people who you don't really expect to be interested who are willing to offer encouragement and advice when I'm having a rough time.  (Yes, I'm lookin' at you Chris!)  I know that without all of these people that I wouldn't be as successful as I've been.  So, to all of you, THANK YOU!

Do you have great role models?  What do you look for in a role model?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Grilled Romaine

Before summer ends I really have to insist that you try this little recipe because I'm pretty sure you won't forgive yourself if you don't.

Grilled Romaine with Feta
WW PointsPlus per serving: 4
Makes 2 servings

2 hearts of Romaine, split in half

1 oz. Feta (I found one with Mediterranean Herbs)
1/2 T Balsamic Vinegar
1 t Olive Oil
Spritz of cooking spray or olive oil

Cut the romaine in half lengthwise
Spritz them with cooking spray or olive oil to prevent them from sticking
Put them on a hot grill long enough to wilt the lettuce a little and add some char marks but not for the entire piece to wilt
In a bowl combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Lightly drizzle the dressing over each half
Sprinkle the feta cheese on top


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Naked Weigh Ins?

Tonight at our meeting my regular leader, Karen, was training a new leader.  His name is Mike and while I didn't weigh-in with him (I got there before he started doing the weigh-ins) I can imagine that being weighed in by a man can be uncomfortable.  Let's face it, the number on the scale is likely more closely guarded than our age!  As I've said in previous posts, I adore the Tuesday meeting ladies, even more so after this comment from Liz, who had just weighed in with Mike.  She said, "Well I guess naked weigh-ins are out of the question now!"  I had to ask her to repeat herself because clearly I must have misheard her?  Nope, she repeated it and I busted out laughing.

The meeting was different, obviously, since it was a whole different leader.  As much as I'd like to say that I'm really flexible when it comes to adapting to new leaders this one was difficult for me.  I really enjoy the meetings that Karen leads and have even sought them out if I miss my regular meeting.  She has an infectious belief that everything is possible and I rarely, if ever, have left without feeling like I have the energy and encouragement to keep going and that it this whole lifestyle is really worth it.  She stands at the front of our room and isn't afraid to laugh, both at herself and the world.  I really like that and I missed it tonight.

How do you deal with changes like this?

PS - I weighed in this morning on my scale and it registered 0 change.  I was not looking forward to weigh-in but when I got on the scale at my  meeting Karen had a big smile on her face but she wouldn't tell me my change.  She said that she wanted it to be a surprise during the celebrations of the meeting!  She even threatened to hold onto my weight tracker until the meeting but finally relented and gave it to me.  Seriously?  -2.2 pounds.  Yeah, I'll take that!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some feedback

Last week, before we left for Wisconsin, I looked at the weather report and realized it was going to be pretty chilly up there.  I haven't had to wear long pants for months so I didn't have any that fit.  I'd ordered some new clothes but wasn't sure they would arrive in time so I headed to my local plus size clothing store to buy a new pair of jeans.  I pulled a couple of pairs out, tried them on and realized they were all too big and much to long.  What happened?  Did I shrink when I walked in the dressing room?  So I asked the lady for help and she pulled out a pair of jeans that were the the same size but in petite (apparently that's length and not width, go figure) that fit much better.  So I bought them and a few other things and was on my way.

On Saturday after being caught in the rain during our walk/hike I put on the new jeans with a long sleeve t-shirt.  My sister arrived shortly after and we were visiting... at one point the subject of my new jeans came up (I'd been texting with her the night that I bought them) and she looked at me and said, your pants are still too big. 


I guess that's good, right?

PS - If you didn't see yesterday's post (yes, you're so lucky you get two this week) you can read what I think about vacation and weight loss.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vacation + Weight Watchers = ????

When I know I'm going to be out of internet service area (really, there is such a thing) one of my first thoughts is that I need to grab a PointsPlus tracker from my next WW meeting.  This weekend was no exception.  We were planning on being in Wisconsin for several days and we have spotty and slow internet service up there.  The paper tracker is a must for me when I'm away and it kept me on plan again this weekend.  It has those great check boxes to remind me to get in my good health guidelines.  The best part was that throughout the entire weekend I never really felt like I was depriving myself of anything.  We went out to dinner with family on Saturday night and I had a beer (seriously, I love the Pudgy Possum Porter) and a sandwich with sweet potato fries.  We went out to dinner on Sunday and I had broiled walleye with a baked potato.  The best part was that I felt really satisfied and I think for the first time I didn't freak out about how many points I was using or what I'd order that would be the healthiest/lowest PointsPlus choice.  (I just realized that as I was typing that sentence.  How cool is that?)

In addition to tracking we were able to get in some good activity.  We took the dogs on a 3 mile walk/hike but wow, Wisconsin is a lot hillier than I remember!!  We also did some kayaking which was awesome but left me a little sore the next day.  We even got in a little bit of fishing.  All in all, it was a successful trip.  Plus, I lost a half a pound this week. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Power of the group

Normally I get to meetings early so I have a few minutes to chat with everyone and catch up with the regular Tuesday ladies.  I was running really late yesterday and ended up walking in after the meeting had started and I was surprised when a few of the ladies looked at me and said things like 'oh good you're here'.  The meeting I go to is comprised of some of the strongest women I know and it is truly encouraging, every single week, to hear about their successes and how they overcame their challenges.  I feel so lucky every week to be a part of that meeting and to be able to learn how to continue to be successful.

I missed the celebrations part of the meeting (boo!) so if there were any big celebrations I hope someone will let me know.  If any of you are reading this and you celebrated last night... here's a YEAH!!!  (clap clap clap) for you.  Good job!

Last week my leader did something after our meeting that was a first for our group.  She took all of our name tags and made a ball with them and gave them to one of the members (my friend Jen, in fact) to take home.  Karen, my fabulous leader, said that whoever had the ball had the power of the group with them.  We did this again last night after the meeting and even though I don't have the ball of name tags I still feel like I have the power and encouragement of the group.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Change it up!

The last couple of weeks have been a little sad when it came to weigh ins.  So last week I was determined to increase the amount of activity that I got in a week.  As I was losing weight I was also losing activity points, sort of.  I was walking 2 miles on most weekdays and 3+ miles on at least one weekend day.  I decided that now was the time to change my routine and start doing 3+ miles on week days and see how things went for the weekends.

Last week I logged the following distances:
Mon - 3.16 miles, average pace 17:41, average speed 3.39 mph
Wed - 3.10 miles, average pace 17:18, average speed 3.47 mph
Thu - 3.23 miles, average pace 17:09, average speed 3.50 mph
Fri - 2.94 miles, average pace 17:27, average speed 3.44 mph
Sat - 2.75 miles, average pace 17:29, average speed 3.43 mph
Mon - 3.16 miles, average pace 16:44, average speed 3.59 mph

I racked up a whopping 34 activity points, which I did not convert into food points; I just logged them.  When I went to weigh-in today I was rewarded with a fabulous 3 pound loss.  It was certainly a challenge but I felt amazing and I've never regretted a workout once it was done.  Have you?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tracking really is helpful!

My friend Ryan and I were driving to the CTA station one night in Rosemont, IL and we were pointing out different landmarks when I said, what do you think that is?  He looked at me and deadpanned.  That's a bridge!  Oh... duh.  This has come up several (thousand) times in the decade that I've known Ryan because from time to time I have a hard time focusing.  This is one of the reasons that I love love love the eTools journaling so much.  It is so easy to journal (I do it either on my computer or on an app on my phone) so I do it all the time which allows me to go back and find out what I ate or, more importantly, it also allows me to compare my level of activity from week to week or month to month.  I mean really - going from earning 20 activity points one week to 8 the following week is a HUGE change.  I'm hoping to be back in the 20+ activity points this week. 

Do you do anything like this to figure out why you had a bad week?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Yesterday when I went to weigh-in it was official that I gained weight.  I knew this was going to happen based on what the scale told me all week and I also kind of figured that after having 4 really good weeks of losses that my weight would bounce.  It did.  I gained 1.6 pounds which, I hope, will not be too much of a big deal to lose, again.

The good news is that while Dan was on vacation on Monday, we went for a walk and while I normally only do 2 miles a day during the week we decided to do almost 2.5 miles.  That day I set a PR on our walk and I was really excited.  Until I did the same route this morning and set another PR!  I cut my time by nearly 10 seconds this week!  My average mile was 16:44 this morning!! 

Then I stepped on the scale this morning and found out that I was down 1 pound.  Naturally that would happen AFTER my official weigh-in.

Does this happen to you too?  How do you handle it?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

C'mon Fall!

It seemed like it took FOREVER for summer to get here but frankly I am really looking forward to fall.  Being able to take the dogs for a walk in the cooler temperatures is looking really good after the last few unbearably hot weeks.  However, my love of fall is actually due more to the fall vegetables than anything else.  Our CSA box has been loaded with sweet corn, onions and the first of the hot peppers.  I have to say that if you haven't gotten sweet corn in your own CSA box or local farm stand you should get some.  Go, right now.  You can finish reading this later.

For those who are still reading... let's move on!  For some reason I'd forgotten to bust out one of my favorite recipes this summer.... until now.  Tonight for dinner I made Balsamic Tomato Salad.  While we were eating it my husband Dan, who self admittedly will only eat about 8 vegetables, said oh my god, this is like candy but with vegetables.  How can you argue with that?!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Social Activities

Last week our leader asked us when was the last time we did something with friends or family?  A few people said that day or the day before, some said over the weekend, etc.. you get the point.  Then she asked when was the last time you planned something that didn't revolve around food.  The entire room practically went silent.  She challenged us to try to change that and said that including snacks or drinks is ok but it shouldn't be the focal point.  Maybe a mani/pedi with a friend or how about a game of cards with a couple of friends.  These all sounded like great ideas but due to a sinus infection last week I really didn't want to see anyone.  This week I really want to keep this in mind. 

What do you think you can do to spend time with friends and/or family without the event revolving around food? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Losing weight = losing Points Plus, or does it?

When I weighed in today I was relieved to find out that I lost weight.  I really didn't think that I would have considering I weighed in last Thursday.  I blogged late about it on Saturday so if you missed it, here's what I think about eating out every day for a week.  Pat, my favorite receptionist, looked at me and said well the good news is that you lost weight.  The bad news is that you get to eat less!  Hrmph. 

Losing the daily PointsPlus value is a struggle because, obviously, you have to consume less food.  Or do you?  If we make smarter choices with healthier, more organic foods will we be satisfied longer?  I'm ok trading a higher PointsPlus value snack for a bowl of cherries (I love the Ranier Cherry season - if you haven't gotten some you really should splurge on them!) or a banana.  I've even found myself craving Peanut Butter Toast (2 slices Sara Lee 45 calorie multigrain bread with 30 grams or 2 tablespoons of Better'n Peanut Butter topped with a sliced banana is only 4 PointsPlus!).  These snacks can keep me satisfied for hours and don't rob my PointsPlus bank. 

About 6 months ago we found an all organic, grass-fed beef farm not far from our house that has really reasonable prices.  They let you buy in small or large (a whole cow) quantities.  While I was at my WW meeting my husband made a trip to 'The Ranch' today to restock our freezer so this is what made me think of this.  We've noticed that the grass fed and organic beef has much more flavor than the stuff we can buy in the grocery store.  So I'm hoping that really finding and investing in the quality products will help me appreciate what I do get to eat and even forget that I'm not able to eat such a large portion.

I want to leave you with this quote I read this week from Hannah Curlee (she was a Biggest Loser finalist this year) who was asked how to stay on track.  She said, make it about what you deserve not about dread and the long road ahead!

Oh, and go buy some Ranier Cherries.  But not all of them, save some for me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eating out every day for a week?

Last weekend I went to a scrapbook retreat.  I'm very lucky when I go to Sheri's retreats because she is very respectful of everyone's dietary needs.  This crop, however, was not one of Sheri's retreats.  The crop had a circus theme and included a contest for the best themed treat.  There were A LOT of cupcakes and candy and everything else that would practically send you into a diabetic coma by just walking into the room.  I was pretty good about avoiding the temptations though I did sample two of the cupcakes.  Incidentally, Sheri and I brought fresh fruit (bananas, apples, and cherries, oh my!) as our addition to the snacks so at least we had some alternative to the sugary sweets.

The crop weekend was followed up by 4 days in Rosemont, IL for the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) show with Sheri.  The CHA show is basically a gathering of manufacturers and retailers to see the products coming out and they are able to place orders to restock their stores.  It is so fun to see all the products and from time to time Sheri will ask my opinion on a particular collection.  I feel like I'm helping decide what she carries in her store.  Anyway... the point of me telling you this is that we spent 4 days in a hotel eating out all the time.  I tried to be really smart about my decisions and while we spent a fair amount of time walking around, it's not the kind of walking that gets your heart rate up.  I did get a workout in a couple of the days but wasn't sure it'd be good enough to counteract the eating and drinking that I'd done.

My favorite receptionist, Pat, was working the day I went to Weight Watchers so I was glad I did.  I got to catch up with her a little bit and weigh in.  While she was getting the scale ready I checked my last weight (it seemed like forever since I'd weighed in!) and then I got on the scale and I thought... holy cow!  I think Pat and I both registered the shock of a 5 pound weight loss at the same time. 

Awesome.  I'll take that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time flies when you're losing weight!

Dan, Bob, Sheri and Me - Founders Brewery - May 2011
One year and two days ago my friend Sheri called me and said that she was joining Weight Watchers and she asked if I wanted to join as well.  I blogged about it in the post Fatties Unite Tonight

It's been an exciting and terrifying journey all at the same time but I've learned a lot about the things I'm capable of and what I really want to achieve.  I want to be healthy and I look forward to completing more races - maybe even longer than 5K!

Dan and me - Goose Island Brewery - July 2011

So, this post is really just to say  THANK YOU to Sheri for getting me started on this path.  I wonder what the next year will bring?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

But it was fun...

Krissy and me at Goose Island sharing a bottle of Juliet
This weekend was spent with some of our best friends in the whole world.  Krissy, Jeremy and Jason came down and we spent Saturday afternoon/evening/night visiting Chicago's microbreweries.  I'd heard so many great things from a bunch of people about the places we were planning on going that I couldn't help but be excited.  I tried to make relatively healthy choices and drink A LOT of iced tea or water but in the end I gained 3 pounds.  Still, I had a great time and I think it was worth it.  'Nuff said.

This week my leader, Karen, was talking about the volume of food we eat.  In order to increase the volume of food we can eat we (should be) supplementing our meals with fruits and vegetables.  That way you'll feel like you're getting a lot of food but for fewer PointsPlus values. 

Karen also gave us a little challenge (and let's face it who doesn't live for a challenge) so I'm redirecting it out to each of you!  Her challenge was to visit the fruit and vegetable section of the grocery store and pick out something that you wouldn't normally choose so you can try something new!  Think you can?  Want to know what I'm going to try?  Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) posted a blog entry about our fruit delivery this week and included in our box is a coconut.  A real whole coconut!  (SQUEE!!!)  I'm excited beyond belief and I can't wait to try it!!  I'm planning on adding it to smoothies or maybe oatmeal or maybe a little on peanut butter toast.  Oh the possibilities!?!

What are you going to try this week?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Parties and food and beers! Oh My!

This weekend we celebrated America's Independence Day the best way we know how.  At a party!  My cousin and his wife host a party every July 4th with a raffle, food and a lot of family and friends.  The party is to raise money for a local animal rescue group where we volunteer.  In fact our yellow lab mix, Tucker, is a foster failure from Placing Paws (originally we were scheduled to foster Tucker (pictured at left) but we fell in love with him and decided to adopt him instead). 

I know that it's hard to stay on plan when going to parties so I feel really fortunate that at this party there was plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables so I could load up my plate with those things and only take small amounts of other things that I knew would be higher in points values.  I also took a shrimp pasta salad that was 2 PP for 1/2 cup serving so I knew I could eat that without blowing all of my points.

The hardest challenge I had was avoiding the desserts.  I really, really, really wanted them but I had done some tracking after dinner so I knew I didn't have any points left for desserts.  The other concern I had was that I knew they were very likely full fat/sugar desserts so the points plus values of them would be really high.  I was so proud of myself for walking right by them all and even refusing to take any home with us, which I normally would have done.

I was totally rewarded with a 1.8 pound loss this week.  I was relieved because the rest of the weekend went pretty well although one day I went over my daily points target by nearly 10 points.  It wasn't the end of the world by any means, just a little too much splurging! 

How did you celebrate the weekend?  Did you indulge in anything?

PS - Have you tried the new Toasted Coconut Dream bars from Weight Watchers?  They are, as my cousin Kristyn says, nummy nummy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Road Trippin...

This week was a big challenge for me.  It was my first long road trip without Dan since I started WW.  I was heading home to Wisconsin with Briscoe for the weekend.  The reason for the trip was to participate in a day of making meat.  My family deer hunts every fall and we mix and smoke our own meat.  Generally, what we make is pretty healthy because venison is super lean meat even when combined with ground pork, though everything in moderation, right?

Anyway... I digress... Historically, road trips have been full of junk food or fast food and as many sugary sodas that you could stand.  When Dan and I travel together it seems easier to stay on plan but since I was by myself I was really worried I'd fall into my old ways.  To combat this I portioned out Nilla Wafers (3 PointsPlus/8 crackers) and Special K Sour Cream 'n Onion crisps (3 PointsPlus/30 grams) into plastic containers before I left.  I also packed my food scale and some slimwich buns because I knew there would be some kind of burger lunch.

The drive up went really well.  I found a Subway where we stopped for lunch (for me) and potty break (for Briscoe and me).  We stopped again in Onalaska at the Woodman's because I wanted to look for the new WW deli salads (really good but be warned there are 2 servings per container).  Then we drove up through Winona, MN (beer stop - shocking I know!) and then, finally, to Mom and Dad's house.

Mom had dinner ready when I got there and that was pretty healthy.  Then I took Briscoe on a walk so he'd be good and tired.  That's when we hit the first snafu of the weekend.  My parents live in the country and on our way back we met a skunk.  I immediately pulled Briscoe (who normally walks on a retractable leash) back to me and turned around to go the other direction.  Luckily I had my cell phone and a signal (which in the country is a god send) so I called Mom to ask someone to come and pick us up.

Saturday morning started with an early walk with the dog but luckily no skunks and a quick shower.  Then we got to work - talk about a long day!!  Lunch was 1/2 pound (pre-cooked weight) venison burgers (mixed with some pork and spices) that were really good.  However, they were HUGE!  Dinner was the same (good thing I packed two slimwich buns!!)

When we met up with the skunk on Friday night I must have twisted my knee or something because when I was walking on Saturday it was sore and throughout the day it continued to get worse.  I decided not to walk on Sunday to give it, and me, a break.  After packing up the meat that we'd made the day before and packing up the car to come back we were off.  That is where I hit the other snafu of the weekend.  I was tired and it is a L-O-N-G drive back.  Briscoe was apparently as tired as I was because he slept (and snored) almost the entire drive home. By the time I made it home I was so tired I didn't even care to track points and I was asleep by 6:30 pm.

So, the big question - did my weight gain continue or did I lose?

I lost 4.6 pounds.  YIPPEE!!!