Friday, October 26, 2007

Newsletter, week of October 28th

Last Week

Don't be fooled by exercise myths! Learn the truth and you can make the most of your exercise routine.

This Week

You all know that sometimes the scale doesn't tell the real story. We'll discuss ways we can see our progress that don't involve the scale.


Valmere is our newest Lifetime Member! She's done a great job with her weight loss, and is now embarking on the voyage of maintenance. Who's next?

WW Product of the Week

POINTS Calculator - for just ten bucks you can have this little gadget that will serve the same purpose as your PointsFinder. More compact and sturdier, throw it in your purse, backpack or messenger bag and you'll never be without a way to calculate Points.

Non-WW Product of the Week

Okay, I'm going for the laughs here this week. Maybe you're trying to choose more lean meats, and you miss a big breakfast with bacon. Never fear! The folks at Archie McPhee have you covered - bacon flavored toothpicks! All the flavor, none of the fat.

Recipe of the Week

Classic Steak Florentine
Serves 4
5 Points and Core

1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 (1-pound) T-bone steaks, 3/4 inch thick, trimmed
2 lemon wedges

Spray the broiler pan with nonstick spray. Preheat the broiler.

Combine the spices in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over both sides of each steak. Place the steaks on the broiler pan and broil 5 inches from the heat, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the side of each steak (but not touching the bone) registers 145 degrees for medium, 8-9 minutes.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon over the steaks and slice.

-- from From Pantry to Plate

What's Hot at

In honor of the World Series, read about pitcher and broadcaster Ron Darling and how he lost 30 pounds with Weight Watchers. I'm sure his weight loss tips are better than his World Series predictions! (He hoped for a Sox-Phillies series - oh well, I guess there's next year, Ron.)

Quote of the Week

"If you walk on snow you cannot hide your footprints." - George Herbert

Thursday, October 25, 2007

5 Myths About Moving More

Since so many of you were unable to attend meetings this week, we really didn't get to talk about this week's topic. This is unfortunate, because it's a topic I really enjoy and I think is worth discussing. I'm going to summarize a few things that we would have gone over.

Myth #1: I should eat special foods to provide extra energy when I'm working out.

Guess what? By eating "on program" you're already eating special foods. In general, eating a healthy well-balanced diet is all you need to supply the necessary energy and nutrients. You really DON'T need any special shakes or bars or the latest fad to keep you going.

Some of you find that when you start changing to this new healthy lifestyle, you get real gung-ho about it. You're reading up on all sorts of health and exercise information. You're taking up new and exhilarating hobbies. If you find some special foods or drinks that you think are helpful, and they fit within program guidelines, go for it! But if you just want to be the Average Joe who eats healthy and exercises regularly, that's really all you need.

Myth #2: If I start exercising, I'll gain weight because of building muscle.

If you are working out with light weights or using your body weight as resistance (doing push-ups, Pilates, yoga, etc.) you are unlikely to actually build muscle. Resistance training minimizes loss of muscle that normally goes along with weight loss. Check this figure: each pound lost represents 70-75% fat and 25-30% lean. For the ladies, know that we have little of the hormone that is necessary for large increases in muscle mass.

Keep that in mind when the scale tells you there's a 2 pound weight gain this week. If this is the first week you've started that weight training regimen, I hate to be the bearer of bad news: you didn't gain two pounds of muscle in the space of a week. (In this case, your weight gain might in fact be temporary because your muscles are retaining water. If you're sore, that means your muscles are repairing themselves after your kick-butt workout. They need water and glycogen to do that! Have patience, you should see that temporary weight gain disappear quickly.)

Myth #3: Aerobic activity (like walking) is enough.

Remember what I said in response to #2? If losing weight causes some lean mass to disappear, resistance training is going to be necessary to regain it. Ideally your workouts will include aerobic activity, resistance training and stretching. That way you strengthen your cardiovascular system, you develop and tone your muscles (and prevent muscle loss) and you help prevent injury by staying limber.

Myth #4: Muscle weighs more than fat.

Wording is key here. A pound of one thing weighs exactly the same as a pound of another thing. However, a pound of muscle will take up less room than a pound of fat. So a person who weighs 150 pounds and is toned will likely wear smaller clothing than a person who weighs 150 pounds and is...fluffy.

This is often the reason why some of you notice your clothes feel looser, even though your pounds lost isn't that large of a number. You're taking up less space! Know also that a pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. So by shrinking the fat and developing the muscle, you're helping your body burn more calories, even at rest!

Myth #5: I should always lose weight if I follow my food plan perfectly and earn 4 Activity Points per day but don't use them.

Excuse me while I stop laughing. As you've probably already figured out, there are a ton of factors that figure into whether or not you lose weight on any given week. Water retention, medication, any number of things can obscure results on the scale.

Note: the topic for the week of October 28th addresses all the other ways we can remind ourselves of our progress. So if the scale isn't cooperating, don't despair!

Bonus Myth: I may only earn 4 Activity Points per day.

I added this to the week's discussion because it is one of the true Weight Watcher Urban Legends. You may earn as many AP's as you like. And what's more, if you have the desire to swap those AP's for food Points, there's no limit on that either!

So where does this myth come from? It's possible that the guideline for people to work up to earning 4 Activity Points per day gets misunderstood to be the upper limit. It's not an upper limit, but know that if you earn more than 4 per day, it's a good idea to do so under the supervision of an "Exercise Professional." This will help ensure your safety.

The myth may also come from the fact that any AP's you swap for food Points won't necessarily speed up your weight loss. All those calories you just burnt off are being replaced by the food you're eating when you swap them. So while it helps you stay in control and gives you flexibility, it doesn't necessarily speed up weight loss. Play around with this - some of you are able to swap Points easily and still lose weight like you want. Others will find that swapping slows them down. There's a little bit of art to to this science!

Mostly back to normal

Most of the meetings in our immediate area are back on track, with a few of the exceptions I've noted before (Fallbrook, etc.)

I've just spoken with Judy, who is the leader of Saturday meetings at our Lemon Grove center. While her house is fine, and she is back in it, she has a lot of clean-up to do, and a lot on her mind. As such, I will be working the meetings this Saturday. There are three back-to-back meetings: 7:00am, 8:30am and 10:00am.

Most of you in the Lemon Grove area that read this will be back with me on Monday nights, but if for some reason you don't think you'll make it to the meeting on October 29th, drop in and say hi!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fire Closures as of Wednesday, October 24th

Here is a list of meeting closures:

Wednesday Closures

* Chula Vista Center – All meetings
* Poway Center – All meetings
* Bonsall – 9:00am
* Fallbrook – 4:00pm & 6:00pm

Thursday Closures

* Fallbrook – 9:00am
* Jamul – 6:00pm
* Eastlake – 9:30am

Friday Closures

* Eastlake – 5:30pm

Saturday Closures

* Murphy Canyon – 8:30am

I am currently the "backup" leader for Saturday meetings in Lemon Grove. I assume this means that Judy, the regular Saturday leader, possibly won't be able to make it from her home to Lemon Grove (I don't know her well, so I don't know her situation). This means two things: the meeting will be held, and if you drop by, you'll see a familiar face!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Update - Tuesday, October 23rd

Since a few of you have emailed asking for information on other meetings than the ones I work, I'm going to publish the list of closures for today, as they stand right now. This is obviously subject to change:

* Lemon Grove 10:00am, 6:00pm, 7:30pm
* Poway Center 9:30am, 12:30pm, 6:00pm
* San Marcos (Quails Inn) 8:30am and 4:30pm
* Valley Center 5:30pm
* Tierrasanta 6:30pm
* Chula Vista Center 9:30am
* San Marcos Center 8:15am, 10:00am, 6:00pm
* Bonita 5:30pm & 7:00pm
* Vista 9:30am, 11:30am
* El Cajon 10:30am
* Oceanside Ctr 9:30am, 6:30pm Just added

I don't know the details of why these meetings have closed - some are obviously in areas that have been evacuated, and some may be closed simply because staff can't get to the meeting locations for various reasons. If you don't see a meeting listed, that means as of now it will be held.

If you happen to show up to a meeting and it is closed, please bear with us. Our staff number in the hundreds, and we are flung across the county. We virtually never see each other face to face, and have been coordinating things through email.

For my Wednesday members, we will definitely have our 6:30am meeting, since I live less than a mile from the center. It looks like most meetings there (with a few exceptions yesterday) are being held as usual. If you can make it, I would be happy to see you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Meeting Status - Fires

Hello, everyone.

I've just received word from my territory manager that Monday night October 22nd 6:30pm meeting in Lemon Grove will not be held.

Several other meetings around the county will also not be held because they are in evacuated areas, or their staff is evacuating their homes and are unable to come to work. (Del Mar and Poway, for example, will not be holding meetings today.)

As things are changing quickly, your best bet to determine whether the meeting you would like to attend will be in session is to call our national 1-800 number: 1-800-374-9191.

For those of you in my Wednesday morning group, I will post and email updates as we get closer to Tuesday evening.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Newsletter, week of October 21st

Last Week

Dining out can be challenging, but the strategies we discussed can help you navigate the menu and stay on track.

This Week

Does weight training cause weight gain? Does activity guarantee weight loss? We'll explore some common weight loss myths and get to the real truth.


This week we gave five pound stars to Dianne and Rich, celebrated Virginia's 10 pound weight loss, and gave Suzy her 30 pound star. To top it off, Marianne became our newest Lifetime Member! Congratulations to all.

WW Product of the Week

Since we'll be exploring exercise myths, what better products to highlight than those that help you move more. Our Walking Kit will help you start or reinvigorate a walking plan, and our Get Moving Mix provides lots of different workouts for a flexible way to work out in your own home.

Non-WW Product of the Week

It's fall, but right now it's still warm enough for ice cream. Thankfully, Dreyer's gives us the best of both seasons with their Slow Churned Pumpkin ice cream. Check out that nutrition label!

Recipe of the Week

This week's recipe comes from Wednesday member Shawn, who loves it:

WW 1-Point Hearty Chili
Makes 20 servings (1 cup each)

10 oz extra lean ground turkey breast (99% fat free)
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium yellow squash, diced
2 bell peppers, diced (color of your choice)
4 celery stalks, diced
2 cans (28 oz each) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) black beans
1 can (15 oz) fat free beef broth
1 package dry chili seasoning (1.25 oz)

Spray skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Saute turkey and onions until brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture into large soup pot and add all other ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

What's Hot at

Are you confused by Activity Points because you can never tell what intensity level you're working out at? Check out this article that gives you a few ways to make sense of it.

Quote of the Week

"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain.... Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey." - Harold V. Melchert

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Newsletter, week of October 14th

Last Week

Losing weight isn't about just the food. We're also changing our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. The Tools for Living can help us with those by keeping us positive, inspired and on track.

This Week

Does the thought of eating at a restaurant make you nervous? If you need some guidance on how to dine out and stay on track, this week is for you!


Kate and Patty both got their first five pound stars, Gretchen reached 15 pounds lost, and Dennis is doing great, having reached a total of 45 pounds lost.

WW Product of the Week

One of the best tools for dining out successfully is the Dining Out Companion. Check Points values for tons of restaurants! You can buy the Companion for $10 by itself, but it is also part of our Starter Kit. That gives you The Dining Out Companion, The Complete Food Companion (great for smart grocery shopping!) and a 12 Week Journal all for just 25 bucks.

Non-WW Product of the Week

Rumor has it that our good friends over at Kashi have some great new pizzas in their frozen lineup. If you've loved their cereals, check these out. Choose from Five Cheese Tomato, Mediterranean or Roasted Garlic Chicken.

Recipe of the Week

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup
Serves 4
6 Points and Core

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 15oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups water
1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and salt; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool about 5 minutes.

Transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender and puree. Return to the saucepan and stir in the spinach; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.

-- from our From Pantry to Plate cookbook

What's Hot at

The Weight Watchers website has a ton of really neat information. If you don't spend much time over there, I'll try to entice you to do so by highlighting something new each week.

As part of our Four Way Approach, many of you are embarking on a regular exercise program. If you've been suffering from any sort of aches and pains, you might be interested in reading the article on The 5 Most Common Sports Injuries.

Quote of the Week

"To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted." - George Kneller

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Newsletter, week of October 7th

Last Week

Don't think of this as a diet - it's a lifestyle! That means you get a new vocabulary that doesn't include deprivation.

This Week

Losing weight successfully isn't just about making the right food choices. It's about making an inner transformation of behaviors, thoughts and feelings. It's deciding what you want, determining what it will take to get there, believing in yourself, motivating yourself, asking for help and thinking positive.


Robert visited us Wednesday morning, and lucky for us we got to give him his 20 pound star AND his 10% keychain!

WW Product of the Week

It's a Fruities sale! Buy 2 packs of Fruities and get the third one free. These little chewy candies can help you keep busy, with a Points value of just 1. Now is a great time to stock up.

Non-WW Product of the Week

If you think that hot dogs have to be an occasional treat because they are high in fat, think again! Check out Ballpark Fat-Free Franks. One hot dog has only 40 calories, can you believe it? This particular frank comes highly recommended by the Monday night crew.

Recipe of the Week

I know it's only October, but OMG IT'S OCTOBER! Here's a recipe that might look good on your Thanksgiving day table. It's from our new Best Ever Desserts cookbook.

Pumpkin-Ginger Chiffon Pie
Serves 8
5 Points

15 oz. can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
12 oz. can evaporated skim milk
1 cup thawed frozen fat-free whipped topping
6 oz. prepared low-fat graham cracker crust
2 tsp chopped pecans, toasted

Whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, egg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a large bowl until blended; set aside.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to boil. Pour into a medium bowl; refrigerate until the filling begins to set, about 40 minutes.

Whisk the pumpkin mixture until smooth and creamy. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped topping until blended. Spoon into the crust, spreading evenly; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Tip of the Week

Keep your "star catcher" where you can see it. Nothing is more motivating than the success you've already experienced.

Quote of the Week

"How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you're willing to give up being a caterpillar." - Trina Pallus