Friday, January 25, 2008

Newsletter, week of January 27th

Last Week

Sometimes we do things just because that's the way it has always been. Make sure your habits are working FOR you, not against you.

This Week

Super Bowl is just around the corner, but even if you're not a football fan, chances are you'll soon run across some kind of social event. We'll talk about how to handle these things successfully so that we don't fall off track.


This week we gave Nikki her 30 pound star and Erin her 10% keychain! I'm sure you Monday night folks had some things to celebrate, so I'll make sure I catch up with you at this week's meeting.

WW Product of the Week

Baked snacks and bars - what a great way to indulge your inner snack monster without spending a lot of Points! If you're worried about the game day bowl of Cheetos, why not buy a box of our Cheddar Twists? If you're worried about the big bowl of pretzels, our portioned bags are a great alternative.

Non-WW Product of the Week

In my quest to find a 1 Point soymilk (I think I've previously discussed 8th Continent Light Vanilla, which is IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AROUND TOWN) I have stumbled on a new option: Silk Soymilk Plus Fiber! Check out the nutritionals - 100 calories, 3.5g fat and 5g fiber. That, my friends, is a 1 Point soymilk. And remember - soymilk DOES count as a dairy serving!

Recipe of the Week

Quick Caldo Verde
Serves 4
4 Points

1/2 pound turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 5oz container refrigerated chopped onions
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 (14.5oz) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (18oz) bag refrigerated fully-cooked sliced potatoes
4 cups fresh cut-up kale

Spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Add the onions and paprika to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the onions are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Add the broth, 1 cup water, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are very soft, 4-5 minutes.

Coarsely mash the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Stir in the kale and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the kielbasa and cook until the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes longer.

--from our new Shortcuts cookbook

What's Hot at

Got kids? Here's an interesting look at family dinners. There are a few tips on how to make it happen and why it's a good thing.

Quote of the Week

"Weight loss is all about you, but the only way it works is to share it with others." - Andy Shulman, WW Leader in Orlando, Florida

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Newsletter, week of January 20th

Last Week

Do you need help figuring out what to eat? Start with your week 1 materials, head to the WW website and log on to eTools, or flip open a cookbook. There's no shortage of ideas!

This Week

Habits - sometimes they work in our favor, other times they don't. Would you like to find 2-3 habits that will help you achieve your weight goals? Show up this week and find out what it's all about.


Emily got her first five pound star, Spencer has now lost 10 pounds, and Christina received her 16 week Stay and Succeed charm. You're making great progress, folks.

WW Product of the Week

Electronic Points Calculator - this inexpensive little gadget is an electronic version of your PointsFinder slide. Take it with you to the grocery store and know the Points value of a food BEFORE you buy it! Just ten bucks, and you'll always know how to count everything.

Non-WW Product of the Week

Our Monday night group might know this, but anyone who thinks that exercise is boring hasn't talked to Spencer. He earns his activity points by playing Dance Dance Revolution! You bust a move on the dance pad, following the instructions shown on the screen. Dancing and exercise! Plus, you can get this for several home video game systems, so if you've got a Wii, Playstation or Xbox, you can do this in the privacy of your own home. And if you've ever seen ME dance, you know that's a good thing.

Recipe of the Week

Scallop, Orange and Asparagus Stir-Fry
Serves 4
4 Points and Core

2 large oranges
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 pounds pencil-thin fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 large garlic cloves, slivered
2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 pound sea scallops, each cut into 2 rounds
1 small white potato, peeled and finely shredded

With a vegetable peeler, remove wide strips of the zest from each orange and set aside. Cut off the rind, then section each orange over a bowl, allowing the sections to fall into the bowl. Stir in the soy sauce, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.

Spray a large nonstick skillet or wok with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper; stir-fry until the asparagus are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the scallops and stir-fry until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the orange mixture and reserved orange strips; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil about 30 seconds. Add the potato and cook, stirring constantly, until the potato is tender and the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Serve at once.

--from My TurnAround Cookbook (and recommended Wednesday morning by Patty!)

What's Hot at

Need some inspiration? These folks won a contest in 2007 for their inspiring stories. If they can do it, so can you! Learn what worked for them, and see if you can apply it to your own weight loss journey.

Quote of the Week

"We first make our habits and then our habits make us." - John Dryden

Friday, January 11, 2008

Newsletter, week of January 13th

Last Week

We are all in this together. So use your group as a source of information and inspiration. It only makes things easier!

This Week

What do you eat now that you're "On Program?" Well, there are several Weight Watchers sources that can help you with that. Let's plan your menu for the week!


Spencer got his first 5 pound star, Judy has reached 60 pounds lost, and Suzy is our newest Lifetime Member!

WW Product of the Week

WW Electronic Scale - if you're new to the program, you may need some help with portion sizes, and a kitchen scale is a perfect way to make that happen. If you're a long-time member I'm sure you're still tempted to throw in a little extra cheese or slice a bigger piece of meat - DON'T LIE TO ME! Our scale will not only give you the weight of your food, but will tell you the Points value of many pre-programmed food items!

Non-WW Product of the Week

Target has a line of Archer Farms foods that you can find in most stores. In Targets with larger grocery sections (College Grove near our Lemon Grove center is just such a Target) have some shelf-stable meals in a box that can be pretty healthy. I have in my pantry the Spiced Quinoa with Fruit which is going to become my dinner on a busy weeknight. There were a few other meals inna box that looked pretty tasty too!

Recipe of the Week

Chicken and Prosciutto Heroes
Serves 2
7 Points

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 small black olives, pitted and chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1 7" crusty hero roll, split
2 oz thinly sliced deli chicken or turkey
1 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1 bottled roasted red bell pepper, cut into fourths

Combine the onions, olives, basil, vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Brush over both sides of the roll. Layer with the chicken, prosciutto, and bell pepper. Close the sandwich and cut in two.

-- from Mix It Match It

What's Hot at

I know you'd all like to wake up tomorrow having lost every single pound you've vowed to take off. But read this article to find out why slow weight loss really is A-OK.

Quote of the Week

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Newsletter, week of January 6th

Last Week

Have you rested and recuperated from the holidays yet? Don't forget to take care of yourself so that you can stay focused on your goals for this year.

This Week

Do you ever feel like you're going it alone? This week we'll reflect on the power of the group and how attending meetings can get you the help you need to reach your goals.


Patty and Virginia received their 16 week charms this week - way to stick with it!

WW Product of the Week

Our 1 Point Mini Bars are a great way to get your sweet fix without spending a lot of Points. And you have GOT to try our new Peanut Butter Bliss flavor. I am not lying when I say that these bars are the best ones we have ever sold. In my humble opinion, that is!

Non-WW Product of the Week

Every once in awhile I get a hankering for pepperoni. Gallo makes a great reduced-fat variety that you can eat without guilt! You might even consider it when you make the recipe below....

Recipe of the Week

Pizza Hot Dish
Serves 8
5 Points

3c. whole-wheat egg noodles (7 ounces)
1 (10oz) package mushrooms, sliced
1 large orange bell pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef (5% fat or less)
1 1/2c. reduced-fat spaghetti sauce
1 (10.75oz) can reduced-fat condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4c. reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 (3.5oz) package turkey pepperoni
1/4 lb. olives, pitted and sliced
2 Tbsp reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the noodles as directed. Rinse and drain.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Cook the next 3 ingredients over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook until browned. Add the spaghetti sauce, soup, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and the noodles. Spoon into a 2qt baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake until hot, about 40 minutes. Top with the remaining cheddar and remaining ingredients. Bake 5 minutes longer.

--from WW Magazine (Jan/Feb)

What's Hot at

As you might have seen in our advertisements, Weight Watchers is trying to focus on the lifestyle aspect of the changes you make here - diet implies short term! Here's an article on how to dump the diet mindset.

Quote of the Week

"None of us is as smart as all of us!"

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Outsmart The Fat - A Weight Loss Manifesto

Sometime in 2007 during a discussion on weight loss, a member said that she felt like she had to "outsmart the fat" in order to get to her weight goal. The reaction in the room was a resounding "WOAH!" I know it really struck a chord with me personally, and I resolved at that moment to immediately adopt it as my own personal catch phrase (Lauri, the check is in the mail, okay?). Some of you might notice that Outsmart the Fat is the name of this blog, and I mention the concept in the weekly emails that I send out.

So what's it all about? I'll tell you what "Outsmart The Fat" means to me:

Losing weight and keeping it off is a voyage of self-discovery.

Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Is there a certain time of day you are prone to unplanned eating? What foods satisfy you the most? If you can answer these questions, you're well on your way. Being smart about what makes you tick makes life much easier.

If you keep skipping workouts, ask yourself why. Is the activity boring? Do you hate the atmosphere of the gym? Do you feel self-conscious working out in front of other people? Find an activity that you enjoy and that you feel comfortable committing to, and chances are you'll be more consistent.

Do you constantly abandon your pre-packed lunch and buy something from the cafeteria? Again, ask yourself why. Are you in a rut, eating the same food every day? Does the food leave you hungry before it's time for the next meal? If you eat another apple or baby carrot will you scream?

Some of this self-discovery will involve making changes and trying new things. When was the last time you actually ate broccoli or Brussels sprouts? Do you really hate them? Do you really hate exercise? I assume you say that because you've tried every sport out there, right?

Losing weight and keeping it off sometimes involves playing tricks on your mind.

I'm convinced our fat cells are in cahoots with our brain cells. Eating less and moving more in theory is not a complicated process. But if it were easy, Weight Watchers would have gone out of business long ago.

I exercise regularly, but if I had a nickel for every time I blew off a workout I'd be able to buy a lot of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. So sometimes I have to fool myself into doing "just 5 minutes of activity." Or I fool myself into getting up early and exercising in the morning, before my brain (and fat cells) have woken up to tell me I'm crazy.

If food is around, I'll eat it. So sometimes I have to tell myself that the food is not "mine." Or I have to think about how many hands have been plunged into that communal candy jar.

These tricks, which sound perhaps childish or dishonest, are enough to give me a moment's pause. And in that moment, I remember why I'm doing this. What does the workout get me? How will I feel if I eat this food? It's just enough of a moment to allow me to use those Tools For Living. My fat cells have never even heard of those!

Losing weight and keeping it off sometimes involves playing tricks on your body.

Anyone who has ever busted through a plateau knows this. Changing your routine is often the key to resuming weight loss. Don't let your body get too accustomed to your routine. Shake it up every now and again. Keep those fat cells guessing!

Your body also has this nasty habit of only needing a certain amount of calories to sustain itself. Well, we can be smarter than our bodies. You volume eaters know what I mean - you may only get 24 Points per day, but that doesn't mean it has to be a small quantity of food, right? Two words: energy density. If you feed your body foods that provide the most bulk for the fewest calories, you won't have to constantly listen to your stomach growl. Take that, metabolism!

Losing weight and keeping it off requires you to become educated about food and activity.

Nutrition information is out there. If you wonder if a food is low in Points, look it up! Don't rely on anyone else to do the work for you. Read those labels, use your PointsFinder, familiarize yourself with the Core Food List. Visit websites for the restaurants you patronize. Ask your server how the kitchen prepares the food.

Activity is important - if you burn more calories, you either get to lose more weight or eat more food to maintain your current weight. But be smart about it. Learn the proper technique for whatever activity you engage in. Be aware of how to properly warm up and cool down. Stretch your muscles. Learn when to say when so you don't overtrain and end up injured.

So get smart. Gather knowledge. Learn what works (and what doesn't). At some point you will become smarter than those tricky fat cells and you too, will be able to Outsmart The Fat!

Oh, and Lauri? She became a Lifetime member, and still attends meetings frequently to keep herself at her goal.