Saturday, March 28, 2009

Start April Right!

Here's an April calendar that a fellow Weight Watchers leader created to help her members stay motivated for the month. I thought I'd share it with you folks as well.

If your eyes aren't as sharp as an eagle's, just click on the image, and it will take you to a larger version.

March Update: Goals 2009

No, March isn't exactly over yet, but today was my final weigh-in for the month, so we might as well do it. Check out the entry that started it all.

1. Get back down to 130

March starting weight: 137.0
March ending weight: 137.0
Net Loss: 0.0 pounds

Wow, my progress is fantastic, isn't it?!? Seriously folks, this is a lesson in "don't give yourself any liberties you you really don't want." What do I mean by that? My stated Weight Watchers goal is 140 pounds, but it's not my "Personal Goal" which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 130-133 pounds. But since there are no real repercussions for me weighing up to 140 pounds, it's often why I end up creeping toward it.

Keep this in mind when you're setting your own final goal weight. It needs to be a number you'd be happy to weigh in at. Of course you want a little cushion, but don't think you'll set your goal at the top end of the weight range and just keep losing. You might initially, but you'll always have that ability to creep back up.

So my stated goal is a number I don't want. And since I'm so close to it, and have been struggling with it since January, I think I might be at the "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" point. Enough fiddle-farting around*, lying to myself, not being honest about what I'm eating.

So this weekend I'm going to work up a Storyboard of how I'm going to get this done. A couple of things that have been hindering my progress include evening snacking on the weeknights, and complete lack of attention to my eating habits on Saturdays. You can bet those are going to be dealt with (positively!) on the Storyboard.

* Apparently my inner monologue is channeling my father right now. Who knew?

2. Lay off the diet soda

I'm still keeping track of every time I drink diet soda. I think in March I probably had as much diet soda as January and February combined, thanks to a four day trip to Los Angeles involving Disneyland and Dodger Stadium (two of my favorite things, by the way!). But I continue to maintain a good habit of not having any diet soda during the week when I'm at work, and when I'm eating at home, which I'm proud of. Overall, I still feel like I am successful on this one.

I think posting these goals and updating them monthly has been really helpful for me to be accountable. I have to say that I was not looking forward to this morning's weigh-in, knowing that it was probably NOT going to be lower than my starting weight for the month. Knowing that I was going to have to post this for you all to read was definitely among my thoughts while standing in line for the scale.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Newsletter, week of March 29th

Last Week

Dining out at a restaurant? You CAN do it on program, and the sooner you learn, the better off you'll be. Remember, if it's not a special occasion, you probably shouldn't eat like it's one.

This Week

With things like Easter, Passover, and spring break coming up, you might have some special events on your calendar. We'll discuss strategies to successfully handle these potentially food-centric events.


Erika and Maggie both received their first five pound stars this week. I'll catch up with you Monday folks this week to find out what else I missed!

WW Product of the Week

Our Momentum cookbook has lots of lightened up dishes for you to cook this spring, some of which might even be the perfect choice for your special events! Regardless of your social calendar, you'll find lots of low-Points meal ideas in here.

Weekly Potpourri

I'm going to tease something that we'll be talking about soon in the meeting room. Ever heard of Weight Watchers is going to be partnering with them shortly to help get (or keep) you active. You can peruse their website now, and find events to enter, exercise tips, and some other neat stuff. Stay tuned for more!

What's Hot at

Some of you know that I was out of town last weekend taking in some baseball games. Well, in honor of Opening Day that's coming up shortly, check out Hungry Girl's tips for eating at the ball game. Wish I'd read this before I went!

Quote of the Week

Within each of us is a hidden store of energy. Energy we can release to compete in the marathon of life. Within each of us is a hidden store of courage. Courage to give us the strength to face any challenge. Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us in the race when all seems lost. - Roger Dawson

Weekly Recipe: "Creamy" Spinach Curry

I found this recipe in Body & Soul magazine, and it's on my list of things to cook very, very soon. I lightened the recipe a bit, reducing the amount of oil and using nonfat yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt. That change alone saved several Points per serving.

"Creamy" Spinach Curry
Serves 4
5 Points value

1 Tbsp safflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 tsp garam masala (it's a spice blend)
14.5oz vegetable broth
6 bunches flat-leaf spinach (about 3lb), trimmed, washed, and chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
12.5oz package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt (Greek style preferred)

In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, 5-7 minutes. Add garam masala; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add broth; bring to a boil. In batches, fill skillet with spinach; cook until wilted, adding more spinach as room becomes available, 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer spinach until soft and liquid is mostly evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in tofu and yogurt. You can serve over rice if you like (for extra Points of course).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Newsletter, week of March 22nd

Last Week

You've always got another option. Dig down to discover why you do destructive behaviors, and you might be able to replace them with better ones.

This Week

Do you think you can't eat at a restaurant and still lose weight? This week we'll discuss how we can make it happen. Because restaurants aren't going anywhere anytime soon!


Jack reached his first 5 pounds lost, Marie received her 10 and 15 pound stars, and Trista reached her 10% target. Keep on losing, folks!

WW Product of the Week

Absolutely critical to healthy dining in restaurants is our Dining Out Companion. Know before you go, and before you order - it's too late once you've eaten! Spend $10 and set yourself up for restaurant success.

Weekly Potpourri

Remember the time I made peanut butter cookies with powdered peanut butter? I got tipped off a couple weeks ago about a competing brand of powdered peanut butter called FitNutz. What intrigued me was that this company offers a CRUNCHY version! Now, I'm a creamy peanut butter gal myself, but I know some of you out there enjoy the crunchy type, and if so this is for you. The best part of this is that for five bucks you can order some samples and see if it's right for you.

What's Hot at

If you're reading this, you obviously have access to the internet. But are you also using eTools? If you're paying for a Monthly Pass, you have access to lots of tools and information on the WW website. Why go? Read about this study that showed people who attended meetings AND used eTools lost 30% more weight than those who just came to meetings.

Quote of the Week

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying a way small stones. - Chinese Proverb

Weekly Recipe: Prairie-Fire Beans

I made this recipe last weekend for my cooking club. I did start by using dried beans, but if you're not so inclined you can certainly add the same flavors to canned beans and be on your way more quickly.

Prairie-Fire Beans
courtesy of Cooking Light magazine
Serves 12
4 Points value

1 pound dried pinto beans (about 2 cups)
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, peeled
4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Return beans to pan; add 8 cups water, bay leaves, and small onion. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until beans are tender. Drain beans; discard bay leaves and onion.

Cook bacon slices in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon slices from pan, reserving the drippings. Add minced onion and garlic to pan, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add beans, bacon, beer, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Per serving: 193 cal, 5.9g fat (2.1g sat fat), 4.9g fiber, 174mg sodium

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Newsletter, week of March 15th

Last Week

Getting active is good for you for so many reasons. Did you find a way to move more this week?

This Week

Taking care of yourself is so important, we made it one of our Helpful Habits. But before you turn to Comfort Food, let's talk about that. Why do it? Are there alternatives?


Deann got her first 5 pound star, Alma and Evelyn celebrated losing 15 pounds, and Myra reached her 25 pound milestone. Heidi was the big winner (loser?) this week because she reached 86.2 pounds lost. Rockstar!

WW Product of the Week

SNACK SALE! All of our 2 Points bars and baked snacks (Cheddar Twists, Pretzels and Crackers) are on sale. Instead of $4.50, you can pick up a box of your favorite treat for just $3.50. Sale runs through March 28th, so stock up while it's less expensive.

Weekly Potpourri

On Monday night Sylvia shared with us Kashi Puffs, which she loves. 1 cup of this cereal is one Point! It's a nice, airy cereal that gives you a lot of volume without a lot of calories. You're even going to find some recipes using the cereal at that link! Thanks, Sylvia.

What's Hot at

I've heard a couple of people asking about the new sweetener, stevia. Our Science Center did an article on it here, so you can read about it and decide if it's right for you.

Quote of the Week

Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable. - Denis Waitley

Weekly Recipe: St. Patrick's Day Roundup!

Here are some recipes that might put you in the mood for a bit o' the Irish next week. (Which reminds me, you'd better be in the meeting room next week to see the latest crazy thing I put on my head!)

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes from

Classic Shepherd's Pie from

Cooking Light Brown Soda Bread

Cooking Light Sweet & Sour Baked Cabbage

Cooking Light Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf Soup

Cooking Light Irish Bread Pudding with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce

Friday, March 06, 2009

Newsletter, week of March 8th

Last Week

No matter where you are in your journey, there's always something to change. Realizing how important these things are can spur you into action, and help you recover from a relapse.

This Week

Whether you love to sweat, or hate to hear the dreaded "E" word, moving more can benefit you. If you're merely contemplating getting active, stop in this week and see if we can't spur you into the action stage.


Shauna, Juanita, Leslie and Irma all received their first five pound stars. Kendria reached 10 pounds lost, Alexandria reached her 5% target, Emilee reached 35 pounds lost, and both Karen and Velma hit 40 pounds. Steve has now lost over 50 pounds, and Laketa received her 80 pound star! Those totals are amazing, everyone.

WW Product of the Week

Need incentive to get active? Check out our exercise DVDs. You'll get great, safe workouts you can do anytime in the privacy of your own home. Plus, right now you get $5 off the price!

Weekly Potpourri

It's that time again...GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME! Here are the stats on those tasty little cookies.

Trefoils (shortbread): Serving size; 5 cookies 4 points
170 calories, 8 g total fat (2.5 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 23 g total carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 7 g sugar, 0 g fiber

Thin Mint: Serving size: 4 cookies 4 points
160 calories, 8 g total fat (5 g sat fat), 0g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 22 g total carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 10 g sugar, 0 g fiber

Tagalongs (p. b. & chocolate): Serving size: 2 cookies 4 points
140 calories, 9g total fat (5 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium,
13 g total carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 8 g sugar, 0 g fiber

Lemon Chalet Crème Cookies: Serving size: 3 cookies 4 points
170 calories, 7 g total fat (2.5 g sat fat), 0g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 26 g total carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 13 g sugar, 0 g fiber

Samoas (coconut, caramel, chocolate): Serving size: 2 cookies 4 points
150 calories, 8 g total fat (6 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium,
18 g total carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 10 g sugar, 0 g fiber

Do-Si-dos (peanut butter): Serving size: 2 cookies 3 points
120 calories, 5 g total fat (1.5 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 16 g total carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 7 g sugar, 0 g fiber

Chocolate Chip (sugar free): Serving size: 3 cookies 3 points
160 calories, 9 g total fat (3 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 22 g total carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 7 g sugar alcohol, 2 g fiber

Dulce de Leche: Serving size: 3 cookies 5 points
200 calories, 10 g total fat (4 g sat fat), 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 85 mg sodium, 25 g total carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 11 g sugar, 0 g fiber

What's Hot at

If you think exercise is boring, well, you just haven't found the right type! Belly dancing is certainly a unique and fun way to burn calories, don't you think?

Quote of the Week

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out if they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. - William James

Weekly Recipe: Braised Chicken in Riesling

Braised Chicken in Riesling
Serves 6
4 Points value

6 skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup baby-cut carrots
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup riesling, or other dry white wine
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a slow cooker.

Add the cabbage and onion to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and top with the carrots and garlic.

Whisk together the wine, broth and tomato paste in a bowl, then pour over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken and carrots are fork-tender, 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a deep platter. Keep warm.

Whisk together the water and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk in about 1/4 cup of the hot stew liquid until blended, then stir the flour mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the mixture simmers and thickens, about 15 minutes longer. Serve over the chicken.

Per serving: 175 cal, 8g fat (2g sat fat), 2g fiber, 365mg sodium

From Momentum Cookbook - I made this dish last weekend and ate from it all week. It's one of those dishes that tastes better as it ages. It's so good! Plus, you have the rest of the bottle of wine to deal with....