Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Roundup, week of January 2nd

Can you believe it? 2010 is pretty much toast, and here we are about ready to begin a whole new year. If you're reading this and it's been awhile since you've visited a meeting, now's the time. Free registration is on, and you can experience our new PointsPlus program for yourself!

What Happened Last Week?

It's that time - time to start thinking about what you'd like to accomplish this year. Remember to keep your goals positive and specific, and don't be afraid to really flesh out the steps you need to take to achieve them. (I'll probably be sharing some of my goals for the year in a separate entry.)

Some of you were very brave to come out and weigh in this past week. We celebrated Olivia reaching her 5% target, and Heidi reaching her 1 year anniversary as a Lifetime member. If you were still engulfed in the holidays, I hope to be celebrating with you this next week!

So What's Coming Up?

New year, new you! New program, too! But something that's not new is the importance of tracking. It's a critical part of the PointsPlus plan, and we'll discuss any questions or concerns you have about how to track, and whether or not this new program means a change in what and how you track.

Keep in mind that this time of year is our busiest. In January and February we enroll a huge number of new members. Consider showing up earlier in the weigh-in period to secure your seat or spot in line.

Thought for the Week

If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. - Mary Pickford

Weekly Recipe: Black Eyed Peas with Collard Greens

I didn't know until only a handful of years ago that black eyed peas were a typical New Years Day type of food. In honor of the birth of 2011, here's a Jennifer Hudson approved recipe from eTools:

Southern Style Black Eyed Peas with Collard Greens

Also, pop culture has totally ruined me, because now whenever I see the phrase "black eyed peas" I imagine something other than food.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Roundup, week of December 19th

What Happened Last Week?

On Monday we had a really great Lifetime Member panel. Thanks to those of you who came and asked really interesting questions of Marianne, Trina and Candy. Remember that our Lifetime Members at goal are the expert resources you can turn to when you need some additional help.

This past week we returned a little more to business as usual instead of OMG POINTSPLUS for the week's topic. Your Weekly PointsPlus Allowance and Activity PointsPlus can be great ways to get additional flexibility as we head into the last few weeks of the year. If you usually try not to use them, consider what you've got coming up. It's not fun to keep saying "NO" to all those celebratory treats, and when you use those allowances, you don't have to!

Awards this week went to Jennifer (5 pounds), Rick, Sunny and Noreen (10 pounds) and to Maria for reaching her 10% target!

So What's Coming Up?

Another thing that can give you some holiday flexibility are the zero PointsPlus fruits and vegetables. They can be a great way to sneak in a snack before you hit the buffet, or a way to bulk up some low PointsPlus meals before you pop open the bottle of champagne. We'll discuss your favorites and your tips for getting the most out of these foods.

Thought for the Week

Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still. - Chinese Proverb

Note: I won't be publishing an update or recipe link next week. Once I'm done with my meetings for the week, I'll be off for a few days to enjoy the holidays in a place that looks something like this:

Weekly Recipe: Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

This recipe was mentioned in last week's edition of the WW Weekly as a lower PointsPlus replacement for regular cheesecake. Marta has stated she's making them this weekend, so hopefully we'll get a real live recipe review this next week!

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roundup, week of December 12th

What Happened Last Week?

Having been through a week of PointsPlus, we discussed any issues, concerns or questions that came up, and discussed the plan a little bit more. Don't worry if you're not an expert yet - we really don't expect you to be!

This week we celebrated our newest Lifetime Member - Erika! Congratulations on completing your weight loss and moving into the next phase.

So What's Coming Up?

The system for evaluating food may have changed, but many things have not. We're still going to give you the tools you need to make it through difficult the holidays. We'll remind you that you CAN do it, particularly by using those PointsPlus allowances to give you flexibility. This holiday season doesn't have to be about adding pounds!


We will be having a special "Ask a Lifetime Member" panel in this week's meeting. Our members at goal are a walking example of how it's done. And now you can ask them exactly how they did it. Go ahead, ask them anything!

Thought for the Week

Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.

~ Denis Waitley

Thursday, December 09, 2010

More Helpful PointsPlus Links

Thanks to Kim for helping me keep track of all the new things out there that will help you transition from Momentum to PointsPlus. I know we've been deluged with all sorts of new stuff, but these links can be an easy way to shrink the change.

Power Foods List - this will open as a PDF file.

PointsPlus Transition Guide - this is an article on the Weight Watchers website. It has links to a lot of information on essential things to both do AND not do! Think of it as PointsPlus 101.

Weekly Recipe: Roasted Pepper, Feta & Lentil Salad

I hope you're all taking advantage of eTools to find new information and recipes for PointsPlus. This recipe is going on my list to make for the upcoming week. I'll probably have it at lunch!

Roasted Pepper, Feta & Lentil Salad

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Helpful Info for Moving From Points to PointsPlus

Here are some things to read or think about as you make the transition from our old Points system to the new PointsPlus system.

Weight Watchers Product Info

Did you buy a calculator, scale or pedometer and need some help using it? You will find User Guides for those products at the link above. You'll also find a list of PointsPlus conversions from our last 5 cookbooks - no need to recalculate those recipes, we've already done it for you. Maybe most importantly, you can see the corrections we've already identified to the Pocket Guide and Complete Food Companion food lists. Yes, we know there are some typos and errors - this consolidates those changes for you.

If you are an eTools user, you have access to a ton of information. Go to "Your Plan", and you will see some tabs - eTools customizes the information it shows you based on how many weeks you've been a member. Since this is a new program for ALL of us, you have the option for looking at earlier weeks, which might give you more basic information to help your understanding of the new plan.

I've already been contact by a few people who notice that when the Recipe Builder is used, things that should have zero PointsPlus values (your fruits and veggies) start adding up. Why is that? Here's the official answer from our Program Developers:

When 0 PointsPlus veggies and fruit are used in a recipe in the eTools recipe builder the nutrition information is used to figure PointsPlus values...just like it was with veggies on Momentum.

Read page 42 of the Getting Started book on options of how to do recipes. If you feel that you have a tendency to abuse certain 0 PointsPlus value foods, you can use the nutritional information for all ingredients, sum them and input them into your PointsPlus calculator or Recipe Builder online. If you choose to exclude 0 PointsPlus foods, you can use your recipe builder, excluding 0 PointsPlus value foods, or use Simple Recipe Math. As always, let your weight loss be your guide, and work the plan that works best for you.

It has always been our policy at Weight Watchers to incorporate the nutrients of vegetables (and now fruit) into recipes. Why? A few reasons.

1) Vegetables and fruit add fiber and other nutrients, and without including them it can impact the Points value.

2) Our recipes are often featured in articles and magazines nationally and as a result we need to disclose this info to ensure the appropriate calories and nutrient content are displayed if evaluated by organizations outside of Weight Watchers.

3) Since many non-Weight Watchers recipes include nutritional information these days, we want our calculations to match those you may do for recipes you find in other places. We don’t want to unfairly advantage our own recipes.

4) Once you start combining vegetables and fruits with other foods, you change the experience of eating them. Few people “over indulge” on carrots but might on carrot cake. To ignore them in recipes would place our member at risk for abuse potential.

Got any other questions? Bring them in to the meetings this week!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Roundup, week of December 5th

What Happened Last Week?

Wow! You all came out in full force to hear about our new PointsPlus program! I hope you enjoy the tweaks as much as I have, and aren't trying to combine the old Points with free fruit! That's not going to work.

If you missed your meeting this week, please plan on staying after the next meeting to hear the Getting Started Session. It is really important for you to understand the new plan, and next week it won't be the full focus of our meetings. So budget in that time just this once.

In amongst the new plan excitement, we did celebrate. Maria got her 10 pound star (while in Louisiana!), Patty got her 20 pound star (while in San Francisco!) and Susie reached her 10% target. It's great to see how successful you are while on travel over a holiday weekend. If you can do it then, you can do it anytime!

So What's Coming Up?

First off, please come prepared to ask any questions you have about the new plan. I know the first week of following something new can be confusing, so I want to make sure we get you settled in and confident.

This week we'll continue to discuss the plan basics, find out what works for you, what you're worried about, and maybe give out a little more PointsPlus wisdom. If you're struggling with the transition, this is the meeting for you!

Thought for the Week

Don't mistake failing with "I am a failure," as no one is perfect all the time. Take what you have learned and apply it to the next situation.

Weekly Recipe: Mexican Beef Over Polenta

You know what I haven't done much of this week? Cooking! (And exercise, but that's neither here nor there....) So the recipe this week isn't a tried and true one, but I chose one with good reviews.

In my recent exploration of all recipes meatless, I realize that I haven't given you carnivores much to work with.

Mexican Beef Over Polenta

If you've got a good meaty recipe you think I should feature, send it my way. Particularly if it's red meat - that's never been a food I've cooked and eaten much of, so I tend to link to that kind of recipe pretty infrequently.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roundup, week of November 28th

What Happened Last Week?

Thanksgiving holidays are something we've experienced before, right? So we can learn from our past - both what worked and what didn't. If you didn't like the outcome last time, figure out something different to do this time.

Weight loss awards for this week include first five pound stars for Noreen, Toni and Carmen. Pamela reached 15 pounds lost, and Marc has now lost over 55 pounds! We also gave the 16 week Stay and Succeed award to Laura, and a 5% award to Simka.

So What's Coming Up?

Pssht, there's nothing exciting happening this next week except, OH, I DON'T KNOW WE'RE JUST ROLLING OUT A BRAND NEW WEIGHT WATCHERS PLAN! But really, why would you even care about that, right?

Seriously, if there's ever a week you go out of your way to be in the meeting room, THIS IS IT. I will be discussing how the new program works, and you'll be getting all the new materials. Also, your old favorite snacks are finally going to be back on the shelves! Hooray for smoothies and mini bars!

Thought for the Week

The most important thing in life is to stop saying "I wish" and start saying "I will." Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities. ~ David Copperfield

Weekly Recipe: Lentil-Barley Soup

This is a recipe that Marta brought in to share just this morning. Some of you got copies from her, but for the rest of you, here's a link:

Lentil-Barley Soup

It's Cooking Light, yo. They won't steer you wrong.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Thanksgiving Thought

I've just finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals. I didn't come here to discuss the meat (heh) of his book - for about a million reasons, the greatest of which is that it's not appropriate for this particular forum - but to share a quote about Thanksgiving.

Of the thousand-or-so meals we eat every year, Thanksgiving dinner is the one that we try most earnestly to get right. It holds the hope of being a good meal, whose ingredients, efforts, setting, and consuming are expressions of the best in us. More than any other meal, it is about good eating and good thinking.

No matter what you eat (or don't eat) in the next week or so, I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving. I give thanks just about every day that I have you all in my life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Roundup, week of November 21st

What Happened Last Week?

Stress is all over the place this time of year. Lots of it can be related to change, whether it's the changes in habits we're making, or the promise of change in a new Weight Watchers program. Learning to deal with stress is a valuable life skill, but will also help you stay on track.

Celebration shout-outs this week include a five pound star for Amy, a 5% award to Nina, a 15 pound star for Jan, and a 25 pound star for Daniella. You ladies are doing great! Bravos also to those of you who completed the Silver Strand Half Marathon last weekend - I know we had a few of you. You rock!

So What's Coming Up?

Been on WW during Thanksgiving before? How did it go? That experience can help shape what you do in the future. This week we'll have one last chance to share our experiences before the big Turkey Day celebration. Come share with us what's worked and what hasn't.

Thought for the Week

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.

~ Samuel Johnson

Weekly Recipe: Fruit-Filled Acorn Squash

I typically turn to Cooking Light when I need a nice recipe that's light but still might be potluck or dinner party worthy. I've been meaning to cook some acorn squash since it's fall and all, and came upon an easy one. I'll be eating this for breakfast this coming week:

Fruit-Filled Acorn Squash

And yes, it does use CANNED cranberry sauce. That's what I grew up with at Thanksgiving, so while I've tried the real thing (and like the real thing), I still have a soft spot for the kind of sauce that comes from a can and has the little ribbings on the side when you slide it out. Yum.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Roundup, week of November 14th

What Happened Last Week?

We talked turkey! Turkey Day, that is. Now is the time to start thinking about your holiday strategy - what will you eat? How much? How often? Finding the Points values ahead of time can help you make that informed decision.

This week we celebrated Olivia and Nina receiving their first 5 pound stars, Amanda reaching 10 pounds lost, and Maria reaching her 5% target. Congratulations, ladies!

So What's Coming Up?

Let's be honest: as much as we might love the holidays, they bring with them all kinds of stress. And weight loss can be stressful enough, so you can see that learning to deal with stress is definitely something that will help you through. We'll work on ways to control that stress through Thanksgiving...and beyond.

Thought for the Week

Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter. ~ Bono

Weekly Recipe: Thanksgiving Options

Yesterday morning we had a bit of a recipe swap. Marta brought in tons of copies, so I think everyone on the Wednesday crew had access to them. My brief googling this morning tells me there's not a fast and easy way to link to the recipes from the 2007 WW magazine - they are not in eTools. I'd love to get them posted, but frankly I don't have the time to devote to this right now.

What I CAN get to you today, is a link to the recipe that Minna shared with us. She recommends the stuffing with sage and chives from eTools. It's tried and true for her, and she says your guests will never know the difference!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Roundup, week of November 7th

What Happened Last Week?

The word "metabolism" conjures up a lot of thoughts, feelings, and even myths. Remember that you can control your metabolism in two ways: getting your heart rate up, and building lean muscle mass. Get yourself active and become a high performance machine!

We had a bunch of great celebrations this week, particular in the Wednesday morning meeting. We gave five pound stars to Julie (5), Laura (10), Patty and Mary (15), and Susie (35). Four people reached their 5% targets: Cookie, Sandra, Martha and Norval. And finally, Barbara and Patty received their 10% key chains. Great work for that post-Halloween weigh-in!

So What's Coming Up?

Thanksgiving's coming up, that's what! This week we're going to do that much anticipated meeting in which we'll discuss the Points values of common Turkey Day food items. This is always a fun and eye-opening discussion, so make sure you're present!

We'll also talk holiday favorites, so if you have a healthy holiday recipe that you've used to cut down on Points, please bring it in! Wednesday in particular we'll be doing a recipe swap. But if you Sunday or Monday folks have a recipe you love, bring in a copy and I'll post it for everyone else to enjoy!

Thanksgiving 5K/10K

In case you're still looking for a way to burn calories on Thanksgiving day, here's the link to register for the Run for the Hungry.

It's a run OR walk, whichever you can do. It's a 5K or 10K, whichever you can do. Dogs are welcome, family and friends are, too. If you register, please select the adult team entry option and join "Outsmart the Fat!" along with the rest of us!

Why not start a new holiday tradition? Get active!

Thought for the Week

When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there. - Zig Ziglar

Weekly Recipe: Ridiculously Easy Lentil & Vegetable Stew

This week's recipe comes from a source I think I may have linked to before. A stew that features some of my favorite ingredients (quinoa, pumpkin, lots of vegetables) and is described as "ridiculously easy?" Sign me up!

I made the stew over the weekend, and it is definitely an easy recipe to make. I've been reheating portions for dinner this week, and I'm definitely enjoying the results.

Ridiculously Easy Lentil & Vegetable Stew

I know I've been featuring a lot of meatless options lately, which kind of mirrors my preferences lately. My husband disagrees, and so I've been serving these meatless stews and salads with chopped meat, sausage, or a side of chicken breast. Obviously if you do that you'll have to add the Points value. But don't discount these recipes just because they don't have meat - add it in if you need to!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roundup, week of October 31st

What Happened Last Week?

Sweets are in abundance this time of year, so the sooner we learn how to deal with them, the better. Hopefully you learned some strategies to not overdo it. But also remember to never deprive yourself. Eat food that tastes good, but ideally it'll give you some nutritional punch, too. But if not, that's exactly what those WPAs are for!

Celebrations this week included a 5 pound star for Megan, a 10 pound star and 5% award for Pamela, and Tina received her 20 pound star and 10% key chain. Most exciting was the celebration we had on Monday night for Erika, who reached HER GOAL WEIGHT! Yay!

So What's Coming Up?

There are a lot of myths out there on the topic of metabolism. This week we'll tackle what we can do for ours, so that we spend our time on stuff that matters. If there's a weight loss truism that you've always wondered about, bring it up this week and we'll see if we can't separate fact from fiction. (I may need to do research after the meeting if you end up stumping me!)

Thought for the Week

Life is like riding a bicycle. You don't fall off unless you plan to stop peddling. - Claude Pepper

Weekly Recipe: Stir-Fried Succotash with Edamame

The New York Times health and food sections are my most recent internet pleasure. Martha Rose Shulman comes through again with another great sounding recipe.

Stir-Fried Succotash with Edamame

This is going to be a great way for you to get in some vegetable servings. It also has the benefit of lots of color, which is something I always enjoy in my food.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Life Has Been Altered

Otherwise known as "How Trader Joes is Awesome" Volume 8,392

I love peanut butter. I mean really love it, to the extent that I have not willingly had a jar of fresh peanut butter in my house in years. A jar + a spoon = My stomach full of peanut butter.

Over the years I've tried the lower fat versions, the soy peanut versions, and even the powdered versions - I made a post a while back about using PB2 to make some peanut butter cookies. That worked, by the way, and PB2 is to me a very nice substitute for the real thing.

But something that can only be ordered online in large quantities isn't the best option is it? So imagine my joy the other day when I read this blog entry and discovered a powdered option from Trader Joes!

Today I went to my local TJs and found the peanut flour. I am here to tell you that it tastes about exactly the same as PB2, but is cheaper, and more importantly available at a local store! Hooray!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roundup, week of October 24th

What Happened Last Week?

Celebration is a necessary part of keeping yourself motivated. I hope you thought of some new ways to recognize your success beyond the typical "hey, let's eat something!"

In the spirit of celebrations, we gave awards to Martha, Adriana and Maria for losing their first five pounds. We also celebrated Marianne's third year at her goal weight! That's a nice mix of celebrations - brand new members, and long-term members. We never stop celebrating!

So What's Coming Up?

If you have a sweet tooth, this time of year could spell Big Trouble. Halloween means candy, right? We'll learn strategies for managing these kind of temptations, to keep them manageable. You don't have to give up candy forever, but you probably need some help figuring out how not to eat ALL of it.

Wednesday morning's meeting in Clairemont will include a special "Ask a Lifetime Member" segment. You'll have your chance to ask a member who is at goal whatever you'd like. Ask them how they did it. Ask them what they eat. Whatever you need to know, these people are great resources to get it.

Thanksgiving 5K/10K

Just a reminder for you, I am getting a team together for the PureFitness Thanksgiving Run for the Hungry. If you register online, please select a team entry, so that you can select in the drop down box "Outsmart the Fat!" and be on my team. So far there's three of us confirmed, and a few others considering.

Start your Turkey Day off right! Do at least one thing healthy that day, okay? :)

Thought for the Week

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." - Carl Jung

Weekly Recipe: Beans and Rice Ole

I didn't do much cooking when I first joined Weight Watchers, but I've still managed to collect over 10 years of cookbooks. So sometimes I have to get in the Way Back Machine and pull out one of the older books to find something. This one has a terribly hokey name, which in my mind makes it TOTALLY OBVIOUS that it's a Weight Watchers recipe. But if you're looking to put together a quick dinner, here you are:

Beans and Rice Ole
Makes 4 servings

One 19 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
3/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup minced parsley
3/4 cup shredded nonfat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake uncovered until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

Per serving: 302 calories, 1g fat, 646mg sodium, 53g carbs, 6g fiber, 20g protein

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roundup, week of October 17th

What Happened Last Week?

There are aspects of a healthy lifestyle that you might find difficult. Focus on your biggest challenge and decide which tools you could use to make it easier. There are so many things that can help...just use them!

Celebrations this week included a ten pound star for Jan and a 20 pound star for Barbara. And even though I was on vacation, a little bird told me that Josh reached ONE HUNDRED pounds lost. How inspiring!

So What's Coming Up?

Do you have difficulty acknowledging your weight-loss achievements? Don't let doubt prevent you from celebrating all you accomplish. It will help keep you motivated!

Thought for the Week

Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.

~Raymond Chandler

Weekly Recipe: Quinoa and Squash Gratin

I know I know, another quinoa recipe. I can't help myself!

Quinoa and Squash Gratin

I'm pretty sure Martha Rose Shulman has been around for awhile, but I've just stumbled onto her. I like her style. Maybe it's time to buy yet another cookbook?!?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Plan Ahead: Run for the Hungry

Thanksgiving is a holiday that makes many a Weight Watchers member nervous. One of the ways we can counterbalance our caloric intake is to burn it off, right? Well, before you sit down to your turkey day feast, why not do a 5K or 10K event?

I've registered myself for the Pure Fitness Run for the Hungry event this Thanksgiving. The race starts downtown near Petco Park. 10K race start is at 7:10am, and the 5K starts at 8:15am. I will be running the 10K, but you also have the option to run or walk a 5K as well. I should be able to finish the 10K in time to see the 5K start, and if you're out there to walk it, I'll hop in and join you!

If you are interested in joining me, I have set up a team "Outsmart the Fat!" If we get more than 20 team members by October 29th (who have committed by registering for the race) they will print our team name on the race t-shirts!

Run for the Hungry Event Information - at this site you can download entry forms if you wish to enter by mail. Be sure to click on the "Entry Form" link, not the "Team Entry Form" link. I've already set the team up. All you need to do is fill out the regular entry form and specify the team name in the spot above your name. Remember, the team name is "Outsmart the Fat!"

Register online at - if you'd like to register online, you can use this link. Once you click the "Register Now" button, select the option "ADULT TEAM MEMBER REGISTRATION ONLY" and when you do that, you will have the opportunity to select "Outsmart the Fat!" from a dropdown box of team names.

This could be a really fun way to do something active, and to meet your fellow Weight Watchers members outside of the meeting room setting. And if you're just beginning an exercise program, signing up for an event like this is good motivation to get out there between now and Thanksgiving to make sure you're in tip-top shape come race day. Plus...FREE T-SHIRT!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Roundup, week of October 3rd

Special Note: Reminder to the Sunday group, our meeting at El Cajon will not be held this week so that San Diego WW staff can have their annual celebrations and staff meeting. We'll resume our regular schedule the next Sunday, okay?

What Happened Last Week?

The grocery store can be our best friend or our biggest pitfall. We discussed shopping strategies as well as what you're all buying. Maybe you got a great idea for something new to try - if so, let us know how it went!

Tons of celebrations this week: five pound stars for Pam, Amy and Marie, a 10 pound star for Patty (on her birthday week!) and Kathy, and two Marys got their 15 pound stars. Christina reached her 10% target and Scarlett received her 16 week Stay and Succeed charm. Last but not least, Sharon reached Lifetime this Sunday!

So What's Coming Up?

Get wise about size. Downsizing your portions can supersize your weight-loss success without your sacrificing satisfaction. I'll have some interesting observations on portion sizes over the years, and we'll discuss how you're making sure you're eating the right AMOUNT of food.

Thought for the Week

Real success comes in small portions day by day. ~ Denis Waitley

(Do you see what I did there with that quote?)

Weekly Recipe: Quinoa Garden Cakes

I have a distressing backlog of recipes that I can't wait to make, and not enough time to do it. Since quinoa (KEEN-WAH) came up in a few of this weeks' meetings, it seems like a good time to share this one. I've been on a bit of a quinoa kick anyway lately, so several of my "to-try" recipes happen to include it.

Quinoa Cakes

Thanks, Whole Foods! That picture sold it for me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roundup, week of September 26th

What Happened Last Week?

Getting help from friends, relatives, and co-workers can make weight loss easier, and research has shown that a supportive network can make your weight loss more sustainable. Be sure to ask for help when you need it!

Celebrations this week went to Kristina and Jan for their first five pound weight loss, Carol for 25 pounds, and Wenda for 60 pounds. Patty reached her 5% target and Daniella and William both got their 10% keychains. Great job!

So What's Coming Up?

The supermarket can be a source of inspiration or perspiration. Sure, there's fruits and veggies, but there's also ice cream and beer! We'll share shopping strategies and learn how to be inspired by the grocery store, not frightened.

Thought for the Week

The real winners in life are the people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better. ~ Barbara Pletcher

Weekly Recipe: Vegetarian Crockpot!

My crockpot is one of the kitchen appliances that I will never ever regret spending money on (along with my immersion blender), unlike some others...George Foreman I'm looking at you!

It's the ultimate in easy. Throw some stuff in the crockpot, turn it on, and hours later you have dinner for a couple of days. I love that kind of thing. And it doesn't heat up the kitchen like the oven does, so even in the heart of summer it's something I use.

So I was really excited to see a featured article on the Weight Watchers website that includes three really wonderful looking recipes. I'm going to make the vegetable tagine this weekend, and the other two will probably quickly follow.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Roundup, week of September 19th

What Happened Last Week?

Losing slowly? Remember that every 0.2 pounds counts, and it all adds up! Picture that lumpy pound of fat and you'll never forget why you're doing this!

Celebrations this week included a five pound star for Josh and Magdalena, 10 pound stars for Linda, Cathy and Bernadette, a 15 pound star for David, a 25 pound star for Deborah, a 5% target celebration for Cyndy, 10% for Bill, and a 16 week Stay and Succeed charm for Daniella.

So What's Coming Up?

When you involve the people in your life into your weight-loss efforts, you get the type of support that makes it easier to be successful now and in the future. This week we'll discuss ways to ask for help and who we might target as a resource.

Thought for the Week

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

Weekly Recipe: Vegetable Fritters

This one is really quick - a fellow Weight Watchers leader just shared this recipe on Facebook. She vouches for it, and it's definitely something I want to try!

Vegetable Fritters

And now, back to prepping my own dinner....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Race Recap: Sand Pit 5K

In a post a few days ago I mentioned I'd be participating in a 5K course with obstacles. I am pleased to say that I emerged *mostly* unscathed, and present to you a post-race rundown of what you could have been doing this morning.

The course began on the sand just north of the Giant Dipper coaster at Belmont park. We started in waves, and the pink wristband you may or may not be able to see in the photos meant all the other 30-39 year old gals like myself started at 8:12am. We started the course in loosely packed dry sand and headed to the first obstacle.

This was supposed to be "knee deep" water, but when you're only 5'4" it's more like mid-thigh level. Running progress was awfully slow here as we made our way down the beach. We periodically would pop back up onto hard packed sand, which was a million times easier to run on. Eventually, we were routed back onto soft sand for the next obstacle, the Seal Crawl.

These ropes weren't nearly as low as I expected, so I didn't have to be as low on the sand as I thought I would be. After running in the water, this was a relief.

Next up was the "In & Outs" which meant that we'd enter the water, run out to a flag in "waist deep" water, run back to shore, and do the same thing two or three more times. I should add that the tide was coming in at this point, so "waist deep" actually meant "waves crashing over your head and totally submerging you." A few of us lost our footing and crashed into each other, but in the spirit of the event, a few apologies were given, and we were on our way. This was the second hardest part of the race. Running against water rushing back out to sea turns out to be extremely challenging.

We ran a little further north on hard sand until we had to pop up for the next obstacle - the limbo. We'd jump over a bar, then duck under one, three times, the high bar getting lower each time. We were a little loosey-goosey with our limboing at this point, but no one cared.

Now we headed up onto soft sand, where we stayed for the remainder of the course. We hit the turnaround, and started heading south to the next obstacle.

The Small Walls of China were easier than I expected. The walls were those plastic barriers you see on the edge of construction or road work. Very easy to swing a leg over, which was a relief after running on soft sand.

More soft sand running until we hit the tires, where we met someone channeling his inner Drill Instructor, telling us to high step it and hurry up. Frankly I was relieved to not have gotten my toes stuck in a tire for a face plant.

By this point we all seem to be shuffling down the sand, running when we can, walking when we realize it's probably faster than "running." Aha, the next obstacle...quicksand.

I was worried about this one, but it was the easiest of all. An obstacLOL if you will. Their attempt to wet down sand until saturated really meant we just got to run over a square of densely packed sand, a quick respite from slogging through all the dry stuff. Hooray!

Next obstacle was Hoop La. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a video of me navigating my way through the obstacle.

I am now sick and tired of running on soft sand, and it seems so are the people around me. One woman claimed that she would rather run a half marathon than have to run on this sand, and I'm inclined to agree.

Next up: Sand Everest

Thanks to the lady cheering us up this mountain, and for her suggestion to "use your arms" and "step quickly!" The hill was supposed to be 7-10 feet high, and that's probably about right.

Just at the bottom of Sand Everest we needed to drop and once again crawl under ropes, and right after that we got to "rinse off" by running through a pit of water that was actually knee deep, and perhaps 10-15 feet long. There's where the cheering stopped, but the finish line wasn't as close as I would have liked.

Finally, about 45 minutes after I began, I crossed the finish line. Sandy, sweaty, slightly bruised and tired. Thanks go to my husband for the photos and video of the day, and for having something dry and not sandy for me to rub my eyes with at the finish line.

So what did I learn here today?

1. Running on soft sand is hard. No, really. Harder than I seemed to recall.
2. While this was a fun adventure, I don't need to seek this kind of thing out again.
3. I'm OK with a low level of dirt/dust/mud when I run, but this was dirtier than I cared to get.
4. In light of #3, I doubt I'll ever bother with a triathlon.

And now, for some well-earned couch loafing.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Roundup, week of September 12th

What Happened Last Week?

We kicked off our Third Annual Lose for Good Campaign with a discussion of storyboarding. Having a plan to achieve your goals makes it much more likely you'll actually do it. Plus you get the satisfaction of crossing things off your to-do list!

We awarded five pound stars to Evelyn (10) and Jessica (65) but this was truly the week of 5 and 10 percent awards. Five percent targeters include Tamara, Cathy and Karyn. Those getting the 10% keychain were Scarlett, Janet and Deborah.

So What's Coming Up?

We live in a Quick Fix society, so sometimes our rate of weight loss can seem horribly slow. This week we'll think about how to appreciate the significance of small weight losses, and how they actually CAN keep us motivated and on track.

Remember you are welcome to participate in our local food drives as part of the Lose for Good campaign. Our charities need non-perishable items not in glass containers. Please feel free to bring in a donation anytime between now and October 23rd when the campaign ends.

Thought for the Week

The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it - as long as you really believe 100 percent. ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Weekly Recipe: Sand

I'm signed up for the Sand Pit 5K on Saturday. It's a 5K "with obstacles" that's run mostly on the sand. A few days ago I got a confirmation email that had a very detailed description of what the course will look like:


Knee Deep In Water (San Luis Obispo Pl.)
Upon reaching the beach flag, the athletes will enter the water. They will run out to the turn buoy in approximately "knee deep" water. They will run in "knee deep" water parallel to shore to the middle buoy and continue on to the final buoy. There, they will turn right pass the buoy and head into shore. On the beach, they will turn left around the beach flag and continue north to the next obstacle.

Seal Crawl (San Juan Pl.)
Upon reaching the beach flag, the athletes will lie on their stomachs and proceed to crawl under the obstacle ropes that are approximately 2' above the ground. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will rise to their feet and continue north to the next obstacle.

In & Outs (San Jose Pl.)
Upon reaching the first beach flag, the athletes turn left and enter the water. They will run out to the first water flag in approximately "waist" deep water. They turn right around the flag and run back into shore. On shore, they will turn left around the second beach flag and head back into the water to the second water flag. At the flag, they will circle the flag and run back into shore to the third beach flag. They will circle the flag and head out to the fourth water flag. They will circle the flag and return to shore. On the beach, they will turn left around last beach flag and continue north to the next obstacle.

Limbo Down (Santa Rita Pl.)
Upon reaching the beach flag, the athletes will step over a 2' crossbar. Ten feet after further, they will "limbo" under a 5' cross bar. Ten feet further, they will step over another 2' crossbar. Ten feet further, they will "limbo" under a 4.5' cross bar. Ten feet further, they will step over the final 2' crossbar. Ten feet further, they will "limbo" under a 4' crossbar.

Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue north to the turn around.

Small Walls of China (Thomas Ave.)
Upon reaching the first set of walls, the athletes will climb or step over a 4' wall. There will be a number of rows of walls to negotiate. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue south to the next obstacle.

Black Rings of Tires (San Rafael Pl.)
Upon reaching the obstacle, the athletes will step through rows of tires. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue south to the next obstacle.

Quick Sand (Santa Clara Pl.)
Upon reaching the obstacle, the athletes will funnel through an area of wet soft sand. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue south to the next obstacle.

Hoop La (El Carmel Pl.)
Upon reaching the obstacle, the athletes will dive, tumble or step through hoops that are suspended about 2' above the sand. There will be four rows of hoops to negotiate. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue south to the next obstacle.

Sand Everest (Santa Barbara Pl.)
Upon reaching the obstacle, the athletes will run up a mound of sand approximately 7 - 10' high. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue south to the next obstacle.

Sand Pit (Jamaica Ct.)
Upon reaching the obstacle, the athletes enter a 3' sandy water pit on their hands and knees. They will crawl through the 50' pit. Upon exiting the obstacle, they will continue south to the finish line.

Hey Stephanie, why is this filed under "Weekly Recipe"?

Read through that description again. Tell me if you think it's possible to finish that course and NOT get sand in my mouth. Better look that up in eTools!

If you're local, I believe they will have day-of-race registration (ha ha) if you would like to do this yourself. You can also just come out and gawk. I'm sure this is a recipe for hilarity as well as sand.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Roundup, week of September 5th

What Happened Last Week?

Regular physical activity has been shown to be a critical part of a lifestyle of weight maintenance. Hate activity? Well...have you tried them all? Find something you love, and scheduling it won't be a burden.

This week we celebrated five pound stars for Cathy and Tamara, a 10 pound star for Catherine, a 15 pound star for Lisa, and 20 pound stars for Virginia and Scarlette. Alleen checked in at 25 pounds down, and Emily reached 35 pounds lost. Josh was our Biggest Loser at 90 pounds on Sunday! We also celebrated 5% targets for Linda and Arika.

So What's Coming Up?

Since you're all rocking the weight loss so well, it's a nice coincidence that our Third Annual Lose for Good campaign is back! Your pounds lost cause Weight Watchers to make donations to charities that fight hunger. Plus, we'll be doing local food drives. This year I'll be having Traveling Tote Bags that you can fill with food for the needy! And if you're stuck on the scale, recharge your weight-loss efforts by knowing that you're helping others.

Note for Monday: Remember that we will be closed for the Labor Day holiday. If you'd like to join me on Sunday, I lead an 11:30 meeting at our El Cajon center - doors open at 11:00am! It's not that far from Lemon Grove - just off the 8 at the Johnson exit. Don't worry, you'll get along real well with them.

Thought for the Week

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is
 delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is
 something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being 

~ Denis Waitley

Weekly Recipe: Mixed Berry Crumble

This is Kim's third and final submission for the recipe swap we had a few weeks ago. She wasn't the only one to have good things to say about it!

Mixed Berry Crumble

POINTS Value: 4
Servings: 8

This five-ingredient dessert highlights the sweetness of fresh summer fruit. Use any combination of berries you have on hand.*

2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups unpacked light brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Place berries in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, combine flour and sugar. Remove 3 tablespoons of flour mixture and gently toss with berries. Place berries in an 8-inch square pan.

To make topping, add melted butter to remaining flour mixture; combine well. Crumble little bits of topping all over top of berries. Bake until berries just start to bubble, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 1 piece per serving.

Notes: You can use any combination of fresh berries in season: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.
(Could affect POINTS values.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Potluck Picnic Recap

Yesterday eight of us gathered at Liberty Station park on a beautiful day to have a "healthy potluck." What I'd announced that to mean is that while you were welcome to bring whatever dish you like, you needed to be ready to provide Points values for your offering. That way, the environment would be a safe and easy way for us to have fun and stick to our goals.

Taking photos of foods labeled on white index cards on a bright sunny day is apparently well beyond my photography skills, but I did manage to get this one that'll give you an example:

I think it was unanimous that Liberty Station provides an excellent venue for a nice day outdoors. There were plenty of tables and grills, lots of grassy areas, clean bathrooms, and most importantly plenty of parking. The park is right beneath the flight path of Lindbergh field, so be prepared to hear planes, but otherwise since the park is relatively new, it's still an undiscovered gem.

All the dishes offered with healthy and AWESOME, and I hope to highlight those recipes right here in the near future. Stay tuned!

Thanks to Emily, Mike, Sue, Wendy, Pam and Jackie for coming out and spending the afternoon with Chris and I. Despite ample sunscreen, I still managed to get a whole summer's worth of burn in one day. Oops.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roundup, week of August 29th

What Happened Last Week?

We discussed how to ditch that deprivation mindset. Remember, there are lots of ways to work in your favorite foods. If you can't figure a way to get a particular food in safely, be sure to ask during a meeting - I'm sure we'll be able to offer up some options!

Mylisa received her first five pound star, and Christina, Karyn and Annalisa reached ten pounds lost. We gave Victoria a 15 pound star and William a 20 pound star. Carol reached 16 weeks of membership so got her Stay and Succeed charm.

And I know that lots of you have already received 11 out of 14 stickers on your summer challenge sheet, so we'll be celebrating with YOU next week!

So What's Coming Up?

First off, this will be the final week of the Succeed All Summer Challenge. I'll be holding the drawings this week for the "grand prize" (I hate to play it up, it's not a new car or anything!) and I'll be taking your slips home with me for a more personal celebration I'll deliver the following week.

Topic-wise, we'll be discussing the benefits of exercise, which hopefully will encourage you to engage in activity on a consistent basis. No use starting up a plan only to abandon it after a week, right?

The picnic is almost here!

This Sunday, August 29th is finally here! We'll be gathering at the park in Liberty Station, which is behind the Ace Hardware at Cushing & Dewey Roads. We'll start at 1:30 and I'll be there at least until 4:30 so if you can drop by anytime in that period, please do! If you bring a dish to share, be ready to write down the nutrition information and/or Points value PER SERVING of your offering. We won't be the Points Police out there, but we do want to be able to make safe and easy decisions for ourselves.

Tables may or may not be available to us, so be ready with a chair, blanket, or any portable picnic gear you might have.

Thought for the Week

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Weekly Recipe: Chile Rellenos Casserole

This is one of the recipes that Kim shared with us, and is one that I haven't yet tried for myself. I love green chiles!

Chile Rellenos Casserole

Serves 6
7 WW points if using lean ground beef

1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 16 oz can fat-free refried beans
2 4 oz cans whole green chiles, drained and -- cut into quarters
1 cup (4 oz) pre-shredded Colby-Jack cheese -- divided
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn -- thawed and drained
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups skim milk
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
2 large eggs -- lightly beaten
2 large egg whites -- lightly beaten
red onion slices -- (optional)
Cilantro sprigs -- (optional)

Preheat oven to 350

Cook ground beef (or turkey) and chopped onion in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from heat; add cumin and next 5 ingredients. Stir well; set aside.

Arrange half of green chiles in an 11 X 7-inch baking dish; top with 1/2 cup of cheese. Spoon mounds of beef mixture onto cheese; spread gently, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edge of dish.

Top with corn. Arrange remaining green chiles over corn; top with 1/2 cup cheese.

Combine flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl; gradually add milk and next 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour over casserole.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until set; let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with onion slices and cilantro springs, if desired.

NOTE: Two 4.5 oz cans chopped green chiles can be substituted for whole chiles, if desired.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roundup, week of August 22nd

What Happened Last Week?

We discussed how Filling Foods can be the top notch fuel to get you to your goals. You can't be successful if you're hungry and miserable all the time, and these foods can help!

Now that I lead 3 meetings a week our celebrations list is getting loooooonger: Karyn, Cathy, Bernadette and Kathy all received stars for five pounds lost; Arika got a 10 pound star and Geneen and Ben each received a 15 pound star. Virginia reached her 10% target and Leilah received the Stay and Succeed charm. Marc reached 50 pounds lost, and Sharon reached her goal weight!

So What's Coming Up?

Do you ever refer to Weight Watchers as "a diet?" If so, this meeting is for you! We're going to discuss how to ditch that mindset (and why you should) and how to avoid deprivation. You already know from last week that Filling Foods can help with that, but there are other ways we'll get into this week. Just say no to saying no!

Remember our picnic!

By now most of you have received the flier for the picnic coming up on August 29th. If you can make it, please be sure to RSVP to me. Preferably some way that leaves a trail (commenting on this entry would work, as would email or a Facebook message). If we have more than 50 people attending, a pricey permit seems to be required, so I want to make sure we're not in danger of getting in any trouble.

Thought for the Week

It's been said that some of the smartest people around would make lousy entrepreneurs. How can that be? The fact is, some people are so smart they can easily see all of the problems, roadblocks, and snafus that they'll need to overcome to succeed. They can think of all kinds of reasons why their idea won't work. This knowledge can overwhelm any thoughts of possibilities or dreams. When you think of your goals, do you focus on the positives of making it happen, or the negatives of potential barriers? To reach your goals, you've got to really want them. More importantly, you've got to really believe that you can do it. Think more about why you CAN make it happen instead of why you can't. No more excuses.

Weekly Recipe: Marta's Awesome Salad

Here's another recipe from the swap - this one didn't have copies to hand out in the meeting room, so this will be one you haven't seen, although you've heard about it if you have been to a Wednesday meeting lately!


1 large tomato (0.5 Points)
10 basil leaves (0 Points)
Trader Joe’s Mozzarellas in olive oil, (2 ea cheese balls) (3 Points)
Salt & Pepper to taste

4 points total

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Roundup, week of August 15th

What Happened Last Week?

All or nothing thinking can really damage your progress, so being flexible and forgiving is really important. Just because you can't do it perfectly doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt it at all. Remember the 80/20 rule - strive to be "on" 80% of the time and that's more than likely good enough!

This week we celebrated 5 pound stars for Phyllis, Cookie and Cris. Carol reached 20 pounds lost, and we gave 5% awards to both Eunice and Cris. Ramona took home a Stay and Succeed award for hanging in there for 16 weeks.

So What's Coming Up?

Understanding the science behind weight loss is really helpful to crafting a successful eating plan. Choosing foods that will keep you full for long periods of time is important for so many reasons (physical and mental) so we'll be discussing Filling Foods and other ways to keep hunger away.

I got my hands on an advance copy of the Weekly we'll be handing out, and if you don't attend a meeting this week (even if it's not one I lead!) you're really going to miss out. There are some great meal ideas and recipes in this one. Or maybe it's just because I'm hungry right now....

Summer Potluck Picnic!

If you haven't picked up a flier at a meeting, seen my event on Facebook, or saw the entry I posted here a few days ago...where have you been? Scroll back for details, but we've got a fun event coming up on Sunday, August 29th. I'd love to have you all out to share some healthy food and a day just hanging out getting to know each other when we're not sitting talking about food issues. I really hope you can make it!

Thought for the Week

Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. ~ Alice Walker

Weekly Recipe: Two Links from Minna

Our recipe swap yesterday morning resulted in some pretty neat recipes that I'll be sharing over the next several days. The first I'll post are easy - they are links to recipes you can find in eTools.

Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers

You'll see that's a recipe that serves 4 and has 6 Points value. There's a note that if you switch to light hamburger buns (which I bet a lot of you would do) it reduces the Points to 5.

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

This is a recipe that I could have sworn I've added to my favorites, but in pulling it up I see that it isn't. I know I've made something strikingly similar, because this kind of thing is right up my alley. Food in a pie crust? Yes, please.

Thanks Minna, for sharing these with us!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Meeting!

Beginning this Sunday, I will now be leading the 11:30am meeting at our El Cajon center. Doors open at 11:00am for weigh-in. If you check the meeting finder at the Weight Watchers website you won't see my name attached to the meeting yet, but it will probably be updated soon.

Weight Watchers El Cajon Center
794 Arnele Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020

Now here's a summary of my meetings:

Sunday 11:30am - El Cajon
Monday 6:30pm - Lemon Grove
Wednesday 6:30am - Clairemont
Thursday 6:30pm - Clairemont (receptionist duties if attendance permits)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You're Invited!

Click to embiggen:

You can pick up a flier in any of my meetings in the next few weeks. If you're reading this and you haven't been to a meeting in awhile, you are still absolutely welcome! Anyone who is interested in having some healthy food under the sun is invited to this shindig.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Roundup, week of August 8th

What Happened Last Week?

Out of control eating can be caused by many things. If you can dig down beneath the surface, you can get at the heart of the matter. If you know what's causing it, you can find other ways to solve it. Was it really because you were hungry? Probably not!

We celebrated five pound stars for Arika and Jen, a 15 pound star for Virginia and William, Marc got his 45 pound star, and Mark reached 50 pounds lost. Looks like it was a productive week for the men this time!

So What's Coming Up?

You'll do much better at achieving your goals if you set them realistically. That means being flexible and forgiving of yourself as well. We'll talk about some successful habits that will ensure you don't get discouraged and forget about those great goals you've set.

Wednesday - don't forget we're doing a recipe swap this week. Bring in your favorite recipe to share. You don't need to make copies for everyone, but at least bring one for me so I can repost it here later.

Make sure you're at the meeting this week to get the details of my upcoming Picnic Potluck! I'm hoping we'll have a fun afternoon of healthy eating and mingling. Be sure to pick up a flier.

Thought for the Week

Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. - Christian D. Larson

Weekly Recipe: Quick Couscous Pilaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I found this recipe in a Vegetarian Times cookbook. I'm going to use real onion and garlic instead of dehydrated, and I'll probably serve it over some wilted greens.

8/5/2010 Edit: this gnawed at me all night. Two and a half cups of couscous for two servings? Sounds too good to be true. So I built the recipe to be sure, and yeah, the recipe as originally written is over 800 calories per serving if you divide it into two servings. I have updated the information below.

Quick Couscous Pilaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 8 (originally this said it serves 2)

6 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup dehydrated onion
1/4 Tbsp dehydrated garlic
6 low-sodium vegetable boullion cubes
6 cups water
2 1/2 cups instant couscous
Dash turmeric
Dash paprika, for garnish

Bring to a boil the sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, boullion and water. Stir in the couscous and turmeric. Return to a simmer; then remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle paprika on top.

Original Incorrect Information:Per serving: 187 calories, 7g protein, 0.2g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 0mg cholesterol, 81mg sodium, 7g fiber

Revised Information:Per serving: 224 calories, 7g protein, 0.3g fat, 47g carbohydrates, 0mg cholesterol, 766mg sodium, 3g fiber

I have no idea what the folks at Vegetarian Times were thinking. And now I'm afraid to use anything else in that cookbook without independently verifying it first. That sucks!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roundup, week of August 1st

Good heavens how is it already almost August?!? Are you making the progress you wanted this summer? How about this year? No time like the present to kick it in gear!

What Happened Last Week

What happened was that I led 4 meetings in 4 days, so I have a ton of celebrations, and I'm not sure which sheets are for what meetings. So I'm going to list all of them!

But before I do that, remember to snack smart. Snacking can be an essential tool in regulating your hunger and providing good nutrition. But done poorly it can also be a source of empty calories and a barrier to progress. Do it right, and remember that when you snack it, YOU TRACK IT.

On to celebrations this week: Kelle and Paul both got five pound stars; Char and Daniella have now lost 10 pounds; Scarlett reached 15 pounds lost; David got to 20 pounds lost; Victoria hit 45, Jessica at 60, and Josh has lost an astounding 85 pounds! Tasha, Daniella, Lois and Jeane all got to 5% lost, and Jalie hit her 10% target. What a fun (and busy) week!

So What's Coming Up?

The topic for this next week really hits home with me - uncontrolled eating. If you've ever hid your eating from anyone, or felt like you were totally unable to stop, this is the meeting for you. We might hit upon some touchy subjects with this one, but I think it can be a powerful one.

Thought for the Week

A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse. - Stephen Dolley, Jr.

Other Things In The Works

Recipe Swap! - once again, you've requested it, we'll do it. Start thinking about your favorite recipe and be ready to bring it in and share. I haven't decided what week we'll actually do this, but once I get everyone's recipes, I'll also post them here. ONE CAVEAT: anything you share with us must have either nutrition information or Points value available. This means you may have to use the Recipe Builder or do some math. I will not do it for you!

Summer Potluck Picnic! - do you think it would be fun to hang out with some fellow healthy minded folks? Would you like to share healthy dishes and have some fun outside? Stay tuned for details....

Weekly Recipe: Summer Avocado Sandwich

I have a page-a-day calendar on my desk at work, and it probably won't surprise you to know that the calendar provides health tips, motivational quotes and healthy recipes.

The other day I came across this one, and I'm going to be trying it this weekend:

Spread 1 teaspoon of miso paste on 2 slices of toasted whole grain bread. Add 1/2 of a mashed avocado, 2 tomato slices, salt and pepper.

353 calories, 17 grams of fat (I don't know how many grams of fiber - it didn't provide that information.)

I will likely substitute the bread slices with a sandwich thin, and by my estimation that would save you about 80 calories.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roundup, week of July 25th

What Happened Last Week?

Part two of plateaus. Okay, we know we need to get over them, so this week we discussed actual tools and things we can do. Remember this fact: 90% of plateaus are caused by relaxed adherence to plan!

This week we celebrated a 10 pound star for Leigh, a 45 pound star for Tauni, 16 week charms for Erika and Tessa, a 5% award for William and a 10% keychain for Maggie.

So What's Coming Up?

As if we didn't talk about food enough, this week we'll tackle snacking. That means talking about the pros and the cons, as well as sharing snack ideas.

Things I Didn't Know I Needed

Wednesday we had a small little meeting - just four of you checked in and stayed! This meant we got to tackle what was really going on in your lives, and in the process I was reminded why Weight Watchers is a really expensive job for me.

Now I totally need a Vitamix and a Fitbit thanks to rave reviews from Patty and Kim. If any of you have thoughts on either, you're more than welcome to share them in comments. Together these are some pretty big ticket items, so unless I start playing the lottery, I guess I'd better start buttering up my relatives before my birthday and Christmas roll around!

Thought for the Week

A bend in the road is not the end of the road ... unless you fail to make the turn. - Author Unknown

Weekly Recipe: Viva Laughing Cow!

These new flavors of Light Laughing Cow cheeses have been the talk of the town, at least in the meetings I've worked lately. Well, Hungry Girl has been on the case, so this week I don't have to do any work.

Check out these recipes that you can make with the new wedges!

Thanks to Emily for passing this along.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Au Contraire!

Not if you keep attending my meetings you won't! If you're reading this and it's been a long time since you have been in a meeting, why not come back for a visit? Trust me, no one will judge. You know why? Because there's not a person in that meeting room (myself included) who hasn't been there before. Trust me, I don't remember what you weighed the last time you came in.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Roundup, week of July 18th

What Happened Last Week?

Plateaus are a natural part of the weight loss process, but they can really be a bummer. We talked about ways to keep our brains on track so our butts stay on track!

Between this morning and right now I've somehow lost my celebration sheets for this week. If we awarded you a milestone, I'm sorry I can't post it here! The milestone I absolutely DO remember for this past week is that Joanne passed her Leader Training on Monday night! Thanks to Lemon Grove for supporting her through the process and for putting out a great meeting this week.

So What's Coming Up?

Okay, so now you know if it's really a plateau or not. And you know you've got to push through it. This week we'll talk about specific strategies and actions you can take to hit the reset button and get back on the downhill slope.

Thought for the Week

The most important thing in life is to stop saying "I wish" and start saying "I will." Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities. - David Copperfield

Weekly Recipe: French Toast

I'm pretty aware of everything I eat, you know? All that tracking and whatnot. But I wasn't truly aware of what I was craving today until I looked at the results of a recipe search.

There are a lot of recipe sites online, and many of them have recipes with Weight Watchers Points values. And I've visited most of them. I was putzing through LaaLoosh today and made note of several recipes I thought would be worth saving for later.

It turns out two of them are for French Toast. I guess I have a craving for French toast then.

I'm not sure if I'll be trying either of these this weekend, mostly because I'm not sure I want to turn on the oven if it's going to be warm. But I'm keeping these close at hand!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eat to Live? Or Live to Eat?

I stumbled across this really interesting article in The Wall Street Journal today about what food does to our brain. Scientists are looking at how the lure of delicious food can overwhelm the body's built-in mechanism to regulate hunger and fullness. It turns out that for some people, just seeing or hearing about certain foods can cause us to seek out these treats.

Some interesting quotes from the article:

Some of the most intriguing imaging studies have peered into the brains of people who have lost significant weight and kept it off through diet and exercise alone—although researchers say they're hard to find.

"Post-obese people are extremely prone to regain weight," says Dr. Del Parigi. "The only way they have to counteract these strong predispositions is by having a very controlled lifestyle, with restrained food intake and exercise."

And this is why you'll see a bevvy of Lifetime members in our meetings. As they say, we're one slice of cake away from becoming that fat kid again!

Speaking of cake, be sure to take that little quiz on the side bar. In the interest of full disclosure, I scored a 4: You're frequently preoccupied with food and at risk of losing control over your eating. This is especially problematic if you are also significantly overweight.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Roundup, week of July 11th

What Happened Last Week?

Last week the Monday crew was awesome and showed up in the usual numbers to spend the "holiday" with me. Thank you all so much for dropping in on what was probably a day off for many of you!

We discussed why fruits and vegetables are so important to us - they provide eating satisfaction, good nutrition, color and taste...and so much more. Your challenge for the week is to fill half your plate with them. You can do it - summer fruit is so awesome, how can you not?

We celebrated successes with Bethanie (5%), Marc (40 pounds), William (first 5!), and Valarie (Stay and Succeed).

So What's Coming Up?

There is a word that strikes fear in the hearts of Weight Watchers everywhere - PLATEAU. We will clarify what exactly one is (hint: it's not a gain of 0.4 when you've lost every other week you've been a member!) but more importantly how we can get through them and pick up the weight loss progress once again.

This is an extraordinarily important topic - plateaus are a natural part of weight loss, and what separates the men from the boys (so to speak) is how we deal with them. You can't ignore it and hope to still reach your goal. Make it a point to find a meeting this week and check it out!

Thought for the Week

Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you. - Denis Waitley

Weekly Recipe: Blueberry-Sausage Strata

With the Fruit & Veggie challenge underway, here's an interesting way to get in some servings. Fill the other half of your plate with a side salad or fruit salad and you'll be set.

If you're like me, and you sometimes don't read the instructions before you decide on a recipe, here's a tip: THIS NEEDS TO SIT FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS, OR OVERNIGHT. Make sure you budget that time in! :)

Blueberry-Sausage Strata
Serves 10

1/2 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 (1 pound) loaf whole wheat crusty bread, thinly sliced
1 quart low-fat (1%) milk
1 1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add sausage, leeks, and thyme; cook, breaking up sausage with wooden spoon, until sausage is no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in 2 cups blueberries.

Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Whisk milk, egg substitute, salt and pepper in large bowl until blended. Place half of bread in baking dish; top evenly with sausage mixture and then egg mixture. Top with remaining bread, pressing it into egg mixture until moistened. Cover and refrigerate until bread softens, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325. Uncover baking dish and place in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of baking dish. Bake until center is set and top is browned, 60-65 minutes.

Carefully transfer strata to rack and let cool completely. (Or cover tightly with foil and freeze up to 1 month. To serve, let thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake, covered, at 350 until heated through, 25-30 minutes.) Serve, sprinkled with remaining 2 cups of blueberries.

Per serving (about 1 cup): 258 cal, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 1g trans fat, 26mg cholesterol, 559mg sodium, 5g fiber, 19g protein

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Roundup, week of July 4th

What Happened Last Week?

By the way, that's happening this week at Lemon Grove, too. In reality what happened is that we discussed how disruptions like vacations and summer breaks can impact our weight loss efforts. Some of you had some great ideas on how to keep it from being a disaster, and how to have the right mindset when you take a trip. No guilt and no deprivation, please!

We had a lot of great celebrations this week. Charms went to Carol for reaching 10% and to Erika for 16 weeks. Kyle got a 10 pound star, Erika (a different one) got a 20 pound star, and Mark is the biggest loser this week at 45 pounds. Great job everyone!

So What's Coming Up?

Remember, we are open for business as usual on Monday night! End your holiday weekend by doing something for yourself. No-Weigh-In Passes will always be honored in case you indulged a little too much.

This week will kick off our second annual 4 Weeks to 5 Fruits and Vegetables, and we'll start by discussing why these foods are so valuable to us as Weight Watchers. I bet you've already started to figure it out!

Thoughts for the Week

"If there is no wind, row." - Latin Proverb
"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle
"Things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." - Abraham Lincoln

Weekly Recipe: No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

This week I'm just giving you a link. I'm thinking low effort, in honor of the holiday weekend. So in honor of MY low effort, I'm linking YOU a low effort recipe.

If you've got a cookout planned this weekend, how about No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert?

I'll be by for a slice, okay?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roundup, week of June 27th

What Happened Last Week?

Estimation is the art of weight loss. SetPoints, using eTools on the go, taking visual cues and using Points values for similar foods are all ideas that can help you figure out how to count something. There's lots of information out there, so use it to your advantage!

Celebrations this week to out to Tasha and Virginia for 10 pounds, and to Lorna for 15 pounds. Marc got his Stay and Succeed Charm as well.

5K Charms!!! They're in at Clairemont and I gave a few out this morning. Hopefully on Monday we'll have some at Lemon Grove so we can finish celebrating our Walk-It Challenge achievements.

Thanks to this week's Monday meeting. We had a wonderful discussion about some of the pretty deep mental things that go on when we're losing weight and changing our lifestyles. At one point I just stood back and watched the conversation go back and forth across the room as you related to one another. Let me tell you, THAT is why I love this job! Nice work, everyone. That's why the meetings are so important.

So What's Coming Up?

Now that it's summertime you might find that your normal schedule has been disrupted. Does this mean your weight loss efforts get disrupted, too? If so, you need to check out a meeting this week and see how you can take these disruptions in stride. Vacations, summer break, they all are a normal part of life that we have to adapt to!

Special congratulations go out this week to Amber and Dan in the Wednesday meeting. This Saturday they will be tying the knot and then they're going to be having a FABULOUS time in Hawaii. Have fun you crazy kids!

Thought for the Week

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. You can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price. - Vince Lombardi

Weekly Recipe: Fruity Quinoa

Last summer, Mark Bittman of The New York Times fame posted a blog entry called something like "101 Essential Salads for the Season." I pretty much decided that I'd eat the heck out of about 85% of them.

The one I'm posting today was originally posted as follows:

"Toss cooked quinoa with fresh sliced apricots, cherries, pecans, and enough lemon and black pepper to make the whole thing savory."

Not much of an actual recipe, right? So I decided to build the recipe myself. I haven't made this live (plan to this weekend) so the proportions may need to be tweaked, but I think this is a pretty good start.

1 cup dry quinoa
3 apricots, sliced
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped into small pieces
black pepper
1/4 cup (or to taste) lemon juice

Cook the quinoa per package instructions.

Toss the cooked quinoa with the rest of the ingredients. The specific amount of lemon juice and black pepper will be to taste.

Divide this recipe into 5 servings and you'll get: 206 calories, 6.7g fat, 3.9g fiber, 5.9g protein

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Roundup, week of June 20th

What Happened Last Week?

Tracking, tracking, tracking! Whether it's building recipes to figure out their Points value, or just logging in what you eat, awareness is key to your success. Are you making a point of tracking everything (or something new) this week?

Celebrations go out this week to Pam for a first 5 pound star, Keith and Bethanie both received their 15 pound stars, and Erika celebrated 20 pounds lost. Virginia and Keith reached their 5% targets and became stars on our celebration wall. Excellent work everyone!

So What's Coming Up?

Tracking Points is important, but first we have to figure them out. Sometimes it's simple, like when we have a set portion size and full nutrition information. But what happens when we don't? We'll look at the art of estimation this week and give you tips on how to do it and get "close enough" when you can't get it exactly right.

Thought for the Week

Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you. - Denis Waitley

Hey, Where's the Recipe This Week?

I didn't find any new recipes that rocked my world this week, and didn't feel like posting something I randomly picked from my cookbook collection. I have a few things I need to run through the recipe builder that I might share in the coming weeks, so don't worry, I'm not giving up! If you have a recipe you love and are willing to share it, please email me or send me a message on Facebook. Ideally you'll have nutrition information with it so I can verify accuracy before I post.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Roundup, week of June 13th

What Happened Last Week?

Hunger - you want to avoid it whenever possible. Learning when your hungriest times are can help you deal with it. Eating Filling Foods can keep it from happening! And remember, when you're actually hungry, IT IS OKAY TO EAT.

We had some great celebrations this week: 5 pound stars for Courtney and Kyle, a 30 pound star AND a 10% keychain for Emily, and Marc reached 35 pounds lost.

These folks have a great head start on the Succeed All Summer contest. Attend 11 out of 14 meetings this summer, and you are eligible to win a prize! If you didn't get your little slip at this week's meeting, you'd better get one next week! Time's running out to qualify....

So What's Coming Up?

At the beginning of the year, we introduced some basic tools for success, and one of them was tracking. You might know the basics, but we'll be discussing Graduate Level Tracking this week that might help push your success into high gear!

MONDAY LEMON GROVE FOLKS: I mentioned this in the meeting, but I'll put it out here, too. Planning ahead, Monday July 5th is NOT a Weight Watchers holiday. So even if you have the day off, I will not. Our meeting will be held as usual, so please keep it on your calendar! Maybe I'll wear shorts....

Thought for the Week

Success doesn't come to you. You go to it. - Marva Collins

Weekly Recipe: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts

The recipe title is a mouthful, and I'm hoping the result will be too! I've been digging into vegetarian recipes lately, not because I'm becoming one, just because that's what's appealing to me, so sorry meat-eaters, no meat in this one! Though you could certainly toss in some grilled chicken breast if you wanted....

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts
Serves 4

8 oz dry whole-wheat spaghetti
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp unsalted pine nuts, toasted

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine broth, lemon juice and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes or until mixture reduces to 3/4 cup.

In a large bowl, combine spaghetti, broth mixture, lemon zest, salt and pepper flakes, tossing well. Top with parsley and pine nuts; serve immediately.

Per 1 cup serving: 264 calories, 6g fat, 9g fiber, 11g protein, 384mg sodium

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Roundup, week of June 6th

What Happened Last Week?

The math of weight loss is simple. But the mental part of it is not. But with our program of Filling Foods and Good Health Guidelines, you can fill up and be healthy, which is going to help you on the "eat less" part of the equation.

Monday was a holiday, so we didn't get to meet and celebrate our successes. Be there this week - I will! Wednesday we celebrated a first five pound star for Maureen.

So What's Coming Up?

When hunger comes calling, do you answer the phone? When you get hungry it's important to be able to make the right food choices. We'll discuss strategies for staying on top of hunger.

Beginning this week, we've got several of our items on sale:

One Point Mini Bars - $5 instead of $7.50
Oatmeal - $5 instead of $6
Smoothies - $5 instead of $7.50
Weight Watchers Magazine - $3.50 instead of $4.00

Sale prices are good through June 26. Stock up and save!

Thought for the Week

The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made. - John Schaar

Weekly Recipe: No-Cook Raspberry Sauce

Since we talked about angel food cake this morning, I think this might be appropriate. Drizzle this sauce over the angel food cake and you've got a nice easy dessert!

No-Cook Raspberry Sauce
Serves 8

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (optional)

Puree all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Push puree through a strainer; discard seeds. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Per serving (2 Tbsp): 46 cal, 0g fat, 1g fiber

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Roundup, week of May 30th

What Happened Last Week?

You know that goals are important, and activity is definitely a part of that. Deciding on what activity to do and how much of it you need depends on what you're trying to achieve. Weight loss? Weight maintenance? Toning? No matter what the end result, getting consistent exercise is never a bad thing.

So What's Coming Up?

Monday, as I'm sure you know, is Memorial Day, so we'll be closed that day. You folks are welcome to visit a meeting on another day if you can, but if not, make sure you're back with me the week after. It's been so long since I've seen you!

For the rest of you, this next week we'll discuss the secret of weight loss: calorie deficit. Yep, it's a numbers game. We'll talk about how to find the best way for you to minimize calories in and maximize calories out.

Thought for the Week

Remember, success is not measured by heights attained but by obstacles overcome. We're going to pass through many obstacles in our lives: good days, bad days. But the successful person will overcome those obstacles and constantly move forward. - Bruce Jenner

Weekly Recipe: Udon Noodles with Sesame and Tofu

You shouldn't be surprised that as a result of my vacation I'm exploring some Japanese recipes. Not like I haven't cooked Asian before, but there were some specific dishes that I had which I really enjoyed. And now I have to find a recipe to make them myself!

Enter this week's recipe, from one of my favorite sources, Cooking Light magazine.

Udon Noodles with Sesame and Tofu

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Home!

By now you know that I wasn't at meetings last week (and last night). My husband and I went on vacation and spent a week in Tokyo. I got home yesterday afternoon and spent a jet-lagged afternoon and evening trying to stay up until bedtime, meaning that I was up for something like 30 hours. It's been a long time since I have had to do that, and I don't care if I'm only 36, I'm TOO OLD FOR THAT BUSINESS. I'm definitely an 8-hour a night kind of gal.

So anyway, I'm back, and it's time to get back to Weight Watchering. While on vacation I didn't track my food or count Points. I didn't specifically exercise, but we certainly did get in a lot of walking. Sadly I realized I'd forgotten my pedometer once we got to the airport and I saw someone else wearing one. Regardless, I do feel pretty good about things post-vacation.

Tokyo is a very different city from San Diego. Compact and vertical instead of flat and spread out. The city has a multitude of train and subway options, and we took advantage of that. Using public transportation is way different than living with a car (as I'm sure some of you know from experience) because instead of driving from door to door, inevitably there's someplace you need to go that's not right at the mouth of a train station. And so you walk.

Tokyo is also different culturally...well duh. But taking a look around, I noticed very few native people carrying extra weight. And I have to say that there's something at the heart of the culture that leads to that result.

My husband is a coffee fanatic, so a few times we popped into a cafe (and yes, sometimes it was a Starbucks, SHUT UP!) and the thing is, their small is SMALL. I've heard you can ask for a short coffee at Starbucks in the states, and the thing is, that's the small in Japan. Then you can get your tall and grande as well. That's it. Everything's smaller there. What holds true for coffee holds true for food as well. I never ate until I was full. Even when we got what seemed like a good quantity of food, because of what it was, we never left feeling sluggish or heavy.

Here are some photos of our most extravagant meal while we were there:

I'm sure the grinding of the sesame seeds with the mortar and pestle was good for an Activity Point, right? Anyway, look at that food. On my plate, despite all the noodles and rice, there are like 3 little pieces of chicken. Meat as a condiment, practically. My husband's plate is the one with all the sashimi. If you've looked up the Points for sushi you know that doesn't add up quickly.

So. Lighter, healthy foods, smaller portions. Lots of walking in the city. Hmm.... I may not live in Tokyo, but perhaps I can train my brain to think like I do.

MONDAY GROUP: I just realized that because of the holiday I'm not going to see you until JUNE! Crazy talk. Y'all better be at that meeting, okay?