Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reflections on January

So here we are, on the last day of the month. As per the usual, time has seem to go faster than it ever has before. But now that the typical Resolution Month is over, it seems like a good time to assess and figure out how things have gone.

I've definitely go the Move More part of our program down pat. Between the YMCA and LA Fitness I'm definitely getting my sweat on the way I should be. I've also recently made a new friend who is a workout buddy, and that's helped me be a little more consistent with my yoga practice, something I can never really commit to on a long-term basis.

My message to you on that is this: if you can get an exercise buddy in your life, you should. Just like you all rely on the accountability of our meetings, you could probably use a little accountability for exercise, too. Don't know where to find a buddy? Well gosh, why not try finding one in this week's meeting?

All right, so how is the Eat Healthy part going? I think I'm doing okay, but I don't feel as sharply focused as I did in December, which was a great month for me. I almost wonder if having the challenge of all the holidays made my resolve greater to stay on track, and now that it's gone, the fire sort of flickered out. Interesting thing to ponder.... I still have some habits that get in my way (don't we all?) but generally I'm doing A-OK at maintaining that weight loss.

Have you taken a look at how this month has gone? Have things gone the way you'd liked? If not, what can you do starting RIGHT NOW to make it happen? This is a great time for you to look at those goals again, and make sure your actions are consistent with achieving them. Need some help? Let me know! Let any of us know. Chat up the person sitting next to you in this week's meeting. They might have some great insight for you.

And now, on to February. And hello Super Bowl!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Roundup, week of January 31st

What Happened Last Week?

Critical weight loss skill #4 - managing emotional eating! Remember that every action has a positive intention. Just make sure the action is consistent with all of your other goals, as well.

Lots of stuff celebrated this week including 5 pound stars for Amanda, Gretchen, Jacquelyn, Valerie, Chuck, Emily and Lynn. We also gave stars out to Pam (25), Estella (25), Lynda (45) and Candy (85). Fun stuff!

So What's Coming Up?

Critical weight loss skill #5 is RESILIENCE. If you can be strong enough and persistent enough, there's no way you won't reach your goals. Visit us this week to find out how to make that happen.

Oh god it's Girl Scout cookie time!

Thanks to my Facebook peeps I know we're approaching that time of year. Check out the nutrition information before you eat them, won't you?

Thought for the Week

Lose it the way you intend to live it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Emotional vs Physical Hunger

Since I didn't have enough copies this morning, I said I'd post the contents of this week's hand-out. Thanks to Doreen Virtue's Constant Craving A-Z

Emotional Hunger:

Is sudden – one minute you’re not thinking about food, the next minute you are.

Is for a specific food – pizza, ice cream, you’re craving it, and it’s the only thing that will do.

Is above the neck – the craving begins in the mouth and the mind. You can’t stop thinking about that food!

Is urgent – it urges you to eat RIGHT NOW to ease the emotion.

Is paired with an upsetting emotion – or any emotion, really. You’re stressed? You’re bored? You want to eat!

Involves automatic or absent-minded eating – it feels like something else is powering your hand-to-mouth action, or you look down and notice you’ve reached the bottom of that bag of potato chips.

Does not notice or stop eating, in response to fullness – since it stems from the desire to cover up a feeling, it will often continue long after the stomach is full.

Feels guilty about eating – since it wasn’t motivated by fueling the body, it’s often followed by a “why did I do that?” moment.

Physical Hunger:

Is gradual – you get progressive clues that now it’s time to eat.

Is open to different foods – you may have preferences, but you’re flexible. You’re open to alternatives.

Is based in the stomach – you feel the growling and gnawing.

Is patient – it prefers if you eat now, but it’ll be okay if it’s not right this instant.

Occurs out of physical need – it’s been awhile since you last ate. Hey, your body needs fuel to get you through the day!

Involves deliberate choices and awareness of the eating – you consciously choose to sit down for a meal, or to finish (or not) what’s on your place. You’re aware of the action of eating.

Stops when full – since it stems from the desire to fuel the body, as soon as that intention is fulfilled, eating can stop.

Realizes eating is necessary – there’s no guilt or shame, since you need food to survive. Food…you can’t live without it!

Remember...don't use food as a band-aid!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Super Run Saturday, February 6th

I can't believe I'm only just thinking about posting this! A friend conned me in to signing up for the 10K race that's part of this event. Well, why not spread the word?

Can you run or walk a 5K or 10K? I know many of you can! Do you think you can come close? Why not test yourself and see?

Saturday, February 6th. East Mission Bay Drive. 7:30a.m. I know you can roust yourself out of bed that early.

Event Website with ALL the Details!

If you decide to do it, let me know so I can look for you!

Roundup, week of January 24th

What Happened Last Week?

Critical Weight Loss Skill #3 - Get Moving! Remember, it's not about doing what everyone else thinks or says you should do. Find an activity you enjoy, find a time that works for you, and have fun with it. It will help you lose the weight AND keep it off.

Congratulations to Ginger for reaching her 10% target this week! Good thoughts also go out to those who have just joined this week and last. I know you're busy looking up Points values, but it'll get easier, and you'll join Ginger and the rest of the gang in celebrating your successes.

So What's Coming Up?

Okay, guys, so I know the weather absolutely SUCKED this week, and I did have a fleeting thought that if I weren't being paid to show up I'd have been home under a blanket. BUT. You need that group support and that accountability. So make sure you're back in the meeting rooms this week. These small meetings just aren't as fun without you!

Besides, you wouldn't want to miss Skill #4 - listening to your body's hunger signals. This one is a tough one, so I bet it'll be informative for you! You'll also get a Weight Watchers Weekly, of course, and one of the articles is titled "Outsmart Emotional Eating" - Outsmart, indeed.

And now, here's your moment of zen...

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; 
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. - James Allen

Weekly Recipe: Pesto Pizzettas

Anna tipped me off to this recipe from The Biggest Loser. I made this for a Golden Globes party, and they were so simple and tasty, and that makes them a winning combination.

Because I'm super lazy today (blame it on the rain...ahem, sorry) and because I'm going to let someone else violate copyright laws today, I'm going to just link to the darned thing.

But a tube of polenta, some pesto and marinara? That's key, and those are some tasty flavors. I should say that I didn't bother with the roasted pepper - I just topped the sauce with a slice of artichoke heart. And I used Parmigiano-Reggiano because I'm fancy that way and that's the kind of cheese I had on hand.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mythbusting: "I must be building muscle!"

This week's topic is about activity. This week is probably also a pretty common week for all the New Years Resolution folks to start thinking about their activity routines. Maybe they've started something new. Maybe they are expecting to see the results of all their hard work so far this year.

And maybe they step on the scale today and it shows a gain.

"Oh, I just started exercising. It must be muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat."

This is, to me, one of the most frustrating diet myths that are out there. Really? You think you just built 2 pounds of muscle in 1 week? If that were so, why did Mark McGwire use steroids? (Oh snap, I went there.) But enough of that part of it....

This article is a pretty good explanation of what's really going on. Here's a hint: it's a temporary water retention. Are you sore? Yep, that's what's going on.

So be real, but be easy on yourself. Healthy behaviors will always in the long run work in your favor.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roundup, week of January 17th

What Happened Last Week?

Critical Weight Loss Skill #2 - be satisfied by what you eat! If you're hungry, you're bound to stray from your plan. Use the Filling Foods whenever possible to prevent that from happening.

We had a bunch of things to celebrate this week, including 5 pound stars for Deanna, Emily and Kristen. Ruthie got her 25 pound award and Mary reached 30 pounds lost. What a great start for 2010!

So What's Coming Up?

Critical Weight Loss Skill #3 - Get Moving! Being regularly active is a super duper way to get the weight off, and is actually extremely important for weight maintenance. Studies have shown that those who keep off their weight are more likely to exercise than the folks who gain it back and have to start over. Bummer.

Update on Augie's Quest

Last week I posted about a Two Hour Workout that LA Fitness locations are hosting as a charitable fundraiser for ALS and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. It seems like before any of you folks are willing to sign up, you have this crazy notion that you want to know what kind of workout you're getting into!

I spoke to a fitness instructor at the Kearny Mesa LA Fitness (where I will be on 1/3/2010 from 12-2pm hint hint) and she said it will be two fitness classes back to back: hour 1 is kickboxing and possibly some other form of cardio; hour 2 is yoga and/or pilates. I can't say for sure this will be the workout at ALL locations, just the one I'll be at.

You don't need to be a club member. Your donation to the charity gets you a spot. Information on locations, the charity itself, and a page for you to actually REGISTER and SAVE A SPOT is at the link above. If anyone is motivated enough to do this, let me know! Especially if you'll be at the same club I am. I'd love to see some familiar faces.

Weekly Recipe: A Plethora of Popcorn

Wednesday's meeting was all about our love of popcorn. Which is great, because it certainly is a Filling Food! Incidentally, none of you Monday folks mentioned popcorn. Are you not a fan? Didn't think of it? Come join us with our airy kernels of goodness!

Anyway, I mentioned that you could sprinkle on just about any seasoning out there if you want to give your snack a little kick. And to prove my point, here are recipes that you can find on eTools:

Chili Parmesan Popcorn

Ranch Popcorn

Greek Spiced Popcorn

Nacho Popcorn*

Parmesan-Thyme Popcorn

Cinnamon Spice Popcorn

Southwestern Spiced Popcorn

Cocoa Coated Popcorn

*I so very badly want to make a joke right now.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Check Yourself!

Earlier this week I had a physical for the first time...since adulthood, really. Among other things, we did some blood work to run the usual battery of tests. I was specifically interested in my cholesterol levels, as I have a familial history that works against me.

First off, I want to give it up for the offices of Dr. Brian First in Clairemont. I called on Monday for an appointment, and went in for the visit first thing Tuesday. I had blood work results by Wednesday and results from my Pap test by Friday. And my nurse practitioner, Shirley Fett, is wonderful and took the time to call me with those results. Highly recommended if you're in the market for a PCP and his office comes up on your provider list.

Having a physical when you're a Lifetime member at goal is kind of hilarious. You get to give all the right answers. Healthy diet? Check. Regular activity? Check. I felt like the teacher's pet, and it took until she checked my ears for me to come up with my fatal flaw: I stick the Q-Tip in my ear canal. I can't help it! It feels so good.

But let's get down to the real point of this entry: my cholesterol results.

Hopefully you can read the results (try clicking on the image if you cannot), but if not - total cholesterol is 231. Blerg. BUT, my HDL (the healthy stuff) is optimal, and my LDL (the bad stuff) is near optimal. Triglycerides are low. The verdict from the nurse practitioner is that I don't need to do anything about this sort-of-high number since my ratio is so advantageous. I, of course, have it in my head that I'm going to be more diligent and see if I can't get that number down a bit.

So what does this tell us? No matter how healthy you are, sometimes there are things worth checking. When I found out 3 of my dad's 5 siblings were on medication for their cholesterol, I knew I had to get tested. This makes keeping to a healthy eating and activity plan even more important for me. If I were to let this slide, and go back to terrible eating habits and inactivity, my cholesterol has nowhere to go but up.

So get yourself checked! Know your cholesterol. Know your blood pressure. Keep in mind your age and whether or not there are other indicators to keep an eye on. Good health is what you're at Weight Watchers for, and this is a critical part of it!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Roundup, week of January 10th

What Happened Last Week

Another week, another Lifetime Member! This time it was Trista, who celebrated the evening next to the lady who dragged her into the meeting in the first place. Yay! Ruthie also received her 10% keychain this week.

Week 1 of 10 Essential Diet Strategies was discussed this week - TRACKING. That's right! How have you been doing so far this week? Are you aware? If not, why not? You can start it up again right now!

So What's Coming Up?

Strategy #2 - using Filling Foods to stay ahead of hunger. Eating less food can leave you with hunger pangs, which is going to make sticking to your new plan difficult. Fortunately we have a list of great foods that do so much to keep us filled and well fueled. Learn how to stay satisfied!

Our 2 Points bars and baked snacks are still on sale this week, marked down to $3.50. So if you have a favorite, now is the time to stock up and save.

Something Neat To Get You Moving

My gym, LA Fitness, is working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association's ALS division on something called Augie's Quest. They are hosting a 2 hour fitness class on Saturday, January 30th from noon to 2pm. Members and non-members are welcome, and the price of admission is a donation to the charity. You can register for a spot online right now!

I've signed up for a slot at the Kearny Mesa club, which is on Shawline near our Clairemont center (it's next to Wal-Mart if you know that area). I don't know at the moment what the 2 hour workout will consist of, but I'm game for anything. In the promotional material there are both bikes and aerobics pictured, so it could be anything! I'm going to try and find out more just to know what I'm up against, but I think it will be challenging and fun!

If you're feeling up to the challenge, why not join me? Let me know if you end up doing this.

Stay tuned to this blog for an entry this weekend about the physical I had earlier this week. I have some interesting information and thoughts for you.

Weekly Recipe: Turkey Pot Pie

This is a recipe I discovered in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine, and it's going to make its way to my dinner table this next week.

Turkey Pot Pie (with brown rice crust)
Serves 6

2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated (about 1/4 cup)
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into 1" cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4" thick rounds (about 1 cup)
1 white turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice (about 1 cup)
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts, sliced into 1/4" half moons
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp spelt flour (can substitute whole wheat, which I am going to be)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine rice, 1 tsp oil and cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook, turning often, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove turkey from pan and set aside. Return skillet to stove, lower heat to medium and add remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Add carrots, turnip, leek and onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth and stir until mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 4 minutes. Stir in yogurt and mix well. Add reserved turkey, parsley and sage and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour turkey mixture into an oven-safe baking dish. Top with rice mixture in an even layer and bake until filling is bubbling and rice is light golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 230 calories, 6g fat (1g sat fat), 3g fiber, 130mg sodium, 40mg cholesterol

Clean Eating Magazine

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Oh Noes!

Here's an interesting link for you folks. I was rambling around the internet as I am wont to do, and saw a headline that grabbed my attention: Why Counting Calories Is Hard. I figured it would be yet another excuse-filled screed from someone who is just not yet ready to commit to change - which is OK, because you've got to want it to succeed, and trying when you're not ready isn't very productive.

Anyway, it was a bit about how nutrition information on packages and in restaurants isn't necessarily accurate. Crazily off sometimes.

Before you freak out, remember one of the things I said this week. When you track, you needn't be perfect. A lot of times you're going to be tracking with estimates. And that's OK. Keep in mind that the simple act of reading labels and asking for nutrition information is itself a behavior change for most of us. Were you doing that before when you didn't need to? Probably not. And an estimate is better than nothing - not tracking at all.

Having said that, when you find a food product whose nutritional profile seems too good to be true, keep this article in mind. Many veteran WWers know that we've been burned in the past. Pirate's Booty comes to mind immediately - their initial packaging information was deemed to be incorrect, and the public outcry was amazing. Always keep a skeptical eye, and remember that in addition to calorie counts and all that, you can keep an eye on your food intake in another way: stopping before you get too full.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Help your resolution...and mine.

Every year at this time I get inspired to go through my stuff and Get. Rid. Of. Things. I swear, you need someone to help you clean out the garage? You want me around. I am pretty ruthless about getting rid of things I don't use, and it's pretty satisfying.

In starting this process, I realize I have a handful of health-related things I no longer use, and that you, my partners in Weight Watchers, might have use for them. Here's what I have:

Weight Watchers Get In Shape! DVD - we sold this in the meeting room several years back. It's got 3 30 minute aerobic workouts: one at each level of intensity. I actually used this DVD a lot at some point, typically combining 2 of the workouts to get a full hour of exercise. Recommended, I just don't have room in my living room to use it.

Weight Watchers Get Moving Mix - this is another meeting room DVD, and it's actually one that might still be available at some of our locations. It has 5 different workouts, including abs, toning and pilates. I never did the aerobics based ones, but did the pilates, toning and abs, combining them into a longer workout.

Kathy Smith Lift Weights to Lose Weight Volume 1 and Same Thing, Volume 2 - the road to hell is paved with good intentions, people. A few years ago I wanted to increase the amount of weight work I did, and thought this might be a way to do it in a way that was more convenient than gym-based workout classes and less embarrassing than trying to learn how to use the weight machines. I used volume 1 probably less than 5 times, and I don't think I ever used volume 2. The DVDs are fine, and come very well reviewed. I just learned that I am unmotivated to workout to DVDs at home - no accountability. And space in a 700 square foot one bedroom condominium is at a premium.

And finally, I have a set of Reebok 5 pound hand weights (I couldn't find an image, but they look sort of like these except they are orange.) which will help you use the above workouts. I also used these for some classes at the gym, but worked up to heavier weights - yay! you think any of these things will help you in your quest to Move More this year? If so, they are free to you, if you're the first person to contact me. Take them off my hands. PLEASE!