Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week #4: Power It Up!

As many of you know, I've been affiliated with Weight Watchers continuously since 1996 when I joined, needing to lose my weight again, for the third time. Over the years, I've had lots of different eating patterns.

When I first lost the weight and started maintenance, I didn't cook much, was living alone and relied on microwaved meals, canned soups, and mostly packaged foods. And being 23 years old, most of my extra allowance was spent on Bud Light and Goldschlager.*

Over the years my life circumstances changed, I became very interested in food production and cooking, and I decided to make some changes to my diet that changed the way I eat. Those changes had little, if anything, to do with weight loss, but more to do with my overall views on health, food, and how it's produced and delivered to me.

One thing that hasn't changed though, is my deepest desire: to be able to eat A LOT OF FOOD. That's why Power Foods are a huge part of my daily food intake. That's why when we converted from Points to PointsPlus I celebrated the fact that my daily fruit choices (bananas included - yes, I was one of those weirdos who felt it was worth it to spend 2 OldPoints on a banana) would no longer be deducted from my daily budget.

The more Power Foods I eat, the more overall food I get in a day, pure and simple. Remember what I said about the Triple Whopper (hold the mayo!) that will cost you an entire day's budget. Is that worth it? Or would you rather have a colorful mess of tasty, good for you food that does more than just please your taste buds? More often than not, I know what I choose!

*Aren't you glad you read this blog? That's surely something I wouldn't typically say in the middle of the meeting room!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Week #3: Changing From the Outside In

When you first signed up for Weight Watchers, you probably figured that a lot of things in your life had to change. Maybe it was so much that it felt completely overwhelming.

That's a terrible quality image, but it's all I could find. I think I mentioned the Levels of Change in both meetings this week. We start with the easy stuff, and progress until we eventually redefine who we think we are.

So what's the easy stuff? Your refrigerator. The candy dish on your desk. Your environment can really help or hinder your healthy habits, so it's worthwhile to evaluate your surroundings, and as we said this week "make your laziness work for you."

Tomorrow morning my alarm is going of at 4:45am, and I need to get out the door to go to the gym by 5:20. You can bet I'm going to have my gym clothes set out before I go to bed tonight. Every second counts when I have to get out of bed in the dark. Once I get home from the gym, I'm going to pack my insulated lunch bag full of healthy foods that are already prepared, and that I can drag and drop into my eTools tracker in just a few seconds. If I see that bowl of Hershey's kisses in the office and think I want to dive in, I've got a pack of gum in my desk drawer.

With plans like that, how could I possibly fail?

Have you recently made any changes to make your environment more healthy? What were they?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Week #2: Powerful Plans

The act of planning seems to be a common topic of discussion in any given Weight Watchers meeting. In fact, it's part of our PowerStart clinics every third week! (Incidentally, thanks to those of you who stayed after this week's meeting - you saw first hand our PowerPlans activity, and I hope it's helped you form a strategy for how to tackle things this week.)

This week's discussion was focused particularly on planning meals, something I firmly believe has been a huge factor in my success. I do my weekly grocery shopping on Friday evenings (so stay away from the Clairemont Sprouts at about 5:30pm on Fridays if you don't want me seeing what goes in your cart!), so I tend to spend some time on Wednesdays and Thursdays figuring out what kind of meals I'll be having and figuring out what needs to get added to my shopping list.

In a happy coincidence, one of the healthy eating blogs I follow featured a great post about meal planning. The Broccoli Hut says it's all about planning and before you click, let me tell you that what you'll read is the A+ version of meal planning. In my perfect world, that's what I would do every week!

But say you're not that...ahem...particular. You don't want to be held to such strict plans. I totally get that. Planning can still be a part of your life, it'll just take a different approach. Weight Watchers has put together a nice shopping guide. It could be as simple as stocking up on healthy basics, and then preparing your meals as your schedule and tastes dictate.

What's that? Your oven is a storage space? Your refrigerator lives to chill your favorite beverage? Planning can still be a part of your healthy eating plans. Look up your favorite restaurant items in eTools or our Dining Out Companion. Customize the nutrition information of your favorite fast food meal using this awesome nutrition calculator. That way when you pull up to the order window, you know exactly what you'll be getting into.

There are millions of ways to approach meal planning. The key is finding the tools that fit with your eating style. For example, if you love lots of variety, big batch cooking that results in tons of leftovers might not be your best choice.

What's your best meal planning advice?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Week #1: Believe - and Achieve!

It's the first week of January, and everywhere you turn, there's talk about New Year's Resolutions. As a Weight Watchers leader, I know that the next month or two are going to be the busiest of the year. I wish I could bottle the excitement in the meeting room and save it up for later in the year (the day after Thanksgiving, I'm looking at you!) when the typical resolution has long been forgotten.

One of the hardest things about weight loss is the belief that it's possible. Sure, you know what to do in theory. But being able to do it? Daily? That's a different story.

I have a secret for you.

I believe in you.

And do you know why? Because in October of 1996, I was exactly like you. I walked into a Weight Watchers meeting and registered for the third time. I'd tried twice and failed. I didn't have healthy eating habits, and I wasn't exercising on a regular basis.

And yet here I am now, having maintained my weight loss for over 14 years. I am not a superhero. I am a normal person, just like you. I have food cravings. I sleep through my alarm. I have lazy days. I have an overweight family tree. I work with food pushers.

If I could do it, why not you? And look around the meeting room the next time you attend - there are other people, just like you and me, who are also doing it. There is no magic. There is no secret. Just lots of dedication, lots of hard work.

This is your year. I mean, why shouldn't it be?

What are you going to do to make sure this is the year you really get it done? Do you have goals? A plan? I want to hear about them!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Goodness me, I didn't post at all in the second half of December! Between the holidays and a bout with the flu, before I knew it the end of the year here.

The new year is always a time to rethink, retool and restart, and this blog is no different. For a few years now I've used this as a place to post a quick recap of the prior week's Weight Watchers topic, and a teaser of the next week's. I've linked to many a recipe, some of which I've tried, many of which I haven't.

As this year begins, I think about maximizing the use of my time. I see this website as a place that can hopefully keep you thinking about your weight loss journey outside of the thirty minutes we see each other face to face each week. I think most of you know that Weight Watchers is a paying job for me, but it's not the only job I have. Any time I spend "Outsmarting the Fat" online or in email is done when I can, when I'm not on the clock at my two jobs. And while I love thinking about health, weight loss, smart eating and being active, it's not the only thing I do.

To that end, things will change a little here. I will still post a weekly entry. It will be after my meetings are finished for the week, and will be a short musing on whatever the topic was. It might be something we discussed, or something that came up in one meeting but was interesting enough to share with everyone. It might even be my own personal opinion on the topic. There probably won't be a recipe all that often, unless I've actually tried something new that rocks my socks off. You all know how to search the internet, and there's no shortage of healthy recipes out there. If I can't add value, simply posting a link doesn't really make much sense.

I hope you'll keep reading. And more importantly, I hope that with my new format, you'll start commenting! My entries are always open for comment, but now that I'll be sharing some thoughts, there might be something worth your time to respond to.