I started going to Weight Watchers meetings again on February 5. In 4 weeks, I’ve lost 7 pounds so far. I am a WW “Lifetime Member”, which means I did WW before and actually got to my goal. From 2002 – 2005, I lost 107 pounds. I kept it off until 2007, when I went back to grad school full time while working full time and slowly gained it all back.
Since I did the program before, I am rediscovering things — foods and tips — that I used to eat or use before that help me make healthier choices, so I thought I’d start documenting them in my blog.
First up is a tool that WW recently introduced. It’s called the “Activity Monitor”.
It’s comparable to the Fitbit, which I used to have and loved (but it got sent through the washing machine too many times and finally died.) I clip it to my bra and wear it every day. It monitors my activity, and it determines if and how many activity points I’ve earned. (Activity points are part of WW’s program. Basically if you exercise, you earn points that you can add to your food points allowance.)
What I like about it: I can clip it to my bra–Pedometers that I clip to my belt do not work for me because my hips are so much wider than my waist that all of my pants droop at the waist.
Also, it focuses on overall activity, not just bursts of exercise. Since I have a desk job, I’m pretty sedentary. And, before I got the Activity Monitor, whenever I’d exercise for 40 minutes, I’d assume I earned 4 activity points. But, that wasn’t really the case, because I wouldn’t move much at all the rest of the day. So, the activity monitor calculates an activity baseline based on your age, height, and current weight, and you only begin to earn activity points after you’ve reached the baseline. And, I found that exercising for 40 minutes, then sitting the rest of the day didn’t even make me reach my baseline! (I think it would be similar to hitting 10,000 steps a day on a pedometer, and then only counting how many steps you got past that #.) Therefore, the focus is on becoming more active every day, all day long–not just adding in exercise. It’s working. I set a reminder on my computer to get up every 2 hours at work, then I walk around the building and climb 4 flights of steps a day. If I didn’t do any cardio exercise on a particular day, I make myself do 10-minute walk/stairs 3 times a day at work. If I do get in some cardio, I do it only 2 times a day. If I don’t get up and do this, I don’t reach my baseline and I don’t earn activity points most days. I just really like how the focus is on increasing overall activity (though it automatically adding your activity points to your tracker and showing you cool little charts is fun too.)
The downside is you have to be on the Weight Watchers program, paying for their eTools, plus there’s a monthly $5 fee in addition to the $40 cost of purchase.
Next up is my new favorite lunch:
2 Tbs of baba ghanoush spread on a toasted Orowheat wheat Sandwich Slim, topped with tomatoes and avocado. It’s only 7 points, filling, and the flavors go together so well. I dice up the veggies the night before and put them in small tupperware containers, measure the baba ghanoush and put it in a container, then put the bread in a baggie. Then, at work, all I have to do is toast the bread and assemble. I add some 0-point sides like dill pickles and fruit canned in water for a pretty big meal. Found the idea on Pinterest.
I’m also really fond of LaTorilla Factory low-carb tortillas.
They are only 1 point a piece. To make a sandwich, I’d have to spend 4 points on regular bread or 2 – 3 points on lower cal bread. So, these are a great points saver. Plus, they taste good and have a nice texture. I’ve also cut them up and baked them for baked tortilla chips and that works well, too. I find them in the deli/bakery section of our local grocery (Kroger and Marsh).
Next is a combo: roasted veggies and an oil sprayer. I’m using a sprayer I bought from Weight Watchers, but I know others make them.
So, I used to be one of ‘those’ kids who refused to eat veggies. Combine that with my southern upbringing where veggies pretty much meant green beans (cooked with lard and bacon), corn swimming in butter, and mashed potatoes, and you can see that veggies might be a problem for me. For the longest time, I used to just say “I don’t like many veggies” and leave it at that. But, as I became more educated and accepted how wonderfully nutritious veggies are (plus most of them are 0 points!), I was determined to try to eat more. I began by trying different recipes, but discovering roasted veggies changed everything.
Roasted veggies are amazing. They do not have the same taste and texture that raw or steamed veggies have. Some veggies that I just cannot stand the taste or texture of raw are some of my faves when roasted. So, I have now developed a habit where on Sundays I’ll roast 6-10 servings of different veggies, put them into individual containers, and then during the week I’ll have one as a side to my breakfast (yes, I said breakfast!) and one as a side to my lunch. When I don’t have time to do that on the weekends, I really miss the roasted veggies during the week!
When I first started doing this, I would peel and cut up the veggies, then put them in a bowl, put olive oil and spices on top, then toss to coat, then put on a pan and bake. But, I was using way too much oil. So, I bought the oil sprayer. Now, I peel and cut, then put them on the baking tray and spray with the sprayer, then sprinkle spices on. I’m going through way less oil, but the veggies taste just as good!
Now, I know that folks who don’t like processed foods are going to turn their noses up at this, and I’m fine with that. I understand. I, too, am trying to stay away from processed foods as much as I can. And, when you realize this is powdered peanut butter that you reconstitute with water, you have to admit this is pretty processed. Also, whatever processing goes on does remove a lot of the nutrients found in regular peanut butter. And, natural peanut butter isn’t all that bad, as long as you keep your servings in check.
But, that’s my problem. I am a peanut butter fiend. I lovelovelovelove peanut butter. When I’ve binged before, I’ve been know to take several large spoonfuls from jar, and then go back for more. I have a problem controlling my portions with peanut butter. So, PB2 allows me to get that peanut butter flavor for only 1 point for 2 Tbs. Plus, because it has to be re-constituted, I can’t simply stick a spoon in the jar. I have to stop and think about what I’m doing, which is not good for binges. And, it’s really great for recipes…it’s fantastic in smoothies.
I still eat regular peanut butter when I’m wanting to get in some good fats or need a quick protein fix. But, if I’m actually craving peanut butter (and my cravings tend to lead to binges), I’ll go for the PB2.
The downside (besides the processing and loss of nutrients) is it’s expensive and hard to find so I order it online. But, one jar will last me a couple of months.
And, the last one for today: Baby Dill Pickles
These are 0 points, and they’re great for satisfying that “I *think* I’m hungry” feeling. Because they’ve got such a strong flavor, I don’t tend to want anything else to eat after I have a couple, so if I feel a binge coming on, I’ll grab a few of these. They’re very helpful on that one day before I start my period and want to eat everything in sight.
That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure I’ll have some future posts with more of my faves soon.