Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Power of Non-Scale Victories!

Let's be real here, people.  We join Weight Watchers to lose weight.  It's funny, because it's a company that has what it does in it's name!!! 

We join to watch our weight...hopefully it goes down.  Sometimes, it goes up (THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR SCALE!!!)...or sometimes it doesn't move at all (IF ONLY I HAD POOPED BEFORE MY MEETING!)...and we get SO frustrated.

But if there's anything I've learned from all my stops and starts (cue Cher and Peter Cetera...yeah, Mom should've known I was gay when I had her pick me up Cher's greatest hits at Target)...it's that there's so much MORE to being a Weight Watchers member than what the scale gives us week to week.

Yes, we work hard week after week to attempt to lose weight.  First, we try to shed the first 5 pounds...then a 5%...a 10%...and finally GOAL!  Maintain that baby for 6 weeks and you are free!  But, I think half of you...if not more than half (for the 6 people who actually read this thing still), know it's not that easy.  I think if it were easy, Weight Watchers would be out a lot of money, because we'd ALL be lifetime.  I must've funded a number of Weight Watchers leaders' children's college funds with all my attempts at weight loss since 2002.  I hope they are putting that degree to good use because I would eat pints of Ben and Jerry's for dinner...with  a Slurpee chaser.

Like I said...we go in to the meetings weekly to see the scale go down.  It's gotta be the scale...because there's absolutely no reason a group of people strip down in front of strangers...except to ensure the scale has some good news.

But...sometimes the scale tells us things we don't like.  I won't revisit the time me and a leader almost had a throw down because I was 10 pounds over goal and I was expecting to be AT goal.  I guess when a bathroom scale is leaning against the wall, it doesn't give the most accurate reading...GO FIGURE!

That's when we need to realize that this journey is more than just shedding the pounds.  It's about the way our body looks...the way our clothes fit...the way we feel about ourselves...and the way our lives change for the better.

Because of Weight Watchers, I don't have high cholesterol anymore. (Yeah...that was awesome.  Being 27 and being told I have high cholesterol...and then having to explain to my Mom why I had to have blood work taken in the first place...#thatawkwardmoment.)

I went from a 38 to a 32 waist.  I went from an XXL shirt to a Large (a Medium if I suck it in just enough...)

I don't die on the treadmill. 

I look in the mirror and I see a different person.  I look healthy.  I feel healthy.  I'm comfortable in my skin (although I would like some washboard abs...)  This then allows me to be more confident in my every day life.  Well, except when it comes to talking to hot guys on the elevator.  I still totally suck at that.

And even when the scale stops going down (although I'd love to hit 170...not sure that's gonna happen), when you commit to Lifetime Membership, the non-scale victories are what will keep you going.  I learn something new about my journey every week...and it has nothing to do with what the scale says.

The reason I'm talking about non-scale victories in this entry is because I experienced two pretty big ones this week.

To rewind a bit, before this past week...I was the human dumpster.  If it was put in front of me.  I ate it.  I drank it.  I could probably eat and drink more if I tried.  I think I may even have had three breakfasts one day.  That's how ridiculously bad I was.  Part of it was we were in the Dining Hall doing housing deposits...

,...and for those of you who haven't been to the Monmouth Dining Hall...Let's just say the baker is a goddess.  She must wake up everything morning and bathe in the Holy Spirit, because her baked goods taste like they come directly from heaven.  My personal weakness is her lemon cookies.  Set me up at the end of a conveyor belt with those babies on them, and I'll go for hours. 

But just because I have an ice cream refrigerator at my disposal doesn't mean I need to eat two servings of my favorite flavors.

I knew better, but I made the bad choices anyway.  I also went to the gym once.  ONCE!!!  I was such a slug, I think I may have left a trail of slime around my apartment.  Someone dropped salt at lunch and I screamed when it got on my hand, thinking I'd melt away.  Seriously...what a slug!

And I am running another half-marathon in three months...and I go to the gym once?!  Yeah, Eric, enjoy throwing up your innards a mile in if you don't get your shit together.

So, this past week, I told myself I was going to track and follow program.  I was going to follow my Good Health Guidelines.  I was going to be a faithful Weight Watchers member.  No big deal really.  What made this week different is I wasn't going to step on my scale. 

When I weight myself daily, if the results are high, I start to stress out.  If I've been doing really well midweek, it isn't showing on the scale, it's all too easy for me to say "Screw this, this isn't working, pass the deep fried something or other...oooo...and let's enjoy a few...or 11...martinis!"

On the flip side, if the scale is low...I get cocky.  Again, I decide dinner out is a GREAT idea..."Who cares if the burger I order is covered in 7 different cheeses, 3 different types of bacon, and comes with onion rings?!?!?  The scale says I'm 186 pounds!"  Yeah, that's smart.

So, I wasn't going to let the scale dictate my week.  My tracker was going to dictate my week.  Because I knew that I had tracked and done everything my power to be successful, I didn't let the scale own me.  I owned it on Saturday and was back at goal...and most definitely would've posted a loss if I had actually weighed in after my week as a Human Food Dumpster.

The other non-scale victory has to do with this past week.  I love to go out to eat.  I love the food...I love the socializing...if we go to Houlihan's, I love the ginormous drink I love to call the Watermelon Debacle.  It's a giant glass filled with liquor that tastes like watermelon.  'Nuff said.

But after such a great week at tracking, my friends suggest we go to Houlihan's for dinner.  One of the areas where I know I struggle is going out to eat and staying on plan.  I tend to give WW the big middle finger and order whatever the hell I want on the menu...
...but I couldn't allow one night screw up the success I knew I was going to experience on Saturday, if I just STAYED.ON.PLAN!

So, I thought of the strategies that people always talk about at the meetings and I conveniently ignore time after time when it comes to surviving restaurants on Weight Watchers.  I only had one beer...which was fine, because I was driving.  I ordered my Chicken Parm Sandwich, with half off it already wrapped up to go...and I got veggies instead of fries.  For dessert, I shared some cake, and only had about 4 forkfuls...
...and I was completely and utterly satisfied.  Not to mention, I didn't need to loosen my belt or be rolled out of the place.

These were TWO humongous non-scale victories for me...and it showed up on the scale.

But I don't live or die by the scale.  Life's too short to stress about the scale week to week.  It should be about making positive changes in your life, and if you do that, the scale going down will be a reflection of your hard work and effort.

What are some of your Non-Scale Victories?!  Share in the comment section.

Happy Tracking!

-e



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stocking up for Success!

"Fail to plan, plan to fail."

If you've ever sat in a Weight Watchers meeting (which you should be doing, week after week, whether you've lost, gained, or stayed the same), then you've probably heard this phrase once or twice...or a million times.  Maybe we hear it all the time because it's true.  It's just as true as "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels" (although ice cream cake does come pretty close). Or "If you do what you always did, you always get what you always got."  Or "Wow, Eric's butt looks a lot nicer since he started working out."

So, how do we plan?  I've decided to not ramble on about how great I feel about hitting 9 months lifetime again...or how awesome my journey has been...again.  Because I'm sure you all GET that I am kind of a big fan of Weight Watchers.  In talking to someone who has started Weight Watchers after giving birth, she told me to find a balance between talking about how awesome I am (and humble, apparently) while also giving tips so that my readers can be confident in their journey.

Before I start, let me just say I'm not perfect.  Yesterday might have been one of the biggest food blackholes I have ever fallen into.  It had started earlier in the week...for whatever reason, no matter how many Power Foods I shoved down my gullet, I just wanted to eat more.  Unfortunately, as a man, I can't blame it on pregnancy or my period.  I just blame it on the tapeworm...I mean, that' HAS to be the explanation for being able to eat an entire box of Special K Cheddar Crisps, right?!?!?  Seriously...me...Project Runway All-Stars and a whole lot cheddar cheese powder on my fingers.  Talk about a shame spiral...
...but yesterday, I ate and drank like it may have been the last day that food existed on Earth.

However, today...I am in control.  I had a great breakfast and lunch, tracked it all, and that gluttonous Saturday is already a distant memory (although the nachos and Japanese hot dog were pretty damn good.)
 
But, how do I get back into control?!  I plan to succeed.  One of the first things I do after my meeting is go to the supermarket right next door.  This allows me the opportunity to stock up on what I need to make it through the week.  I then plan for a mid-week quick trip to the supermarket to stock up on anything else that I've run out of since Saturday.

And besides all the great inspirational messages we get from leaders and members, one thing I hear from a lot of different people is that Points Plus has changed their relationship with food...and I have to agree with them.  I eat differently...I look at food differently...and I recognize that food has value.  I make better choices because I know what food helps me succeed and feel good and what food does nothing for me.

So, here are some of the staples that I MUST have in my kitchen in order to succeed -

Fat-Free Chobani Greek Yogurt 



I honestly cannot tell you the last time I ate "normal" yogurt.  The biggest benefit of Greek yogurt is that it's a packed with protein, which makes it an incredible way to feel full.  Also, a cup will help you knock out one milk serving a day.  I go with the standard Vanilla in the big containers and scoop out a cup at a time when home and go with the smaller packages for the flavors when I'm on the go (Black Cherry and Honey being my favorites) with most being 4 Points+.

The Plain variety is great for savory applications and a lot of my fellow members use it as a dip or as a substitute for sour cream in recipes!

If you can't handle the consistency, mix Vanilla Greek yogurt with a packet of hot cocoa mix.  It smooths it out and gives you a nice chocolate mousse to enjoy for a dessert.  Or you can always crush up some chocolate chip merengue cookies and frozen cherries (if you can find some, let me know...Shop Rite hasn't had bags of frozen cherries in MONTHS) if you want a WW friendly Black Forest Cake experience.

Also, I still love junk cereal...Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, the new Krave cereal (it's like little pockets of chocolate for your mouth), so I'll throw a serving of those in with the yogurt for the sweetness that I crave.

I will warn you...not all Greek yogurt is the same.  Avoid Yoplait...their Greek yogurt is gross.  We're talking a sick cow whose milk must've been left out in the sun for a few days sour.


Pre-Cut Vegetables



For the lazy sloth in all of us!  Remember, most vegetables are 0 Points+ values...so why not go for convenience and stock up on vegetables that require you to do absolutely nothing?!?!?!?  Seriously, you're running late for work, all you need to do is take a handful of your pre-cut broccoli and your pre-cut whatever else you have, throw on some light dressing, and you are set for the afternoon.

I recommend broccoli most of all because it may just be one of the most versatile vegetables out there.  You can eat it raw...you can boil it...it goes great in a stir fry.  You can also throw'em in the oven for a half hour after tossing in some Olive Oil, panko breadcrumbs and shredded parmesan for a great salty side.  Again, you're knocking out two Good Health Guidelines in one dish!

I go with pre-sliced broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and mushrooms most of the time...but it also helps to have pre-cut onions or celery on hand too.

Also, since the veggies are fresh, I know I need to eat them, so it forces me to integrate them into my lunches and dinners so I don't throw them out if they go bad.

Also, I try to avoid frozen veggies, because most of the time, they are tossed with some butter or some cheese sauce, which ups the Points+ needlessly.  The only veggies I buy frozen are corn (in steam bags) and peas (because I am not about to sit there and get peas out of pods...like I said, lazy sloth.)  As a reminder, peas and corn do have a Points+ value, but still count towards your veggie servings.

Weight Watchers Fresh Meals


Okay, okay...so, this is if you're feeling INCREDIBLY lazy. I like these better than Smart Ones (except for the Smart Ones hamburger sliders...those things are made with crack, I think) and Lean Cuisines because they taste fresher...and are refrigerated, not frozen.  

I recommend these if you are in a rush and don't have time to make lunch.  HOWEVER, the salt level is pretty high, so definitely don't opt for these more than once or twice a week.  Also, if I have one of these for lunch, I drink a lot of water and pack a pretty large salad so that I'm not going through a meal without meeting some of my Good Health Guidelines.

At Stop and Shop, I get them for $3.29 which is a pretty good price...and you don't feel like you're wasting your money if you don't like one of the varities.  The Meatloaf is good, as is the Curry Chicken and the Turkey and Stuffing.  I'd pass on the Turkey Chili and the Raviolis. 

K Cups and Bailey's Fat Free Coffee Creamer



Where would I be without my Keurig?!?!  Coffee is great...because it's 0 Points+...and helps me maintain a healthy caffeine addiction that I've had since childhood because of my ability to suck down Coffee Coolatta's in record time (again, are we shocked that I had a weight problem?)
The reason K Cups are key is because you are in control over what goes into your coffee.  They come flavored at no additional Points+ value...and we all know that flavor at Starbucks and DD comes with some extra sugar and some astronomical Points+ values!!!

I died a little inside last year to learn that a large Gingerbread Coffee was something like 8 Points+!!!!

When I used to have a DD-A-Day habit, I'd ask for skim and sugar...and figure they weren't putting enough sugar in the coffee for me to bother counting it...even as I scraped the layer of sugar on the bottom of the cup with my straw.  Also, my Keurig doesn't offer me a free donut like those evil Dunkin' Donuts employees do.

I love the Fat Free Bailey's Creamer, and at 1 Points+ for 2 Tablespoons, it's phenomenal.  Most creamers are 1 point for each Tablespoon and really lack in any flavor.  Throw in some Truvia, and I'm good to go (don't get Purevia...it's crap.)

WW Smoothie Mix


WW Smoothie, thy name is versatile!!!
As packaged, throw it in with some skim milk and lots of ice, and you knock out both dairy servings and the shake tastes pretty damn good.

Throw some fruit in and you've got something even better.

Also, you can blend in a teaspoon of canola, and knock out one of those oil servings and you can't even taste it!!!!

I like to make mine with 2 Tablespoons of coffee syrup...totally worth the additional 2 Points+.

What has been circulating recently in meeting rooms is the Smoothie Crepe recipe.  You take one packet of smoothie mix, 3 egg whites (or 1/4 cup of Egg Beaters egg whites) and a little bit of water...and pour onto a griddle.  They.are.phenomenal and you can use any flavor of smoothie mix...Chocolate, Vanilla, and I'm sure the newest flavor will add a tropical flair to it.

What I like to do is throw some berries in a pan with lemon juice and 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar to make a great, filling syrup to pour on top. 

Another great use for the WW Smoothie Mix is to blend it as normal with lots of ice, throw some fresh fruit in, and then freeze it for dessert!  It's like you're eating italian ice, and since it's sooo cold, it will take you forever to eat it...

WW Weekly Recipes

 
These are amazing.

Read your weeklies...rip out the recipes...eat and enjoy.  I don't even need to write anything else about how awesome these are.  I'll just provide some photographic proof at 3 Points+ each -





'nuff said!


Happy Tracking!
-e

Feel free to post what some of your Standbys are!!!  I'm always looking to stock up for success!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Passion...

...so, I'm a day away from weighing in for 9 months lifetime.  The crazy thing is, I'm closer to a year at Lifetime than I've ever been before.  The feeling is amazing but it is so intimidating.  Come May, if I continue this journey for myself...I will be able to say that I've been at my goal weight for an entire year. 

Also, I'd like to point out that I am writing this post from my laptop, which is 5 feet away...5 very short feet away...from 4 trays of Auntie Anne's cinnamon sugar pretzels.  If I am not the definition of will power right now...then we clearly are looking at the wrong dictionary.  It is taking every ounce of my strength to not get on my knees and have someone just pour an entire tray down my gullet.

But, I'm also not about to convince a bunch of college students that celery sticks and fresh blueberries are a better alternative for food at an event on a Thursday night.

So, I've been thinking a lot about passion recently.

For those of you who don't know, I work for Weight Watchers part time as a receptionist.  I've been wary about posting that information here, because I don't want anyone to think that any of this blog is me acting as a Weight Watchers staff member.  This is me talking as a member...

...so if you learn anything great from this blog, totally give credit to the company that has changed my life.  If I say something that makes you gain 50 pounds overnight, I take that responsibility on as a person and a member, NOT as a staff member.

But let's be honest, if I post pictures of me in a sugar coma, covered in Butterfinger wrappers...that's clearly not something you'd want to imitate.

Okay, okay...so back to passion.  The reason I've been thinking about it lately is because I was working meetings and member after member was getting on the scale, posting some pretty decent losses.  And whenever I saw them do their victory dance, I realized how passionate I had become about my own personal health...and how I was slowly developing a passion for helping others reach their weight loss goals.

To be frank, when you're the person who delivers the news about someone's weekly weight loss.  It's pretty scary.  But there are those members who want to TALK about what they did well and what they need to do better.  That is where I am slowly finding that I have a passion to help people on this journey.

And I actually had someone come up to me and say that I've helped them!!!  And she only wants to weigh in at my scale!!

THAT MEANS I HAVE ARRIVED!!!  You know you're a big deal at Weight Watchers if you have a scale groupie.  After weeks of being told "No thanks, I want to wait for Lisa"...
I have someone who wants to wait for me...
Now, we calibrate those babies all the time...but we all have our own weigh-in superstitions. 

Shoot, if I could, I'd weigh in naked...but no self-respecting woman should be subjected to such torture...and possible temporary blindness.

But...wait, I helped someone?!  It's a good feeling.  I guess I do have experience to share...and when people are looking to me for motivation and support, it motivates and supports me and keeps me going.  Hearing that I've helped a member achieve her goals makes me want to continue to keep my eye on the prize.

And am I tired after a morning that starts at 5:45?!?!  Absolutely.  But when you see people taking control of their lives, it invigorates something in me that I haven't felt for a long time...just a passion stirring that really thinks I could do something with this.

Also, I'll never be a fitness nut.  I will never have a 6 pack of abs. Crunches are evil.  (On a side note...Cardio Kickbox is STUPID!  So so so so STUPID!  I will never get that half hour of my life back.  It was soooo STUPID!  I wanted to tell the 45 year old instructor...who is pretending that she's still 25...to sit down and come back to the gym when she's serious about fitness.  Did I mention that Cardio Kickbox is STUPID?!)...but with this passion, I now have a DESIRE to go to the gym.

It's become such a big part of my life, that I couldn't imagine what I'd be doing with the time that I'd have if I didn't go to the gym.  So, now I have a passion for going to the gym...and trying new things...except Cardio Kickbox, because that class is STUPID!!!

I have also been thinking about the next step in my career.  Because I feel this passion for helping others succeed, maybe I need to look into leading Weight Watchers...and seeing if I can bring that passion full time.

Because at what point do we trade our passion for a paycheck?  At what point do we just say "This is silly, I don't want to do this anymore!" and try for something new???  Especially when I haven't felt this way about something in a while. 

I guess we'll see what the next few months bring.

On another note, I know I've been done a really poor job of updating on a regular basis.  But work has gotten busy...and throw in the fact that I'm working part time, I haven't had that much of a chance to update.  I also think of these GREAT topics...but it's a matter of actually sitting my ass down and putting those thoughts to the computer...

...and not backspacing the entire thing because I think what I typed was completely STUPID (ya know, like that cardio kickbox class...SO STUPID!)

But, I am hoping in the next week or two, I'll be able to post what WW Survival essentials that have helped me succeed...AND maybe, just maybe, I'll share my tracker.  But that would require me to have enough food in my house to actually plan my meals better.  Seriously, when you have $50.00 to last you to next paycheck, it's amazing what you can do with leftover cauliflower, couscous, and beans...

...and how much I can rely on Student Center Oranges and Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry to get me through the afternoon because I need to ration out milk and vegetables to last me the entire week.

So, happy tracking...and I hope you find your passion!

-e