Weight Watchers

It’s been a long time since my last post! What’s cool looking back is that even since my last post, I haven’t given up on working toward health, just changed strategies.

I now am following a Weight Watchers plan and LOOOOOOOOOOVE this new plan. Take Shape For Life is a wonderful program, taught me so much, and helped give me hope that I really can get healthy, but it wasn’t a good long-term lifestyle for me personally. Weight Watchers is a different story.

I began following Weight Watchers this last January 31st, 2016. In 8 1/2 months, I have lost 40lbs! This is the most I’ve EVER lost at one time, and I am SO encouraged and motivated to keep going! I have never in my life been so confident that I’ve found the right program that will help me build healthy, life-long habits that will help me get to a healthy weight and will help me live the life of freedom that I want to live.

I could go on and on about the things I love about Weight Watchers, but I’ll pick just a few things today:

1. Weight Watchers Smart Points plan (you get a certain number of points to eat each day as well as weeklie points you can spread out and use whenever) guides you toward good nutrition because healthy foods are lower in points, but it does not restrict you from eating ANYTHING. This is a huge thing for me personally. When I feel completely restricted from a food or drink, I feel sad, frustrated, and sometimes even crave it more. And I can restrict myself from something while I lose weight, but do I really never want to have chocolate cake or pizza again for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. Weight Watchers is helping me find balance in my eating. I truly, truly believe I can do this for a lifetime. I’m eating the foods that I love AND am losing weight! I’m also learning about new delicious healthy foods or healthier ways to cook my favorite dishes!

2. Connect!!!! This has been the missing piece to my weight loss for years! Connect is an online community that Weight Watchers recently developed. Connect is basically like Facebook for Weight Watcher members. People post recipes, struggles, accomplishments, questions, funny and inspiring quotes, before-and-after pictures, and fun challenges to help you set goals. Connect is the MOST encouraging and supportive community I’ve EVER been a part of. EVER. It’s a place where you constantly realize, “I’m not alone in my struggle!” And it’s an extremely loving community. We celebrate each other’s successes and encourage each other in our hardships. Many, many people post about heartbreaking stories about illness, abuse, and other life struggles and it is AMAZING to see people reach out in love to support someone that have never met before. I can not begin to tell you how important Connect has been to help keep me encouraged and motivated on this journey. I have extremely supportive friends and family but most of my friends and family have not struggled with their weight to the same extent that I have. It’s SO refreshing to feel like you are in a community where people really understand where you’re coming from. It’s beyond encouraging to see others who have gone before you and lost 25, 50, 75, 100+ lbs. I see them and am encouraged that if they can do it, so can I!

3.  And there are many, many more things I could talk about, but one of the things that has helped me in Weight Watchers was started because of something my WW leader said in a meeting. She had found research that said if you can identify 100 reasons why you want to reach a goal, you will be much more likely to stick with your plan and to reach that goal. So I began a hashtag so others could join me in Connect #100daysofwhy. For 100 days, I posted a reason why getting healthy was important to me. At first the idea of thinking of 100 reasons was overwhelming. I honestly didn’t think I had 100 reasons. Many members began to join me and it grew into a cool community. Now over 7,700 posts have been made from people posting their 100 Days of Why. I read through others posts regularly and had SO many “me too!” moments that kept me encouraged and reminded me that I wasn’t alone.

Being overweight carries so much shame with it and Connect and 100 Days of Why have helped me slowly strip away years of shame and helped me really confirm what I already knew, I am valuable, capable, and worth spending the time and resources to get healthy.

If you are wanting to work on your health, I’d highly recommend the Weight Watchers program. There are several levels membership. You can be an online member only (which gives you access to Connect and the Weight Watchers tracking App) or you can do what I do and attend weekly meetings as well as have access to Connect and the Weight Watchers App. The second opt-in,what I do, is I believe about $45/month. WORTH EVERY PENNY!

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help or do what I can to find you answers!

Thank you for reading and for your support in my journey to health!

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine 2
“Imagine the life you could live if you stayed true to making healthy choices today, tomorrow, this week, this month and this year. . .” This is a phrase I’ve read over and over in a healthy challenge that I’ve been participating. At first it’s inspiring, and then it’s kinda embarrassing to think about. It’s been almost a year since I really made a new commitment to get healthy. I was pumped, motivated, dedicated (so I thought) and idealistic. The first 3 months or so were great. I couldn’t be happier with how I was feeling and the steps that I was taking to get healthy. I actually believed, “I CAN DO THIS. GETTING HEALTHY REALLY IS A POSSIBILITY FOR ME!” But then I didn’t. And I think, “Wow, where could I be today, if I had stayed more committed this last year? I could have been extremely close to my goal health wise and living a very different life right now.” I know it’s not healthy to dwell on the past, but I think it’s important to reflect on the past, so I can move on and make different choices to have the future that I want for my life.

I could make up a thousand excuses (and there always seems to be one) for why I haven’t been as committed. I didn’t give up and kept trying, but my progress has basically stalled for the last 8 months. Some days I do great eating healthy, exercising, getting great sleep, reducing stress, managing my money wisely, and other days I totally blow it. To be honest, I am trying to make several major changes in my life, and sometimes, I get overwhelmed and question whether or not I can really make those changes. I’ve tried so many times and not succeeded. The desire is still there, but the confidence of whether I can achieve those goals wavers.

I have the tools, knowledge, passion, and desire to make healthy changes, but to actually put all of that to use and having discipline is what is difficult for me. I know that in the end, it will be MORE THAN WORTH IT, but I am struggling getting there.

Today I thought of an analogy of me having all the tools, knowledge, passion, and desire to get healthy, but not following through with my plan. It’s kind of like someone has offered me a FULL-RIDE scholarship to college. Although it’s a dream of mine to go to college, and I know it will have a huge and positive impact on my future, I don’t really want to do the work it takes to graduate. That’s CRAZY y’all. Plain crazy to give up an opportunity like that.

And that’s it for now. I don’t have a conclusion to my thoughts. I’m still processing it all. Usually I try to keep my posts positive and encouraging and maybe even motivating. Here’s my “I struggle too” post. I’m not giving up, but I’m not sure where to start to get back on track. Step 1 is talking with my great health coach tonight! She’s been there and has built healthy habits into her life, so hopefully God will use her to help me get back on track.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to adopt this phrase to give me daily direction to help me stay committed to my goals and to make healthy choices: “Imagine the life you could live if you stayed true to making healthy choices today, tomorrow, this week, this month and this year. . .”

neat
So today’s post is directly taken from Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen’s program Take Shape For Life.  I’m sure other doctors follow this line of thought as well, but this is the first time I’ve really heard much on this subject and it makes so much sense!  Just a little background, Dr. A recommends building Habits of Health which include categories like:  healthy eating, healthy sleep, and healthy motion.  All of these habits lead to reduced stress and overall increased health.

What I love about the healthy motion category is that Dr. A makes it so simple.  YES, a regular exercise routine is important to maintain a healthy weight and to keep our body performing at its best, but there are some really simple things that we can easily incorporate in our day even before we incorporate a regular exercise routine. This is accomplished through what is called the NEAT System.

The NEAT System

NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (calorie burning). It’s a way to burn more calories by making slight changes to the movements you make in your regular day.

Beyond weight loss, increasing your physical activity level will help you prevent the diseases and health complications that we discussed earlier, and it will ripple into other areas of your life as well. You will find yourself sleeping better, and you will probably find yourself feeling happier and more fulfilled, because exercise has been shown to release endorphins and to eat up the chemicals produced by stress. It also gives us time to be with ourselves and become more aware of our thoughts and feelings.

You can begin to enjoy these rewards without an intense workout routine. The Habits of Motion are accessible, and they will help you to rethink your daily choices. Armed with just a few principles, you can adjust a series of few—seemingly very small—choices to take your health in an entirely new direction.

The Six NEAT Categories are:

Stance: When the muscles that support your body’s core axis—the chest, shoulders, back, legs, and abdominals—are aligned properly, they create balance throughout your body. Focusing on these foundational muscles helps you burn more calories and provides great training for your transition into more exercise. Think about your posture at the office, in the car, and at home.

Standing: Merely moving from sitting to standing can substantially increase your energy consumption. When you stand, you begin to use weight-bearing muscles. Try to stand more in the office, on the computer, or on the phone, and stand even while you’re at home making dinner or watching television.

Strolling (Walking): Walking in terms of the six S’s is done outside of any formal walking programs (which are also useful). You can incorporate more walking into your routine by going to the water cooler, walking down the hall to speak with a coworker instead of emailing them, or by walking around the mall.

Stairs: Stairs are a great way to accelerate your energy expenditure. In fact, climbing just one flight of stairs is the equivalent of walking 100 steps. Therefore, climbing ten flights of stairs gives you the same benefit as a half mile of walking.

Samba: Never pass up an opportunity to enjoy the rhythm of a song. If you can’t take a moment to dance, tap your pencil or foot or even sing to yourself. With music, you can activate your brain as well as your muscles.

Switch: Do things by hand instead of by machine. Wash your dishes by hand, stand up to change the channel, and put away the electric knives.

So, although I am going to continue to try to get in healthy activity in my daily routine, I’m also going to focus on the NEAT activities and try to make long-lasting healthy habits of motion!  Pretty neat, huh?

The Next Right Choice

I’ve had several friends ask me lately how I’m doing with healthy living (THANK YOU FOR ASKING!).  Well totally honestly, it’s been up and down the last few months.  But instead of feeling guilty, I’m just going to make the NEXT RIGHT CHOICE!
Pizza
Here are my goals for the next month:

1.  Exercise at least 3x per week (Zumba will likely be my exercise of choice but may try to get some tennis in as well!)

2.  Cook more at home.  If I do eat out, salad it is!  (Luckily I actually love salads.)  Some of my current favs from fast food restaurants are the new Spicy Chicken Southwest Salad at Chick-fil-A, the Asian Grilled Chicken Salad at Wendy’s (FYI the dressing is spicy but delicious), and a Chipotle Salad with chicken, pico de gallo, red salsa, and guac.

3.  No mindless eating.  I’m sticking to eating small and healthy snacks every couple of hours and then healthy lunches & dinners.  The goal is to get my metabolism working at its best and to not get to the “I’m so hungry I don’t care about eating healthy” stage where my plan easily can go out the window for something quick and convenient.

Gimme Some Oven is one of my new favorite blogs.  The author, Ali, has great and mostly healthy recipes, takes BEAUTIFUL pictures, and just seems like a kind and interesting single girl that I feel like I can relate with at least a little!  AND she responds to comments, so I feel like we are on our way to BFF status.  Here are three recipes that I’m going to try this month from her blog:

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/easy-asian-quinoa-slaw-recipe/

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/5-ingredient-mexican-quinoa-stuffed-peppers/

http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/blueberry-recipe/blueberry-chicken-chopped-salad/

And then just an observation about weight loss in general.  I admit that among the MANY reasons of wanting to lose weight and be healthy, wanting to be desirable and pretty are up there as reasons as well.  But I saw something the other day that was a good reminder.  And ULTIMATELY, I want to get my value from what the Lord thinks of me not what people (especially guys) think of me.
Beautiful
So, I’m back!  And remember, if you’ve gotten lazy or busy, just make the NEXT RIGHT CHOICE.  Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes, just get back on track now.  All the little choices will add up!

Health Tips!

I came across this AMAZING compilation of diagrams about healthy eating that I wanted to share with you!  I didn’t include all 24, but you can go to the website to see any that I did not include or to link to other websites to learn more! (http://pulptastic.com/24-must-see-diagrams-will-make-eating-healthy-super-easy/)

Prepare to be inspired! I know that each of these diagrams are very small here on the blog post.  If you click on a diagram, a larger version should appear on your screen and then you should also be able to click on it again to zoom in on the ones with really little writing.  If all else fails, check out the website above for larger images!
3 Ingredient Smoothies  Avocado Five Minute Nutrion Meals For One Fruit-Veggie Serving Size Grains How to Store Hummus Mason Jar Salad Mix and Match Salad Nuts Paleo Perfect Smoothies Portion Sizes Prevention Protein Substitues Baking Superfoods

Here is the link to see what each of those super foods are: http://greatist.com/health/superfoods-a-to-z

And that’s it!  When we are working toward better health, it’s important that we understand what we are putting into our bodies and what our bodies really need for optimal health.  I am LEARNING to think about the foods that I am eating and whether they are nutrient full or nutrient empty.

What will the food that I eat, do for me?  Will it keep me full?  Will it give me nutrients?  Will it give me energy?  Will it help burn fat?  OR will it make me sleepy?  Will it slow down my metabolism?  Will I feel GUILTY after eating it?  Will I be hungry again soon?  Will it slow down my progress toward my goals?  Again, like I said, I’m in the middle of learning this, but it is definitely helpful and I’m hoping that eventually, I won’t have to always ask myself these questions because I’ll just be in the habit of choosing healthy options and hopefully will also learn to crave healthy things.  I do find that the more I eat healthy food, the more I crave it.  I think sometimes it’s the actual food I crave, but I think sometimes it’s also the feeling or results that I get after I eat that I crave. (proud that I made a good choice, don’t feel weighted down or sick from heavy foods, lose weight, etc.)

Hopefully these diagrams got you thinking and have inspired you to try some new things and to continue on in your health journey!

You gotta try new food cause it might taste gooooood!!!

Daniel Tiger 3

In the words of *Daniel Tiger (from the PBS cartoon), “You gotta try new food cause it might taste gooooood!!!” Daniel Tiger has influenced my 3 1/2 year old niece who once said, “I HATE BEANS AND I’M NEVER GOING TO TRY THEM!!!  One day I will, but not this day,” to try new foods so maybe he can influence us as well!

I tend to get bored eating the same old food, so trying new foods is fun for me and keeps things interesting! I grew up a pretty picky eater, but as an adult, I’ve discovered so many things that I thought I didn’t like that I now love.  And happy for me, a lot of them are very healthy.  Here’s a food list of things I’d recommend including in your diet (not like going on a diet, just diet meaning what you eat) that I’ve found to be delicious and all have a lot of great health benefits!

BERRIES:  There are a bazillion health articles out there about the benefits of berries.  I like to eat them on their own, in smoothies, with yogurt, or with sugar-free vanilla pudding.  For a delicious smoothie, I like to add about a cup of flavored Greek yogurt, a handful of frozen berries, a handful of fresh spinach (or you can freeze spinach and use that), and a little soy milk (or any kind of liquid would work).  I know adding spinach sounds gross, but you don’t taste it and it adds a lot of healthy goodness.  It’s simple and good and I don’t think needs more sweetener but if you like, you could add honey or agave nectar to have a healthier sweetener than regular sugar.

AVOCADOS:  There are a bazillion and one health articles out there about the benefits of avocados.  Avocados are good in lettuce salads, guacamole, on a turkey sandwich, to top a Mexican dish, and although I haven’t tried this, a lot of people include these in smoothies.  Supposedly, you don’t really taste them but they add a creaminess to the smoothie.  They have fat in them, but the “good” kind of fat that is good for your body.

Avocado

NUTS:
  Nuts also rank up there in health articles for foods that are great for you.  They, like avocados have fat, but the “good” kind of fat.  They are higher in calories though, so I’d recommend portioning them out.  Almonds seem to be at the top of most lists for healthy nuts.  You can buy these at Costco/Sam’s AND they are great right out of the freezer (and stay fresher longer).  I like nuts by themselves and on lettuce salads best.

**CAULIFLOWER:  This is BY FAR my favorite find.  There seem to be a million different ways to cook and use cauliflower.  It can substitute for so many comfort foods.  Cauliflower itself is inexpensive (the frozen kind works just as well on most recipes), is low calorie, and since it has a fairly bland flavor on its own, it soaks up the flavors & seasonings that it is cooked with.  I’ve tried and loved recipes using it to substitute for rice, potatoes in potato soup, mashed potatoes, and pizza crust.  I’ve also found some recipes where they make tater tots and mac & cheese with them and plan on trying these recipes.  If you want me to share these recipes, let me know!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH:  I’ve already raved on spaghetti squash on a previous post (https://eating2livenotliving2eat.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/spaghetti-squash-deliciousness/), but I will go ahead and add that I continue to love it.  See my previous post for lots of recipe ideas.  Spaghetti squash substitutes best for noodles, but is also good for potatoes in a hash brown type casserole.

**ZUCCHINI:  My newest treasure.  I also wrote a post about this recently (https://eating2livenotliving2eat.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/zoodles/), so I won’t reiterate all I said, but just want to say, TRY IT.  It works great as noodles and I’ve also come across a recipe for pizza crust that I’m going to try.  Zucchini is very low cal and also has a fairly bland flavor, so like spaghetti squash, takes on the flavor of the seasonings.

And finally, I’m not really sure if this has great health benefits for you, but it’s a low-carb option for tortillas:
RICOTTA CHEESE:  This is a brand new one for me, but I recently made crepes with this and then used them to make a chicken enchilada casserole.  YUM!  They are a little tricky to make but I think after making several times, I’ll get a lot better at it.  Here’s the recipe I used for the crepes. http://www.djfoodie.com/All-Purpose-Crepes.  This guy has a great website for low-carb recipes.

Another recommendation for low-carb recipes is Celebrity Chef George Stella.  Stella and his family lost a ton of weight and gained back their health through low-carb eating. Stella has a great low-carb cookbook that I recently bought from a recommendation from a friend (thanks Court) and I love it. http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Low-Carb-Cookbook-Best-Presents/dp/1934193968/ref=ase_blendingintot-20/002-5394164-3952838?v=glance&s=books  He also has a good website with lots of recipes and tips.  http://www.stellastyle.com/

I’ll keep you updated as I discover more yummy stuff, but my challenge to you, is to try some new foods, you never know what you’ll like, it might taste gooood!!!

*Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a great show and models healthy eating habits as well as SO many other good lessons.  Check out this article about it.  (http://www.bonbonbreak.com/modeling-healthy-eating-habits/)

**Note on cauliflower and zucchini.  They both naturally have a lot of water in them SO, after you grate or cut the vegetable, I’d recommend trying to strain out extra water either by using cheesecloth (you can buy at any grocery store) or by using a colander and pushing down with paper towels to get out excess water.

Insurmountable

I want to talk a little bit about the idea of an insurmountable goal. Insurmountable is defined as something “too great to be overcome.” I OFTEN think of this when I look at where I need to get to so that I can be healthy. I get overwhelmed so much so that sometimes I just want to quit. Or not start. Because if I start and fail, well, that never feels good. In a lot of ways, it would be easier just to keep living how I’ve lived. Everybody has issues, why can’t mine be food?

We probably all have something in our lives that seems insurmountable: gaining our health back, getting on top of our finances, ending an addiction or bad habit, forgiving someone who has wronged us, restoring a relationship, committing our life to God, _______________ (insert whatever here).

When I start to feel overwhelmed and incapable, I go back to my motivation for change and reevaluate my short and long term goals. I need to ask myself, “Are the decisions I’m making today, supporting my goals?” I need to keep making lots of good little decisions. These little decisions really do add up and begin to give me the intrinsic motivation (not needing others or outside forces to motivate) that I need to keep on going even when I’m not seeing tangible results. The extrinsic motivation (compliments and encouragement) sure help as well, but I think the intrinsic motivation is really important to long-term success.

I hope that whatever feels insurmountable in your life, that you won’t give up and that you’ll be encouraged to keep going.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

And I want to be able to celebrate with you in your victories as you celebrate with me on mine.  Check out this article at Momastery.  It’s a really cool perspective on learning to celebrate with others rather than comparing and envying.(http://momastery.com/blog/2015/01/07/hergoodnewsmakesyoufeelbad/)

never give up

So, for my sake, here are my goals and motivation for change with a few revisions.  I highly recommend writing down your goals and sharing them with someone you love.  Accountability is a GREAT THING.

SHORT-TERM GOALS

-Lose 20 lbs. by the end of February
-Continue to try new and healthy foods and develop a repertoire of recipes I can enjoy and stay on track with and not get bored with the same old stuff
-“Win” the health challenge that I’m participating in (this includes lots of healthy habits, see previous post)

LONG-TERM GOALS (Not sure on a timeline yet for these goals):
-Have a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)
-Go Sky Diving
-Hike the Grand Canyon
-Play in a competitive tennis league or group (I’d like to start pursuing this in the summer when it warms up a bit, ok, let’s be honest, it warms up a LOT here in Houston)
-Go to an amusement park and ride whatever rides I want (I’m going to Disney at the end of the summer, so I guess that’s becoming my timeline out of necessity because I want to fully enjoy it!)

MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE:
1. I want to live a FULL and vibrant active life. I REALLY want to go skydiving. REALLY want to. My sister has even given me money to go as a gift and I’ve never gone. To fully enjoy the experience, I need to be at a healthier weight. I also want to hike the Grand Canyon. Right now, I’m definitely not in shape to do that. I want to be at a healthy weight so that I don’t hesitate to do these kinds of things.
2. I don’t want to be worried about my weight and focusing on myself and miss out on opportunities to love on other people because I’m so focused on my insecurities.
3. I want to be a good example to my nephew and nieces and possibly children someday.
4. I want to be able to walk into any store, find what I like, and find my size. I love shopping and love fashion but where you are plus-sized, it’s MUCH harder to find clothes that fit right and are flattering.
5. If I ever get married, I want to be confident in my body because I don’t want that to get in the way of my relationship with my husband.
6. I want to sit in an airplane seat, theater seat, roller coaster, etc. and not feel like I’m spilling over onto the person next to me. Ha I can’t believe I actually verbalized this one. It’s not one I really share with many people but it is a real struggle for someone who struggles with their weight.