2. January 2015

PLAN OF THE MONTH: Weight Watchers

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Monday, January 26, 2015

You Can Have It All, But Not All At Once

If I’m not careful, I can find myself in All-Or-Nothing territory. When I’m in my ALL phase, everything is done in excess – good or bad: binge eating, strict dieting, organizing, TV watching benders, workaholic, volunteeraholic, spending sprees, and the list goes on. When I’m out of balance and find myself on either end of the spectrum, my friend Cindy lovingly reminds me that, “I can have it all, but not all at once.” This should be Weight Watchers motto.

Unlike most programs, you can enjoy ALL the foods you love on Weight Watchers, as long as you account for them. You don’t have to cut out a food group unless you want to. Vegetarians can follow the program successfully. So can Hunter-Gathers, Wheat Bellies, Mediterranean’s, Clean Eaters, Food Combiners, and so on.

Weight Watchers gives you everything you need to succeed, except the resolve – that’s on you!

  • Tools: magic calculator; old school paper tracker, or online tracker. They’re also rolling out a tool that will sync to your fitness device, which will tabulate any activity Points earned!

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  • Meetings: show up, weigh-in, and be accountable; share with others on the same journey, and learn from the group leaders who have gone before you into the land of slim and healthy.
  • Resources: if you attend weekly meetings you’re given a brochure with the topic of the week. Online users have access to countless resources at their fingertips.
  • Products: Weight Watchers has a line of cookbooks, ready-made entrees and snacks, cooking utensils, scales, measuring cups, etc.

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  • Support: Weight Watchers now offers 24/7 online support – help is just a click away!
  • Rewards: as an incentive for reaching milestones, you are rewarded bling – it’s like stickers for kindergarteners, but shinier. I will earn first bobble (reaching the 4 week mark) when I attend my last meeting this Thursday. The next is earned at 5% weight loss, then 10%, and so on.

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To me, the program boils down to volume control. I will always struggle with this. I’ve always been a freestyle eater – getting full marks for artistic expression on my plate, but failing miserably with my health. Weight Watchers encourages more of a choreographed approach to eating – plan, weigh, measure, track, cha-cha-cha. Sure, it slows me down, but you know what else is going down, my weight 🙂

 Link to Food Journal: Week 8 (Monday, January 19 to Sunday, January 25, 2015)

Link to Food Journal: Week 9 (Monday, January 26 to Sunday, February 1, 2015)


 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Counting my Blessings Instead of Calories

I’m really ticked off as I write this. Everything, and anything, that could go wrong this week, did.

  • I’ve been working at breakneck speeds at the office – I feel like I’ve got 18 tennis ball launchers aimed at my head and I’m trying to swat the balls as fast as I can, but I’m losing.
  • The car was in the shop and $487.52 later it felt better, but my pocketbook didn’t.
  • Still can’t find that spindle of CDs with a decade’s worth of photos and writing – I even went to my ex’s house on Monday night, and literally got on my hands and knees to rummage around in his crawl space to see if it was accidently packed in one of the boxes my daughter stored at his place this past summer.
  • Technology is constantly crashing around me:
    • I’ve attempted to write this post 3 times and each time I’ve lost the document.
    • I spent hours trying to upload the new banner for the site, only to find that I’m missing an icon on my profile preventing me from doing this one simple task.
  • I’ve been so agitated lately. I’ve been getting less than 4 hours sleep each night this week according to my FitBit.

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Despite being faithful to both my December and January diet plans, I went into automatic pilot pacing to and from the fridge this week, jonesing for a binge. I’m happy to report that I didn’t (unless you count three 2 Point Weight Watchers’ bars a binge), but man was I tempted! This default behaviour is what I have to analyse, and break, if I want to ensure I don’t sabotage myself.

Okay – let’s try some self-psychoanalysis right here, right now.

Dr. Mare: What are you feeling?

Mare: Frazzled.

Dr. Mare: What do you do when you’re frazzled?

Mare: Eat.

Dr. Mare: Does it help?

Mare: Only when I’m chewing.

Dr. Mare: What happens after you chew?

Mare: Still frazzled, but fatter.

Dr. Mare: How’s that working for you?

Mare: Shut up.

Dr. Mare: Might I make a suggestion?

Mare: Is it going to cost me?

Dr. Mare: Only to your mental, emotional, and physical health if you don’t take my advice.

Mare: Note to self: go get head examined by a real doctor if I continue talking to myself.

Dr. Mare: First step, step away from the fridge.

Mare: But it’s a nice fridge.

Dr. Mare: Are you going to take this seriously?

Mare: Fine.

Dr. Mare: Second step, take several deep breaths.

Mare: Lamaze breaths, just run a marathon breaths, getting a deep tissue massage breaths?

Dr. Mare: Get real.

Mare: You get real, you imaginary figment of my imagination!

Dr. Mare: ****disapproving stare**** ****jots notes on imaginary note pad****

Mare: What’cha writing?

Dr. Mare: Your case is above my pay grade. I might have to call in The Expert.

Mare: Ma?!

God: Hello child.

Mare: Hello, God. It’s me, Mare.

God: I knew you were going to say that.

Mare: Oh yeah… what number am I’m thinking of?

God: Easy. 140. Your goal weight.

Mare: Coolio! Speaking of numbers, do you happen to know the 7 little numbers for this weekend’s LottoMax draw?

God: Yes, but I’m going to give you some advice worth more than money.

Mare: Now You’re talking crazy talk, Your Holiness!

God: Do you want to change your unhealthy habit and create a healthy one?

Mare: If I do, then will you give me the LottoMax numbers?

God: ****disapproving stare**** ****jots notes on imaginary note pad****

Mare: ****grumble, grumble****

God: That – right there. Stop it.

Mare: Grumbling?

God: You forget how blessed you are. If you start counting your blessings instead of Points, calories, money in your bank account, or how many lunches you’ve eaten at your desk in the last few months, you’ll realize you have more blessings than problems.

Mare: I’m speechless.

God: First for you… and I would know.

Mare: I’m sorry. I don’t know what I hope to accomplish by stuffing my face when I’m upset.

God: You want instant gratification and you’re using food as your drug when things don’t go your way… I know, I read your ‘About’ section.

Mare: So, You’re my new follower!

God: Now follow and trust Me. I want you to list your blessings whenever you want to eat in a way that I didn’t design you to.

Mare: Okay, here goes: (1) I’m grateful to have a job – and I must be pretty awesome if they entrust me with that much responsibility!

God: Keep going, but watch the pride thing – I’m not in the mood to be smiting anyone today.

Mare: (2) I’m grateful for my car – the second free hand-me-down that I got from my sisters. (3) I can’t figure out the blessing with the missing CDs – I had a lot of my memories stored on them.

God: I know where they are and you’ll find them when you need them. As for the memories, carry them in your heart because I’m not letting anyone up here with ‘stuff’ and those darn fangled devices you’ve created – I designed you to relate face-to-face.

Mare: Can I see Your face?

God: Not until it’s your time – any sooner and… remember what happened in Indiana Jones when they opened the Arc of the Covenant?

Mare: Yikes! (4) Thank you for Andrea at WordPress help desk for helping with the technical glitches today. Thank you for Ryan who tweaked my blog so that I have drop down menus in 12 in 12. Thank you to Nathan who designed my awesome new banner. SORRY – THE PRIDE THING AGAIN!

God: No, the banner is pretty awesome, but don’t forget who gave him the gift to draw like that. Anything else you’re thankful for?

Mare: Yes. I had a lovely potluck dinner with friends on Friday night and they calculated all the Weight Watchers Points their contributions contained. Lia even made a dessert using one of her Mom’s old Weight Watchers recipes! I’m so blessed with loving and supportive family and friends who want to see me get healthy! Hey! I see what You’re doing!

God: It’s kept you away from the fridge, hasn’t it? And yes, it is a nice fridge.

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Ingredients all layed out so I could tabulate the Points
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Lia’s Mom’s recipe – we ate the dessert before I could take a photo of it – this one is from the web.

Link to Food Journal: Week 7 (Monday, January 12 to Sunday, January 18, 2015)


Monday, January 12, 2015

You Bite It, You Write It

I want to thank everyone who contacted me with useful tips and suggestions when I announced that I would be testing Weight Watchers as this month’s  12 in 12 plan. You’ll be happy to know my math headache is gone, and I’m getting better at calculating and budgeting my daily Points.

I had an excellent weigh-in on Thursday night (it boggles my mind that I registered a significant loss while enjoying Panettone almost every day last week!) and when I thought the evening couldn’t get any better, I ran in to an old friend at the meeting. Hey Jo Anne!

I’m glad I’m testing Weight Watchers in January – first, they waive the registration fee, and then many of their products go on sale this time of year.

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I got all this for $22 (half-off the regular price) – there’s no excuse now!

I’ve been carrying my PointsPlus calculator everywhere I go – too bad it looks like a birth control case, because I get the odd look from people when I whip it out in public. I was at the grocery store the other day tabulating away when I noticed a woman walking around with her calculator. I’m sure you spot more Weight Watcher Newbies during ‘Resolutionary’ than any other month of the year!

Anywhooo, we kind of gave each other a slight head nod when we passed each other. I made my way to the deli counter and annoyed the poor girl serving me by asking to see the nutritional label on the products I purchased.

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See her the background? She wasn’t too pleased with me 😦

She humoured me, and as I was waiting for her to slice precisely 100 g of oven roasted glazed chicken breast, other Newbie joined me at the counter. We avoided eye contact. Then the deli girl handed me my package.

“Anything else?” she asked.

I shook my head and then she turned to my dieting comrade. Before she could ask her what she wanted, I waved my package and proclaimed, “2 points,” to which Newbie replied, “I’ll have the same, please.”  Hilarious, but not as funny as having a meal with someone on the program.

On Saturday night my girlfriend Zee invited me to her place for dinner.

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Left to Right: Super-Sexy Zee, Super-Chunky Me, and my Super-Silly sister in the background!

We’re always on a diet, but this was the first time we were on the same plan at the same time, so we set out like two mathematicians ready to solve a complicated equation.

“How many Points do you have left?” Zee asked.

“Twenty-one. Why?” I replied.

“I want to know if I should add sunflower seeds to the salad.”

“How much were you thinking?”

“3 tablespoons for 1 Point.”

“Go for it, I can afford it!” I replied.

Crazy talk, but I’m becoming well versed in this new lingo. And that’s how our evening went… every ingredient was meticulously measured, weighed, and calculated,  and our Weight Watchers paraphernalia was part of the place setting: fork, knife, pen, tracker. It was awesome!

Zee made the most succulent 4 Point sirloin roast with 0 Point onions. And don’t get me started on her delicious 3 Point salad! Then Zee mentioned something about black licorice which got me salivating. She offered me a piece and I devoured it. But then I did a classic Newbie faux pas – I mindlessly sampled it without tracking it. Being a Weight Watcher guru, Zee exclaimed, “You bite it, you write it!” I did so immediately, and it was well worth the 1 Point!

We enjoyed our evening maximizing every Point we had left for the day. We had coffee and 50g Panettone… TWICE! I left with 0 points remaining, a satisfied belly, and yet another lovely time with a dear friend.

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Me and Zee a few years ago. I was under 200 lbs then!

Link to Food Journal: Week 6 (Monday, January 5 to Sunday, January 11, 2015)


Monday, January 5, 2015

As the clock struck midnight on December 31st, 2014, I said goodbye to The Start Here Diet, by Tosca Reno, and hello to Weight Watchers – the plan I’ll be testing in Month 2 of 12 in 12.

A few days before the switch, I headed over to my local Weight Watchers to register for the program so I would be ready for my ‘go-live’ date.

This is MY Weight Watchers. Notice anything interesting about it?

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No? How about now?

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Is this some kind of cruel joke, or is this supposed to test my resolve? Oh well, life will always be tempting me with scoops of sinful yumminess so I’d better get used to it.

I met the staff and they’re all lovely and extremely supportive. They calculated my daily Point allotment (my new currency for the month) based on my height, weight and age and sent me off with a wad of material.

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Did you know that all Weight Watchers employees must have worked the program and achieved lifetime status in order to be employed by the company? That tells me they walk the talk. The men and women standing behind the counter know exactly what we are going through and are proof that we can reach and maintain our healthy goal weight if we stick to a balanced lifestyle.

I hurried home to do my homework, but not before I made a pit stop at the grocery store. I know from decades of dieting, grocers will have all sorts of ‘resolution’ food on sale this time of year. And boy, did they have a huge selection waiting for me!

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I got all these entrees for $2.49 each! You don’t have to eat any of the Weight Watchers prepared meals while you’re on the plan, but I want to sample some of the company’s product lines in order to comment on them as well.

If you’re not familiar with Weight Watchers, they operate on ‘Points’ rather than calories. You need to record everything you eat in a cheque book style journal and use their unique calculator to determine a food’s Point value.

It’s time consuming, and starting on New Year’s Day while I had lunch with my family was a bit frustrating. I ended up with a massive headache by the end of the day because of (1) doing math before I ate a bite of anything, and (2) rationing my food in the early part of the day, as I didn’t want spend all my new currency before noon! *Sigh * I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough.

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My New Year’s Day lunch

Over the last few days, I’ve calculated the Point values of all the food in the pantry to eliminate that step at prep time.

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I was SHOCKED to find out that a sliver of my beloved Panettone was valued at 9 Points! That’s approximately, 1/3 of my daily allotment! I can’t stress enough how much I HATE weighing, measuring and recording my food, but becoming Point value aware of what I used to eat mindlessly, already makes me give Weight Watchers two thumbs up!

Link to Food Journal: Week 5 (Monday, December 29, 2014 – Sunday, January 4, 2015)

 

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