Posted in Health and Wellness, Weight Loss

Slimming Down with Weight Watchers

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In a recent post, I revealed my goal to lose sixteen pounds. This is a continuation from that blog; if you missed it, be sure to check it out before reading this one where I share HOW I got rid of  four sticks of butter, a chihuahua, and a bowling ball:  

https://parttimesunshinesite.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/weight-loss-goal-i-plan-to-lose-four-sticks-of-butter-a-chihuahua-and-a-bowling-ball/

*NOTE — Although this may read like an advertisement for Weight Watchers, I am not being paid or getting perks to write this honest blog.  If I were a blogger with more time, I’m sure I could learn out how to monetize, but for now, I just write because I love to and enjoy sharing with an audience.   If you enjoy reading these posts, please “Follow Me” by sharing your email on the bottom right.  You will then get notifications each time a new Part-Time Sunshine blog is posted.  Thank you and shine on!

And now for the blog: 

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How can I lose weight?  What diet actually works?  What’s safe and convenient?  What’s not going to make me feel deprived?  Is there a meal plan that considers wine a fruit?  What can I do t
o feel healthier?   I asked myself these questions for a long time before trying to answer.  I did NOT want to diet.  Who does?  I would have rather worked out more to shed the pounds, but that no longer worked for me.  

Last fall, when my Body Mass Index (BMI) went from normal to overweight, I vowed to figure it out.  Both my husband, Harry, and I committed to a plan, and we joined Weight Watchers (WW).  We’re both stronger and smaller as a result.  

We subscribed to the online plan for three months.  It was only 45.00 per person, and we each earned a free month for losing ten pounds within two months.  The money we saved by not eating out and buying less wine and treats covered the membership fees and then some.

The online plan was so much easier than I ever imagined.  The website is professional and motivating, jampacked with helpful tips, recipes, incentives, and point values for every food imaginable.  The following details my successful journey with the program.  It took me just ten weeks to hit my goal of losing sixteen pounds, and I’m still maintaining this healthy weight.

After I completed the WW profile of my height, weight, activity level, and goals, the company calculated an allotment of points that should be used daily (30 for me) and extras that can be used weekly (28 for me).  

A typical Weight Watchers day for me looks like this:

Breakfast:

Water — I drink it all day long.  

Cup of brewed green tea (no points)

Cup of coffee (Keurig) with sugar free flavored creamer (no points); If it’s not sugar free then it costs two points.  You get less options this way, but I didn’t want to waste points on creamer.  

Two large eggs (4 points).  I like them over easy.  

NOTE: I pee a lot!  🙂  

Lunch:

**Spinach salad.  My norm is to doctor it up with cherry tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, and celery.  NOTE: All fruits and vegetables are free points (except corn, avocado,  and potatoes).

Shredded cheese ⅛ cup on the salad (2 points)

Salad dressing 2 Tbs  – I prefer Bolthouse Farms brands which are so creamy and delicious. (2 points)

Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese Wedge – Creamy Swiss Light (1 point) — I like this with sliced cukes, celery, or peppers (no points).  If I want need some extra carbs for energy or salty satiation, I spread the wedge on  six Triscuit Original Crackers (3 points) or fifteen Triscuit Thin Crisps (4 points).  

When I want more pizazz for my salads and don’t mind using extra points, I like to add Nature’s Harvest Wasabi Peas ⅛ cup (1 point), avocado ¼ cup (3 points), or walnuts 1/4 cup (6 points) —  I rarely ate walnuts while trying to lose weight though.  I was surprised by how many points they cost.

** I have been building spinach salads during my faculty lounge lunches for over ten years.  Lunch was not hard for me to stay in a low point range, but I did tweak the amount of salad dressing, cheese, and toppings I added.  

Midday Snack:

Fruit – Usually grapes, an apple or banana (no points)

Cottage Cheese Low Fat, ½ cup (2 points) — I added raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries when they were available.  

Dinner:

Whatever Harry makes.  Since he is an amazing cook, and I am a failure in the kitchen, he cooks every evening.  My girls and I (and our tastebuds) are so lucky and thankful for his culinary skills.  Having a personal Harry made the program much more convenient for me. He measured every dinner ingredient and weighed meats on a scale.  He was honest about his point calculation which usually stayed in the 9-12 point range.  These consisted of a ton of veggies prepared in flavorful ways and a variety of fish, seafood, and chicken.  

Harry played a huge part in the ease of my weight loss success. I’m thankful we could cheer each other on.  It definitely helped to have that support.  I think that’s why so many WW members find that going to actual meetings with others is so beneficial.  

Eating Out – WW has a great catalog of restaurant items and entire dishes.  I looked up menus and point values before heading out.

Evening Snacks (I would have one or some of these most days because I had daily points left over):

Goldfish Crackers Flavor Blasted Crackers, Xtra Cheddar, 51 smiling fish (4 points)

Red Wine, 5 oz (4 points) – Whoa!  I was certainly too generous with my pourings before learning how to moderate.  

Rice Cakes, any flavor, (1 point each) – Sometimes I had two.  This became my go-to snack; upon discovering that my daughter ate the last of the rice cakes, I went nutty.  She was flabbergasted, as I hollered, “Hands off the rice cakes. People are dieting here.  You need to eat the cookies, chips, and ice cream instead!”  Please don’t judge.  In my defense, this was only day six of WW for me, and I looked forward to those flavored circles of cardboard all day.  Actually, I love them and now buy enough rice cakes for the entire family.   

Flavored Seltzer Water (no points) – A can of this stuff makes me feel fuller from the carbonation. Raspberry is my favorite.  If I want to turn it into a spirited drink, I mix the seltzer with a shot of vodka and splash of diet cranberry juice (3 points).   

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For the most part, I stayed in my 30 points a day range.  I used my extra 28 points a week too; I tried to save those for the weekends, holidays, restaurant visits, and special occasions.   

The food point system helped me avoid all the sugary sweets I love so much.  My teacher friends have a second floor donut club on Fridays.  I’ve declined membership since my favorites would add up to an entire meal: glazed (9 points) and cream filled (12 points).   When I baked for Christmas, I limited my intake to three cookies.  I found that it was enough, and I sincerely enjoyed every bite.  
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WW also has an activity tracker.  It even syncs to my Fitbit and calculates the extra points I could use for sweating it out.  As per my other blog, I had been treating myself with too many food-exercise-rewards, so I didn’t use the “Swap my FitPoints” option. Even though I didn’t use FitPoints, seeing them calculated was motivation enough to continue exercising three-six hours a week.   The activity tracker can be a game changer to someone who doesn’t have an exercise routine.  

WW Online has a plethora of reliable and interesting features available. During my four month membership, I used what was most helpful to me.  I loved  “Save Meal” so that I didn’t have to type in what made up my breakfasts and lunches.  The “Quick Add” option allowed me to plug in the point amount for dinners without adding all the ingredients that Harry calculated  on his account.  I love the Weight Feature and the motivational stickers and shout outs.  I actually looked forward to Mondays, the day I chose to weigh in.  Every Monday (except the one after Thanksgiving) was met with success and the website let me know it!  

With WW I made my goal and could have kept going if I wanted to lose more.  I’m happy the way I am though and love fitting into my old “new” clothes.  Besides shedding the pounds, I feel amazing.  I have more energy and stamina and can run longer and faster. My mood has improved with my eating habits. My skin looks younger and more hydrated with all the extra water from fruits and veggies.   I highly recommend Weight Watchers and give it two (thinner) thumbs up!

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Posted in Health and Wellness, Weight Loss

Weight Loss Goal: I plan to lose four sticks of butter, a chihuahua, and a bowling ball.

On October 4th, 2016, I set a goal to lose 16 pounds.  After turning 40, I gained an average of 4 pounds per year, for the past 4 years.  If I were to live another 44 years, at that rate, I would gain 176 more pounds.  I realize that I am throwing a lot of numbers out there, and I prefer words to numbers, but ignoring the math got me into this pudgy-podgy mess.

Even though I am active and exercise 3-6 hours a week, I packed on the pounds, basically gaining one per season.  Exercise is vital to me for aesthetic, mental, and physical reasons, but I was using it as an excuse to indulge; I rewarded myself with way too many treats because I thought I deserved them for my consistent, physical work.  I would run extra miles for a glass of cabernet and a bowl of Goldfish Crackers (my all-time favorite food combo).  Many nights I’d pour more wine and crackers and end up with a bellyfull of fish, a whole school, partying in the red sea.  Double-fisted, glass in my right (pinky up), bowl in my left (Flavor Blasted, Xtra Cheddar), I sabotaged my workouts.

After turning 40,  I could not keep running for food incentives and maintain my weight. My chemistry, hormones, and age had to be factored in, but again, I’m not a numbers person.  I did not want to count calories in or burned.

So, I became thicker and constantly looked bloated.  It was not a miracle that my water weight turned into wine handles, and the flat stomach I crunched to maintain became flabby.  Instead of Sunshine, I could be coined as Puff-Shine. I was untoned and dumpy,  and, although I was not yet fat, I was on my way to a roomier belt buckle.  Who am I kidding?  I hadn’t needed a belt in years.

Last fall, the heavier reality bell rang in with my *151 pounds on my 5’5” frame.  I kept stepping on the scale to make sure it was right. How could this be?  Is the scale broken?  Can I deduct a few pounds for my wet, shampooed hair?  Could the motion of flipping-off the scale promote weight loss?  Could using both middle fingers burn more calories?   That last pound, 1-5-1, changed my BMI (Body Mass Index) from normal to overweight.  (*In the About Me section, I declared my weight loss goal.)

Ever since puberty, with the exception of two pregnancies, I consistently maintained an American medium size 6-8 that I was happy with. (I stress American, because many foreign countries calculate sizes smaller.  I am not China Girl Medium — I know this because the adult-female-medium size Steelers jersey that came from China was just big enough to fit Sports Fan Barbie).

I love my colorful, eccentric, extensive wardrobe, and was not about to replace it with bigger clothes.   When I could barely button or keep the zipper teeth from flying open on my pants, I cried.   When I walked and my bum jiggled with a bowl full of jelly (grape on the left, strawberry on the right),  I cried.  I tried to suck in my cheeks, (face and backside), but all that clenching gave me a headache, so I cried.   Elastic waistbands and dresses were my go-to-garments, but then I got stuck in a denim dress at an Old Navy fitting room; I nearly threw out my back, trying to get free, and I cried. Shedding tears is not like shedding pounds.   Look at the chart.  See for yourself.  There are no waistband perks for eye drops or crying rivers.  I could wade in my own wallow, but it wasn’t gonna get me out of a Levi’s straightjacket.

I needed to shrink into the clothes I already  have. I decided it was time to commit and get smaller before I let one more ounce creep in.  In order to get my skin closer to my bones, I had to control what I put into my mouth.  I needed a plan.  (FYI – Looking for a plan that controls what comes out of my mouth too, but one step at a time 😉

My plan was to join a popular club to help me out.   Read my blog, “Slimming Down…” to find out what happened to my bones, skin, flab, muscles, and all that jazz. (Click “Blog” at top of this page.) Before you do, look at my weight loss goal.  Look at your own, if you need one.  What can you get rid of?  If need be, I know YOU can get rid of a toilet with a  bloodhound on top. We are that strong!!!

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