Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekly Weigh-in Update: Another Pound and a Half Lost!

Forgot to post yesterday, but my scale went down another pound and a half; that's a total of 23.5 pounds lost! I hit the original goal I had set for myself, but I see no reason to stop now, so I lowered my weight goal and plan to stay on this weight loss track.  It's steady and getting me where I want to go without appetite suppressants, crazy gimmicks or fad diets!

My clothes are fitting better, and my attitude is great! Thank you Weight Watchers!

The Importance of Measuring and Storing When on the Weight Watchers Program

Measure and Store for Portion Control
A key component of the Weight Watchers Program is portion control.  For me, I think this is the most important thing that has kept me on target with my weight loss.  My previous mindless eating, over the kitchen sink, sitting at the computer, or in front of the TV, had a large part in causing my waistline to balloon.

Day One on the Weight Watchers Program, I started figuring out how to eat a "Portion" and stay within my daily and weekly points allowance.  And to my amazement, it wasn't really all that hard!

Measuring

I use my measuring cups and spoons all the time now. I realized in the beginning that I wasn't very good at eyeballing how much 1/2 cup of rice or 2 Tablespoons of grated cheese was. When preparing my meals now I always measure or weigh ingredients.  I use my scale every time to determine how much of a cut of meat to portion off. When snacking, I count out the estimated number of pretzels or chips, etc. that the package reports as one serving.

I like soups and I determined that my ladle served up a one-cup portion of soup, so I always use that ladle. When adding mashed potatoes or rice to my plate, I scoop with my one-cup measure. When adding olive oil to the pan before cooking, I pour the oil into my measuring spoon first.  If you do this, you'll quickly learn that often you underestimate how much you use, but also, that sometimes you are OVER estimating!  Be as accurate as possible in the beginning until you have a good feel for portions.

Storage

When I make a dish that provides multiple meals (which is often since I am single), I divide up the dish as evenly as possible, serve myself one portion, and then store the remainder in one-serving portions.  My set of Rubbermaid storage containers have turned out to be perfect for this task. And they make my next meal a no-brainer for calculating my points!

I guess all this is common-sense, but I was not this logical or disciplined about my food until I started Weight Watchers.  You might find a method for measuring and storing that is different from mine, but the point  is to find a method that you will use consistently.

Weight Watcher friends: Measure it, Store the leftovers, and Smile on your weigh-in day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rachael Ray's Stuffed Zucchini



Just watched a Rachael Ray video for stuffed zucchini and thought this recipe looked delicious and easy! Each serving would have a very low Weight Watcher's point value (you figure it out, but figured appx 4 pts per serving).

With spring in the air, it might be time to plant a zucchini plant or two and enjoy this dish all summer! Until then check out your local farmers market or Sprouts Market for fresh zuchinni squash.

Watch the video for her recipe below:
Rachael Ray's Stuffed Zucchini

Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

If It's Friday, It's Weigh-in Day!

Weight Watchers friends, I weighed in today another pound lighter than last week. Yay! That makes a total of 22 pounds lost since I began Weight Watchers in early January. 

In the beginning, I wasn't too excited about a one pound loss after a week, but the Weight Watchers Program has taught me that patience is a virtue...and that losing weight steadily teaches me new habits that I will most likely have for life. But most importantly, that steady weight loss adds up to a nice difference over a span of time.

To rethink the value of a pound lost, this is a good article to read:

 Losing Weight One Pound at a Time
 
A Pound of Bacon (Image courtesy of ranierzenz/wikimedia commons)

Have you just started a diet plan? If so, you are probably anxious to rid yourself of those extra pounds and start fitting into the clothes at the back of your closet as soon as possible. Not so fast! Losing weight takes commitment, knowledge and patience. Most importantly, it is best to be realistic about how quickly you can get to your goal weight.

So you just stepped on the scale after a week of dieting and it shows you've only lost one pound. Don't be discouraged! Let's review what it took to get to that scale's needle to move one notch, and why it's not such a bag thing!

1. How many calories equal one pound? One pound of lost body fat requires an intake of 3500 calories less than expended per week or 500 per day. To determine how many calories you would need to cut daily to lose that one pound, use Mayo Clinic's calorie calculator to determine your current daily caloric requirement and subtract 500 calories.

2. How long do you need to exercise to lose one pound? Use the Health Status calculator to determine how many minutes are required of a particular activity to lose one pound. You enter your age and weight and will be given a list of answers to choose from. For instance for a 50 year old, weighing 150 pounds, losing one pound would require 353 minutes of bicycling at 12-14 miles per hour, or 440 minutes on the stair machine, or 1,014 minutes of bowling.

3. What does it cost per week to keep that one pound around your middle? Using Caloriecount.com and Safeway.com's websites as resources, 3,500 calories equals 2.3 pounds of Sirloin Steak at $4.99 per pound ($11.48), or 23.3 ounces of Lay's Potato Chips at 75¢ an ounce ($17.48), 34 twelve ounce cans of Coors Lite at $15.99 for an 18 count case ($30.20), or 219 teaspoons of granulated sugar at .005 cents per teaspoon ($1.10)

Continue reading "Losing Weight One Pound at a Time"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicken Tostadas ala Chris Powell



I saw Chris Powell on TV (Trainer from ABC’s “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition) talking about this recipe and I decided it sounded easy and tasty. I wrapped this filling in a flour tortilla, rather than using a corn tortilla. I also omitted the salsa because I liked it more like fajitas.  See below for a link to his exact recipe.

 
Chicken "Tostada" Filling

WW Point Plus: 4 per serving
Makes 6 servings


Ingredients:

  • 8 Ounces Chicken Breast, sliced
  • 1 Green Pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, sliced
  • 1 - 15 oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 5-6 sprays Olive Oil Spray

Cooking Directions:
  1. Spray pan with olive oil spray and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  2. Saute onions and green peppers until crisp tender. 
  3. Push vegetables to edges of pan and add thinly sliced chicken breast in center. Cook 3-4 minutes, until done.  
  4. Add can of black beans and heat thoroughly.  
Wrap in corn or flour or corn tortilla or over Baked Tostitos.  (Be sure to count the appropriate points!) Top with shredded lettuce if desired.


Chris Powell's Chicken Tostada Recipe

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sara Lee Pita Pockets


If you haven't figured it out yet, Pita Pockets are a great sandwich option for Weight Watchers.

I buy Sara Lee's Mr. Pita Bread which has 12 pita pockets (1/2 of each "Loaf" in the bag).  Each pocket is only 2 pts, and can be filled with tuna salad, chicken salad, grilled chicken or skirt steak, ground beef.  Top each pocket off with lettuce, cucumbers, shredded radish or jicima. I just ate a fat, yummy tuna salad pita pocket that had a total of only 4 points!

I've also stuffed a pocket with 1/4 cup of low fat cheese (such as Sargento's 4 cheese Mexican blend) and grilled it......  It tasted somewhere between a grilled cheese and cheese crisp. (4 pts)

I'm sure there are other options for Pita Pockets....like as a pizza crust...what are your ideas? Do you have any recipes to share?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Parmesan Crusted Chicken for Weight Watchers


I recently ran across a recipe online that got my mouth watering and seemed too easy not to try.  It wasn't a certified Weight Watcher's recipe .....not even touted as low fat.  However, I've learned over my many years of watching my weight, that Parmesan cheese can fit nicely into a weight loss program.

First of all, you have to shop for the right Parmesan cheese and find one that is low fat.  There are two brands I find in my local grocery stores: Sargento Artisan Blends, which has 1.5 grams of fat, and Private Selection, a Kroger brand that you can find in the deli at Fry's Food Stores, which is even lower in fat at 1 gram per serving. Check all the options at your grocer of choice and you'll find that they range from 1 to 8 grams of fat.  Pick the one with the lowest fat content; the taste is still great and you'll never miss that fat!

Parmesan cheese works great as a tasty crusting for various dishes such as zuchinni, eggplant and of course, chicken.  The recipe I found called for:

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise (I used a low fat generic brand mayo)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used the Sargento Artisan blend)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
  • 4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs 
For the recipe directions, visit this webpage: Hellman's

Using lowfat mayo, lowfat Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs, one serving of Parmesan Crusted Chicken (appx 4 oz) came out to 6 WW+ pts. It was delicious!

Note: In the picture above - Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Heinz Homestyle Roasted Turkey Gravy and Green Giant Herb Veggies. 11 pts total for a very filling dinner!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Weekly Weigh in Update: Lost 3.2 pounds!

In spite of my dinner with my granddaughter for her 18th birthday at The Melting Pot, I lost weight this week! In fact it was the largest loss since my first week on Weight Watchers at 3.2 pounds!  I have now reached my 10% goal with a total of 20.4 pounds lost since the first of January.  Goodbye fat me...things are shaping up. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup for Weight Watchers


I'm guessing all Weight Watchers have incorporated soup into their daily diets. Filling up on meals with a low point value keeps us all on track!

I adapted my Crockpot Potato Soup to create its close cousin... in which Broccoli is the star ingredient.  It's creamy with minimal fat, filling and good for you. The best part is it's only 3 points per 1 cup serving! If you like broccoli, you'll love it!

Makes 10 - 1 cup servings
WW Pts+: 3 per serving

Ingredients:

14 oz. bag of frozen broccoli florets
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups water
3 cubes or teaspoons of chicken bouillon
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup (Healthy Request)
8 Oz. package Neufchatel cream cheese
1 cup skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Place broccoli and chopped onions into crock pot
  • Heat water. When hot, add bouillon and mix to create broth
  • Pour hot broth over broccoli and onions in crock pot.
  • Add soup, 1/2 teas salt and a few shakes of black pepper
  • Cook on high for and hour and a half or until onions are cooked.
  • Turn heat to low and add cream cheese. Cook another half hour until cheese has melted, stirring occasionally
  • Add milk and stir into soup mixture.
  • Cook an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through.
 
Tip: You can use 2 cans of chicken broth in place of the bouillon if preferred.  Adjust salt accordingly as the bouillon is usually saltier than the broth. Also, I found some of the broccoli florets a little too big for a soup spoon, so after the soup had cooked 1/2 hour I spooned out the larger florets and cut into smaller pieces.

Weight Watchers: It's All About Choices....

It only took me a few days to realize that the Weight Watchers Program was all about choices....making the right ones for me.  My daughter is on Weight Watchers too....my best girlfriend is as well; and the interesting thing is that we each use the choices and concepts of the Weight Watchers system in a slightly different manner.  That's the beauty of the point system, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as you stay within your total point allotment for the day. And when you have a special event...you can dip into those weekly bonus points!

I think it's the psychology of the point system that works.  No more thinking solely in terms of calories, fat or carbs; it's just about the POINTS...that secret formula that Weight Watchers tell us is based on the Glycemic Index. Stay within the allotted points and you lose weight!

I equate it to having $100.00 n your pocket and walking into a store...you decide: Do I want this designer $100.00 item or these four knockoffs? Some days you want the designer item...but on other days it feels good to get a bargain and a larger bag!

Every day I make eating choices that make me happy and satisfy my needs for the day.  Sometimes my daughter and I splurge on a lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  I make the best choices I can while there, skip the cream cheese wontons, choose the plain rice over the fried rice, and often take part of the food home for later.  But whatever points I "spend" during that lunch fits into my daily plan...which may mean that I'll eat a lighter dinner (my Crockpot Broccoli Soup, Progresso soup or some vegetable based dish for example.) The daily total is what counts.

My daughter eats larger meals, and hits the sack early each night.  I usually eat light early in the day with a reasonable dinner, and save points for snacking in the evening since I am a night owl.

I love the Weight Watchers system because it works for me.  I've learned to look for bargains, how to spend my points wisely as well as budget them throughout the day and week.  But I think the Weight Watcher's program  works for me mostly because of all the choices I have...tomorrow is always a new day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Strawberry Kefir Smoothie


Sometimes I need something that is sweet, not a fruit and not a Weight Watchers frozen bar (although I DO love most of them!)  When I was on the 17 Day Diet, I had a Kefir Smoothie almost daily, which met a requirement of that diet.

t was on this diet that I learned to like Kefir (find it in any grocery store near the yogurt) and starting freezing strawberries, blueberries and bananas before they went bad and used them in my smoothies.  Fresh will work too, but the drink is more akin to a milk shake if you use frozen. In the off season, all grocery stores carry a fruit medley in the frozen section.  I love the package that has all tropical fruit: pineapple, mango, papaya etc.

Tonight I took that basic idea and made a close cousin to that Smoothie I used to make ...but more Weight Watcher's friendly and just as delicious! Here's how to make it.

In a blender, add:
  • 1/2 cup Kefir (or fat free plain yogurt)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (or other frozen fruit)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diet Lemon Lime Soda
  • 1/4 cup Splenda

Blend until it is the consistency you like, adding soda to thin.  Makes a tall glassful. 

The best part of this frozen concoction is that it is just 2 Weight Watcher's points!

Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review of "Start Walking at Home" with Leslie Sansone

In my continuing quest to find a variety of workouts that will motivate me to stay on track with my weight loss and fitness routine, I decided to try Leslie Sansone's walking workout routines. Leslie Sansone has over 75 in-home walking videos and she owns Studio Fitness in New Castle, Pennsylvania. This workout review is of her 1 and 2 mile workouts featured in her "Start Walking at Home" series, which I tried on exercise TV. I found them both easy to follow and energizing!

The simple act of walking has inherent health benefits for everyone. The American Heart Association (AHA) endorses a regular walking routine to prevent heart disease and claim that brisk walking for 30 minutes can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you like the idea of a walking routine to get or stay in shape, check out AHA's "My Start" walking site, where you can sign up for newsletters, connect with "sole mates" that share your quest, plan a routine and track your miles from walking, as well as enter your daily food intake. Additionally, if you don't have one, purchase a pedometer to track your steps during a walking program. You'll find yourself taking the longer route when you have that step counter clipped to your waistband!


To view the full review, click here: "Start Walking at Home"

For a visual of one her walking workouts

Birthday Dinner with my Granddaughter: TGFBP! (Thank goodness for bonus points!)


I have seven grandkids and I take each of them to dinner for their birthdays every year.  As they have gotten older, the dinner tab has gotten more expensive, but I relish this annual one-on-one with them.

Last night my second oldest granddaughter, Kayla, and I went to her place of choice in Phoenix, The Melting Pot.  We have talked about this plan for several years, deciding that her 18th birthday deserved such a celebration (Our total with tip was over $100!)

I was worried about the plan from a Weight Watchers perspective because she wanted the 2-person, 4-course dinner which included a cheese fondue appetizer, salad, dinner fondue (with 4 different meats) and a chocolate dessert fondue to top it all off.   I KNEW that this would be tricky for me but I also wanted to partake in the celebration.

We chose the spinach artichoke appetizer, which came with veggies, bread cubes and chips.  I got the salad wedge with raspberry vinaigrette for my salad.  We picked a broth-based fondue to cook our meats (lean sirloin steak, ahi tuna, shrimp, and chicken breast).  And for the final temptation, we ordered the Yin-Yang fondue which was half milk chocolate and half white chocolate. The Yin-Yang had several diet-busting choices for dipping that included red velvet cake, brownies, rice krispie treats, marshmallows, bananas and strawberries.  Since it was her birthday, they added a piece of cheesecake. I tasted a piece of each, concentrating on the fruit....but there was that chocolate part with every dip...yikes....

I had saved up 21 of my daily points and I had all of my weekly bonus points available, but I knew that as hard as I was trying to keep the point count down, I was racking them up with every course. I did my best to estimate the total damage on my food log (31 points) but to be honest, I wasn't sure how close I was, and I worried I was underestimating.  I sent the meat and dessert leftovers home with Kayla, so at least I don't have to worry about them staring me in the face today!

Bottom line, I enjoyed the night with Kayla and indulged a bit, but afterward I didn't throw my hands up and say, "Might as well forget about dieting now!"... like I might have on other diet plans.  Instead, I knew I'd gone into my bonus points a significant amount for one day and decided I'd be extra careful not to exceed my daily points the rest of the week. Also, as soon as the food had settled, I got in 20 minutes of low impact aerobics to try to burn a few of those yummy calories I'd eaten!

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that I will still lose weight on my Friday weigh-in.


Veggie Chips - 2 Weight Watchers Points!


Just sharing a find for you Weight Watchers snackers.  If you have a Sprouts in your area, get their Veggie Chips, they have 10 g fat, 16 g carbs,  1 g fiber and 1 g protein.  This equals 2 WW pts for 26 chips.  They taste great and contain zero trans fat.  They were priced at 2/$4.00.

A new favorite for me!  Now even more reason to make my weekly Sprouts trip.  Love that store!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekly Weigh-in Update: Loss of 1.5 pounds!

Just a quick update.  This last weigh-in I was down another pound and a half, for a total of 17.4 pounds! I had gained a 1/2 pound last week for the very first time during my Weight Watchers journey, so looks like I'm back on track.

The week I gained I had used 20 of my 49 bonus pts...the most I've used to date.  I don't think I can use very many of those weekly bonus points and still lose weight, so I am going to avoid that as much as possible until I reach my goal!

Winning!


Losing Weight Slowly but Surely

Most Weight Watchers understand that the best way to lose weight is on a slow and steady pace, 1-2 pounds a week.  I've finally gotten used to that fact and have totally embraced it!

Here's one of my Yahoo articles that drives this point home, and gives some startling facts about what each milestone of fat lost represents in terms of reduced calories, energy expended and even inanimate objects! :)

Image courtesy of Aspen04/wikimedia commons
Losing Weight One Pound at a Time 
Pub. 7-25-09 Yahoo Voices

Have you just started a diet plan? If so, you are probably anxious to rid yourself of those extra pounds and start fitting into the clothes at the back of your closet as soon as possible. Not so fast! Losing weight takes commitment, knowledge and patience. Most importantly, it is best to be realistic about how quickly you can get to your goal weight.

Losing One Pound of Body Weight
 
So you just stepped on the scale after a week of dieting and it shows you've only lost one pound. Don't be discouraged! Let's review what it took to get to that scale's needle to move one notch, and why it's not such a bag thing!

1. How many calories equal one pound? One pound of lost body fat requires an intake of 3500 calories less than expended per week or 500 per day. To determine how many calories you would need to cut daily to lose that one pound, use Mayo Clinic's calorie calculator to determine your current daily caloric requirement and subtract 500 calories.

2. How long do you need to exercise to lose one pound? Use the Health Status calculator to determine how many minutes are required of a particular activity to lose one pound. You enter your age and weight and will be given a list of answers to choose from. For instance for a 50 year old, weighing 150 pounds, losing one pound would require 353 minutes of bicycling at 12-14 miles per hour, or 440 minutes on the stair machine, or 1,014 minutes of bowling. 

Continue reading "Losing Weight One Pound at a Time"

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself When Dieting?

Image courtesy of Clarita/morguefile.com
I personally LOVE the Weight Watchers scheduled once a week weigh-in.  I am planning on adopting this as a lifelong habit! Here's an article I wrote in support of this practice.

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself When Dieting
Article pub. 1-31-12 Suite 101 

Stepping on the scale regularly is a healthy habit for everyone to adopt. But when trying to lose weight, how often should a dieter weigh-in?

Dr. Mike Moreno reports in his book, The 17 Day Diet, “Not too many people like to weigh themselves. Doctors know this. After patients step on the scale, they think it is giving them the weight of a completely different person, like Hulk Hogan.”

Should a Dieter Weigh Daily, Weekly, or What?

Most dieters are impatient to see results and many jump on the scale every day to find out the verdict. Is this wise?

Some weight loss experts feel that weighing daily can have a detrimental effect on motivation if the number on the scale isn’t what a dieter had hoped to see. Additionally, it takes a reduction of 3,500 calories to lose a pound. Due to these two facts, many weight loss plans incorporate a weekly weigh-in.

Continue reading "How Often Should You Weigh Yourself When Dieting?"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Banana Split for Weight Watchers

The secret for Weight Watchers is to find low point foods that are a good substitute for the more fattening foods you like.  I'm sharing the treat I made for myself tonight that I'm calling the WW Banana Split. I had a bunch of points leftover tonight and this was just 4 yummy pts!

First I placed 1 graham cracker square in a bowl topped by a 1/2 cup scoop of Breyer's Fat Free ice cream.

Next I spooned strawberry and banana slices on top of the ice cream.






Fat Free Whipped Topping was the grand finale!


Weight Watchers with a sweet tooth, as simple as this was, it tasted almost decadent! :)


Chicken Chow Mein for Weight Watchers


I love Chinese and have made this dish forever.  Most oriental dishes make for great meals when dieting. They are inherently low in calories and points because they are filled with vegetables, but I leaned it up even further for Weight Watchers and don't miss anything I left out! This recipe is as easy as it is delicious, especially if you can get your significant other to slice up the veggies!

Serves 5
WW Pts+: 3 per serving

Ingredients:
3/4 pound chicken breast, sliced thinly
1 cup uncooked, sliced celery
I med onion, sliced or chopped as preferred (I like to see my onions)
1 can water chestnuts, drained
2 cups sliced peppers, green, red, yellow or orange
1 can bean sprouts, rinsed
1 can mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
Several sprays of olive oil spray
2 tsp soy sauce (or to taste)
1 envelope turkey or chicken gravy, prepared as directed
Optional: Sesame Seeds

Directions:
  • Spray skillet generously with Olive Oil Spray and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat pan to medium high and add onions, peppers, and celery and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
  • Push veggies to one side of pan, spray again with Olive Oil and add sliced chicken breast. Cover pan and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn chicken pieces to other side and cook another 2-3 minutes, covered.
  • Uncover pan, add water chestnuts, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and soy sauce.  Stir all ingredients together and cook a few minutes to heat thoroughly
  • Prepare turkey gravy and stir into mixture.
  • When the gravy liquid starts to thicken, turn off heat.
  • Serve over rice or noodles. (Pts not included) Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Variation:
If you prefer beef, use 4 ounces of sirloin, round, flank or skirt steak, tenderize first, and then slice steak very thin. Pan sear beef in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add 1/4 cup water and simmer 30 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook as directed, except use beef gravy.  Same Weight Watchers point value!

Special K Cracker Chips

If you are a Weight Watchers snacker and haven't tried them yet, be sure to check out Special K's Cracker Chips.  They are so good and, at 3 pts per serving (27-30 chips), they provide lots of crunch for your Weight Watchers Points! I've tried the Southwest Ranch, Cheddar Cheese and Sea Salt varieties and like all three (the Southwest Ranch is a bit spicy). They are baked and made of potatoes and brown rice.  I like mine with a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese for a healthy 5 pt snack that also gives me a milk serving.  I love being able to eat a snack while I am "dieting" on Weight Watchers, don't you?