Saturday, May 12, 2012

11 Simple Rules (to Weight Loss)

So for the past two weeks, I've been talking a lot about Weight Watcher Menus.  But what I haven't talked about is this lifestyle change that I've been on for two years, that has helped me lose around 40 pounds post-baby.  

Although my weight has stabilized quite a bit now (and I've even put a few pounds back on), these changes I've made are part of my EVERYDAY meal planning.
I think anyone can do this successfully. Just stick to a couple simple rules to make this work.  So, here you go.  My no bullshit cheat sheet to Weight Watchers Weight Loss:

  • Write down everything.  Everything.  Because a bite here and there adds up.  If you don't want to take the effort to write it down, then it's not worth eating!
  • Using apps can help.  I have two apps I use to keep on track.  FoodScanner allows you to scan anything with a barcode to get the nutritional stats.  So logging your food is as easy as running the scanner.  It also has stats on basic items such as an apple, and it has restaurant chain food stats as well.  You can even add your own favorites in.  At the end of the day, I have the stats on my entire day, and I can plug that in to calculate my points. The other app I use is FastPoints.  This is just a fast version of the Weight Watcher Points Finder.
  • Eat at home.  Restaurant food is terrible!  There is generally no foods that are Weight Watcher-friendly when dining out.  You would be shocked to find out that even a seemingly innocent rice bowl can rack up 10 Weight Watcher Points! So limit dining out to one full meal, and one half meal a week if you can, and try to choose sensible items even then.  Don't order the salads...they are loaded with fat and calories and usually have more points than a plain old burger. Instead, look for a vegetarian dish or something with limited carbs or meat.  If you plan your order ahead of time, that can also help.
  • Stock your cabinets with good food.  Having a kitchen full of food do's (string cheese, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, greek yogurt) and ridding of the don'ts (ice cream, chips) can help you make sensible decisions when you're hungry.  I make my husband take all junk food to work, so I'm not temped to eat it.  Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Always opt for high-fiber.  Just about all carbs come in high-fiber varieties now.  Choose your breads, cereals, rice and pastas based on this.
  • Treat butter as if it were a treat, not a staple.  This one is hard for me because I LOVE butter.  But a little adds up.
  • If you don't love it, don't eat it.  Think of points like you would think about your virginity. Weight Watcher points are special and hard to come by, don't give them away to just anything!
  • Switch from red meat.  Switch your ground beef recipes with ground turkey (I swear you won't miss it!) and your pork with chicken.  There are turkey and chicken burger, sausages and meatballs that are just as good as the real thing.  
  • Lose the extra carbs and fats.  Your meals should look like this: 1/2 Veggie/Fruit, 1/4 Lowfat protein, 1/4 Other Stuff.  So calculate how much your veggie/fruit and protein are going to cost you, then determine how much is left for the other stuff: dairy, carbs, salad, alcohol, condiments, beverages.
  • Switch to non-fat and low-fat dairy.  A simple switch to Non-fat milk, non-fat sour cream, non-fat half-and-half, lowfat cottage cheese, and light whipping cream can do wonders for your wasteline, and it's easy to get used to the taste.
  • Weight loss is 80 percent what you eat, and only 20 percent exercise.  Do you know that 60 minutes of walking only earns you 2 extra points a day?  Yeah, so until you get the eating under control, don't think about splurging just because you walked at lunch.
  • Read my blog.  Ah, hah!  Just kidding, it won’t make you skinnier, but hopefully it will inspire you!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Days of Weight Watchers - Part III

I have been very bad.  No, not because I've gone off the Weight Watchers.  Actually, as of yesterday, I was down almost seven pounds.  But I've been bad because I said I would give you seven days of Weight Watchers, and I got too busy and stopped at four.  With our patio project, a new teaching gig I'm doing, and just general mom stuff, my blogging slipped to the bottom of my list.

But have no fear, but here are days 5, 6, and 7 so you can finish up!

Friday - Daily Total Points Around 24

1 Cup of Multigrain Cheerios plus 1/2C Nonfat Milk (3 Pts)
1TBSP Cream plus Coffee (1 Pt)

String Cheese (2 Pts)

1Cup Bear Creak Tortilla Soup (2 Pts)
24 Tostitos Bite Size Chips (3 pts)


Salad with Pepperoncini Vinaigrette: Romaine Lettuce plus 2 TBSP of Dressing and Light Dusting of Parmesan Cheese (3-1/2 Pts)
For Dressing:
- 3 TBSP Minced Pepperoncini
- 1 TBSP Fresh Dill
- 1 TSP Lemon Zest
- Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt to Taste

Pepperoncini Stuffed Chicken Breasts (5-1/2 Pts)
- Slice open small chicken breast and stuff each breast with:
- 1 TBSP of Whipped Cream Cheese
- 1 TBSP Chopped Pepperoncini
- 1 TSP of Thyme
- Salt and Pepper
- Coat chicken with a spritz of EVOO and pat with thyme, salt and pepper. Bake at 325.

Weight Watcher Mac – ½C (4 Pts)
- Ronzoni Smart Taste High Fiber Macaroni
- 1 TBSP I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- Fresh Basil (for topping)
- 2 TBSP Parmesan Cheese
- 2 TBSP Mozzarella Cheese
- Red Pepper Flakes

Saturday - Daily Total Points Around 39 (23 Regular, Plus 16 Weekend Points)

I made this my "splurge" day.  You get an extra 35 weekend points every week to "spluge."  I choose one special meal out where I can use these points.  Since I already used 5.5 of my weekend points on Thursday, and one of my weekend points on Friday, that left about 28.5 weekend points to spare.

3 Chicken Sausages (2 Pts), 2 Egg Whites with Tomatoes and Basil (1 Pt), and One Slice of High Fiber Whole Grain Toast with Spritz of Can't Believe It's Not Butter (1.5 Pts)

2 Cups of Popcorn (2 Pts)

1 Greek Yogurt (2 - 3Pts, depending on the brand and flavor)
1 Banana (1 Pt)

Happy Hour:
Two Glasses of Red Wine (6 Pts)
1 Slice of Restaurant Flat Bread (4 Pts)
2 TBSP Hummus (3 Pts)

1 Restaurant Cheeseburger minus the top bun (9 Pts)
9 Tatar Tots or Fries (4 pts)

1/2 C Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt (3 Pts)

Sunday - Daily Points Total Around 23.5

One Tall Non-Fat Latte from Starbucks (2 Pts)
Two Petite Vanilla Scones from Starbucks (6 Pts)

Coke Zero (0 Pts)


Lemony Turkey Burgers with 100 Calorie Flatbread Bun and Mustard (5 Pts)
 - Combine Ground Turkey with chopped cilantro, juice and rhine from one lemon or lime, 1/4 C breadcrumbs, 1/4C of Soy Sauce, and One Egg White.
Baked Fries (2 Pts)
 - Cut a potato into wedges, coat with spritz of baking spray and bake at 425 until crispy.  Salt.
1 Michelob Ultra Beer (2 Pts)

1 Cup of Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa with 2TBSP Non Fat Whipping Cream (2.5 Pts)

By the end of the week, I still 12.5 points to spare.  I used them drinking margaritas while overlooking my new patio on Cinco de Mayo, but the point is, this is very doable and customizable to your taste buds.

Happy Weight Watchers!

The Backyard Patio Project - Check!

I am so behind on my postings. But you will understand why when I announce..."We're Done! We're Done! The Patio Project is Done!"

It took two months, a lot of money, and about two weeks off work, but the patio project is done!  

Just to remind you, here is the before:

And now for the after:

We added all hardscape, to include a 1000 sq ft paver patio, retaining wall, and shredded Juniper and pea gravel boarder.

The steps (all 22 of them) are made of railroad ties we scored for $10/piece, inlayed in left over paver stones.

I was opposed to a retaining wall, but my husband talked me into it, and now I'm happy with it.  It gives the patio another dimension and also adds seating.

We made my son a sandbox to play in and then got the idea to make the cover out of plywood coated with chalkboard paint.  So whether it's open or closed, there's something fun to do!

I love these trees!  They were $89/piece, but they are pretty sun tolerant, drought resistant, yet able to handle the freezing nights here.
The dual-hardscape was achieved by staking down weed paper and creating a boarder with ceder slats ($3.49 for 10').  The cedar slats were staked into place, then the entire thing was backfilled with pea gravel and Juniper shavings.

Instead of traditional hard-wired lights, we opted to hang solar lanterns ($39 for 4) using plant hangers on the fence.

All the plants are fairly drought resistant, so we need very little water to make things bloom.  The downside is, most of these plants are nearly upgraded weeds, so they need to be cut back every year to prevent them from overtaking the yard.

Off the left, you can see my dog's pee pole, which we turned into a directional sting.  The big rectangular structure (also to the left)--an afterthought--has become a large fire pit.

I found this porch swing for $120 at Big Lots.  It doesn't match perfectly, but seriously, how cute, right?

The Firepit - So easy to make!

We decided to use pea gravel instead of bark to backfill the retaining wall.  I think it draws in the hillside and doesn't compete with the hardscape.

This will one day house crawling purple flowers.  I saw this on Pinterest, and it ends up looking like wine spilling out of the barrel.  The flowers are still seeding, but we found some beautiful perennials, so once they bloom, we will have the blooms year after year.  My husband had to install a mister in order to water these.

The stairs.  We are still backfilling the area with rocks, but they are a bit hard to find.

My husband made me this adorable herb garden.  Another idea from Pinterest.  Can't wait until it's done, because I love fresh herbs for cooking.