Friday, May 17, 2013

Weight Watchers

Had some good response yesterday to my question about my next Weight Watchers (WW) journey. So I'll do one post today that talks strictly about that and then I'll address it a little in each post. Sound good? Good. Here we go.
If you've been on WW before, you know about the Points or Points Plus format. If not, basically everything you eat is assigned a point value based on fat, fiber, carbs, and protein. It's not about calories. You don't track calories. You track points. Things have changed slightly since I was on the program two years ago in that you can adjust your points values. I'm only going to speak about my experiences as I know nothing about the Points values for men on WW. For me, last go around, I was assigned 29 points for the day and 49 extra points for the week that could be spread out daily, all in one sitting, or for splurges. This go around they assigned me 26 points. Since I don't eat fruit (0 points), I found that 26 points was just not enough so I bumped my point value up to 29 points since I know that value worked last time. I will say that I always go over. Every day. Always. That's just me. So that's points in a nutshell.
I'm not going to advise you to see a doctor, blah blah blah. Does anyone really do that? Hmm. Well, actually I did last time and it was only because I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The very next day I went on WW per my doctor's advice. I clocked in at 202lbs when I started this program and have been in the 170s ever since. But if you have any concerns about your health, do what you feel is best before starting WW. There - that's my disclaimer. I'm not being paid to do this post, I'm not sponsored by WW (have I ever been sponsored by anyone? No). So no legal mumbo jumbo here.
So now on to the fun part. What do I eat? Everything. WW is really about portion control. I will advise you to purchase (if you don't already have) three things:
  • Digital food scale
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
These are invaluable tools on WW and keep you honest in portion sizes (if used). Don't eyeball anything. You will overeat. The other advice before I get into my food is to download the WW app on your phone. When you are in a pickle in the grocery store and can't decided between the WW brand light string cheese (2 pts) and the Laughing Cow Light Babybel (1 pt), you'll wish you had the quick calculator on the app. If you join and go to physical meetings, I think you get a calculator and other junk. I do all of this online. I don't like meetings and rah-rah feel-good sessions. I'm  accountable to myself and the only way this program works is if you are completely honest about your food and activity.
Okay, so the food. This can get long so what I'll do is list my food and points used each day that I post on my blog so you can see what I'm eating. I like to cook so I make dinner a few nights/week. Here's a good starter recipe for dinner that I based off a Pinterest recipe (baked chicken foil packets).
Remember - measure everything!
4 servings, 11 points per serving
1lb boneless skinless chicken cutlets
1 box low sodium Stovetop stuffing
4 cups (or however much you want) broccoli florets
1 cup chopped carrots
4 TBSP light Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded cheese (you can use light cheese/fat free/or full fat). I used Trader Joe's Swiss and Gruyere - full fat
Pour stuffing into a bowl and mix with water until moistened. You aren't cooking the stuffing. Just getting it moistened. Spread in a greased baking dish. *Note - you only get a 1/2 cup of stuffing to keep within the point limit. There are 6 servings in a box. So make sure to measure only a 1/2 cup when this dish is done baking. Place uncooked chicken cutlets on top of stuffing. 3-4 oz is the normal serving size for meat. 4 oz is what this recipe is calculated on for points. Top chicken with uncooked broccoli and carrots. Load up on the broccoli - it's 0 points! Top veggies with the light ranch dressing and then the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 425 degrees. Yum!
Could you lighten this dish up even more without the stuffing? Absolutely! Could you use other dressings? Of course - light Caesar works great, too! Fat free cheese - ewww - doesn't melt well but go for it. I prefer light cheese over FF.
Okay, so that's an example of one dinner. So here are some things I buy and keep handy in my fridge/pantry:
  • Land 'O Lakes Light Butter with Canola oil - the best light butter there is in my opinion. Tastes just like regular butter. (1 TBSP = 1 point)
  • Fiber One Pancake mix - love this stuff and eat every weekend. Have to order it now as I can't find it in stores since moving back to FL. (3 pancakes = 1/2 cup mix = 5 points).
  • Any brand light sour cream. (2 TBSP = 1 point)
  • Egg beaters or egg substitute. Almost every work week morning starts with egg beaters. I combine 1/4 cup of regular with 1/4 cup Southwest. (1/4 cup = 1 point)
  • Hungry Jack Lite Syrup. Tastes like the full sugar version and I've tried a lot of syrups. If you want gross - buy the sugar free version. Blech. I typically dip my pancakes in syrup, rather than smother them. I use 2TBSP on my pancakes. (1/4 cup = 3 points)
  • Skinny Cow Chocolate and Caramel Divine Filled Chocolates - oh my new favorite treat. Comes in a package of 3 squares. (1 square = 1 point).
  • Sugar free Handi-Snacks Vanilla Pudding (1 cup = 1 point)
  • Deli-sliced honey ham (2oz = 2 points)
  • Thomas's English Muffins (1 muffin = 3 points)
  • Smart Food White Cheddar Cheese popcorn. You get more bang for your buck if you want something crunchy and salty. I typically have 1/2 serving. (1 serving = 1 3/4 cup = 4 points)
  • Laughing Cow Light Mini Babybel cheese (1 piece = 1 point)
  • Wheat Thins (16 crackers = 4 points)
  • Al Dente Carb Nada Low Carb pasta. The best tasting low carb pasta. I don't waste time with that Shakira/Shitaki fish smelling crap. Yeah, let me rinse the fish smell off my pasta. That's appetizing. (2oz = 3 points)
  • Minute Brown/Brown & Wild Rice Cups. There's an Asian beef stir fry WW recipe I use over brown rice for dinner quite often. (1 cup = 4 points)
  • Jimmy Dean Reduced Fat Pork Sausage. My eggs need a little meat in the mornings. I add 1/4- 1/2 oz for 1 WW point.
  • Caramel mini rice cakes. Sometimes you need just a little something to get through the afternoons and these are eh but accomplish the task (8 mini cakes = 2 points)
  • Kraft Singles Reduced Fat 2% American Cheese. I put a slice on top of my eggs. (1 slice = 1 point)
  • Cheerios. A little high in points in my opinion so I eat about a 1/3 serving if I'm still hungry in the mornings (1 cup = 3 points).
  • Smart Balance Fat Free Milk. This one tastes like 2%. And it's organic, which to me means nothing more than it will last for more than a month in the fridge (8oz = 3 points)
  • Diet Coke/Pepsi. I'm a diet soda junkie. Can't give it up. Luckily it's 0 WW points.
  • Hot tea. My favorite is Bigelow Earl Grey Green. A must try if you've never had it. I may have two cups/day with 1 equal each (0 points).
  • Chicken sausage links. I get Trader Joe's. They are great grilled or pan fried. I also combine them with a few potatoes and roast with bell peppers and onions. (3oz chicken sausage = 3 points)
Okay, so those are a few staples. Now for eating out. Don't! No, I'm just kidding. You can eat out, you just have to plan. This is where the iPhone app comes in handy. Look up restaurants before you go. Load up on veggies. Stick with grilled meats/seafood that aren't drowning in butter. Ask for sauces on the side.
Subway has slimy meat but they are great for WW folks, especially for lunch or a quick post workout dinner. I typically get a 6" ham and Swiss sandwich on wheat or 9 grain oat for 8 points. I get a very little bit of honey mustard and that's it. But you could load it up with veggies as well or skip the cheese altogether.
  • Bang Bang shrimp - eat half and it's only 6 points! Add a glass of red wine (5oz) for 4 points more for a little splurge at Bonefish Grill.
  • Chick-Fil-A is another good one when it comes to WW points. 8 nuggets = 7 points. Skip the waffle fries.
  • Need a Five Guys hamburger fix? (Eat there sparingly) Get the Little Burger for 13 points.
  • Panera - I usually get the You Pick Two and get an Asian Chicken Salad and a cup of Broccoli Cheddar soup (Total points = 11).
So those are a few of my dining choices. Another good tip is to order kid's meals. They are portioned correctly.
How many points do I typically use in a day - about 32-33. Yes, I go over. Every day I go over my 29 allotted points. Every day I pull from my 49 weekly points. I like food. I get hungry. I eat. Will I have rapid weight loss? No. But slow and steady will help later on with maintenance.
Do I exercise? Yes. Blech! I may want a donut on a Saturday morning. Maybe two. I exercise so I can get activity points. I aim for two days/week. Sometimes three. I don't really like exercising so I take group classes at my gym. Spinning or RPM is the most beneficial to my body type. It tones my lower half like no other exercise. And Body Combat (kickboxing) is just fun but can is hard on my body. So I go at my own pace with both activities.
Okay, I think that's enough for this post. I'll write more with each blog post. And if you have any questions, just ask. I'll give weekly weigh-ins as well.
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  1. Love this post, as I'm also doing WW.
    As someone who likes to exercise, I love that you can eat whatever points you earn through exercise that day. It's a nice way to get a little something extra.
    I also go to the meetings- I do think sometimes they're hokey. The key is trying out different meeting leaders. I found one leader whose style I just love, he's hysterical and his focus is on unconditional support for each other. It's very empowering to be in a room where we all struggle with food and can empathize with each other's challenges.

    Keep the posts coming- your new job seems to have punched up the fun factor on your outfits! Love it!

    1. Ahhh. You are so right with the outfits. I freed myself from that horrible workplace and now I can express myself a little more creatively. I'm back to working in a small company where appearance isn't so black and white and rule-driven. Heck I can even vary my schedule to make different group exercise classes. Quite liberating! Glad you found a meeting that works for you. For me, I'm only competing with myself and online works best for my lifestyle and personality.

  2. Niki - Do you go to WW meetings or do all online?

    1. The post is long but I do mention that I do this all online. No meetings.

    2. Was reading on my teeny tiny iPhone screen so missed. Thanks for replying.

    3. Not a problem. Format is quirky on the phone.

  3. Niki...Oh the WW rodeo. I have been paying my online fee for the last year and haven't tracked a thing...and have gained back everything I lost last year! You are inspiring me to start it once again. I will have to look up that stir fry recipe it sounds good! I am suprised and totally jealous that working out only 2/3 times a week works for you! I have to work out 6 days a week to see any kind of results and I despise exercise, ugh. I know its good for you and all but UGH. I'd rather read a book. Good luck to you!!!


    1. Alyssa, one of the big things that I didn't include in this post is that you have to first get into the right frame of mind. If you can't get motivated, it will be so hard to stick with. One of the reasons WW works for me is that it basically taught me 2 things: portion control and swapping calorie laden foods for lighter options. That's it! Jennifer Hudson never came knocking on my door saying I'd be a size 6. That's never gonna happen, so #3 - be realistic about your body type and weight loss. As for working out. Cant stand it. Has to be done so that I balance points. I get enough for the week so i can drink some wine and have some cheat foods. In the process, spinning slims my butt and hips, which as you can see from my pics, I'm bottom heavy.

    2. Niki, getting in the right frame of mind is everything. Love the staples list. Great post..thanks so much!

  4. Really like your food list as there are some things that I wasn't aware of like the Fiber One Pancake mix and and the Al Dente Carb Nada Low Carb pasta. I'll have to check those two out :-)


    1. I have to order the pancake mix from amazon since i can't find it down here. Seen it in a couple of Sweetbay stores. Cant find the Fiber One bread anywhere and I was addicted to it up north. Peppridge Farms is similar bread but just not the same. I typically make my sandwiches with Nature's Own now. The carb nada pasta is also hard to find so i do an Amazon order of pancake mix and pasta that lasts me about 6 months or longer.

  5. "get into the right frame of mind".....Amen to that sister! I am a diabetic, and I was feeling like I was dealing with health issues that were popping up faster than weeds after the rain. I finally got into the right frame of mind, and with the help of my amazing doctor I was able to get on a plan that worked for me. I am a very small boned person and I was wearing a size 14....I am currently a size 0/2 (as small as that sounds, it really is the size range that fits my very small frame). As much as I am happier with the change in size's my health numbers that are the real victory. For the first time in years, I have my A1-C numbers in the normal range!!! : ]

    Cheers to you!

    1. Getting into a size 14 pant is my goal. So glad you were able to get healthy and get your numbers in the normal range. My uncle lost a leg a couple of years ago to diabetes.
      With my body type, I can drop 20lbs and only see 1 size difference, while other women can drop 40lbs and go from a size 14 to a 6. That just doesn't happen for me. So I'm setting my goals to fit my body type and I would feel very comfortable if my skirt size matched my pant size. That way I could have more options and be able to walk into any store and buy a pair of pants, rather than seek them out in stores that sell size 16. It's a drag. I will have to lose about 15lbs to squeeze in a size 14 pant.

  6. I just wanted to drop a note to let you know that this has become one of my favorite blogs - not because of WW (I don't use it but still find it interesting), but because I think your outfits are terrific - adventurous, "real" (ie affordable, occasionally splurgy, accessible, and perfect for a fashion-y real life working woman). I still follow the big blogs, but really, who in real life can afford a new $3K outfit everyday? ;-) Anyhow, thanks so much for this blog, love it. Oh, and also absolutely appreciate your attitude on what "work" should be - hurray for you for finding a great new gig, hope it works out for you!

    1. Omg! I am so touched by your comment. Thank you so much! Glad you like my blog and outfits!

  7. Have you seen the WW app that allows you to scan in the barcode on foods and drinks and it tells you how many points it is? A lot of my running partners are on WW and they were showing it to me at breakfast one morning. A lot of them are real success stories and incredible ladies. Will be texting today!

    1. No I haven't! I'll go search for it. Does it scan BK Whoppers? ;-)