Apr 30, 2011

The Saturday Skinny: WW Week 13 - Reading Labels

Welcome to the weekend everyone and thanks for stopping by The Saturday Skinny! I woke up to much cooler weather this morning than we've been having here in central Florida. Right now, its only 50 degrees outside! That is going to make for a great walk this morning!

I've just completed my 13th week on Weight Watchers Online and I am pleased to report I am right on track! I lost another 2.2 pounds this week, bringing my total weight lost to 21.6 pounds! I am so pleased to have surpassed the 20-pound mark!

This journey has been so enlightening to me and I've learned so much, not only about myself, but about nutrition in general. I've realized that there are many foods and snacks out there that I thought were healthy only to realize they really aren't. One big surprise was granola. I really love granola and used to eat it with my yogurt and I ate granola bars as snacks. But not any more. Granola actually isn't that healthy and is not helpful if you are on a weight loss plan. Recently, I picked up a box of granola cereal that was advertised as a 'healthy alternative' and after looking at the nutrition label and reading the ingredients, it was very clear that it was not healthy at all. I use my WW PointsPlus calculator religiously to help me stay on the right food track and when choosing cereal, I don't like to go over 4 points per serving. I found that most granola cereals are at least 6 points per serving not counting the milk. I also found the sugar levels in many of them were higher.

This revelation about granola lead me to do some research and I came across this article called Not-So- Healthy Health Foods on MedicineNet.com that was very interesting. It talks about how some 'healthy' foods are not that healthy and how to spot the hidden pitfalls of these foods. Before joining WW, I used to only read the calories and fat on the nutrition label, but now I read all of the nutrition label of everything I eat. These labels are there for a reason and we should take advantage of them and not just accept what we're told through advertising. You can learn a lot by reading those labels.

Another area that was an eye opener for me was fruit juices. I'm not a soda drinker and I always prided myself for drinking a lot of juice instead, thinking I was choosing the healthy alternative. Boy, was I wrong! Some juices are almost as bad as soda because of the sugar levels. Tomato juice has become my favorite juice. Thankfully, I love the taste - as long as it's cold and it only has 1 WW Point per 8 oz. serving. I have a glass every single day around 11:00. There are many healthful benefits with tomatoes and tomato juice, including fighting cancer cells. But the liquid I drink the most of is plain ole water with lemon. You can never have too much water and even though I fought it in the beginning, I have changed my thinking and I have seen the benefits in my own body. First and foremost, it helps with weight loss and secondly, my skin is so much clearer than before. Because of my age (47), I am having some dryness on my face and since I've been drinking as much water as I have, I've noticed a huge difference!

There is so much nutritional information out there if we only take the time to read it. I cringe when I think back at how I used to just grab whatever I was craving off the shelf without even looking at the label. That is how I ended up 20+ pounds overweight in the first place. Once you get in the habit of reading the labels and understanding them, it will become second nature to you.

I'd like to thank you once again for stopping by and sharing my weight loss progress. I'm on the downhill side now and I am even more excited to reach my ultimate goal. Be sure to let me know how you are doing on your journey as well. I look forward to hearing your story!

Apr 23, 2011

The Saturday Skinny: WW Week 12

Hello and thank you for visiting The Saturday Skinny! I've been tracking my weight loss now for 12 weeks and I am so glad that I chose Weight Watchers Online to do it. This system works so well for me because it has taught me to eat healthy. But more on that in a minute. First I want to get right to the important part - my weigh-in . . .

At my weigh-in this morning, I lost another 2.2 pounds! That brings my total weight lost to 19.6 pounds in 12 weeks! Needless to say, I'm very happy with that. With every week I'm getting closer and closer to my overall goal.

Like I said before, WW has really taught me how to eat healthy. I always thought I did eat healthy, until I started tracking all the food I put in my body. It didn't take long to figure out that I was wrong! I wasn't eating healthy at all. Too much butter, too much pasta, and my portions were totally wrong. For me, living alone only made it easier to eat too much. Plus, I loved to snack in the evenings. I was being so bad and didn't give it a thought! My friend, Brenda, and I were talking the other day about how we used to eat so much junk and not even think about how bad it was for us. I don't think we'll ever go back to that again. I really do care what I eat and I don't want to go back to where I was.

There's a great book I want to get called EAT THIS, NOT THAT by David Zinczinko. It seems like it would be a great tool to help with swapping out some of the fattier foods for less fatty alternatives. There's even a 2011 Version available now. I've seen David on the morning news shows several times and he always breaks down how many calories are in a lot of the foods we eat and compares them to what it is equal to. One that was really surprising to me was the salads that a lot of the restaurants serve. I usually always order a nice salad - my favorite is a Southwest Salad with pico de gallo, sour cream and a creamy ranch-type dressing. He showed that there are more calories in that salad than if I were to eat multiple Whoppers from Burger King! When he brings that plate out with the burgers and you visually see the comparisons it really is shocking! I always love when he is on TV and always try to watch him. I don't have this book yet, but I am going to get it soon! I think it would be a good partner to my diet program. In it he also explains that although many cereals claim to be 'healthy', you have to be careful of the sugar levels along with the calories. There were some shocking comparisons there as well! I am looking forward to getting this book. I love all the comparisons and alternatives! I'll let you know when I have it!

So that is my update for week 12 of my weight loss journey. Thanks so much for taking an interest and all of your encouraging words. It really does mean a lot. I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter weekend!

Apr 16, 2011

The Saturday Skinny: WW Week 11 The Moral of the Story...

Hello and Happy Saturday! Thanks for stopping by and checking in on my Weight Watchers progress. This is the end of my 11th week and I am happy to say that I have yet to be burned out on the program. But before I get into that, let me get to the important part - the numbers...

I pretty much broke even this week. Technically, I lost .2 pounds, but c'mon - really?! So my total lost is 17.4. Hey, as long as I didn't gain anything, I'm happy! I'm only 4 pounds away from the second goal that WW set for me. This week I was a little concerned about getting burned out on the program now that its been 11 weeks, so I just did what made me happy but still worked out everyday. I didn't go crazy, but I had some food fun!

It started with going out last Saturday night for a farewell dinner of a friend who was moving to New York. I ate some Cajun food, had some drinks and even a few bites of Key Lime pie! We had a blast and that's all that matters. Then I got back to business the first part of the week. On Thursday I went to a food tasting where several restaurants get together and you go around and sample their food. Oh my gosh! That was heaven! We sampled some delicious food in a relaxing pool-side atmosphere as the sun went down and shared a bottle of wine. It was a really fun evening and I was so glad my mom was able to go and enjoy herself too. She's been taking care of my dad who is suffering from cancer and it did her a lot of good to get out and relax. We all had a terrific time and the best part was that is was FREE! I like free!!

So even though I didn't really lose any weight this week, it meant more to me to enjoy some time with my friends and family. So the moral of the story is to not take your weight loss program so serious that you lose focus on what's really important in your life. Sometimes its the little things that really make you happy and being with the people I love is what makes me happy.

Apr 9, 2011

The Saturday Skinny: WW Week 10 Trackin' It!

Hello and thanks for stopping by The Saturday Skinny! It is the end of my 10th week on Weight Watchers Online and I'm a little over half-way to my ultimate goal weight. At my weigh-in this morning, I lost another 1.2 pounds, bringing my total to 17.2 pounds lost! I'm really beginning to see it in my clothes that are now baggy on me. Living in Florida, swimsuit season is brutal and it is here so I'm believing I won't be having as much anxiety over that this season.

This week I kind of got away from tracking all of my meals a little bit and it certainly showed in my progress. The first part of the week, I wasn't as strict with myself and didn't write down everything I ate and it made me realize that for right now, I have to keep vigilant about that. It kieeps me aware and on track and that is what I need. Another thing I did differently this week was to get away from the Smart Ones frozen meals because I found myself getting bored with them. It does help that I add my own protein to them to make them more filling, but I grew tired of them nonetheless. I prepared some of my own food and even made pasta one night. Pasta is something that I used to eat a lot of and boy, did it taste good! I'd also been craving a juicy hamburger because I've been eating only chicken, fish and shrimp. So after some research, I discovered that i can eat a Wendy's single cheese burger with no mayo for under 8 points! So I RAN to Wendy's and got one along with a side salad with Light Ranch dressing with a Diet Coke and it was great! I satisfied my craving while staying within my points allowance for that meal. Just for information purposes, I also looked up a Burger King Whopper without mayo and it was almost double the WW point value. And Sonic - well, let me just tell you that there is NOTHING at Sonic that comes close. At least now I know that I can still have a Wendy's cheeseburger every now and again and not feel bad about it.

I've moved up my walking to 3.5 miles and it takes about an hour. It's really starting to get hot down here in Florida, so I'm walking earlier and earlier in the day. I love to get out early when the birds are chirping and everything is fresh. On our walk today, we came across a coral snake slithering across the path and usually we see several gopher turtles and some are quite big!

The trails we walk are part of the Marjorie Carr Cross Florida Greenway, which used to be known as the Cross Florida Barge Canal. It stretches from the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast all the way to the St. Johns River on the east coast. A nature trail runs through part of the 110 mile corridor. That area is known as Marshall Swamp and that is the area near my house where I walk everyday. We always see some sort of wildlife but I'm sure the woods come alive at night with many wild animals I'd rather not encounter on my daily walks! We always take Brenda's American Bulldog with us and she keeps us alerted to everything around us. Here's a couple of pictures to give you an idea of how remote and beautiful it is.

Thanks again for stopping by and allowing me to share my weight loss journey! I still surprise myself with how strict I am with it and how far I've come in a short amount of time. I look forward to these weekly posts and I hope you enjoy them and even get some encouragement from them. Please come back again! Have a wonderful weekend!

Apr 4, 2011

Musing Mondays: 4.4.11

This week's musing asks:

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?

No, I was never teased about reading as a child. Although I do remember reading a lot at home, especially in the winter months, I was involved in a lot of outdoor activities both in school and away from school. I was also in band and our school took a lot of pride in and put a lot of hard work in our performances, which required many hours of practice. At home, my sister and I had our quarter horses that we showed on weekends that also required a lot of practice. Our parents never had to tell us to go outside because we were out there from sun up to sun down voluntarily every day.

I didn't become what I consider an avid reader until my early 20's and still it was hot and cold. I'd read many books in a row, then wouldn't pick one up for months. After I was married at age 25, and life settled down a bit, I developed an interest in legal dramas and was completely captivated by a newcomer by the name of John Grisham. Since then I have become a bookworm and reading has been a constant in my life. I've also broadened my horizons by reading many genres that I never thought I would enjoy.

As a kid, I always loved carrying any book I was reading around school. And I never felt the slightest bit intimidated by other kids because of it.

Thanks for stopping by for Musing Mondays. For more interesting answers to today's question, please visit Should Be Reading.

Apr 2, 2011

The Saturday Skinny: WW Week 9 - Momentum!

Hello and thanks for stopping by The Saturday Skinny! Boy, this week flew by and with all of the nasty weather we had here in central Florida this week, exercising outside was dicey. There were a few days I barely got my 2 miles in before the skies opened up on me. There were, however, two days that I didn't walk at all - unless walking around Walmart counts!? Just kidding . . .

So, I wasn't confident to step on the scale this morning, but it all turned out OK. I lost another 2.2 pounds, bringing my total to 16 pounds lost in 9 weeks.! I couldn't be happier!

When I started this program, I just didn't think it would go this smoothly. But I have been very dedicated and determined to get back to what I used to look like 5 years ago. These last five years have been difficult for me and I know that is another reason I put on the extra weight. I don't really consider myself an 'emotional eater', but I supposed I probably am to a certain degree. I find comfort in cooking foods I love and I love food. Its that simple. I also think depression played a big part in my weight gain as well. Although my doctor prescribes anti-depressants for me that I don't take, I haven't considered myself depressed since right after my husband and I split up 11 years ago. And even then, it took several years for me to see it for myself and realize that I was in a state of depression. The last two years, especially, have been hard for me. That's when I came to terms with the fact that my current relationship wasn't healthy for me and I needed to end it for once and for all. Having done that last month, I feel like a weight has been lifted and I believe that has given me the strength and determination to work hard to lose this weight.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that having the right mindset is so very important when trying to lose weight on any program. As long as I keep my focus and don't get deterred, I am confident I will continue on this path.

Thanks again for stopping by and for leaving me encouraging comments. I feel like its therapeutic to write this weekly blog and share my experiences. I hope you all don't tire of it because I love hearing from you, especially when you say I've motivated you as well. So thank you for supporting me!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and that we all get some nice weather! See you next time!