Friday, December 31, 2010

Week In Review & Weigh In

Holidays always make being on plan and on program a challenge.  These two weeks have certainly been a challenge for me in terms of no schedule, eating, and exercising.  I've eaten out more than I have in a very long time!  I've also had holiday eating to deal with this week as well!

Today was my weigh-in at home and surprisingly I'm down!  I'm down 1.5lbs!  I'm not sure what really played a roll in that, the daily exercise/running I've been putting in for two weeks now? (which yesterday I took a break from, no activity points at all yesterday).  The unpredictable eating and foods?  Who knows

Here's what my week looks like from Weight Watchers land :

This past week's highlights :

  • Exercising every day since December 17-29!
  • Having some valuable "me" time (stitching time)
  • Getting to see family & friends
A definite highlight was seeing my good friend Kathy for dinner on Tuesday night (sorry no pictures).  I won't get to see her again until I fly down to Arizona for March Break.

I also got to spend the afternoon and evening with Claire, we've been best friends since Grade 10.  She is up from Jacksonville, Florida visiting her family.  I think I'm going to have to look at flights to FLA this summer during my holidays.  Boy every time I see Claire I realize just how much I miss her!

This past week's challenges:
  • Meals out
  • Holiday food
  • Chocolate
  • Motivation to exercise
Challenges for the upcoming week:
  • New Year's Eve
  • Getting back on program and back on schedule.
I didn't make it to a Weight Watchers meeting this week so no wonderful words of wisdom to share with you.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Survived Christmas... for the most part

How did everyone do over the biggest food weekend of the year?

I did not too bad, I weighed in (at home of course) on Christmas Eve morning, and I was down 0.5lbs not bad really, considering how much I ate out that week (can you say 3 days in a row).  So my tactic of exercise every day and watching all my other meals worked.  I followed up that nice little weigh in with breakfast out.  Todd and I go out for breakfast to our favourite local restaurant for the last 3 years on Christmas Eve.  Its also our chance to pick up a few last minute things.

Me, Todd and my niece Emma

That night was Christmas with my family I host it every year and its very informal.  I made a massive amount of chili!  We had chili cheese dogs (well I just had the chili I didn't think the hot dog and bun were worth 6 points), salad, and ice cream Christmas log for dessert.  Now that Christmas log... worth every point its super yummy!  I got some lovely gifts this year... including a nice box of Toblerones!  So far I've only eaten 2 and I'm hoping to remain in control with those.

Christmas Day was spent with Todd's family we had a more traditional meal, turkey, roast beef, stuffing and all the fixings.  I did pretty well at that meal as well in terms of portions and filling 1/2 of my plate with veggies.  Normally I can ignore stuffing, except Todd's Mom's its divine!  There was also homemade pie!  Apple and a cherry pie, I had a small piece of both (heck I ran 3km before leaving the house).

Now it was Boxing Day that did me in, I was in no mood to go out shopping like Todd and I had discussed originally.  I was good until the afternoon.  I got up in the morning and made meat sauce to stock up my freezer, which also had a lot of leftover chili in it.  I also put the turkey carcass from Christmas in the crock pot to make stock (will turn that into soup today).  In the afternoon I had a slice of leftover Christmas log and it went downhill from there!  I had 2 slices of ice cream log and small pieces of pie (apple & cherry) as well that was pretty much dinner.  Now I didn't eat ALL of that at once but it wasn't healthy food.  I seem to be really good for an amount of time then I'll have one day where I kida go nuts-ish.  But I'm always pretty good at getting back on track.

Boxing Day Deals!  Nice new winter coat (Mum paid for most of it)

(New winter boots, mine looked like crap)

Always need pants for work!

Yesterday Todd and I went out shopping, looking for the "Boxing Week" deals.  I got myself a really nice new winter coat (ski jacket).  Last year I bought myself a cheap one since I had so much to buy as my weight had stabilized and my old winter stuff was miles too big!  I also got a deal on 2 pairs of pants, and a steal on new winter boots!  That has been the one huge advantage to loosing my weight, I enjoy going shopping for clothes!  Most things fit and look great!

Bad girl!

Now I was bad and since we were in the East end of town which we don't go to very often, I wanted to check out the Lindt Outlet store.  I did buy a "little" chocolate, and I hit the Bulk Barn for the jujubes I've been craving!  Felt a little silly spending 81 cents but as we all know its better to buy a little and enjoy it than buy a lot and pig out!  I'm hoping with all these goodies in the house I can practice restraint.  We'll see.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Tactics/Weekly Meeting Topic : The Powerhouse of Fruits and Vegetables

Ready or not, Christmas is coming actually its almost here!  Besides getting my tree up yesterday, and a marathon of shopping (oh and a trip to the gym too) today I am as ready for Christmas as I'm ever going to be.  How about you?

I've been off of work the last week and I've spent a lot of it taking care of #1 (me), getting myself back on track... and in all honesty I just want to "break even" at the scale during this holiday season.  It started out with a trip to the gym last Friday (for the first time in weeks) to today's trip to the gym.  I have been running on my treadmill at home, and going to the last Taekwon-Do classes of the year.  I've racked up over 50 Activity Points this week!  Is it going to help me at tomorrow's weigh in?  I have my doubts.

"Girl, you're a machine, you're nuts..." I'm sure these things are going through your head right now thinking that I don't expect a loss at the scale this week.  The last 3 days I have eaten one meal out that's why!  Tuesday was lunch out with the girls from the office sadly we went to Kelsey's which has nasty food stats no matter how "healthy" it sounds.  Most dishes had 30-50+ grams of fat!  The safest choice for me on the menu was fajitas, and I didn't even eat the whole serving.  Todd, had a nice dinner when he got home from work Tuesday night.  Now I did hit the gym before Tuesday's lunch date to try and keep the damage to a minimum.  Last night was an Indian meal out with my best friend and my parents.  I was not bad there either, normally I order Butter Chicken (can you say high in points?  But super yummy!), naan bread and rice.  We decided to share 3 different dishes last night, yes Butter Chicken was one of those but I added a healthy Chicken Tikka Masala into the mix, and pretty much at that with a little taste of the other two, cream based dishes.  Oh and bread and rice!  I usually don't allow myself to have two carbs with a meal, this is one of my exceptions to the rule.  Then today while my best friend and I were out on our marathon gym/food/Christmas shopping trip we stopped at a pub very well known for their fish and chips.  Their fish is actually not that bad in terms of points, but I figured to heck with it and instead of ordering a salad with my fish, I had the 1/2 salad 1/2 chips.  Oh boy did I enjoy those chips!  Then while at the Scottish and British store I had to buy one of the delectable British chocolate bars, I did share a little of it, again worth every point.  Soooo.... like I said no high hopes for tomorrow morning.

Okay so I made it to my WW meeting on Tuesday evening and the meeting was a combination of tactics to survive the Christmas meal(s) and more on fruit and vegetables.

In terms of fruits & veggies, they're good for you and they are yummy!  Enjoy them, don't abuse them.  One interesting tidbit she did share with us was the idea of 0 point fruit is to replace your high fat/high carb snacks (aka granola bars, 100 calorie treats) with fruit not to have the fruit in addition to your high fat/high carb snacks. 

Now lets move onto the more important and scary thing at hand.... CHRISTMAS IS COMING!  CHRISTMAS IS COMING!  Here are some ideas/tips/strategies that hopefully you put into play when you go to "strap on the feed bag" on Saturday!

  • The week before & after Christmas (any special holiday actually) adjust your mindset... focus on maintaining your weight instead of loosing.  This way you don't feel awful when you don't get the loss you were expecting.  Also this keeps you from getting into a "guilt cycle" over what you ate, and any weak moments you may (will) have when food is available.
  • Think about your food choices!  If you are going to eat that treat, make sure its the one thing you really want, that you can't easily get any other time of the year.  In other words you can't live without it!
  • During the day of the big meal/event/party have lots of fruits and veg available in the house. 
  • Don't skip out on meals during the day but fill up on light and these zero point foods to save on points.
  • Before going to a meal I'll have a salad or a piece of fruit 60-30 minutes ahead of time so that I don't go to the table hungry. 
  • Also use fruits and vegetables to "bulk up" the meal!  If they're there, trust me you will eat them!
  • When loading up that massive dinner plate put fruit/veg on 1/2 of the plate and feel free to pile it high!  Divide the other 1/2 of the plate into 1/4 carbohydrate (that means a roll or potatoes or pasta or rice or stuffing not all of the above and not piled high), 1/4 lean protein (turkey is points friendly, enjoy!)
  • To practice portion control without weighing and measuring your food, leave space between your food, like an ocean between the continents!
  • Have fruit on hand for dessert!
  • Don't forget to exercise, even a short walk will burn some calories, and will leave you feeling better and refreshed, not sleepy and lazy as a big meal is likely to do!
So there you have it my survival tips for Christmas Dinner!  I hope you take something here and put it into practice!!

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Meeting Topic : Understanding and Trusting PointsPlus

I have a feeling over the next few weeks our meeting talk will be mainly focused on the new program PointsPlus (as its being called in Canada).  There was supposed to be a structure to the meeting but it pretty much turned into a all around general discussion about the program, problems and feelings about it.

Did you know that 4 years of research went into the new PointsPlus system, testing it on various subjects before it was released this year?

There is more freedom and flexibility with this program, I really do think the free fruit is the main reason for this.  Did you know that all people can talk about are bananas lately?  See, on the old plan they were 2 points and a lot of people felt it was silly to spend 2pts on a measly, good for you banana when you could have a Cadbury Thin for the same number of points!  We all gravitate to the foods that taste best, now I have always LOVED bananas and both on the new and old plan I eat one every day.  I have to admit though with the change in fruit I sometimes find myself having two in a day.  So what I mean to say is with fruit being free there seems to be a few more points to spend elsewhere.  At least in my case there it.  It is interesting in the meeting to hear about how many people where restricting their fruits on the old program because they had points.  I had a banana and an apple every day before and I'll continue to have them now.

This program is designed for sustainable weight loss!  From what I'm hearing people who have been on the new program awhile now find themselves loosing a little more weight (especially those who were on the high end of their goal weight) and its staying off too!  Like I said on my last post, I still have high hopes for this new program I DESPERATELY want to loose my last 8 pounds!  Please!  I WANT to be a meeting leader (since WW won't even look at me despite my success, I will share my experiences here with you instead).

The key focus of this program is to eat high fiber and high protein.  I must admit I have been definitely focusing more on the protein side of things, and yes I am feeling fuller longer.  If I feel peckish I don't feel guilty grabbing that piece of fruit anymore.

Now here's the best information I got out of the meeting : eat all your points!  Yes you should eat all your daily points (the weekly and activity points are up to you).  Weight Watchers believes that if you eat your daily target your body will have all the nutrients it needs to loose weight and be healthy.  If you under eat your target it will cause you to be deprived and loose motivation.  Did you notice they don't talk about it stalling your metabolism anymore?  That's right they and the science doesn't feel that under eating your points causes you to go into starvation but that your body isn't getting the things it needs to function properly... to loose weight.  We were actually told DON'T OVEREAT TO MEET YOUR TARGET. (I found myself eating when not hungry to do this).  It is OKAY to under eat slightly (by a few points, not a lot) now and again.

Hey Canada!  If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, the WW app is now available!  I'm loving it!

This new program is a learning curve, we all have to take what we USED to know, throw it out and pretend we are all Weight Watchers newbies!

I wish you all the best of luck with you holiday food challenges!  Tonight I went to one last party, where I actually indulged and had a light beer (oh it tasted so good), and a few baked goodies.  My tip for parties?  Don't grab a plate!  No matter what you do or if you're offered one say no to the plate!  If you have a plate you are tempted to fill it up with so many goodies.  I other grab one item and step away from the table and eat that or put one or two items on a napkin.  Its a round about way to practice portion control, but it does work.  When I caught myself starting to mindlessly pick at food on the table I got a piece of gum out of my purse.  Its at least a little gross to eat food and chew gum at the same time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Boing, boing, boing...

Do you hear that sounds... that bouncing noise?  That's my weight, yup I bounced right back up again to my Doctor assigned goal weight.  It happens every time I get below 145, I don't know why it happens.  It could be that my body just doesn't like being at a lower weight.  I could be subconsciously sabotaging myself.  Also it was a tough week in many areas.

Excuse #1.  Last day of exercise was Saturday when I had my latest hive breakout.  So I had not done any exercise of any kind since then.  5 whole days without earning a single activity point.  I had not step foot inside the gym since December 3rd until tonight.

Excuse#2. Too busy!  Monday night I taught TKD for 3 hours so I didn't get to take a class.  Tuesday night I treated myself to a massage... what idiot would workout after that?  Wednesday a parent meeting for the kids I'm taking to the DR in February.  Thursday dinner out and grocery/Christmas shopping.  So no time for working out and I'm pretty exhausted tonight!  Try coming home after 9 PM 3 nights in a week.

Excuse #3. Holiday food!!!  This was the last week before Christmas break at work.  So you can imagine the treats and chocolate have been abundant.  I handled some situations really well, and other situations poorly.  I must admit I enjoyed the home baked goodies, because I don't bake anymore... I'd eat it all in about 48 hours.  Also there was dinner out Wednesday and Thursday.

See?  Lots of good excuses to be up 1.5lbs this week.  I take ownership of all my poor choices this week and the consequences definitely showed up at the scale.  I still have high hopes of the new program working for me.  I'm looking forward to the next two weeks, where besides Christmas celebrations with family I can focus on proper eating and active living.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What To Say about PointsPlus?

I've known for quite some time that Weight Watchers was releasing a new plan, months before any of my fellow meeting members had any clue.  That's what happens when you're zipping around on the net reading blogs and message boards.  The plan was first released in the UK/Europe earlier in the fall then in the US shortly after Thanksgiving and as of December 5th, in Canada.  As usual we're the last to get anything... really we are!

What do I have to say about PointsPlus?  Well Weight Watchers has made a move in the right direction, they are trying move us away from focusing on the all mighty calorie its friend fat.  I'm not sure exactly how points are now calculated... yet at least.  I used to be able to eyeball a package and know exactly how many points it was without plugging in a single number into a calculator or using a slider.  Points are now calculated based on Fat, Fiber, Carbohydrates and Protein.

Why did Weight Watchers change?  The Momentum and previously the Points Plan worked wonderfully for so many people for 13 years.  Research and science has as usual changed things, with current research its been discovered that not every food is created equally in terms of how your body processes it and what energy it uses.  So now the points represent the energy left over after your body has used some of it to process the food.  Am I making sense? 

So what's the good things to focus on and the bad?  Before we used to look for low calorie, low fat, high fiber foods.  Now we are asked to focus on high fiber and high protein foods and try to reduce the high carbohydrate and fat foods.  This is not a no/low carb diet its just our body benefits more from high fiber/protein foods they leave us feeling fuller longer and heck these foods are good for us and just make sense.

You're all wondering, Dani what do you think of the new plan?  I'm really enjoying it!  I now get more points per day I've gone up from 20 to 29 points.  I'm still really having to plan my food to eat all the points each day I do find I'm eating more than I was before  My weekly "bonus" points have also gone up to 49.  So I have more points per day as one person said, call it a raise to cover the cost of living, as the cost of some foods have gone up as well.  High fiber/protein foods are now lower in points than foods that hare processed which are often high in carbohydrates/fat.  Oh yeah, not only are most veggies free, now fruit is free as well!  I think the reason why I'm struggling to consume all my points is because I didn't realize just how many points a day I was spending on my beloved fruit.  I've been shifting slowly over the last 6 months to move towards more "whole" foods, giving up granola bars and 100 calorie treats.  So WW is moving in the right direction, one I started going on naturally.

Basically, its the same plan they are just trying to get us thinking more in terms of real food not fake low calorie foods that's full of artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners, in other words... chemicals.  The plan hasn't changed, its still eat less and move more, just think of eat less, eat better and move more!

As I grow with this new plan, I'm sure I'll have more insights to share with you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Taekwon-Do Roots

This morning, despite the awful weather we had our annual Taekwon-Do Christmas Breakfast, I was shocked to find there were 113 people in attendance!  Students, instructors and their families attended.  As usual, it was a great time, the food was good... but I was a good girl and ate only half of it... feeding the rest to Todd.  Thank goodness that boy can EAT!

Also invited to our annual event were Senior Master Lu and his family.  I originally started my training under Master Lu when I lived in the city.  I actually received my 1st Degree Black Belt under his and his instructors, and continued to train for some time after that as a 1st Dan.  When I changed jobs, and moved to the country that's when I switched over to my current school, which loosely falls under Master Lu's umbrella as my instructor is Master Lu's student.

So I wanted to share this picture of you that I had taken today with Senior Master Lu and his wife Mrs. Seeley (6th Dan Black Belt).  These two people played a huge part in my early years in Taekwon-Do.  Also having Mrs. Seeley as an instructor was inspiring as a woman.  They both knew me as that "fat student".

Have you ever thought about who has influenced or affected who you are today?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Really, I Am Allergic to Exercise!

Once in a blue moon, this happens and most often when running, I break out in hives!  I've had 2 sever attacks that have sent me to hospital, where I have trouble breathing and I pass out 5-6 times in a short span of time.  After the second time I ended up in hospital I went through a bunch of tests and appointments.  The best diagnosis all of my doctors could agree on was "Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis"  It starts with hives, and I mean HIVES upon hives, on welts.  Even hives on the palms of my hands, eyelids... everywhere.  Then comes the shortness of breath, the dizziness and passing out.  Tonight's reaction, the first in over a year this past May was a little one, just some hives, not real bad (they did get a little worse after this picture was taken). 

In the past when I've had the sever reactions that have landed me in the Emergency room.  I've gone out for a meal, come home and felt EXTREMELY energetic, I mean so energetic that I want to go running!  Since I've figured this out, I don't go exercising after a meal out, especially when I'm feeling very energetic.  We've done food testing, and they can't figure out what causes my reaction.  Commonly an allergy like this is triggered by a food eaten within 4 hours of exercise.  So tonight's reaction was a total surprise!

No need to worry readers, I'm fine.

Since Monday I've been on the new Weight Watchers plan, Points Plus (here in Canada).  The plan was rolled out online on Monday, and I finally got my materials this morning at my Saturday meeting.  It was a long meeting, and I'm still going through the booklets.  So I'll hold off on my meeting post for a day or two until I'm finished reading all the materials and tell you what Points Plus is all about and how I'm feeling about it.

So far the vibes I have about this program are GREAT!  I had been on it 4 days when I weighed in Friday morning, and I'm down 1.5 lbs!  This means I'm sitting pretty at 143.5 lbs.  That's a number I've seen maybe 3 times since I've hit goal.  I'm trying to be really focused with this new program, and perhaps my hard work will pay off and I'll hit my Weight Watcher's goal weight of 137 lbs!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sometimes Your Body Says Enough!

Last year (school year) I had a very healthy year!  I think I used no more than 5 sick days the entire year.  Right now its December, and I've used 4 days!  I'm not having a good school year so far.  At first it was migraines and now I've got a cold. 

I am doing my best, trying to force myself to listen to my body instead of constantly being on the go!  Often if I'm not at the dojang, I'm at the gym or I'm out.  I'm usually a busy, busy girl and I do like to be that way... most of the time.  Lately I've been wanting nothing more than to just be home, but its that time of year where Christmas shopping needs to get done, there are social and other commitments.

I've been coming down with this cold since Friday, started slowly loosing my voice.  Today I finally stayed home and rested... well for the most part.  It was nice to get up when my body said it was time to get up.  I took a nap, when my body said it was time.  I did get in a 3K run on the treadmill, I was able to breathe no problem and my coughing didn't act up so I went with it.  Was it foolish or smart?  I don't know my voice is 90% better and I do feel much better today.  I'll be back at work tomorrow.

Some of you may think I'm crazy getting in a run while I have a cold.  The other week an article came up on my Weight Watchers home page (as they usually do each week) called "Too Sick to Sweat".  I of course read it, not know I had a cold in my near future.  I read a lot of the articles that come up on the WW website, as I know a key to my success has been educating myself, reading and learning.

Here are the key tips from that article :

When not to exercise
  • Temperature of 99.5F or higher
  • When you have GI symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea)
  • Cold with chest congestion/tightness, hacking cough with mucus
Exercise with caution
  • Headache with lightheartedness
  • Sore throat
  • Exhaustion
Go for it!
  • Cold, but no fever with symptoms above the neck (stuffy nose)
So when do we know its time to resume our exercise routine? 
  • If you've seen the Doctor, listen to them!  If the Doctor tells you to rest for 4-5 days... do it!  You can resume your weight loss efforts when you're feeling better. 
  • Time, give your body time to recover, also this will help avoid a relapse or injury. 
  •  Eat well while sick (if you can or as well as you can), eat more fruits and veggies!
  • Sleep, your body repairs mentally and physically when at sleep.
  • Keep hydrated
  • Resume your exercise routine slowly
Because of this darned cold I've not made it into a Weight Watchers meeting this week, which I'm desperate to do!  The new ProPoints program rolled out in Canada this week.  I've read what I can on the website and I'm following the new points system on eTools but I'd love to get my hands on the official meeting information.  I'll be hitting the Saturday morning meeting this week and hopefully I'll be able to tell you all about it and what exactly WW's focus is for us now with these changes.

I have to say with the new plan I've already noticed I am struggling to eat all my daily points!  Yes we get more daily points, and yes food items have a higher point value so I think those two balance each other out.  This is making me realize just how many points a day I spent on fruit (which I love).  I've been moving my thinking towards eating more protein.

I'm sure I've already said this but I'm hoping this new ProPoints plan will help me shift my last pounds to get to my healthy BMI.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Four Stages of Weight Loss

A member of the Weight Watchers Canada message boards shared this with us and I wanted to share it with all of you two its a fantastic read!

Four Stages of Weight Loss

STAGE 1: Honeymoon. When you’re in the Honeymoon stage, you feel eager to do whatever it takes to lose weight. You can’t wait to get to your goal, and you feel completely committed to your efforts. You probably always stay within your Points Target and control your portion sizes. And it’s likely that you track everything you eat in your Tracker, plan your meals and exercise. Keep it up!

STAGE 2: The Thrill Is Gone. This is the most frustrating stage. You may be saying: Why do I have to be so careful? It doesn’t seem like it’s working. Why can other people eat what they want and still stay thin? Why can’t it happen faster? If you’re at this stage, stick with it. Do what it takes to get the support you need, and see if you can reconnect with the reasons you decided to lose weight in the first place. Review your materials; you’ll learn something new you didn’t know before. Try new foods in your day or a new recipe or new exercise.

STAGE 3: Renewed Resolve. This is the time when you have a clearer set of expectations, with the added benefit of understanding how the process works. When you’re at this stage, you know that weight-loss doesn’t come easily, and you’re prepared to work hard. You’re ready to be more consistent about exercising, tracking your point values, controlling your portion sizes and everything else that goes along with building healthy new habits.

STAGE 4: Lifestyle Change. At this stage, you keep up your new habits even when you’ve had a bad day or week. You cope with stress and emotions in a healthy way. And you’re always on the lookout for healthy things to eat, and for ways to get in extra exercise. This is a great place to be!