Saturday, July 22, 2017

Part 3: Tips and Tricks for Succeeding on Weight Watchers

Starting Weight Watchers and being successful at it are two different things. Its not enough to simply download the Weight Watchers App and cross your fingers. Get a game plan together that works for you and will ensure that you are in this thing for the long haul.

Here are the first 5 of my top 10 tips and tricks for shedding those pounds, when you are on Weight Watchers:

1) Weekly Points

First and foremost, use your weekly points! They are given to you for a reason. Secondly, be sure to save your weekly points for your weak times, whether it is weak times during the day (everyday) or weak times during a particular part of the week. For me, the weekends are my time to enjoy myself and weekly points make that possible!

2) The Scale

Make sure you have a scale at home. Before this program, I did not have a scale at home. I shouldn’t be too surprised by my weight gain if I wasn’t monitoring it! Get on the scale at least once a week and keep track of your progress in the Journey > Progress Chart section of the app. Ideally, you would plug in your weight on the same day each week and at the same time of day for consistency.

3) Reward Yourself Everyday

It’s important to keep yourself sane on the program and reward yourself at least once a day, but only once a day. If you cherish a glass of wine at the end of each day, place priority on that glass of wine and turn down the office doughnut snacks in the morning, for example.

4) Snacking

There will be weak points during the day that you may need a quick bite. The issue here is that if you aren’t prepared for it, you may run into a rut (point wise). An example of this is being at work and needing a snack between lunch and dinner. Many work offices only have chips, bars, crackers and pure play snack foods to choose from. Don’t blow your points on a snack, instead, be sure to always keep around a low point snack in your drawer, purse, car center console and more. Yes, I have saltines in the center console of my car – the food struggle is real!

5) Make Substitutions

If you are a big rice, potato or pasta lover - these may be items that you choose to substitute for replacements (sometimes just as delicious) for the sake of points. I love rice, but I now only reserve it for eating sushi. When we are making a stir fry at home, I now substitute rice for riced cauliflower. When we are in the mood for pasta, we now use zucchini noodles – they are a great substitute as they are relatively bland in taste and therefore take on the taste of whatever sauce you are using!


Stay tuned for the next 5 tips and tricks. Be sure to plug in everything today!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Part 2: Going Out to Eat on Weight Watchers

While I love to cook, there is a time and place for it! All weekend long, typically, we are eating and drinking our way to Monday. This post includes the top three tips for how to maintain your Weight Watchers goals while getting to live (a little) and cook for none. J

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN

I guarantee there have been times that you’ve had an idea of what you wanted to order at a restaurant [relatively healthy], only to get there [so hungry] and order that fried appetizer or that tasty looking cheesecake.

NEWS FLASH: We’ve all been there.

The best way to combat this while on Weight Watcher is to look at the menu BEFORE you get to the restaurant. Here is this concept broken down into four simple steps: 1) Look at the menu online 2) Pick out what you are going to eat 3) Check the points in your Weight Watchers App 4) If you are happy with your selection, plug it in!

By plugging in what you are going to eat [and drink], you are less likely to peruse the menu when you get there and make a bad decision. Want to add some extra point security to your outing? Tell the person you are going with that you’ve decided what you are going to eat and plugged it in. This way, if you STILL make a bad decision it isn’t just you that knows. Insert judging eyes from your dinner date.

The last important piece about planning is that it provides a way to plan for your whole day. If you know you are going out to sushi for dinner (3 California Rolls = 15 points), by plugging it in at the start of your day you can ensure your breakfast and lunch allow for those 15 points. For me, 15 points for dinner is half of my 30-point day. In this scenario, I would likely bring it down to 2 California Rolls.





DON’T CHEAT THE SYSTEM

The Weight Watchers App has paired up with many restaurants to provide you with an exact point value for their menu items. Some restaurants include but are not limited to Chic-Fil-A, Subway, Outback and more. To search this restaurant list, view their Restaurants section in the app where you can sort by restaurant name and point value.

For the restaurants that you go to that are NOT in the app, don’t cheat the system or yourself. 

Let’s break it down into a real-life scenario:
If you are eating a cheese quesadilla and you go to search for that item under the food search it will return several different “cheese quesadilla” dishes. The dishes will likely range in point value from 6 to 25. I am not saying you need to use the 25-point value option, however, you likely aren’t eating the 6-point value one either. Use your best judgement and always overcompensate as opposed to under-compensate.

REMEMBER: If you cheat the system, you are cheating yourself.





MY GO-TOs

I wanted to list out some of my go-to items at different types of restaurants to make it clear that you can eat out and still be successful on Weight Watchers. I’ve listed out a couple of options at some spots. YOU CAN DO IT!

Mexican
1 Chicken Taco with all the fixins’ (6 points)
Salsa (0 points)
12 Tortilla Chips (4 points)
Ceviche (2 points)

Sushi
Lunch = 1 California Roll with side ginger salad (8 points)
Dinner = 2 California Rolls (10 points)

Subway
6-inch Turkey Sub (8 points)
6-inch Veggie Sub (7 points)
No, these don’t have cheese or mayonnaise!

Pho
Kids size Pho Tai (8 points)

Chic-Fil-A
8-count Grilled Nuggets (2 points)
Chicken Noodle Soup with Saltines (4 points)

Panera
Chicken Noodle Soup (3 points)
Half Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken (5 points)

Drinks
Vodka Soda Water with Lime (3 points)
Bud Light or Comparable Light Beer (3 points)
Wine (4 points)





Roughly 17 J Thanks again for stopping in!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Part 1: Getting Started with Weight Watchers

Oh, food – what a wonderful thing food is. It was pretty much my favorite thing until the scale crept up on me because of it.

In January, I found myself hopping on a scale for the first time in a year at a doctor’s appointment. Low and behold I had gained 9 pounds in less than a year and about 20 pounds since college. WOW. Seriously? What happened!


My company had been promoting Weight Watchers internally and was even holding meetings right in our building. I talked to some coworkers who had started the program and had lost 12, 15, even 30 pounds. I knew it was time to give it a try. Couldn’t hurt, right?

I knew NOTHING about the program before starting. Well, I did know one thing - that Oprah was the spokesperson - that's something, I guess? You get the picture. So, to start, I downloaded the app for $3.91 a week. I did some reading and realized that the NEW and improved Weight Watchers program promised 1-2 pounds of weight loss a week. That sounded too good to be true.


I immediately started entering everything I ate into the app (February 22, 2017). I was stunned to see that some of the foods I had previously considered “healthy” were eating up a half days’ worth of points.

Let me explain, quickly, how the app works:

You fill out a questionnaire to begin with so the app can determine how many points you get for each day (I get 30, for example). Before you eat or drink something, you search for it in the app (anything from cooked meals, items at restaurants to raw ingredients) which you then add to your day, for that meal. For example, if you are eating avocado and egg wheat toast for breakfast you would search for avocado, add the amount you are going to consume of it and then search for wheat toast and add the amount you are going to consume – these would both be added to “breakfast”. It will automatically deduct those points from your day (this is 6 points for the one I make, so it leaves me with 24 points for the rest of the day).




YUMMY, RIGHT?

Aside from your daily points, you get a set amount of weekly points which essentially are cheat points. These can be used a little bit per day or blow them all in one day!





What I learned very quickly were two things 1) that you must plug EVERYTHING IN - you are only cheating yourself if you lie to the app and 2) if you plug everything in and stick to the system, you are 100% going to lose weight.

The pounds really started shedding off in the beginning. My body was quickly adjusting to taking unnecessary items out of my day. WINNING! Some of the items that I wasn’t willing to “waste the points on” anymore:

-Coffee creamer (2 points)
-Starbucks breakfast sandwiches (8-15 points)
-Rice (6 points for a 1 cup)
-Overeating at dinner (Unlimited)
-Margaritas (17-25 points)

I was quickly finding ways to eat breakfast and lunch  low in points (while still feeling full) so that I would be able to enjoy a glass of wine when I got home. Yes, you can drink on Weight Watchers.

I would go into tips and tricks for low point meals, however, this is only Part 1 of this series! Here is what is up next:

Part 2: Eating Out on Weight Watchers
Part 3: General Tips and Tricks for Weight Watchers
Part 4: Go-To Meals for Weight Watchers Success

Please follow along with me on my journey to hitting my weight loss goals and keeping it off! My hope is that if you are reading this you have a goal of your own and Weight Watchers can help you get there.

To help further intrigue you to read Part 2, Part 3 and so on – take a peek at how far I have come in the past five months!




February 2017 – 144 pounds

July 2017 – 125 pounds

You can see it clearly in this log (below) that you can keep of your weight in the app. It shows where I started and how my weight loss journey has taken shape throughout the last five months. First step was getting a scale :) In addition, it helps me to track what my average "weekly" weight loss is - which is exactly 1 pound! They don't fudge the facts, folks.



As always, thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sausage & Gravy Biscuit Casserole (with Eggs)


Christmas is right around the corner! What that means in our house is lots of cooking. Breakfast casseroles are a HOT ticket item around here 1) for quite simply how tasty they are 2) being able to make them ahead of time and store them well and 3) because they are certainly not a dainty meal that will wither away by mid-morning, like a danish might.

This recipe makes some seriously delicious breakfast eats for 6-8 people. It can easily be doubled if you are having more!

Sausage & Gravy Biscuit Casserole (with Eggs)

12 ounces of buttermilk biscuit dough (I like to use the Grands! Flaky Layers Butter Tastin' Biscuits) 
6 eggs
1 package peppered gravy mix (makes 2 cups)
1 lb sausage, any flavor (if you like spicy, definitely go for the HOT flavor)
1 cup cheese, shredded (cheddar or a mixed cheddar bag works well)
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13×9 pan (I just used spray coconut oil for this).

While the oven is heating, begin to brown the sausage in a skillet until all of it is nice and browned! Drain browned sausage thoroughly.



Cut biscuit dough into 1″ pieces, and line the bottom of the pan. For most biscuits, this means to cut each biscuit up into four pieces.




Layer cooked sausage over the biscuit pieces (all of it). Then layer shredded cheese over sausage. If you have extra to use, just make sure it is a covered layer!





Whisk eggs and milk, add salt and pepper and pour over the layers you just made.



Make gravy according to instructions, and pour over everything. Again, make sure it covers most all of the top! You will want gravy in every bite J



Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until eggs and biscuits are cooked through. You do not want to overcook this dish! Reason being is it is important to have the cheese, gravy and eggs be creamy while having the biscuits be soft enough to cut through.




Serve right away – or warm at least. I mean, how could you not? Doesn't it look delicious? 

NOTE: This recipe stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baked Crab Dip



I don’t know about you, but if crab dip is on the menu, there is a 99% chance that I order it. They vary in flavor and texture from restaurant to restaurant, but there are certainly some similarities– plenty of crab and creamy-ness (is that a word? I just did that). Nothing like baked crab dip on a carefree summer day.

My boyfriend’s brother-in-law is a fabulous cook and crab dip is one of his specialties! Not only is his crab dip delicious, but SUPER simple, too. You can even make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, unbaked, until you’re ready to bake and serve. I love it – which is why I had to share!

Baked Crab Dip

1 lb Lump Crab Meat (the real deal)
1 regular size block of Cream Cheese
1 stick of Butter
Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Green onions

Soften cream cheese and butter together.

Recommendations on how to soften these ingredients:

First  method: wrap the cream cheese and butter (separately) in plastic wrap, then submerge it in a bowl of hot tap water for 5-10 min.

Second method: Take it out of the metal wrapping and microwave. 20 seconds for cream cheese and 14 seconds for butter (if they have been in the refrigerator).

Once softened, fold in all of the crabmeat. Cut your green onions into small pieces and fold the pieces in as well (just a small handful).

Put blended mixture in casserole and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Just enough bread crumbs to cover the top.


Broil until browned on top and warm throughout. Serve with crackers (I do Ritz!)



Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Apple Cider Moscow Mule



I've been on a drink recipe kick these days - no worries, I'll be back to cranking out casseroles and appetizers in no time. Missing the food action? Head on over to "Not Your Mother's Meatloaf" for a great chilly fall evening dinner recipe.

Now, back to the program. I am absolutely in love with the original Moscow Mule, but putting a fall twist on an old classic raises it to another level. I didn't even think that was possible! Adding the crispness of the apple cider, the warm notes of the cinnamon, all with the spice of the ginger beer - that is fall flavor you will not forget.


There are a couple of different recipes out there, but this here is the perfect blend of autumn goodness.

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

2 ounces of Vodka
2 ounces of Trader Joe's Spiced Cider (regular cider or homemade cider will do)
Juice of one Lime wedge
1/2 cup of Trader Joe's Brewed Ginger Beer (Gosling's Ginger Beer is another good choice)
A sprinkle of Cinnamon
1 Cinnamon Stick (for garnish)
1 Apple slice (for garnish)

In your copper mug (because it's not the same without it), add the vodka, cider and lime juice together. Fill the mug with ice. Top with sprinkle of cinnamon. Then top the mug off with ginger beer (typically about a 1/2 of a cup). Stir the mixture well and garnish with cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Enjoy! Do you have a great twist on an old favorite? Do share!




Friday, September 25, 2015

Fresh Squeezed Margaritas



Previous to making these at home, I had never experienced a fresh squeezed margarita. I know, sinful. It really does make a world of difference if you, ya know, appreciate the finer things in life. I happened to breeze by a juicer at TJ Maxx for $15 and I was sold on the idea of all things fresh squeezed. Not to mention, maybe a little arm workout while I am at it? I'm okay with that.

I invite you to experience this beautiful creation of fresh ingredients, simplicity, salty, jalapeno goodness all in a mason jar glass.

Fresh Squeezed Margaritas (pitcher style)

2 parts Simple Syrup
2 parts Lime Juice
3 parts Tequila
A couple splashes of Triple Sec
2 Jalapenos

Parts can also be synonymous with cups for this recipe. If you follow along with that measurement, you should get about 4-6 pretty sizable (strong) margaritas! You can always adjust accordingly for your group size. It may even be worth making extra for yourself as this recipe stores well in the fridge, just be sure to top the pitcher with it's intended top or saran wrap.

Please note: It will take about 15-20 limes to juice 2 cups worth of lime juice. You don't want to fall short - that's a pretty important ingredient right there!

How to make Fresh Squeezed Margaritas:

Start by making your simple syrup. The name says it all! It is equal parts sugar and water. Bring your water to a boil and add an equal increment of sugar until it is dissolved (ie one cup water + one cup sugar). I then place the simple syrup in the freezer for a bit to let it cool down before adding it to the margaritas!

Time to work your muscles. This works best if you have a juicer. I got mine for $15 at TJ Maxx. Think of all of the spirited beverages you can make with these things: margaritas, orange crushes, fresh squeezed mimosas! The list could go on. Cut all of your lime wedges (except for one or two) in half and begin to juice all of them into the juicing bowl. Once you have your full two cups, dump into your pitcher.



Next, add the three parts (cups) of tequila, two parts (cups) simple syrup and a couple splashes of triple sec to your pitcher.

Time for glass prep. Use one or two of the limes to cut into wedges, one of which to use to wet the rim of the glass. Next you will tip the glass upside down into some salt so that it sticks around the rim. Add the rest of the wedges to the rim of each of the glasses. Next, cut the jalapenos to add into the glasses (this is if you like it HOT). I definitely recommend the added heat touch, though. Lastly, add a couple of ice cubes to each glass.


You are done. Where is the fiesta?