Saturday, March 31, 2012

4, 31.4, 167.6 - All The Numbers

Week 1 is in the bag!  And it was mostly a huge success. 

But before I get to that I'll say a bit about Thursday. It seemed like I was hungry all day, mostly due to poor planning.  I had my Grape Nuts for breakfast but lunch turned out to be a piece of beef jerky (from this roadside place I love, probably the size of 1/4 of a zucchini), and a quinoa/veggie salad (about 1 cup). For a snack I had some pretzels I found stashed in my work car.  That's what I'd eaten when I walked in the gym after work and I think it wasn't enough to fuel my day and then my workout (despite being 23 points!). 

So I went to the gym and found myself complaining (in my head) about the WW program, "It's not enough food, I'm not willing to be hungry all the time, I'm going to eat more and I don't care what happens."  The good thing was I worked it out before I left and realized, 1. It's still the first week and I think my appetite needs time to adjust, 2. I made some poor choices and that's why I was hungry all day, not because the program sucks and, most important, 3. I do care what happens.  I DO CARE. 

Dinner was satisfying - canned refried black beans, two corn tortillas, 1/2 of an avocado (counted as 1/4!), 2 Tbsp or so of Latino cream and some pico de gallo.  One thing that shocked me were the beans.  I like to make my own beans (in the slow cooker) and then Miguel mashes 'em and makes homemade refried beans (with just a bit of oil).  But when I haven't made any we use the canned stuff.  How bad can it be, it's black beans, right?  I was shocked that 1/2 cup of the canned stuff had 10g of fat!  Holy lard!  I'll be making beans more regularly again let me tell you because I probably eat close to a cup of the stuff without blinking and we usually have this meal two to three times in an average week.

I closed out my first week with 2 weekly points remaining.  I ate all of my APs each day except Sunday when I left 5 remaining.  I "cheated" twice by eating a few pita chips just before bed without tracking them (shhh).  Of course it's not cheating in the truest sense because I choose how and what to eat.  No one forced WW on me and any "rules" I follow are by choice.  So when I "cheat", what I'm really doing is choosing not to follow my previously chosen rules.  I know it may seem like a silly detail but this kind of shift in thinking is part of what needs to happen for me to be successful long term.  Cheating suggests some external force, when really, it's all internal.  Ok, I'm done, now on to the weigh-in.

I lost four pounds!  That means a couple of cool milestones.  First, I have now passed the 30 pounds lost mark (31.4 to be exact) since starting back to my healthy lifestyle back in June.  And second, it puts me into the 160s (167.6 lbs).  I haven't been in the 160's since before I got pregnant back in 2008.  And I'm closer to my mini-goal of 158.8, my lowest pre-pregnancy weight.  Ack!  It's all very exciting.

The only concern I have is losing 4 pounds in one week is a bit much and suggests I wasn't getting enough calories.  Then again, it could be my body adjusting.  We'll see how this week goes and if I'm struggling with hunger and also lose over 2 pounds I might add a point or two and see how that impacts things.  I know losing fast is fun, but it's not a sustainable way to eat and I'm all about sustainability here. 

So the other big thing in my life is the Cinderella Classic today.  A race report will have to wait for tomorrow.  It was a momentous day but I don't have the energy to write about it tonight.  Mommy needs some sleep!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

On Avocados

It's the final day of my Weight Watchers week.  Tomorrow is weigh-in day.  I'll be very curious to see what happens on the scale.  I'm tracking with my own scale morning weight and not the official WW weigh-in at the meeting.  Mainly it's because I just want to be consistent with what I've been doing these last couple of years.  And, of course, because I'm lighter first thing in the morning before coffee and breakfast.

So on Tuesday I posted my food log, including eating a whole, medium avocado and the fact that it's 10 points.  A friend (Hi Deanne!), responded with this:
"I totally believe they (WW) need to rethink the avocado points. I can't fathom that what is essentially a fruit/veg item should be so out of sync with the others. I would personally take away at least 5 pts, Michelle. It's green for goodness sakes & grows on a tree!"
I tend to agree with Deanne and my belief that avocados are not as bad as they've been made out to be is probably why I ate the whole avocado in the first place.  I initially had no intention of changing the points from 10 points to 5, as Deanne suggested, but the more I thought about it the better I liked the idea.  So I changed it.

I remember on the old WW plan (when you had to count fruits) I made my own rule that all fruits are 1 point.  It was my firm belief that fresh, whole fruits are practically harmless and that I didn't really need to worry about a small apple vs a big apple.  And the new plan doesn't even count fruit, so there you go.  And maybe they are wrong about avocado too.  In nutrition science articles you'll read that not all calories are alike, not all fats are created equal.  I think avocados have gotten a bad rap from the old fat = bad thinking.
Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.
Over 90 percent of the calories come from fat, but over 80 percent of those fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are actually good for you. Unlike saturated fats these fats have no cholesterol, and they help to reduce the bad cholesterol levels. They also help defend your body against all types of heart disease. Avocados contain all the essential amino acids that the body needs. These are fatty acids, including oleic acid, and the essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Avocados are also high in protein. That makes them a perfect substitute for meat. By eating one small avocado you will give your body more protein then if you had eaten a large steak. 
I lifted all that from the web, some from WebMD and some from Of course it all convinces me I'm right to halve the points for avocados.

Ok, that's a lot of thinking about just avocados but if I'm going to be breaking a rule I want to think it out. The good thing is, it's not likely to have a big impact on my life anyway.  I rarely eat a whole avocado. In fact, before Tuesday I can't remember the last time I did.  But should I also cut the points on partial avocados?  If I eat 1/4 should I count is as 1/8th?  I think I will.  I eat avocados probably 2-3 times a week, usually 1/2 to a 1/4, depending on how much we have and how many ways we're splitting them.  When I eat them it's almost always with black beans and corn tortillas, a fairly healthy vegetarian meal.  That's got to help, right?

Thanks Deanne for really giving me something to think about here.  And thanks also to Kristy, IngiMc, Nicole, Meg and everyone else for cheering on my new WW journey.

I'm headed to the gym later today for my fourth day of exercise this week.  And Saturday is the Cinderella Century.  Too bad the weather prediction is for heavy rain and wind.  But Melissa, my riding buddy, is working on mother nature to change all that.  We're going to drive out there and start no matter what and then if it's miserable as all hell we'll call it a day.  At least we will have tried.

Update:  Ok, the deal is, you have to weigh the avocado without seed or skin. If you do that, the Points value is quite a bit more reasonable.  A large avocado (180 grams) is 8 points. I'm still cutting those points in half.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

All About Food

I'm back to talk about food some more.  I'm feeling so good about things.  Tonight's dinner took a big bite out of my Points but, on the whole I'm feeling good.  It's a bit strange, despite spending more time planning my meals and writing down everything I eat I feel so much less stressed about food.  Instead of trying to balance my food intake by guessing and hoping it will all balance out, I'm following the WW plan and knowing they will.

Anyway, here's what I ate today:

1/2 cup Grape Nuts (5) with 1/2 cup 1% milk (1)
Coffeemate (4)   [I know, what a waste, but I'm addicted to Coffeemate!]

Banana (0)

Chicken Thigh, skin on (6)
Lentil Veggie Soup (4)
Salad (0)
Salad dressing (2)

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese, 1%  (2)
Apple (0)

1/2 cup black beans (2)
1 WHOLE avocado (10) !!!!!!
1 Tb latino cream (1)
2 corn tortillas (2)
1 tsp oil (1)
Salad (0)
Light Salad dressing (1)

Hot Tea (0)
Grapes (0)

There you have it.  If I listed everything correctly then it should add up to 42 points!  I get 26 for the day.  That avocado killed my numbers.  I used all 7 of my APs today and had to use 10 of my weekly extra points.  So now I have four weekly extra points left, and those have to last 2 days.  And tomorrow is a day off from exercise so I get no exercise points.  But I could still go for a leisurely 10 minute walk and earn 1 point.  If it's still raining tomorrow I bet the kids would LOVE to splash around in puddles.

No matter, I think I can do it.  I will go heavy on the salad and fruit, eat lean meals and hope for the best.  I'm not willing to be starving so if it gets to that point (no pun intended) I will go over my points, but I don't think that will happen.  Being a bit hungry is ok though, I mean I AM trying to lose weight, right?

A quick gym update before I hit the sack.  I went after work and did a 25 minute run on the treadmill.  It was raining outside I didn't have time (or my rain gear) to deal with running in the rain.  But I can't say enough how much harder it is to run on the treadmill!  I'm slower and I suffer more.  That's just not right.  Outside I run faster and have more fun.  Anyway, after the run I had legs/shoulders/core work to get done.  I felt a bit tired which made me wonder if the reduced calories are going to effect my workouts, but I had a great workout anyway and left feeling fired up.

Now it's after 10pm and the only thing I'm fired up about is bed.  Night all!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trusting the Plan

Happy Monday!  All day, for some reason, I felt like it was Thursday, but no such luck.  I'm going to talk a bit about food...

Breakfast:  Grape nuts, 1/2 banana, 1% milk
I measured for the first time in years.  I was worried I was eating way too much but the measured amount wasn't that much less than I've been eating.  I sliced 1/2 banana (fruit are 0 points on the new 2012 WW program) on top, something I haven't been doing lately, to bulk it up a bit.

Snack:  other 1/2 of banana from breakfast

Lunch:  Chipotle with a co-worker
I ordered a taco kit from the kid's menu and chose 2 corn tortillas with barbacoa (shredded beef), black beans and onion/bell pepper mix as my 3 choices.  It comes with a 1% chocolate milk (which I saved for a snack on another day).  I skipped the chips altogether.  The kid meal is actually a quite fine amount for an adult.

Snack:  1/3 of a clif bar (maple nut) and an apple

Dinner:  Tacos, sauteed zucchini
I made the taco meat from ground beef and sausage.  I wanted ground turkey and turkey sausage but the store I went to had neither.  So dinner ended up being WAY more Points than I planned.  But the tacos were seriously good.  I cooked the meat, drained off the fat, and then mixed in a can of refried beans.  Lots of taco seasoning later and it was so yummy.  I built my two tacos with a bit of the meat, grated cheddar, pico de gallo and a tiny bit of sour cream.  I sauteed two zucchini in a tiny bit of olive oil and ate those too.  I tracked all of this and dinner turned out to be 18 points.  Remember, I get 26 for the day!

It's a darned good thing I exercised today!  I earned 7 activity points and they all went toward dinner.  And of course I had to dip into the "extra" points too. I now have 13 extra points left until Friday.  Should be interesting.  I find myself doubting if I can lose weight eating these AP points but I need to trust the program and see what happens this week.  Then I can make adjustments if I need to.

Speaking of exercise...I went to the gym after work and did 25 minutes on the upright bike followed by strength training - chest/triceps/core.  The bike was a challenge but doable.  Strength training felt good, I like doing chest and tricep stuff.  I have some serious triceps - it's too bad they are hidden under an even more serious layer of arm-fat!

p.s. I really want something to eat, preferably something sweet, but I'm having tea instead.  Night all!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weight Watchers Online vs Meetings

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(If you're just here to read about WW meetings vs online, scan down to the Jennifer Hudson image).

Things are cruising along with the Weight Watchers.  I'm tracking everything I eat and already have reigned things in quite a bit in an effort to stay within my allotted points.  Today started off with a whimper when I missed a bike ride with a friend.  We had plans to cancel if it rained and I was so sure it would be raining that come morning I didn't even bother to get out of bed to actually check.  And Miguel got up with the kids and let me sleep so I was even more motivated to stay put.  I finally got up around 9:45am (can you believe it?!) and saw a bunch of missed text messages from Melissa.  All day I kept glancing out at the dry sky and feeling bummed I missed an opportunity to ride.  Melissa went on a short ride on her own and was nice enough to tell me that with the cold it was miserable.

Anyway, I got on with my day, which mostly consisted of converting Marek's crib into a full size bed.  He's having a hard time going to sleep tonight, which is to be expected I guess, but I'm really ready for him to stop calling me in to his room every 5 minutes.

Ok, on to the food/exercise update.  I went to the gym this afternoon and had a feeling that I'd have a good run.  And I did.  I ran 3 miles in 32:30, a tad over 5.5 mph.  And, more importantly, I felt great.  The run was easy and relaxed.  I found myself thinking about the 10k that's coming up in two weeks.  There are a lot of hills on that route.  I mapped it and this is the elevation profile:

Looks like fun, right?  So during today's run I was wondering if I would be suffering during the 10k because of all the hills.  I suppose the amount of suffering is totally up to me.  I can always walk, and likely will.  I've ridden my bike on those hills plenty of times and at least one of them I don't think I can run up and over.  Anyway, I finished up my run feeling fabulous and then started into weights - back/biceps/core.  I had a good workout and, after stretching, headed back home to my family.

Food-wise I'm doing great.  The good thing is that WW does not mean you have to be restrictive.  Last night I went to dinner at a friend's house (Hi Joan!).  Joan makes a fabulous risotto.  It's so good I pretty much demand her to make it when I go there.  This time she made a mushroom, sausage risotto and it was as good as ever.  I had that with garlic bread, and super yummy roasted brussell sprouts.  Top it all off with a healthy slice of lemon tart and a small glass of wine and I was stuffed!  My stomach hurt so I know I ate a bit more than needed but I was "fat and happy" as they say and I had no regrets.

This morning I tracked it all and went about my day.  Today I only went over my points by 3 and with my APs I could even eat more if I wanted.  But I'm not hungry and about to head to bed so that means no more food.

This is getting to be a long post but before I wrap up I want to share some of my thoughts on WW meetings. Nicole (aka Running While Mommy) asked what I thought about meetings vs. online. When I re-joined this time I thought about doing online-only because finding time to go to a weekly meeting seemed too onerous. But in the end I decided the meetings were important. When I started WW in 2005, for me, the meetings were the foundation of the program. I committed to going to that weekly meeting come hell or high weigh-in, and that was key. Before I go on, I have to add a caveat to what I'm about to share. If you are not a food junkie like me and are doing WW to lose a stubborn 10-20 pounds but have never been really fat, the pros I mention might not apply to you. Then again, maybe they will, who knows? Well, I suppose you do, right?

What it comes down to, for me, is merely getting information vs. getting support, accountability and making it very, very real. Something about going to the meeting, seeing others on my same journey, getting on the scale in front of another human being (the weigh-ins are private, the person checking you in sees it and writes it in your book) and being inspired by the success of others - it all has a way of putting my week in perspective and helping me to stay on track. If it were just me and E-tools I could see myself quitting when the going got tough. And it will get tough (and better, and then tough again - it's the nature of the game).

The meetings are not group therapy, you never have to say a word if you don't want to and some people never do. I do more listening than I do talking, that's for sure. Different leaders bring different things to the table so if you don't like the leader try a different meeting. Each week the leader will cover a different topic and I'm often nodding my head in agreement. There are no group hugs, though there is sometimes clapping. When someone passes a 5 pound mark of weight loss they get acknowledged and everyone claps, "Sally has lost a total of 26.4 pounds!" Clap, clap. That happens at the end of the meeting so you could leave if you wanted. And if you didn't want to be acknowledged you just tell the person checking you in. But who doesn't want to be recognized for your hard work? The clapping is nice, I think. 

Weight Watchers materials often point out that "people who attend meetings lose 3 times more weight than those who go it alone." I read the study on which this is based - turns out that at the 1 year mark people who attended weekly meetings had lost 9.5 pounds and those who did not had lost 2.9 pounds. Yes, technically 3 times more weight but not exactly 60 pounds vs 20 pounds. In any case, it all comes down to you. You can try online-only and if it's not working, or more importantly, if it stops working, you can try meetings. Or, if meetings won't be too hard to get to, I say go to the meeting.  You might like it more than you expect.

Update, 11/2014. I wrote this post in 2012, five years after I started WW. I slowly stopped going to meetings after being a Lifetime member for a while. I would go now-and-then but mostly I didn't. Eventually I stopped altogether. Things were going great and I was maintaining my weight. Then I hit a bump in the road of life and the pounds started to slowly come back. I tried using a calorie tracker (My Fitness Pal) but that didn't stick. When my weight gain was closing in on 10 pounds, I decided it was time to go back to meetings. I've been back for a couple weeks now and I love it. I'm back to eating better, tracking (for as long as I need to) and feeling great.