Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Updating My Weight Watchers Mobile App

Tonight I am going to my Weight Watchers meeting to learn about the new PointsPlus plan. However, I could not figure out how to get my Weight Watchers app on my phone to update. So, if you are trying to get your weight watchers mobile to update to PointsPlus you have to delete the app from your phone and then re-download it. After that mine updated to the new plan. That's all I know for now...more feedback to come later.

Our Thanksgiving Holiday

We had such a wonderful weekend that I did not want it to end. It was sad that I had to go back to work yesterday. There was a lot that happened in just a few short days, but I want to catch you up in one blog post.

Thanksgiving 2010

For breakfast, I made Jon cinnamon rolls with orange flavored icing. I only had one, but it was yummy.

Each year for Thanksgiving a family from our church has invited us to join them and their family for their holiday meal. This year we decided that it would be fun to try some international food along with the traditional Thanksgiving foods. They asked Jon to make some Chinese food. He never turns down an opportunity to share Chinese food with others. However, the knives need to be really sharp before we can make anything.

Every year we take a family Thanksgiving picture. This is our picture this year.

After we took our picture, Jon got right back to work making Chinese food. We had so many of my favorite dishes. Our house even smelled like Chinese food when we got home that night. Yummy!!

I did not take a lot of pictures at Thanksgiving, but I wanted to make sure I got a picture of Jon enjoying his wonderful food on Thanksgiving day.

Friday Date Night
Last year, I went Black Friday shopping for the very first time. However this year I did not have anyone to go shopping with. You see, Jon had to work Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. The aviation program does not close down for the holidays when they have students who are behind.

I was not able to go shopping, but Jon decided to block out his entire Friday afternoon for me! What a great date day!! He came home with the most beautiful flowers for me.

I know I went overboard on the flower pictures, but they are beautiful!! After Jon came home we went to watch part one of Harry Potter 7. It was so special. I love spending time with Jon.

Decorating Our Tree
Jon and I are leaving for China in 16 days!! As a result, we have been going back and forth about whether or not we would decorate our house for Christmas. This is such a hard subject for me, because I LOVE Christmas!! I like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving and the idea of not decorating was killing me.

My husband, being the amazing man he is, decided that we should decorate our Christmas. So, in order to compromise we decided to put up my small Christmas tree that I normally put in my office.

I really like Christmas lights.

Jon helping me decorate our Christmas tree.

Me hanging ornaments on the tree.

Our Christmas Tree

Us and our tree

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recipe Review: DeBlaeij Cookies

As I shared in the flashback last Friday, these DeBlaeij Cookies are a family favorite. My friend's Mom, Cindy, made these cookies while we were in Haiti for Christmas. Cindy is a fabulous baker and I do not believe there is anything she makes that I do not like. However, most of it is not Weight Watchers friendly.

Since I joined Weight Watchers, I wait to make many of my favorite recipes until Christmas when I can share them with others. If I made them throughout the year I might gain all my weight back, because I would be eating these cookies all the time. Okay, that was a little dramatic, but very close to the truth.

I enjoy these cookies, because you put jam in the middle. There are so many different flavors of jam out there that the options are endless when it comes to making these delicious cookies. I have used blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and apricot, each jam made the cookie taste a little bit different then the other.

For the complete recipe for DeBlaeij Cookies, click here.

Here are the ingredients for the cookies.

Mix all the ingredients together.

If the dough is sticky you can refrigerate it, so that it is easier to handle. Then roll the dough into balls and press your thumb into the center of the dough.

Fill the center with jam. Do NOT over fill it, because it will make a mess when it cooks.

While your first batch of cookies are making, go ahead and make the glaze.

Be very careful when you remove the hot cookies from the baking sheet to the cooling rack. The jam gets very hot and you can burn yourself. I tell you them from experience.

Top the cookies with glaze. Now they are ready to eat!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flashback Friday: Recipe Swap

Last year was the first time I participated in the Weight Watchers Holiday Recipe Exchange. In November 2009, I found this event advertised on the Weight Watchers message boards. This sounded like so much fun! This is the perfect event for someone like me, who is also on the hunt for great recipes. So, I quickly submitted my name and mailing address.

A Weight Watchers member collects all the addresses and divides them into groups of twelve. After everyone had submitted their information, I received an email, before Thanksgiving, with the complete list of names and addresses. I located my group.

After I found my group the instructions said that I was supposed to mail a Christmas cards with and recipe to each person in my group. All of the other people in my group would do the same thing and we would all have at least eleven new recipes before Christmas. I worked to find just the right recipes and mailed them to the appropriate people in my group.

Slowly, I began to receive all of my Christmas cards with new recipes. Some ladies put five or six new recipes in each envelope! By the time Christmas was over I had a stack of new recipes.

Last year was such a success and I got a ton of great recipes, so I knew that I had to do it again this year. I cannot wait for my new recipes to start coming this year. This really is a great idea! Who knows maybe we can do our own kind of recipe exchange next year.

Here are the recipes that I am going to share this year with the people in my group. I choose one recipes that was Weight Watchers Friendly and the other is a Family Favorite.

Holiday Recipes

Weight Watchers Friendly
From: Just-Rhonda

1 lb lean ground beef, browned & drained
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing

Combine all ingredients in the Crockpot. Cook on low for 4-8 hours.

Serves 14 (1/2 cup); 2 points

For Recipe Review, click here.

. . . . . . . . . .
Family Favorite
DeBlaeij Cookies
From: Cindy McMartin

1 cup margarine
½ cup sugar
½ packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup jam, more if needed

1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp almond extract
2 tsp water

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate the dough if necessary for easy handling. Roll dough into balls; place on ungreased sheets; make an indent in center of ball and flatten some; put a dab of jam in indent. Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Make Glaze. Drizzle glaze over baked cookies in a crisscross pattern.

For Recipe Review, click here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Psalm 9:1

Jon and I want to wish each of you all a Happy Thanksgiving!! We hope that you are blessed by time with family and friends. We pray that you have an opportunity to reflect on that for which you are truly thankful.

God Bless You and Your Family,
Jon & Jennifer

P.S. Remember don't forget to take your game plan with you to Thanksgiving dinner. You can do it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: You Are More

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Veggie Straws

I am always on the lookout for new low point foods. I just love finding new snacks and food that I can eat guilt free.

My Weight Watchers leader shared, Veggie Straws, with us a while back, so they are new to me. Veggie Straws are made by Sensible Portions.

One of my favorite snacks before I began Weight Watchers were chips. I loved chips of all shapes and sizes. After starting Weight Watchers this is something that I have given up, because I do not think it is worth the points. Please do not misunderstand me, I eat tortilla chips and I will eat regular chips every once in a while. However this is not a go to snack for me.

I have been really happy with Veggie Straws, because they make me feel like I am snacking on chips! That may be why I like them so much.

Sensible portions also makes Apple Straws as well. This have cinnamon on they, which I really enjoy.

I found the Veggie Straws at Sam's Club and the Apple Straws at Wal-mart. If you have not tried these you should!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe Review: Honey-Chipotle Baked Beans

Last Thursday I was trying to decide what I should bring to my work Thanksgiving potluck. I wanted to bring something that not only tasted good, but was also points friendly. I looked through several cookbooks and searched online for the perfect recipe. It was a very hard decision to make.

After several hours I was reminded of this recipe for Honey-Chipotle Baked Beans. I am so glad that I remembered this recipe. I found this recipe on the Weight Watchers message boards, where I find most of my favorite recipes.

The very first time I made this recipe was for Jon's graduation party in May. These baked beans were a hit! It was then that I knew this recipe was a winner.

Here is the complete recipe for Honey-Chipotle Baked Beans.

Here are most of the ingredients.

Jon chopped the shallots for me, because he is much better then I am with a knife.

I needed these baked beans ready by lunch time. So, I decided to just add all of the ingredients together at once. Then I took the slow cooker to work with me and let it cook.

This smelled so wonderful! This is a great recipe for family gatherings. I hope that you try it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guest Posting: 3 Four and Under

I suppose you could say that a theme for this week is Guest Posting! I already guest posted on Wednesday and I am scheduled to guest post today.

Please hop on over to 3 Four and Under where I am sharing my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: Dad's Table

This is my Dad. I am not trying to make fun of him by posting this silly picture. He is always being silly and trying to make me laugh. This is his very normal and true goofy self.

My flashback today has nothing to do with the people in these pictures and everything to do with the table in these pictures.

It is such a beautiful table, isn't it? My Dad made it himself. I think that makes it even more special.

Dad made this table in 1996. Dad had been working on his table for a long time. It really was a family project, because during the evenings that he worked on it he would have all of us kids take turns sanding the wood. It takes a very long time to sand an entire table by hand.

In November 1996, my Mom offered to host Thanksgiving at our house. Dad's entire family was coming to spend time with us. There were going to be a lot of people and Dad wanted the table ready so that we could use it for our Thanksgiving meal. He worked so hard to get the table ready in time for Thanksgiving.

It was finally finished by Thanksgiving morning. Now all that was left to do was bring the table up from the garage and into the dining room. My Grandpa got to our house early and was going to help my Dad move his solid oak table. I say "solid oak", so that you will understand that this table is heavy.

My Dad and Grandpa slowly moved the table from the garage out around the back of the house. Their plan was to bring it through the french doors in the dining room. There was only one problem...the table was too big to fit through the door!

All of us kids were inside laughing at the sight on my Dad and Grandpa trying to fit this table through a door that was obviously too small. The solution: Dad and Grandpa decided to remove the french doors to get the table inside.

Finally after a while they were able to remove the doors and bring the table into the house!!

This is probably one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. To this day, it still makes me laugh.

Visit Tia for more flashbacks.
Flashback Friday Button

Guest Posting: Mentoring Moments

Last Saturday I received an email from Kellie over at Mentoring Moments. She shared with me that she loved my site, especially the Caramel Apple Salad recipe. She asked if I would be willing to be a guest blogger and share my recipe with her readers.

I prepared my guest post and got everything ready. This seems to be the week for guest posting. I am so excited to be able to share such a great recipe with other people out there. My guest post, Caramel Apple Salad is up on their site today!!

I hope that you will check out their website.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey Wings Stress

Before I share my notes with you I just wanted you to know that this was a great meeting. It really reminded me of the importance of staying on track during the holidays. Do you know that the average Thanksgiving meal (one meal) is 4,500 calories!?

That is outrageous. As I walking out of the meeting, back to my car, one thought played through my mind over and over again. It is not worth it! A meal like that is good to enjoy, but remember to keep it with in reason. You...me...we are so worth so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

I would encourage each of you to write out step number one (listed below) and decide what you want your goal to be this holiday season. That goal should help to motivate you to keep you on track.

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting November 16, 2010

We all know how stressful this time of year can be and I am sure that the week of Thanksgiving will be no exception. How do you tend to respond to stress (negative/positive) and how can your response effect your weight loss?

In order to be successful over Thanksgiving there are a few steps that we can follow:
1. Set a goal- Decide what it is that you are wanting to accomplish over the Thanksgiving week. Do you want to lose? Are you okay with a gain? Or are you just hoping to maintain your weight during this trying week? Know what you want before the big day happens.

2. Save your weekly points allowance for turkey day. Earn activity points during the week so you can have extra to use. Might also be wise to eat a light filling snack before lunch. That way as soon as you walk through the door you are not starving and drooling at the mouth.

3. Mentally rehearse how you will respond to your family. Everyone has a family member that is never able to say something nice, a family member that pushes food on you, and a family member who acts as the food police and asks “are you supposed to be eating that?” Decide in advance how you will respond in each of these situations. Mentally rehearse how you will handle the food, where you will sit, how many plates you will go through, how much of your plate will be veggies, how much desert you will have, etc.

4. Have an alternative to eating. Maybe you could wash dishes, play outside with the kids, wrap Christmas presents, play video games/board games, engage in a deep conversation with a family member, go for a walk. Keep your hands busy so that they won’t keep shoveling food into your mouth.

5. Plan activity. Start a flag football game, bring the softball equipment and engage the entire family. Anybody up for twister? Have some way to help you burn off those calories.

6. Learn to roll with the punches. Maybe things didn’t go exactly as you planned, but be willing to be flexible and do the best with what you are given. Remember it is just one meal, you don’t have to stretch it out over the entire weekend!
When you see the turkey, think wings, and think of your stress just flying away. Enjoy the holiday and be thankful for all that you have accomplished on your weight loss journey. Be thankful for your fellow members, for the way you feel, for eating healthier, and hey maybe even smaller clothes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Posting: Our One Sweet World

Good Morning!! Today, I am doing my first guest post!

Shelly over at Our One Sweet World is doing a little series on her blog. People can participate by submitting {Thankful lists} and she posts them on her blog.

I submitted a list to her and it is going to be posted today!! Please hop on over to Our One Sweet World and check out all that I am thankful for.

If your interested in being apart of the series: send your list, include a picture if you'd like, and a blog link if applicable to: nocalshello@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get Away From That Desk!

Here is the latest Get Fit email from Dr. Jacobs.

Moving Around Can Improve Your Health

We’re living in a society where the opportunity, need, or desire to move has diminished. In fact, many people, consciously or unconsciously, desire to move as little as possible, evidenced by drive-thru restaurants, home deliveries, online banking, remote parking, etc.

The computer and TV have been our greatest allies and our greatest enemies. While the computer promotes efficiency for work-related tasks, it also promotes inactivity and low levels of energy expenditure. The TV became the family’s center of social entertainment in the mid-1950s, but since then it has bombarded people into watching hours and hours of mindless shows at very low energy expenditure levels.

We’re spending a lot of our time in front of a computer or TV, and our health is suffering as a result.

Today, we’re starting to learn about how bad things have really become. In a recent paper by Owen, et al. (July 2010 Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews), researchers found that prolonged sitting (which usually occurs in front of a TV set, computer or in transit) leads to substantially greater health risks than had been previously reported. Here are some of the key findings:

• TV viewing (i.e., sedentary behavior) is linked to obesity, diabetes, impaired glucose uptake, and insulin resistance, all of which lead to higher medical costs and poorer quality of life;

• Energy expenditure studies indicate that in adults, on average, 60% of waking hours are spent being sedentary;

• Individuals who are more active throughout the day and sit less are better off than individuals who exercise once per day and spend the rest of the day doing sedentary activities.

The researchers also came upon another interesting finding: too much sitting or sedentary behavior is a strong predictor of disease, and exercising 30 minutes a day (as recommended in our national guidelines) may not protect you from chronic health problems. They recommend additional public health guidelines that target reductions in sitting time in addition to promoting regular physical activity.

The new findings by Owen, et al., raise an important question regarding the health of people with physical disabilities. What are the implications of their findings for individuals who use power and manual wheelchairs and spend all or most of the day sitting? The likely answer is that sedentary behavior may be an even greater health threat, given the lower rate of daily, sporadic activity, and suggests that we need new and creative ways to generate more movement (not necessarily exercise) among people with disabilities spread across the day.

A primary goal of rehabilitation programs is to restore or maintain a person’s ability to be as independent as possible. Improved physical fitness through increased physical activity has been shown to be important for health maintenance and disease prevention. Now is a good time for rehabilitation professionals and health care providers to emphasize not only regular physical activity, but also encourage more movement throughout the day at very low intensity levels. Shifting body weight while sitting in a wheelchair (also good for pressure relief), fidgeting (tapping, moving head, arms, etc.), gestures, etc., provide a cumulative health benefit that, when added to regular fitness-related activity, will lower the risk of chronic diseases. While the results are still emerging, the data seem clear: We all have to learn to get away from the TV or computer every hour on the hour and as often as possible. Our health depends on it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weight Loss Survey

I enjoy filling out surveys, if you have not already notice. I often participate in surveys like this one, because I get to talk about myself. Questions are a great way to learn more about myself and others around me. I really wish that I was a better at asking questions.

A Weight Watchers member posted this Weight Loss survey on her blog and I thought this this would be the perfect post for a nice relaxing Saturday. I really should be cleaning my house. However I have put cleaning on hold, because this is so much more fun!!

1. What was your highest weight, what do you weigh right now and what is your goal weight?
Highest weight: 225 (the day I started Weight Watchers)
Current weight: 135
Goal weight: 140

2. What is your #1 motivation for losing weight?
My Health. This was and remains my #1 motivation for losing and now maintaining my weight. Diabetes runs in my family and I do not want to be a victim of this disease. Before I began Weight Watchers, I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I wasn't even 25 years old. When the Doctor told me that I needed to diet and exercise, I was mad. How dare he tell me that? But he was right. I was destroying my body and I needed to do something about it. After that appointment with my doctor, I have never looked back.

3. Have you always been overweight?
No and Yes. My weight has been like a roller coaster. It would go up when things in my life were bad and it would go down when things in my life were good. I had always been anywhere from a size 12 to 18. That was normal for me.

4. When you want to give up what inspires you to keep going?
When I look at how far I have come, that inspires me to keep going! I even made a book that documents my weight loss journey. Every time I look at these pictures I cannot help but be inspired.

5. What is the #1 thing you look forward to when you hit your goal weight?
I am at my goal weight!! This next week I will celebrate my one year anniversary since I reached Lifetime status with Weight Watchers. The #1 things I have loved since being at goal, is fitting into clothes I never dreamed I would ever be able to fit into.

6. Do you have support on your weight loss journey?
Absolutely! I could not have done this without my husband, who has truly been my biggest supporter in all of this. I am thankful for my Weight Watchers meeting members and leaders. I have friends and co-workers the helped me to stay the course. Above all else, I could not have done this without God. He has been my source of strength and helped me to accomplish all my goals and more.

7. What is your favorite exercise?
I can't believe I am going to say this, but before I started Weight Watchers the only this I enjoyed doing was walking to the kitchen for another snack. Somewhere along the way in my journey, I fell in love with running.

8. What is the most important thing you have learned on your weight loss journey?
Stick with it and NEVER give up. I am not going to do everything perfectly and that is OKAY. However, the worst thing that someone can do is give up. I have given up on weight loss programs before, remember I told you about LA Weight Loss. I hate feeling like a failure and I was determined to do a better job on the Weight Watchers plan. I even made a commitment with myself, before I started the program. No matter how long it takes to get to goal, I will not quit. I am proud to say that I have not quit and have remained committed to my meetings even throughout maintenance.

9. What is one thing you have given up that you miss the most?
I am not sure there is anything I miss. I have made incredible healthy changes in my life and each one is making me a better person. I would not trade that for what I was before I began Weight Watchers.

10. What is your strategy for losing weight?
Follow the plan. Whether it is Weight Watchers or another program out there, you must stick with it. You also need to remember that you are making changes that should last a life time. I was worth the changes I made in my life!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nonprescription Ways to Improve Your Health

Here is the latest Get Fit email from Dr. Jacobs.

Beyond pills: 5 conditions you can improve with lifestyle changes (from Harvard Medical School)

We've gotten used to taking pills for much that ails us. But prescription drugs are not infallible and many have been pulled from the market or slapped with a warning by the FDA, due to health-threatening side effects.

We don't lack for alternatives. Plenty of research shows that exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes are effective weapons against many chronic diseases. But there are more findings about preventing diseases with so-called lifestyle changes than there are about treating them.

Let's be honest: there's a wonderful convenience to taking a pill. It's just so much easier than changing what we eat, mustering up the time and willpower to exercise, or fighting the uphill battle of weight loss. Doctors see this and, understandably, figure medication is a more dependable, and responsible, way of treating a disease.
But for those wary of taking medications who want to take the road less traveled, here's a brief overview of five common conditions and approaches to managing them without medication or supplements.

1. Exercising to ease arthritis
If you're heavy and the problem is arthritic knees, losing weight won't make the arthritis go away, but there's a good chance it will make it less painful—and that's what most people care about. Research results published several years ago showed that combining some weight loss (5.7% of body weight) with moderate exercise will result in less pain and improved mobility for heavy people with arthritic knees.

Even for those who aren't heavy, exercise that doesn't put "load" on the joints—swimming and bicycling are good examples—works to reduce pain. For walking, the right shoes can make a huge difference for people with arthritic knees. A padded heel can cut in half the force with which your foot hits the ground with each stride. A knee brace is another thing to try. It can realign the knee, taking pressure off the "compartment" of the joint that's the most arthritic.

Activity that targets certain muscle groups is a proven pain reliever; beleaguered knees respond well to stronger quadriceps, for example. Some rain on the exercise parade: exercise may be more beneficial—and practical—for people with relatively mild cases of arthritis.

2. Eating for healthier cholesterol
You can adjust your diet in several ways to lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol. Your LDL level may drop by 5% or so if you keep foods high in saturated fat (namely, meat and full-fat dairy products) off the menu. Every additional gram of soluble fiber per day—the sort of fiber found in oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruit—may reduce LDL levels by about 2 mg/dL. Diets that have included margarines fortified with sterols—compounds that block cholesterol absorption—have brought about LDL drops of 10% to 20% in some studies. And in others, low-fat, "plant-based" diets that are very heavy on the vegetables (10 servings a day) and legumes and nuts (four servings a day) have dialed down LDL levels by almost 10%.

The problem is that all of these approaches fall short of what the statin drugs can accomplish: a drop of 25% to 35% in LDL. The exception may be a diet that includes a veritable dream team of LDL-lowering foods (plant sterols, soy protein, soluble fiber, and almonds). It has managed to match effects of statins in several short, head-to-head studies.

And HDL, the "good" cholesterol? Exercise is probably the best way to boost levels. Inactive people who start to exercise regularly have seen their HDL levels increase by as much as 20%. Moderate alcohol consumption (one or two drinks a day) is another HDL booster. Excess weight, smoking, and diets heavy in easy-to-digest carbohydrates depress HDL levels, so changes in those areas can give your HDL a lift.

3. Mental—and physical—exercise to avoid cognitive decline
Memory training and other "brain exercises" seem to help healthy older people stay sharp, although there's been some question about how well the gains translate to real, everyday activities. Scores of studies have been done and, by and large, the results in people with early, and even full-fledged, Alzheimer's have been positive. Several studies have shown that structured "cognitive stimulation" programs administered by caregivers at home may help Alzheimer's patients. But there are questions about the quality of a lot of the research showing positive results. Moreover, the bar for success is set pretty low: a positive finding is often a slowing of the rate of cognitive decline, not reversing it.

Evidence for the mental benefits of physical exercise may be stronger and more consistent than the evidence for mental gymnastics. A study published in 2007 is typical. It showed that even a simple, hour-long exercise program twice a week had a positive effect on the ability of Alzheimer's patients in nursing homes to perform daily activities.

4. Physical activity to relieve depression
Many studies have found that regular physical activity seems to have an antidepressant effect. Some research has shown that a fairly strenuous exercise program results in a 50% decrease in depressive symptoms, a drop comparable to that seen when people take antidepressant medications or receive cognitive behavioral therapy. The particulars of the program seem less important than sticking with it. Physical activity may affect the brain directly by boosting neurogenesis: brain cells grow a bit and make more connections where it counts.

It may not be just the physical activity alone that improves mood. Consider everything that can come with it: camaraderie if you exercise with others, the psychological boost from adhering to a challenging routine, the relief of focusing on something besides your problems. The exercise-as-antidepressant formula does have a major problem: one common feature of depression is that nothing seems enjoyable or worthwhile. Finding the motivation to exercise may be a huge, even insurmountable, hurdle for some.

5. Lifestyle changes to lower high blood pressure
If there's one condition that you can change without a pill, it's high blood pressure or, as doctors call it, hypertension. Take your pick: lose some weight, get more exercise, eat less sodium, change your diet. They all work.

If you're heavy, each 2 pounds of weight loss—easier said than done, we know—translates into a 1–mm Hg drop in systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure. Regular exercise can even lower your blood pressure if you don't lose weight.

Eliminating about three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt (1.8 grams of sodium) from your diet each day may drop your systolic reading by five points and the diastolic by three. Trials of vegetarian diets have shown that they can reduce systolic blood pressure by 5 mm Hg. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is even better, lowering systolic blood pressure as much as 12 points and diastolic pressure by five. DASH dieting does involve eating a lot of fruits and vegetables (seven to nine servings a day) and low-fat dairy products (two to three servings a day), plus whole grains, nuts, poultry, and fish, all while keeping saturated fat, red meat, and sweets to a minimum. If you've got the discipline to follow DASH and keep your salt intake low, the decrease in blood pressure is comparable to that seen with high blood pressure medications.

Any of these lifestyle strategies will also make blood pressure–lowering medication more effective. Whether they can replace the pills depends on how high your blood pressure is. Current guidelines recommend lifestyle changes for prevention and control of high blood pressure, but they aren't terribly optimistic about the control part, predicting that most people with high blood pressure (defined as 140/90 and above) will need to take one or two medications. Even at lower readings, if someone has other health problems (diabetes, for example), most doctors will prescribe blood pressure pills. But weight loss, exercise, and diet can make lower dosages possible and even eliminate the need for medication altogether.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

There are No Shortcuts

I read this devotional from Proverbs 31 yesterday morning. The truths that are spoken in this devotional are priceless. They can be applied across a wide variety of subjects. However, for this blog post, let's focus on our individual weight loss journeys.

There are no shortcuts on the road called Weight Loss. That's it. There is no quick way to lose weight and maintain the weight you have lost. There are no quick fixes.

I wish there was a magic pill that I could take that would help me to wake up thin and healthy. But as we all know, there is not a pill like that out there.

Because there are no quick fixes, if you decide to start your weight loss journey, you must take the long road. You did not gain all your weight in one night and you are not going to be able to lose it in one night either.

Try not to compare yourself with others who are on their own weight loss journeys. Everyone is different and will arrive at their destination at different times in a variety of ways.

This might sounds strange, but I am thankful for the weight loss journey I have been on. I believe that it has helped to shape me into a better woman. That would not have happened if I had just woken up skinny. God has used my weight loss to teach me so much!

Don't waste your journey ladies! There is too much for you to learn. I would not want you to miss out on any part of it.

Be encouraged and continue to press on!!

For those of you who are interested, here is the Proverbs 31 devotional from yesterday.

. . . . . . . . . .
There are No Shortcuts to Anyplace Worth Going
12 Nov 2010
Glynnis Whitwer

"Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house." Ecclesiastes 10:18 (NLT)

Life for a boy is measured in milestones. The first time you wear "big boy" underwear. The first time you are tall enough to ride a roller coaster. And the first time you eat a Big Mac meal all by yourself. For my youngest son Robbie, the last milestone came at age 6. And it also came with a life-message about the danger of shortcuts.

For a first grader, lunch in the cafeteria is a novelty. With two older brothers, Robbie knew it meant I would be joining him occasionally with a special lunch instead of his normal sandwich and fruit. He couldn't wait for his turn to have Mommy show up with lunch hidden in a paper bag, stamped with a familiar golden arch. The first time I did, he was thrilled.

Robbie majestically created a plate from the paper wrapping, dumped the fries onto the "plate," and sampled his soda. Like a king on his throne, he surveyed his lunch. Then Robbie dug in with abandon to his double-decker burger. And just as quickly, secret sauce started dripping down his little fingers.

He caught some with his tongue, but surplus sauce still oozed down his hands. I could see his shirt about to become a dining accessory, and started rustling through the bag and under wrappers. "Wait Robbie, I'm sure I brought some napkins," I said.

"It's okay Mommy," Robbie said raking his fingers through his hair. "My hair is a napkin." He grinned, thoroughly pleased with himself.

I stared. Speechless.

That was a teachable moment for me. You see, I didn't know I had to tell my children not to use their hair as a napkin. Now I know.

I learned something else from that experience. Convenience trumps correct almost every time wh en children are small. Which is why dirty clothes get dropped on the floor directly in front of the hamper. Or glasses get set on the counter above the dishwasher. Bad habits are easily formed, and it seems in our human nature to choose ease over diligence, quick over thorough.

Sadly, with enough choices like that, we end up with a life-culture of shallow rather than deep. Instead of pushing through to the next level of excellence, we settle. Instead of the few extra seconds it takes to find a napkin, we use our hair. And then we wonder why things aren't the way we wish they were.

I catch myself looking for the occasional short cut. But I've discovered there are no short cuts to anyplace worth going.

I'll never have a clean home unless I get to work. I'll never save money unless I shop smarter. I'll never be an excellent writer unless I sharpen my skills. I'll never be a great wife or mother unless I make it a priority. I will never wake up one day and find that my dreams have become a reality, unless I'm willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

Besides a good story, Robbie's "My hair is a napkin" experience is a great lesson. It reminds me that convenience isn't always best. Shortcuts don't always work. And I've still got a lot to learn about parenting and life.

Dear Lord, I praise You today for who You are. You are worthy of my best efforts. Forgive me when I try to take a shortcut in serving You. Help me to remember that Your way isn't always the easy way. But it's the best way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Stylish Blogger Award

I want to thank Casondra at Pieces of my Heaven on Earth, for this blog award. If you have not checked out her blog you need to do so.

I am always so humbled by the people who read and follow my blog! Thanks again Casondra!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday: Weight Watchers Points

I have heard this a lot this week about change coming to the Weight Watchers program. Even as I logged into my Weight Watchers account I saw this nice blue square that reads, "Something New Is Coming Soon"

For our Flashback today, I want to remind us of what the Weight Watchers points are like now.

This is the current Weight Watchers points equation. We look at calories, fat, and fiber. It sounds simple enough.

However, there is change on the horizon.

This video from the CEO of Weight Watchers tells me that they have found a better way to do the points system. On November 28th Weight Watchers is unveiling their new program nation-wide. They are excited to announce the first major change in the Weight Watchers program in 13 years.

I do not know how you are with change, but I am always hesitant toward change when it first happens. Ever since I watched this video earlier this week I have been nervous that Weight Watchers is changing. It's been so disappointing, because I love Weight Watchers.

What I have realized is that I also assume that change is a negative thing that happens in my life. The truth of the matter is that I trust the Weight Watchers program. I have lost over 90 pounds on this program and if they say there is a better way to do points then I am going to at least listen to what they have to say.

I hope you will too! I will miss the old points system, because it is familiar. However, my Sunday school teacher says that my comfort zone is never my growth zone. I do not want to stop growing and learning while I strive to maintain my weight loss.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Our Veteran's Today

The Bravest Man I Know
by Amanda Whitney

The bravest man I know.
Is a man I've never met.
He's a man who risks his life
To save a friend,
Not only to save a friend,
But to save a nation.
Risking his life
For those he does not know.
Stepping up
Leaving loved ones behind,
So that somewhere,
Someone else won't have to.
He is a man who follows orders
Even though he knows he might die.

The bravest man I know.
Is the man who would rather die,
So one more person could go home
To see his family again.
The man who stares death in the face,
But never blinks.

The bravest man I know.
Is the man who risks his life
So one day the world may be a better place for his children.
Or any man who goes against his biggest fear.
Just to save someone he loves.

The bravest man I know.
Is the man who fights
So another man can have the taste of sweet freedom.
Not fighting only for his own benefit,
But for many others all over the world,
Fighting to make this world a better place.

That's the bravest man I know.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Year in Review: Red Carpet Debut

Yesterday was my ONE year anniversary at Lifetime with Weight Watchers and I have way too many words for it to be a Wordless Wednesday. Last night, was also the same night of The Year in Review: Red Carpet Debut.

After work my husband came to pick me up so that we could go to this special Weight Watchers meeting together. I had packed my goal dress and was going to change after I weighed in.

My dress looked wonderful. The last time I wore it, I put a turtleneck underneath the dress so that I would not freeze. Not this time! I never wear anything sleeveless, because I am always nervous about people seeing my arms. However, last night I did not care.

Jon took pictures and video of the evening. The theme was "Never Going Back", which was so appropriate for all of us who participated.

My Weight Watchers leader, Amanda made a slideshow with all of our before pictures on it. Then we walked down the red carpet and were the live "after" picture.

This is me after I weighed in, changed, and fixed my hair. I had butterflies in my stomach.

The greatest husband in the world! I am so blessed to have a husband who supports me so well.

This is my Never Going Back trophy.

All the people who participated received a trophy.

There were so many people at this meeting.

Amanda, my leader, looking fabulous as she greeted everyone.

This is a video of me walking down the red carpet!

This is me receiving my trophy.

All the people who had walked down the isle sat in a special VIP section.

Jon and I looking fabulous after the meeting.

Amanda and I. We took a picture just like this, one year ago at my Lifetime meeting.

I love this girl!

It's amazing to see how far God has brought me and to know that I am Never Going Back!


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