Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Exercise is Good for Me? Really??


Here is the meeting summary from May 24, 2011.

13 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits Of Exercise
Written by C. Simmons of HealthAssist.net

We've all heard it before, "Exercise is good for you because...."

Nowadays you can't check out at the grocery store or do much of anything without being reminded that us mortal humans need to exercise. Still, we persist, procrastinate and eventually complain that we're overweight, sick, dying, etc.

Listen. Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous. No one is asking for you to start a rigorous daily regimen, just do something. If you need motivation, here is a list of scientifically proven health benefits that regular exercise brings.

Longevity. People who are physically active live longer. According to a 20 year follow-up study, regular exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely.
New brain cell development, improved cognition and memory. Exercise stimulates the formation of new brain cells. Researchers found that the areas of the brain that are stimulated through exercise are responsible for memory and learning. For instance, older adults who engage in regular physical activity have better performances in tests implying decision-making process, memory and problem solving.
Improved sexual function and better sex life. Regular exercise maintains or improves sex life. Physical improvements in muscle strength and tone, endurance, body composition and cardiovascular function can all enhance sexual functioning in both men and women. Researchers revealed that men who exercise regularly are less likely to have erectile dysfunction and impotence than are men who don't exercise.
Exercise is a powerful antidepressant. Study after study has shown that exercise promotes mental health and reduces symptoms of depression. The antidepressant effect of regular physical exercise is comparable to the potent antidepressants like Zoloft. It may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve symptoms of depression.
Cardiovascular health. Lack of physical activity is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercising makes your heart, like any other muscle, stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort.
Cholesterol lowering effect. Exercise itself does not burn off cholesterol like it does with fat, however, exercise favorably influences blood cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Prevention and control of diabetes. There is strong evidence from high quality studies (e.g. Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study) that moderate physical activity combined with weight loss and balanced diet can confer a 50-60% reduction in risk of developing diabetes.
Blood pressure lowering. The way in which exercise can cause a reduction in blood pressure is unclear, but all forms of exercise seem to be effective in reducing blood pressure. Aerobic exercise appears to have a slightly greater effect on blood pressure in hypertensive individuals than in individuals without hypertension.
Reduced risk of stroke. Research data indicates that moderate and high levels of physical activity may reduce the risk of total, ischemic, and hemorrhagic strokes.
Weight control. Regular exercise helps to reach and maintain a healthy weight. If you take in more calories than needed in a day, exercise offsets a caloric overload and controls body weight. It speeds the rate of energy use, resulting in increased metabolism. When metabolism increases through exercise, you will maintain the faster rate for longer periods of a day.
Muscle strength. Health studies repeatedly show that strength training increases muscle strength and mass and decreases fat tissue.
Bone strength. An active lifestyle benefits bone density. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation, delays bone loss and may protect against osteoporosis - form of bone loss associated with aging.
Better night sleep. If you suffer from poor sleep, daily exercise can make the difference. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after exercise may help to fall asleep.

Finding the right reasons to start an activity program is more than half the battle.

You've heard it a million times: Consistent, moderate exercise is a key component not just of weight loss, but of good health in general. Being physically active can help reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It can relieve stress. It can give you the extra energy you long for.

But you already know all this, so why is it still so hard to get out there and move?

Get motivated, get moving
"No time" is a popular excuse, but what it's really about is a lack of motivation. You've probably heard your Leader or other meetings members talking about a powerful solution to this problem called Motivating Strategy from Weight Watchers Tools For Living.

Tools for Living - Motivating Strategy

Motivation, the best way to break through times that are tough, is that surge of energy, that inner oomph inside that inspires you to go for it.

But sometimes, motivation is lacking: Your stamina flags, your willpower wilts. Something is getting in the way, stopping you from giving it your all. You need to use the Motivating Strategy.

Motivating Strategy helps you use your imagination to determine the goals you really want to achieve and then take steps toward them — whether those steps are tracking PointsPlus® values, eating more fruits and vegetables, or exercising.

It works because it connects you with an action's positive results. For example, use Motivating Strategy to find the motivation to be more physically active, and you'll envision what it feels like to be a physically active person — what you look like, the things you get to do and wear, the way you spend your time and relate to others.

These are the Motivating Strategy steps.

1. Imagine yourself having already achieved your goals, and enjoying them.
Visualize the way your Winning Outcome will be experienced, when you achieve it. Use your senses so that you feel how it will feel. Add sounds, smells, movement.

2. Get in touch with the other good feelings that come from having achieved your goals.

3. Remain in touch with these feelings as you get back to doing the things you need to do to reach your goal.

Once you're motivated to be more active, it's time to take those crucial first steps.

Here are some tips for getting started:
1. Choose activities that you actually enjoy. You're not likely to keep up any exercise you dread doing. If you try one exercise and do not like it, please don’t give up. You have so many options available, just move on to something else…. Didn’t like zumba? Try yoga or Pilates instead.
2. Start small and work your way up by increasing your intensity or the amount of time you spend doing the activity.
3. Think about the season. Now that it's summer, how can you take advantage of the nice weather?
4. Buddy up. Do you have any friends or family members who are also trying to get fit? Can you do an activity together?

At your next meeting, ask the friends around you what they did to first add activity to their lives.

This week really focus on at least getting in 10 minutes of activity each day. We can all make room for 10 minutes to reap the many benefits of exercise.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Couple's Success Tim and Melanie Howie

Visit KETK to view their story.

Tim and Melanie Howie attend the same Weight Watchers meeting as me!! It has been so inspiring to watch them throughout their weight loss journeys. Combined they have lost over 160 pounds by incorporating activity into their daily lives and following the weight watchers plan!

Here is the link to Tim and Melanie Howie’s inspirational weight loss story that aired last week on KETK news!

Congratulations Tim and Melanie we are so very proud of you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't Eat Your Way Out of the Pit


While Jon and I were gone in the Northwest we faced some incredibly challenging circumstances. After the initial shock of what had taken place I had the urge to eat come over me! I said it out loud to my sister-in-law, Teresa, that I was starving. However, as I began to think about it…how could I eat at a time like this? I refused to eat, because I knew that in that moment if I went and got some cake that I would have fallen to emotional eating.

As I let the weight of the circumstances fall heavy on me I began to realize that I really was not hungry at all. The truth was that these circumstances had upset me so much that I felt sick to my stomach. I tried to eat a few pillow mints and felt like I was going to throw up. It was not until the next day when my stomach finally began to settle that I knew I should eat, even though I was not feeling hungry.

This devotional from Lysa TerKeurst is so relevant to my life and the struggles that I face every day with emotional eating. I honestly believe that many times I eat, because that’s what I am used to doing in these kinds of stressful situations. It is the only thing that I can control in that moment.

Changing your old habits is a process and takes time. Be gracious with yourself as you make these kinds of changes, because no one is perfect. Cling to the Lord, because He will be faithful to complete every good work in you.

. . . . . . . . . .
Don’t Eat Your Way Out of the Pit
May 26, 2011
Lysa TerKeurst

“Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10b (NIV)

Have you ever been in a pit? Yesterday I was. And you know what pits make me feel besides frustrated and down? Hungry.

Usually my pit comes when circumstances roll into my life that I can’t control.
Circumstances that affect me, but that are beyond my control, make me want to find comfort in things I can control. And eating sure does feel like an easy to get comfort.

But, in these situations, what feels comforting going in my mouth often doesn’t settle well with my heart.

Overindulging in junk food makes me feel guilty. And once guilty joins me in my pit, it only compounds my issues. So, if we can’t eat our way out of a pit with junk food, what can we do?

If I’m truly hungry, I grab a healthy option. Then, I intentionally look for something for which to be thankful and get my mouth busy praising God.

Even though I may not feel like praising God in the midst of my pit, something starts to shift in my heart and in my attitude when I see blessings in the midst of burdens. Each thing for which I verbalize my thankfulness is like a stepping stone out of the pit.

And this isn’t just my idea. It’s biblical. Look what happened when Daniel took this approach to the pit he found himself in.

In Daniel 6:10, Daniel had just learned that if anyone was caught praying to anyone else besides King Darius, they would be thrown into the Lion’s Den. That’s a serious pit! But Daniel’s reaction is amazing.

He went home, threw his windows open, and prayed anyway. I’m not thinking he did this because he felt good. I’m imagining he felt like anyone would feel in overwhelming circumstances. But he rose above his feelings to make a choice.

And do you know what he chose to pray?

“God, save me!”

“God, it’s not fair!”

“God, this is too much!”

“God, smite my enemies and wipe them out!”

“God, You know I can’t handle this without extreme doses of chocolate!”

No. None of the above.

What Daniel prayed is a powerful lesson for me.

Daniel prayed, Thank You God. “Three times a day, he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10b, NIV)
Since Daniel’s response is so opposite of the way most of us would react, it makes me stop and ponder. Our initial responses are usually a by-product of the rituals we’ve established in our life. Daniel had made it his habit to be thankful.

Therefore, who God is and what God provides was front and center in Daniel’s heart — even in the midst of heartbreak.

I am so challenged and inspired by this. Where do I run when life presses in on me? Who or what am I really dependent on? Do I have a habit of inviting guilt to join me in my pit? What might happen if I stopped grabbing for comfort and instead embraced the perspective change of thanksgiving?

Yes, life will be full of pits. But, that doesn’t mean I have to be a pit dweller or a pit eater.

Dear Lord, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit. But we don’t have to stay there and we don’t have to try and eat our way out. Thank You for providing Your timeless Word to point to the way, the truth and the life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Breakfast your secret weapon!


Here is the meeting summary from May 17, 2011.

What do bagels, bran cereal and bananas have in common? They're good-for-you breakfast foods that might help keep you on the weight-loss straight and narrow.

Research has shown that people who skip breakfast may not be as successful with weight management as those people who eat breakfast regularly. Why? Eating breakfast may help you reduce snacking and avoid overeating.

Food is fuel
Eating breakfast is like filling up a gas tank. When you wake up in the morning, your body is low on fuel, like a car running on empty. A morning meal can kick-start your engine by giving your body energy.

Skipping breakfast may make you more likely to overeat later in the day to make up for the missed meal.

In fact, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that breakfast eaters fall prey to impulse snacking less often than non-breakfast eaters.

Unleaded or diesel?
Not all fuels are created equal. Most people will get more mileage from a small bran muffin and a cup of fat-free milk than they do from a large glass of juice. That's because the sugar in the juice is a much more rapidly used energy source than that derived from the muffin and milk.

The ideal breakfast is based on carbohydrate and protein. The most satisfying breakfasts deliver a quick shot of energy (by raising blood sugar levels rapidly) and then a longer term energy boost from high-fiber, complex-carbohydrate, protein-containing foods that slow digestion.

What does that mean for your sugar cereal? Toss a handful into a bowl of low-fat yogurt and then mix it up with some fiber-rich fruit. Other tag-team breakfasts include:
• Low-fat cheese and tomato slices on a whole-wheat English muffin
• High-fiber cereal with fat-free or low fat milk and dried or fresh fruit
• Peanut butter and jelly on multi-grain bread
• Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs (or egg whites) with a couple of wheat crackers
• Low-fat yogurt and a grain-rich cereal bar
• A banana and a small handful of peanuts or almonds

Banish no-time-for-breakfast excuses
Excuse: I don't have time to make myself breakfast. The only things available to me at work are doughnuts and cookies from the vending machine.

When time is of the essence, think portable. Try a hard-boiled egg (keep a few in the fridge at all times) and a couple of crackers or string cheese and a piece of fruit. And for those real crunch times, keep packets of instant oatmeal, high-fiber breakfast bars and mini boxes of raisins stashed in your desk drawer.

Excuse: I just can't eat before 1:00 p.m.
You don't have to eat when the roosters crow, but it is a wise idea to eat within several hours of waking up. If you can't stomach much, try a few grapes or a wheat cracker and half a glass of juice. After a few days, your body might naturally look forward to this a.m. fuel-up and you can try more substantial meals.

Excuse: I'd like to eat breakfast but I'm afraid it will set my hunger into overdrive.
Many people experience less erratic eating patterns (like mid-afternoon and after-dinner munchies) when they eat several small snacks and meals throughout the day. Anderson says that in addition to being leaner, frequent nutritious mini-meal eaters — as opposed to those who eat one to two big meals per day — are often associated with cleaner bills of health.

If you are a grab breakfast through a drive thru here are some of the top restaurant breakfast food shockers:
A medium order of hash browns from Burger King will cost you 14 pointsplus- an order of hash browns from McDonalds will cost you 4. The Fruit and maple oatmeal from McDonalds is 7 pointsplus.

A low fat raspberry muffin from Starbucks will cost you 9 pointsplus- a regular blueberry full fat muffin from Starbucks will also cost you 9 pointsplus. (Just because something is claimed to be low fat/ sugar free does not always mean that it will be lower in Pointsplus!) Try any Grande skinny latte from Starbucks for just 3 pointsplus! Yummmm!

A Chick fil A chicken biscuit will cost you 12 pointsplus- maybe opt out instead for a 3 count chick-n-minis for 7 Pointsplus.

A Denver breakfast bowl from Jack in the Box will cost you 21 Pointsplus!

A Bacon egg and cheese breakfast burrito from Sonic will cost you 13 pointsplus.

Your average chocolate frosted donut will cost you 6 pointsplus and a regular glazed is also 6 pointsplus.

At IHOP a chicken fajita omelet will cost you 30 pointsplus!! This omelet alone contains 85g of fat!

Maybe even try your own on the go parfait. You can just layer your favorite yogurt with your favorite breakfast cereal and fruit of your choice in a disposable Dixie cup. Then just grab a plastic spoon and head out the door! This is a great breakfast that is quick and easy to eat on the road!

This week try to make a commitment to eating breakfast. You can start with something small and light if you need to until you can build up to a more satisfying breakfast.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Us and the Boys

Jon and I are finally home! We flew to Kansas City and barely made it in for a landing, because of all the storms. After finally landing, we loaded up the plane with new passengers and went onto Dallas. We made it in to Dallas just before the bad storms hit.

We had an incredible trip! The wedding was amazing! It was so good to see our family and friends. Best of all we got to spend a lot of time with our new nephews!! I feel so hard for these boys.

Here are just a few pictures I took with my phone. All the rest of the pictures are on my camera and I have not had time to look at them. More pictures to come soon!

Me and Lucas

Jon and Kenneth

Me and Kenneth

Friday, May 20, 2011

No Excuses


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

So you're one of the millions whose New Year's resolution was to "get in shape." You begin with nothing but the best of intentions. You vow to go to the gym everyday and sweat off all the holiday cookies, turkey, and multiple glasses of eggnog. Visions of yourself pounding it out on the treadmill and weight lifting like a pro dance through your head.

And then it happens: reality kicks in. So what do you do?

Physical activity is often one of the first things to go when schedules get busy. However, staying active is an integral part of leading a healthy lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control, regular physical activity can help "control your weight, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mental health and mood and increase your chances of living longer." As you can see the CDC doesn't mention anything about fitting into your skinny jeans. Leading an active lifestyle shouldn't be about getting a six-pack fast or losing 20 pounds in 20 days. It should be about creating a strong and healthy self.

So, how much physical activity is the "right" amount? The CDC recommends that adults get "two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week." However, finding the time can be hard. Despite the best intentions, promises we make to ourselves often get lost somewhere between the bio notes and empty Dominoes boxes.

The focus should be on finding activities you love and will be able to do for a lifetime.

It can be hard to get in the habit of regular exercise, but it must be made into a priority. Make a habit of going to the gym after certain classes and stick to it, workout with a buddy and keep each other accountable or sign up for a class. At the end of the day, it is up to us as individuals to take the resources offered and put them to good use.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preparing for Our Trip


Tomorrow, Jon and I will be boarding a flight bound for Portland, Oregon! It has been two years since the last time I have been home to see my family.

The main reason for our trip, is that my sister Vivian is getting married on Sunday, May 22nd!! As an added bonus we get to visit with family and meet our nephews Kenneth and Lucas!!

We have been very busy I have been doing my best to get us all packed. We are traveling to Portland and it is much colder there than it is here is Texas, so I have to pack in a way that prepares me for the weather. I am packing long-sleeved shirts, jackets, dresses, leggings, shirts, and the list just seems to go on and on...

However, the weather is not the only thing I am preparing for, because I also have to be very careful to remember to pack things that will help me stay on plan while I am gone!

I am packing our lunches, so that we do not have to buy food at the airport. I am packing snacks for the plane like grapes, Veggies Straws, Nutri-Grain bars, baby carrots, and Fiber One bars. I am also bringing my PointsPlus calculator, which just so happens to be on my phone with my Weight Watchers eTools tracker. I am bringing my walking shoes, so that I can try to earn extra activity PointsPlus.

I am excited to travel and see my family, but I do not want this trip to derail me from my ultimate goal of continuing to maintain my goal weight.

I know that many of you will be traveling this summer too! I want you to have a great time, but do not forget to bring your plan with you where ever you go!

There is an old meeting summary blog post that I wrote last June. It is so helpful to explain how to "Pack Your Plan for Vacation". To check it out, click here.

I will be gone from May 19th - 24th, so now you know why I will be M.I.A. this week and next.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Speak up, Stand up, & Ask for what you need


Here is the meeting summary from May 10, 2011.

Asking for what you need, can actually help you through difficult weight-loss situations. By verbalizing to your loved ones what you need to stick to your weight-loss plans, you can help them give it to you.

Speak Up
You're probably familiar with Asserting, a powerful resource from Weight Watchers Tools for Living, which will help you say, and mean, what you need from others in order to stay on track. In order to use Asserting as a weight-loss tool, follow these simple steps:

1. Identify who is making it difficult for you to stay on track, and in which situations. For example, imagine that you and a friend are planning your weekly lunch, and she suggests pizza – again.

2. Stand tall, be firm, and politely tell that person exactly what you would like from them (keeping in mind what their needs are, too). Try telling your friend that it's hard for you to stay on track when you're faced with the smell and sight of pizza, and suggest a deli where you could order soup or a salad, and where she would have plenty of options, too. Chances are, your friend will be more than happy to oblige now that she knows what you need. And perhaps even more important, you might even be saving your relationship – It's much better to speak up than to start avoiding your weekly lunches because they are throwing you off-course.

3. Feel confident that by expressing what you need you are increasing your chances of succeeding at weight loss. Remember, this is not about being selfish or picky, but about caring enough about yourself to establish lifelong boundaries on what you can and can't handle in your weight-loss efforts. There's no need to feel selfish or reluctant about expressing your needs, as long as you keep in mind what the other person's needs are, too, and try to find a balance between the two.

Asking people for help means...
• Involving the people close to you in your efforts to lose weight.
• Deciding what your friends, family, and coworkers can do to help you achieve your goals, and asking for their assistance. Maybe you want them to fill your wine glass with a diet soft drink or put food in serving dishes rather than piling up your plate.
• Anticipating how your loved ones will feel about you trying to lose weight, and negotiating with people who are unable or unwilling to help.
• Being flexible, and if you're not getting what you need, being proactive enough to look for motivation elsewhere.
• Posting and reading topics on the Message Boards. Making the most of the tips and encouragement you receive from your fellow WeightWatchers.com users.

Successful people do what it takes to get the help they need.
Some simply ask—people with great motivation systems are often in the habit of asking for the help they need, and the people around them are used to being asked.

Others, whose immediate family and friends aren't as helpful, expand their networks to include more of the kinds of people who understand.

Those of us who aren't used to asking the people in our lives for help with anything (much less something as big as weight loss), may feel tempted to just go at it alone. But it doesn't have to happen that way.

The encouragement that comes just by asking for help can be a big boost.

Asking for Help is useful because...
• Research shows that ongoing social motivation from family and friends, as well as other sources, may help to sustain weight-loss efforts.
• When you make an effort to ask for what you need, you're more actively thinking about what you need.
• When you involve people who are willing to help you, and negotiate with people who aren't, you're nurturing healthy relationships.
• When you recognize the gaps in your network, and seek help because of it, you're taking a great step toward success (not to mention your self confidence).

Make an effort this next week to identify the top people who regularly sabotage your weight loss efforts. Plan out what you need to say to them to identify how much of a hindrance they are on your weight loss. Then stand up tall and ask for the help you need. You never know if someone will change if you don’t ask for help. So is it a coworker, spouse, best friend…or maybe your mom who constantly pushes that unhealthy food on you?

This week, take the time to ask for the help you need!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pieces of Our Weekend

It was such an awesome weekend! We had so many different things going on this weekend, but I did my best to take pictures to give you a sampling of everything we did!

On Friday night, right after work Jon and I went to participate in my 3rd Weight Watchers 5K.
This is the t-shirt we had made for this year's 5K. 

We used chalk to draw the starting line.

Jon came too! This is the first year that he has been able to participate! I was so glad he came.

I was trying to help get people signed in.

Jon and I before the 5K started.

Amanda had to use her $3.00 megaphone so that people could her what she was saying!

We used streamers that people had a fun time breaking through at the beginning of the race.

There they go!
The night was such a huge success! There were over 239 people who came out to participate in this 5K.

On Saturday morning, I worked my monthly Weight Watchers meeting and came home to clean my house in preparation for visitors that we were going to have that evening. We had volunteered to house two girls from the California Baptist choir that was scheduled to perform at our church on Sunday morning.
I did all of our laundry!

I baked Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Muffins, for our guests that we were expecting.

Finally, at 10pm we went to the church to pick up our girls, Brittany and Stephanie. When we got there they were setting everything up for the big production.

On Sunday morning, during breakfast I got online to find my newspaper article online! I took a picture of it, because it was on the main page of the newspaper's website.

I was so excited that I read it out loud to Jon, Brittany, and Stephanie. To check it out, click here.

We then headed off to church where the students from the California Baptist University choir and orchestra lead the Sunday morning service. The service was incredible! We were so excited to be able to watch them perform. It was also a pleasure getting to know Brittany and Stephanie while they stayed at our house!

After church we went to lunch with some friends and tried to hunt down some copies of the Tyler newspaper! We went to three different stores before we were able to find the right newspaper. There were only three newspapers left and we bought them all.

The cashier at Wal-mart asked us if we knew that we were buying three copies of the same newspaper. We told her that this was no mistake and that we needed three copies, because I was in the newspaper. She did not believe me until I flipped to the health and fitness section. On the first page of the section was my pictures and story! She couldn't believe that the woman in the newspaper was really me!
click here.
I was on the first page of the health and fitness section!!

When we finally made it back home I just had to take some pictures of myself with the article!

After our traditional Sunday afternoon nap, we went flying with some of our friends. Jon had some extra flight hours to use and we thought it would be a fun way to hangout with John and Elise. Jon is an awesome pilot and we had such a great time!
Me, Jon, Elise, & John

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Newspaper Article

Look! I am on the front page. Click here.

Here is the link to my newspaper article!! I am so humbled with the way that God has worked through my weight loss.

This is me with the article!

To read my weight loss article link, click here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Things I Like Right Now

The idea behind today’s blog post was inspired be a girl I met in college. Amber blogs at The Mod Antiquarian and is a connoisseur of antiquities and things from the past. She blogs about fashion, recipes, and more, so check it out. She has had a few blog posts called, “Things I like Right Now”. I thought this was a great idea and I am going to steal it!

Mandisa: This Godly woman looks incredible! She has been open, honest, and real about her weight loss journey. I think that she is such an inspiration to all of us who have struggled with our weight.


Walking: Tonight I am completing my 3rd Weight Watchers Walk !t 5K Challenge!! I am walking in our local 5K and I cannot wait!!

Polka Dots: What can I say? I am obsessed! I go shopping and this is what gets my attention.


Water: I take these with me everywhere I go and they are great tools to help me get in all the liquids that I need each day.

Dresses: Ever since I reached my goal weight, I had added so many dresses to my wardrobe. I am a real girly girl and they help me to feel pretty!

The Biggest Loser: I started watching season 11 on Hulu when Jon was gone for a weekend in March. Now I am hooked and cannot wait to see who will be the next Biggest Loser!


Gina Skinny Recipes: I visit Gina's blog on a daily basis. She always has great new recipe ideas that are pointsplus friendly. And they taste good too!!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Taking Care of Your Sight


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

Safeguarding your sight

Although aging puts people at greater risk for serious eye disease and other eye problems, loss of sight need not go hand in hand with growing older. Practical, preventive measures can help protect against devastating impairment. An estimated 40% to 50% of all blindness can be avoided or treated, mainly through regular visits to a vision specialist.

Regular eye exams are the cornerstone of visual health as people age. Individuals who have a family history of eye disease or other risk factors should have more frequent exams. Don’t wait until your vision deteriorates to have an eye exam. One eye can often compensate for the other while an eye condition progresses. Frequently, only an exam can detect eye disease in its earliest stages.

You can take other steps on your own. First, if you smoke, stop. Smoking increases the risk of several eye disorders, including age-related macular degeneration. Next, take a look at your diet. Maintaining a nutritious diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables and minimal saturated fats and hydrogenated oils, promotes sound health and may boost your resistance to eye disease. Wearing sunglasses and hats is important for people of any age. Taking the time to learn about the aging eye and recognizing risks and symptoms can alert you to the warning signs of vision problems.

Although eyestrain, spending many hours in front of a television or computer screen, or working in poor light does not cause harmful medical conditions, it can tire the eyes and, ultimately, their owner. The eyes are priceless and deserve to be treated with care and respect — and that is as true for the adult of 80 as it is for the teenager of 18.

Five common eye myths dispelled
Myth: Doing eye exercises will delay the need for glasses.
Fact: Eye exercises will not improve or preserve vision or reduce the need for glasses. Your vision depends on many factors, including the shape of your eye and the health of the eye tissues, none of which can be significantly altered with eye exercises.

Myth: Reading in dim light will worsen your vision.
Fact: Although dim lighting will not adversely affect your eyesight, it will tire your eyes out more quickly. The best way to position a reading light is to have it shine directly onto the page, not over your shoulder. A desk lamp with an opaque shade pointing directly at the reading material is the best possible arrangement. A light that shines over your shoulder will cause a glare, making it more difficult to see the reading material.

Myth: Eating carrots is good for the eyes.
Fact: There is some truth in this one. Carrots, which contain vitamin A, are one of several vegetables that are good for the eyes. But fresh fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, which contain more antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, are even better. Antioxidant vitamins may help protect the eyes against cataract and age-related macular degeneration. But eating any vegetables or supplements containing these vitamins or substances will not prevent or correct basic vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Myth: It’s best not to wear glasses all the time. Taking a break from glasses or contact lenses allows your eyes to rest.
Fact: If you need glasses for distance or reading, use them. Attempting to read without reading glasses will simply strain your eyes and tire them out. Using your glasses won’t worsen your vision or lead to any eye disease.

Myth: Staring at a computer screen all day is bad for the eyes.
Fact: Although using a computer will not harm your eyes, staring at a computer screen all day will contribute to eyestrain or tired eyes. Adjust lighting so that it does not create a glare or harsh reflection on the screen. Also, when you’re working on a computer or doing other close work such as reading or sewing, it’s a good idea to rest your eyes briefly every hour or so to lessen eye fatigue. Finally, people who stare at a computer screen for long periods tend not to blink as often as usual, which can cause the eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable. Make a conscious effort to blink regularly so that the eyes stay well lubricated and do not dry out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Canned Black Beans


One of our most valuable ingredients is canned black beans.

Canned black beans are an economical and nutritious pantry staple. Here are ways to bring this fiber and protein powerhouse into your regular repertory.

A limited budget doesn't have to mean limited flavor. Our Most Valuable Ingredient series highlights those powerhouse products that are versatile, healthy, tasty and cheap, giving you the best bang for your buck.

Black beans are aptly named: a shiny, ebony packet of flavor and nutrition. They maintain their prized, earthy, hearty flavor even when canned. Once you pop the top, they’re ready to eat after a quick rinse, or they can be simmered in soups and stews without losing their firm bite. No wonder they’re a staple across the world — and should be in your kitchen, too.

The Stats
Black beans are a legume, a class of foods that includes all beans, peas and lentils. Although black beans are indeed available dried, most of us use canned. And why not? Without much effort, they’re so versatile: great in soups, salads, side dishes, bean burgers and spicy dips. You can enjoy them hot or cold.

Like most legumes, canned black beans are loaded with dietary fiber, an essential key to good health (and good blood serum cholesterol numbers). One cup of canned black beans will give you almost half of what the USDA has determined as your daily fiber need.

But that’s not all: black beans are loaded with protein, folate, magnesium and antioxidants — about 10 times the antioxidants of oranges!

- It’s incredible that so much nutrition is so economical. Canned black beans run about 90 cents for a 15-ounce can. That can contains 1 3/4 cups. Since canned black beans have a PointsPlus™ value of 1 per 1/4 cup, canned black beans ring up at about 13 cents per PointsPlus value. Now that’s a value!

The Score
Don’t mistake canned black bean soup for canned black beans — they’re sometimes stocked next to each other on supermarket shelves.

Canned black beans are available in regular or reduced-sodium varieties. The latter is the best choice for our healthier lifestyles.

Stock up when those cans are on sale! They can last a year in your pantry. You can often make a satisfying lunch or dinner with a can of black beans and no more than what’s in your fridge or pantry: a well-stocked salad, a quick soup or even a vegetarian casserole.

Black beans have such a firm texture, they hold their shape better than most other beans when canned. You will rarely find split ones as you often do in cans of white or navy beans.

Black beans are sometimes called “turtle beans” or “Venezuela beans.”

Black beans are also available dried. These require more work (hours of cooking and possibly soaking) but they cost much less than canned, ringing in at only about 7 cents per PointsPlus value. Look for packages with whole, firm black beans, few shards, little dust and certainly no wrinkled, dried-out skins.

In Play
Although canned black beans are ready to eat, they should be drained and rinsed first — to wash off some of the slippery slime common to all beans and to get rid of excess sodium (even in the reduced-sodium varieties).

Don’t just swirl them in the can with some water. Pour the beans into a colander in the sink and give them a shower under cool water, stirring a couple of times to make sure they all get a good rinsing.

Because black beans are so firm, they don’t dissolve in soups and stews the way some beans do. In fact, if you’re looking for a smooth or puréed texture in dips and soups, you must mash these beans — with the back of a wooden spoon, in a food processor, or even in a blender.

Make a simple chili thickener with some drained and rinsed black beans and a clove or two of roasted garlic. Just whir them in a blender or food processor, then stir into the pot a few minutes before you’re ready to serve dinner.

Consider rinsing a can or two at the beginning of every week. Keep them covered in a bowl in the fridge, at the ready when you are.

Turn green salads into a full meal by sprinkling them with canned black beans and a little grated cheese. A creamy dressing is the best choice!

Take eggs south of the border by stirring canned black beans into scrambled eggs or folding them into omelets. Make sure you’ve got some salsa at the ready!

And while we’re on the subject, make salsa even more chunky by stirring black beans into your batch.

Don’t forget pizzas! Black beans are great on top. Consider using barbecue sauce instead of tomato sauce — and a grated smoked Cheddar or Gouda on top.

Canned black beans don’t need much to become a spread. Pour a can of rinsed and drained beans into a food processor, then add a couple of tablespoons of a wet condiment: mustard, ketchup, cocktail sauce, Ranch dressing, mayonnaise, chutney, barbecue sauce or salsa. Whirl the whole thing up until smooth; scrape the purée into a small bowl; and store, covered, in the fridge to spread on sandwiches, in wraps or even just on whole-grain crackers.

Here are some great recipes featuring black beans:
Black Bean Brownies
Lentil and Black Bean Chili
Tex-Mex Rice and Bean Casserole

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Exciting News


Yesterday while I was at work, I got a call from the Weight Watchers PR manager named Kristi. Three weeks ago I had turned in my weight loss success story to Kristi. She explained that she had shared my story with the Tyler Morning Telegraph and they loved it! They liked my story so much that they want to interview me about my weight loss!!

My interview is going to be on tomorrow!! My story will be in the health and fitness section, which runs on Sunday.

Please pray for me tomorrow as I interview and that I would honor the Lord with what I share about my journey.

I will keep you posted and try to post a link to my story when I get it!

For those who are interested here is the my member success story that I submitted to Kristi and some before and after pictures.

Before Weight Watchers, July 2008

After reaching my goal, November 2009

I have always struggled with my weight, but just after college I went from being overweight to obese in the blink of an eye. Ashamed and disgusted with what I had become, I simply chose to live in denial. I desperately attempted to ignore the fact that I could not even walk up a flight of stairs without stopping to catch my breath!

I tried diets that promised success if I stuck to their rigid meal plans. These efforts only resulted in anger and frustration, which I directed at myself and those around me. In October 2008, I went to the doctor
because of a sinus infection. The doctor ran tests and informed me that I had borderline high cholesterol and high blood pressure. At that moment, I knew something must change. I did not want to be this person for the rest of my life.

One of the best decisions I have ever made for myself was to join Weight Watchers. I had heard incredible things about Weight Watchers from my friends and co-workers and knew that this was the perfect program for me. I nervously attended my first meeting, hoping that no one I knew would be there. However, the meetings quickly became a part of my weekly schedule and a source of great encouragement to me.

I clung to my faith, and God was faithful to be my source of strength throughout this entire process. God used Weight Watchers to radically change my life. I no longer have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The most unexpected change that has taken place in my life is that now I am a runner! I went from
barely being able to walk down the sidewalk without complaining to running a 5K, which was truly one of the proudest moments of my life.

Please do not be fooled into thinking that running came naturally for me, because that it just not true. I did my best to avoid exercise the first half of my weight loss journey.

Then in March 2009, Weight Watchers launched its first annual Walk-!t Challenge. They encouraged each of us to train for and participate in a 5K that summer. They made this challenge sound like something I could do. I would be walking with other Weight Watchers members who were just like me. I was so inspired that I even signed myself up for a real running 5K. I found a couch to 5K program online that helped me learn how to run.

Now when I say running I mean a really, really slow jog and it was only for a minute or two at a time. It took a few weeks to work up to being able to run a mile without stopping to rest.

Without the Walk-!t Challenge who knows if I would have every discovered my love for running!

When I started Weight Watchers I weighed 225 pounds and wore a size 18. Today, I weigh 135 pounds and wear a size 4! I am no longer ashamed of who I am or the number that is on the scale each week. When you grow up struggling with weight issues it is almost impossible to see yourself as anything else other then overweight. But today, I see myself as a woman who has conquered her weight issues and is helping to motivate others to do the same.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Be prepared


Here is the meeting summary from May 3, 2011.

Don't make excuses -- it's all about being prepared. The Boy Scouts know what they're talking about! If you know you're going out to dinner, there are many things that you can do before hand to help be prepared for the night ahead.

Afraid dinner out will ruin your diet before you even start your entrées? These 10 dos and don'ts will help.

Some people trying to lose weight steer clear of restaurants to avoid the large portion sizes, bottomless bread baskets and all those high-calorie entrée. But shunning restaurants altogether isn't a realistic approach to weight loss — and it's unnecessary.

You can eat out and lose weight. Start with this list of tips to help you navigate the menu options at your favorite fast-food joints and sit-down restaurants.

1. Set a budget
Determine how much you're willing to eat before looking at the menu. You can give yourself some leeway by scheduling some exercise on or near days you plan to eat out. Putting in gym time or going for a brisk walk will help offset a little extra eating. And remember, be flexible. You can loosen up a bit on special occasions, as long as you eat carefully most of the time. (Just don't let every day become a special occasion.)

2. Put on your game face
Decide on some guidelines before you go to a restaurant, and stick to them. For instance:
• Skip the all-inclusive (prix fixe) menu and opt for à la carte selections. Doing so might not be as economical, but you'll probably eat less.
• Take one piece of bread, then ask your server to remove the bread basket from the table.

3. Make special requests
You're paying good money for that meal, so you're entitled to make special requests or slight modifications. Why not say:
• Can I have that without butter? Grilled? With the dressing/sauce on the side?
• I'd like mixed greens instead of fries with my sandwich.

4. Practice portion control
Some restaurant portions can be two, three, even four times the "normal" size — especially super-sized fast food meals. Keep your portions in check by:
• Ordering a salad as a starter and then splitting a main entrée with a friend.
• Creating your own scaled-down meal from a couple of appetizers and/or side dishes.
• Ask for a to go box and immediately dividing your plate into two meals.

5. Break down (language) barriers
If you don't know what a preparation term means, ask. In general, though, the following words translate into high-fat, high-calorie dishes:
• Au gratin, scalloped, hollandaise.
• Parmigiana, scampi, Bolognese.

6. Downsize the super-size
Super-sized fast food meal options can be loaded with calories. Either:
• Order something small, like a basic burger. After all, the first bite tastes the same as the last.
• Order yourself a children's/senior meal.

7. Watch out for extras
The average burger with ketchup, lettuce and tomato isn't so bad. But one with "the works" is usually a caloric nightmare. Skip:
• Bacon, cheese and mayonnaise.
• Double-burger patties and extra pieces of bread.

8. Don't go top heavy
Salad bars and garden salads grace menus across the country. But those extra toppings can sabotage your seemingly diet-conscious choices:
• Go light on croutons, grated cheese and bacon.
• Opt for small amounts of low-fat or nonfat dressings on the side.

9. Don't drink away your progress
A drink with dinner is fine, but too many sugary margaritas may wreak havoc on your PointsPlus® budget — and your resolve. Keep your appetite under control by:
• Alternating alcoholic beverages with noncaloric sodas or sparkling water.
• Not drinking alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach.

10. Resign from the "clean plate club"
You paid for it so you have to eat it, right? Wrong. Just think of the health and emotional costs of those extra calories on your body. Downsize by:
• If you are done don’t feel like you have to continue to eat just because everyone else is still eating.
• Push your plate away when you're full.
• And remember to eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your body to recognize that it's full.

Most of us have our top favorite restaurant choices. Take the time to prepare yourself by doing the research and figuring out what you can eat at each of your favorite places and know the pointsplus values.

Take the time to figure out what you could eat at several different styles of restaurants. Make a plan for Italian, Mexican, Chinese, a burger joint, pizza place and a deli.

You can find this information by using your:
• Dining out companion
• Complete food companion
• Etools/ ww mobile
• Pointsplus calculator
• Online nutrition facts
• Pocket guide

Etools has some amazing “cheat sheets” available to help you build your meals and document pointsplus values.

When I eat out, I have also been posting pictures on my Facebook page of the food I eat and the pointplus values. Check it out here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flashback Friday: My Mom

Mother's Day is quickly approaching. On Facebook a friend of mine posted this, "To all my FB friends, in honor of Mother's Day I'm trying to see how many of you are willing to change your profile picture to a picture of your mother and keep it there till May 9."

I thought it would be fun to change my profile picture to something of just me and my Mom, so I began to hunt for pictures. During my search I realized that I have not seen my Mom since July 2009. Do you know how much has happened since July 2009?

I ran a 5K. I reached my weight loss goal. My Mom became a Grandma twice! I became an Auntie twice! I went to China. The list goes on and on. The point is that a lot has happened since the last time I saw my Mom.

I am so excited to see my Mom in just 15 days!!

Here are some pictures of me and my Mom the last time that we were together in July 2009.
July 2009, Mom and I at Applebee's

July 2009, Vivian, Me, Bobbi, and Mom before we went swimming at Yale Lake.

July 2009, Mom and I after dinner at Red Robin, the last time I saw her before heading home.

Visit Tia for more flashbacks.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Getting Ready for Summer


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

No, it’s not too early to be thinking about it! As the weather warms and we come out of hibernation (and get ready for warm vacations), there are should be no excuses for getting out and getting moving. Here are five tips to get your fitness schedule up and running.

1. Change up your routine. If you can run through your routine without breaking a bead of sweat on your brow, or if the movement patterns seem to move automatically with little effort, it is definitely time to update your plan of action. You need a routine well balanced in both cardio-based exercises (running, swimming, elliptical, etc.) and resistance training exercises.

2. Go for full body. Large, full-body movements elicit a strong metabolic boost during and after the workout. Research has shown that the after burn effect of resistance exercises utilizing more of the body has a greater effect on the metabolism through the day than just doing cardio exercises on their own.

3. Switch to less-stable movements. Always begin with as much assistance as needed to maintain proper form. Once form is perfected, move to less stable patterns of movement. This is a great way to utilize a stability ball or BOSU ball. This will increase the number of muscle motor units used, which in turn will increase calorie depletion.

4. Increase intensity. This is one of the easiest things to change, but the most challenging to implement. Many people work below their potential. Start increasing one workout a week above comfort zone and move to more frequency in intensity.

5. Discipline, Determination, Dedication. With these three words in mind, you are sure to reach your fitness goals.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Try New Things


Here is the meeting summary from April 26, 2011.

In the meeting room this week we talked about learning to spice up our meal choices. It seems that we fall into the habit of eating the same meals over and over again. We do this because we know we like these foods, we know the points plus values of them, and they are easy for our routine. But, if you find yourself not being satisfied by these foods (meaning you are reaching for other foods when that meal used to satisfy your hunger) then that means you have gotten bored…and you need to shake things up. Challenge yourself to try a new food or a new recipe this next week. Below I have featured a food that can be shaken up in very different ways.

Let’s start with quinoa (ha some of you may not even know what that is…honestly I didn’t either):
Quinoa is high in protein and nutrients, tastes great, and is one of the fastest whole grains you can make. Add that it’s economical, and you’ve got a kitchen miracle in the making.

A limited budget doesn't have to mean limited flavor. Our Most Valuable Ingredient series highlights those powerhouse products that are versatile, healthy, tasty and cheap, giving you the best bang for your buck

Quinoa has been called the “miracle grain” because it achieves the trifecta of culinary perfection: It’s nutritious, satisfying and easy to prepare. Best of all, you can make a bowl of cooked quinoa and store it in the fridge all week, a boon to many meals to come. A staple in South America for centuries, it should become one in your kitchen, too.

The Stats
Quinoa is an ancient food from high in the Andes, grown by the Incas long before the Spanish arrived on the scene. Quinoa thrives in frigid, desertlike, high-altitude environments, places that would be the death of almost all other grains.

Although called a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of specific plants in the goosefoot family — a group of plants that includes spinach and chard.

Quinoa has the highest protein content of any grain. Every single PointsPlus™ value gives you 2.3 grams of protein. And ounce per ounce, it has more calcium than milk. Plus, quinoa is a great source of manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. All that, and quinoa is gluten-free, too!

Quinoa cooks really fast, in just minutes — a great whole grain for busy weeknights.
You’ll most often find two types of quinoa at the store: red or white (sometimes also called “yellow” quinoa).

Black quinoa is a rarity, usually found only in health-food stores.

Quinoa can also be ground into a flour for use in reduced-gluten or even gluten-free baking and cooking.

At just 1 PointsPlus value for every 1 1/2 tablespoons raw quinoa (or 1/4 cup cooked quinoa), this grain’s got a lot to offer!

And it’s economical, to boot. At 30 cents per ounce, it comes out to about 18 cents per PointsPlus value. No wonder it’s a miracle grain!

The Score
Quinoa is fairly mild-tasting with a slight nuttiness, maybe even a little grassy like wild rice.

In truth, quinoa is all about the texture: great crunch and pop in every bite. Consider it the caviar of whole grains!

Individual quinoa grains are tiny, smaller than wheat berries, barley, or even millet grains. When cooked, the quinoa germ unfurls to form a small, translucent halo around the grain.

Because quinoa is so high in polyunsaturated fats, it can go rancid rather quickly and should be stored in the fridge for up to 4 months. If possible, buy it from a health-food store or gourmet market where there’s a high turnover of product on the shelves. Quinoa flour should be stored in the freezer.

Although quinoa flour is by nature gluten-free, it may be processed in a facility that also processes wheat and other gluten-laden grains. If important, check the manufacturer's website to make sure yours is made in a gluten-free facility.

As they develop, quinoa seeds coat themselves with a natural insect repellent called saponin — which has a bitter, soapy taste. Most quinoa sold in the United States is prewashed to remove the saponin.

If your pot of quinoa has a soapy film on top, the grains were not properly prewashed. Drain repeatedly and wash these seeds thoroughly before continuing to cook.

That said, all quinoa, even the prewashed kind, should be rinsed in a fine-mesh colander before cooking to remove any saponin dust that may still adhere to the seeds.

In Play
Toasting the raw seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for a minute or two will enhance their nutty flavor. But be careful: Quinoa is one of the few whole grains that will pop over high heat!

Substitute a small mound of cooked quinoa for the starch at any meal — in place of rice, pasta, couscous or potatoes.

There are two methods for cooking quinoa. For one, mix 2 parts water to 1 part raw quinoa in a saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Here are some great recipes featuring quinoa:
Stuffed Peppers with Mediterranean-Spiced Quinoa
Asian-Flavored Quinoa Salad
Quinoa and Shrimp Salad


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