Monday, February 28, 2011

Portions Servings and Good Healthy Guidelines


Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting February 22, 2011.

Due to the fact that our new PointsPlus program has been such a huge hit, we have sold out of PointsPlus calculators. Until our stock can be replenished you can find your free online version of the calculator at

Now this week in the meeting room we talked about measuring our portion sizes. You saw with your own eyes how much of a huge difference just a little more of your foods can make pointsplus wise. You also got to see our very own electronic food scale in action. In fact, you guys bought out our supply of scales and easy measure sets. If you were not able to get a scale or the easy measure set because we sold out…never fear we have placed another order for these items and we should have them back in the meeting room soon!

The best place for you to learn proper portion sizes is by practicing at home-

The more familiar you are with adequate portion sizes there, the easier it is to estimate portion sizes when you're eating out. Here's how to set up your home environment:

o Keep measuring tools handy. Set up your cooking/eating area so that measuring tools are easily available and in plain sight. Place measuring cups in the silverware drawer as a reminder to check portions now and then!

o Measure liquid and solids differently. There are different measuring systems for liquids and solids (i.e. for solids, 16 ounces equals one pound, and with liquids eight fluid ounces equals one fluid cup). The best tool for solid measure is a food scale or baking/dry measuring cups. For liquid measure, a clear glass or plastic measuring cup with cup- and fluid ounce-markings on the side gives additional room at the top so liquids won't spill over.

o Measure accurately. Whether you're using a tablespoon or cup, it should be leveled off. And the best measuring spoons and cups are ones that can be squared off for easy leveling.

o Note the actual size of your dinnerware and cups. Figure out what correct servings (for example, a three-ounce piece of chicken next to a one-cup serving of spinach) look like on your plates. Tip: If you have a smaller plate such as a salad or dessert plate, using it instead of a larger dinner plate might make you feel as if you're having more food.

o Store foods in individual serving sizes. After you buy bulk-size packages of food, portion out correct serving sizes. For example, if you purchase an extra large bag of pretzels, use plastic baggies to portion it into single servings. The same goes for large packages of poultry and meat – divide it into single servings right away for easy cooking or freezing.

o Check the actual serving size. When eating packaged foods or drinks, be aware that a package or bottle probably contains more than one serving, perhaps more than two. When cooking from recipes, be mindful of serving sizes and how many servings a recipe actually makes.

o Learn to relate common household objects to proper serving sizes.

o Recognize and practice getting in your Good Healthy Guidelines (Page 61 of your getting started book)

What's a serving size?
1. Fruits, vegetables and leafy greens
Serving sizes are 1 cup for leafy greens and 1/2 cup for all other vegetables and fruits. The lettuce alone in a large salad may well count for 2 or more vegetable servings. The default portion for most fruits and vegetables when tracking on e-tools is one cup.

2. Packaged whole grains
Use the nutrition label to determine the serving size of packaged whole grain foods.

3. Milk and dairy
If you are more than 50 years old or are a teenager or a nursing mom, increase milk servings to three each day. Examples of one milk serving include 1 cup of milk or yogurt (which is 8 ounces) or 1 1/2 ounces of many cheeses. So just one container of 6oz of yogurt does not meet a full serving.

4. Healthy oils
Having 2 teaspoons of healthy oil each day ensures that you get the vitamin E and essential fatty acids that your body needs. Use the oil on salads, in cooking or as an ingredient in a mixed dish. Two teaspoons of oil is not even 1 tablespoon, so be careful to measure, since each additional teaspoon counts as another PointsPlus value of 1.

5. Lean meat and fish
A serving of lean meat or fish is generally 3 to 4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards or for thin fish about the length of a checkbook.

6. Water
Six 8-ounce glasses of water is just 3 standard 16-ounce bottles. So go out and start hydrating

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cream Cheese Chicken

Cream Cheese Chicken
Source: Amanda R.

1 lb. boneless chicken breast
1 packet original good seasons Italian dressing
1 TBS unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 10.5 ounce 98% fat free cream of chicken condensed soup
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
1 cup hot water with 2 tsp sodium free chicken bouillon
2 cups California mixed vegetables (or any of your favorite vegetables ~ carrots, celery, etc)
1/2 cup frozen peas

1. Spray Crockpot with non stick spray, add breasts, sprinkle with entire packet of Good Seasons on each side, cook in crock on high for 2 hours (or you can add everything at once but it tastes a smidge better this way).

2. After chicken is cooked through, sauté diced onion and garlic in 1TBS unsalted butter, when translucent, add soup, cream cheese and broth mix until creamy, add veggies, dice the chicken in the Crockpot, add cream cheese mixture to chicken in Crockpot, stir to combine, cook another 2 hours or so on medium or low.

3. Enjoy as is or served up over brown rice.

Makes Eight 3/4 cup servings, PointsPlus® Value: 4

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fitness can be Fun!

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

The fun side of fitness

It's not just hitting the gym anymore. Dancing, ice skating, skiing, even exercising with a partner may help you keep your resolution.
By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times

Put away the eggnog and break out the sneakers — it's New Year's resolution time, and no doubt millions have made the pledge to get fit. Many of them will join a gym only to find they're bored with the monotony of cardio equipment and weight training routines.

But exercise shouldn't be drudgery. Plenty of pleasurable activities deliver a legitimate workout without the hamster-on-a-wheel feeling. Surfing, kayaking, ballroom dancing, trail running and self-defense classes are just a few ways to avoid a fitness rut or supplement a regular gym workout. Some offer other benefits too, such as being outside, expanding one's social network and building confidence by mastering a new skill.

"Exercise doesn't have to be boring," says Shawn M. Arent, director of the Human Performance Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "It can be fun and addictive in a good way."

For the rank beginner, calculating cardiovascular benefits or measuring muscle strength shouldn't be the priority. "Get out and do something," says Matt Seeley, exercise science professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. "Try to incorporate 15 minutes of some activity. Don't worry so much about what you're doing — I would call going from nothing to 15 minutes a success. Then start to increase that."

Seeley adds that as stamina and strength build, activities should vary to target different muscle groups and toggle between aerobic (moderately paced endurance exercise) and anaerobic (short bursts of high-intensity exercise) workouts. "I recognize that when I go fishing, that uses different muscles from racquetball."

For more experienced exercisers who do want to quantify things, Arent suggests getting an inexpensive heart rate monitor to gauge workout levels. You can also gauge how hard your body is working based on how hard you're breathing and how much you're sweating (what fitness experts called rate of perceived exertion). Keep in mind that the more fit you become, the more efficiently your body will work: If a half-hour of trail running used to make you perspire like a farm animal a few months ago but now you're hardly glowing, it's time to up the time, intensity or both.

Workouts with mental components can be great stress-relievers. While concentrating on paddling a kayak through a current or staying upright on a snowboard, there simply isn't room to think about your irrational boss or that lingering to-do list. "Exercise is excellent for reducing stress and anxiety," Arent says.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Pacific Northwest

This week, Jon and I purchased plan tickets to my sister, Vivian's wedding. She lives in Washington state and is getting married in May. My flashback today is simply going to take me home.

I'm not sure if you know this, but Texas is not my home. Jon and I currently live there, but we am not from Texas. Jon is from Colorado and China. I am from the Pacific Northwest!! I have a deep love for the Northwest and miss it very much. It has been almost two years since I my last visit.

I enjoy the rain.
I could shop at Powell's Books all day long.
I am a sweatshirt wearing flip-flop kind of girl.
I like hiking in the mountains.
I like swimming at the lake.
Two words Fred Meyer.
I like visiting the beach.
I miss Portland, OR and its weird self. That includes the PDX airport carpet!
Tillamook...enough said.
I have a membership to REI.
I own multiple Nalgene bottles and a Timbuk2 bag.
I long to see my family, most of whom live in the Northwest.
I am so excited to go home!!

Here are some pictures from my last visit home in July 2009.
This is me in front of Powell's Books, it is an entire city block of books!

The last time I was home we went swimming here. In high school I was always swimming or hiking. I just love being outside in God's beautiful creation.

Swimming with my Mom and sisters!

Bobbi, Amanda, Michelle, Vivian, me, and my Mom!

Hanging out in Portland, OR with Amanda and Michelle!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Longing to be like Mary


"“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”" Luke 10:41-42

I am a Martha, longing to be a Mary.

This weekend our church is hosting it's annual woman's conference. It is a very busy weekend for me. This is the biggest event our church sponsors and it draws in over 2,000 women. I am on the conference committee and have several things that I am responsible for this weekend.

It is a joy to serve on this committee and help plan and host this conference. What I was not anticipating was that I would be sick last week! There are a lot of details that I needed to get done last week that have been put off until the last minute, because I was not feeling good. I have been so stressed this week. I haven't even been looking forward to the conference, because I have been so concerned with getting my "stuff" done.

The Martha side of me has come out in full force. My To-Do List has become my priority over praying for this event and that God would touch the lives of every woman that attends. I have been so distracted by what I need to get done, that I have forgotten that this weekend is really about the Lord!

God always uses conferences and retreats to speak to my heart in a special way. I am expecting God to speak to me this weekend. However, I will miss what He wants me to hear if my mind is filled with a running list of everything I "need" to get done. Satan is cunning and quick to distract me from what God has to say to me.

Starting right now, I am going to make a change. No longer will I be a Martha, longing to be a Mary. I am praying that for this weekend, God let's me be that Mary I want to be.

I have begun to pray (which is what I should have been doing in the first place). First confessing my sin and Martha ways to the Lord and giving up my plans. I am praying that God will help to give me the time to get everything done and that whatever does not get done will be okay. I am praying for the speakers and musical guests, that God would be preparing their hearts as they lead us into His presence. I am also praying for each woman that comes to the conference and that they will be able to lay aside their Martha ways to be a little bit more like Mary for a weekend. I am praying that God would prepare my heart to receive what He wants to teach me this weekend.

Do you need to lay down your Martha ways? If so, do it today! Don't wait! Jesus is longing for us to come, sit comfortably at His feet, and take our concerns right to Him!

Please pray for this conference this weekend and that each woman would be able to leave her troubles at the door and truly embrace their Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My New Name Tag

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Managing your Environment against Trigger Foods


Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting February 15, 2011.

Habit Guide: Manage Your Environment

Learn how to adopt healthy habits.
Keep healthy opportunities close. It helps your efforts when you fill your spaces—your house, your office, your car—with foods that make it easier for you to stay on track.

Managing Your Environment means...
Really looking at your environment: your car, kitchen or desk and remembering the four R's:

Recognizing the foods that will help you (GREEN light foods)—and the ones that won't. (These are your red light and yellow light foods we discussed in the meeting room this week).
Removing the items that you are sure will get in the way of your weight-loss efforts. (RED light foods)
Replacing the foods you've removed with healthy ones like fruit and vegetables. Find a healthier substitute to keep you from getting off track.
Rearranging your foods so that the healthiest choices are in eye sight, such as on the counter or the top shelf of the fridge.

Consider what changes you can make in your exercise environment that will help, such as tuning up your bike or simply getting out your exercise gear. Dust off that treadmill and stop using it for storage space.

Make it easier on yourself: Manage Your Environment
"Don't agonize. Organize." -Florence Kennedy.

We all have our "trigger" foods or places—the snacks and sweets which can destroy our willpower and make us forget all about those weight-loss plans.

But some of us do what we can to minimize our exposure to triggers; managing our environments so we're not always around foods that tempt us. And that makes sense: When the spaces that surround us—our fridge, pantry or car—are crammed with tempting foods, we'll be tempted by them. When it's right there, we'll eat it.

When we stock up on healthy alternatives, though, we'll make healthier choices. And suddenly, our environment is working for us.

Managing Your Environment is a helpful habit because:
• When you take charge of the foods that fill up the spaces that surround you, they'll stop having control over you. Fewer tempting foods = less temptation. Remember you can resist the temptation once at the grocery store, or bring it home and have to resist the temptation on a daily basis!
• Looking through those spaces and being able to recognize trigger foods is a great exercise: It means facing and naming your weaknesses, which can only make you stronger.
• Filling your environment with healthy foods is like studying hard for an exam: you're laying the groundwork for your future success.

If you don't make changes to the food that's around you, you’re still going to eat what's there—even if its unhealthy.

If you discover you need to Manage Your Environment...
Develop a plan to help you be successful. What needs to happen? What needs to change? How long has it been since you went through all of your cabinets/refrigerator/pantry and done some reorganizing? Do you still have leftovers from Valentine’s Day calling to you? What is going to have to happen at the grocery store? What food choices should end up in your buggy?

All of these questions are what you should ask yourself this week and every week in order to be successful!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Our "Choose Your Own Adventure" Date

Becky, me, and Elise

Yesterday, my friends Elise, Becky and I pulled off an awesome Choose Your Own Adventure date for our husbands!! Elise found The Dating Divas website and we were inspired by their version of the Choose Your Own Adventure Date. We decided to take the idea and run with it!

For weeks we have been planning this date for our husbands. We made invitations and clues. For each clue we wrote a poem so that the guys would have to try and figure out what their choices were. We told the guys we were working out or hanging out when really we were making plans. We sent emails to each other. We even slowly set aside money for this date, so that our husbands would not notice.

Each lady decided when and how to give her husband the invitation. Becky made the invitation and it turned out looking just like the book covers I remember.

I was so excited about the date, that I gave Jon his invite before we went to the Third Day concert on Saturday night.

The invitation told the guys that their adventure would begin right after church on Sunday. John M. and my Jon were very nervous as they waited for Michael and Becky to show up.

Couple #1: John and Elise

Couple #2: Michael and Becky

Couple #3: Jon and Jen

After Michael and Becky arrived the choices began! They first, of many choices they guys would have to make, was about where we would eat lunch. The two categories to choose from were "Cheap & Easy" or "Wine & Dine"

Michael's choice was Cheap & Easy, however we kindly talked him into Wine & Dine like the other guys.

These were our Wine & Dine poem clues. They had to pick which poem they liked the best and that would be the restaurant that we would go to for lunch.

The next choice the guys had to make was which car task they wanted to do. They had a choice between "Rowdy" and "Wacky". They chose Wacky. Michael's task was to drive to Pasado's by only making right turns. My Jon had to stare at people in other cars as we drove to our destination.

And John M. had to serenade the senoritas! He was hilarious!

It took a little while, but we finally made it to the restaurant!

While we were eating we had more tasks for the guys! Michael had to talk to the waitress about Hannah Montana ten times. John M. had to go and ask a table if they needed anything. My Jon had to say at the top of his lungs that "This is the best day of my life!".

This is John M. before he left our table to go and ask another table if they needed anything. It turns out that they needed a napkin and he actually got one for them.

My Jon was not happy about shouting at the top of his lungs, so instead he tried to embarrass me.

It only worked for a little while.

I just love this man!

The next choice the guys had to make was concerning our afternoon activity. They could either be "Safe at Home" or "Out & About". They chose Out & About! Originally they chose bowling, but Becky and I forgot our socks! So we went putt putt golfing instead.

On the way to putt putt golf, we made the guys complete the Rowdy car tasks. This was even more fun then the Wacky tasks.

Michael was supposed to race someone and he chose this woman. She thought it was so funny and kindly waved, but did not want to race him.

Then we did a Chinese Fire Drill! I have never done one of those before in my entire life. After the fire drill we had a dance party with the windows down! There is an awesome video from this that I don't have that is priceless.

We had lots of fun at putt putt golf!

It turned out to be a great day for it too!

Everyone had fun.

Michael was the best out of all of us.

Our scorecard. What was funny is that we won by couples! Michael & Becky got 1st and 2nd. John & Elise got 3rd and 4th. Jon & I got 5th and 6th. That's really weird how it worked out that way.

The guys were great sports!! We are so thankful to have such wonderful husbands!! They had a blast and they were asking us when we get to do this again.

We three ladies we so happy that the guys enjoyed our date!! We look forward to doing this again!!

I know there were a lot of pictures, but I wanted you to be able to see just how much fun we had!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting Back Into a Routine

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

Back in the Saddle
By: Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

The holidays have come and gone, now it back to the grind... Without the delicious treats haunting us at holiday parties. Learn how to renew and restore healthy habits from Cooper Clinic.

Parties, cocktails, fudge, frosted sugar cookies, anything that starts with “our traditional family recipe (insert something cheesy, creamy and indulgent here)” are all things of the past.

It is that time of year to renew and restore our positive attitude toward health.

Clean Sweep
First, clean out the fridge and the pantry. Get rid of any high-fat or high-calorie tempting foods that may undermine your success. There is that elusive skill called willpower, but studies show we really shouldn’t rely on it as part of our weight management plan. We are chemically hardwired to overeat when we start to cut back on food intake. Make it easier for everyone in your family by surrounding yourselves with healthy options for meals and snacks.

Making Trade Offs
Fuel your new goals with a vegetable tray. It’s already cut up and ready for snacking. Trade the chips for baked chips or whole grain crackers. Lose the ice cream and substitute a low-calorie frozen yogurt. Position water bottles on your desk, in your car, or by the phone, that way it will be easier to remain hydrated and likely eat less as well. Roast a whole chicken so you can have a great meal today and have something healthy to pick on for the next several days. Get out the crock pot to get a veggie bean soup going that will be ready for you as soon as you walk in the door after work. It’s that kind of planning ahead that will help us break through the pattern leftover from our holiday food frenzy.

Get Moving
Plan to exercise. This may seem obvious, but when you are out of the routine, it takes some planning, commitment, and consistency to get back to your pre-holiday self. Even ten minutes helps to keep the theme of restoring your health alive and well. Ten minutes is approximately 100 calories burned, which over time can lead to a great change.

Cut Back
Try eating smaller meals more often (300 to 400 calorie range per meal) that are higher in water content such as soups, salads, fruits, and vegetables. This will help stabilize your blood sugar levels that may help to control cravings and assist in better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Consider including 10 to 15 grams of protein at most of those meals and snacks. Protein takes a bit longer to digest than carbohydrates and will help you feel full for a longer amount of time. This is most helpful at breakfast where studies show that people who had a higher protein breakfast ate less throughout the day. You can try a whole-grain English muffin with an egg, a piece of turkey sausage, or a slightly higher protein breakfast cereal with low-fat or non-fat milk.

Don’t Forget Breakfast
The breakfast cereal option also works well because it is higher in fiber. In a recent large study, the difference between normal weight women and those who were overweight was the amount of fiber in their diet – the quality of the foods they were eating. The average person takes in about 10 grams of fiber per day with our goals being 25 grams for women and 35-40 grams for men. Finding ways to increase your fiber is a worthy focus for 2011!

See the chart below for some fiber fantastic finds:

Food Amount Fiber (grams)
Bran Cereal 1 cup 19.94
Avocado 1 medium 11.84
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 4.50
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 14.71
Green peas, cooked 1 cup 8.84
Kale, cooked 1 cup 7.20
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 13.33
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 15.64
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 13.16
Oats, dry 1 cup 12.00
Raspberries 1 cup 8.34
Rice, brown, uncooked 1 cup 7.98

Start Measuring
While we are focusing on scaling things back, consider using more than the scale to assess change and determine your progress. You might use the scale once a week, but also use body fat composition analysis. You can get this checked easily with the help of Cooper Fitness Center professional trainers through calipers or bioimpedance method. Cooper also offers even more precise methods called DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) or hydrostatic weighing. At the very least, get out the old measuring tape and do a waistline measurement – not only will that tell you if your weight loss efforts are on the right path, it can also be an indicator of heart heath.

Pick one of the many steps to work on this week and add in another one next week. Add in a third the week after that and pretty soon, you will have restored your body and renewed your healthy spirit and maybe even inspired someone else to do the same!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday: Sunday Flying

Last Sunday, February 13th, after church Jon had to go and practice some maneuvers in the new plane his is flying. He got permission for me to tag a long! It was so much fun, because I really love being able to fly with Jon. Also, I had never been up in the small twin engine before so this was all new for me.

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