Friday, May 13, 2011

How creative can you get?

How many times have you tried to lose weight and think to yourself; “ok today I’m going to be good?”  Only to find that you eat like there is going to be a shortage of food in the world and you must store what is left on earth in your stomach?  What about using the word “treat”?  Have you found yourself saying ok I ate well today so I can “treat” myself?  How about restricting yourself?  Have you limited what you can eat and placed many food items on a top shelf to collect dust because they are not diet friendly?  Only to find months later you dust them off and eat them feeling guilty you have blown months of hard work?

The problem is when you treat food this way you immediately set yourself up for failure.  Sometimes there are foods that trigger us to over eat, and until we manage our eating habits its probably best to stay away from it.  But there is a whole big world out there and lots of ingredients to explore.  When I began weight watchers the word lifestyle was thrown around a lot.  I questioned what that meant.  What I discovered was it meant a way of life.  When you really think about that statement and then think about your way of life with food, how exactly do you want your life to be with food?  Do you want to feel like a puppy that gets treats for good behavior?  Do you really want to feel like your moral compass is in question swinging from bad to good with everything you take a bite of?  Can you really see yourself living on bland boring broiled food for the rest of your life?  I know I couldn’t.

If you are like me then you want your life with food to be satisfying, exciting at times and comforting at others.  You want it to taste well, and not feel like if you ate a Twinkie today that you have now swung the moral food compass to bad.  This is personally why I love weight watchers.  Everything is made easy by using the points system.  I have a certain amount of points a day and extra for the week.  I balance out what I am eating and strive to make healthy choices.  Occasionally I don’t want just the “healthy”, I assess what I have in points and then decide what I want to use my points on.  Even if you are losing weight in other ways you can still do this too.  The trick I find is to make no food the forbidden fruit.  Less temptation and less feeling deprived. 

In thinking about a lifestyle change I began to experiment with food.  I love going to restaurants finding new things on menu and coming home to see how I can make them healthier.  Thanks to one of my favorite burger places I have reinvented the turkey burger in numerous ways.  I make a buffalo turkey burger with fresh blue cheese on top it saves me many calories instead of using dressing and the taste is fresher.  I simply cook the turkey burger then take a tablespoon of buffalo sauce drizzle it over the turkey burger and then add a tablespoon of blue cheese over it.  If I choose to use a bun I make sure to choose the healthiest option at the store by reading labels.  Other times for just some more fresh and crispness I serve it over lettuce for my own turkey burger lettuce wrap.  I have also made my own cowboy turkey burger.  Using a just under a tablespoon of bbq sauce 2 slices of crisped turkey bacon and 2 baked onion rings.   I keep a bag of frozen onion rings in my freezer and I use about 2 onion rings at a time so the bag last me forever.  If I’m in the mood I add a slice of reduced fat cheddar cheese and I’m on my way to cowgirl city.   I don’t eat red meat but you can do many of this with lean hamburger.   When you learn on how to make many of your favorite foods but in a much healthier way you don’t feel deprived or like you need to treat yourself.  If you think about it this way, Of course you will lose weight eating broiled chicken steamed plain veggies and a plain baked potato but can you really see yourself eating that way for the rest of your life?  Remember losing is one thing, maintaining is another.  If you take the time to learn healthy habits and recipes explore different options and reinvent some old favorites while losing weight you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of success not just a moment in time of weight loss.

One site I absolutely love to get recipes from is  Gina has a recipe for pasta fagioli which is my personal favorite.  Then again it could just be the Italian in me being partial.  I also learned from this site that adding a can of diet soda to cake batter instead of all the other ingredients it calls for, saves an amazing amount of calories and still taste great.  I made red velvet cupcakes this way and they were great!  Take the time search the web for more recipes too!  I take many of the recipes and play with them a bit to adjust to my liking. 

Remember starting a weight loss journey doesn’t have to mean you are giving up the foods you love it means you learn portion control ways to reinvent favorite foods.  For me it also meant I got to learn my kitchen and buy little kitchen gadgets I always wanted.  It can be as exciting as you make it and the discoveries you can make are countless!  For those of us maintaining the weight loss, is it time to get out of a rut?  Is it time to reinvent the cheesecake?  Don’t stop exploring!  I would like to challenge you all to take a favorite recipe you have and try to make it healthier.  See what you can come up with.  Share any ideas you have or recipes you use here I would love to read them!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


One night while flipping through the channels I came across one of those Joel Osteen 30 minute sermons.  I paused on it for a minute and heard him say “let nothing steal your joy”.  Those words radiated in my heart.  They stuck with me and got me thinking about how much food at one time in my life stole so much joy from me.  When I sat down to write my blog this week I initially started with a whole other topic.  As I wrote I found myself thinking again about food and how overeating can steal so much joy so here I am writing about that now.

When I was overweight I hated how I looked.  I hated going places.  I felt uncomfortable around people.  I think the worst time for me was after having my son.  It was the heaviest I had been.  I hated going out with my husband.  I thought people would look at us like oh my God that girl is huge what is he doing with her.  To make matters worse for extra money he was bouncing at a bar.  Thin women were everywhere.  I knew to him it didn’t matter but to me it did.  It just made me feel worse.  I really couldn’t even enjoy being a mother I felt it difficult to move and hard to keep up with my baby.  It wasn’t just my weight though that stole my joy.  My mind was on food most of the time too.  I didn’t enjoy things I did unless there was food involved, it occurred to me how a plate of pasta prepared with sauce and lots of cheese would bring a smile to my face more than being told a compliment.

When I really let myself believe I’m worth it and rejoined weight watchers ,  I realize now I was on my first step to stopping food from stealing my joy.    Getting determined to change my exercise ways was the next step to stopping food from stealing from me.  After becoming determined, I became accountable.  Accountability for me meant I couldn’t hide from what I was eating.  At weight watchers you learn to track your food.  Basically the saying is, you bite it you write it (and trust me I do). 

I had a close friend recently tell me she finds it difficult to write down what she is eating.  I honestly could relate.  For me as well it felt at first as if I was entering my food confessional booth, confessing all my food sins.  It took a bit but I did realize this is my way of becoming aware.  Aware of what I’m eating, aware of how I’m eating.  I began to see writing my food down as an opportunity to learn about myself and my relationship with food.  Now I see it as my security system if I’m in danger of eating unhealthy it will alert me and I can make changes before I lose my joy to that pesky thief.  It has most importantly become my way of holding myself accountable for the food choices I make. 

If you are experiencing what I did with food stealing your joy, I want to tell you that there is hope.  That food is not in the position of power, you are.  That as hard as it may be to confront your eating habits you can in fact do it.  Be accountable for your decisions with food.  Use your determination and always remember you are worth it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Determination is one of the most important aspects of losing weight in my opinion.  I love the definition of determination put like this : a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired goal.  When you desire so deeply a certain goal and become firm on reaching it you become unstoppable. I desired a life without food dictating it and became fixed on making my life about healthy eating and habits.  After just doing it joining weightwatchers and realizing I was worth it, I realized I needed more then that.  To begin is one thing, to continue is another.  I had to get to determined not only with my eating habits but my other ones too.
Exercise always was an awful subject for me. I enjoyed running but didn’t want to do it all the time.  I considered eating chips as exercise.  I mean the very motion of lifting hand to bag to mouth had to burn some calories. I would always look for some excuse as to why I couldn’t exercise.  I was too busy.  I had late classes. I had no one to go with me.  I was too fat.  The list of excuses went on.  When I became determined to change my life and habits for good I really had to get determined to make exercise a priority. 
I applied my first tip in my first blog of knowing I was worth it and needed to just do it.  So I did.  I joined a gym and found a personal trainer.   I was pretty much broke and had to research gyms that were inexpensive.  I asked about a training program and took complete advantage of the free consultation the gym I joined offered.  Then I scheduled biweekly 30 min workouts with the trainer for just the first 3 months to keep cost down.  I could have used money and lack of knowhow as an excuse but I was determined to get to my goal.   The next challenge I faced was the weather.  In my usual style of having absolute impeccable timing I chose to began all this in the dead of winter in the northeast.  For those of you from that area you can understand how hard it was to do that.  I battled snow storms, thunderstorms and my favorite the pure ice storms.  One month into my workouts we had a blizzard.  I was scheduled to work out and was racking my brain on how to not be thrown off my routine. I was not going to let that blizzard be an excuse.  I found on my cable network, exercise tv and it was pretty damn good timing to find it.  I realized then I wanted to buy some exercise videos for the days that mothernature would decide to throw me a challenge.  I didn’t want to find one excuse because I knew how quickly one excuse could lead to another.  At the time my boys were 1 and 3 and that was another challenge.  Most of the time due to my husbands work schedule, making dinner and not wanting to skip bedtime routines.  I wouldn’t find myself making it to the gym before 8pm, on some nights I would get lucky and go at 6 and be back for bedtime.  But let me tell you 8 pm in January in the Northeast not so much fun.   I would freeze on the way to the car and think dear God Im either nuts or you made me one determined woman.  I know it’s likely to be a little of both.
Now, going to the gym or getting a workout in is second nature.  Just like I get hungry for food..  I get hungry for my workouts.  Working out has also help me deal with the stress of my daily life and saved me in many other ways.  My determination paid off and I reached my goal.
So now that you have read how determination helped me form a new life filled with exercise, I challenge you to find out where else in your weight loss journey you can use determination.  Is it like me with needing to get determined to work out? Do you need the determination to make healthier food choices? Where ever you need it you can do it.  Set your goal and get firm on it.  Remember you are worth that determination!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Where it begins

Thirteen years ago I joined Weight Watchers for the first time.  I lost roughly 50lbs and  I gained a new me.  Most of my life I struggled with food.  Overeating was my way of life.  It was taught to me since the moment I was born.  I watched over eaters my whole life.  I grew up in an Italian family where food was love.  There was no such thing as eat until you are full.  There was only we are all eating until this ten ton bowl of spaghetti is gone.  Like so many people I learned to comfort myself with food.  I learned to make food my first priority and myself my last.  College was the worst of my years.  I had this little card that money was placed on every week.  It gave me freedom to the best food court a college campus could offer.  I had 2am feeding calls after hanging out or studying all night.  By my last year I realised I had become the "fat girl" and I hated it.  So I researched different weight loss programs and for me weight watchers seemed the best fit.

        I went into a meeting and my journey to overcome over eating had begun.  I began exercising and following the program and it was fantastic.  About 5 months later I saw the girl I wanted to be in the mirror.  I had so much support and love and admiration for what I had achieved.  I was proud and felt like I could accomplish anything.  I really thought at the ripe old age of 21 I had broken my family's cycle of food is everything. I couldn't have been more wrong.

   For roughly 4 years I maintained my weight loss.  Then I threw it all out the window.   At the age of 25 I was married and having a baby.  I was not just eating for two I ate for an entire family of 12.  I gained 70 pounds.  After my first son was born I returned to weight watchers and lost the weight.  That was short lived as a couple years later I would have my second son and resume my championship pregnant woman eating style.

    After I had my youngest son I found myself weighing in at a whopping 230 lbs.  I gained about 80lbs.  I was miserable.  The largest I had ever been.  I wanted to return to weight watchers right away but I wasn't ready to do it.  About a year after he was born I woke up and realised, I could sit there and say I wanted to to do it or I could just do it.  So I did it, I rejoined for a 3rd time. This time though I knew I needed to make more changes then just working a program or being able to eat right.  I needed to learn to manage life's events without using them as a license to eat of control.  I knew I needed to find ways to say to myself this is the rest of my life and nothing will take me away from me again.  I decided to apply the things I learned from others in weight watchers and I decided I needed a new approach to exercise.

    After rejoining weight watchers to handle my eating habits, I joined a gym to get a handle on my activity issues (or should I say lack of activity issues). I began trying new machines and consulted a personal trainer for new workout routines.  After I dropped my first 20lbs I began taking yoga classes.  I set small goals every step of the way.  My main reason for setting small goals was to boost my confidence.  I wanted to see my achievements every step of the way.  I wanted to build a stronger mental attitude and stronger physical body to match.  I lived in the Northeast at the time and battled snow storms and -1 temperatures but I would tell myself I can do this and I'm worth it.  As the weight began to come off I noticed I didn't care what the scale said or about being the "skinny girl".  I cared what I was able to do. I cared how much stronger I felt and how much more confident in myself I was.   In the face of many different adversities I still was able to stick with it.  No excuses. I looked at why I had taken both pregnancies and used them as a reason to overeat.  I acknowledged to myself I was always probably waiting for a moment where it seemed more excusable to go back to bad habits.  I learned so many bad habits with food growing up that it was time to really address them.  I accepted why I need food, why I enjoy food and why I have had a hard time with it over the years. 

       Almost 5 years later now I have maintained my weight loss of 82 pounds and going strong.   I'm very passionate about weight loss.  I'm also very passionate about weight watchers (by no means am I endorsed or associated to the company).  I want to share with people tips that have helped me over the years and hope to hear of other peoples success's!  I hope what I share in my blogs helps you as it as helped me. 

     My first tip I want to offer up : "just do it"  There is a reason Nike has managed to take those three words and have success beyond belief from it.  It is because the statement is true, simple and impacting.  There will never be the perfect time to start and you may never "feel" ready.  The time to start is now.  You are more ready then you know and wait till you see how you feel when you take that leap of faith and commit to you and your weight loss goals.  Commit to you because you are worth it!  I recite to myself when I lose motivation or face temptation to fall back into bad habits that "I'm worth it!".  I'm worth the effort.  I'm worth my time. I'm worth valuing and respecting my body. "I'm worth it" another 3 simple word phrase, yet true, simple and impacting.  Let these words radiate in your heart and in your mind.  Then live them.  Just do it because you are worth it!