Archives for category: WWSE

Yesterday I celebrated losing 95 pounds at my Weight Watchers weigh-in. The road has been long, filled with sweat and cravings, false modesty and humiliation, pizza and pudding. The group cheered, which I thought was very sweet–there were lots of celebrations yesterday, including a 20 and 30-pound loss. Afterwards a few women asked me a battery of questions, which I thought I’d share.

1. How long has it taken you? I started Weight Watchers in June 2009, so it’s been two years, nine months.

2. Why has it taken so long? Yes, someone asked this. In these days of Biggest Loser rapid weight loss and stomach stapling, people want instant transformation. It’s taken me this long because I’m not just losing weight, I’m changing who I am. I’m no longer the fat woman who scoffs at people who exercise, I am a person who exercises. I used to love to watch cooking shows and whip up big dinners filled with butter, oil, cheese and meat. No more.

3. How many pounds per week did you lose? According to my Weight Watchers e-Tools chart, I’ve lost an average of .7 pounds per week. But really, there’s nothing average about my weight loss. Some weeks I had big losses. There were periods in the first year when I’d have three big losses and then a gain, then three healthy losses and a gain, etc.  You’ll see in my weight loss chart that in 2011 from May 2010 to June 2011 I “Mastered the Art of Maintaining”. That means, over that year, I had a net loss of 2.8 pounds. But I kept going to meetings–I didn’t want to gain the weight back.

Weight Loss Chart

4. Do you exercise? I didn’t when I started. At 267 pounds I was just too out of shape physically and mentally to do much. I remember trying to learn swing dancing with my husband, but I was so out of shape that I gave up.  So what was the turning point? I got a pedometer and beginning walking CD by Debbie Rocker. 20 minutes of this optimistic woman in my ears. The first day that I tried it it was 85 degrees in August 2009 and when I was done I collapsed on the couch, thinking I would never be able to get into shape. But I kept at it, walking more after Debbie was done, adding weights, walk/jogging, and by Thanksgiving 2009 I completed my first 5k.

Now I try to get to the gym five times a week where I do cardio and weight training, with a goal of becoming a strong, fit woman. And I love how my body feels as I get stronger.

5. Is your family fat? Your husband? My husband is overweight right now. I pulled him down the unhealthy path–when we met years ago he ran daily (and I scoffed at him). But he’s on his own journey and I think he’ll be celebrating being fit and healthy by the end of 2012. My kids are in the normal weight zone, as are my parents. Family history and long-term effects of childhood issues are a different post altogether.

6. What do you eat daily? Can you send me your meal plan? I won’t send you a meal plan, because I don’t have one. These days I’m trying to eat six small meals a day, pairing protein with carbohydrates. A sample day might be:

7am: One slice Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with 1 tsp honey mustard and 1.5 oz low-sodium sliced turkey meat
10am: Handful of carrots and 10 almonds
1pm: Beef & barley soup
4:30pm: Small apple, orange and wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
6pm: Salad: 3 oz Skinless chicken breast, LOTS of spinach & arugula salad mix, 1/2 C brown rice, 1/2 bell pepper–sliced,  1 tomato quartered, 1/2 C steamed brocolli, handful of baby carrots, sliced purple onion. Dressing: fresh lemon juice & 1 tsp olive oil. I might have a little heel of bread with this to soak up the dressing.
9:30pm: 1/2 Cup dark chocolate pudding from Fresh & Easy

But, a sample day could also easily be:

7am: One slice Dave’s Killer 21-Grain Bread with 1 tsp honey mustard and 1.5 oz low-sodium sliced turkey meat
4:30pm: Small apple, orange and wedge of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
6pm: Four slices of pizza plus the piece my four-year old handed me, saying, “Here Mommy, can you finish this please?”
8pm: a bowl of ice cream, a candy cane, a handful of chocolate chips, and a stale cookie

7. Do you have special tools that you use? No. Yes. Sort of.

E-Tools. When I signed up for Weight Watchers’ E-Tools in July 2009 I geeked out on tracking, and it really helped. That first year I was a tracking fool. I used the recipe builder and activity tracker and participated on the 100+ Pounds to Lose message board a lot. Now I do my best to track daily, but if I’m honest, I’m at about a 30% success rate.

Polar heart rate monitor watch. This helps me track my activity, calories burned, and if I’m getting my heart rate in the zone I want it.

Good running shoes & an Enell sport bra.If you’re large-busted, the Enell sport bra is a god-send!

Trainer. Okay, Trainer Paul isn’t a *thing* but definitely joining the gym and signing up for a trainer has helped a lot.

Food scale. My $20 food scale was one of my best purchases. Weighing my food keeps me honest.

Other gadgets: I’ve tried all sorts of gadgets on my phone. The PointsPlus calculator from Weight Watchers is good. I have an Android so most of the other WW apps don’t work well on it. I’ve downloaded Loseit! but it’s just a tracking app so I decided to stick with e-Tools. Trainer Paul showed me the 6 Pack Abs Promise so I’ve downloaded it and will try it out today.

Books: Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean series really jump-started me out of maintenance in June 2011.

8. What big changes have you made? Since June 2009 I’ve made a few changes, including:

I don’t stop at Burger King for breakfast.
I have black coffee instead of a venti non-fat, no-whip caramel mocha.
I bring my lunch about 90% of the time and when I don’t, I look for the healthy options on the menu.
When I go to parties, I *do* bring something healthy that I’d like to eat.
I’ve really cut back on drinking.
I exercise. Sometimes I hate it, but most of the time once I start doing it I enjoy it.
I don’t shop in the fat womens’ stores anymore. No more Macy Women. No more Lane Bryant. I went from a 24 to a 14. At a 38C, Victoria’s Secret can sell me bras again.
I do still get french fries, but a small instead of a large, and I balance out the rest of the day.

I don’t beat myself up for days where the fat girl comes back, and doesn’t exercise and eats everything in her path. Instead, I try to figure out why I’m sabotaging my efforts.

How did I lose 95 pounds?

I joined Weight Watchers
I started exercising
I kept at it.



Last night I ate butternut squash. On purpose.

I hate squash. Absolutely despise it.

But on Thanksgiving I drank a good amount of wine and decided that I would try everything I’d never tried before. That resulted in trying sweet potato casserole (dizzyingly sweet) and butternut squash (savory and delicious).

So when I saw the bag of diced BS in my Fresh & Easy, I knew I had to get it. My preparation was simple, and the result? Pretty darned tasty.  No, it doesn’t look great in the picture, which I took on a phone, without a flash, in a kitchen with one light fixture burnt out. But it tasted pretty good in my mouth, and as a post-workout snack it was satisfying–savory and sweet. Kind of like kettle corn. Or Chubby Hubby. Well, maybe I won’t go that far….

Fresh & Easy Butternut Squash
Serves 1-2 as a Main Course, 4 as a side

One bag of pre-cut Butternut Squash (BS)
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp 2% milk Italian cheese blend
Dash of garlic powder
Salt, pepper, cooking spray

Crank your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a pan large enough for all your BS to have its own space (no crowding–you want these puppies to brown). If you don’t love BS, I recommend cutting big chunks smaller so you don’t have large cubes. Put the olive oil in the pan, add the BS. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper (all to taste), and spray the BS lightly with cooking spray. Toss all until well coated. Cook for 40 minutes. Check for doneness around 30 minutes, stirring if it seems well-browned.

Some may want to add nutmeg. I like the garlic powder instead.

You don’t really need me to discuss what I ate on Thanksgiving, do you? Or the day following? How many of you were victorious in ignoring the beast within? Did you ignore the “more more MORE!!!” voice squeaking away in your ear?

Did you try anything new? I did–I had butternut squash for the first time in years and loved it. I’m hoping it wasn’t soaked in olive oil and cheese, because if it was that’s obviously why I loved it. I was also pretty well soaked (in wine) myself, which could have been another contributor.

I’m about to go weigh-in at Weight Watchers. I know I’m going to be weighing in *high*. Like eight pounds higher than two weeks ago, but that’s okay. I’m using the next few weeks to find new ways to eat clean for me and my family with plans to reach 100 pounds lost by Christmas. Or at least 95….

What are some of your favorite healthy dishes to have in the Autumn?

Extra lean ground turkey (99/1) was two 20-oz packages for $7.99 at Safeway today. I don’t especially like ground turkey–it has that funny poultry smell. It’s bland. And it can get dry so quickly.

But I am trying to find new forms of lean protein that the whole family will eat–meaning teenage son and husband, since the little one only seems to eat about five things (peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, soup, bananas, and pizza).

But meatballs in marinara sauce with a nice polenta with garlicky greens seemed quite wonderful. And it was, teenage Jake had two helpings two nights in a row, and I’m still craving more.

Turkey Meatballs in Marinara with Polenta
Polenta is a comfort food treat that takes on the robust flavors of the healthy turkey meatballs & marinara sauce. You won’t miss the fat with this delicious dish!

Meatballs based on “Every Day is a Meatball Day” from
Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

Serves: 10


2  lbs. extra lean ground turkey (99/1)
1/2 cup very finely chopped onion–a food processor is great for this
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oat bran
2 T. fresh parsley,very  finely chopped
2 T. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 T. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, place egg and oat bran.  Add remaining ingredients except for turkey meat and mix well.  Add turkey meat and mix gently, do not overwork mixture.  Wrap a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick spray. Shape meatballs to approximately 1.5 inches and place on sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes; transfer to simmering sauce and finish cooking to 165 degrees in sauce.

Quick Marinara Sauce


1 T. olive oil
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
2 stalks finely chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 T. chopped fresh basil
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Spray saute pan with cooking spray; heat to medium, add olive oil. Cook for 30 seconds, add onion, carrot & celery. Cook until fragrant, add garlic, cook another 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and wine. Lower heat to medium low; simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil.
If you prefer to purchase pre-cooked polenta in a “log”, slice it and heat in the oven on the cookie sheet while meatballs finish in the sauce.

Or, cook your own:

1 cup yellow corn meal (the type that states that it’s for polenta is what I get)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 T olive oil

Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Heat at medium, stirring frequently, until the mixture shows a slight thickening. Lower the heat to low, continue to stir frequently, until the mixture is quite thick. It will “set up” as it cools.

Serve the meatballs ontop of the polenta with lots of sauce. Accompany with quick-cooking “Cooking With Powergreens!” 3-minute stove-top greens, with sliced garlic.

Tonight I wandered through the grocery store craving something. I didn’t know what. I’d had a full, healthy dinner of brown rice, broccoli and pork loin chop in a teriyaki-style sauce. All yummy. All filling. I couldn’t figure out what the emptiness in my belly and the gnawing in my brain was for.

I picked up a “personal” watermelon, but the voice kept whispering. I talked myself out of chocolate chip cookies, eclairs, peppermint ice cream, chocolate dipped cream puffs, sugar-free chocolate pudding (pre-made), cook & serve chocolate pudding, Ghiradelli brownie mix and pastrami. Yeah, I know.

I ended up with Glenny’s Chocolate Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats. $5.49 for a box of five. Pricey, but I figured if they satisfied the craving, one a day would be worth it.

They are not very big, but they are crispy and chewy at the same time. Unfortunately, they don’t have that marshmallowy stickiness that make rice krispie treats TREATS. They were sweet but not overly, and had a subtle chocolate flavor. Did they satisfy the craving? No. 80 grams of “Lite Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream” did that trick. They are organic, gluten & dairy free, and when you eat one, your angel halo might light up.

Another new, organic item for today: Dave’s Killer 21 Whole Grain Bread. I found this at WinCo and threw it in the freezer for those days when I’m craving a sandwich. Today I toasted a slice, had a bit of avocado, honey mustard, and an ounce of grilled chicken. I had it for breakfast in the car on my drive to work. The bread was dense, chewy, and delicious. It toasted well and had great flavor. I’m looking forward to having the same thing, tomorrow.

What would Sydney eat (WWSE): Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats or Dave’s Killer Bread?

Definitely the bread.