Monday, August 11, 2014

Motivational Monday: The Old Me

Since I made a post on Saturday about how I was recommitting myself to Weight Watchers starting yesterday (Sunday), I figured I would skip writing a "Weekend Wrap-Up" post. The idea for this current post came to me when I actually had time on my hands (a rare occurrence) to take a walk down memory lane by leisurely browsing through old photos of me on Facebook. It was a significant moment for me when I realized for the umpteenth time what I used to look like when I was carrying an extra 75+ pounds around with me on my body. I thought I would share these pictures because they are a good reminder of why I started Weight Watchers and why I continued on this journey despite the bumps along the way.

I could write a million words about "The Old Me" but I would rather just share these pictures. The first few pictures are from my time in college when I gained more than the "Freshmen 15" because I never learned how to eat healthily. The other pictures are from the year after I graduated college when I had not yet started Weight Watchers because I didn't have the means or motivation to join. In the months following my college graduation, I felt in a rut even when I landed a somewhat part-time job working in a pharmacy. A combination of feeling depressed but having money to buy whatever food I wanted, led to my weight being at its highest.

In all of the pictures you can see how happy I am because I did love myself and the life I was living when I was heavier. However I can say now that I truly feel more like myself now than ever before. I can with 100% certainty that I feel far more confident, happier, and beautiful weighing 75+ pounds lighter these days. While I loved every moment in college, a small part of me wishes I could back to relive those days now that I have more energy & confidence being a smaller size. The pictures below give me the motivation I need to continue my journey towards a healthier lifestyle. I'm hoping this post will be a reminder for me of why I started my journey and why I keep going...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday Special: Where's Jax?

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted since last month. I've been so busy these past few weeks that I haven't had much time to make posts. Additionally, I've been utterly failing on Weight Watchers by eating so terribly. A lot of my food choices have been the result of anxiety & stress, which is what I've been battling with due to various situations beyond on my control these past few weeks. However now I'm just eating food because it tastes good in the moment and I think I've gotten bored with I think my options are for what I can eat on Weight Watchers.

The reason I'm making a post today is because I really want to get back on plan with Weight Watchers. I've been absolutely terrible with tracking all of the food that I eat. I skipped weighing in on July 30th because I knew I would have a gain and I had plans to go out of town for a few days. I didn't know how I would do with my eating even though I packed, prepped, and planned out what I was going to eat my few days away from home. So despite all of the work I put into trying to stay on plan, I was basically mentally setting myself up to fail anyways. This was on top of dealing with a rough week beforehand where I was emotional eating in order to cope with high amounts of stress & anxiety.

I'm back now though but I'm a bit lost of where I need to start/go. I know I need to talk with my leader but I don't know when I'll get a chance to see her next. Alas, that's why I'm here to write out some of my thoughts to help keep me a bit organized. I have already blown my plan today and I'm going out to hang out with friends tonight so I don't foresee me jumping back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon directly until tomorrow. However, tomorrow is a new day and I can have three days (Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday) to eat well and continue with my exercising in order to help my weigh-in on August 13th.

First, I want to focus on the positive things I've done despite the boatloads of unnecessary stress & anxiety I've been dealing with...

  • I've been diligently working out 5-6 days a week still
  • I'm completing my new fitness routine two times a week
  • I'm still getting in lots of fruits & veggies (especially fruit though, oops)
  • I haven't been drinking soda very much
  • I added some foods to my "Do Not Buy" list
  • I've been avoiding gluten so as to not upset my stomach

In order to snap back to reality, I did choose to weigh in on August 6th. Shamefully I gained 3.8lbs but I know it could have been a lot worse. Plus, I'm still in the 150lb zone and that makes me exceptionally happy! Now I just want to make it a goal to get to the 140lb zone by the end of September which is totally doable.

Since I'm feeling lost as to where to start back with my weight loss journey, I just need to do a mental overhaul. Starting tomorrow I'm dedicating myself to doing the following:

  • Tracking EVERYTHING that I eat
  • Updating my Weight Loss reminders in my phone
  • Eating more protein in a day so I have fewer points+ at the end of the day
  • This will lead me to eating fewer processed foods/snacks
  • Pre-tracking/planning out what I will eat for each day as much as possible

I think the list above is a good place to start. I don't want to immediately throw myself back into tracking my intake of fruits & veggies or making sure I get in a colorful variety of power foods every day because I find that sometimes it just takes TOO much work to do that and often becomes too time-consuming. However, I think it's very important for me to start cutting back on how many processed foods I eat in a day. Far too often I would have 6-8 points+ left at the end of the day (about a third of my daily points+ target) that I could eat in snacks. At first I was trying to eat popcorn at night which is a Weight Watchers power food but soon my schedule will change and I'll be working until much later in the evening, so I won't have that option of heating up noisy popcorn when I come home from work at night. Plus, I was also just phasing out of liking my array of popcorn varieties which I knew was bound to happen sooner than later.

Therefore, I'm hoping that by completing and focusing on the tasks above, I can begin to get back on track. I just want to take it little steps at time. My biggest challenge will be fighting off those initial food desires where my brain will yell at me for all of the snacks I've been having lately. If I can just find other things to do (e.g. hobbies, activities, gaming, etc), then I think those cravings will slowly melt away.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up 21

This weekend was another shameful weekend where I made very poor eating choices. I sort of predicted that this weekend wasn't going to be too good as far as eating goes but I was hoping that it wouldn't be too bad. I think Friday was the worst day because I didn't think my anxiety would be too much for me to handle that I would need to drink. Unfortunately I was wrong and whenever I drink, I tend to not care about the food I'm consuming. Thursday was also a bad eating day but I knew it would be since I was going to a carnival/fair that night where there were certain foods that I wanted to try. I don't think I went overboard but I did indulge in foods that I wouldn't normally eat. The foods I ate the fair are foods that I highly doubt I will eat again or are foods that I won't eat again for another 5-10 years (which was the last time I had one of the decadent foods I had that night).

I've also gotten into this habit of eating Oreos with peanut butter. Typically I wouldn't mind doing this because I allow myself to eat foods that I enjoy. Since I discovered that I like eating the two together, I've been trying to figure out solutions that would allow me to eat Oreos with peanut butter in a controlled way without using a lot of my daily or weekly points+ allowance. First I determined that buying a whole jar of peanut butter was out of the question because I have no self-control when it comes to certain foods such as peanut butter. So I bought a pack of single serve peanut butter containers that cost me about 7 points+ every time I indulge in this snack. Then, last night, I discovered that Walmart sells a generic of gluten free Oreos which means I can now safely eat some Oreos without having to deal with the occasional consequences of eating wheat.

Anyways, that's just a small step. Obviously I ate terribly this weekend but I can only improve from here! I'm continuing to work out and I've even got a new set of strength training exercises to do now that I've finally met with my personal trainer (after about 3 months of not making the time or setting aside the money to see her). I'm also continuing my Couch to 5k efforts, so this week I'll be starting week 4 which I'm hoping goes well. So all I can do is to keep moving forward, not dwell on the mistakes I made, and make better food choices as well as keep up with my exercising. I am determined to make these next 3 days before my weigh-in day better than the last 4 days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #26 (week of July 16-22)

This week at my weigh-in at Weight Watchers, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that my weight went down! In fact, I lost 0.6lbs which means I surpassed the goal I made for myself last week since my total weight loss is now 90.2lbs! Huzzah!

Honestly, I can't speak very highly this past week -- I almost feel like I don't deserve to have lost any weight. I had a really rough day on Thursday as far as my eating and emotions were concerned. I was going to turn it around on Saturday but I went to a party where I let my anxiety take over and I coped with it all wrong by drinking. Then, on Sunday, I didn't eat much all day because I felt so nauseated from the night before. It was probably all for the best because Sunday evening I met up with an old friend for dinner and I could only do so much to accurately point the food I ate (nothing too bad -- the place we went is great for healthy eating so I got a portobello mushroom wrap).

This coming week brings its own food/eating challenges including:

  • Thursday, July 24th → lunch with a friend (getting healthy, steamed shrimp with veggies at our favorite Chinese restaurant) and going to the large State fair in the evening (I'll be having a filling but low-point+ dinner and I'm not a huge fan of carnival food anyways)
  • Friday, July 25th → dinner with family but I don't know what's being served so I'm just going to have a filling salad with lots of power foods but I'll be sure to save extra WW points+ for that night
  • Saturday, July 26th → going to an Indian dance show of sorts where there will be free food & drinks after the dance recital so I'm actually considering leaving shortly after the dance portion of the evenings; otherwise I'm making sure to have meals that day which are low in points+ values just in case I'm coerced into or tempted to try any of the Indian food
  • Sunday, July 27th → out to dinner again with a friend/coworker to the same restaurant I went to this past Sunday -- this means I can check out the menu before I go and track the meal I plan to have that night

I think planning out how I'll tackle each engagement/obstacle that involves food for this upcoming helps, even just a little bit. Since I'll be focusing on just getting through each hurdle and day at a time, I'm keeping my goals for this week short & simple (much like these past two weeks)...

  • T R A C K E V E R Y T H I N G
  • Check off my daily Good Health Guidelines (GHGs)

Speaking of previous weekly goals, I've started to neglect my Tracking Challenge Jar as well as my Daily Fruits & Veggies Google Doc Spreadsheet. I'm kind of bummed about letting those two things fall to the wayside but I know it's only because I've been so busy these past few weeks. I do try to keep up with them when I remember but I've been trying to remember a lot of things that they often get moved to the back of my memory. During my little downtime that I've had lately, I do remember to work on them to bring them up to speed. However, I'm not going to worry too much about either of them because clearly I'm doing something right if I've continued to lose weight these past few weeks.

My NSV for the week was doing my first official 5k! I use the word official because I have walked the equivalent of 5 kilometers or more plenty of times since I've joined Weight Watchers. However, this past Saturday I signed for and participated in Run or Dye. It was definitely a fun experience so I hope to do many more 5ks, both fun ones and ones for a good cause. Although this 5k wasn't competitive and I walked most of it, I plan to use it as sort of my starting point to see how far I progress because -- if I haven't already shared -- I'm working through the Couch to 5k program. I'm already on week 3 during which I'm finding the jogging parts becoming easier for me every week. I've never considered myself a runner before since I always said that my body isn't built for running but if I can work up to jogging I'll be incredibly pleased with myself!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up 20

I was reluctant to write this post because this weekend was... all over the place. It was not only crazy as far as my eating goes but also just my life in general. So I've decided to put it behind me and not dwell too much on it. I definitely didn't do too great in regards to making good food/eating choices. It's unfortunate how poorly I did but it's more important that I move forward from everything this weekend. Life happens... and when it does, sometimes it will affect your journey temporarily by possibly having a weight gain this week. However, it's imperative to not let it ruin my entire journey by slipping back into old habits or giving up on Weight Watchers completely. I will not let one crazy weekend throw me off track because I've had plenty of bad weekends before and I will inevitably have more of them in the future but it's important to remember that this is a lifetime journey.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In #25 (week of July 9-15)

Exciting news at my weigh-in this morning! I lost 3.0lbs!!! I'm super excited about this because I wasn't expecting such a big weight loss first thing in the morning. I'm so close to losing 90lbs total that hopefully I'll hit it next week. I really think my Weight Loss bracelet that my co-worker made me is helping because it's helped to pause & think before making food choices or purchases.

Current Stats
Current Weight: 153.0lbs
Total Pounds Lost: -89.6lbs
Goal Weight: 125.0lbs
Pounds Until Goal: 28.0lbs
Next Bead on Bracelet: 1.4lbs

This upcoming week, I do not see myself needing to change much from last week aside from the usual like trying my best to not use as many of my weekly points+ allowance. My upcoming week & weekend plans include possibly going to a carnival with my family, attending a pool party after work on Saturday, and meeting up with an old friend for dinner after work on Sunday. For those days, I'm going to do my best to save as many points+ as possible for the events by eating lots of veggies. My go-to meal for days when I want to save points for special occasions is spaghetti squash because I can have such a large quantity and only need to point the protein that I added like ground turkey or chicken. This meal is my go-to meal because it's super filling but very low in points+ at about 3-4 points+ (depending on what you add to it).

Otherwise, my goals for this week are the same, simple goals I made for last week.

  • T R A C K E V E R Y T H I N G
  • Check off my daily Good Health Guidelines (GHGs)
  • Only eat when hungry*

*I'm keeping the last goal from last week because it's something I want to be more mindful of when I'm eating. I think I did okay with this goal last week but not great. So I want to continue to improve on watching how much I eat in any given situation. More importantly, I just want to make sure that I track everything and get in my Good Health Guidelines as I know that's what will help to feel full the most.

My Non-Scale Victory for this week was eating zucchini raw for the first time. I'm excited that I loved it so much as a snack. I think this NSV really speaks volumes for how much Weight Watchers has done for me and how far I've come since I started the program. Since joining Weight Watchers, I've become much more adventurous with the foods -- not only by trying new foods all the time but also experimenting with eating foods I've always eaten in a different way. For example, I've always eaten zucchini in the past but I've never tried it raw. I've only eaten it cooked (roasted, fried, etc). Now I can enjoy zucchini another way by eating it raw as a snack or in a salad!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Picking the Perfect Popcorn!

Since I have not done a Tasty Tuesday post in awhile, I figured now would be a good time while I'm on a kick of eating popcorn as a snack. Most of the popcorn flavors & brands will probably not be new to everyone, but I wanted to share the ones that I've never tried and have found to be delicious. For awhile I was looking for the perfect snack that would satisfy my salty, sweet, and crunchy cravings that I get at night when I'm ready for a snack while I relax. It seems that, for now, popcorn seems to be the perfect snack for me at night!

Orville Redenbacher's® Pop-Up Bowls: Butter & Kettle Korn (94% Fat-Free)
I've always loved this brand of popcorn but when the brand started making pop-up bowls, I was really hoping that one day they'd start selling the pop-up bowls with 94% fat-free popcorn. I just learned as of last month that they now sell just that coming in two flavors -- butter and kettle korn. Personally, I only learned in the last few months that I actually really like Kettle Korn popcorn because it's both sweet AND salty which often satisfies two or three of my cravings at once. Prior to just heating up a bag of kettle korn popcorn, I was seasoning regular 94% fat-free popcorn with Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasonings. While it's fun to try so many different flavors & seasons, I vastly prefer the sweet, kettle corn taste right out of a hot bag of popcorn as opposed to adding it to a bag of regular buttered popcorn.

The only downside to these pop-up bowls is that they each have about 11-13 cups of popcorn which is about 7-9 points+ and that can often be too many points for one snack. I only recently discovered how high this popcorn is in points+ because the nutrition label on the side of the box is often confusing when it comes to popcorn. Initially I thought there were only 6.5 cups of popcorn in one bag until I read that there were TWO servings of unpopped kernels in the bag which makes about 6.5 cups of popped popcorn. Therefore, I sat down one day and measured out how much popcorn was in one full bag of these pop-up bowls and I counted about 11 cups. In the future, I will only be using these pop-up bowls when I have at least 5-6 points+ left in my daily target so I'm not using so many of my weekly points+ allowance. Thankfully, there is good news...

Orville Redenbacher's® 100-Calorie Mini Bags: Butter & Kettle Korn (94% Fat-Free)
I always knew that 100-calorie mini bags existed, especially in the butter/light butter flavor. However, I didn't know that mini bags existed with kettle korn popcorn! Once I figured out how much I love kettle popcorn in the pop-up bowls, I just HAD to have kettle popcorn in mini bags that were less WW points+ for a better nighttime snack. Unfortunately it's much harder to find 100-calorie mini bags with 94% fat-free kettle popcorn than it is to find 94% fat-free buttered popcorn. I'm still scoping out different stores to see which ones carry these delicious mini bags of kettle popcorn. So far I've found one store near me but it's not the most convenient for me to go. Hopefully I can find these kettle popcorn mini bags at stores that are more convenient for me.

Skinnygirl Popcorn 150-Calorie Mini Bags: Lime & Salt and Butter & Sea Salt (94% Fat-Free)
Now, I never knew that Skinnygirl made popcorn. I knew the brand name made cocktails and only learned a few months ago that they made protein bars (as featured in my last Tasty Tuesday post). So when I saw a simple white box of popcorn with Skinnygirl on the box, I just had to try this new (to me) product. I was also intrigued by the flavors -- I had never heard of popcorn with Lime & Salt or Butter & Sea Salt flavors. I've tried both flavors and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of each flavor. The Lime & Salt had just a hint of lime taste so it the lime taste didn't overwhelm the popcorn flavor. As for the Butter & Sea Salt flavor, I can't say I noticed a significant difference between that and regular 94% fat-free buttered popcorn.

It should be noted that Skinnygirl Popcorn partnered with Orville Redenbacher's® to create these flavors. As I've been closely investigating different types of popcorn, I've noticed that Orville Redenbacher's® makes 100-calorie mini bags of lime & salt flavored 94% fat-free popcorn. I haven't tried Orville Redenbacher's® version of the Lime & Salt popcorn, but I'm sure it tastes very similar to the Skinnygirl Popcorn version.


Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasonings
As I mentioned above, I have tried in the past to season my mini bags of buttered popcorn with these seasonings. There's so many flavors that it helped to make boring butter popcorn bags a bit more interesting for me. So far I've tried the following flavors: Buffalo Wing, Kettle Corn, Nacho Cheddar, Ranch, and White Cheddar. Among those seasonings, I think my favorite were Kettle Corn, Nacho Cheddar, and White Cheddar flavors. However, my favorite flavor was the Kettle Corn seasoning, so I'm glad I found microwavable mini bags of 94% fat-free kettle popcorn. These seasonings are definitely worth a try if you've never tried them on your popcorn before! There's such a variety of flavors that these seasonings come in that I'm sure you'll find at least one that you enjoy.

Smartfood Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn
Just like the White Cheddar popcorn that Smartfood is known for, the Kettle Corn popcorn is just as delicious if not more so! I first discovered this new flavor of popcorn by Smartfood in the vending machine at work. I've also been able to find (small/medium) bags of this popcorn at gas stations. Unfortunately I have not been able to find smaller bags of this popcorn so the bags that I have tried are about 6 points+ per bag (I don't remember how many calories were in the bag though, sorry!). I would love for this company to sell 100-calorie bags of this popcorn. Hopefully in the future, Smartfood will start selling this tasty flavor of popcorn in smaller bags just like it does with its White Cheddar flavor.