Losing Weight with Wolfram Alpha

Hey Y’all!  So you know how I’ve mentioned a few times that I work for this company called Wolfram|Alpha?  Yeah, well, we’re awesome and so is our “Computational Knowledge Engine”.  Yup.  That’s what I said.  We actually compute data for you right on our website.  In fact, we can do a lot more than that…. like help you to lose weight!

They asked me to write a post for our blog about how to use W|A to lose weight.  I thought I might have to do a lot of research and querying on our website to find a good way to actually do that, but in fact, it was extremely simple.  We can show you the nutrition value of thousands of foods.  We can show you the estimated caloric burn of different activities based on your height, weight and age.  We can help to calculate what your caloric intake should be every day depending on what your goal weight and time allotted is.  We can do so much!  So check out the blog that I wrote to see just how handy it is.

And if you’re not interested in using it, just go and read it because you think I’m neato and you like reading what I write!  =D

One more thing.  I’ll be guest posting on ANOTHER blog this week!  Dacia over at 33 and Counting asked me to write a post, so I went all out and wrote a little about my journey and lot about food!  I even included a recipe for another delicious Indian meal.  It’s all broken down into WW PP just like I do here.  Dacia’s pretty amazing.  She’s lost over 100 lbs in less than a year with Weight Watchers!  So make sure to check it out this Friday!

My First 5K

Just a few minutes after we passed the Start line!

We did it!  My girlfriend and I finally completed our first 5K!  Wow.  What a rush of emotions.  It was amazing to be two people in a crowd of 4800 participants.  We took our places close to the very end of the crowd since we were in the “walkers” group (although we ran at LEAST a mile of the whole thing!), did a little stretching and let out a squeak when we finally started moving towards the start!  We didn’t actually cross the “Start” line until about 10 minutes after it started, since we were at the end all squished together like an old bag of marshmallows, lol.  But once we got out of our squishy surroundings, we were really able to get into a great routine of walking and running.

But since I’m not the only one who experienced this race, I asked the girlfriend to write a blurb about her experiences for this post. So, without further ado…

Special Notes from The Girlfriend

Our view from the back of the line of participants! We're so far back that you can't even see the START LINE.

The Illinois 5K was simply amazing. Going into it I didn’t think that it would be much of an event, but with 5000 runners/walkers…. it was a sight to see. When Ange and I were getting ready at home, it reminded me of when I used to get ready for track and field in high school. “The Rush”, or as I like to call it – the healthy feeling of competition :) I have always been one for contact sports. Obviously, running in a 5K doesn’t include competitive contact with the ones running next to you, BUT it does require a sense of competition within yourself. The challenge of running the 5K is between you and the ground.

While running in the downtown streets, several community friends were there to cheer us on. “Way to go, Ange and Jess!!” This was the point where my body felt like it could run a marathon. The rush went running through my veins. As we ran into the stadium, thousands of families, friends, and supporters were there to cheer on the race runners, including Angela’s family. It was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! I would recommend walking a 5K – odds are you’ll end up running to your goal too!

So we finished our first 5K and we loved it so much that we’re going to do at LEAST one more this year!  And, if you didn’t know, Weight Watchers has started a “Walk-It!” day.  Although I won’t be walking on that specific day (which I believe is May 22nd), they did put out this AWESOME training schedule to get people running a full 5K in 6 weeks!  I’m TOTALLY doing this.  It has officially become my next goal.  I also downloaded an application on my phone called “My Runkeeper“.  The girlfriend and I used it on our walk the other morning.  It timed it, made an announcement at every minute (I set it that way), and it tracked it through GPS, so we could see just how far we went and in how long!  The maps/routes can be saved, you can pick from a variety of activities… it’s just awesome!  Definitely gonna be using this a lot.  In fact, I used it yesterday to track my walk from home to work and figured out that it’s .26 miles to the office and it takes me 6 minutes to get there at a leisurely pace.  So, if I walk to work and back, it’s a half mile and if I also walk home and back for lunch, I’ve walked an extra full mile each day!  Pretty schweet.

Just before we reached the turn to the Finish!

If any of you have smart phones, I would definitely recommend checking these kind of applications out.  There’s a bunch of different ones that track distance, steps, etc.  There’s also ones that are just special stopwatches that would be super helpful in circuit training!  You don’t even have to pay for most of them.  Anything that makes working out easier or more fun should DEFINITELY be incorporated into regular activities!

And the girlfriend and I BOTH encourage you all to sign up for a 5K… or a 10K or some other race or competition that will give you a focus or a reason, or maybe just enjoyment of exercise because when you cross that finish line, you too will see that you’ve really just begun :)

Weekly Weigh-In and Tasty Randomness

Click here for this Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings) recipe from Closet Cooking!

Minus 2/10ths.  I’ll take it!

I’ve been quite the sickie-poo this week.  Sweet mother of MERCY!  Today is the first day that I’ve really felt like I could do some exercise.  I did a good job of just staying within my points since I didn’t have any extra ones from exercise (although I did do 30 minutes of yoga on Monday since I wasn’t really able to exercise during the weekend in Ann Arbor).  I’ve burnt enough calories just fighting all the germs and hacking up my lungs.  So, after the wonderfully rich weekend of food and fun in AA and then not being able to exercise most of the week, I’m feeling quite good about my weigh in.  ANDDDDD, I’m only 8/10ths of a pound away from my 5% goal!  It’s taken FOREVER to get to this point, but it’s been worth it.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Reluctant Losers have grown to almost double what we had!  It’s pretty much awesome.  There’s about 5 of us from Wolfram doing it, so it’s nice to have a local on-line community since the WW At Work thing didn’t stick.  I am still continuing the WW Online, though, so I can continue to figure out WW Points for all the wonderful recipes!  That’s one of the main points of this blog, so I can’t just let that fall to the wayside.  Remember, if you know of anyone that needs a little bit of partially anonymous accountability for their weight-loss journey, send em here!


I’m almost done with the sick thing, FINALLY.  I just finished up my z-pack, I’m set for three months of probiotic treatment from my naturopathic chiropractor and I was able to get in a 34 minute box-fit routine on my Kinect.  I’m definitely feeling much better.  Tonight, the girlfriend and I are grilling pork chops with the Savory Marinade I posted.  We’re also doing zucchini/yellow squash shish-kabobs on the grill since we just bought an awesome skewer grill thingy.  I’m also doing mashed potatoes.  I’m so excited!  As for the weekly menu we planned out, we did a pretty good job of sticking to it.  With all the sickness that I’ve been dealing with, we did end up going out on Wednesday and Friday instead of cooking.  Mas Amigos on Wednesday and the FlatTop Grill on Friday.  Both meals were actually pretty healthy, though, so I’m not too worried!  We’ll be planning another weekly menu, but we’ll probably end up with a Wild Card day.

Click here for this Scallops Grapefruit Arugula Salad recipe from Skinny Taste! WWF

There’s one more random bit of information to announce that I believe I’ve forgotten to mention up until this point (and if I did mention it… oops).  I joined the co-ed slow-pitch softball team at work!  I used to play (in fifth grade.  i got a trophy!) and I feel healthy enough to get out there and play again!  We already had one informal practice and I’ve learned a few things about myself:

Click here for this Frozen Chocolate Raspberry Pie recipe from LaaLoosh! WWF

– I have good throwing form!  I guess it’s like riding a bike.
– I throw a bit too high when I get really into it
– I may be a pitcher since I remembered how to do it
– I’m a bit too excited to start batting practice
– I need to be careful about how I throw or I’ll throw my shoulder out

All very important things to know about myself!  So we’re playing for the local park district and I’m super excited.  It’s a great group of people and the girlfriend is excited to come out and cheer us on (she doesn’t like playing softball; what the heck kind of lesbian is that?!?!  =B)  We play on Sunday nights, so I’ll definitely get my exercise in on those days!  I have a feeling this is going to be quite an awesome summer.  And a hot one too, so I hear!  LOTS of sweating afoot!

And just in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve posted some random tasty pictures within this blog. I think you should all click on them and take a look at the wonderful recipes! If they’re not WWF, figure out a way to make them healthy and let me know how you did it! And if you’re interested in getting a recipe up here that you already make all the time and you love it so (and you have a couple pictures), email it to me! I’ll make sure to post it with full credit given to you (and a link to your blog if you have one!). Peace and Pie, Foodies!


Click here for this Posole recipe from TJ's Test Kitchen! WWF

Weekly Weigh-In

Note the crazy hair and lack of make-up. Aaaahhh, friday!

Minus 1 pound!  I did it!  I broke my plateau and I’m finally out of the ridiculously frustrating pound that I was stuck in for almost a month!  It was hard work though, REALLY hard work.

As nice as it was to see a full pound loss, the frustration of not losing weight when I thought I would still hits close to home.  I know some people that are really struggling with the Weight Watchers plan.  And you know what?  It’s not for everyone.  If it worked for everyone, everyone would do it!  Some people work better counting calories rather than points.  They’re easier to find anyway!  Not every single one of the Reluctant Losers is using Weight Watchers to get healthier.  They’re following their own plan or a different one.  Either way, it’s still working for them!

So, instead of talking about all the things I did differently and what I’m going to improve upon for next week, I’m going to highlight a few different websites where you can start or continue a weight loss journey for free!  They all have different pros and cons and different set ups, so it’s really personal preference when it comes to which one works for you.

Fat Secret: “FatSecret is a place for people interested in food and diet. Sign up and achieve your food, diet and exercise goals. We think our features such as easily recording your food and exercise, keeping a lifetime record of your weight, finding buddies to support you and discovering recipes that are right for you are pretty special, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can use your FatSecret profile with many other services like Facebook, iGoogle and even on your mobile phone. FatSecret is your one-stop-shop for all things food and diet – the secret is out!” ~ The Fat Secret Website

I’ve checked out fatsecret before and it’s great!  They have an AWESOME database of nutritional information for food and restaurants.  You can track your food intake with a food diary and they also have a weight tracker.  I go to Fat Secret whenever I’m trying to find info to calculate the points of a dish I’ve eaten at a restaurant since the WW database is quite limited.  They also have a great community with challenges, recipes and a lot of support!  They also have a great app for droids and iphones.  Very helpful.

Spark People: I don’t know as much about this site, but one of my fellow WW peeps has told me about it a few times.  She says “Spark People is a free online resource for tracking food, exercise, and weight loss progress.  What sets SparkPeople.com apart from Weight Watchers is that food is tracked on a calorie level (which is automatically computed for you based on your current weight and your weight loss goals), but it goes a step further by tracking individual macronutrients (sodium, cholesterol, fat, etc.) and providing weekly ‘grocery lists’ based on your customized nutrition plan.  This is a full featured weight loss resource with nutrition and exercise information, and in some respects more powerful than Weight Watchers.”

It’s got the same kind of tools as fat secret, although some can be a little harder to find.  The tools they highlight on the site are Calorie Counters and Meal Plans, Fitness Programs, Motivation Systems and Feedback Reports.  Sounds good to me!  One of the really nice things about it is that they’ve branched off into sister sites for teen and pregnant women.  They also have phone apps, which is always helpful!  There’s a lot of good things on Spark People, so check it out!

Lose It: My girlfriend just signed up on Lose It and it looks awesome!  It’s basically a more user-friendly, calorie-oriented WW site.  There’s a recipe builder (HUGE plus!), goal tracker (for other things besides just weight), and lots more!  Here’s their screenshot page so that you can see for yourself just how user-friendly it is.  I love that aspect of it.  And did I mention the recipe builder!?!?!  They too have apps for the ipod and iphone.  They don’t have one for droids yet (boo.), so that’s the only downside I see as of now.  But you can still do it all online!

So take a look through those sites if you want and see what else they have to offer.  They’re all free, so you’d might as well at least check them out!  It’s important to remember that there’s more than one way to lose weight and be healthier.  I’ve definitely tried my fair share of them.  One great point that was made at last night’s WW meeting was this – “If you kinda do it, it kinda works.  If you really do it, it really works!”  Ultimately, our success is solely up to us.  We just have to WANT it bad enough!  And you know what?  I finally do :)

My Weekly Weigh-In. What about yours?

This is my plateau face. My mouth represents the tiny up/down motion of my weight for the past month! Heh.

minus two tenths! Erm… I guess I should be okay with it, but I’ve definitely hit a mini-plateau. I’ve been within 2/10ths of this stupid number for almost a month now. But the girlfriend lost 1.8! And my mom lost 4!!

I may need to re-inspire myself by reading through my rewards and thoughts on life, but I am SOOOO glad to know I’ve been inspiring others! Did you all know that so far, four different people have started or re-started weight watchers because of this blog!? How awesome is that!  In fact, it’s inspired an idea, but I need all of your thoughts and opinions about it.

What would you think about having a “Weekly Weigh-In” page on this blog to help keep us all just a bit more accountable?  You could use either your first name or a nickname.  You wouldn’t have to put your weight, just what you’ve lost or gained since your recent start date.  You could put up a before picture if you want and make room for an after picture, and even list out your own rewards and stuff!  It would be like a mini support community.  You’d just have to respond to my “weekly weigh-in” email and I could post it on the page for you (at least until I have full control over my blog and can set up a community forum of sorts).  I could make up little badges and awards to put by your names when you’ve reached goals and such.  You don’t even have to be doing Weight Watchers, necessarily.  You could just be eating better and trying to be healthier and losing weight in the process.

It could be so much fun!  And especially helpful for those of you who are just doing it online and not going to meetings.  I’d love to set it up if there’s an interest.  If there’s even ONE person interested, I will set it up.

So send me your thoughts and let me know if you’re interested.  You could be out there as yourself or out there with an alias.  You can be accountable to yourself and to others.  We could all do it together.

Jalapeno Poppers

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.closetcooking.com

We all know I’m a spice addict. It all started with jalapenos. My dad always had a jar of them in the fridge, but I never actually ventured out and tried them until high school. I made up my mind one night that I wanted to cook chicken because I’d never cooked it before (I was lucky enough to have two parents that knew how to cook and a budget that didn’t allow much eating out). I threw some things together and ended up making REALLY tasty jalapeno BBQ chicken strips. After that moment, I was hooked.

Jalapeno poppers are one of my favorite comfort foods. If they are at a restaurant or party (at least in the past), I was definitely eating more than one… or three. I’ve never actually made my own before, but when I stumbled upon this recipe from Gina’s Skinny Recipes blog, I knew I was going to give it a try!

I haven’t made them just yet, but you can be sure I’ll be making them for the next party I host! And since they’re only 1 point a piece, I’ll definitely be eating more than one!  **NOTE** I calculated the pointsplus from the WW online recipe calculator and it said it was 1 point each.  Gina’s site says they are 2 points each.

Gina’s Skinny Baked Jalapeno Poppers
Servings: 24
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1


  • 12 jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4.5 oz light cream cheese, 7 PP
  • 5 medium scallions, green part only, sliced
  • 2 oz shredded low fat sharp cheddar (she used Cabot 50%), 2 PP
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters or egg whites, beaten, 2 PP
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs, 6 PP
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • spray oil

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.saucyandsweet.com

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Wearing rubber gloves, cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane.

2. Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl.

3. Combine panko, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another bowl.

4. Fill peppers with cheese filling with a small spoon or spatula.

5. Dip peppers in egg beaters.

6. Place pepper in panko mixture, using a spoon to make sure all the seasoning doesn’t fall to the bottom of the bowl.

7. Spray a baking pan with oil spray. I lined my pan with parchment for easier cleanup. Lightly spray the peppers with a little more oil spray.

8. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cheese oozes out.

9. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Serve hot.

Milestones and Rewards

I am really good at rewarding myself (especially since I don’t suffer from Catholic guilt anymore), but almost always that reward is food.  I mentioned yesterday that I needed to think about how to reward myself for milestones without associating it with food.  It actually took me about 30 minutes to really sit down and figure out how I could do that!  Every milestone “reward” was prefaced with flashes of Thai food, sushi, cakes and more.  Then I shook it off and thought about other things.  I’ve come up with a list of milestones and rewards for each marker in my first long term journey of losing 100 lbs.  I know I want to lose more, but I’ve got to focus on that first 100 before I think about anything else!

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I do well with lists.  I like to see them in front of my face, beckoning to be checked off one by one.  These rewards may cost a little more than a tasty meal, but that’s the point, right?  It’s a REWARD!  A reward for doing well; for reaching a goal that’s seemed practically impossible ever since college.  But these are some damn good rewards, and I’m excited about reaching them!

1. Lose 10 lbs.  I did it!! 10 lbs may not seem like a lot, but it IS!  My reward for reaching this goal is to treat myself to a purchase of two apps from the Droid store for my Samsung Epic.  I’m a total geek when it comes to techie stuff like cameras and phones and there are definitely a few that I would love to get!

2. Reach my 5%. It’s a big milestone in the WW world, so I’ve decided to treat myself to a massage when I reach this milestone!  I’ve had them before and I always feel amazing afterward.  What better way to say “Good job, BODY!” than this?

3. Lose 20 lbs. This used to be “buy a scale”, but my girlfriend wants to get one sooner than this reward would allow. And honestly, I can think of WAY more fun rewards! I’ve decided to change this reward to buying two new cookbooks! I need to replenish my cookbook supply with ones that truly promote healthy cooking. Plus, my cookbook addiction is much more manageable than my sugar addiction, so feeding this addiction will be quite satisfying!

4. Reach my 10%. Another big WW milestone!  At this point, I will reward myself with purchasing the domain for this blog!  I’ll have reached over 60 entries at that point and since I plan to continue with this blog AND this program, it will be nice to have a little more control over the look of things :)

5. Lose 40 lbs. Weekend trip to Chicago!  With my girlfriend, of course :)  We’ll take the train up, stay in a hotel and enjoy being in the city for a couple days without any other plans!  Walking around the city will be feel different because I’ll be a whole toddler lighter.  Maybe we’ll even go to the beach!

6. Lose 50 lbs. 50 is a lot of weight to lose.  Right now, it feels like once I reach 50, every extra pound lost will seem like so much more!  Because of this, my reward for losing 50 lbs will be to go on a $150 shopping spree!  I’ll need new pants and shirts at this point, so it will be fun!

7. Lose 60 lbs. Once I reach this milestone, I am getting a personal trainer!  Only for a couple months to see what it’s like, but I’ve always wanted to try one out.  I’ll also need an extra kick to tighten up that loose skin!

8. Lose 70 pounds. This used to be “buy a treadmill”, but now that I’ve really gotten into the habit of exercising, I realize that I would rather run/walk outside or play Kinect games inside. No walking inside! Instead, I will treat myself to the Spa Starter treatment at The Studio: Salon and Spa. It comes with a manicure, pedicure, hydrotherapy treatment and a massage! all of that for only $175. HELL YEAH!

9. Lose 80 lbs. See Cirque du Soleil!  This has been on my bucket list for quite some time.  80 pounds for $80 tickets!  Soooo gonna be worth it!

10. Lose 90 lbs. Take a cooking class!  I know this is food related, but it’s not actual food.  I’ve considered taking some cooking classes for quite a while since I’m a foodie, so having mastered some control habits at this point, cooking will be a whole different thing!  Who knows, maybe I’ll learn a ton, become inspired and open up my cafe :)

11. Lose 100 POUNDS. GO ON A CRUISE!  Oh.  So.  Worth.  It.  Where to has yet to be determined, but that’s something I’ll enjoy thinking about!

I Ate HOW MANY Cookies?

A photo my mom took of just SOME of the cookies they made at Cookie Day. I probably ate that many.

If I was to attempt to count how many cookies and pieces of biscotti I ate from Dec. 23 to Dec. 30… I’d probably cry.  God bless my mother, but DAAAANG.  After I had one bite of a single sugar cookie (my Aunt Chrissy’s recipe!) I was a goner.  The flavors were so perfectly balanced and the icing was so perfectly hardened that I couldn’t help but eat more than my share every single day!  It is completely and utterly my fault and as tasty as it was eating them, I totally blew my diet on cookies alone.

Now, when it came to the other savory food, I did pretty good!  More salad than anything else, no crazy creamy dishes, just a few raviolis with sauce, more seafood than carbs and red meats.  It was manageable.  But those DAMN COOKIES!  In fact, Mom and I sat down with the recipe and figured out the points for the biscotti.  For one little piece it was SIX POINTS!  So, um, I’m not sharing the recipe.  Not quite weight watcher friendly.

I just don’t know how to NOT give in to sweet sugary temptation.  Next year, I’m going to bring gum with me and just chew that instead.  Or pace myself; one cookie, then one glass of water, then another cookie and another glass of water.  Then I’d fill up on water.  We’ll be at my girlfriend’s house, so it might be a little easier not to indulge since I’ll be more conscious of what I’m doing, lol.  Seriously!?!?!  When did people decide that baby Jesus and sugar comas went hand in hand??

How did you all survive this holiday?  Any tips for the Reluctant WW Foodie?  I’m back on track now, but I’m definitely scared about my weigh in on Thursday!  I didn’t have to weigh in the past two weeks, hence no “weekly weigh-in” entries.  I’m not excited.  I feel like I ate back five pounds of cookies and the other three I lost said “Hell no!  If you’re going back, we are too!”.

But today’s the first day of a new year.  The holidays are over for a while and I have a lot of new tools to help me get back on track.  I have a new phone – Samsung Epic – that is AMAZING.  I’ve downloaded a PointsPlus app, a WW Diary app, an app that give Nutrition Facts for all sorts of different foods, and even a workout app!  Since I ALWAYS have my phone with me, it just makes sense to track everything on there, right?  I also have a bunch of new cooking stuff and some new shelving in my kitchen which makes cooking even more fun!  My girlfriend and I took Maxwell on a walk yesterday since it was actually pretty warm out (can you say “global warming”?).  My mom even got signed up for WW online!  And of course I have all of you wonderful readers who write great comments and subscribe to my blog, which makes me more inclined to write more!  There you go.  Lots of reasons to be excited for this new year.

Now, I just have to sit down and figure out the points I’ve already eaten today!  Grrgl.

Weigh-In for the Week

Yay for weight loss and hot tea on a cold morning!

Minus 1.6!

Somehow, by the grace of GOD, I lost weight during Thanksgiving in Luckey!  So that means I got rid of that stupid pound that I gained last week and leg-lifted off just a little bit more!  WOO HOO!  So, my total weight loss so far is 7.6 lbs.  It was a great start to an interesting and informative meeting.  And now we have a new plan to follow….

It’s actually kind of exciting.  (WhAt?!?  Why would the reluctant WW foodie say that about a whole new plan!?!?)  Well, here’s why.  I’ve watched countless documentaries about how food is grown, produced and prepared and how it affects us and our bodies.  Certain foods make our bodies work harder (in a good way) to digest it and to pull out all the nutrients that body needs.  This is why a well balanced diet is so important.  It would be just as unhealthy to live off of french fries alone as it would be to live off of grapefruit alone.  Neither “diet” provides the necessary nutrients your body needs to thrive.  You’d end up with vitamin deficiencies and other health issues (and probably a case of the runs if you were only eating french fries!)

Back to the point…. WW has taken all this into consideration and they now count four things in each food item to create their PointsPlus value – fat, carbs, protein and fiber.  Those four things make up a calorie, so it makes sense!  One of the big problems with the last plan was that if you were given the choice between a candy bar and a piece of fruit to use your last points on, most people would choose the candy bar.  Why?  Because if they are both the same points value, you’d might as well “eat what you want”!  People were choosing the candy bar over the fruit each time (as long as they stayed within their points).  Now, ALL fruit is zero points and most vegetables are too!  If you’re hungry and you don’t want to go over your points, eat an apple or a banana.  They’re free!  (Points-wise, only.  Don’t be walking into a grocery store and start eating up their produce and telling them I said it was free!)  WW is now encouraging you (and giving you a good reason) to eat healthier options like fruits and vegetables.

Good job, WW.  You’re keeping up with the times!  You’ve advanced in your intelligence and finally given us a plan that encourages us to eat healthy and to not east whatever you want (but its still all up to the individual!)

Downsides?  The ice cream sandwiches that were originally two points are now four :(  All of the WW soups I bought in a frenzy when they were on sale are now at least twice as many points per serving on average :(  Upsides?  We get more points!  It really evens itself out.  And so far, I’m finding it to be much easier to stay within my points.  I also purchased some really helpful tools to keep me on track.

With this new, complicated equation for figuring out points, little gold books with a point converter just weren’t possible, so they went all techie (YES!!!!) and created little blue PointsPlus calculators.  They track your daily points, they recalculate your points right there for you each week with your new weight and they also convert points for you.  You just plug in the numbers and it calculates it all in its teeny weeny metal brain.  I love it.  It’s so much easier to carry around  and it’s waaaay more appealing to whip it out to calculate things while at the store or in a restaurant rather than that gold book with all its pages and logos all over it.  I may want to lose weight, but I don’t want it to be obvious to other random people (or my waiter!).  I also bought a dining out companion book and an everyday foods guide.  Always helpful to have those in stock!

So things are back on track, I’m excited about these new changes and I’m looking forward to where this journey is taking me.  Now, time to recalculate all these recipes I’ve posted!  Grrr….

28 Small Changes… According to Weight Watchers

I got this in an email from Weight Watchers (they get full credit!). I thought you might enjoy them. All my comments from the peanut gallery are italicized :)

… About Small Eating Changes
1. Water, water, water, water. (Your skin will look great, too!)
2. Order half portions at restaurants, or share a full portion with somebody. Or ask for a “to-go” container when you order your food, and pack up half the portion before you even start eating. (didn’t I already mention this? super helpful!)
3. Cut back on butter and mayo. (light versions are tasty substitutes.)
4. Limit fried foods to once or twice per week.
5. Use less or no sugar in your coffee or tea. (or try all natural subsitutes like sun crystals or honey)
6. Replace ground beef with meatless products or ground turkey.
7. Try at least one new food every week. If you’re bored with what you’re eating, you’re more likely to give up.
8. Eat fresh, raw veggies with sandwiches instead of chips.
9. Measure your portions until you’re sure you know what a cup, a half-cup, and a tablespoon look like. This will help you practice portion control, an essential key to weight-loss success.
10. Try not to drink high-calorie beverages. (i miss the taste of high-calorie drinks, so i tend to drink a lot of coke zero or pepsi one since they still have great flavor!)
11. Dip your fork in a side of salad dressing before each bite instead of pouring it directly on your salad. You’ll find that you are satisfied with much less than you usually put on. (unless it’s a vinaigrette. pour that on.)
12. Find healthy alternatives to all your favorite foods. (right… i think this bit of advice is kinda silly. i love homemade alfredo. i will NOT buy a jar of “light” or “fat-free” alfredo because it will taste like poop and make me want the homemade stuff even more. instead, find new foods that you like that are healthy on their own. don’t try to substitute ALL your favorites.)
13. If you don’t really love it, don’t eat it. (easier said than done.)
14. Never eat out of a bag or box. Take out a measured/counted quantity of food and put it in a bowl. This way, you know exactly how much you’re having.
15. Always eat something for breakfast. (and grab a snack to take with you if you’re going to be away from home until lunch)
16. Read food labels. Check serving sizes.
17. Add vegetables to everything. (except ice cream.)
18. Plan meals in advance; use that information to make out a complete shopping list. (also plan for days you won’t have time or won’t feel like cooking. get some easy to make or microwave meals.)
19. Give food to guests to take home.
20. Write down everything you eat and drink, without fail.
21. Plan ahead for special occasions by accounting for higher-calorie foods before you eat them.

… About Small Exercise Changes
1. Take the stairs every single time they’re an option. No more elevators or escalators. (i work on the fourth floor of a building. this is not my first option, but i’ll try it!)
2. Make exercise a priority, not an inconvenience. (too late. already an inconvenience! heh.)
3. Park far from your destination so you’re forced to walk. This works at the supermarket, the mall, wherever. (This also helps you waste less time looking for a parking space!)
4. View tiring chores (shoveling snow, cleaning the house, weeding the garden, taking the garbage out, grocery shopping) as a chance to get in some activity.
5. Take the grocery cart back to the store when you’re done loading your bags into your car. (interesting idea…. but i will NOT do that if it’s rainy or snowy.)
6. If you take public transportation, get off one stop early.
7. Work out with a buddy.