Lifestyle Changes: Healthier Me

There are moments in your life when you realize you have some major changes and modifications to do about your lifestyle. You know, those moments that finally snap you out of your daze and slam a harsh reality at you. The instances where your mind races to figure out what is going on and how did it get to this point?

My reality kicked in when I stepped on a weight scale a few weeks ago while I was on travel in Jacksonville, Florida. I was completely shocked to see what was displayed on the scale screen.  I witnessed a bright 250 lbs blinking at me. What!? You got to be kidding me! How did this happen? I’m a large frame 28-year-old woman who is 5’7 feet tall and weighs 250 lbs, this is not healthy at all. Don’t get me wrong, I think I look great but deep down I know if I don’t work towards a healthy lifestyle I will fall victim to a variety of medical issues as I get older. I don’t want that!

I use to be so active and swim all the time. Of course, that was when I was in high school and while I was in the Navy.  After I was honorably discharged from 6 years of service in the military 4 years ago, I slowly lessened my activity and ate unhealthy. These bad habits slowly reflected to my weight creeping up from 180lbs to 250lbs. That is 70 lbs over a course of 4 years which means on average I was gaining 17.5lbs a year! Not good!

I need to get myself back into a routine and create some goals. If there is something the military taught me is to never give up, get back up and make a difference. No matter how far you fall down you stand up, stop making excuses and make it happen. I’m the only one standing in my way towards success, no one else.

Let me start out with some goals that I believe are pretty straight forward and not outrageous.

Goals:

  1. Eat healthy
    • More Fruits & Veggies
    • More Lean Protein
    • Less eating out at fast food and restaurants
    • Meal Prep
  2. Workout
    • Minimum of 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day
    • Elliptical 2 or 3 times a week starting (eventually 5X a week)
    • Start Lifting Weights to build muscle tone
    • Continue Golfing with Hubby
    • Maybe start Swimming again?
  3. Drink more Water
    • Less Alcohol Consumption
    • Ease out of drinking Soda (even diet soda!)
  4. Lose Weight
    • Goal Weight: 165 lbs

Above are very reasonable goals I plan to transition into a healthy lifestyle for me but now I need some guidance to assist me through this journey. Next on my agenda: What kind of tools can I use to help me achieve these goals? After countless hours of research, I found something that might be the perfect fit for me. I found Weight Watchers (WW). I read so many testaments of people who have tried WW who actually lost weight and achieved a healthier lifestyle. This program is proven to work and my doctor even agrees.

I discovered that a couple of my co-workers used WW and they lost weight and they continually use it. This is awesome because they already know the program and are great supporters. They showed me different options I can choose for the program like: App/Online only, App/Online & meetings, and Personal Couching. I decided to sign up for WW app/online only option since I’m not too keen to do meetings every week when my work schedule is too busy and I travel a great deal. If I find myself struggling and the support from my peers is not enough, I might consider upgrading to meetings. Time will tell.

I like the structure of Weight Watchers. You receive a certain amount of points (Smart Points) each day which is dependent on your weight and eventually the number changes as you start losing weight. They display a healthy point zone to stay in but every so often if you need a few extra points you can use up some of your weekly points. The goal is to try and stay within your healthy point zone, which is between -10 of your daily smart point value through +5 of your daily Smart Points (i.e. mine is currently 30 pts so my healthy zone is between 20 pts to 35 pts daily). Best part is you aren’t constricted on the foods you can eat. You can still enjoy foods you love but you have to pay close attention to your portion size. They also have a list with over 200+ zero point foods which includes fruits, veggies and more. Awesome!

 

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In this screenshot I took on my phone, you can see on the left shows my weekly Smart Points I have remaining, the center shows my Daily remaining points and the right displays the Smart Points I have used. You can see on the bottom I can select Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks and input what I eat.

Below is an example of me inserting my food for breakfast:

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It is very simple to use. If you notice the barcode scanner icon on the upper right hand corner of the picture, this feature is amazing. I use it while I am shopping so I can scan items and see how many points it is per serving. It comes in handing when you are not sure about some foods. You can also use the search function and type in the food you are eating or drinking if you are unable to find a barcode for an item. Either way, it is easy to use the WW app for tracking.

You can also track your activities/workouts you do each day (Fit Points) using the WW app. I love this feature since I’m striving to be more active and the app allows me to set my weekly activity level goals to accomplish. Another option on the app, that I choose to opt out of, is you can swap earned Fit Points for more Smart Points. More ways that makes the Weight Watchers program more flexible and customizable.

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In this screenshot you can see me tracking my daily activities and my Fit Points I earned so far this week. Neat right? If you have a fitness smartwatch that is compatible with the WW app you can sync your device and it will track for you. Unfortunately, my Samsung Gear Sport fitness smartwatch is not compatible with the app so I have to manually track my activities. No big deal. Maybe one day the app will be able to sync to my device. The only compatible devices that can sync are: Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, Misfit, Garmin, Mapmyrun, and Daily Burn.

I struggled a little bit when I first started Weight Watchers. For one, I was on travel and living in a hotel for three weeks. Anyone who travels for work can probably relate that it can be difficult to not eat out at restaurants. There always seems to be so many restaurants and fast food places around hotels. Luckily, my hotel did have a stove top with all the necessary pots, pans and utensils, full size refrigerator, and two grills outside. This made it a little bit easier so I can lower my temptation of fast food and restaurants.

Fighting temptation is very difficult but manageable if you do it right. Any food that I know I have craving for a lot, I would research an alternative that was healthier or some other food that would equate to satisfy the craving that was way less points. For example, I love ice cream. I found that 1/2 cup of Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream is 7 points while the Breyer’s Delight Vanilla Bean Low Fat Ice Cream is only 3 points per 2/3 cups. This means I can still enjoy some ice cream every so often but I don’t have to use up a lot of points if I choose the low fat version. Yes, I can also use some of my weekly points to splurge a little but I am afraid if I splurge too much that I might fall back into my bad eating habits.

I was ecstatic that my hotel had a grill. I watched my husband cook on a grill for years but I never actually cooked on one. I may have called my husband a couple of times to make sure I set the temperature correctly and cooked them long enough. Hehe. I think I did great though. Below are some of the meals I made on the grill that are weight watchers friendly:

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Grilled Chicken, Squash and Zucchini.

I grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderlions (0 pt), Squash (0 pt) and Zucchini (0 pt) which equaled 0 Smart Points! SCORE! I even had some left overs that I ended up packing for my lunches at work. Easy to reheat chicken but be warned, reheating zucchini and squash in microwave made them a little bit soggy but I stilled enjoyed eating them.

Next item I made on the grill:

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Grilled Steak cooked rare, zucchini and squash.

I was so proud of myself when I grilled this 20 ounce steak. I was afraid that I was going to over cook it but I didn’t. I love my steak rare! The rib eye steak is 5 pts per 3 ounces so in the end I cut my steak into 4 sections (5 ounces each = 8 pts). It was difficult to have 4 separate meals of steak so the day I grilled it I ate two portions (16 pts total) but I had enough points since my breakfast and lunch were very low in points. The other two portions I did eat on separate days, one for breakfast omelet and the other for a dinner.

This next meal I didn’t use a grill at all. I made it on the hotel stove top. Guess what I made? Yummy and delicious tacos!

 

I figured out, while using the scan option on the WW app, that I can still enjoy yummy tacos if I select lower point ingredients out there to make them. Instead of getting ground beef, which can be between 3 to 6 points per 3 oz (dependent on if it is lean beef or not), I choose to get 99% fat-free ground turkey (0 pts per serving).  Also, instead of flour tortillas (3 to 7 points per tortilla) I found these Ole Xtreme wellness tortillas that are only 1 point per tortilla.

These tacos I made in my hotel room ended up being only 4 points per taco! If I would have made the tacos like I did in the past they would each be 10 to 15 points each. Crazy, right? Best part is, these tacos tasted even better then how I use to make them. I thought that was weird but fantastic at the same time. I was so excited with this discovery that I made a Shrimp Taco version that was also only 4 points per taco:

Shrimp Taco
Shrimp Taco

Yummy! Another good thing is if you need the tacos to be less points you can minus the cheese (2pts per 1/8 cup) and the Taco sauce (1 pt per 2 tbsp) and make it only 1 point per taco! Hehe.

What about eating out in a restaurant? Can I still find foods that are Weight Watcher’s friendly? I enjoy making and creating foods that are healthy but sometimes I get so worn out from work I have no energy or drive to cook. Well, I am here to tell you that there are still restaurants that serve delicious foods that are still healthy and WW friendly.

There is a feature on the WW app that you can look up restaurants and fast food places that are the most common and use the app to look up foods on their menus or even search for the foods you want to eat.

 

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Only draw back is not every restaurant is listed so sometimes you might have to ask the restaurant if they have a nutritional information on their food so you can manually insert it into the WW app Point Calculator (another awesome feature).

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Here are just a couple of example places I visited to test out the WW app Restaurant feature:

Ruby Tuesday

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Grilled Salmon (1 pt), Grilled Zucchini (0 pt) and Green Beans (1 pt) = Total of 2 pts

 

Chick-fil-a

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12 Piece Grilled Chicken Nuggets (1 pt), Fruit Bowl (0 pt) and Diet Lemonade (1 pt) = Total of 2 pts

It was very exciting to find healthier choices and low point foods at a restaurant and a fast food place. It is eye opening to see that foods I would normally get would be so high in points, no wonder I was gaining weight. It is nice to see it and very motivating to select better foods. Don’t worry, there are other food places you can find that offer great food selections and are low in points. Keep in mind, you can always eat some higher point items but watch your portions. You can always split the meal in half to reduce the points and eat the other half another day.

My take after three weeks of using Weight Watchers:

  • I have more energy.

This must be scary for my family and friends since I am usually hyper and talkative every day already. Sorry peeps! Looks like I will be super energetic at home and around the office. 😉

  • I have less aches and pains.

My right knee use to constantly hurt and give out on me every so often when I climb stairs but after my first week of eating right I find that my knee does not hurt much anymore. While I think of it, my knee hasn’t ached this week. Amazing!

  • Easy to track on App and follow program.

I love the features that the Weight Watcher app offers for tracking. Simple and easy to use.

  • Discovered better food options.

It is very eye opening to see some of the foods I use to eat a lot of are super high in points. I can choose to eat them if I want too but I would have to eat a small portion to not go over my daily points. What is nice about WW is there are tons of recipes that they post online or on the app that you can choose from the give you an option or inspire you to select foods that are healthier. You can still enjoy the foods you love but are lower in point value. It is very motivating and fun for me to come up with my own unique recipes that end up being low in points. I even have my husband experimenting too. Hehe. Hubby is super supportive.

  • Lost Weight!

I lost 12.2 lbs in 3 weeks! Eeekkk! I am thrilled that I am losing weight and that the program is working so far. I can even see a slight difference in my appearance. My stomach doesn’t look so bloated which means my size 18 pants aren’t constricting me anymore. Awesome, right?

 

My goal is to continue this program for a minimum of 6 months to verify it is truly the right plan for me. I have to admit though; this plan is starting out pretty well for me so far. Plus I feel like a new an improved person already. Woohoo!

I am super hesitant about posting pictures of me when I first started Weight Watchers but I figured that it would be super motivating to look back at these pictures and see my transformation unravel. Here it goes:

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I can’t wait to compare this picture to what I will look like in 6 months. I have a feeling I will be very satisfied and happy to see the outcome.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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