Sunday, January 26, 2014

How I Make Weight Watchers Work For Me

How did I make it work?

First let me start off my saying that the darling folks at Weight Watchers have no clue who I am. They didn't ask me to write my opinion or share anything with you. I'm doing it because it's working for me. If they'd like to waive my monthly fee for me I would jump up and down and give them air kisses though----dreaming.

I've gotten quite a few emails from people asking me how I make Weight Watchers work for me. The first time I got an  email  it made me giggle---not because of the question, but because I remember thinking the exact same thing when I stumbled upon THIS GIRLS blog back in May.   I'm happy to share what is working for me because I'm a busy mom and probably a lot like you.

The Weight Watchers program focuses on points. Each food has a point value and you are given a certain number of points per day. The idea is to eat your points each day. You're given weekly points which are above your daily points. For example, I have 26 points to eat each day. Each week I  also get 49 points to use how I wish. This week? I had three slices of pizza at a party Friday night and indulged in some ice cream with the kids. The weekly points allow you to feel like you can still enjoy life. It allows you to not be super restrictive. In the past restricting myself only lead to over eating later. These points are like your Blow Money for all you Dave Ramsey fans.... Use how you want---no questions asked. I always use all mine and have consistently lost weight for 6 months now.

Another thing you should know is most fruits and vegetables are zero points. Yep, eat as many as you'd like. However, I would advise NOT to eat three apples in a day. Bad news friends, bad news. Please just trust me on this....
Knowing that you can have as many fruits and veggies as you'd like to "fill-up" trains you to make healthier choices. Some of you might be thinking, well duhhhh that seems kinda childish to trick yourself into eating healthier. I'd have to agree with you---but making this change was  BIG  for me.  Fast food three times a week to eating healthy----I needed the help. You might too? I don't know.

When you exercise? You earn more points. You can use the ones you earn and still lose weight. I usually don't use them though.  I have on occasion---but not normally.

So that's how the basic program works.
How do I make it work for me?

Breakfasts are always the same. My mornings are nuts--whether I'm getting myself and the kids ready for me to pop off to work or I'm staying home with them and playing trains all day. It doesn't matter. Weirdly enough eating the same breakfast creates routine within chaos. I am all about that.  I eat  1/3 cup of steel cut oats  with a dash of cinnamon and fruit. every. day.

Lunches are rarely about WHAT I eat---it's just that I MUST PLAN what I'm going to eat. I read on a fitness blog once that if you fail to plan you're planning to fail. I've found that to be true. I must plan my lunches and pack them in advance if I'm going to stay on track that day. Staying on track equals losing weight each week so it's easier for me to stick with it that way. On days that I work I always bring a variation of the same lunch. 

Turkey wrap --I like Targets locarb wrap or Flat Wrap It Ups Italian (both are 2PP) Turkey is 2PP
Two pieces of fruit (0 PP)
A string cheese stick ( 1 PP)
Carrots with ranch seasoning (0 PP)
Dill pickles (0 PP)

My lunch is usually 5-6 PP

Dinners were my biggest hesitation with weight watchers. WHAT am I going to cook that will be healthy and nutritious and will also please the other three members of my family? Some people cook a family meal and then a separate meal for themselves. I cannot do that. I can barely cook one meal let alone two. Here is what I've found to be a lifesaverEMEALS What is EMEALS?  It's a meal planning website. You sign up and pay a small fee per month and each week they email you a grocery list, meal plan, and recipes. They have lots of different plans including a portion control plan  that has WW points already totaled. BOOM! right?  The meals are delicious, healthy, and the kids approve. most days. I can't do the salad and grilled chicken thing long term. Emeals has great recipes and they rarely repeat a meal. This week we are having things like maple walnut pork chops, tex mex casserole, chicken chili, and rosemary chicken. That doesn't sound like diet food right thurrr does it?! There is even a groupon for EMEALS right now if you're wanting to try it at a discount.

My favorite zero /low point foods:
  • baby carrots sprinkled with ranch dip mix. You know the mix that you combine with mayo or sour cream to make your own ranch dip? Yea that, only don't mix it with anything. Sprinkle a little on your veggie of choice and it tastes like you're eating ranch flavored veggies. ZERO POINTS. Lots of sodium.......but we can't have it all now can we ladies.
  • Pear slices with cinnamon and stevia (pop it in the microwave in the evening....desert!)
  • pickles
  • celery with salsa
  • Apple Chips ( I use this recipe from Pinterest)
Prior to trying to lose weight I had a bowl of ice cream each night. The habit started when I was pregnant with Lilly and I honestly couldn't shake it. Well, I probably COULD HAVE, but I didn't want to. Ehh. Here is my favorite watching TV sweet fix:

2 tablespoons of frozen cool whip free
1 fiber one brownie
1 teaspoon PB2
1 sliced banana

The entire thing is 4 points. FOUR.

My bowl of ice cream that I used to eat would be 10 points. TEN.

The biggest thing I've learned to do while using WW is planning things out. Some days I can tell that I'm going to want something more indulgent in the evening. I can TOTALLY do that and still lose weight as long as I adjust the rest of my day accordingly.  I'm not on track 100% of the time. Please know that I'm not a poster perfect example of WW. This is what is working for me. Using these techniques I've been able to lose 48 pounds on WW since the beginning of June.

This post is ridiculously long. If you're still reading, my guess is you're interested in WW or even trying to lose some weight. If you're looking to try and lose weight---YOU can do it. I didn't WANT to before  because I knew it meant changing the way I had become used to living. It made me uncomfortable. I'm still uncomfortable! I hope this was a teeny bit helpful. It was good to get all these thoughts out of my head.

Thanks for reading if you're still with me. High fives all around!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dear Chick-Fil-A

Dear Mister Chick-fil-a,

On behalf of every mother within a thirty mile radius of your establishment I’d like to say a loud exasperated THANK YOU. I’m writing you because you "get"mothers. You got this. You’re amazing. Your restaurant has saved me from insanity, exhaustion, and REDRUM craziness umpteen times this winter and I just feel the need to share a  slice of my heart with you for some seconds.
You see, this winter has been a little rough. The fools claiming the world is gradually getting warmer haven’t been to my neck of the woods---because this winter has been the coldest I can ever remember. And that’s fine---but you see I have two preschoolers that in the month of January have actually been to preschool TWO DAYS. If you were to be sitting next to me you could hear the shakiness in my breathing. TWO DAYS Mister Chick-Fil-A.

My husband is displeased with the amount of times I frequent your restaurant, and while I do care that I’m upsetting him, I also know that he doesn’t understand my love for you, Chickfila. And here’s why…

When I walk in—It’s usually a bit of a spectacle. Other mothers can handle it---but my genetics just won’t allow anything to be easy. You see I’m holding a wiggly toddler that only wants to run. Run in the parking lot, run into bathrooms, run under tables, and especially RUN to your glorious playground ( in which I have a few words about in a later paragraph). So I wrangle him and by the time I get to your counter he’s usually letting everyone know of his displeasure. Meanwhile my four year old jets to your condiment table to get everything we “need” which is usually 10 ketchups, 5 straws, random packs of honey, and enough napkins to clean up 27 spills should we have them.  When I step up to order, your cute little teenage workers always comment on how cute my kids are and it makes me smile---because while they are slowly making me go insane---they really are adorable. They can’t help it.

Offering to carry our tray to our table is the most amazing thing ever. THANK YOU. I’m saluting this service that you offer because it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.  I always say a big word of thanks to your employees but some days I wish I could shower them with confetti, hugs, and the occasional raise the roof.  Because not carrying a tray….is great.

My son Noah, is a picky eater. It’s sad really. He eats fruit, goldfish crackers, milk, and that’s basically it. I worry about his nutrition! His diapers tend to be a *bit* out of control because of all the fruit. He turns up his nose, pushes away, and says Nawwwwwwww in his best southern voice at all the kid staples. He won’t eat chicken, chicken nuggets, hamburger, French toast,  waffles, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, lunch meat, peanut butter and jelly. He’s really quite bizarre---but because of my visits from fetus to toddler---he’ll eat your delicious nuggets. So you see I love you because when I’m at your place.  HE EATS.  And when Noah eats, I GET TO EAT.

I really love your food. REALLY LOVE YOUR FOOD.  It’s good enough that I want to eat it at every meal and healthy enough that I don’t feel a single twinge of guilt feeding it to my family several nights a week….errr I mean month of course. Heh hehhh. Awkward.

Another thing that’s fab? Your playplace. It’s clean. It’s appropriate for both my kids and the glass? Genius. I get to finish my nuggets in pseudo quiet while my kids are burning off their energy which will later result in ROCKSTAR naps. If I could kiss you, I would.

Mister Chick-fil-a, I feel like I need to take a minute and reassure you how much I do love my own children.  They’re awesome---really they are. It’s me that needs a lot of work. You see I forget about what blessings they are sometimes.  Some days selling them to the highest bidding grandparent doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I’m weak and learning to be strong.  They love me despite my flaws.  They remind me how to give grace and how to accept it. They forgive me.

Some days being their mommy is hard. Some days it’s a lot of fun.

And some days? Chick-fil-a for lunch makes everything better.

God Bless You and Your nuggets,

Laura Beth

tell me -----do you share my hunkaburning love for them too?


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Empty Threats--the gig is up

"Hurry up, if you don't come now I'm going to leave."
"Why don't we play with your toys? If you don't play with the toys you have maybe we should tell Santa you don't need new toys."
" If you get up out of your room during quiet time I'll make you go to sleep."

Empty threats. Ick.  I use them all the time. I hate them but I always seem to resort to using them.  Why? Because sometimes they work. Sometimes claiming that I'll leave (when I totally WILL NOT) makes my little four year old put on the hustle.

We have a daily dance that we do at our house. It's called the quiet time shuffle and it reallllllly gets on my momma nerves. Mommy nerves--you know the ones that make you go from caring and polite to OH! MY GOODNESS! CHILD! BLAUAHHHHHHHH!!!! Headspinning!  in three seconds.  Well anyway,    I was doing the  quiet time shuffle with my four year old. She thinks she's big stuff now that I don't require actual sleeping but she likes to press the limits by coming out of her room 32 times making requests, suggestions, and observations. To nix this behavior I told her that if she came out of her room I'd make her go to sleep. This worked. and it felt good. I won. Do you know how thrilling it is to "win" against a toddler. Like you conquered Mt. Olympus good.

Then yesterday it backfired. My safety rope was severed  and I was free falling off that mountain. (Freeeeeeee. Freeeee fallllllllinnnggggggggggg.) With one innocent question I knew that my empty threats were getting the best of me. "But Mommy? How can you make me go to sleep? Will you hold me down and shut my eyes? "

Well played four year old. Well played.

She's right. I can't MAKE her fall asleep no better than I can MAKE her eyes turn brown. So while my idea of making her sleep worked for a few days, it now had back fired. 

Hanging my head in defeat I told her that no, I couldn't actually make her sleep but I could take away all her toys, turn the lights out, and leave the room dark. I could demand she stay in her bed which would no doubt result in tears, which would tire her eventually and then result in sleep.  She just shook her head and said "okay Mom that's a lot of work."

What I'm doing, these empty threats, or quick rewards are not really helping anything. They are creating short term fixes. They aren't altering her actual behavior. She's learning nothing other that Mom won't really do what she says she'll do and that if she doesn't obey immediately I might leave her in Target. What? Looking back on what I just typed makes me feel sick. That's hardly what I want.

Ah, the yucky side of parenting. The side that most of us keep hidden behind pinterest craft projects and healthy home cooked meals. You rarely talk about the "dark side" when chatting away at playgroup. We all have one though.  The reason I'm sharing this is because it's something that I'm constantly working on. My kids aren't perfect. I'm not perfect. And sometimes, there can be camaraderie in imperfection.

Throwing out hail Mary's of punishments and rewards to get a quick fix on a reoccurring behavior  isn't the way I WANT to parent.  I want to create new behaviors in my children. I want them to know the difference between what is right and wrong and not just that mommy will do something mean if I don't do what she says. I want Lilly to make good choices and be rewarded for them. I want to instill values of respect, love, and grace.

Hang on Mothers. Hold tight. We're doing this together. We are weak---but we are also strong.

Hugs and High Fives.

love, laura beth

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm flawed. and weight loss is not easy. and sometimes I need to slap the crazy out of my head.

Six months ago I set out to lose a significant amount of weight. I had tried several times before and failed. I had paid for WW before and gave up. I paid the monthly fee for WW for six months before I actually started using the program. hashtag embarrassing. hashtag don't tell mister ramsey.  I  made deals with my husband before to the tune of when I lose X amount of weight we can purchase ____fill in the blank___.  I'd lost weight in 2007 and I knew WHAT to do----it was simply a matter of digging deep and finding the motivation to actually do it. Please know that losing weight did NOT come easy for me. I definitely didn't just wake up one morning and say "I'm going to lose a lot of weight" and then do it. Those of you struggling? I'm right there with you.

If you're looking for a perfect weight loss story of pounds melting away, healthy foods all the time, perfect scheduled won't find that here.  What you will find here is ME, a woman who was broken over whom I'd let myself to become. And one night finally decided to do something about it. My character is flawed.

 I am an emotional eater and food seems to be my go-to when I feel stress and anxiety. Last night----after a stressful evening I ate six pieces of pizza (45 WW Points!!Whaaatt). Yup, I still fail. This afternoon I wanted to swing by a fast food joint for lunch because the thought of fixing an actual lunch made me want to cry. dramatic. French fries will always be greater than broccoli. Ranch will always be more delicious than vinaigrette.

I don't always love my runs. I don't always feel the awesome release of stress and endorphins. It is oftentimes a constant mind game of my thoughts telling me to QUIT. WALK. You are FOOLING Yourself. Watch out, you legs are about to fall. off. Those drivers, they are laughing at you---your running form looks like that of an awkward sixth grade girl. Go ahead and just pretend to sprain your ankle to get this over with. I bet if you called Scott he'd come pick you up.

I have laid awake at night worrying about the weight returning. What if I can't keep it off? What if I give in----and slack off? What if the pounds return slingshotting me back into the self hate and bullying from last year? What if I fail in the long run? What a mess I am.

This weight loss thing? I struggle with it. Perhaps just like you.
But---here comes the puppies and rainbows.
Today I'm eating on track because of my slip up from yesterday. I didn't stop at the drive thru on the way home, I begged my husband to make lunch instead. I didn't let my HUGE slip up from yesterday derail the rest of the week. Back on the horse. NEXT MEAL. One failure will not derail the WW program. (Part of the reason I love it)

Even though some runs suuuuuuuuck, a sucky run is greater than no run. Walking a little is still better than choosing not to move at all.  The mind games? I have to recognize that they are lies. My legs are not giving up---my mind is. When this happens I listen to a favorite upbeat song by Mandisa called "Push On". On my New Year's Day run I  listened to it FIVE TIMES IN A ROW.  My next run will be better.....and if not it's still not a good enough reason to quit. Because running time????
 Is NO KID TIME. I won't ever sacrifce that. C'mon now. Hashtag that would be dumb.

I hope that the skills I've learned these past six months will not leave. I know that I'll always struggle with food, not having enough time, and comparing myself to others.  I have to have faith that God will help me and when I feel like giving up---HE WILL STILL BE THERE. And if I do gain some weight back, that has to be okay. I didn't lose any friends because I was overweight. I haven't gained new friends because I am now thinner. Love is not conditional on my size or your size.

If you're just beginning---I hope you can find hope in my words.
If you're in the thick of it----know that the things you struggle with are normal. 
If you're on the other side of the weight loss mountain---you're encouragement means the world to me and to others.

Fist bumps friends.