That "On-Track" Feeling

Well, I've lost weight consistently for a few weeks now. As Irene Cara sang, "What a feeling!!"

When I started this weight loss/fitness journey for REAL again about 2 1/2 months ago, I weighed 163. Now I am at an even 160. Yay!

I was sad about my slow start until things just sort of fell into place and I started losing consistently over the last several weeks. Then one day I just kind of had an epiphany; I just somehow found "IT" again. IT is that feeling of really knowing that I can do it, and how to do it. (Is IT my mojo? hmmm).

Anyway, for the first time since I had my initial successful run of weight loss back in '04, I can FINALLY remember what it's like to be "in the zone," for lack of a better way to put it. When I was in "the zone," I lost 25 lbs. It took about one year to do that (after initially joining WeightWatchers). Then I kept it off for another year and a half (as I struggled to lose a total of 30 lbs). I guess we can call it that "on-track" feeling.

So what is that "on-track" feeling like? It's hard to describe, but it's definitely a feeling of being in control, while at the same time realizing I'm not going to perform perfectly all the time. It's about consistently making good food and exercise choices, planning ahead, and resisting high-calorie foods that aren't part of my plan (and without too much agonizing). I think that "not agonizing too much" part is key. Basically right now I've somehow got my willpower back (almost).

I remember when I was really in the zone I was able to do things like resist free donuts and candy and treats at the office (every time), or eat only one homemade cookie or very small slice of cake at parties with little effort and not too much obsessing. Lastly, and I thought this was kind of funny, when I did choose to have something like a bag of chips from the convenience store, I'd do a sort of WW-inspired trick of pouring out half the chips before I ate them. This is because a typical bag of Funyons or Ruffles or whatever is very high in calories (points), so then I could just eat half and yet still feel like I was getting a treat. Haven't done that in awhile!

By the way, the original WW tip I was modifying was one for eating out in restaurants. Since restaurants typically serve such large portions, one way to get around it is to ask for a doggy bag right when you order, so you can store away half the food before you start eating. This really helps reduce the points of a traditional entree!!! I actually never did that one as written; it's subtler (but requires more willpower), to just eat half your entree and then ask for the doggy bag.

So in the end, maybe it's just that if you want to be successful at anything, you have to act "as-if." Supposedly if you do that long enough you'll not be acting anymore and genuinely feel the way you want. With my recent (re)discovery of what it means to be "on-track" and "in the zone," I can't say it worked that way for me. I didn't try really hard to act "as if" I was in the zone; it just happened is all, mostly as a result of having supportive friends and family who kept me inspired. Talking about it definitely helps. Hence, this blog! I hope it's helping some of you out there as much as it's helping me. Ciao for now!

Favorite Workout Music

I don't know about you, but I HAVE to listen to music when I'm doing repetitive exercise. I mean, I *have* done it without music at times, but it can get really boring, and frankly, it tends to be a less effective workout. I think we might all agree that listening to your favorite music can really energize you and help increase your stamina while exercising; I know it helps me to push myself harder to get that heart rate up.

While I was at the gym this morning on the elliptical trainer with my iPod nano, I thought about the following great songs for working out.

The Killers - Hot Fuss

This entire album is great, almost every song is fun and completely uptempo!! I especially like Mr. Brightside and Somebody Told Me when I need a boost to help me pedal/run/walk faster.

Michael Jackson - Off the Wall

I discovered that (most of) this album is great for working out back when I first started going to a gym (circa 1995). I particularly like songs that allow me to kind of "dance" on the elliptical trainer as I work out, so these are great, especially Don't Stop til You Get Enough. I also adore the song Off the Wall, it's gorgeous, though not as uptempo as some of the Killers songs. But it just gives you such a nice feeling. Disco rocks for working out!!

The Beatles - The White Album

Believe it or not, some songs on this album are GREAT for working out! I just discovered that recently since this album happened to be on my iPod when I started working out again regularly. I don't know why I never tried the Beatles before for working out, maybe it was "too familiar" so I overlooked it. I only have Disc 2 on my iPod right now, so I need to put the other one on, then revisit this post and tell you about the songs on Disc 1. However, from Disc 2 I have had a blast moving to Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me & My Monkey and Savoy Truffle.

More to come!

Watch out for serving sizes!

Well, this one was a doozy. I should REALLY know better, but this seems to happen a lot anyway, and I know I'm not the only one out there that slips up this way. I think it's a continual struggle to remember to check out calories and portion sizes on foods, especially pre-packaged ones, BEFORE you eat them!!!

The best thing to do really is to plan out your meals for the day ahead of time, at least the night before. Ideally you should do this ahead of time for the whole week, such as, on Sunday nights. Or for me, my WeightWatchers "week" starts on Saturday (the day I weigh in and my points reset). So I should be planning on Saturday morning probably, since I'm a terrible weekend over-eater, and I need to work on that. But I digress.

The point is, we busy people know that is very hard to get your meals planned out ahead of time (or to plan out anything in advance really!) on a consistent basis.

So just wanted to share what the doozy was before I close. I tried this salad:

I usually always check the nutritional info in the store, including the serving size, before I buy an item. But this time I was in a hurry (another fatal, common mistake!) and I only glanced at the calories and not the serving size. Then when I dished it out for my lunch, I assumed it was like another Fresh Express Salad where the serving size is about 2 servings per bag, so I just halved it. Bad idea! Check out how it computes:

Bag/Serving Size
11.4 oz., about 4 servings

Nutritional Information

Serving Size About 2.5 cups Salad, 2 tbsp dressing, 5 cherries and 10 won ton strips
Amount Per Serving
Calories 120 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value
Total Fat 5g 15%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 380mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Sugars 8g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 45% Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 2% Iron 6%
Vitamin K 0% Folic Acid 0%
Magnesium 0% Folate 0%

So there are supposed to be 4 servings in there, of 2.5 cups each (which doesn't really seem possible). So if you eat half the bag, that would be about 5 cups of salad for 240 calories, 10g fat, and 4g fiber. Which is 5 points by WW standards, which is ok for a typical lunch since I get 21 points per day. But even half the bag was a puny portion if you ask me, and that was supposed to be 2 servings!

Well I can't trust the math from Fresh Express so I won't be buying this again, though it was tasty. I'd rather eat something that gives me more for the 5 points. Better yet, I (and you!) can create my own version of this salad for the same amount of points but with more variety of ingredients AND some protein (shredded chicken). Here's how:

Asian Supreme Salad (Redux)
1 Serving, 5 points
  • 2 c. romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 c. carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 c. canned mandarin oranges (juice packed, drained)
  • 1/2 c. sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 c. bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast (shredded)
  • 1/4 c. La Choy Crispy Rice Noodles
  • 1 serving (10 sprays) Newman's Own Asian Sesame Natural Salad Mist
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!

The only problem is, it takes a lot of time! But it would be worth it.

Exercise in the Morning!

So this week I switched to morning exercise. Hallelujah! I did this in the past and I was surprised as how well it worked for me. This is saying a lot for someone who is really not a morning person.

I did this because I've found that I'm just too tired after work, as a rule, to go to the gym. I was working on an earlier job schedule (7:30am to 4:30pm), thinking I could go after work, before dinner, but it turned into a losing battle. Even with the longer summer days! I was wondering why I was "too lazy" to want to go to the gym after work, since I am a cubicle monkey or whatever we corporate types are calling ourselves these days. In other words, it seems like, hey, if all I do is sit in front of a computer all day, why would I be "too tired" to go work out? It didn't seem to make sense.

But then recently I read a blurb in one of my fitness magazines that it was actually better to exercise in the morning, as mental fatigue can affect physical performance. Here is a link to a full article on the subject from the UK Telegraph online. Now this definitely makes sense to me, as all of this "brain work" I do on the computer is really quite taxing!

Best Tips from Weight Watchers Meetings

I attended WW meetings in West L.A. (at the Olympic/Pico center) for about 2 years, every Saturday morning. I had the BEST leader in the world, Elaine. She was a lady with a lot of experience and a great sense of humor, and a "roll-with-it" attitude that made you feel you really could do it, and that you didn't have to beat yourself up to make it happen, either.

I'm not doing meetings anymore, just WW Online. This is because even though meetings are AWESOMELY helpful, you tend to start hearing some of the same things over and over. Though on the other hand, repetition is important to help you ingrain new habits. But there's also the price - doing it online is a lot cheaper! :) I do miss the camaraderie though.

Part of the reason for this blog is having an opportunity for expression, like meetings, and to try to remember and share all the stuff I've learned. So here are some things I remember hearing my leader and/or other members say in those meetings, since a lot of them turned into guidelines for me to live by.

Helpful stuff I remember from WW meetings...

  • Nothing tastes as good as thin (healthy) feels
  • Don't give up what you really want for what you want now
  • I already know what that tastes like, so I don't need to eat it!
  • When eating salad, get dressing on the side and then dip the fork in the dressing before you spear the veggies. You get a good amount of flavor while using a lot less dressing. Or, better yet, check out some of those spray dressings. My personal faves are Newman's Own Salad Mists, but some others are pretty good too, such as Wishbone Salad Spritzers.
More to come!!


I thought a blog might be a fun way to share all that I've learned about losing weight, eating well, and staying healthy over the last 5 years since I joined WeightWatchers

I also thought it would a great tool to help me reach my goal weight again and this time, maintain it, all while eating truly fabulous, healthy food. And if I can help anyone else out on the way that's an added benefit!

My story: I've been struggling for awhile now to lose the 25 pounds that I lost initially on Weight Watchers about 4 years ago. I kept it off for over a year, then not long after moving in with my (now) husband in 2006, I gained it all back. Amazing how that happens when you're happy - not to mention the recipient of a fabulous gourmet-quality meal every night at dinner!! In other words, my husband is an AMAZING cook. We both share an appreciation for great food and love to eat at home and out when we can manage it.

The good news is, we've both been working on our cooking skills, trying to keep our meals divinely delicious yet lighten them up a bit. This is helped by the fact that we are just starting to harvest our summer veggies.

So in this blog I'll try to post some weight-loss tips, healthy recipes, exercise ideas and words of motivation to keep us all on track. I did it before, and, with the help of this blog, I will do it again!