Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When life gives you Apples....Make an Apple Tart!

Apple Tarts
Tarts aren’t typically considered “healthy” foods, but with a few alterations in the ingredients, it is possible to have delicious cinnamon-apple warm tart-lets that give you sustained energy and keep you feeling full and satisfied.

This past weekend I spent a quintessential New England afternoon going apple picking with my lovely fiance. Needless to say we picked about 20lbs of apples and I needed a healthy recipe to use some of the "fruits" of our labors.

3/4 Cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
3 Tbsp of reduced - calorie margerine, (i used i cant belive its not butter)
2 Tbsp of Sugar
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
3-4 small apples


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Mix flour with 1/4 teaspoon sugar and salt.
  • Cut margarine into flour mixture with a fork until flour is the consistency of cornmeal. Mix with 2 or 3 tablespoons cold water until dough forms a ball (a little drier is better than a little sticky). You can make the dough up to 24 hours ahead of times if you wrap it securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you need it.
  • Divide dough into four pieces. Roll each into a ball and then flatten into a disc about 5 inches (13 cm) across. Place the discs on a baking sheet a few inches apart.
  • Combine remaining sugar with cinnamon.
  • Arrange apple slices on top of dough discs, overlapping and fanning them (so they make a flower shape). Sprinkle generous amounts of sugar-cinnamon mixture over them.
  • Bake until crust is browned, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

WW: 6 PP per tartlet (AND you get to eat the whole thing!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When Going "Extreme" - Does'nt Result In a Loss

This week I made it a goal to "go extreme" and go by the book. After 2 weeks and a total of 5lbs in losses I thought to myself - "what you have been doing is working but, lets really kick this up a notch and see how far we can really take this".

So I set out to work out and eat right. I worked out 5 days last week for - 60-80 min- of high impact cardio and managed to gather and extra 70 activity points! While I had one 'fun' night of going out and dancing (and drinking), I managed to eat really well this week too. I ate either vegetarian, or chicken or fish - and left wine out of my vocabulary for the week ( a tough one for me) and managed to stay around 5-10 points under my allotment everyday. By my weigh-in date, my clothes where fitting looser and I was confident I would see big results on the scale.

While I was telling my leader about my fabulous week of "activity" and doing the "weight watchers take off your shoes" dance, I was gleefully boasting about my week of progress. My leader had a nervous look on her face and asked if I had been eating enough to maintain my workouts - she did not share my gleeful tone - instead she looked worried. Sure enough I managed to gain 2lbs - and my leader knew I would gain before I even stepped on the scale.

So What Happend?

I expected her to mention that I had put on muscle, and give me a bunch of mumbo jumbo about measurements going down and concentrating on that. Instead, she got real with me. She mentioned that I need to eat at least half my activity points if I am going to work out that hard. A two week loss and then a sudden extreme uptake in workouts and down take in food threw my body into "starvation mode" she mentioned that while this weight gain is partially about muscle gain, but she also suspected that my body when into retention mode.

You have to think of your metabolism like a furnace -- if you don't keep fuel in the furnace, the fire will die down and go out. when you don't eat enough, your metabolisum goes into "save" mode. Human bodies are designed this way, to withstand and survive starvation conditions. Feeling hungry may mean you are in this kind of counter-productive metabolic state.

While exercise is an essential part of maintaining long-term weight control, there is in fact such a thing as doing too much exercise, or exercising too intensely. Exercise is hormonally depleting, If exercise is experienced as stressful, this can stress the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands make cortisol in response to stress. When there is too much cortisol release, the body goes into the "save" mode I mentioned earlier, and will retain weight, especially around the midsection. (you can read more about this here)

My Reaction

Instead of being able to take this news in stride I burst into tears. Like - water POURING out of your eyes and not being able to control it! Thats right, I cried at a weight watchers meeting - and while my pride was a little shaky, she and my fellow members took this experience and made it the majority of the meeting topic. Having a forum to talk about this and also realize I wasn't the only one to have a week like this (there we 2 other people in the room with very similar experiences this week), and most members in the room could relate or had the exact same expereince. Almost everyone in the room participated, which made me realize I'm not alone in this at all. Infact everyone can have a week like this, what is important is we learned the NEXT steps to make a change without being detoured from the A++ we we had with working out and tracking.

So Now What?

What surprised me most about my meeting this week was my leader said THIS week would be one of my most challenging. Really its not about my body doing the right thing, its going to be about my head doing the right thing. These are the weeks where people give up because all of the mental and physical motivation I had this previous week which week gave me an opposite result.

I plan on adding in a little afternoon snack on days that I work out intensely. On these days especially I plan to be sure to intake at least all of my daily calories to make sure I dont create a deficit. I think that adding in a smart point plus snack throughout my day will really help keep my metabolic furnace burning.

I'm not going to let this snap my motivation out of me - I deserve to loose weight, and i'm going to keep working hard to get to my goals.

Which brought me to this last thought. This is exactly why I started this blog, so I could share these experiences with others and look back on hard weeks like this and reflect on what hasn't been working. All of my life, my mentality was to loose weight all you have to do is eat right and work out more and watch the pounds melt away. So naturally taking that idea to the extreme should result in faster weight-loss - right? Wrong! The real trick to loosing weight is to find balance. While I don't want to decrease my workouts (i'm having a blast doing zumba) maybe instead of going under points so often i'll try to actually enjoy a little of that hard work that I worked so hard to give myself.

Update- Oct 26th
After working hard and eating right, I weighed in this week, and low and behold I lost a whopping 4lbs! Not giving up and keeping my head in the game really paid off. I'm so glad i stuck with it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why am I Here?

This week’s meeting was about controlling your environment.  This one is not difficult for me.  I have a husband who eats healthy also and neither of us can have junk food in the house or we eat it.  That makes it easy for both of us.  We just don’t bring it in the house.

But I was asked this week - Why are you here at weight watchers - and i had to think WHY - besides looking great in a wedding dress am i here -

So like all things in life that are meant to be remembered i wrote down my reasons - here are my top 10!

Here are my reasons:

To look AMAZING in my wedding dress
To be proud of myself
To be a great role model to my friends and family
To go shopping with out reservation of size
To have control over myself and the scale
To be an inspiration to others
No more tired, painful, knees, feet, back, and ankles
To FEEL sexy (and look it too!)
To have energy ALL DAY LONG
To be able to work out in a sports bra
To Learn how to eat healthy and make it a habit!

The list could go on and on and on.  These are just my top reasons why I started Weight Watcher.  The biggest reason part of writing this down is to not re-gain all of the weight i have lost. All of the things listed above I deserve to have, and while shoveling food in my face might feel good for a moment - i am finding that it feels BETTER to finish what i started and keep the weight off!

This week, in order to be successful, I need action plans.  Here they are:

Count every single thing I put in my mouth
Stay within my daily points plus target
Exercise at least three times this week
Drink at least 80 ounces of water every day

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why I LOVE Zumba

It’s no secret that I absolutely love to dance! I’d say it’s my favorite thing besides family and friends. Zumba is a way for me to dance every day and share the party with friends and new people. I LOVE a fitness class, or any fitness program for that matter, where I enjoy the process, not just the product.  Zumba® provides this for me – it is an outlet for my energy, my stress and my creativity. And when I leave class, I feel uplifted and energized. For the past 2 weeks have done a Zumba class at lease 2-4 times a week and I have lost a wooping 5lbs!!! The best part is - i cant WAIT to get back to class.

But i'm not "coordinated" enough for Zumba. Many people shy away from Zumba because they are worried about needing to be coordinated. You DON’T need to be coordinated, just have a sense of humor. The nice thing about Zumba® is that it doesn’t require a lot of technical dance skill, just a desire to learn and willingness to try.  Zumba® songs have repeating phrases – usually a verse, a chorus and maybe a bridge or two. Also, dances repeat themselves – for instance, in one class you may do multiple Merengue, Cumbia, Salsa and Reggaeton dances. The moves transfer from one dance to another so things start to look familiar. Don’t worry when you come to class – we all know it takes several before you feel like you are getting the hang of it. Just have fun and remember that people aren’t watching you – they are all too worried about getting the steps and having fun themselves.

So how does one find a Zumba® class? The company has made this easy – log on to and click on “Find a Class.” Type in your zip code and up pops the classes in your area. You can usually click on the instructor’s name or the studio/facility name to find more information about the classes. Usually the address and phone number of the facility are listed so you can give them a call.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unexpected Filling Foods to Curb your Appetite

When trying to lose weight, it can be the approach of many friends who give advice to simply - "stop eating so much". Of course this is so much easier said then done, and while eating less is exactly what we are doing in practice, everyday has its own unique challenges. These are some unexpected foods that be added to any meal to help curb your appetite with low calories and big satisfaction.

Cinnamon – A Scandinavian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when volunteers were given rice pudding with three grams of cinnamon, they produced less insulin after the meal.Because insulin is the hormone that turns excess sugar into fat, this means less weight gain. As well as lowering blood sugar levels cinnamon may slow down the emptying of the stomach, meaning it can make you feel fuller for longer. Also cinnamon can dull the sweet receptors in your mouth, curbing the craving for sweets (think cinnamon gum!)

TIP: Sprinkle a teaspoon of cinnamon daily over cereals, yoghurt or fruit, use to season puddings or even stir into coffee. It is especially effective if consumed directly after meals

Mint – Yes, mint does wonders to keep my cravings under control as its strong scent is a natural appetite suppressant. I keep a mint scented candle, and mints in my purse, and office. Not only does it keep the house and me smelling good, I am less likely to give into late night snacking temptations. Other simple ideas are to sip mint tea, chew sugar-free mint gum, or simply brush your teeth.

Nuts – A small handful of nuts as a snack can help you feel full and consume less during regular meals. The key here is variety and low sodium. Also nuts are a great salt craving alternative, rather then grabbing those potato chips, nuts will make you feel fuller longer.

Vinegar – Add it to you food to make you feel fuller. The reason is acetic acid in the vinegar may slow the passage of food from the stomach into the small intestine, so your stomach stays full longer. Using a vinegar - vinaigrette on the side of a salad and dipping your fork in and out of it while eating salad will slow the consumption of food and make you feel fuller faster. This is a great tip when going out to dinner. Order a small side salad as an appetizer and dip away. You will feel fuller for your upcoming meal.

Eggs - full of protein and will help you feel fuller longer. Research has shown that protein may help prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to food cravings. Besides being a high protein food, they are also super versatile. You can scramble, bake, boil, broil and so much more - so no excuses for getting "bored" of this staple.

Grapefruit – The fruit’s phytochemicals reduce insulin levels, a process that may force your body to convert calories into energy rather than flab. Fruits that are rich in soluble fiber, such as grapefruits, have a low glycemic index. Grapefruits are digested slowly and cause a gradual rise and subsequent gradual decrease in your blood sugar, allowing you to feel full longer. Additionally, the soluble fiber is not broken down in your digestive tract and likely contributes to the sensation of fullness. Consuming these fruits while they are fresh and uncooked will provide you with the highest nutrient value, as well as the highest amount of fiber.