Weight Watchers Back to Basics: Exercise

WWBTB
As many of you may know, exercise is an important part of a weight loss/ maintenance plan.  Some of us have that awesome “I get euphoric off of sweating and have to do it daily” feeling, and I applaud and envy you.  I need to figure out how to get the fire back in my fitness routine, because since hitting my goal, my fire feels really snuffed out.  That being said, I still workout regularly because I understand its importance to my body ( and my mind).
There are many benefits to getting in a 30 minute sweat session.
  • -Stress relief
  • Mood booster
  • PMS relief
  • Wearing is good for the skin
  • You get a sexy glow
  • Sculpted body
  • Curbed appetite
  • Social time or “me” time
  • Earning extra Points Plus Values (aka more food for you!)
And oh so many more.
Everyone has a different level of fitness, ranging from none to Marathoner and beyond, and whatever category you fall into, it’s okay!  There is no need to feel like you have to get up and active from 0- 5k in a week.  The point here is to get up and get moving somehow…any way you want.
Personally I try to get myself at least 30 minutes of cardio every day, and I usually succeed 5 or 6 days a week.  Thankfully I have a nifty little activity tracker that I wear every second I’m out of bed (except when I’m in the shower) called the Active Link.  This is the Weight Watchers version of a pedometer, but it is oh so much more than that.  This baby not only tracks steps, but tracks motion in 3 ways (up and down, back and forth, and side to side) which is an awesome innovation in activity tracking.  This means that it still actually counts for something when I am behind the counter at Kohls for 4 hours.  It used to be that my feet rarely moved, and the pedometer on my body reflected that.  Now, thanks to the 3 way motion of Active Link, the twisting and bending and movement I do near my register can get me close to halfway to my daily goal.  I feel much more satisfied knowing my work actually counts.
The Active Link sets a daily goal for you as well.  I will do a separate post on Active Link specifics later, but the gist is this: I have a goal, and when the little lights blink 100% I know I have earned 5 Points Plus that day.  This turns every day into a game, and it is a game that I do not like to lose.
For me the Active Link is a great way to help me meet a daily activity goal, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs some little computer clipped to their body at all times.  Generally, for weight loss you want to get a good sweat session in 4 or 5 days a week, and for maintenance and general fitness shoot for 3-4 days weekly.  However, if you’re someone on the lower end of the spectrum, fitness success doesn’t have to start there.  Go for an extra walk every day (or a walk, period, if you’re someone who is mostly sedentary).  Take little steps to increase the amount of activity you do on any given day.  Note how I say “activity” and not exercise (even though the title of the post is exercise ).  If you get out and exercise great, but that word can intimidate many beginners.  Here are a few ideas to incorporate more activity into your average day, even for a beginner.
  • Start the day with some light yoga or stretches
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Park near the end of a parking lot, rather than the nearest space to the door you can find
  • Take the long route to the restroom at the office
  • Spend part of your lunch break on a walk with a co-worker
  • Get up and move 5 minutes every hour
  • Take the laundry up stairs or to the other room in smaller loads..or if you’re really ambitious, piece by piece.  I usually do this when putting laundry from my bed (where I fold and hang) to the right spot.  Trust me, if you put your undies and socks away one by one, you get some movement.
  • Same with the dishes: put them away one at a time
  • Go for an after dinner walk with your significant other or kids
  • Head to the mall for some window shopping, but do a lap around the whole place first before you let yourself look

You get the idea?  There are SO many little things that can significantly increase the amount of activity you get in a day.  Then, when you feel like you can move beyond the basics, head to the gym, sign up for a fitness class, get a workout DVD or turn that walk into a jog or run.  It doesn’t matter how slow you start, at least you’re moving!

So, the bottom line of this back to basics post is to get moving my friends.  I promise you that nothing bad will come from a little more activity in your day.  So bust out some Jillian Michaels (my favorite trainer) or do whatever it is you’re going to do to give your weight loss journey that extra boost of awesome.  And who knows, you just might end up one of those lucky people who get a high off of a quality sweat session.  🙂

Weight Watchers Back to Basics: Good Health Guidelines

Have you ever wondered what the silly little things that you check off and earn smiley faces on your tracker for achieving actually mean?  The Good Health Guidelines are there on your tracker to encourage you to to spend your Points Plus target in the healthiest way every day.  Think of it as an eating “to do” list.  Sure, you can (and I have) spend half of your Points on chocolate and chips and margaritas (or all 3, depleting your daily and weekly Points..), and if you stay in your Points range you would still lose weight on that not so healthy diet of sugar and greasy, but you would be hungry (because you couldn’t eat much of it) and feel miserable.  Enter: GHGs to save the day, keeping you healthy and spending your Points wisely.

So, what are the Good Health Guidelines?  Lets discuss.

Water

You should be drinking at least 6-8 8oz glasses of water daily.  Hydration is SO important for our bodies as we are made mostly of water.  Bad things start to happen when we get even slightly dehydrated.  I’ve also heard of taking your weight, divide by 2, and that’s how many oz of water you should drink daily.  My favorite trainer, Ms Jillian Michaels, says that you’re good as long as your pee (sorry, I’m going there) looks like light lemonade, not dark amber apple juice.  Which ever way you choose to track your hydration, set a little goal and check off those water marks.

Fruits and Veggies

Seriously a no brainer, especially for Weight Watchers members.  Fruits and vegetables are the smartest way to spend your points because they don’t cost you any!  Get at least 5 servings in every day.  A banana at breakfast with a cup of berries in your cereal, two done before 8am!  The WW routine “Have a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack” is one of my favorites.  When I do it, I feel so much fuller and get to eat a lot more food (healthy food!) with my meals and snacks.  I know this one can sometimes be tough, but with a little extra planning and creativity (pumpkin in my oatmeal?!  Yes!) you CAN do this.

Lean Protein

Non fatty fish (tilapia is my fave), lean turkey, chicken, or beef, eggs (or egg whites/beaters, etc), tofu, whey and soy are ALL wonderful options here.  Shoot for 1-2 a day, although I try to get a decent amount of protein in with every meal.  When in doubt, check for that little green Power Food triangle in your etools tracker (or in your Power start guide or other WW book) to see which protein is best.

Low/non Fat Dairy

2-3 servings daily.  Fat free Greek yogurt is my favorite here because of the tasty protein punch it gives as well.  Dairy is an excellent source of protein (sensing a theme here?).  Other good choices are skim milk, fat free cottage cheese and fat free (or low fat) cheeses.

Multivitamin

Take one.  End of story.  Can’t swallow those “big” pills?  There’s a gummy option.  You need vitamins to be healthy.  Talk to a pharmacist or doctor, figure out which one is right for you, and suck it up and take one every morning with breakfast.  The end.

Healthy Oils

I have a hard time with this one.  You should get 2tsp of healthy oils daily.  Flaxseed, Extra Virgin Olive, etc.  I take a potent fish oil pill every morning and sometimes call it a day, but I use supplements like chia seeds and will use EVOO spray to cook with.  If you’re better at this category than me, congratulations and keep  it up.  If not, then while you’re at Walgreens getting those multivitamins you no longer can make excuses about, pick up some fish oil too.

Activity

Ideally this means you get a workout in every day.  If you’re not a very active person (something to work on) then get up and go for a walk after dinner (or first thing in the morning), or move for 5 minutes every hour.  Do SOMETHING.  If you’re like me, I won’t check off that silly box until I’ve worked up a sweat worthy enough of the silly smiley that accompanies it.

 

That’s it!  Those guidelines aren’t so complicated, are they?  Didn’t think so.  Using these guidelines to help you determine what to eat will guarantee a happier, healthier body, and truthfully, if you make it your goal to fill these guidelines up every day, odds are there will be some Points leftover for you to do whatever you want with.  Hello delicious cupcake!