Nowadays I feel like everyone has an activity tracker hanging out on their wrist. It is a well-known fact that movement is super important, and not only to those of us trying to lose weight. It is recommended that everyone get 10,000 steps in every single day. While for some this might seem like nothing, to others this could very well be a lofty, seemingly unattainable goal. In a world of Fitbits and other activity trackers being the norm, I wanted to offer up 10 ways you can get a little bit closer to hitting that 10k step goal. Now, any one of these tips is not going to get you all the way there on its own, but if you combine a few of these suggestions, I’m willing to bet you’ll be at that magical 10k before you know it. Ready to get moving? Here we go!
We all know that weight loss is essentially one giant mathematical equation: if calories in are less than calories out, you will lose weight. Plain and simple. We also all know there are healthy foods, less healthy foods, and that exercise will help you boost your calorie burn. What I find more interesting are the unexpected things that help me along my weight loss journey. While I’m sure there are more, I put together a list of my top 5 unexpected things that help you lose weight.
#1 Getting a Dog
You all know by now that I rang in the new year by bringing home our little Yorkie, Gracie on the first day of 2017. Since she’s a tiny pup that we’re pad training, we haven’t had a need to take her out for a walk in the freezing weather. Now that it’s warming up, we’re going on daily walks to train her how to behave on a leash and help her get some extra energy out. While this is great for her, it also helps me get extra steps in that I wouldn’t have otherwise. On today’s walk, I gained 3000 steps, which is 1/4 of my daily step goal, and those steps are in addition to what I normally do daily. If you add up all of those walks that are for the dog’s benefit, that could most definitely add up to a few fewer pounds on the scale.
#2 Cleaning Your House
Today is Fat Tuesday. I never really liked the name “Fat” Tuesday, especially since becoming a Weight Watcher. To me, it just seems like this day where we can basically toss all of our dieting rules out the window and be fat, and this bothered me for a few reasons.
- One day of indulgence is not going to make you fat. I repeat: One day of indulgence is NOT going to make you fat. You gain weight, I mean really gain, when it’s day after day after day of indulging.
- Those of us on a diet sometimes have a hard enough time controlling ourselves. We need to A) not have a day that encourages us to throw everything out the window, and B) come to terms with the idea that we have the power to have a little indulgence in moderation worked right into our plan. Going to the extreme is not necessary.
Now, all of that being said, I kind of did participate in the “fat” part of today. First, I didn’t really track today, and I don’t even feel guilty about it, but that’s because of some of the decisions I made. I had a regular breakfast (5 sp), but later in the day I got sidetracked with my niece before going to the gym, and that resulted in me getting hungry at my parent’s house, which never results in good choices (Note to self: get better at keeping a snack in your purse at all times.). I treated myself to some crackers (I did choose Triscuits over the buttery onion crackers) and this amazing spreadable cheese my mom gets from the Amish bakery when it visits her work every few months, and followed that up with a handful-ish of peanut M&Ms. Rockstar move..I know.
Every year on Fat Tuesday there is a pancake dinner at my church (the Lutheran church. My YouTube subscribers know that I regularly attend 2 churches. I call one the “Little Lutheran Church” and the other is “the bigger, contemporary church”), so it’s ingrained in me to have pancakes for dinner on Fat Tuesday. My original plan was to go to the dinner and enjoy regular old pancakes with my parents, but I was later informed they weren’t going, so I changed plans and made myself protein pancakes instead. It was a much healthier option, but it was also followed up with a mini chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s. It was delicious, indulgent, and worth every un-tracked bite. At least I’m keeping the healthy and unhealthy choices pretty balanced.. Gold star for that.
Fat Tuesday also means so much more than a day of indulgence. Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent beginning. Lent is regarded in the Christian faith is a time for repentance, renewal, and typically some form of sacrifice, which is why many give something up for Lent. It’s the start of the 40 days leading up to Easter, aka the whole reason our belief system exists. It has been quite a few years since I’ve chosen to give something up for Lent, but instead, I’ve been choosing to add something to my day, sacrificing my time in an effort to spend more time with God (I wrote a whole post on this several years ago). This year, Lent conveniently coincides with my discovery of a new (to me) weight loss book that mixes faith along with diet called Made to Crave. I’m halfway through it (since starting the audio book yesterday..I couldn’t stop listening) and I think its message is perfectly timed for me to use this new way of thinking about healthy living alongside the Lenten season.
In a nutshell, this book talks about as humans we are made to crave, but where we should be craving God, we’ve replaced that desire for other things like material possessions, alcohol, sex, drugs, popularity, and of course, food. The book talks about how this desire to lose weight and get healthy can also be (and should be) a spiritual journey to get closer to God. If we fill our cravings with God, there will be no room to be ruled by food. If we focus on our obedience to God and how he would want us to treat our bodies, which are a gift from him, we can more easily overcome our physical and emotional setbacks and get up and moving.
To many of you, it may sound like a bunch of crap, and if that’s the case, then maybe this isn’t for you, but something in this book clicked for me, and I am so excited to take this new approach to my weight loss. Starting tomorrow, it isn’t about eliminating one thing for Lent. It’s about seeking to be more obedient to God by taking better care of this body he gave me. I want to get better about eating more whole foods and less sugar (perhaps by giving up regular indulgences like candy and non-WW friendly goods in the process). I want to focus on getting stronger and more functional rather than just thinner. While this adventure of mine will last more than the duration of Lent, these 40 days will definitely give me a great start.
Here we go.
If any of you get Weight Watchers magazine, you might have seen a familiar face when you turned to page 67. I was incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in an amazing article that was recently released in the May/ June 2016 issue of Weight Watchers magazine called “I Love What My Body Can Do.”
The article tells the stories of 3 different women (myself being one of them) and how we love what our bodies can do right now, even if we aren’t at our desired goal weight. While it doesn’t seem like a huge thing, so many of us (myself included) put so much of our self worth and focus on the scale that we forget to stop and appreciate all of the things that already does for us right now, at this current weight.
One day back in January an email pinged in my inbox and it turned out to be from the author of the article asking if I’d be interested in being a part of the issue. After I did a little research and figured out she wasn’t a scam, I responded saying that I would love to. A little while later the author and I set up a call and had an interview where I got to tell her my story. Since the topic was body confidence I decided to discuss the subject of living with CMT and how despite my difficulties having the disease, I went to college for theater and almost graduated with a dance minor. This topic seemed to be the type of subject she was looking for, so that’s the direction we went. Shortly thereafter I got an email from someone working for Weight Watchers wanting to set up a photoshoot.
Knowing nothing about the process of putting a magazine together, I was really excited to learn about everything that went into getting this article from concept to print. Weight Watchers wanted to do an entire photoshoot for me at my location, so they managed to find local photographers, a venue, wardrobe, and hair/makeup for the shoot. We set a date and all showed up at the location ready for the experience. I felt like a superstar! I was the only subject to be shot, so I was the total center of attention. I was beautified by the makeup artist and then wardrobe (which was not one, but two people) helped me dress in dance attire (since that was one of the angles we were going for). It was crazy because they even helped me get my tights and stuff on, which sounds ridiculous, but one of the pretty regular problems I have with CMT is getting certain types of clothes on and off on my own. Tights and leotards are definitely not things I wear, so it was nice to have help.
Once the shooting started it was 3 hours of constant photo snapping and even more constant moving. In order to give the photos a true look of movement, I had to move the whole time. I had put together a playlist of some of my Broadway favorites to sing and dance to so I would be in my natural “habitat,” which worked great, but it was more complex than that. I had to move my arms a lot (they’re the thing I’m most self conscious about), and sometimes I’d do a dance move (I was just goofing off. None of this was actually choreographed), and one of the photographers would say “Stop! Do that move you just did like three more times.” It was exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved being the center of attention, and I’ll happily sing or be in a show in front of a ton of people, but this was a kind of attention and performance that I wasn’t used to getting or giving, so it was quite the learning experience. After 5 outfit changes and 3 hours of shooting, we finally wrapped and that was that. I would have no power over what photo got chosen or anything. If it wasn’t for the fact I emailed the photographers directly, I probably wouldn’t have seen the shoot at all, but they graciously sent me the gallery to look at since I was dying to see the results of all our hard work.
After the shoot I didn’t hear anything until one day the words of the article showed up in my inbox for fact checking. There was no layout and no photo. Just the plain old text for me to read so I could verify everything was accurate. Once I sent my reply approving the wording of the article that was it. I didn’t see anything until the magazine was published.
Anyway, the article turned out great, and I just wanted to say a quick thank you to you, my readers. Without you taking the time to read, comment, and care enough about what I have to say, I wouldn’t have been given this awesome opportunity, so thank you. Whether you’re a reader alone or you also subscribe to my YouTube channel, you played a part in making this happen. I hope that Diva and the Divine continues to grow as we create a community that can talk about health, weight loss, beauty, and whatever else crosses our minds.
If you’ve started following the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program that uses Smart Points instead of points plus, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot harder to enjoy some snacks and sweet treats while staying on plan. When Weight Watchers was using Points Plus, I had my snacking down to a science, especially when it came to on-the-go products. It’s taken me a little bit of time, but I finally found a few go to treats that satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking my Smart Points budget for the day. Since I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggled with this low sugar transition, I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with you. Many of these options work well with the high-protein, low sugar lifestyle that the beyond the scale plan is encouraging us to live on a daily basis. Read more
One of my favorite things about eating on Weight Watchers is that when I eat fresh fruits and veggies, they don’t count against my daily Smart Points intake. Yes, there are a few exceptions (I’m looking at you avocados, potatoes, corn, etc.), but in general, that’s the rule..with one HUGE exception: when you blend produce to make smoothies. I see “How do you track Smart Points for smoothies?” asked all over the place, and since I just learned the easy answer myself, I figured I’d tell you. Read more
The federal dietary guidelines were officially updated the other day, and I’ve decided I want to talk about it just a little bit. Be warned: If you’re a reader of my blog, you might be into the Weight Watchers/healthy eating lifestyle already, so the likelihood of you finding new information about how we should eat is very low. That being said, read on…
Since I am so focused on getting my body back in shape this year (along with several other goals), I’ve decided to try weekly weigh in posts for awhile. That will make you, my readers, my accountability partners. I haven’t quite decided how I want to approach these weigh in posts, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. My weigh in day is Friday, so when I talk about the week, it will mean from the previous to current Friday..just so we’re all on the same page.
I’ll admit, the weekend was rough. Saturday we had a potluck at my church after the evening worship service. While all the food there is tasty, it isn’t always the most nutritious situation to be in. While I did take the time to enjoy some goodies like home made enchiladas, pasta, and caramels, I made it a point to only have a taste of the things I wanted. That ended up giving me a full enough plate, and guess what: I was full and didn’t go back for more! Score: Brianna: 1 Potluck: 0
Everyone has their go-to items at the grocery store. Being a Weight Watchers lifetime member has been a long journey. Along the way, I’ve discovered many things that keep finding their way into my grocery cart, and I figured I’d share them with you, as these items are all Weight Watchers friendly, and have led me to weight loss success.
We live in a world full of technology that can help us in so many ways. Technology has become an integral part of my weight loss journey, offering me the tools to help me make smarter choices, work out harder, track my progress, and reach my goals. Here are my top 5 pieces of tech that I use for success on my weight loss journey. Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds (or more than a few), eat healthier, or up your fitness game, these pieces of technology can help.
1. Food Scale
This item could quite possibly be the most important piece of tech I use when losing or watching my weight. Have you ever taken the time to measure your serving of breakfast cereal after you dumped what you wanted into your bowl? If you did, I can almost guarantee you would find that you over served yourself your Cheerios. Rather than eating the amount on calories or Points Plus you thought you were eating, it could be that you’re eating 2 times that amount or more. That’s not going to help you succeed in weight loss.