My Top 10 Weight Watchers Friendly Items @ Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s ranks pretty high up there on most people’s list of favorite grocery stores, and I’m no different. I often say that Trader Joe’s is my happy place. There are so many food offerings at decent prices for the outstanding quality you get. Often times they also have unique food options, which makes going to Trader Joe’s more fun than just heading to the Walmart down the road.

While Trader Joe’s had amazing food selections across the board, what I am most pleased with is how many items I find on Trader Joe’s shelves that are Weight Watchers friendly. I have an entire list of favorite things that I am sure to purchase pretty much every time I’m in that store. Since the rollout of WW Freestyle, a handful of my favorite items have decreased in Smart Points value, making it even more amazing than before.

Here are my top 10 Weight Watchers friendly items from Trader Joe’s.

Everything but the Bagel Seasoning:
If you shop at Trader Joe’s odds are you have tried this miracle spice given to us by the TJ’s gods. This magic creation adds everything bagel flavor to anything you put it on. Since I’m someone who has never eaten (more wanted to) an everything bagel in her life, I was skeptical as to if I’d like it, but since it was all the rage, I figured I’d give it a try. I am HOOKED. This blend of sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and sea salt adds an incredible flavor to pretty much anything. I use it in my eggs, my mac n cheese, on top of roasted squash, and anything that needs some extra flare. It takes things to a whole new level and I’m utterly obsessed. For 0 smart points and at only $1.99, I restock several bottles at a time because this is something my pantry will never be without. Read more

That Time When Eating Got Easier

I wasn’t entirely sure how to title this, but I wanted to sit down and write about it anyway.  While this isn’t a weight loss tips, tricks, or advice post, it still involves my weight loss journey in a very major way. I just have no way to explain or classify it.

Eating magically got easier 

The past few weeks I have experienced this weird phenomenon where my appetite has seemed to disappear. Out of nowhere, I have noticed that I’m no longer craving sweet things (I will sing a loud Hallelujah to that!), and in general, I don’t really have the desire to eat much anymore.  Before any of you panic, don’t worry. I am most definitely not starving myself.  I’m making sure I eat enough and supplementing plenty with protein bars, but I legitimately don’t have the desire to run to the pantry or fridge and hunt down something to eat.

Okay, let me modify that a little bit. I do in fact give in to the urge to go to the pantry and fridge and browse for something to eat, but after looking around for 15 seconds, I see nothing that jumps out at me as something I want, so I close the door and walk away empty handed.  That’s the significant detail here.  Nothing is sparking my interest enough to motivate me to make a poor choice. 

Read more

5 Weight Watchers Smart Points Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats

Pumpkin Spice!  Pumpkin Spice is EVERYWHERE!

Pumpkin spice season is here, and with it comes a ton of grocery store finds and pumpkin recipes popping up everywhere.  This year I have been so intrigued by the overnight oats train that everyone seems to be a part of, I wanted to combine the two and come up with some pumpkin oats that are Weight Watchers friendly.  

After exploring some basic overnight oats recipes to understand things like the oats to liquid ratio and the general idea of how to build an overnight oats recipe, I finally came up with one that I love, and have made many times this year already.  It has several ingredients for flavor: cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, stevia, and even sugar-free maple syrup (game changer). While it seems a tad elaborate, the flavor this mixture brings promises to start your brisk fall morning with a filling breakfast that screams “it’s fall! Hooray!!”

A few things to note:

  • I tend to make this in batches, so I’ll fill 4 or 5 Mason Jars at a time.  Even if they are sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, they still taste great.  It just lets the flavors blend even more
  • There’s no rule that says you have to eat them heated up. It’s just how I prefer to consume my oats.
  • I use cinnamon crunch Quest protein powder, but you can use other flavors like vanilla or salted caramel.
  • You can also use other brands of protein powder if you wish, but changing the brand might change the Smart Points value of your oats.  Adjust your tracking accordingly.   

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy my recipe 🙂 

5 SP Pumpkin Spice Protein Overnight Oats
Serves 1
Overnight oats are a great way to get your mornings started off on the right track by making your breakfast ahead of time. These Pumpkin Spice oats are filled with protein to keep you full, and are only 5 Weight Watchers Smart Points.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 C Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (0 sp)
  2. 1/2 C Old Fashioned Oats (4 sp)
  3. 1/2 C Canned Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) (0 sp)
  4. 1 Scoop Quest Protein Powder (I use Cinnamon Crunch, but I imagine vanilla or salted caramel would work well too)(1 sp)
  5. 1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (0 sp)
  6. 1 Tsp Cinnamon (0 sp)
  7. 1 0 Calorie Sweetener Packet (I use Stevia)(0 sp)
  8. 1 Tbsp Sugar Free Maple Syrup (0 sp) *This makes it a bit creamier and oh so good*
  9. Vanilla to taste (0 sp)
  10. A Mason Jar (or some other container to store it in)
Instructions
  1. Mix everything together and put in container (It's really that easy)
  2. Let container sit in refrigerator overnight (Note: I actually make several jars at once, so some sit for a few days. It's totally fine.
  3. Remove lid and microwave oats until they reach your desired temperature, stirring occasionally (I typically microwave for a minute a time, stirring after each one. 3 minutes usually does the trick)
  4. Sit down with your cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a protein packed breakfast that brings fall to your table.
Notes
  1. Tip: While it really is as simple as mixing everything together, I have found it easiest to mix things outside the jar (in a bowl), starting with the almond milk and pumpkin first and adding the oats last. This makes sure the protein powder and spices are mixed thoroughly and evenly throughout.
Diva and the Divine http://divaandthedivine.com/

45 Ways To Reward Yourself Without Food

I’m not going to lie to you.  I love earning rewards. I am most definitely motivated to get things done by the fact I know there is a special treat waiting for me at the finish line.  It doesn’t matter if the task is getting a blog post up, getting the house cleaning done, or hitting another 5 lbs lost, I will always do a better and more efficient job with my tasks if I know there is something I’m working toward.  I know, getting the thing done should be reward enough, but I’m a huge sucker for positive reinforcement, and lately, I’ll do anything to help me avoid procrastination and get things done.  
 
If you know me, you know that weight loss is one of my long-term, big deal goals.  For many people (myself included) it isn’t uncommon to have the reward for a job well done be a food related treat.  While this is great in theory (and some days it’s totally worth it), when one of your major goals is weight loss and healthy living, rewarding yourself with food is as counterproductive as it gets.  If you reward yourself with a big old piece of cake and ice cream for seeing a loss on the scale this week… it just doesn’t make sense!  That being said, I want to have plenty of options for how to reward myself without adding to my calorie intake, so I came up with a whole list of ways to treat yourself without food.  
 

Read more

Why I Picked Weight Watchers As My Weight Loss Plan

I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers since 2009.  Almost 9 years!  While I have definitely been on again/off again with actually following the Weight Watchers plan, I’ve been a subscriber the whole time. In this day and age, it seems like there are a million different kinds of fitness and diet plans out there.
Just to name a few:
  • Weight Watchers
  • Good old calorie counting
  • Whole 30
  • Jenny Craig
  • Paleo
  • Vegan
  • Raw
  • Vegetarian
  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Carb
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • The HCG Diet
  • Zone Diet
  • South Beach Diet
  • Grapefruit Diet
  • Blood Type Diet (I’m totally serious)
  • Cabbage Soup Diet
 
Guys, this is me naming a few of the diets that are out there.  Every day we are being told that something is good for us, and the next day that very same thing causes cancer.  It’s never been so difficult to figure out what the “best” diet is because we’re getting fed so much information every single day.   
 
The reason I bring this up is because on my YouTube channel I’ve started doing Weekly Weigh In videos, and I try to get a conversation started in the comments section including what topics I should cover in future videos.  Recently, someone asked me why, out of all the diets out there, did I choose and stick to Weight Watchers?  I think that’s an excellent question. so here’s my answer. 

Read more

10 Ways To Get 10,000 Steps

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!

10 Ways to Get 10,000 Steps

Read more

5 Unexpected Things That Help You Lose Weight

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

Read more

Fat Tuesday | The Diva Diaries

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

I’m in Weight Watchers Magazine!

Weight Watchers Magazine

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.  

Smart Points Friendly Snacks On-the-Go |Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale

Weight Watchers friendly snacks for the new Smart Points plan.

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