Weight Watchers Friendly Pumpkin Pie

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Back when I actually had Weight Watchers meetings to lead here in Chapel Hill, I had a tiny, but loyal group of attendees to my meeting.  Among them was an older woman who has been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for a really long time. I admired this woman because she came, without fail, every week, always participated in discussions and had amazing tips and tricks.

One fall day, when I was telling them about my Betty Crocker done better cheat, I decided I’d bring it in as a little treat for them, and this woman decided she’d bring in her crustless pumpkin pie.  Not only did she make the pie, but she made sure I got the recipe.

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Easter Candy Weight Watchers Points Plus Cheat Sheet

 

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We all know that while the real reason for Easter is celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, confectioners all over the place have made the Easter season an amazing time to find awesome candies and chocolates to celebrate the season as well.  I know there are candies and treats that each one of us get excited over, and it’s really easy to have an extra piece (or 5) and have those calories and Points Plus values add up before we know it.  That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of the major Easter themed treats out there and put the Points Plus values of these springtime goodies right on the list.  With this Easter Candy Weight Watchers Points Plus Cheat Sheet, you can enjoy your treats while knowing exactly what they’ll cost you. Below are some of the more popular treats.  Sorry I couldn’t get every single one, but that would have taken me until Christmas to write up for you.   Please note that for many of these I divided the information up into what a single serving would cost as well as what 2 servings would cost , because we all know that sometimes a single serving just isn’t enough.  🙂

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Food Fail- Smart Ones Chicken Strips & Fries

 

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When I discovered the latest addition to the Smart Ones frozen entree family, I thought it might be too good to be true.  For only 8 PointsPlus I could get 2 yummy looking fried chicken strips AND french fries!!  This is the dream of many dieters everywhere!

Well, you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true?

 

Yeah…

 

I regret that I didn’t take a picture of the actual food, but it wasn’t until after we ate it that my husband and I both decided this meal was a frozen food failure and he suggested I write about it.  When I opened the box, I literally laughed out loud.  For the amount of food in the box, it could have been over half the size of the box that currently held the meal.

The box had one of those silver crisper trays on both sides.  Apparently you’re supposed to make sure all of the food is touching the tray and then set the other one on top of it, press it down so the other side of the food is also touching the crisping tray, then microwave like normal.

Now, I failed to read all of the directions, so I didn’t have the crisper going on the upper side of the food, but to be honest (and Erik agreed) that fixing that little thing would not have made the food any better.

The breakdown: There were 2 chicken fingers in the box that came out dark brown in color and pretty soggy as opposed to a nice crispness.  As a woman who used to love the skin of crispy fried chicken (lets be honest, if I still ordered it (on on rare occasions, I will), I’d still love it) this is a huge let down.  There were also a few fries, maybe enough to fit in the itty bitty bag of McDonalds fries, tossed in the box.  These were pretty typical frozen fries, only I have had frozen fries out of the oven that tasted much better (Wal-mart fries.. Seriously, if you’re a fry person, they’re pretty good.  At least they used to be.).  These seemed to be slightly over spiced in an effort to make them taste better, but all they ended up being was slightly awkwardly seasoned, flimsy fries.

Now, I am fully aware that I might have my expectations set too high on getting a chicken strip and french fries dinner for 8 PointsPlus.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised at my level of disappointment.  Heck, maybe I should have even applauded the 8 Points that were sitting in their sad little box, but I can’t help but think that some foods just aren’t meant to be in the “frozen diet food” category.  Smart Ones does A LOT of things really well, and we always have their products in our freezer, but some things are just better left alone.  Don’t put pathetic amounts of french fries and sad looking chicken strips in a box just so you can say you have that to offer.  Stick with what’s good!  Now a Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan..that’s delish!

 

Bottom line: If you really feel the need to have chicken strips and fries, please use some of your weekly Points Plus Values to go and get some that will satisfy your body’s craving.  Your body and soul will thank you for the splurge rather than spending your precious Points on a less than satisfying experience.

 

I’m sorry Smart Ones..I love you guys, but this particular meal is a Food Fail in my book.

 

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Happy 2014!!

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Hello friends-

 

This is just a quick note to wish you all a very Happy New Year!  I’ve been MIA for a few weeks, but I have a good reason: Erik and I get married in 3 days.  3 DAYS!!  We’re currently getting covered in snow in Illinois spending time with my family and getting final things done before the big day.  We have our marriage license ready to go and the to do list is almost complete.  This is such an exciting time.  Unfortunately, all of the running around, celebrating, planning and spending time with family (we were in Florida last week to be with Erik’s family) means that Diva and the Divine had to take a backseat.  Once we’re back from our little one day mini-moon things will start to run smoothly again.

One thing that will be happening is a whole series on New Year’s Resolutions.  I love the new year, as it’s always a chance to start over, set goals and get re-motivated to accomplish things.  I plan on talking about my goals and resolutions as well as some of the books and tools I plan on using to accomplish them.  I have high hopes for 2014.  I’ll be starting the year as a newlywed with a whole new chapter of my life unfolding and ready to be written, and I can’t wait to share my journey with all of you.

 

Until then, I hope all of you had a very happy and blessed holiday season full of love and joy.  Get ready to be excited about all that 2014 has to offer each one of us.

 

Love, the soon to be Mrs. E!  🙂

The Weight Watchers Your Success Kit

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Getting ready for a new year tends to mean the release of some new materials for Weight Watchers.  This year their member success kit received a makeover for 2014.  Being an employee of the company (I’m a leader in the meeting room), we were allowed to pick up this set for free, but I’ll be perfectly honest in saying I would have paid every penny for it anyway.  I’m a sucker for new materials.  I find they motivate me and keep me inspired, and even though I’m a lifetime member, I still need daily motivation to live the plan to its full potential.  This set is packed with materials that are there to help set you up for success on the Weight Watchers plan.  I am so excited about this kit that I wanted to give all of you a look inside.

 

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First, the “Your Success” kit comes packed in this awesome bag.  Fear not, friends who aren’t a fan of the crazy bright colors pictured above, the kit also comes in two other colors (a zebra pattern with a brown flap, and a navy checkered pattern), so you aren’t resigned to get the super bright tote.  This bag can be used for several things, but the most logical and productive use of this bag is a lunchbox.  The tote is nicely insulated, keeping food cold for hours, which is great for people on the go like me.  When I carted my Suja juices around for my Suja Juice 3-Day Cleanse, this bag (surprisingly) kept the bottles cold the entire time I was at my music studio.  It’s a great start, and I haven’t even told you about what is inside yet!

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No Weight Watchers kit would be complete without a cookbook to add to your collection.  This book has never before seen recipes for all different parts of your day from breakfast through dessert.  I like the added detail of having all power food ingredients highlighted in green (and the book is heavy in those power foods), and it offers 50 recipes for Simple Start, which is our 2014 orientation for new members.

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Your success kit would not help you be as successful unless it provided you with the new and improved Plan and Track 12 week journal.  This paper tracker book contains all of the elements of the older one, as well as a place for you to plan out your meals for the week (and write the grocery list), you can jot down where to find your recipes, take notes, and have a weekly round up.  There is a lot of emphasis on the fact that those who plan ahead are more likely to succeed.

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This is the part of the kit I am most excited about.  “Find Your Fingerprint” is the book/workbook by the same author of the handbook found in last year’s kit (which I also loved).  I’ve already started working through it and I can’t wait to see how it continues to inspire and motivate me.  In my opinion, this book would pretty much be worth the cost of the entire kit, and it’s just one of many elements you get in the kit.

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In an effort to set up your spaces for success Weight Watchers gives you a collapsable vegetable steamer that conveinently  fits in your brand new lunch bag.  No more does eating healthy on the go have to mean soggy steamed veggies that sit around until you eat them.  Now you can bring your veggies fresh, add a little water to the bottom of this guy and pop the container in the microwave and like magic, freshly steamed veggies!

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Weight Watchers also decided to excuse-proof your workouts.  This deck of cards can be treated like a game, making every day a different workout.  Each color represents a different body part, and every card has one exercise on it.  The card then explains what muscles the move will work, how to do the move, and repetition suggestions based on experience level.  Pick a specific type of card to work through or give the cards a shuffle and let fate determine what muscles get worked out.  They come in a nice little box as well.

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These stickers are pretty self explanatory.  While there are some foods on the market that come with a Weight Watchers Points Plus label on them, many do not.  Now you can apply your own to the food already in your house or coming home from the store.  These stickers make it really effortless to track if the number is printed right on the box or bag of whatever it is you’re reaching for. Three sheets of these stickers are included.  Be sure to measure out your portion size!

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Last, but most certainly not least, is $45 worth of coupons for various Weight Watchers products (and a few things endorsed by them).  Some coupons need to be spent in a Weight Watchers store, and others can be redeemed at the local grocery store.  There’s even a coupon for a free Points Plus calculator for new members.  Don’t need a new calculator?  Use that coupon to get yourself a free box of mini-bars ($7.50 value).  It’s a win-win for everyone!

There you have it!  All of this Weight Watchers awesomeness can be purchased at your local Weight Watchers store for $39.95.  Seeing how the coupons alone are worth $45 I’d say the price is pretty outstanding.  Weight Watchers really is trying to set you up for success in many different areas with this kit.

Weight Watchers Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

Weight Watchers cheat sheet for Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holiday and still stay on track!

The holiday season is upon us, and that means so are the holiday meals, baked goods, candies, parties, and everything in between.  The holiday season can be a bit of a nightmare for Weight Watchers members.  We want to partake in the delicious festivities, but it’s hard to stay on track when we’re surrounded by so much goodness.  First up is the mother of all giant meals: Thanksgiving dinner.  In order to make this holiday a little less daunting, I compliled a little cheat sheet for you with some of the most popular Thanksgiving dinner items so you don’t have to spend time in your Weight Watchers app figuring out your plate before it gets cold.

Some notes before we get started:

  • I updated this list to include Smart Points, since that is the plan that most Weight Watchers are using, but I left the Points Plus values from when I originally wrote this post.  
  • While I used the Weight Watchers website to gather all of the Smart Points values, I’m sure the actual values of what’s on your plate will vary a little bit.  Use these values as a rough estimate, rather than your 100% accurate SP assessment.  Some recipies might actually costing you a little more, or if you’re lucky, a little less.

Alright friends, lets dive in!

Main Dishes

Turkey

-3oz light meat with skin= 3 sp (3 pp)
-3oz breast, skinless= 1 sp (2 pp)
-3oz giblets, white or dark meat, no skin= 2 sp (3 pp)
-3oz dark meat, with skin= 4 sp (5 pp)

Ham

-Spiral 3oz= 4sp (3pp)  (lean is 2sp)
-Honey baked, bone-in, 3 oz= 3 sp

Side Dishes

-Turkey gravy, canned 2 Tbsp=  0 sp (0 pp)
-Gravy, brown 2 Tbsp= 2 sp (1 ppv)
-Stuffing 1/2 cup bread, from mix, prepared=  6 sp (5 pp)
-Corn 1/2 cup cooked kernels=  2sp (2 pp)
-Green bean casserole 1 cup 7 sp (6 pp) *It varies a lot by recipe.*
-Sweet potatoes 1/2 cup  mashed= 5sp
-Cranberry sauce 2Tbsp canned=  3 sp (1 pp)
-Mashed potatoes 1/2 cup=  3 sp (3 pp)
-Biscuits with butter =  Biscuit alone: 4sp, with 1 tbsp butter: 9 sp (6 pp)
-Corn bread 1 slice, from mix, prepared= 7 sp (5 pp)
-Corn casserole 1/4 cup= 7 sp (5 pp)
-Sweet potato casserole 1/2 cup= 9 sp (6 pp)
-Creamed corn 1/2 cup canned= 3 sp (3 pp)
-Creamed spinach 1/2 cup=  3 sp (5 pp)
-Scalloped potatoes 1/2 cup= 4 sp (5 pp)
-Roasted potatoes 1/2 cup= 2 sp (4 pp)
-Brussel sprouts with bacon 2/3 cup= 3 sp (4 pp)
-Macaroni and cheese 1/2 cup= 7 sp (5 pp)
-Sausage stuffing 1/2 cup= 6 sp (5 pp)

Desserts

-Apple cake 1 slice= 10 sp (6 sp)
-Pumpkin pie 1 slice= 14sp (12 pp)

2 Tbsp whipped topping= 1sp
-Fruit pie 1 slice= 13 sp (11 pp)
-Fruit salad 1 serving (red and green apples, 2Tbsp dried cranberries, 2Tbsp pecan halves)= 6 sp (4 pp)
-Cheesecake 1 slice= 18sp (11 pp) with fruit topping= 19 sp (12 pp)
-Pecan pie 1 slice=  21 sp (14 pp)

Beverages

-Wine 5oz= 4 sp (4 pp)
-Mixed drinks 5oz vodka cranberry=7 sp (5 pp)
-Beer 12oz= 5 sp (5 pp)
-Punch 8oz fruit punch= 7 sp (3 pp)
-Soda 8oz sweetened= 6sp (3 pp)
-Iced tea 8oz sweetened= 5 sp (3 pp)
-Water 8oz= 0!

There you go!  Even if you are going to load up your plates with too much of a good thing you can at least say you made the informed choice.

A few other helpful tips and tricks:

  • Keep a glass of water in your hands.  If your hands are occupied, you can’t snack at the appetizer table
  • Distance yourself from the food.  Ask that your favorite dish be on the other side of the table and when it isn’t dinner time, be in a different room than the food all together if you can help it.
  • After dinner, before dessert comes out, take the family and go out for a walk.  It will get the digestion going, distract from the food and get you a little bit of activity.
  • Bring a dish that is Weight Watchers friendly to begin with
  • Eat slowly.  Set down your fork and sip water in between bites.  You’ll be surprised at how much sooner you’ll feel full.

 

Most importantly, remember that it is one day.  Work a little harder a few days before and after, save your weekly Points and get your joy out of your Thanksgiving.  Hint: the joy doesn’t necessarily come from the food!

 

Be happy, be healthy.

Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

Confessions of A Weight Watchers Lifetime Member: It’s STILL Tough

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A year ago on November 18th I went to my Weight Watchers center in Park Ridge, IL, weighed in, and much to my delight I hit my magic number, my goal weight that I had been striving for since I can’t remember when: 135!  There was a little celebration during the meeting where I was awarded my “goal” star charm to do with as I pleased (for a time I put it on a chain and wore it around my neck until it started to tarnish).  Now, I just had to maintain this weight within range (5 lbs under or 2 lbs above) for 6 weeks and then I would officially have accomplished my ultimate weight loss goal of becoming a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers.

6 weeks later, I did.

Now, with a year’s worth of weight maintenance experience under my belt, after working for Weight Watchers for almost a year, and after several whirlwind life changes I am hear to tell you this: It does NOT get any easier!

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Diet Friendly Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice cookies

Thanks to a pumpkin spice themed gift from my aunt our pantry ended up being the proud owner of a Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix. As per usual, I took a look at the ingredients to see what I could substitute my lower calorie (and thus, lower Points Plus value) options for and decided this was another Betty Crocker mix worth experimenting with.

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As usual, the substitutions were 100% pure canned pumpkin instead of butter (removing 24 Points Plus from the batter), and an egg white instead of an egg (removing 2 more Points).

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So the recipe is as follows:

1 Package of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix

1/2 Cup of canned pure pumpkin

1 egg white (this ends up being about 1/4 of a cup of the All Whites. I weigh mine and one egg is 46g

2 Tbsp Water

Preheat your oven to 375. Mix all ingredients.  Yield should be 18 regular cookies or 16 large ones.  I somehow got 19 large cookies..

Since I managed to yield the serving size on the package, I was able to calculate the Points Plus value of the cookies: 3 PPV for one (rather large) cookie.

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I will say this: They did come out much more cakey than chewy cookie style.  That’s the only problem with eliminating all of the fat in the recipe.  However, they did end up more like “muffin top” type treats, which Erik and I are finding satisfaction with anyway.  If I could do it again I would change one or two elements.  It’d be an experiment worth trying to see if either of these help:

  • Use a real egg, yolk and all, rather than the egg white
  • Go for a combination of butter and pumpkin, maybe using 1/4 cup of each to help balance things out a bit better.

These do satisfy my pumpkin flavored sweet tooth, so for that I am grateful.  They’re also the right consistency to warm up un the microwave before eating (and then maybe putting some Pumpkin Spice ice cream with them.. Yum!!).

What are your favorite fall treats to diet down?  Have you tried anything similar to this, or something even better? Let me know in a comment below!

Happy munching!

A Weekend With Me: Saturday

It was one of those mornings where 8 hours of sleep just didn’t feel like enough.  The snooze alarm and I meet frequently, though only once today.  I had a lot to accomplish today.

Just like yesterday I got up (dragged myself begrudgingly is more like it), made some tea and sat down for some quiet time with my prayer journal and God.  My thoughts today were on the phrase “Love is patient” but not talking about love between Erik and I (though we have had many lessons in that verse), but I thought about it in regards to my relationship with God.  With a task list of many things whirling through my head, it was very easy for me to sit down and have the mindset of this writing time as a task I should speed though, check off and move on.  ..which of course is the completely wrong approach.  It takes effort to sit and focus on a task such as heartfelt prayer; to get all of the “to dos” to quiet down for a second and give me time to spend with the Lord.  Things change when you don’t treat prayer as a chore, but more like having morning coffee with a close friend.  Enjoy the conversation.

 

Meal time!  Breakfast today was brought to me by Suja juice.  They’re organic, cold pressed juices that are really delicious and super nutritious.  Since juices count as Points I had to account for the nutrition info, despite the fact the only ingredients are organic fruits and veggies, so it cost 4 Points Plus.  I love everything about these juices except the price.  At $8 a bottle at Whole Foods, they’re definitely treated as a special way to spoil myself every so often.  I’d love to try their 3 day cleanse someday, when I actually have that kind of money to spend on something  like yummy juice.

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I went on a cleaning rampage making sure things were neat and dusted, including my bedroom (Erik’s room I don’t touch.  That he can deal with on his own..) so my man would have a beautiful apartment to come home to.  I wrote “Happy Sweetest Day” on our dry erase board, grabbed a south beach diet bar (we don’t follow the diet, but the nutritional content is impressive) and was out the door for my last visit to the various cat-filled apartments.  Frank was chatty as always.  He stood on the breakfast bar and started nibbling on my hairline playfully when I was paying more attention to my texts than to him.  He is a pretty awesome kitty.  Then I went to Katie’s to check up on the monsters, and she ended up coming home while I was there.  Kitty-sitting missions accomplished.  Now i am back to no fur babies to love on.  At least I get to go see my 4 dogs in less than a week.  I’m looking forward to some love from them.

I ran out of time to actually go to the gym (which I decided was okay since my ActiveLink sat satisfied at 50% already from my running around) so I went back to the apartment to get ready for my Weight Watchers Innovations event.  It’s the get together where the employees learn what new and exciting things are coming to the program.   While I was in the process of beautifying myself I got emails saying packages had come.  Turns out a package from home (including some Halloween decorations ) and my Bulu Box had arrived.  Expect my Bulu Box post within the next few days.

The receptionist at my Thursday meeting, Sharon, and the leader from today’s meetings were letting me tag along with them so I didn’t have to drive.  We went to an Embassy Suites where we enjoyed a late afternoon lunch and a presentation on whats to come.   Obviously I am not going to say anything about it here…sorry to those who thought I’d tell you. :-p

Check out the menu.  I wish every menu came like this, with the Points Plus values written right there.

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..now that I look at the pic I’m not entirely sure you can read that..

9 Points for the entire lunch/dinner, and that included dessert!

have I mentioned how nice it is to eat at Weight Watchers functions? 🙂

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(there was a salad too, but I forgot to take a pic of it)

After Innovations I came home to find Erik’s stuff, but no Erik.  Apparently he went out for a run which made for an anti-climatic arrival home, but eventually he came back.  We caught up with each other a bit and now he’s unpacking while I write my post.

The rest of the evening is going to be quite eventful: Curled up on the couch in sweats and the arms of my love, watching Pirates of the Caribbean (# 3 I think..) so we can continue to play the Lego version of the movie on Playstation.  See? Eventful! (I hope you can sense the sarcasm).  We’re nerds, we know it, and we aren’t afraid to show it :-p

Have a blessed Saturday evening my friends.  Stay warm, stay safe, and be happy!