Monday, August 15, 2011

Shop Smart

Ever went to the grocery store to get carrots and a pack of skinless/boneless chicken breast and came back with 5 bags full of baked chips, ice cream treats, crackers, 4 different kinds of bread...

You know what I mean? Or at Trader Joes! Love that store, but I always go in for 1 thing, and come back with full hands. Last time one can of blackbeans turned into $120 of all sorts of stuff. The worst part is that the very next day, I realized I had 30 different kinds of snacks, but nothing to cook with!

I really do love to shop for food, but it takes time, and there are some pitfalls to be aware of. So this week we will explore ways to save time at the grocery store, and strategies to avoid the challenges that we come across when we go food shopping.

Don't miss it!

Lose for Good

Lose for Good is finally here! Starting this week, we have a ton of ways to get involved and help others by helping ourselves. How cool is that?

Weekly challenge: This last week we committed to tracking at a minimum 4 days of the week to help add up to our weight loss. How are you doing with that? Can you do 5 days? 6? What else can you do help others by helping yourself?

Losing weight

How cool is that? Weight Watchers will donate 1 dollar for each pound lost up to a million. We want to pass last year's total of 4 million pounds lost. We can so do it!!

Plug in for Lose-A-Palooza

It's happening September 19th. Find information here:

Connect with the Lose for Good Community

Look them up for support, inspiration and motivation:

There will also be food drives at the centers! It's time to help others by helping ourselves! If you have ideas for weekly challenges please share!

Tool of the week

I like to call my calculator "The little blue dude". It follows me everywhere, and helps me in all sorts of ways, even more at the grocery store.

The little dude calculates the PointsPlus value of any packaged food, tracks your day, give you your daily target, everything!! Over all that, it's a regular calculator too, so at the grocery store, you can calculate PointsPlus values and money.

In the Kitchen

This recipe is simple, quick and gives a lot of taste to simple pork chops. I have used the same recipe on chicken with great results.

The recipe calls for oven baking, but I've done it on the grill too. It's just one of those easy, good for everything recipe!

Cotelettes de porc a la jamaicaine (Jamaican style pork chops)
4 servings, 5P+/serving

4 boneless pork chops (about 1 lb total)
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP orange juice
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, minced
1 tsp Jamaican pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt,
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper

1- Make little cut on the side of each chop of about 1 inch. In a bowl mix all remaining ingredients. Rub the mixture on each pork chops and put in an oven safe dish in one layer.

2- Cook pork chops for 18 minutes or so at 375 F, or until they are golden but still pink inside, turning once.

Source: Coup de Pouce, Au menu ce soir, p. 36

September Events!
It might be the teacher (and daughter of two teachers) in me, but September is filled with positive happy energy!

Recipe club meeting TBD
I'm in the process of putting together the bases to start a recipe club. Keep your eyes peeled for further information. I'm hoping to have it all figured out on time to start in September!

Lose for Good August 28th-October 15th
Help yourself by helping others. Make sure to come to your meeting, we can't let the team down!

Bike A RAMA September 3rd-October 30th
Did you see the bikes in the meeting room? Come to the meetings to learn what this great promotion is all about!

Lifetime member meeting September 4 th - 11:00 Stonestown Center
Lifetime members get together to discuss the challenges of long term motivation and maintenance. How do you keep this lifestyle interesting and fulfilling for a lifetime? We figure it out together :o)

Second Sunday Stair climb September 11th
Fun time with Michael and his fearless walkers! Once a month, a little bit of a challenging walk, but a wonderful discovery of beautiful San Francisco.

Success Stories Live September 18th Stonestown Center
The perfect event to recharge your motivation for the fall. Listen to local success stories and learn how people have overcome hurdles, pushed through plateaus and succeeded!


We now have our very own Facebook page for the Weight Watchers members of San Francisco and the Upper peninsula (San Bruno, Pacifica, and surroundings that's you!).

Look it up! Little contests, idea exchanges, all yours! Also a good place to know what's going on in our local Weight Watchers community!


Some of us are just getting started with our activity routine, but some of us have been at it for a while, and are eager to renew, rev up, and re-energize our work out routine. We talked a little bit about that with the "Get Unstuck" meeting this last week, but maybe it's worth looking at a little more closely.

How do you know if it's time to renew, rev up and re-energize your routine? Hopefully this might help you give it another look:

Renew: Is your activity routine very, well, routine? Do you ever feel like you are in an endless cycle of "Get up, get dressed, hit the machine (pavement, bike, whatever) take a shower, get on with your day"? Has the fun leaked out of your routine?

Rev up: Are your work outs easy? Have you stopped coming home, or going back to work, feeling like "Woah, I really worked it"? Did you have a fitness goal set and now see that you have stopped seeing significant results? When you first started, you improved almost with every workout, now months later you've been at the same distance/intensity/duration/weights for weeks.

Re-energize: Have you sort of forgotten why you are doing this? You are working out because you are working out, but the driving force behind somehow has lessened. You know what to do, how to do it, but you've sort of forgotten why?

OK, now what? If any of these sounds about right to you, that's ok, we've all been there! The solutions really are simple:

Diversify your routine: You don't have to reinvent the wheel every week. Make a list of a few activities that you would like to try and see how you can incorporate them to your routine. If you are a member in a gym, add a class to your week. If your week is very booked up, add a weekend activity; a hike, a bike ride, go kayaking on the bay, go climb the stairs with Michael on the 11th! Bring some friends, you can have fun and burn calories at the same time!

Increase Duration/Intensity: For your work out to be effective, it has to be challenging. That doesn't mean that you have to work until you fall apart, but that you have to come out of it feeling like your muscles are tired.

There's only 2 ways to make your work out challenging: Add time, or boost up the intensity. If the time constrain is a big issue, you want to add weights, add inclination, increase the resistance on the machine so that your body has to work harder to do the same work. If you have a little more time, or if you can't add intensity because of physical issues, then you want to make your work out a little longer. Either ways will add the number of calories burned, and force your body to improve with each workout.

Be wary of over-training! You want to rev up your work outs progressively and listen to your body. If you added weights and your forms are suffering, back up and lower your weights a little, you're lifting too heavy. If you added 2 miles to your run, and your ankle (or knee, or back) are suddenly hurting, take a break and start with a smaller distance, you might have overdone it.
Here's information about over-training:

Find a motivator: This might be the simplest and yet most difficult part of this, figuring out what it is that makes it worth the effort for you. You need to sit down and really think hard about why it is worth it to you to get up in the morning and work out. What are you working for? Are you training for a race? Running away from a medical condition? Looking forward to wearing a sexy pair of jeans or a swimsuit and feeling great in it? Or are you trying to build up the stamina to keep up with the kids?

Whatever the motivator is for you (and it is as personal as it can get) it has to be powerful enough for you to be willing to work for it. Yes working out can be fun, but nobody I have ever met is enthusiastic about working out every time they hit the gym, or go out for a run. Your motivator is what is going to make you go ahead and do it on the mornings (or whenever in he day you work out) when you really don't wanna.

Have a great week

September is a few days away, and we are going to have a great one! Lose for Good is there, we have all sorts of good events coming, and it's time to get on with losing! I don't know about you, but I'm just in a "I'm ready, bring it on!" kind of mood these days. What about you?

If you need me don't be afraid of emailing me. I'm there for you and will do my best to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

It's time to come back home, and to recommit to our goals and ourselves. I will be looking for you in the meeting room!


“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.”
~ Yogi Berra (sorry, I couldn't resist this one! hehehe)

Get Unstuck

Ever get stuck in traffic? You know that helpless feeling of "no matter what I do, I'll be sitting here not going anywhere for a while". I hate that feeling!

You see, patience is not one of my strong point*s*, and that's an understatement. Whatever I am doing, I want to be done now. Wherever I'm going, I want to be there now. You can imagine how well (not!) I dealt with plateaus on my weight loss journey. Not pretty!

Still, like a majority of people, I did have to deal with the scale ignoring my impatience, and refusing to budge even a smidgen for weeks. Plateaus are a normal part of the weight loss process, and as exasperating (and lets be honest, scary) as they are, you can work your way through them and even learn great lessons in the process.

This week we will discuss how we can get past a weight loss plateau to get ourselves back to losing weight.

Tool of the week

My first go to helper when I'm struggling is my food scale. I know I talk about it all the time, but really, I don't understand how one can do this program without this easy and useful tool.
The Weight Watchers Electronic food scale is not only easy and quick to measure foods, but it also has a lot of healpful features:

  • Food bank: Give you the PointsPlus value of the food you have on there quickly and easily.
  • Integrated calculator: Permits you to calculate the PointsPlus of any food that might not be in the original food bank by entering the nutritional info and serving size.
  • Add: Permits you to calculate the PointsPlus value of additional foods in the same dish and keep a running count of the total PointsPlus Value of all ingredients added
You can also add new foods to the original food bank, zero out the scale after you put your dish on it... It's just a great tool! What can I say?

In the Kitchen

This recipe is a creation of mine. I was looking for a good fennel salad, and was tired of my usuals, so I experimented. I'm not beyond bragging, this was really good!

I've shared it on Facebook already, but thought I'd share it here for posterity (HA!)

Apple -Fennel slaw
6 servings, (recipe builder says 1p+/serving, but that counts the apple and fennel. I protest!)

2 granny smith apple, thinly julienned
1 fennel bulb, cored, thinly julienned
2 TBSP lemon juice (or so)
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar, divided
1 (generous) TBSP dijon mustard (I use whole grain, it's prettier)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 packet stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)
1/2 TBSP (or more) poppy seeds
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix 1 TBSP of the vinegar with the lemon juice and pour over the apple juliennes as soon as they are cut (to keep from browning). Put in a big bowl

Mix the mustard, the remaining vinegar, the oil and the stevia in a little bowl, pour over the slaw. Add poppy seeds, salt and pepper and toss well.

Source: My own brain, please credit said brain if you're going to reuse ;op

Loose for Good

The Lose for Good campaign is starting next week. We have done wonderfully well the previous year, but we can do better! Get involved, get inspired, lose for the good cause! Get involved by:

Losing weight

How cool is that? Weight Watchers will donate 1 dollar for each pound lost up to a million. We want to pass last year's total of 4 million pounds lost. We can so do it!!

Plug in for Lose-A-Palooza

It's happening September 19th. Find information here: loseapalooza,com

Connect with the Lose for Good Community

Look them up for support, inspiration and motivation:

More to come as the campaign takes off. Keep your eyes peeled cause we're on starting August 28th!


While I was on vacation, I found myself on the grounds surrounding the port at "L'Etang du Nord". I was waiting for my Mom to be done with a meeting, and had nothing with me but my camera, my MP3 player and my walking shoes.

Instead of just sitting around, I decided to go wander around to take pictures. I started the music, and just took off, stopping to take pictures when something caught my attention.

Now, I'm certainly no photograph, don't even know enough about it to be a wannabe, and my camera was an ok one... 8 years ago! I had the best time!

"What on earth does that have to do with activity?" you ask... Well, I walked (with frequent stops that's true) for well over 2 1/2 hours.

Moving is moving right? Who knew that you could burn calories taking pictures? HA!

See the Move it! blog to see some example of my attempt at photography! He he he!

Have a good week

Don't let slow downs and plateaus turn you away from your goals. Those are normal, and happen to everybody. The first step to getting ourselves back on the losing track again is to keep coming to the meetings so that we can find solution and remain connected to what we are trying to do.

As always I'm there for you, never be afraid to ask! See you in the meeting room.

Be good n stuff!!!


“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”
~Frank A. Clark

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Is a Meatless Day for Me?

As I unpack my luggage from my vacation, and realize upon stepping on the scale that I shouldn't wait before I step into my routine again, I realize that my routine needs a little kick.

The last few months my meals have been "on program" but nothing to write home about. So, cookbooks in hand, I'm planning my week. The funny thing is that 3 of my 5 weeknight dinners are vegan. What a shift!

When I started Weight Watchers, the idea of a meal without meat was ridiculous to me. Of course then I thought vegan meant some nasty looking fake meat, with some half cooked unknown grain and 3 over steamed broccoli floret. Boy was I wrong!

Vegetarian/vegan cooking can very easily be weigh-loss friendly and healthy, but also cost effective! Add to that that it can be absolutely delicious and filling, what's not to love? The possibilities are endless. This week we will talk about how to incorporate vegetarian/ vegan cooking to our routine, for our health and our wallet's!

Tool of the Week

Did you know that the PointPlus Cookbook not only has a great side dish chapter (page 204 to 233) which has a lot of vegetarian and/or vegan sides, but also a vegetarian main meal section?

Look in the "The main lean event" chapter, page 190 to 203! 11 main meals, some of them vegan, some of them vegetarian, but all of them delicious! The perfect tool to dip your toes in the art of vegetarian cooking.

In the Kitchen

I have entirely too many cookbooks, and I am purging them every once in a while. I do however have a very extensive and, if I say so myself, well researched vegan cookbooks collection.

This recipe is from a favorite of mine: Appetite for reduction from Isa Chandra Moskiwitz. Isa's recipes are sometimes a little complicated and out there, but her cooking is very creative, and inspiring.

This recipe is one of the simplest most satisfying "whole meal" that I've gotten out of that book.
Don't let the cooking time and long instruction get to you, it is very easy to make and a good way to deal with eggplant when one feels a little intimidated. :o)

Eggplant-Chickpea Curry
6 serving, 4 P+/serving

1 tsp oil
1 small white onion, chopped finely
3 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, spicy!)
1 pound tomatoes, chopped roughly (about 2 cups)
2 pound eggplant, cubed (3/4 inch)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cup)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Use a little nonstick cooking spray if needed. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes (if using), and saute for another minute. Mix in the tomato, eggplant, and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. The tomato should deglaze the pan (if not I cheat and throw in a TBSP or a little more vegetable broth).

Mix in the curry powder, garam masala, and ground cumin. Add the vegetable broth, stir and cover the pot. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and cook with the pot covered for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggplant should be mostly broken down by this point. Add the chickpeas and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes,stirring for about a m inute at first (to further break down the eggplant) and then occasionally.

Taste for salt and serve garnished with cilantro.

Source: Appetite for Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz p. 230.


Today (Sunday) we went for a stair walk with my fellow leader Michael Hamlin.

Michael gets together with his members (and anyone who wants to join) and pick a walk in the book Stairway Walks in San Francisco, by Adah Bakalinsky off he goes!

We started at the Stairs that can be found at the corner of Moraga and 16th Avenue, and then walked around the neighborhood climbing several stairs and hill until we made our way to Golden Gate height park and then came down.

It was such a fun and beautiful walk, and challenging too!

There are tons of such books about walks in San Francisco, some more challenging than others. What a fun way to move, discover new places and just enjoy this beautiful city!

Thanks to Michael for clue me in on that one, I'm getting the kindle edition of the book tonight! ;o)

Have a great week!!

It's the last few instants of smmer, soon school will start again, and we will step back into our routine. It's also a great time of the year to roam the Famer's Market! Get out there and enjoy yourselves!!

As always, I'm only and email away, never be afraid to contact me. I haven't seen most of you in over 3 weeks, I can't wait to see you in the meeting room and hear all about how those weeks went! Be there!!


There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes

~Richard Buckminster