Sunday, May 31, 2015

Back on Track...A Day's Eats on the Weight Watchers Points Plus Program

I am starting out this post with a bit of background and some disclosure. I have been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for many many years... since the mid-eighties actually.  And during those first few years after I got my lifetime designation, I quit, gained back a bit of weight, and rejoined 4 different times before I finally realized that I am a person who needs to stay active with the program.  I need the accountability of someone else weighing me once a month to stay on track.

Since we gave up living on our sloop and moved into the city, I began working for Weight Watchers as a meeting room receptionist, and recently took on another role as a 24/7 Chat agent.  And even though I am surrounded by members, program materials, and program tools... I confess that right now I am struggling with my weight.

I am 5 feet and 10 inches tall.  I like to weigh between 139 and 141.  According the the Weight Watchers guidelines, someone my height should weigh between 139 and 163.

Over the past couple of years, since training for and running a half-marathon in May of 2013, I have put on about 12 pounds.  I manage to knock off a couple here and there but always put it back on, and right now, after coming back from a vacation during which I spent 17 days on a cruise ship, my weight is the highest it has been since the beginning of 2006.  I am not a happy girl.  I have been trying to ignore it and just hope it will go away. I know that is not realistic and it is time for me to get back on plan, and seriously.  It is not easy for me to face that... much harder to disclose it publicly. But I feel I must in order to make it realy sink in and help motivate me to stay the course and get back to my happy weight..

I have experimented with other programs.  I have done the 21 Day Fix,  and I have joined online Facebook challenge groups.   I manage to stay with them for a couple of weeks, but find the requirement to take and post pictures of my meals and workouts quite time consuming and eventually annoying.  I did a 3 Day Refresh... a 'detox' of sorts.   I have tried carb cycling, and recently started tracking calories and macros again, this time with My Fitness Pal... and I have read countless other diet books... all the while knowing that there is a program right in front of me that works.

It is me that is no longer working the program.  I have been working out regularly... that is not an issue.  I do strength training and full bodyweight workouts. I run, I do yoga and Pilates. I play tennis and swim. I walk everywhere, sometimes for hours.  And what all of this activity has proved to me is that you cannot OUTWORK a bad diet.  Yes, working out burns calories and it helps build muscle and give you shape, it does not give you the freedom to eat and drink too much.  Sooner or later it all catches up with you.

Now, I do understand that for my height, I am not overweight.  I have a BMI of just over 22. But for me, it is not only too much weight, it is also an indication that I am not paying attention to my health and to my body's fuel/nutrition needs.  I feel bloated and my clothes are getting a bit tight.  I am uncomfortable. And it is how I feel that is driving me to make the commitment to fix it.

So, today is the beginning of a new phase in my life. First of all, I am forgiving myself for getting to this point and putting all of the guilt behind me.  I am getting out all of my Weight Watchers tools.  I am re-reading my program materials.  I am counselling mysef the way I do my members in getting back to basics... to weighing and measuring... to tracking/journalling my day's food intake and activity output... to drinking my water.  I am starting anew.

WW program guides and tools.

Measure cups and spoons... the scale is not from WW.

Knowing that Weight Watchers is sound nutritionally gives me comfort and peace of mind. The program is not extreme.  It leads one toward whole, real foods... fruits and vegetables, lean proteins... whole grains and lean dairy if you want them. It allows for personalization. It does not require deprivation. I can have anything I want, within reasonable limits.  I can make choices, and I can tailor the program to allow for more food/fuel on days my athletic endeavors are more rigorous. It encourages activity. It encourages drinking water.  All in all it is a very good program.  And I know I can follow it, and I know it works when I do!

So what does a day's food look like when on the Weight Watchers program, when one is counting Points Plus Values?

Based on my sex, my age, my height, and my current weight, my Daily Points Plus Target is set at 26.  That means I need to eat 26 Points Plus worth of food each day in order to meet my nutritional requirements.  (And yes there are Good Health Guidelines as to how that target should be spent on the various food groups.) I also have a Weekly Allowance of 49 (although I am imposing a personal limit of 35) and if I exercise, I earn Activity Points, that I may add to the Weekly Allowance if I so choose. This allowance is discretional... I can use none, some, or all of it, as I choose, and each week it refreshes.  Use it or lose it.

Here is how my day went on Sunday, May 31st.


Shakeology Waffles with  mixed berries and  sugar free pancakes syrup
WW P+ = 3


Huge salad of mixed greens with chicken breast and fat free dressing
WW P+ = 4

Afternoon Snack 1:

Fat Free plain yogurt with a bit of Stevia and frozen cherries
WW P+ = 1

Afternoon Snack 2:

Baby Bel cheese
WW P+ = 2

Wine while making dinner:

2 - 4 oz. glasses of red wine
WW P+ = 6


Black bean spaghetti with olive oil and parmesan shreds
WW P+ = 7

Evening Snack:

Banana with chocolate PB2
WW P+ = 1

I did a 5 km run (35 minutes) this morning which earned me 6 AP.

Daily Total = 24
Remaining WAP = 35 
Remaining AP = 6

According to My Fitness Pal:
Calories 1264; Protein 105g; Carbohydrates 129g; Fat 30g; Fibre 25g

A pretty good day.  My motivation is high and this amount of food definitely kept me satisfied throughought the day... probably because I have been overeating the past couple of days and am still feeling somewhat full from that.

I will keep ya posted on my progress!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo

I recently returned from a 17-day cruise and a lot of people have been asking me about the food and meals served on the ship… “ Isn’t everything covered with fat-laden sauces?  Were you able to eat gluten-free?  How did you manage to resist all the desserts? “

I admit to submitting to a few temptations but all in all, it was very easy to maintain a healthy diet while on board… there was an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Lean meats, eggs, and fish were available all the time. The chefs were more than willing to cook according to your liking.  And yes, there were plenty of decadent desserts, too.  But every day there was one sugar-free dessert and one gluten-free dessert so that certainly made things a bit easier.  The pavlova was fabulous!

My favorite thing about the ship’s cuisine, though, was the enormous variety of ethnic dishes.  Because passengers hail from all over the world, the chefs go all out to please everyone and make it easy to find your favorite dishes at each meal. For example, at the breakfast buffet, along with all the different things we Westerners would expect, there were a couple of different hot soups, warm and cold stewed fruits, and cold smoked fish with assorted condiments.  It was wonderful to be able to try some things that we never would have at home.

And dinner was even more fun. I learned to really look forward to the Indian dishes on the evening menu.  One that I came to particularly enjoy was Pork Vindaloo.  I had it a couple of different times and really loved it… so when I got home I started looking for recipes.  I couldn’t find any that I really liked so I ended up making up my own and it turned out pretty well.

I chose to do it in the slow cooker so that it could simmer away while I was at work, and when I came home, the kitchen smelled absolutely wonderful!  I could barely wait to dig in.  That first night we had this served over rice… and I froze the remaining 6 portions.  The second time we had it, I served it with red potatoes and vegetables. Wonderful!  Do give it a try.  It would be really good with quinoa or farro too.

I know I will be making this often… and I think that I will try using crushed tomatoes the next time, instead of diced. It will be a bit thicker I think.  I also think that a spoonful of plain yogurt alongside would be really nice.  If you like this dish I hope you will consider trying my version.  It’s easy and all comes together quite easily.

And just a hint…I like to spray the inside of my slow cooker with a non-stick spray for easy cleanup.

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Pork Vindaloo
Makes 8 servings
  • 1-1/2 Tbs fresh ginger root, peeled, and grated 
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, approximately 32 ounces
  • 2 cups chopped white onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, and minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 28 ounces
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the pork and toss well to coat the pieces with the spice mixture.
  3. Place a large non-stick skillet on the stove over MEDIUM heat.
  4. Add the pork to the pan.
  5. Cook 5 minutes or until pork is lightly browned on all sides.  Stir occasionally.
  6. Place the pork in a slow cooker that has been coated with non-stick spray.
  7. Add onion and garlic to pan.
  8. Saute about 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
  9. Scrape pan to loosen browned bits and then add with onion and garlic to the slow cooker.
  10. Add tomatoes to the slow cooker and spread over the onions, garlic, and pork..
  11. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours or until pork is tender.
  12. Remove from slow cooker and divided into 8 servings.
  13. Serve with rice or potatoes and veggies.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.
Calories 213;  Protein 26g; Carbohydrate 9g; Fat 7g; Fibre 2g.

Printable Recipe

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Slow Cooker Pork Vindaloo by @WeCanBegin2Feed

Are you a fan of Pork Vindaloo?  What is your favorite Indian dish?