Auld Lang Syne: 2015 My Year in Review

As 2015 comes to a close, I want to send out a huge “Thank You” to all of you who have been reading and following my blog this last year and the Happiest of New Years to each and every one of you!

Over the last couple of weeks I have been reflecting on what opportunities I have been able to experience and what I have accomplished in 2015.  This year gave me some once in a lifetime experiences and some memories that I dearly cherish.

2015:  A Year in Review

  • In mid April, I submitted my Weight Loss Story to People Magazine and to Joy Bauer’s Joy Fit Club.
  • I heard from a producer (Kate) of the Today’s Show’s Joy Fit Club and interviewed me on the phone and I sent in photographs for them to consider in their meeting.  They would be making a decision the end of April.
  • In April, I began learning how to cross-stitch and began working on a couple of quilts.
  • I took a cruise in late April to Cozumel and Grand Cayman and found out I was invited to be on the Today Show/Joy Fit Club in May when I was in Grand Cayman and I was told I had to wear my 1984 Halloween costume!
  • In May I was blessed to reach a weight I wanted to reach when I was 23 years old but only came within 8 pounds of reaching it.  Which happened to be half my body weight when I began trying to become healthier.
  • In May, I appeared on local NBC affiliate News Channel 8 pre and post Today Show appearance.  The Pre Today Show interview with Melanie Michael, she did an awesome job! I only had 45 minutes notice that she was coming and I happened to have a bunch of bananas under my desk that day! lol
  • On the evening I arrived in NYC, I met up with Weight Watchers from CT while I was in NYC whom I had met in a Facebook Weight Watchers Group. This was so much fun to walk about NYC and talk face to face as we enjoyed the sights of the city. (Amy, Donna and Jo-Anne)  We walked through Central Park, Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza.
  • On May 17th, I was blessed to appear on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Joy Bauer wearing my Halloween costume from 1984! Talk about fun!  The cast, crew and producers were awesome, especially Kate!
  • The Post Today Show (right after the show literally) interview was done from the Orange room with WFLA’s Rod Carter.  He happened to be in town covering the Tampa Bay Lightning who were playing in the playoffs with the New York Rangers.  So cool! GO BOLTS!!!
  • Met and talked with Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) in the Orange Room at the Today Show.  BONUS:  He knows about the USF Bulls!
  • I saw Ricky Schroder that day too but I was in hair and makeup and didn’t get an opportunity to meet him but my mom did.
  • After the Today Show, I was hungry and my mom and I had New York Pizza at the Concourse!
  • Tried to get in to see Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show taping but that day the show was being done for an all military audience.  Saw many of them around the Concourse in their uniforms and in the NBC Experience Store.
  • Walked to Macy’s on 34th Street after having pizza.  So much fun seeing “the” Macy’s where the Thanksgiving Day Parade happens every year!  I grew up watching the parade so this was a “must do” for me while in NYC!  Also taking the wooden escalator was fun too!  That is a HUGE store!
  • The next day we walked to Weight Watchers International and toured the headquarters in New York City.  It was foggy that morning but could see the top of the Empire State Building from the rooftop of Weight Watchers!  Thanks Jenny! Also noticed that Mattel has offices in the same building.
  • In early July, I celebrated one year at my goal weight and Lifetime.
  • In Mid July, I recorded a series of video interviews about my weight loss journey to be used to train professional counselors when working with clients for weight loss and to be used in counseling classes at Penn State.
  • In July, I underwent a surgical biopsy and was diagnosed with breast cancer and declared breast cancer free.  I became a Breast Cancer Survivor.
  • My Weight Loss Story appeared in the Tampa Tribune on Saturday, September 5th.  Thanks Mia!
  • In September/October,  I redesigned and relaunched my Weights and Balances website with a new design and more information with my own dedicated email.
  • In early October I designed business cards to hand out at meetings, etc.
  • Spoke to both Graduate and Undergraduate Exercise Science students about my weight loss journey with a focus on Behavioral Theories in October and November 2015.
  • Throughout the year I wa invited to speak at Weight Watcher Meetings in Tampa Bay about my weight loss journey.
  • Participated in the FIT Program for the 5th time and gained some more strength in my arms and upper body. Had the most awesome trainers too!  Thanks Rachel and Michael (more about them later in a separate blog entry on the FIT Program)
  • My mom and I took a 9-night cruise in November to Aruba, Bonaire and Grand Turk.  We had a wonderful time and I completed 4 quilt blocks (cross stitch) on the cruise for a project which I just completed today!)
  • While I was on the November cruise I spoke with a lady who said she had heard about me and watched me on the Today Show, that was a very fun experience.
  • n December, I began the new Weight Watchers SmartPoints Program in December. It hasn’t been a seamless transition but I am working on it!  The phone application and computer etools still do not contain all my information.
  • My blog entries about my first week’s experience with the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program had over one-thousand views!
  • This year I kept my blog going and began to organize my articles and blog entries for a book.

2016: What’s Next?

There were many exciting adventures in 2015 and I am not sure how 2016 can top many of those adventures but it will be interesting to see.  In 2016, I want to keep encouraging and helping others in their journeys to greater health.  Another big accomplishment I am looking forward to is to celebrate 2 years at or below my Weight Watchers Goal weight!  One challenge I will be facing next year is the loss of my current supervisor at work.  She has accepted a position as Dean and will be moving away by summer.  More change.  While I am thrilled for her new position, I am sad for me as she has been wonderful to work with in the last two years. Like the saying says “the only thing in life that is constant is change.”  2016 will bring me a new supervisor and more changes on the work front. I will be praying that I will be able to meet the new challenges ahead of me.

2015 was an amazing year and 2016 will be spectacular!

Happy New Year 1

Weights and Balances (Year 3 Issue 31) December 30, 2015

December 30 2015

Scale Wars: The Dark Side of Eating

I haven’t seen the new Star Wars movie as of today, but I think the firestorm of heated criticism of the new Weight Watchers Program Beyond the Scale (SmartPoints) could compare with StormTroopers trying to defeat rebel forces (that is the theme of all the past movies).  In my version of Star Wars I see the Weight Watcher Program as the “good” guys (rebels) and the Weight Watchers members are Stormtroopers who are moving at the command of “Lord Dark Fatty Sugar Vader.”   A bit harsh? Maybe but bottom line it is true.

All of us good little sugar and fat stormtroopers (myself included) are so yes I will use the word “addicted” to “dark side” of eating that we are reduced to helpless screaming two-year olds when we are told “no” that isn’t good for us! While we have known it for a long time, Weight Watchers has in the past played the role of the endearing/enabling Grandparent who loves to spoil the grandkids with those sugary fatty treats.  Even Weight Watchers are reconfiguring their products (to some degree) to make them more compatible with the new program.

We all know junk foods are formulated to make us addicted to them.  Manufacturers spend billions of dollars on junk food science to manipulate us into eating their products.  But yet we willing to continue to eat these chemically altered foods designed to enslave us to sugars and saturated fats.  We have to break the cycle of depending on these types of foods not only for our health but for the sake of the generation to follow.  Be an example to your children, grandchildren, students, friends and anyone, break the sugar/fat cycle!

What can you do to lessen your eating on the dark side?

I found this great article called “Sugar Addiction Escape Plan”  that give ten steps (yes, that might sound like something else) to help free yourself from sugar addiction.

Lord Fat Sugar Vader

Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale – Part 5 (Week 1 Summary)

THOUGHTS:

This week has presented some challenges and some victories.  I am not sure what to expect on the scale in the morning though.  I stayed within my daily points, didn’t use any weekly points and I earned 49 FitPoints this week.  Everyone has commented how easy it is to earn FitPoints and I found my FitPoints to be almost equal to what they were on the PointsPlus Program with only one exception.  My daily walking seems to be about the same points wise.   I manually enter my fitness data into the website I do not use a fitness monitor at this time.  I know those with fitness monitors are reporting very high FitPoint numbers.

My week started off with my Sunday morning breakfast having to change due to the increased amount of points of the Special K Chocolate infused cereals.  I can see maybe mixing the Special K with Cheerios or Rice Krispies to extend the bulk and spread the points out a bit better.

Monday was fairly routine with my weekly stop at Chick Fil A.  My chicken biscuit on a regular non toasted non buttered bun had gone down one point YAY!  I was surprised to see that my normal 2 hard-boiled eggs which had been 4pp were mysteriously now 5sp BUT yet 2 eggs were 4sp.  I think that is a mistake and was advised to use the 4sp for two eggs.

Tuesday was the first morning to fix my oatmeal and I already knew I was going to have to stop putting the one ounce of raisins in my oatmeal.   I have used frozen cherries and mixed berries and that has been very good.  I had a lunch at a local Greek restaurant with coworkers. I chose chicken kabob and roasted vegetables, very tasty!  I also had a piece of their bread with some Tzatziki sauce and a wedge of lavash bread.  I took half of my food home.

Wednesday was routine and nothing surprising other than I noticed my FitPoints were mirroring my old Activity Points and didn’t seem to be inflated as others.  I started wondering if the difference was manual entry vs fitness monitor and that seems to be the case.  It would appear the fitness monitors are not as accurate as many believe.

Thursday was fairly routine as well.  I ate the other half of my leftover Tuesday lunch for Wednesday dinner. I earned 15 FitPoints yay me!

Today was the last Friday at work before Christmas and the office was invited to our Dean’s house for lunch for homemade Cuban food.  I planned out my strategy for lunch and pre-tracked what I thought I was going to have and in what serving sizes.  Yes I would use most of my daily points but it was going to be worth it.  I reviewed my tracker when I got back to the office and found I had  over-estimated several items on portion size and had points left for the evening! Yay!

Week Ending Thought
I would say I would get a 95 on a scale of 100 for following the plan this week but I am not sure what I will see on  the scale as this with the week that my hormones reap havoc with my body and the scale.  I know it kept me reaching for candy earlier this week!

SATURDAY POST WEIGH IN
I was up one pound today.  I wasn’t shocked with the week of birthday celebration with cake, Greek Food, Cuban Food just yesterday, monthly hormones, lack of water and my earlier in the week wrestling with the hard candy jar.  In fact, I am thrilled I was up ONLY one pound!

MY PLAN FOR NEXT WEEK:
1. Drink more water, every day all day! (I am a purist about this one.  I know Weight Watchers let you count other beverages toward your liquid consumption but having had kidney issues growing up, I know about the proper functioning of the kidneys and what makes them work more efficiently, water just plain old water, not coffee, not tea, not soda, not anything but water with a slice of lemon for zest!)
2. Be more active.  Push for two walks a day and the gym 3 times this week. Try a new “Sunday” breakfast instead of dry cereal.
3. Try a new recipe (I made salmon patties for the first time in ages today for dinner.  They were good but I know I can “tweak” the recipe a little to make the more tasty! 4 patties were 8 SmartPoints, not bad at all!
4. Enjoy  Christmas Dinner within reason and drink lots of water since my next weigh in is the very next day! I will be eating ham which I love and we know is high in sodium.  I will have a reasonable portion! Yes I will! (programming my head for success! LOL)
5. Faithful tracking and measuring my portions. 

FIRST WEEK WRAP-UP
Do I wish I had a loss this past week? Yes I do!  BUT I have learned with your body and weight loss you don’t always get what you expect and sometimes for me, the work I do this week might not show for 2-3 weeks.  The old phrase “stay the course” is the best plan of action!  One poor choice or one bad eating day is no reason to toss in the towel and give up nor is not getting what you expect any reason to give up as well.  Your body might fight you but you have to persevere and know that sooner or later (often later) your efforts will pay off.

Celebrate 2