Cruising: The Weight Watchers Way

Last week I set sail on the Carnival Paradise from Tampa on my first cruise since beginning Weight Watchers.  I will admit I was nervous, anxious and a little scared of what a cruise could do to the progress I had made so far this year.  I have cruised many times so I tried to spend a lot of time thinking about all the different situations I would probably encounter on the cruise with food and how I would approach each choice.

1. Movement goal:  Set a goal of not using the elevators the whole cruise; taking the stairs.  My 71-year-old mother was right there with me up and down the many sets of stairs.  Talk about feeling a sense of accomplishment!! We were both very proud of ourselves for this accomplishment (Non-Scale Victory!)

2.  Tracked every bite of food. Keeping track of everything I ate helped to eliminate mindless nibbling and kept me conscious of good/better and best choices!

3.  Fresh fruit was my friend.  The buffets/menus always have fresh fruit either whole or cut up on them (breakfast, lunch and dinner) so making that choice in stead of other less healthy choices was easier.

4.  Water, water everywhere!  I drank water with the exception of two sodas I had on the cruise and fresh lemon wedges were easy to get to add to the “Agua de Paradise” (ship water) which was great!  Contrary to many beliefs, ships water is very highly filtered and probably purer than most bottled waters and to top it off, it is FREE!

5. Celebrate my birthday without guilt.  I had a half a slice of chocolate cake and half a slice of carrot cake and that killed my sweet tooth big time and my tummy was wondering what was happening to it; but I didn’t get sick nor feel guilty for this indulgence!  I even had 8 ounces of ice cream! Yes on Weight Watchers you can have your cake and eat it too!  Everything in moderation is the best approach to eating and life.

How did my strategies work?

To go on a cruise and not gain is a victory in itself!  According to the scale since my last weigh-in, I am down a total of 2.4 lbs and I am thrilled!! Just .2 until I reach my 80 lbs mini-goal!  40 more pounds to go to reach goal! Yay!!! Goal for 2014: Reach my Weight Watcher’s Goal and become a Lifetime member!

The ship was all decked out for the holidays.  A picture of the Carnival Paradise Atrium and a picture I took of Cozumel at night from the ship.  I love Cozumel, one of my favorite Western Caribbean ports of call!

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Give Thanks

This time of year we are reminded to be thankful.  I am truly thankful that I am alive today.  At the beginning of this year, I questioned whether or not I would make it through the year.  I was tired all the time, I wanted to sleep all the time, never felt really great, was eating Tums like candy, had almost constant indigestion, bloating and lots of gas that would get trapped inside my body and I was having trouble sleeping at night.  What has changed?  Me!  I am forever thankful to a friend who suggested that I get a stress test because that suggestion snapped me back to reality!  I was really not well and others could see it too.

I made a decision to change my lifestyle and I have not looked back.  I joined Weight Watchers Online in January of 2013 and have been able to shed 73  pounds.  I am not where I want to be, but, my energy level have almost returned to normal, my endurance is better, I do not want to sleep all the time, I am motivated to do things beside, eat, sleep and work!  I have not had any major issues with indigestion, bloating and gas since I started controlling not only what I ate, but how much I ate.

I remember in January, one of the first things I set as a mini-goal for myself was to eat one piece of fruit a day.  Today, I am not happy unless I have a least two pieces of fruit on my desk and one vegetable to munch on during the day.  HUGE change for me!  In January, I was constantly eating some kind of chocolate candy or potato chips at work but now I have my fruit, vegetables, yogurt, etc.  Do I miss the candy? Yes and no, I know I can have candy if I want it, oddly I haven’t really wanted it.  The same is true for potato chips which I felt I couldn’t live without.  I have found other ways to get my crunch and satisfy my sweet tooth.

I am very thankful that I learned how to eat better foods and portions which has helped me to feel better and better each day.  One of the side affects of losing weight, is that I not only feel better but I am looking better, feeling more confident and being generally happy all the time.  I am thankful I am living, I am thankful I am living healthier! I am thankful!

Today I am especially thankful that I can wear this pair of Levi’s I bought last month when I was on vacation!  Yay me!  I am not too good with the mirror selfies yet!

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The Paradigm Shift in Weight Loss: My brain is changing!

The paradigm shift is simply defined as a change in basic assumptions.  I have noticed a great change in my basic assumptions since beginning Weight Watchers in January 2013.

I used to think — you had to be perfect in everything every day to be successful.  The beauty of the 360 program is that you do not have to be perfect, just human and consistent in your efforts.  In my old way of thinking, I thought if you slipped up ONE time, it was useless.  Now I see a bad choice as an opportunity to learn what really caused that bad choice.   I have learned that I had over-eaten mainly out of boredom and secondly from out of control emotions.   Do I still get bored?  You bet!  Do I still eat to fill that boredom? No way!   I normally have been able to channel that boredom into productive channels such as; journaling/blogging, going for a walk, watching a movie, sending my mind on a journey ‘inside,’ calling a friend, going window shopping, cleaning out a drawer/closet/counter top, etc.  Normally one of those will get my head out of wanting to eat, but what if none of those things seem to work?  I grab either a piece of fruit or a vegetable and enjoy!

I used to think– eating healthy was not eating anything that tastes good.  I have found out once again that foods prepared w/o extra sauces and creams can be more delicious than the calorie-fat laden counterparts.  One of my favorite snacks these days are the small cucumbers.  I eat them just like you would eat any piece of fruit.  No, I do not need some kind of dip to eat my vegetables anymore!  One of my grandfathers loved onions and he would eat them just like he was eating an apple.  I enjoy onions but I seriously doubt I will ever get to that point of munching down on straight onion like him but I do see a definite shift in what I am choosing to eat as a snack.

I used to think– I had to starve in order to lose weight.  I have found by following the Weight Watchers 360 program that I am in reality eating a greater volume of food than I was before but the volume is high quality foods.  The scientists at Weight Watchers have to be pure geniuses, most fruits and vegetables (not all) are considered “zero” point foods.   Why is this genius?  With the Weight Watchers plan is that you get a set number of points to use for the day and these points decline as you lose weight.  What I am seeing as great wisdom in this is that you quickly start focusing on what you can eat clearly.  You choose foods that are good point “values.” You spend your daily point allowance like you spend money.  You “naturally” start eating fruits and vegetables in greater amounts to maximize/get more bang for your buck of your daily point allowance.  No one is standing over you, telling you that you need to eat more fruits and vegetables; it is something you come to naturally when following the program.

I used to think—all fat is bad and avoid it all at all costs!  I have to admit I love almost all things fried, especially those with rich sauces and gravies.  I am a carnivore and almost all meat is good, very good tasting to me and the juicier the better.  A salad without lots of dressing is just flat-out boring to me.  Even baked potatoes have to be smothered in butter, bacon pieces, sour cream and chives to be exciting.  Eating vegetables without cheese, surely not!   Can one eat shrimp and fish without it being batter-dipped and deep-fried?  No way!  I can say after ten months of a new healthier lifestyle that I now have meatless meals, even love meatless burgers, love salads with minimal dressings, baked potatoes still need fat-free sour cream and chives, plain broccoli is delicious, so is plain chopped spinach, Brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas!  One of the most favorite meals I make now is steamed/boiled shrimp with freshly steamed vegetables.  Wow, have things changed or what!!!!?

There is a song, that says “used to be’s don’t count anymore, they just lay on the floor, ‘til we sweep them away” what I used to think, doesn’t mean much anymore the paradigm has shifted!