New month, new chart

Let's get jumping into January - what are your goals for the month?

Jumping into January

For me - I need to keep at the 30 Day Shred. I can't take my belly dancing classes this month, so I need to keep active when I can and do stuff at home. Here's to another great month!

Jillian Michaels just kicked my ass


Merriam-Webster defines the verb shred as:

1archaic : to cut off
2
: to cut or tear into shreds <shredded the documents>
3
:
demolish

I just finished Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred for the very first time and I feel like Jillian just cut off parts of my body, tore the rest into shreds and generally demolished me.

I bought this dvd before I left for Kirkland Lake so that I could start doing it when I returned. Today I took a two hour walk and decided to try the workout. I'm not going to lie - it was hard. I was sweating. I was cursing Jillian. And I really wanted to turn off the dvd player and just walk away. Jillian's 3-2-1 system keeps your body moving and it means that you're not doing one type of activity for a long period of time. The formula is based on 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, 3 times. You get a warm up at the beginning and a cool down at the end, but you're really moving for those 18 minutes in the middle.

There are 3 different workouts on the dvd and the idea is that you will do the first for 10 days then move to the next level. Once you've done level 2 for 10 days you move to level three and then you've done 30 days of shredding.

Out of the workout dvds that I own, I think this one is the most challenging by far. But I also think it has the potential for me to see the biggest results. I'm going to continue to shred and I'll let you know how it goes when I move up to the next level! Thanks to the girls on the 20's board for recommending this dvd so highly! I'm happy that I bought it, even though I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to get out of bed tomorrow morning.

PS - I gave myself an extra special sticker on my Get Moving into 2009 calendar. I now have 16 stickers - how are you doing??

2008 - Year in Review


I'm sitting here and I can hardly believe that it's December 26, 2008. I feel like it was just 2007 and that this year has slipped by.

I hope that everyone had an amazing holiday and a wonderful Christmas with their family and friends. I've been surrounded by wonderful treats up here in the North with my fiance's family, but I've been tracking and I know that we're going home Sunday and I plan to get things back to normal. How is everyone doing on their exercise in December? I was doing great until I got up here. We've gone for a few walks, but a lot of time has been spent napping or watching The Wire or The Tudors. (I was also reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter, but my book was missing 30+ pages right in the middle!) I'm still happy with the number of stickers that I put on my chart and I plan to do the 30 Day Shred at least once before January 1st.

2008 has been a pretty good year, despite it passing by very quickly. This year I started leading meetings for other Weight Watchers. members. I started a brand new meeting in January 2008 and was able to grow it to over 20 people. It was so wonderful to get to know the members and help them achieve their goals. I have been at my new location since June and I absolutely adore it!!! I'm so happy to talk about WW each week, inspire my members and teach everyone about Momentum in the last few weeks. I hope you are all enjoying the new program and I look forward to helping you reach your goals in 2009.

This year I maintained my weight each month and felt good about being on maintenance. I'm also happy that I tried some new physical activities (softball and bellydancing) and quit my gym membership!! (Very liberating)

In the last few weeks I've been very thankful for Weight Watchers and all that it has taught me about eating well and taking care of myself. In November I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, and it has really opened my eyes. I'm thankful for the good habits that I've already made courtesy of WW and I'm confident that through what I've learned and proper medical attention that I'm going to be able to keep my disease in check.

I can't say that I have any resolutions for 2009 at this point... I want to continue to maintain my weight and health... I want to continue to eat more organic produce and cook as much as I can... I want to continue with belly dancing classes and maybe try another sport this summer or play some more softball. In 2009 I want to stick with the great balance of things that I have in my life right now -- amazing fiance, family and friends, great jobs, opportunity to be on stage (Silk Stockings is coming up!) and a lot of happiness. I really can't complain and I hope that I am lucky enough to continue with all of it in the New Year.

If you haven't already, take some time to think about 2008 and what you've already accomplished. Learn from everything this year and try to think of some things that you would like to have happen in 2009.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers. I can't believe this blog has reached more than 4000 views. Thank you for reading and I look forward to writing more and hearing all of your stories in 2009.

Lots of Love,

Ashley

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

How is everyone adapting to this chilly weather we've been having? I hope everyone is keeping warm. 

It sure is busy this time of year and I hope that my meetings members got some strategies over the last few weeks for dealing with the people, food, social events, activity and time management. I hope that everyone's activity chart is filling up with stickers! I'm happy to say that I've got more than 5 on mine so far and this weekend I hope to add to it with some walking, hot yoga and belly dancing!

Sometime this weekend I'm going to post some ideas for WW-friendly holiday baking. I love preparing baked goods for loved ones around this time of year, and I especially love encorporating WW-friendly recipes into the mix. I've accumulated a good selection of holiday recipes in the last couple years and I've made a list of what I want to make. Hopefully the recipes will give you some ideas if you would like to get baking sometime in the next couple weeks. 

I'm happy to report that I finished my Christmas shopping before December even started and I even have a few gifts wrapped at this point!! I need to do my Christmas cards... I think that might be another project for the weekend. 

Tomorrow night is my work's holiday party and we're going to a Brazillian steakhouse! I've never been but I'm sure that it's going to be an interesting time. The food consists of a buffet with tonnes of cold salads, bread and seafood. Then once seated, your server brings you a selection of more than 10 different types of meats and sides. You have a card at your place setting that has two sides - green when you are still eating and ready for more and red when you're done or want to take a rest from the food. Wish me luck. I have a feeling that my card will be red for much of the evening and I plan to earn some AP's dancing alongside the Carnivale style dancers and drummers!!

I'm really excited for my meetings this weekend to share the 2009 Weight Watchers program with my members. I look forward to seeing all of you there and letting you know about the great changes to the program. 

Have an amazing week!!

PS - I know I haven't updated my soup post. I was nearly finished uploading/editing it one day and then my computer died and I was not happy. I promise I will get to it, but I hope that a lot of the recipes there will keep your soup pot full over the winter season! I made the stuffed green pepper soup two weeks ago and it was a big hit at our house!

It's official

I'm a total geek. This link proves it.

But in all honesty, it made my day

Get Moving into 2009

Some of the ladies on the 20's board expressed a desire to get back into activity and after talking with Lindsay last night, it seems like it's something that a lot of us need to do. So I've created this chart (similar to the lovely WW Chick's for fall) to jot down your activity goals, your activity minute goal and a place to put a sticker for every day that you work out from now until the new year. Let's all get moving!! You can also comment on this post and tell me your goals for the next 35 days - I will post mine too! Happy moving!!

Get Moving into 2009



Another amazing blogger

Tony's lost 193 lbs - check out his blog to see his amazing progress and see how dedicated he's been to his weight loss journey

the moment you've all been waiting for...

*additional recipes coming soon*

Ladies & Gentlemen I give you soup recipes to last you the winter... Happy Soup Making!! Thanks to all my members and fellow posters on ww.ca who contributed recipes to my cause!! I'm so excited to try them myself.



I printed this brochure for my members and it includes 9 soup recipes. In my head you'll be able to print it like I did (1 page back and front and then you fold it to make a brochure), but if that doesn' work, email me and I can send you the pdf.




I could have written a whole book on soup, but had limited time and resources! Here are some more recipes that didn't make it into the brochure. I'm in the process of adding the Points values... or you can figure them out on your own if they're not included.





Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 2, or 1 in great need of solace Ingredients
2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash and sweet potato
3 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground mace
good grinding of pepper
4 tsp buttermilk


Instructions

Put the diced butternut squash and sweet potato in a saucepan with the stock and spices.
Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Puree the soup in a blender. You will find that by removing the center nozzle on the lid and placing a hand towel or tea towel over the top, you will not get a buildup of pressure and an explosion of soup on your walls or over you.
Pour the blended soup into two bowls, decorating each bowl with swirls made with 2 teaspoons of buttermilk.


Roasted Bell Pepper Tomato Soup
2 tsp olive oil
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 medium onion(s), diced
1 medium carrot(s), chopped
1 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence (equal mix of basil, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, savory and marjoram) 14 1/2 oz ff reduced-sodium chicken broth
20 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 medium sweet red pepper(s), or orange, sliced
2 pkts SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener

Instructions
Place peppers on a cookie sheet, and place under warmed broiler, turning until all sides are charred. When cooled, peel and seed the pepper. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion and carrot. Cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add herbes de Provence, cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peppers. Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, and Splenda* No Calorie Sweetener. Purée in small batches; briefly reheat, if needed.

Yields 1 cup per serving.

POINTS: 1 point per serving - Core




Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic-finely chopped
1 t. cumin
1 t. cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 t.)
1/2 tsp. salt (I didn't use this much)
2 to 3 c. shredded/cut cooked chicken
1 c. frozen or canned corn
1 14oz. can White Northern Beans - drained
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes-do not drain
2 cans fat free chicken broth


Instructions
Spray a pot with cooking spray and sauté onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add seasoning through beans-stir gently to mix. Add tomatoes with juice and soup. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for about an hour.
Great topped with low fat/fat free tortillas-cut into strips and baked (count points for tortillas)

Servings: 8 (1 cup each)

Core except for tortillas




Spicy Black Bean Soup
Cooking spray
1 chopped onion
4 cloves garlic-chopped
3-15 ounce cans black beans
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1-14 1/2 ounce can ff chicken broth or veggie
10 ounce can Rotel type tomatoes
11 ounce can corn

Instructions
Cook the onion and garlic in cooking spray in stock pot until soft.
Place 1 can of beans with liquid, half the broth, the onion and garlic mixture and the cumin and pepper flakes in blender, pulse until pureed. Transfer back to pot.
Puree the second can of beans with the remaining broth, add to pot.
Stir the last can of beans, undrained, corn, and tomatoes into bean mixture, stir, bring to a simmer and simmer 20 minutes.


Harvest Chicken Corn Chowder
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
2 cups water
2 cups cubed red potatoes
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium chicken bouillon granules
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk
3/4 cup 1% milk, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions
In a large saucepan, saute the onion, red pepper and garlic in oil until onion is tender. Add ham; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the water, potatoes, corn, bouillon, thyme poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add chicken; heat through. Stir in the evaporated milk and 1/2 cup milk; bring to a boil. Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Servings: 5

POINTS® Value: 6

Recipes Wanted!


I am so thrilled for Saturday's topic.


SOUP


I love making soup. I love eating soup. I love soup recipes - so I'm going nuts over this topic!! As I mentioned last week, please send me your soup recipes. I will be posting them here (with Points values) and will have a display in the meeting room as well. I will also be doing a spotlight on produce! I think it will be apples & squash - but please let me know if there's another fruit/vegetable you would like to know more about.


Please email your recipes to me at: wwleaderashley@gmail.com


Motivation A-Z

This week one of my members asked me for some additional time in the meeting spent on motivation and maintaining motivation over the course of one's weight loss journey. I thought this was a great suggestion, as I often hear motivation come up in my meetings and I see it often on the boards as well. Thanks to everyone who responded to my post on the 20's board regarding motivation to help get my brain going!


A - Attend your meetings - Meetings are where you'll get lots of great tips, ideas and inspiration from other members. It's a great way to kick off a new week and put the previous week behind you.

B - Be patient - You didn't gain weight overnight, so you can't expect to lose it overnight either. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare - slow and steady wins the race. WW recommends a weight loss of 0.5-2 lbs after the first three weeks. Even if you lost 0.5 lbs every week for a whole year, you'd still lose 26 lbs by the end of the year, which is pretty amazing!!

C - Celebrate!! I love celebrating with members! Celebrate pounds lost, celebrate smaller clothing sizes, celebrate activity milestones - celebrate everything! The positivity is infectious and it's a great motivator. Plus, who doesn't love getting stickers or medallions or ribbons?

D - Dine in - Eating out a lot lately? Make yourself a deal and dine in. Not only will you be control of knowing what's in your meals, but you might find some new recipes or foods that you like. Trying something new will keep things interesting and help you stay away from the grilled chicken and salad. Again.

E - Examine your Motivating Strategy - How are you going to feel when you reach your goals? What's going on? What are you doing? How fantastic do you feel? Remember those feelings and utilize them when you need an extra boost or just to help you keep going on a day to day basis.

F - Find a WW friend - someone who can attend meetings with you, walk with you at lunch or try a new class at the gym. It will help you stay accountable and you will help them too! It's amazing what we can learn when we "teach" others.

G - Goals - Set goals, both short and long term, weight related and non-weight related. When you achieve a goal, make a new one and keep your eye on the prize.

H - Have fun - Sometimes weight loss seems like very serious business, but think about the AMAZING changes you are making in your life and how amazing you are going to feel as you reach your goals. You are engaging in a life-altering experience, so try to enjoy it!!

I - Inspire others - think about joining the Weight Watchers staff or apply to be a Success Story!! Being a staff member is an incredible experience. I learn and am inspired by my members every week and really helps me to stay on track. OR check out the website to apply to be a Success Story and share your story with others!

J - Jot down your goals and accomplishments - and put them in places that you'll see them, like on your fridge, in your calendar or at your desk. It will help remind you of what you're currently working towards and what you've already done.

K - Kick it up a notch - Sometimes our bodies grow accustomed to our routine, so try out a new activity. Take a class. Walk. Jog. Run. Swim. Play a sport. See what's offered at your local community center or gym and see if there's anything you're interested in.

L - Learn from your experience - have a look at what has worked for you in the past and what hasn't and use that information to help you in the present/future.

M - Manage your Thoughts - be aware of your negative thoughts and get rid of them. Can't, no, don't, never. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and recognize all of the great things you've done and accomplished already.

N - Non-Scale Victories - enjoy them! They're important too and really help when things aren't going the way you want them to at the scale. Whether it's a new clothing size, a great choice made at a social event - everything that you do to contribute to your weight loss journey is a cause for celebration!

O - Open your mind - and change your thinking. You are capable of so much. Never forget it.

P - Persevere - Stick with it. Even when you're feeling down. You can do this. Remember the toothbrush analogy. You wouldn't stop brushing your teeth if you forgot one day or you didn't have time. Even if things are a little rough, get back on track and make it a new day.

Q - Quiz yourself - Go back to Week 3 (Think First) and take the Habit profile. Figure out what you're already doing well and work on the things that need a little TLC.

R - Reward Yourself - Once you've achieved a goal, be sure to do something nice for yourself. Book a massage, have a pedicure, buy that new book/top/ipod you've had your eye on. Once you've rewarded yourself, be sure to have another reward in mind when you reach your next goal.

S - Start over - go back to week one and think about what brought you to WW in the first place. Re-read your materials and take a trip to the grocery store. Rekindle your love affair with the program with the passion of a new member. You might even learn something new.

T - Track everything! Track your daily food intake. Track your activity. Track your measurements

U - Utilize your resources - meetings, materials in the meeting rooms, other members, ww.ca, ME - they are all there to help you in the meeting room and the other 99% of the week. Use them!!

V - Visualize success - what is reaching your goal going to look like? Feel like? Having a juicy Winning Outcome is really important and makes it super specific and relevant to you.

W - Weigh in - even when you think you've had a bad week. And those are the weeks to make sure that you stay for the meeting too!! Weighing in helps you to visualize a fresh start of a new week and if you've been off plan, a good way to motivate yourself to get back at it. You might here something in the meeting room that inspires you AND the weigh in might not be as bad as you think!!

XYZ - Anything extra that I haven't mentioned at this point! Check out the blogs I've listed in the blog roll. Read Success Stories. Read/post on the Message Boards. Check out articles on weightwatchers.ca. Read WW magazine. Find inspiring quotes. Find an inspiring/interesting book. Take a walk and clear your mind.

Sustaining motivation is a huge part of your weight loss journey and I hope this list can help. You have it within yourself to achieve your goals and reach your Winning Outcomes. I know you can do it. And if you fumble along the way, I'm always here to help pick you back up again.

You have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world - Harriet Tubman

No day but today

While I always think that every week's meeting topic is important, I think last week's topic couldn't have come at a better time for me personally and really resonated with many of my members as well. In my meetings on Saturday we talked about the importance of Taking Care of Yourself.

In our daily lives, it's pretty amazing how we can push ourselves to the backburner while we tend to our various roles in life. By taking care of yourself, you're really making yourself better equipped to take on those roles and be the best that you can be.

Taking care of yourself means saying no to:
  1. always letting others' needs take priority
  2. allowing have-to's dominate your life
  3. losing motivation
  4. being a yes (wo)man
  5. feeling guilty about making your weight-loss efforts a priority

Take a moment and examine your life. Is your schedule filled with things that you are doing for other people constantly? Where's the "me" time? Is your motivation taking a dive? Do you have to schedule 3 months in advance to do something nice for yourself? If you answered yes to any of these, it's time to step back for a moment and find something that you can do for yourself. Can you ask for help? Is there someone in your life who can help relieve you of some of your duties? Or are things going to calm down soon? What can you do to make yourself a priority?


In my meeting this week I ended with the quote "no day, but today" from the musical Rent. I told my members to make today count and really start taking care of themselves. As someone who leads a very busy life, this is something I need to remind myself of constantly and this meeting topic couldn't have come at a better time. This week I encourage you to also Take Care of Yourself by saying yes to:

  1. Valuing your own needs (as much as you value the needs of others)
  2. Making time to do activities you love
  3. Finding the motivation to work towards your goals
  4. Learning to say no to requests that will get in the way of commitments you've made for yourself
  5. Saying goodbye to guilt

What I've been reading lately...

I would like to start adding reviews of books I've read that are related to weight loss, nutrition, emotions, clean eating etc as it seems I've been reading a lot of them lately!

In no particular order...

What to Eat by Marion Nestle provides a great overview of the food industry and what to find in your local supermarket. The book is interesting, informative and provides a witty, non-biased opion. Nestle lays out the facts and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. The book is divided into sections and it's easy to skip over topics that aren't relavent or that don't interest you. There is information on the US and Canada and I really enjoyed it and read through it pretty quickly! A great book about food


I found Food & Mood by Elizabeth Somer on a total whim. I like to hang out in the food/health section of my local bookstore and started reading this book in the store. I thought it would be a great read for me personally, but would provide some additional insight for leading my meetings. The basic gist of the book is how our mood effects our eating habits. Sounds simple, right? Not when you factor in stress, PMS, general fatigue, SAD and many other issues we face as humans. It provides insight on each factor and gives you ideas for combat including tips and recipes. It helps you to look at your diet and see how your food choices can really affect your mood. A really interesting, relevant book.


Once again, I was browsing at the bookstore when I came across this book and then found it at the library. Lately I've been a lot more cognizant of my choices in life and how they relate to the environment. Some people think I'm going a little nutty or say that I'm just standing on my environmental soap box, but I'm really trying to do what I can for the earth and help myself and my family at the same time. Your Guide to the Most Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada is a great Canadian resource for people who are looking for ways to go green but (like me) need some guidance. Great information, products and resources and overall a really fast read. I took what I could from the book and am now applying the principles in my daily life!

It's November

I apologize for the lack of updates lately. Things have been hectic at work and I've also been back and forth to the doctor a lot recently. On Monday I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. I'm really happy just to have answers at this point and my experience with my new doctor has been great. I've been lucky that everything has moved along quickly and I'm starting on some medication that will hopefully help things. My doctor has said there is no need for surgery at this point, but I may cross that path at some point. I'm going one day at a time and I'm just thankful for the amazing supportive people I have around me.

I hope everyone has an amazing Hallowe'en. If you have any pesky spooky treats kicking around, be sure to check out this list for the Points values to some of your favourite treats.

Oh and I'm still obsessed with my Laptop Lunch... Additional pictures coming soon...



Still excited...

The novelty hasn't worn off yet and I'm still excited about my Laptop Lunch. Yesterday comments from my co-workers ranged from "is there a Strawberry Shortcake on the front?" and "are you going on an airplane soon?" to "wow, that looks good!"

Round two includes leftover fajitas with lf sour cream, brown rice salad with an extra lime wedge for tang and half a honey crisp apple. Yum!

My first Laptop Lunch

Okay so I have to tell you about my new obsession that is scaring my fiance - Laptop Lunches. Now I have to say that since joining Weight Watchers, I have developed a passion for food. I love cooking, baking, planning lunches, planning meals, making grocery lists and grocery shopping. It brings me a lot of joy and my fiance really likes it as well!

I usually pack our lunch every day. Sometimes it is exciting (homemade soup or leftovers from the previous night) and sometimes it's pretty mundane (a sandwich).

A few weeks ago I was in a store near my house and I saw these containers called Laptop Lunches. They are reusable lunch containers with various compartments and lids. I stood there looking at the containers, trying to decide if we would use them, if Joey would think it was silly and couldn't make a decision so I left the store. Today a poster on the GDT mentioned them again and I had a look at the site and then started looking at other sites - this whole Bento lunch box phenomenon is HUGE!! You can find pictures on the
site or if you search flickr you'll come up with 3,444 pictures of Laptop Lunches. I marched back to the store near my house and purchased two - a pink and a blue - for Joey and I. The set include the box, 5 smaller containers (2 with lids), a fork and a spoon. Everything fits together nicely and I'm also happy that it will be good for the earth as we'll be producing less waste with fewer plastic baggies, forks and spoons.
Here is my first attempt:














Lunch for Joey and I tomorrow includes leftover Shepherd's Pie, some carrots with hummus and two homemade cookies. While I'm not sure I'll take pictures of my lunch every day, I've rediscovered my passion for packing lunches and I'm excited to encorporate some more variety into my daily routine! Joey thinks I've gone off my rocker a little, but I'm sure he'll smile tomorrow around 12:00 and he opens up his fantastic lunch.

Today's Menu & Quote from the Weekend

Breakfast: Tall soy extra hot Tazo Chai, mixed fruit salad
Snack 1: Nature Valley Fiber bar
Lunch: Cauliflower & Leek soup, baby carrots, WW oatmeal cookie
Snack 2: FF hot chocolate
Dinner: Macaroni with tomato sauce & cheese
Snack 3: TBD

Water: 1.5L


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain

Yummy things in my kitchen last night


1 - Fettuccine Girlfredo for dinner. I need more tofu shirataki noodles!

2 - Another Hungry Girl recipe - Pumpkin Crunchers. Modified with Canadian ingredients, with the Points being still very low!! They are delicious! And a great use for the pumpkin I've been using in my oatmeal

3 - Cauliflower and Leek Soup - a recipe from another WW Leader. It's a favourite in our house

1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
1 head cauliflower (or 2lb bag, frozen), chopped
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. half and half
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Saute leeks in olive oil until leeks are soft.
Add cauliflower and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until cauliflower is tender.
Remove from heat and add half & half and nutmeg.
Puree until smooth

8 generous servings
1 pt each

Need some inspiration?

Check out this blog

Congratulations Brian!!! You are truly inspiring!

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving!


How is everyone feeling about this upcoming eating holiday? It's the first of many that are just around the corner, so now is the time to prepare! (and not just the stuffing...)


Last week in the meeting room we talked about the importance of Learning From Experience. What has Thanksgiving been like for you in the past? How have you behaved? What did you eat? Not eat? How did you prepare, if at all? Think back this week and realize what you've done previously and take what you can from the experience. Like I said in the meeting, you need to see it as feedback and not failure.


Turkey and stuffing and gravy - oh my! Not to mention pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and whatever other goodies your host may prepare. What can you do to help prepare yourself for the food that you will encounter? Are you hosting the meal? If so there are lots of great recipes on the Weight Watchers site as well as in Clean Eating magazine. If you're not hosting, perhaps you can ask the host if you can bring something? Or find out what the menu is in advance.


If you're doing Flex you can budget for the meal(s). Make your weekly allowance last and make great choices throughout the week. If you're doing Core, a lot of Thanksgiving foods can be Core, and don't forget that you always have your weekly Points allowance of 35 to use for those non-Core favourites. Whatever plan you're doing, try to make some time for activity that day. Even if it's a 20 minute walk before or after dinner, those extra AP's will help! Make room for the foods that you're really looking forward to. Maybe it's stuffing or pumpkin pie. Skip on the potatoes, because you can have them year round! Load your plate up with veggies and be mindful of your Comfort Zone.


And just remember, that whatever happens at the table during your Thanksgiving meal, it is only one day. You can track it and move on. Make it an amazing week and be thankful that you are making an amazing change in your life by doing the Weight Watchers program! I know that I am thankful for being on plan this year and for all of my amazing members and friends who keep me inspired and positive. Lots of love to you all xo

bzzz bzzz




I have been a busy little bee as of late! I'm sorry I've not had the time to write.


It started with my show. I was rehearsing 4 days/week in August and then we opened the show on September third. I'm in the last week of the run and it's been amazing! We've had great houses of people really loving what we are doing. Luisa is a great role for me and I'm really having fun!

I did my monthly weigh in on Saturday and was happy to be at 128 again. I was up a wee bit last month, but still very much under my goal and I feel really good about that. I've been getting comments from my coworkers that I'm looking thinner these days, which I think might have something to do with another activity that has been keeping me busy and that is belly dancing! I started my new class two weeks ago and I absolutely adore it. Abby is an amazing teacher and I'm liking the challenge of the new level. In early October, I'll be taking a workshop with the founder of the studio and I am counting the days! I'm just obsessed with belly dance right now. Reading books, looking at websites and forums, searching for costumes (which I don't need...) It's an amazing hobby and I absolutely adore it.
At some point this week I'm going to post a blog about my topic for the week because I think it's an important one! It's all about getting rid of pesky ANTs! Stay tuned..

Yummy Food Updates


A few months ago I headed to the US with some girlfriends and picked up some amazing fun food finds! I love cooking and trying new recipes, and there's stuff in the States that we just can't get here!

First up are the Tofu Shirataki noodles. These have been sitting in my fridge just BEGGING to be used, but to be completely honest, they scared the daylights out of me. They seemed great conceptually, but there was something about their white-ish colour and they fact that they were swimming around in the bag that freaked me out!

My fiance was away this weekend, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to give them a shot. I tried them in the Fettuccine Hungry Girlfredo from the Hungry Girl cookbook. I rinsed and rinsed them just like it said, paranoid that I would do it wrong. The recipe was super easy and I was ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

The recipes was very yummy! The sauce was creamy and had a nice cheese flavor. The noodles themselves definitely did not taste like spaghetti, but definitely had a "noodle" quality to them. The whole portion is ONE POINT and it's a lot of food! I love volume for low points values, so it definitely satisfied me in that way. I'm really looking forward to using my other package of Tofu Shirataki noodles for something else! I'm also going to check out Whole Foods here in Toronto to see if they carry them. 2 thumbs up!

The second item I wanted to tell you about is the Fibre One muffin mix. I'm so peeved that I only picked up one box of these! It's like any other muffin mix, except that that each muffin is packed with 5 grams of fibre!

I made these tonight and they were really easy and absolutely delicious! Each muffin has a Points value of 3 and taste absolutely heavenly warm (or fresh out of the oven) They don't taste gritty or overly full of fibre which is really nice. I've left a few out for the beginning of the week and have put the rest in the freezer. Each box makes 12 generous muffins.

Feelin' hot hot HOT



Today I decided it would be a good idea to head to hot yoga. For those of you who have never done it, it's basically yoga in a sauna. It is HOT! Like we're talking sweat dripping off your body, while you go through a series of yoga poses.

It's been awhile since I've gone to a class, but I decided that I wanted to get back at it. I went to a 90 minutes class this morning at 10:00am and it was such a challenge! I have fainted before (never in a yoga class), so I'm incredibly cognizant of the signals my body sends me when it's not feeling so good. During yoga of any kind, but especially hot yoga, it's really important that you go at your own pace, and do only what feels good for you! Instructors are always good about giving variations, and it's important that you listen to them and do what is best for you.

I enjoyed the section of the poses that took place on the floor the most. The great part about hot yoga, is that the heat aids your body in stretching, and often allows you to go further than you would in a regular temperature. I think when I go back, I will take the 60 minute class, to let my body re-adjust to the temperature and ensure that I don't feel sick or faint.

For more information on hot yoga, check out Moksha Yoga

Going to my class today was also very exciting because I added my very first star to my activity chart courtesy of the WW Chick! I'm aiming for 750 activity minutes in September. I can do it!!

Go for the Goal(d)


Obstacles are thost frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal
~Henry Ford
This week I want to talk about the importance of setting goals - both ultimate and interim. One of the first goals that we recommend at WW is your 10% goal. Research has shown that there are incredible benefits to losing 10% of your body weight including:
  • A healthier heart
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • More energy

Sometimes the 10% goal isn't best for everyone, so it's great to set goals along the way. In the meeting room we celebrate milestones along the way with 5 and 10 lbs stars, as well as Bravo stickers.

Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another
~John Dewey

Once reaching a goal (10% or other) it's important to set another, whether that be another interim goal or an ultimate weight goal. If your meetings member who has achieved a goal, sit down and chat with your Leader who can help you set another goal.

This week I challenge you to think about what goal you are currently working towards - is it an interim goal like your 10% or your ultimate goal weight? If you're already at your goal weight, what is another goal that you've set for yourself?

Setting goals (both interim and ultimate) are integral to your success. Setting goals along the way can help strengthen your motivation because your next success is never far off!!

It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward
~Old Chinese Proverb

Funny Article in Wired

Check out this article a fellow ww.ca member posted today. If you really think about it Weight Watchers really is like a game. I know some of my members even think of the Weekly Points allowance as "bonus points". Keeping this kind of playful attitude while on WW could really help keep things interesting and fun while enjoying the countless benefits of your Lifestyle change!

This made my morning




Check out this link to my friend Jess' youtube site and her weekly weigh in video. Congratulations to Jess on reaching her 10% goal and a special thank you for reading my blog and participating in the Good Health Guideline challenge!!

Cooking on a Sunday - Smackeroni & Tortilla Pie Edition

I'm currently in rehearsals for my new show, which means Joey & I need lunches and dinners for the week. While I trust him to cook on his own, I know that making meals for him is more nutritious and delicious and it keeps things interesting for me and ensures that we spend less money on fast food as well as groceries.

Last week I made my famous lasagna and the Ladle in Red chili from ESBM. This week I figured I would post the recipes I made as well as some pictures of the results.

First up...
Smackeroni & Cheese from ESBM


We had some for dinner and it was so good that Joey went back for seconds. This recipes is easy, cheesy and delicious!!


I love this recipe and it's so easy to make. I took some pictures as I went through the process of layering this yummy vegetarian dish
This is what the filling looks like when it's all mixed together in the pan. You've got two types of peppers, roasted corn, tomato sauce spices and two types of beans. I love how colourful it is!!
This is the first layer of the pie. That's a whole wheat tortilla on the bottom with a layer of the veggie mix and then a cheese layer (I didn't have mozzarella so it was only cheddar with a bit of parm mixed in. You repeat this step 3 times.
Here is a picture of the finished product!

I like to serve a piece of this pie with a dollop of sour cream and salsa with a green salad on the side. The leftovers taste awesome too!
My Sunday is starting to become a tradition and I'm really starting to enjoy doing it. A couple hours in the kitchen means great meals for the week and happy bellies and wallets!

Olympic Challenge - Week Two

How is everyone's activity going? Have you found something that you love? At last week's meetings my members told me about all the fun things that they love to do including:
Tap dancing
Rock Climbing
Walking
Running
Working out at the gym
Cycling
Swimming
Golf
Modern Dance
And many more!!

We agreed that activity is a lot more fun when you truly enjoy it!
At this week's meeting we're talking about how far Weight Watchers has come since it's inception. Weight Watchers was founded by Jean Nidetch and the company was incorporated in 1963. It's gone through a lot of changes over the years. There's a great article on dwlz.com about the program rules in 1972. Check out these recipe cards with pictures of recipes from the program in 1974. They don't look very appealing!! I wouldn't have survived!! There were so many rules, so many banned foods and it just wasn't as flexible and as liveable as it is today, nor did any of the recipes look very good!
I love the current Weight Watchers program. It has changed slightly since I started in 2006, but much of it is the same and I adore it!!
So for this week's challenge we're going to eat like Olympians and focus on one of the wonderful aspects of the current program and that is the...

Good Health Guidelines
It's time to re-quanit yourself with your GHG's if you've been neglected them or just continuing feasting on their goodness if it's already something that you're very good at. The Good Health Guidelines are:
  1. Eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day
  2. Choose whole grain foods whenever possible
  3. Include 2 servings of milk products each day
  4. Have 2 tsp of healthy oil each day
  5. Make sure you get enough protein
  6. Limit added alcohol and sugar
  7. Drink at least 6 glasses of water each day (1 glass = 250 mL or 8 oz)
  8. Take a multi vitamin mineral supplement each day

This week I challenge you to choose 1 GHG that you've been neglecting and encorporate it into your week

Check out your Week One booklet for further details on the guidelines or check out this article on ww.ca

Post details of the guideline you've chosen and how you're doing it on a daily basis in the comments section of this post

Have an amazing week

Olympic Challenge - Week One



Friday marks the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics. I love watching the Olympics and enjoy a variety of sports including swimming, diving, gymnastics, boxing among others.

This week I'm starting a challenge for my members. Each week there will be a new challenge to complete and something to bring into the meeting the following week. At the end I'll do a draw for a fun prize :)

If you're not a member of one of my meetings, please feel free to participate online. I can't promise you a fun prize, but I love hearing what everyone else is doing and I think a challenge is always good to ramp up motivation!!

I'll post some quotes tomorrow (I can't seem to find them online), but Olympic athletes truly love what they do. They enjoy their sports so much and are truly passionate about training. As a non-Olympic athlete I find that I can approach exercise and activity with a sense of dread if I don't enjoy what I'm doing. This is exactly the reason I quit the gym where I was a member. I didn't like the facilities, the people who worked there nor did I particularly enjoy the act of running on a treadmill. I've found that once I found something I really liked doing (bellydancing and softball to be specific!) I really enjoyed my activity and actually looked forward to it!

So this week's challenge is...
Find an activity you love and do it!

Maybe you already know what that activity is or maybe you haven't found it yet. This week I encourage you to either partake in an activity that you already enjoy, or try something new! Maybe you've always wanted to take a pilates class or you've wanted to join in that pick-up softball game at the park. This week is your opportunity!!

Whether you're one of my members, or not, please join in the "Olympic spirit" and post a comment about the activity you did this week and why you love it!!

Fun Finds in the USA


I went shopping with my girlfriends yesterday to Amherst, NY and we had a fantastic time! I love shopping in the States for a bunch of reasons. 1 - our dollar. It's affordable now with the dollar always being so close to par. 2 - the options! Especially for food! I'm able to find some great things that I just can't get here in Canada. 3 - I love shopping! It's great to find new things and be excited about your purchases.


Here are the highlights from various stores:


Target


  • Smartones 4/$8 in fun flavors that we don't have in Canada including some of the Fruit Sensations line and a bunch of desserts

  • Yoga Booty Ballet - Kit including two DVD's with 5 workouts, food info and Beachbody Squishy Ball to add resistance for some exercises. The kit was $29.99 and I kicked myself in the butt for not grabbing it last time, and luckily they still had it! I've heard great things about these DVD's so I'm really looking forward to trying them out.

  • Various 100 calorie snacks including Hershey pretzel bars and Chips Ahoy and Oreo Candy Bites

Weight Watchers Center


I have to say that the service providers at the center on Niagara Falls Blvd. are always so nice to me and let me shop to my heart's content. It's fantastic!!



  • Weight Watchers Easy Measure Serving Spoons - Some of you may be familiar with the Easy Rite Measuring spoons we have in the meeting rooms. These are a version of those but made from Stainless steel. They are shiny and beautiful and I can't wait to use them. In the set you get a 1 cup and 1/2 cup spoon and a 1/4 cup ladle

  • Smoothies - French Vanilla and Chocolate

  • 1 point bars - Peanut Butter Crunch and Oatmeal flavored (sadly they were out of the dark chocolate raspberry that I fell in love with last time)

  • 2 point bars - mint chocolate. I love this flavor combination so I'm really curious as to how it will taste

Wegmans



In addition to all the food, I bought some great shoes, awesome Liz Clairborne boots for $15, a great Nine West suit among other things. It was a fantastic trip and I had a super day. I'll be sure to report back on my food finds, the use of my new spoons and Yoga Booty Ballet!

Belly Dancing Update


I've now attended 5 belly dancing classes and I can't tell you how much I enjoy it!

Last night I attended a make-up class with a teacher I've never studied with. It was fantastic!! There were only 4 of us there and Abby was an amazing teacher. We warmed up and did some isolations and then followed that up with 20 minutes of choreography. It was fun to move to the different moods in the music and put everything together. I actually felt like I was dancing rather than just doing the motions and isolating different areas of my body.

I also worked with a veil for the first time last night. It's basically a large piece of fabric used to frame the body and create stunning pictures for the audience. It was really neat to work with a prop for the first time and I was happy with how quickly I picked up the different movements.

I feel exhilarated when I finish class. It's a fun workout, sometimes more sweaty than others, I work on my posture and my core and the time really just flies by. I feel beautiful executing the movements and I'm really feeling more graceful and confident as the weeks go by. I'm going to continue my studies because it's been such a positive experience and I really look forward to improving my skills over the next few months.

I highly recommend Hannan's studio. I've had classes with two different teachers and both have been fantastic. They have three studios in the GTA. I think belly dancing could be a really fun experience for many women and a really interesting, unique way to be active!

Quotes Part Deux

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.

Denis Watley

We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.

Helen Keller

Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth.

Julie Andrews

Things I've Learned about Softball


I played in my second official softball game last night. We're now 1-1, with a 20-19 win last night. I'm very proud of how I've played thusfar. I mean I'm not ready for the Jays or anything even close, but I feel like I'm holding my own. Last night I was 3/3 at bat and I was 3/4 last game. Last night I even picked up a couple ground balls and threw back into the infield with some pretty solid throws.

Here are some things I've learned:
  1. There really is no "I" in team - softball is a team sport and there's always someone there to back you up, support you or coach you. I always know there's someone else there to help me out on a play or someone who is going to be on the recieving end of the ball.

  2. Positive self talk goes a long way - especially when convincing yourself "the ball is my friend", "I will catch that ball", "I will hit", "I will run fast"

  3. A solid single is a good thing - there's really no need to go nuts out there. Go ahead and move in for me when you see that I'm a girl and I don't hold the bat like a slugger. That doesn't mean that my single isn't going to be important to the team's progress. A solid single is a lot better than a pop fly that is caught by a skilled outfielder.

  4. Sometimes softball is a contact sport - just suck it up and don't cry and explain nicely to your fiance later that you only snapped at him because the ball had just hit you between your shoulder blades while heading to third base

  5. Run like hell - because you might have a crazy batter behind you and you need to get your butt to the next base because he's not allowed to lap you. A good sprint never hurt anyone.

Pesto Burgers

Very yummy burgers from Rose Reisman's book "Secrets for Permanant Weightloss" or on her website


Cook Time:15 - 20 mins
Servings:5 Burgers

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, whole onion
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup pesto sauce (see below) or store-bought
1 large egg
1 tsp minced garlic

1. Mix the beef, bread crumbs, green onion, basil, ¼ cup of pesto, egg and garlic byhand and shape into 5 burgers. Grill or sauté until done, about 7 minutes per side.Serve the burgers with the remaining ¼ cup of pesto.
Nutrition:Per Burger
Calories 206
Protein 21 g
Net carbohydrates 4.5 g
Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 77 mg
Sodium 244 mg
Fibre 0.9 g

Homemade Pesto
1 cup well-packed basil leaves (250 mL)
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts (25 mL)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (25 mL)
2 tbsp olive oil (25 mL)
1 tsp minced garlic (5 mL)
3 tbsp light cream cheese
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Put basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl down once. Add cream cheese and process until smooth.

Ashley, the softball player


I start softball on Monday and I'm pretty excited. I picked up a new glove (it's even partially PINK - how perfect) and Joey and I have been playing catch and practicing.
I haven't played a sport since the ninth grade, and even then it wasn't a very pleasant experience. I was never very athletic and I hated running. Along my WW journey I got rid of my limiting belief that I couldn't run and I've just gone from there!
I played one game with Joey's team already this year. They needed one girl in order to play and I had come that day to be a spectator. I managed 4 singles out of 5 at bats and even had an RBI. I also managed to "catch" a ball. Well, I stopped it. Using my chest. But the batter only got a single and it could have been a grand slam.
I'm really looking forward to being part of the team and I'll keep everyone posted on the team's progress.

lululemon Manifesto

I brought my lunch in a lululemon bag today and I sat gazing at the quotes on the bag. They truly inspire me and I believe their manifesto is a great one.
  • Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.

  • A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.

  • Do one thing a day that scares you.

  • Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.

  • Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.

  • Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.

  • Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.

  • That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.

  • Stress is related to 99% of all illness.

  • Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.

  • The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!

  • Friends are more important than money.

  • Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.

  • Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.

  • Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.

  • Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.

  • The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.

  • Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.

  • Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.

  • Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.

  • Dance, sing, floss and travel.

  • Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.

  • Successful people replace the words “wish”, “should” and “try” with “I will”.

  • Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.

  • Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.

  • lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.

  • Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.

  • SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.

  • Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.

  • What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

  • The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.