8 Tips to “Spring” Ahead Your Weight Loss Journey!

I love Springtime! Everything turns green again, the weather warms and sandals and bare feet are once again in style!I also love Spring because it’s a season of hope and new beginnings, so I thought “What a great time to change up my routines!” 


In my weekly column for Organize Yourself Skinny, I take on “8 Tips to ‘Spring’Ahead Your Weight Loss Journey!” 

Check it out and share your tips for lightening your journey in the comments, please! 

A Day in the Life of HEATHER! 

This is our “Day in the Life” series, which showcases a day in the life of a different person on their weight loss journey! What they eat, where they go, exercise, me time, fun, you name it!Today I want to introduce you to Heather, a working mom who balances kiddos, career exercise and even sneaks in some quality time with her hubby! I love her menu choices because they represent “real” food in correct and moderate portions! 

Here’s Heather:

I joined WW last September and have lost over 43lbs, mainly through portion control and exercise! I love food too much to “diet” so I have learned that I can have what I love with portion sizes and being smarter so that I don’t feel too restricted! I have two small kids and find that it is hard to keep focused on putting myself first and taking care of myself–as I am sure other moms can relate! I usually say to myself “I can do this for today. Just get through today.” and it has been helping me to keep that in mind rather than focus on the long-term that can sometimes seem daunting! 

My sister and I have started a facebook page called The Shrinking Sisters where we share meal ideas and tips for those on weight loss journeys or WW.


For breakfast, I usually have some kind of scramble!! I find it is filling and creative. I use egg beaters a lot of the time and leftover veggies or protein that I can quickly throw in. ( I usually don’t count a little tiny bit of butter–but that is just me!)


BREAKFAST = 6 Smartpoints (SP)

Egg Beaters = 1 SP

Leftover veggies and fresh herbs = 0SP

Banana – 0SP

coffee – 3SP

Healthy Life English Muffin – 2SP


SNACK

Snack is a yogurt parfait! I am loving the Elli Quark brand and it is less tangy than Greek yogurts. And one less point!! I like to add a sprinkle of granola for crunch and texture.

SNACK TOTAL= 3SP

Yogurt- 2SP

Berries – 0SP

Granola Sprinkle – 1SP


LUNCH

Lunch for me is usually a sandwich or soup. I love soup because it can last a few days and therefore tastes better than the day you made it. It is very filling and is usually less points! Very hearty! Here is SkinnyTaste‘s Beef, Tomato and Acini de Pepe Soup.

LUNCH = 9SP

Soup = 6SP

Bread = 3SP


DINNER

Dinner is usually more substantial- a meat, starch and veg and fruit if I can. Lately we have been so busy that we need quick ideas on dinner because we are working late and then rushing off to kids baseball games or something. Here I took leftover grilled chicken breasts and stuffed them in a pita with a little lite Caesar dressing, lettuce shreds and tomatoes. I have paired it with Alexia Roasted Red Potatoes and some more fruit!

DINNER – 10SP

Alexia Potatoes – 3SP

Berries – 0SP

Pita- 3SP

Chicken – 2SP

Caesar – 2SP

Dessert

We’ve got a sweet tooth at our house and it feels like we always need to end our night with dessert! I usually do a Sugar Free Pudding or maybe a WW ice cream bar or these Yasso Bars are my fav!!!! All the flavors are great, but I particularly love the Coffee!

DESSERT – 4SP

Yasso Coffee Choc Chip Bar – 4sp

Workout

It is tough sometimes to get a workout in with a busy family schedule with kids who are so young! Sometimes its a walk outside if it is nice with the kids, but I do like to hit the gym for either yoga, a dance class or even 30 min on the elliptical if it is tight on time! 

Sometimes my hub and I just sit in the hottub at the gym and have a mini-date so we can talk for 20 min uninterrupted! It has been a dream for us!

 

Heather, this day is a great example to everyone who thinks you have to eat bad food or give up the things you love to lose weight. Thank you SO much for sharing your day!

Have questions for Heather? Share them in the comments below! 

Twenty Questions With STEPHANIE!

Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a segment called “Twenty Questions With…” Young, young at heart, marathon runners and those who can’t exercise at all, vegetarians, pescatarians, working mommas, work-from-home professionals and retirees. We’re going to showcase them all, because when you read about someone like you succeeding, I think it gives you the confidence that you too can succeed!this week I want to introduce you to Stephanie! Stephanie is 29 years old and has been working her Weight Watchers program since 2013! Having lost more than 60lbs with diet and exercise, Stephanie is a great example of someone who truly tailors the program to her life and her busy lifestyle! 

Best of all, you can follow Stephanie along her journey (and pick up great motivation and food finds) at:

IG: @goal_getter12

And you can subscribe to her blog HERE!

 

Now onto the questions:

1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.

Hi, my name is Stephanie!  I am 29 years old and I live in Northern New Jersey.

I am a 6th grade teacher, and have been married for four years.  We do not have children.

2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?  


The truth is, I’ve been struggling with my weight for many years. My most recent “aha” moment was in the fall of 2013! I don’t actually remember what prompted me to recommit to Weight Watchers but I just did it. The saddest part for me was that I did not realize how heavy I was until I started losing weight.

3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out? 

I wish someone told me “This journey won’t be fast or easy but it will be worth it.”

4. How much weight have you lost? If you are done losing, and are on to maintaining? How long have you been maintaining your loss?  

So far, I have lost 60 pounds. I am still working on losing some more weight. I do not have a goal weight yet because I am going to base my healthy weight on how I feel and on how physically fit I feel. I am not too worried about getting into a certain size pants or down to a certain weight… I just want to feel as healthy as possible!

5. How do you keep your motivation up? 

To help keep my motivation up, I think about how far I have come. I look back on how I felt about myself before and it pushes me to keep going. Also, I have a wonderful and supportive group of people in my life. They push me when I find it hard to push myself.

6. How do you handle cravings?  

Some days are definitely harder than others… For the most part, I will try to come up with a lower point alternatives. For example, if I’m craving french fries, I will go home and make some freezer fries (3 points versus 11+ points)!  

I also always make sure to ask myself if the treat will be worth the points.

7. What are your top three tips for success? 

My top three tips for success are: 

1.) Do not compare your journey to other people’s journey. You are unique which makes your journey unique. Find what works for you… don’t just do things because they work for others.  

2.) Don’t beat yourself up! We all make mistakes, we all have bad days, we all fall off the wagon at times. It’s so easy to be brutally hard on ourselves. There is enough pressure on us for everything else. There’s no reason to add more stress to your own life. If you fall off plan, dust yourself off and try again. Each day is a fresh start.  

3.) Take this journey day by day. Enjoy the changes you are seeing and feeling. Celebrate small victories and do not dwell on the number on the scale. There are so many factors that accompany this journey.

8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do? 

Yes, I do exercise. I do cardio 6 times per week. My cardio workouts range from 30-60 minutes and usually consist of running and/or walking! I aim to weight train 3 times per week. My husband comes up with different routines for me because he is a trainer! I really love working on my arms because I feel like my lower body gets a great workout from running and walking.

9. What is your favorite breakfast?  

My favorite breakfast varies from week to week. I either have a Premier protein shake and a banana or I have Emily Bites Ham and Cheese Quiche with a piece of fruit.  

If I’m in a pinch, I also enjoy Quest bars. I workout in the morning before work so protein is very important when I eat breakfast!

10. What is your go-to lunch?  

My go-to lunch is a Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burger with a side of roasted asparagus and salad! I also pack an apple and sometimes a bag of popcorn.


11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?  

Weeknight dinners are quick and simple. My husband and I both work more than one job so weeknights are somewhat hectic. One of my favorite weeknight dinners is crockpot shredded buffalo chicken. This chicken comes in handy for several meals throughout the week.  

I also love Taco Tuesdays! Easy and delicious! Sometimes I make different variations (nachos)!  

One of our favorite weekend dinners is a lean cut of steak, oven fries, and veggies.  Another favorite is homemade pizza!

12. What kind of snacks do you like? 

I am a huge fan of microwaveable popcorn and fruit! I love the sweet and salty combo!  

13. What kind of desserts do you eat? 

My favorite desserts involve peanut butter and chocolate. Both of these things are high in points so I either have to really budget for them or I have to make some modifications (PB2 and a few mini chocolate chips).  

When I can, I enjoy a graham cracker topped with a little peanut butter and several mini chocolate chips!

14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy? 

WINE! I LOVE WINE! However, I have found that when I’m really having success with my journey, I don’t find alcohol worth the points. 

15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant? 

If I could order any meal, it’s a cheeseburger with french fries or pizza. However, my favorite meal that is more Weight Watchers-friendly has to be filet mignon with broccoli and a baked potato.

16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal? 

I love getting the small burrito from Moe’s (the Joey Junior)… I skip the rice and beans and load up on veggies.

17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration? 

I am so blessed to be in a small, private Facebook group filled with women from all over America, with different backgrounds, different journeys, different lifestyles, but all of whom are always there for me in life and in this journey!  

Additionally, I love Instagram. I have found some of the most inspiring people and some of the best ideas when it comes to working out and eating.

18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes? 

I love all of the recipes I’ve ever made from Emilybites.com and Skinnytaste.com! I highly recommend them both!


19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?


This quote spoke volumes to me when I started working out.  Since then, I haven’t stopped my activity!

20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?  

My final thought for anyone interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is to make yourself a priority! You are worth it!

 

Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Have questions for Stephanie? Share them in the comments below and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and subscribe to her blog! 

“Don’t Miss Out on 95% of Your Life to Weigh 5% Less”

I just got back from a week away with Mr. Big, and it was heavenly! White sand, blue waters and a week with very little responsibility. It was also the very first time I wore a two-piece bikini since I was about 8.To me, this bikini symbolized all my hard work, sacrifice, my commitment to my own health and wellness, and also, self-confidence that I’d never (never ever ever) had in a swimsuit before. 


Before we left I spent hours and hours in the gym, obsessed about my menus and meal choices so I could look my very best in my swimsuits. I gained muscle mass and definition, tightened my booty and ran miles and miles. I also tried on at least forty swimsuits, low cut and high cut and halter or strapless. I was so fixated on the idea that this was going to be a huge, huge moment for me and I was soooooooo bummed when our departure date came and I didn’t feel like I was as thin and tone as I had hoped.

And you know what? Once I was there it didn’t really matter at all. 

Walking the white sand beaches, swimming in the crystal blue water, watching Mr. Big snoozing under the palapa next to me, these were the important things. Taking a moment to give myself a break from blogging, from working, commuting, to sleep without an alarm clock, these were the moments to savor. 


And you know what I learned as I watched the world walk by? There were big women, small women, women who needed more sunscreen and women who needed some sun. They were all shapes and sizes and ages but they had one thing in common: there they were, on the beach, walking around and truly soaking up their moment. 

They were not letting a little cellulite, a little gravity or a couple extra pounds keep them from enjoying their vacation. No societal expectations of who should or should not wear a bikini were stopping these women from swimming and sunbathing and even strutting along the beach. And right there I decided I wasn’t going to spend the trip obsessing about my belly. I was going to rock it and savor MY moments. 

So in addition to a blissful week with Mr. Big, that’s my vacay takeaway: 


Work hard for your body. Work hard for your health. But don’t miss the important moments of your life because you aren’t where you want to end up. If we are so fixated on the goal, we miss so much GOOD along the way. 

What do you think? 

26 of the Best BBQ Recipes (With SmartPoints!)

Memorial Day has always kind of symbolized the beginning of BBQ season to me, and there is nothing I love more than gathering family and friends to share a meal outside. These types of gatherings can be tricky when you’re trying to lose weight, which is why I’ve put together this list of 26 of the Best BBQ Recipes (With Their SmartPoints) from our friends at SkinnyTaste and Emily Bites! I pulled recipes for appetizers, entrees, side dishes and even desserts to help you stay on track and still enjoy the heck out of your next backyard bbq! Check them out!

bbq 1.jpg

APPETIZERS AND SNACKS

Skinny Shrimp Salsa
1 Smart Point

Creamy Dill Dip
1 SmartPoint

Mozzarella, Basil & Tomato Skewers
4 SmartPoints

Skinny Tzatziki Sauce
0 SmartPoints 

Avocado & Mango Salsa
3 SmartPoints

bbq 2.jpg
MEATS & MAINS

Black and Blue Burgers
9 SmartPoints (with BUN!)

Balsamic Steak with Tomatoes & Arugula
5 SmartPoints

Hawaiian Chicken Skewers
3 SmartPoints

Cedar-Plank Spice-Rubbed Salmon
4 SmartPoints

Lemon Pepper Iced Tea Chicken
3 SmartPoints

Naked Greek Feta Zucchini Turkey Burgers
5 SmartPoints

Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce with Pork Tenderloin
1 SmartPoint for sauce, 4 SmartPoints for pork

Grilled Tuna Over Arugula with Lemon
3 SmartPoints

bbq 3.jpg

SIDE DISHES

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
4 SmartPoints

Grilled Fennel with Parmesan & Lemon
1 SmartPoint

Doritos Taco Salad
8 SmartPoints

Grilled Potatoes
6 SmartPoints

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
6 SmartPoints

Corn on the Cob with Chile and Lime
4 SmartPoints

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
7 SmartPoints

Grilled Zucchini & Tomato Salad
0 SmartPoints

bbq 4

DESSERTS

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle
9 SmartPoints

Fruit Kebabs
1 SmartPoint

Mixed Berry Mini Tarts
1 SmartPoint

Grilled Peaches with Honey & Yogurt
2 SmartPoints

Cannoli Dip
6 SmartPoints

Wanna scroll back through some of our past Recipe Roundups? They are a treasure-trove of useful and delicious recipes every WW devotee should have!

 1/8 – Best Winter Recipes