Say (blue) cheese for a delicious yogurt-based dressing and dip
Tunes for Tuesday: Ship of Fools, by World Party

My somewhat rocky path back to Weight Watchers

Yesterday I racked up a fourth consecutive week of weight loss at my weekly Weight Watchers meeting.

Yes, I said Weight Watchers. I am giving it another go, but this time I'm going to meetings instead of doing the online program. I finally found a leader I like, and the local franchise is now corporate owned, giving the place a more upgraded vibe.

And to offer more support, I started a small, secret Facebook group with a few other friends who are doing the program. We share our progress, recipes and brainstorm strategies.

So why did I call it a "rocky path back"? 

Guuurrl ...

I did not set off on the right foot. Maybe it was breaking old habits, maybe it was not counting the Smartpoints in the fruit I put in my smoothies, but the first two meetings I gained weight. I did a little soul searching and decided that instead of trying to game the system, like I am wont to do, I'd count the damn Points, plan my meals better and act like a grownup.

That was just the trick to turn the tide. 

Week after week after week after week I have notched down. Listen, it's not earth-shattering numbers but it's four straight weeks of weight loss, and that hasn't happened in ages, so I'll take it.

I'm also not eating goofy diet concoctions. No "2 Points for the whole cake" science fair projects made of diet soda and wheat bran. I'm focusing on relatively unprocessed foods that keep me full for a long time, like oatmeal, eggs, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. 

Here' a lil' sampler of some of the things I've been eating:

Ggg-pear-and-cheese This was an afternoon snack of a wedge of Laughing Cow Light spread on pear slices.

Ggg-pear-and-cheeseHere'a s blast from the past: Cottage cheese mixed with a little stevia and a lot of cinnamon, atop a piece of whole wheat bread and toasted until the cottage cheese gets a little melty. Way back in the day (we're talking the very first Weight Watchers cookbook) this was a Weight Watchers "Cheese Danish" but I still like it. It's great with a side of fruit and coffee.

Ggg-ricotta-waffleI found this recipe on the Weight Watchers website. It's ricotta flavored with lemon juice and zest, sweetened with a pinch of powdered sugar, put atop a toasted waffle and sprinkled with a bunch of blueberries. Great little breakfast.

Ggg-pear-and-cheeseThis was my choice at a ramen shop in Gainesville, where I found myself last month. While it probably had enough sodium for two days, I guzzled glass after glass of water and between the water and the broth, I was beyond full. Yeah, there's a fair amount of noodles but overall, a bowl of real ramen (not the grocery store garbage) is a decent restaurant choice.

I even, EVEN! fit in a 2-mile walk on Tuesday, another major milestone because I have been battling an angry left achilles and right IT band. My exercise the past -- yeesh -- year has been somewhat sporadic, and I definitely saw the result of that on the scale. I've also been going to sleep too late, waking up too late, jumping into the home office and working while multitasking laundry and food prep, looking up at the clock and thinking "CRAP. When am I going to fit in a workout?" 

Tuesday I found myself in that predicament, but instead of blowing off the workout (again), I asked Cortana what time the sunset was, laced up my sneakers and beat the sun in a brisk 2-mile walk on a still sweltering early evening. I didn't even care if my left or right leg would flare up -- I was going FOR. A. WALK. A hot, sweaty walk.

And no issues! Everything was good.

So, like I said, I found a Weight Watchers leader I like. She's fun, feisty and stays on topic -- an issue I had with other leaders in this region. But yesterday she drove me a bit crazy when she brought up the notion of "negative-calorie foods."

Ain't no such thing, and if you say there is I WILL FIGHT YOU.


 She insisted that there were and recited a list of the usual suspects: celery, lettuce, blah, blah, blah ... 

Are we really going to do this? Iverson-caloriesI calmly raised my hand and said "negative-calorie foods is a myth." She didn't believe me, and when I started to explain, she said I was being negative. 


All the retirees in the crowd were feverishly jotting down the list of miracle foods and my eyes were rolling back in my head. Fortunately it was at the end of the meeting so I flounced out.


 Listen, I am a journalist, an editor by trade, and I do not handle pseudo-facts well, so as soon as I got home I fired up the WW website and asked one of the 24/7 coaches whether Weight Watchers has even taught their leaders about negative-calorie foods. 

Uh, no.

(BTW, while she was awaiting an official response from the WW higher-ups, I asked her about whether to count the points from a banana processed in a Yonanas. 

Uh, yeah. 


 But 5 Smartpoints for a Yonana'ed banana with a teaspoon of cocoa powder isn't too bad.

The past year has really been a bit of a weight loss and fitness shitshow but I feel a lot better about things now.