Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weight Watchers Online vs My Fitness Pal

Today, I unsubscribed from Weight Watchers Online. I'm scared to death! I've been with Weight Watchers for only a month and I've loved it but not without some complaints. I'm scared just because I love the flexibility that WW gives. I love having weekly allowance points and I'm just used to it by now. In spite of all that, I can't get over the fact that My Fitness Pal is basically a carbon copy of the WW app for FREE. Did I say it right? IT'S FREE!!! I think the WW program is great if you go to the meetings, but I just don't think the online version is worth it when there is an almost identical FREE program available.

Don't you dare to think I made this decision lightly. What about all the recipes I've already saved on the WW app? What about the weekly allowance points? What about the Simply Filling foods? It was really hard making this decision, but I'll share with you my reasons. First of all, I like knowing how many calories are in my food. It gives me a sense of control. Every time, I've started a "diet", I've lost weight quite rapidly on the first weeks. This didn't happen on WW. I think this is mainly because of the "free" foods. Not that I think, it's not a good approach, because the first days are the hardest and these "free" foods didn't let me go hungry at any time. Nonetheless, at this point, I think I need to restrict my calorie intake a little bit more to lose weight a bit faster. You could argue that you can lower your points on WW, which is true, but this was not my only reason to take the plunge.

I feel that MFP food scanner and database is broader that WW's. And this is just personal opinion because I have no way of knowing for sure, but I think WW doesn't include some other brands items because of business competition. This upsets me a little bit because not only am I paying for their product, but there are Healthy Choice items or Kashi items, or other brands that I consume on a regular basis and I can't just scan them at the supermarket. In addition to this, if I want to use the handy dandy WW calculator, I have to input the Fat, the Carbs, the Fiber, and the Protein. Ughhh!!! Do you know how long this takes at the supermarket? Let me tell you, WAY TOO LONG!! With MFP, you only have to look at the calories of the item itself and since you've gotten use to know how many calories you should have for a meal, you more or less know if it's fine. And if you're home and the scanner doesn't find your item, you can just make a quick add of the calories on the item and that's it.

Lastly but not least, the WW recipe builder drives me nuts. Who understands this thing?! I have a smoothie recipe I love, that I will share with you down here. It's all fruit except for 1 container of light greek yogurt and 2 tsp of honey per 2 servings that I like to add. If a yogurt is 2 WW points and 2 tsp of honey are 1 WW point, one serving of my smoothie shouldn't be more than 2 WW points maximum. Well, add it to the recipe builder, apparently it does a mathematical algorithm and it turns out to be 5 WW points. What does that mean? Should I just add the ingredients one by one, or use the recipe builder? Am I cheating if I don't use it? I don't know! But this problem was settled by MFP, because even fruits have calories and you just add them your food diary and keep on counting your daily calories.

Sorry if any of you found this was a WW's haters rant. That isn't my purpose at all. My husband and I just don't have the money to pay for both of us to go to the meetings, which I feel can be really helpful. So, we had to settle for WW Online. This product is the one I think is not worth it. If anything I've said here is wrong or you think otherwise, please let me know in the comments. You might still convince me to go back.

A hug to all the WW fans out there.
Stay Strong, Keep Healthy!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Friday, February 21, 2014

Twisted ankle or just excuses?!

As I started my new healthy lifestyle change plan, I obviously wanted to incorporate exercise into it. This is something I have never been good at. Since I was a kid, I remember not doing well in gym class or any other type of sport. I don't know if this is done in the States, but in Puerto Rico elementary schools it is custom to participate in Thanksgiving Day races. I always remember how much I hated it and that I would always finish second to last. Sports and physical activity are just not my thing. On another occasion, I wanted to try out for the volleyball team because I had a friend that was part of it already, and I didn't even pass to the 2nd round of try outs.

In spite of my past experiences, I wanted this to be a change and it had to include exercising. I decided to start the T25 program, which I thought was pretty hardcore for a person like me, but as days went by I felt it wasn't that bad. I wasn't losing more weight than what I would've lost without exercising but I felt really good about myself. I had a lot of energy, I didn't feel sore anymore, and I even was sleeping better. Until last friday... -_-

First, I twisted my ankle during a session about a week ago. It hurt pretty bad at that moment, but the pain went away after a few minutes. Then, last Saturday I was really busy doing stuff around my house and I was really tired to work out. Days went by, and I felt tired and finding motivation to exercise was harder and harder. Two days ago, my ankle for some reason started to hurt again. It hurts to the point that even if I wanted to exercise, I couldn't. Nonetheless, I feel guilty that I'm not pushing hard enough.

I don't know if any of you are like me, but when I set a goal, I have to follow through with it. If I fall down, I stand back up and keep on fighting. I know this will be the same and that eventually I will get back of my feet. But regardless of that, I feel guilty that I'm down. I feel as if I'm just making excuses to not exercise and not really giving my all, which I guess I was. But this stops now, I'm going to take care of my ankle and after that I'm going to start exercising again. We all fall off the wagon once in a while, but we can't let that beat us. We have to push through and try harder. Nothing has been written about cowards, or about those who didn't fight.

So... you keep strong guys, keep healthy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nothing tastes like bacon!

I'm a cook. I'm a foodie! I love eating and I'm not going to settle for tasteless food just to lose weight. In these past weeks, I have cooked 'burgers', pasta, "fried" chicken, french "fries" and I have still lost weight. How have I done it? Well, those weren't exactly burgers, they were homemade veggie burgers. And I'm also planning to do lean beef and turkey burgers, which are also perfectly fine. I've had precisely measured whole wheat pasta, baked chicken wings with baked "fries". I even dared to throw some fat free cheddar cheese on top of those fries and I am amazed at how good my food is tasting.

Nonetheless, I have been missing some food items that just can't be twisted to make healthy. In my case is not bacon, but a Puerto Rican "pizza" turnover, that I would usually make for breakfast. It is deep fried and I can't even measure how many calories are added in that deep-frying process. I don't know how the brand does it but it is sweet and savory at the same time. Crispy and flaky on the outside, airy and just pure deliciousness on the inside. I have thought to buy some baking dough to try to make my own in the oven. But who am I kidding?! Nothing will taste anything close to these 'empanadillas'.

This is why I use the bacon analogy. Even though there is turkey bacon or veggie bacon, we know nothing tastes like REAL BACON. And this is when us, in the weight losing phase, have to learn self control and set our priorities straight. For me, the decision has to be made in the supermarket aisle. Is this box of "empanadillas" worth the health of my family? I know if I buy it, sooner or later, all 5 "empanadillas" will be eaten by my husband and I. My husband may not have as much weight to lose as I have, but he's only 25 and has had his triglycerides elevated in the past year. For me, I think I have eaten plenty of them for a lifetime.

What I want to say is that although I could have one every once in a while, without really affecting my weight loss, I really prefer to stay away from buying a whole box, having it in the freezer and not being able to eat them. You could argue that I have no self control, and maybe you're right, but I'm working hard on it. I'll probably have an "empanadilla" later, but now, my eyes are set on the prize. I am focused and this is were I draw the line. I went out, I had my Valentine's day dinner, and I will allow myself other types of splurges, just not deep-fried food or other extremely high calorie meals. Where do you draw the line? What food item is just beyond what a 'Saturday cheat' can handle?

Keep strong, keep healthy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Table for two!

A Harvard study showed that "Getting married raises the risk of a woman becoming overweight by 3.9 percentage points compared to peers who did not marry, and marriage increases her risk of obesity by 1.4 percentage points. The effect is more pronounced for men. Married men see a 6.1 percentage point rise in the risk of becoming overweight and a 3.3 percentage point increase in the risk of obesity." 
Palmer, Brian. (2013, October 24) Married people are happier and fatter. Retrieved on February 16, 2014 from

I don't know if it has to do with feeling loved, but I just do. Every time I am in a committed relationship I've gained weight. Since I met my husband, I have put on around an extra 50 pounds of PURE LOVE. hehehe :) For better or for worse, he has also gained a few extra pounds, which has a silver lining to it because he has been really encouraging about this "diet" and exercising. It is awesome to have your partner going through your same struggles and knowing that you are not alone in this. And although he has far fewer pounds than I to lose, it is nice.

On the other hand, it is hard to learn that he in fact can eat more than I do to stay in shape. At least, the Weight Watchers app let me know right away allotting him an extra 10 points to spend from the get go. I WANT those extra points. I CRAVE extra points. This has opened my eyes because in the past I would eat the same and even larger portions than him. And if this has happened to me, it certainly happens to someone else. I feel that when serving food at home it's normal for me to serve both of us more or less the same portions and the same if we go to a restaurant. If it's normal for everybody to eat not only certain foods but certain amounts, why would I stop eating earlier or serve me less food? I guess we are not all the same, and we should be able to be so in touch with our own body so that we are able to hear it say: "Hey.. I'm full already".

This will be specially challenging when we get to the maintenance phase. I know I will still have to restrain myself from food he can have. Hopefully, I will get enough experience during the weight losing phase so that I not only learn to cook, but to SERVE our plates in a healthier way.

Short monday post! Let me know if any of you deal with this type of issues! Is your spouse skinny, fat, eats more and never puts on weight?

Here I leave you with a great banana pancake recipe from  Eugenie Kitchen, my husband and I have been loving with sugar free syrup of course :)

This was my version!! Absolutely delicious! Try it!
Remember to keep strong, keep healthy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Splurge

Happy Valentine's Day guys!!! I'm so excited to have started blogging right around Valentine's because there is so much to talk about celebrations like this one and weigh loss. I, personally, prefer not to go out on days like this because restaurants are crowded, food is substandard, service just plain and simple s*cks! So, I will probably make a trip to Costco and buy some lobster or scallops, find a nice recipe and fix that up for my hubby and me to enjoy over candlelight if I'm able to find some candles. That way, it will definitely be easier to track my Weight Watchers (WW) points/calories. But I get it, not all of you want to cook on Valentine's Day, or on your birthday or anniversary for that matter. You just wish that you could go to a restaurant, ask for anything on the menu, and not be worried how it will affect your weight loss. And that'd be the day MAN!!! That'd be the day!!! The day when restaurants will not serve ridiculously big portions and ridiculously fatty and high calorie food. This makes me so upset. It makes me think. Is nobody here trying to lose weight? Is everybody fit and comfortable with how their bodies look? Am I the only fat person here? And of course, the answer is NO. But we could be talking for hours about the problems of the food industry and how everything is made to make you fatter and fatter, but that will get us nowhere. What we need to focus is on ourselves and making us healthier, so we can live longer and enjoy life with our families, our spouses and our kids. So we will not only live longer, but live actively and to the fullest.

So, let's just try to go by this Valentine's Day, anniversary or birthday without gaining any more weight. First of all, today my goal is not to lose weigh but not to gain. Today, I will allow myself to use my WW weekly allowance points and maybe swap some of my activity points, since I did a longer than usual work-out yesterday. Today, I will try to limit the amount of candy and sweets I have, but I will definitely have some chocolate. I will probably have some chocolate-covered strawberries, which are only 1 WW point per piece. Not that bad. And today, I will just celebrate! And although, I will keep track of my points, I will try not to stress too much about it, because once in a while, we need a splurge. I think that is the secret behind permanent weight loss, being able to splurge maybe 2 times a month and go back to good habits the next day. I was watching Shaun T (Insanity exercise trainer) youtube videos yesterday and he said something I found really clever. "You just have to eat 85% good and 15% FUN." Today is my FUN day :) I will have a little bit of cereal with almond milk for breakfast, mostly fruit as snacks, a small portion of pasta and one meatless meatball for lunch and then on the evening, I'll have my FUN.

Important things to remember:
1. Try to workout!
2. Drink LOTS of water.
3. Eat slowly. Stop to sip water in between bites. Let your body tell you when enough is enough. It might be sooner than what you expected.
4. Keep track of your points/calories even though you know you will splurge, this way you will KNOW for sure what you are putting inside your body and you can get an extra work-out later on.
5. If you've been craving that Tiramisu, have IT!!! Just watch your portion size!

Enjoy! Happy Valentine's day!
Always.. keep strong, keep healthy!

P.S --> Leave me comments! How are you spending your Valentine's Day? :) <3

Nice Scallops recipe by Laura Vitale

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vegetarian.. to be or not to be?!

Although the benefits of vegetarianism are plenty... honestly, I don't consider myself capable of going full veggie! Mainly, because I love to taste all kinds of food and I love to cook and experiment with ingredients and food in general. And although, I definitely want to cook in a healthier way, I will not limit my ingredients that way like I would never settle for lettuce and a piece of chicken as a diet, like many people do. I firmly believe that healthy food doesn't have to be boring and tasteless. Just a few days ago, I baked some chicken wings that you would never believe were baked, along with some baked fries. They were so delicious that I ask myself why would anyone not try baking their chicken. There is absolutely no need to fry it and add all those calories and fat to your food.

On the other hand, lately I've been cooking some vegetarian recipes and I have found that they are everything but tasteless. I have absolutely loved them and this is coming from a person who has never even tried vegetarian food before. I most certainly will not become vegetarian... but will definitely incorporate many more vegetarian dishes into my everyday diet. Also, if you know me at all and know the passion I feel for animals, I feel that every vegan dish I incorporate into my diet is an animal less that has to suffer in a farm and later died inhumanely. That is also why I so deeply believe in buying organic food, but that's gonna be another blog subject...  :) Well, I leave you with my vegetarian dishes pics.

Always.. keep strong, keep healthy!