Smoothie love and progress pics.

First off, I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote here on the blog and for that I am sorry.  It is always flattering for me to hear from my sister that people ask about where I disappeared to so thank you, I feel loved.

I have been having an incredible amount of fun over the past few weeks and have been staying busy with new adventures mixed with some midterm testing for school.  However, even with my rushed lifestyle that I have been rocking for a while now, I haven’t made much progress on dropping down numbers on the scale.  I had my Weight Watchers meeting today and I was up 4.2 pounds since the last meeting I attended two weeks ago.  Oops.  I know exactly how I gained those pounds and I know exactly what I need to do to take them off.

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration.  Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration. Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

I have been eating rather crappily over the past week but went shopping and am ready to get a grip on my nutrition.  I’m also on day two of no artificial crap caffeine (as in Red Bull and soda).  I had a HORRIBLE headache last night so I think I need to just pop some Tylenol early on in the day to try to avoid the headaches.  I’ve been having around five headaches a week now and it is getting pretty old… I spoke with the doctor and she suggested that I start taking a bunch of vitamins/minerals to see if that helps, including magnesium, riboflavin (B2), and Co enzyme Q10.  Otherwise she recommends some daily pill which I don’t want to get on as I would rather just take a pain killer when needed, not every day.

Besides my lame headaches, I’ve been trying out new ways besides salad to get fruits and vegetables in my life.  One of the new additions to my life to help me get more produce into my life are smoothies.  I’ve always loved smoothies yet rarely have them because I’m too lazy to do the prep and clean up.  Recently I have been reintroduced to the greatness of the cold drink packed with nutrients and have shown ways to make smoothie making less tedious.  Yes, I know that they have a lot of sugar.  However, they also have a lot of potential for extra nutrients like fiber and protein if you add fun ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt, and leafy greens.  Plus, they are still way better for me than the amount of sugar I get in my Red Bull addiction.

The smoothie you see pictured has a bunch of fantastic things in it like kale, spinach, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, almond milk, cucumber, chia seeds, ground flax seeds… A smoothie like that is a great meal replacement and my buddy has lost 65 pounds by supplementing meals for smoothies like this.

Veronica's amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

Veronica’s amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

I made myself a lower calorie version the other day with just some banana, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. Although it was annoying to me to have to chop off the tops of each little strawberry, I endured through the task and decided to cut up ALL of  my strawberries in motivation to create a frozen drawer of goodness like one of my favorite women in my life, Veronica.  I’ve always admired Veronica’s master skills at organization and since I babysit for her twice a week, I get to experience first hand in how doing a little bit extra effort at one point can result in simplicity later on.  Veronica chops up all her fruit and sticks it in the freezer so she is always ready for her two children’s requests for smoothies.  I think it’s awesome and wanted to share with all of you how easy she makes smoothie making, check out her freezer drawer!  Plus, it’s a great thing to do if you know you’ve got excess fruit that you just don’t want to waste!

Do any of you guys make smoothies?  What do you like to throw in there?

And as promised.. here are my progress pics.  🙂

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Love and smoothies,

AprilSignatur

April’s 2-month Weight Watchers Review

It has been roughly two months since I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I had never been a fan of doing “molded into a box” programs that have been designed for the masses, but I figured it was cheap at $21 a month and I struggled with being accountable for my own actions.  Eight weeks in, I’m down roughly ten pounds.  January I lost the majority of that, February I fluctuated up and down because of sickness and winter blues, and now that it is March… well I guess we’ll just have to see what this month brings for me.

One major criticism that has been bugging me about this program is that I don’t feel I’m getting what I should out of it.  According to this article, Weight Watchers pulled in  $253 million dollars in 2012.  The article highlights the low wages their employees are getting, which isn’t surprising to find out about since most large corporations pay the backbone of their company like crap anyway.  However, I’m sure that profit margin is still reasonably high considering the actual work the company does for each individual client is relatively small.

Once I was registered for my first meeting and my weight and height were popped into the system, I was assigned my point value for my day.  There was no personal assessment of the foods I could and could not eat because of health restrictions.  There was no measuring of my body fat or even just with a tape measure to my gut.  I stepped on the scale, got my sticker with my weight, and sat down with the rest of the stickerfied people ready to listen to our leader.

With all the complains this blog post may have, I do have to emphasize the greatness I have gotten out of the meetings.   The meetings are why I signed up for the program in the first place.  I didn’t think I needed help with knowing what to eat, especially when I discovered what kind of processed food they suggest (but I’ll get to that another day).  What I wanted is a group of like-minded people to get together with and talk about our struggles and accomplishments with our health.  So… basically this blog!  Haha!  But in person.  My meeting leader Adrienne is spunky and inspirational and always motivates me to share my own experiences or to get up in front of the group and do a demonstration of food portions or, my favorite, writing on the white board.   I have noticed a correlation between my weeks of losing and going to meetings compared to the weeks I gained and NOT going to the meetings, so that’s interesting.

Outside of the meetings, however, I nitpick on the little things that irritates me about the program.  Alyssa and I both agree that their smart phone app is horrible in comparison to Myfitnesspal.  Their database of food is incredibly small and navigating your way through the app can be slow and frustrating as you discover that you accidentally were searching for a food in your “favorites” section instead of the general search.  For such a large company, we feel their app should be flawless and incredibly easy to navigate.  If two young women brought up in the technological world of smart phones and computers have issues with  the app, what do the people who didn’t spend their teen years with a cell phone in their hands do?

Honestly, I have not counted points for weeks.  Because of my hatred of  the app and not being home enough to be focused on checking in on the computer every day, I just don’t track my points.  I have a basic idea of what I should be eating to stick within the Weight Watchers plan, but really, if I’m not using the app or website…. I am basically just paying to go to the meetings.  $5.25 per meeting to me is worth it to see Adrienne and the rest of the awesome people fighting the struggle with me, but is it worth it to everyone?

I hope that the majority of people using Weight Watchers are finding more of a value in it than I am.  Maybe if I had no idea of what I was doing I would like it more.  Maybe if they bought out Myfitnesspal’s database for their app, I would like it more.  Maybe if they sent me an annoying email every once in a while saying “We notice that you have not tracked your points for 37 days,” I would like it more.   Myfitnesspal does that and they don’t even charge for their website.

It is unlikely that I will register again after my six months is up in August but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to make the most out of my Weight Watchers experience.  It is working for me and I do credit the new support system I have found in the meetings for keeping me motivated. I just hope that Weight Watchers can use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars their pulling in each year to put it back into their products and individualized customer service.

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

Weight Watchers Two-Week Weigh-In!

Today I had my second weigh-in with Weight Watchers and to my surprise – I actually lost another 2.8 pounds!  I’m officially down 6.2 pounds  since I first began on January 3rd and I’m feeling more confident than ever that this time around, I’ll be able to get ALL THE WAY TO GOAL!

I worked out a lot more this week and tried really hard to make sure I was eating every couple of hours.  I feel like I was snacking on vegetables non-stop!  Being back in school is definitely going to help me maintaining a decent eating schedule.  I was excited because I bought a cute little lunch container that fits a small sandwich or salad, and three compartments for other foods.  I’ve already used it twice and think it’ll become a permanent addition to what I bring to school every day.

I’ve also been drinking SO MUCH TEA.

My Redbull replacement

My Redbull replacement

I’m hopeful for next week as I’ll be more settled into my new schedule.  I’m also participating in an online Facebook challenge with my friend Corrine.  It’s free, five days, and comes with a grocery list and meal plan… But the best part is the daily accountability check-in that I’ll be doing to list off the amount of water I drank, exercise I did, what I ate, and how I’m feeling.  I did it a few months ago and loved the support from all the other people on the challenge.  If you’re interested, it starts MONDAY JANUARY 20th.

For more information, click on the picture below and it will bring you to Corrine’s page where you can ask her to add you to our group.

Click the pic to find out how to join!

Until then, what are all of you doing  this weekend to show off your healthy ways?!?!

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

Kids and the “F word”

People all the use the “F word” differently around children.  Since I’ve worked with probably over 200 young children now, I know directly the impact the “F word” has on them.  I’m probably too over-protective of the word as I go so far that I switch out the words in children’s songs and stories that use it.  However, every family is different and people can make the choice to include it in their daily vocabulary if they want to.  It is just a word, right?

I had a moment tonight regarding the “F word” while working with two of the most special people in the world to me, a girl who turns 6 in three weeks and a boy who recently turned 3.  I’ve been babysitting for this family since the little girl was just nine months old and one of the best parts of my life has been watching these children grow up.

It was bedtime and the kids were rambunctious and rolling around on the ground, begging to play their favorite bedtime game.  We call it  “abalone”  and they curl up into balls and I pretend to pry off them off the rock before baking them in the oven (a big reclining rocking chair) and nibbling at their toes after they’re baked.  Well, tonight I laid down for a change and the kids dog piled on top of me with my annoying low cut jeans and “normal length but too short for a tall girl” shirt both separating on me just like my abalone shell was being shucked apart.  I immediately became so AWARE that my belly was hanging out that it became my top priority to get back up, pull my pants up and my shirt down and proceed with my mission of getting their teeth brushed.  I remember thinking as it was happening, “THEY ARE SEEING MY FAT! NOOOO!  WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!” and having this frantic moment of body shame as the kids played on, their smiles brighter than the sparkle of any abalone in the world.  These kids weren’t thinking about the fat on my stomach.  They were in play mode, happily living their lives as WE ALL should, unaware of judgement placed on our bodies.

I didn’t have the realization of what that moment all meant to me until I was driving home soon after. I was so happy the way the moment went over.  Sure, it sucked that I had a freak-out of body shame, but the fact that the kids SAW my stomach and didn’t say anything made me feel so much better.  They didn’t use the “F word.”  They didn’t call me fat.

I think I have a lot of body shame around children because, just out of a child’s simple curiosity, I’ve been asked about my weight many times before.  The most common is a child asking if I have a baby in my tummy, likely because they’ve seen other women who DO have tummies similar to mine.  When it first started happening at the beginning of my preschool career, at age 19, I didn’t know what to say to that.  Now I’ll just say, “No, my tummy is just squishy.”   Kids will ask, “April, why is your tummy so fat?” and I’ll make a joke about eating too much soft ice cream.   It doesn’t effect me now nearly as much as it used to now that I’ve worked with kids long enough to know that sometimes, questions that hurt really are just questions of wonder.

But then at the some point soon after those innocent years of toddler time, their perspective on the word fat changes completely.    The word fat transforms from a curiosity of different types bodies to a sharp dagger that can be used at any moment on themselves or other people.  Unfortunately once a kid has a grip on using the word fat, it’s hard to drop that habit and the image of what fat is to a child may be something that carries on with them into adulthood.

 

In a place where fat is all around us, how can we even control the word from changing from simple adjective into the piercing dagger it is known as today?

Is there anything that you do to try to promote better body image to the children that may be around you?   Do you think that as obesity becomes more common in the USA, the way we use the word fat will change?

Besides those DEEP THOUGHTS, today marks the one week of my weight-watchers week!  I weighed in this morning with a loss of 3.8!  Yeah!!!!  This next week I’ll work on improving my habits even more, as this past week I still struggled with my desire for liquid sugar.  My buddy Laura, the woman doing it with me, lost eleven pounds!  I’ll share how we did it in a post early next week!

Until then, happy Friday, everyone!

Love,

AprilSignatur

It’s beginning to look a lot like weight loss….

For added effect, sing along with the accompanying music, starting at 0:28

It’s beginning to look a lot like Weight Loss
Everywhere you go
Take a look in the women’s gym
Glistening once again
With beads of sweat and stretchy pants aglow

It’s beginning to look a lot like Weight Loss
Exercise on every night
But the prettiest sight to see
Is the skinny that will be
in your own pair of jeans.

A pair of riding boots and an assortment of tropical fruits
Is the wish of Alyssa and April
Friends that will talk and go for a walk
Is the hope of April and Alyssa
And blog readers can hardly wait
For this song to be over

It’s beginning to look a lot like Weight Loss
Everywhere you go
There’s a gap in Alyssa’s jeans
One in the mall as well
The kind that doesn’t sell XXL

It’s beginning to look a lot like Weight Loss
Soon the scale will show
And the thing that will make me sing
Is the chime that you ring
Right within my iPhone (when MyFitnessPal reminds me to log in)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Weight Loss
Soon the resolutions will start
And the goal that will make me think
Is the goal of every human being
(to lose weight)…right within your heart.

You guys. I noticed it this weekend. My jeans are LOOSE. FINALLY! The scale also shows that I’m now down about 12.8 pounds since all of my medical hoopla was sort of figured out. YAY! How is it possible to lose weight during the holiday season? Well, I’ve been running every night, doing yoga when I can, and generally trying to not cram my mouth with peppermint sweets, which is no easy task considering it’s Sugar Land around here. Just wanted to quickly share that I’m finally starting to SEE and FEEL some weight loss. YAY!

photo(1)

Here’s a snap of me from this weekend, in which I can see the tiniest little hourglass starting to re-emerge from its winter coat of adipose. It’s weird – sometimes you just FEEL like you weigh less. I’m totally being lazy about the scale too – checking in when I feel like it at the gym, and for the most part, relying on my clothes to tell me how I’m doing. It’s nice. I’m being much more chill about it, and I have to admit, not stressing about it might be helping. I’m just really trying to be conscientious of moving my booty and eating less, in addition to taking all my thyroid meds and supplements.

How are you guys doing on your health journey? Fill me in! And tell me… which holiday treat tempts you most? I may or may not have indulged in Candy Cane peeps this evening… but there’s only 170 calories for three, and each is dipped in dark chocolate. It was worth it. Even if my now loose jeans are snug again tomorrow.

 

 

Holiday treats and the calories they gift you

      Holiday season is in full swing and by now, many people may have already packed on a few extra pounds to keep warm this winter!  For those who are satisfied with their winter padding or to those who are trying to shed their festive fluff, I’ve prepared a few simple charts to help when you’re faced with a decision over what holiday treat to choose.

It’s easy to assume that much of the edible temptations that arise from October to January are going to come loaded with extra calories, sugar, and fat.  However, not everything is measures up equally!  As you’ll see, when craving a sweet drink to sip while gazing out the window on your winter morning, reach for the  hot apple cider!  Compared to hot cocoa, you can save yourself a decent amount of calories AND sugar!  Peppermint treats like those tasty little dinner mints you’ll find me hovering over at a party only have 21 calories per 7 mints and NO fat.  Candy canes are also a no-fat and low calorie source of sweetness, plus they take a while to eat so maybe by the time you’re done, you’ll be able to resist the other temptations!

holidaycandy

holidaycookies holidaydrinks random holiday snacks

I was pretty upset to see how many calories are in those delicious Lindor truffles but at least the holiday popcorn tins don’t come with TOO many calories!  I can just eat 1 and 1/4th a cup… sure!  It’s also interesting to see how the different crackers add up, Triscuts have the most calories but they also have the most fat, fiber and protein! I’ve always called that the “healthy cracker” because of the shredded wheat but the stats don’t like.  Is the higher calorie and fat number worth the extra protein and fiber?

What kind of holiday treats do you find yourself craving during the winter season?

Have a lovely winter Wednesday and special thanks to Trent for helping me come up with all these holiday treats!

AprilSignatur