Category Archives: Weight Watchers

Simple Crusty Bread

Firstly, thank you for all the kind, amazing feedback after yesterday’s post. It wasn’t easy putting myself out there. After hitting “post” yesterday morning, my heart skipped a beat and I geared up for the worst. It was a huge leap of “blog faith”, I guess you could say. So, thank you! 🙂

In food news… 🙂

If yeast and kneading and rising scare you, you’re not alone. I’ve only attempted yeast breads a time or two, but there’s really nothing to fear. Sure, you need a bit of time and patience, but there’s no rocket science or technique involved. Just read the directions 😉

 

My first recommendation is to buy loose yeast (i.e. not packets). This way yeast can easily be measured out, plus it’s more economical. Second, use a kitchen thermometer (meat or candy) to find “lukewarm” water at 100° F. While 100° sounds rather warm, it’s not, and too hot of water will kill your yeast causing a flopped bread. If you don’t have a thermometer, just caution on the side of being too cold vs. too hot. The water should be warm, but feel too cold if it were bath water, let’s say.

 

Simple Crusty Bread from My Bizzy Kitchen and “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour + more for dusting dough

Directions:

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100° F).  Stir in flour with a wooden spoon, mixing until there are no dry patches.  Dough will be quite loose and sticky.  I covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.  Let dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake at this point, or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks.  When ready to bake, sprinkle a little and cut into four pieces. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch the surface creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom.  Put dough on a surface sprinkled with cornmeal and rest for 40 minutes.

Place a broiler pan in the bottom of the oven.  Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450° F; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust dough with flour; slash the top with a serrated knife.  Slide onto stone (I used a pizza stone).  Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam.  Bake until well browned, about 22-28minutes. Cool completely.Yield: 4 small loaves (approx. 8 – 3/4th inch thick slices per loaf).

Nutrition Information (1/8th of loaf): 81 calories; 0 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 108 mg. sodium; 18 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 2.4 g. protein

Result: I saw this recipe on Biz’s blog long, long ago and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. But like I said, the yeast and rising scared me…for no good reason! The secret is that this is baked at a high temperature with a water bath to steam the outside for a crunchy crust, just as Biz said. If you don’t have a broiler pan to use, just throw the water in an 8×8 pan — it will serve the same function. I halved this recipe and cooked the loaves one at a time. Mr. Prevention wishes I would’ve made the whole recipe — he ate an entire loaf in one sitting (literally)! Portion control much?! I look forward to trying some herb and whole wheat varieties of this bread. It’s delicious – enjoy! 😀

And for fun, Kjirsten tagged me to answer 10 random questions. Thanks, girl!

1.  How many days a week do you workout? I religiously workout 4-5 days a week — 3 runs, 1 elliptical workout, and 1 hockey game is a typical week.

2.  What is your favorite ab move? Reverse crunches — lay flat on your back, pull your knees to your chest and then extend your legs straight out so that they are 6″ or less from the ground, being sure to not let them touch down. Repeat in slow motion. You want to do these slowly to get a good ab workout, especially once your legs are fully extended.

3.  If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be? Ellen Degeneres. I just love her!

4.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? I’m not sure. Hubby and I talk about this a lot, but I think Chicago (home) would be my first choice.

5.  What is your favorite beauty product you can’t go a day without? I have 2 can’t-live-without-’em products: BadGal Mascara from Benefit and smudge-proof eye-liner from Stila. Both products hold up through a long, sweaty hockey game but come off easily with face wash.

6.  Do you have any pets?  If so what kind?  If you don’t what animal would you love to have? If you read my blog, you probably know about Lily, my English Bulldog. We also have an albino corn snake named Pinky. He made an appearance on the blog once upon a time and I think it freaked people out!!

7.  If you could only eat one food for the rest of you life, what would it be? I think cereal…

8.  What does your family and friends think about your blog? My family and friends are so supportive of my blog and many of them read on a fairly regular basis. 🙂 Mr. P, however, never reads my blog. I should start dishing out the dirt on him, shouldn’t I?! 😉

9.  What is one sport you haven’t tried, but would love to get involved in? Salsa dancing. Sexy workout time with a man…I’m there!

10.  Red wine or white wine? Red (merlot or chianti, usually), however, Pinot Grigio has been a favorite lately.

Rather than tagging just a few people, I ask you:

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?


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Filed under blog, carbohydrates, recipe, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers PointsPlus™

I’ll start by saying that I had expected some catch some flack for being an RD and “supporting” Weight Watchers by learning about the new PointsPlus™ program and attending meetings myself. But I’ve thought long and hard about 1) learning about the new PointsPlus™ program at all, 2) attending, and 3) blogging about it for the world to judge. My recent weight struggles are related to a fairly recent diagnosis of PCOS and insulin resistance. But below you’ll find my thoughts on this all — good, bad, and ugly. Grab some popcorn and a beverage…this could be a long one, folks.

Firstly, I lost 75+ pounds on Weight Watchers. After Atkins and South Beach and several others had failed, Weight Watchers helped me at 190lbs and 14 years old when I was unhappy and leading a very unhealthy life. Weight Watchers is what lead me to wanting to become a dietitian and help others attain a healthier and happier them. In college, at 19, I lead Weight Watchers meetings. Helping inspire others to lose weight helped me keep my weight off and gave me the skills I needed in speaking with individuals both one-on-one and as a group. I truly feel that facilitating Weight Watchers meetings is what has me teaching college and loving it. So it’s no wonder as to why I will always be grateful to a program that lead me to where I am and who I am today.

It would be vain and insensitive for me to say that anyone wanting to lose weight should see a dietitian, and only a dietitian. While RD’s are the nutrition expert, seeing a dietitian is not realistic for most people, especially on a regular or semi-regular basis. While there are certainly weight loss programs lead by RD’s out there, they are far and few between, especially when comparing them to the accessibility and feasibility of Weight Watchers meetings across the US. As a professional in PREVENTION, I would never discredit a company such as Weight Watchers, who employs MANY Registered Dietitians and who has the common goal of helping overweight and obese individuals meet their weight loss and health goals. With epidemic proportions of overweight and obesity, how could I not support such efforts?

I would argue that Weight Watchers works for 3 very simple reasons:

1. Accountability. You go weekly, weigh-in, and learn tools necessary for calorie restriction, balanced dieting, exercise, and so on. And more than all of that, is seeing others on a regular basis who have the same goal as you.

2. Journaling. Weight Watchers has always emphasized food journaling. I blogged about food journaling on Friday and several of you commented that food journaling made you obsessive or fed (no pun intended) your ED behaviors. While I am not discrediting those points (they are very valid), I believe food journaling to be a reliable tool for self-assessment and accountability. Diet records are kept for a plethora of reasons and as a practicing dietitian, I heavily rely on patient’s food journals to help tailor nutrition education and stimulate behavior change.

3. Calorie restriction and healthy eating. If followed as designed, Weight Watchers provides a diet that is varied, flexible, balanced, and adequate. For those that don’t believe Weight Watchers gives you parameters with which to work, while providing the framework for a healthy diet, you are wrong. Weight Watchers builds their healthy eating guidelines off well-researched and well-published information regarding macro and micronutrient balance found in a healthy, balanced diet.

In reference to the new PointsPlus™ program, I believe there are positives and negatives. The major change from the Points™ to the PointsPlus™ programs is macronutrient composition. The new program is designed to be low-fat, high fiber, lower carb, and high protein. Generally speaking, if a food has more protein and/or fiber, the food will be lower in PointsPlus™. Similarily, if a food is high in fat and/or carbohydrate, it will be higher in PointsPlus™.

While I believe a higher protein diet to be helpful with satiety, most Americans consume plenty of protein each day. And while higher fiber foods are lower in PointsPlus™, carbohydrates overall cause a major jump up. Fat also causes PointsPlus™ values to be high. Just when we were starting to get the jest of “good” and “bad” fats, Weight Watchers is sort of going back in time to say that all fats should be strictly limited. With my 29 daily PointsPlus™, for instance, 1/2 avocado would run 6 PointsPlus™, 1 oz. almonds would run 4 PointsPlus™, 1 Tbsp peanut butter would run 3 PointsPlus™, and 2 tsp olive oil would run me 2 PointsPlus™. I could and would eat all of those foods throughout the day, however, they would account for nearly 52% of my allotted PointsPlus™ for the day, without providing much volume of food.

However, the new PointsPlus™ program continues to issue Activity PointsPlus™ which are earned for performing physical activity, as well as a Weekly PointsPlus™ Allowance of 49 PointsPlus™. While I would argue that many people use both sets of additional PointsPlus™ for “discretionary” calorie foods (alcohol, sweets, etc.), they should, for the most part, be used on wholesome, nutritious foods such as avocados, peanut butter, nuts, and heart-healthy oils, for example.

This would be a good time to mention that MOST fruits and vegetables are “free” foods on the new program, meaning they have a 0 PointsPlus™ value. On the old Points™ program, a banana had a Points™ value of 2 and most fruits had a Points™ value of 1. While these Points™ numbers are low, many people received only 18 Points™ per day and felt they were “wasting” Points™ spent on fruits. In an effort to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, most fruits and vegetables no longer “cost” any PointsPlus™. I believe this to be a very positive change, so long Weight Watchers continues to educate on hunger and satiety signaling and portion control. Just because fruits are a “free” and wholesome food, doesn’t mean we need 22 cups of watermelon in a day! At the end of the day, calories are calories regardless of their source and in order to produce weight loss, a calorie deficit must be made.

The higher protein, lower-carb change has its pros and cons. What I would encourage Weight Watchers members to take into consideration is the quality of carbohydrate they are consuming. Low-carb tortillas, for example, are often packed with preservatives and unnecessary ingredients. I would urge people to not always go for the lowest PointsPlus™ item, and to consider the wholesomeness of the food (check out ingredient lists!). Just like with healthy fats, consumers are beginning to find value in whole foods that have not been overly processed. Consumers and Weight Watchers members alike should continue selecting foods that are closest to their natural state without a laundry list of 9-syllable ingredients.

As for exercise, don’t do what I did years ago: exercise to eat more. As tempting as that is, food should not reward workout efforts. While properly fueling and replenishing is important, Weight Watchers members should avoid exercising in order to over-eat, or to compensate for over-eating. Activity PointsPlus™ should, for the most part, be used appropriately for wholesome, nutritious foods. And please don’t get me wrong, if you exercise, you do require more calories, even for weight loss. However, when you rationalize that exercise = splurge, it’s not reinforcing healthy changes for a lifetime.

Similarly, Weekly PointsPlus™ Allowances are meant to be used.  It has been a long-standing belief that if you don’t eat your Weekly PointsPlus™ Allowance, you will lose weight more quickly…but that is not always the case. The body can be finicky when it comes to weight loss and under-fueling the body can lead to plateaus and under-nutrition. Listen to your body, eat mindfully, and consume a healthy, balanced diet — the numbers work themselves out.

And when you meet your goal, stay there. That’s the hard part…the part I find most difficult. For those like myself who have been overweight since childhood, we are designed at the molecular level to re-gain weight. As humans, we stop making fat cells by early adulthood but we never lose these fat cells throughout life. The more fat cells the body contains, the easier weight gain will be.  The cells are always there, waiting to store any access calories as adipose (fat). This is why childhood obesity provides such a scary glimpse into the future.

I hope this has been helpful and enlightening for many of you. If you’ve made it this far, thank you. While my blog is a recording of my life and my thoughts, I would appreciate any negative comments be left unsaid. It is no secret that I have in the past, and will probably always struggle with my weight. Thankfully I now know why, in part, I struggle more than others. But as a 25-year-old woman, I see a family in my future. Not tomorrow, and probably not next year, but sometime…and I want to be as healthy as I can be when bringing a baby into this world — a baby that will hopefully not have to fight obesity from such a young age as I did.

Some of you may find the above makes me more “real”…others may fault me for being dietitian who struggles to maintain a healthy body weight. But this is me, and I am proud of every bit of me — chubby, fluffy, or perfectly lean 😉 It’s taken me years to get here, and I plan to continue loving and appreciating myself just as I am.

Lots of love,

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Filed under PCOS, Uncategorized, weight loss, Weight Watchers

“Dieting” and Larabar Winners!

Can I get a TGIF? It’s been an exciting, but very tiring week. One more day to get through and then…weekend bliss. I want to see if I can out-do last weekend by staying in my PJ’s until 6pm! 😉 Kinda kidding…kinda not!

Let’s get the party started with the Larabar winners! Congrats to:

Kasey
Karina
Kari
Kristina
Kristen
Jen
Anbre
Meagan
Julie
Heather

I sent all of you lovely ladies an email requesting your mailing address. I want to get these tasty treats out to you ASAP! Thanks to everyone for entering and to Larabar for helping me host a fabulous giveaway! 😀

I wanted to give a little glimpse into my food journal since starting Weight Watchers on Wednesday. While attending WW started as a learning opportunity to be able to assess the quality of the new PointsPlus program, I jumped on board with my co-workers and am having my company pick up the tab for the next 18 weeks. And of course, losing any PCOS weight in the process is an added bonus. Sometimes, we just need that swift kick in the…you know 😉

If I can be perfectly honest, following the Weight Watchers program has been exhausting and tedious! However, this is a new program I am not familiar with, and life has definitely been in the fast lane for me this week. I won’t go into logistics about the program just yet — I want to test it out a few more days. But here’s what days 1 & 2 panned out to be:

Day 1

Breakfast: 2 corn tortillas (3), 1 egg (2), 1/4 cup Egg Beaters (1), 2 slices turkey bacon (2), coffee + creamer (1)
Snack: banana (0)
Lunch: 2 Lasagna Roll-Ups (10), salad with 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp red wine vinegar (1)
Snack: clementine (0)
Dinner: 1 piece Lightened Up Crème BrÝlÊe French Toast (9), 2 Tbsp light syrup (1)
Snack: 1 cup strawberries (0), 1/2 banana (0), Crystal Light (0)

Total: 30 points (1 over my daily points of 29) — approx. 1310 calories

Day 2

Breakfast: banana (0), 1/2 peach (0), 1 cup strawberries (0), 1 cup coconut milk (2), 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (2), 4 oz. 2% plain Greek yogurt (1 1/2), coffee + creamer (1 1/2)
Lunch: 1 piece Lightened Up Crème BrÝlÊe French Toast (9), 2 Tbsp light syrup (1)
Snack (pre-workout): 1/4th piece Oatmeal Banana Nut Bread (1)
Dinner: 1 cup spaghetti squash (0), light homemade alfredo sauce (2), 18 small shrimp (3), 2 cups lettuce (0), 1 Tbsp homemade light Caesar dressing (1)
Snack: 1 light beer (3), 3 Hershey Kisses (2)
Workout: 5.4 mile run (~9 activity points earned)

Total: 29 points — approx. 1375 calories

I would calculate my needs as being closer to 1500-1700 calories/day for weight loss. I haven’t posted my daily intake in probably over a year, but there you have it. Having to food journal and account for points/calories certainly makes me, even as a dietitian, very aware of true portion sizes. It’s also very humbling to measure everything as I would encourage a patient to do 😉 It’s nothing I haven’t done before, and while I can eyeball serving sizes pretty darn accurately, going through the motions of Weight Watchers is part of the “experience” I want in doing this.

My biggest concern, other than low calorie counts, is that I am least hungry after working out. A small dinner is usually all that interests me after a tough workout, so I will definitely plan for a good breakfast this morning. And as for the beer, it was only appropriate to go along with college basketball O:-)

Question: Have you ever kept a food journal? What do you think you learn from keeping records of what you eat?

TGIF! Have a FABULOUS weekend!

31 Comments

Filed under diet, Giveaway, Larabar, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

Dinner Bucket List

Happy Hump Day!

Thank you so much for your votes of confidence in my new teaching adventure. I’m pumped for class #2 tonight. Yesterday as I was sitting at a local university’s cafe preparing my lesson plan, iPod blasting tunes, skim latte in reach — I had flash backs to being a student myself. Can I just say that I miss it? A lot. Those were the days…

My new schedule has me utilizing every free second of the day. I worked out yesterday morning (40 minutes on the elliptical) so that I could lesson plan after work. And because Lily is spoiled ROTTEN demanding, I went straight to the cafe rather than even TRYING to be productive at home. Rattling off a blog post is enough “neglect” to send the dog into a complete meltdown…I shudder to think what a lesson plan would lead to.

After my lesson planning and latte, I made a quick dinner before running off to Weight Watchers. I will write a full, in-depth review of the new POINTS Plus program after I become acquainted with it. I was less than impressed with the leader, but the members were very fun to talk with and get to know. But more on this next week — Monday or Tuesday, promise!

On to dinner.

Last night’s dinner was on my Bucket List of meals to make. Am I the only one with a Bucket List that revolves 100% around cooking? Don’t answer that, actually. I’ve seen lasagna roll-ups on lots of blogs, in cookbooks, on the internet…everywhere! They are just one of those meals that you can’t wait to dig into. Picture perfect, even. And just…ingenious. Says the girl who loves “cute” food. Without further adieu, lasagna roll-ups!

Lasagna Roll-Ups adapted from Homemade by Holman

8 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 pound lean ground turkey (93/7 or leaner)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat.  When it reaches a boil,  add a pinch of salt, and drop in the noodles.  Stir occasionally and cook to just al dente.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add turkey and brown.  When almost cooked through, add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add 1/2 the basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add ricotta, Parmesan and remaining basil and oregano and stir together.  Spray pan lightly with cooking spray.  Add enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.  To assemble, on a drained noodle, add a spoonful of ricotta mixture.  Top with a spoonful of meat sauce and roll up.  Place seam side down in pan.  Continue until you’ve used all the noodles.  Top each with a little more meat sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake approximately 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serves 4 (2 roll-ups per serving).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 387 calories; 14.5 g. fat; 119 mg. cholesterol; 579 mg. sodium; 38.3 g. carbohydrate; 8 g. fiber; 7.5 g. sugar; 30.3 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention loved this dish, and so did I. He says, “It was really good…I ate like all of it.” Which, he did eat 2 servings worth, but that’s pretty much on par for Mr. P and his appetite. The roll-ups were less labor-intensive than I would’ve imagined. The dinner came together in about 35 minutes and then baked for 20 minutes, which I find very reasonable. The roll-ups, conveniently, can be made ahead of time and heated later. I love that the calorie content is low and there’s lots of fiber and protein — very filling, and it pairs perfectly with a light tossed salad. Enjoy! 😀

A quick lesson in ricotta. There is low-fat and part-skim ricotta. Low-fat is 60 calories/serving while part-skim is 80 calories/serving. I am ashamed to admit that I have never paid close enough attention to the fact that both of these lower-fat options exist. Alas,  paying attention saved me some calories and saturated fat this time and in the future!

Question: What’s on your “dinner bucket list”?

Don’t forget to enter my LARABAR Giveaway! TEN winners!!!

Be well, Eat well.

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Filed under coffee, dinner, exercise, fiber, garlic, Giveaway, grocery store, healthy cooking, herbs, recipe, reduced-calorie, saturated fat, teaching, Weight Watchers

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken

When the weather started to cool off, before snow began to fall, I committed to using my crock pot more. Crock pot meals are fabulous…who would’ve love walking in from a long work day to find a delicious, piping hot meal? Mmm…sign me up! 😀

When I got home really late on Tuesday night (10pm is really late, people!), Mr. Prevention and I quickly popped this meal into the crock pot. It took all of 5 minutes, and 4 minutes of that was hand-washing and trimming up the chicken breasts. That simple, yep. We popped the prepared crock pot in the fridge and Mr. P turned the crock pot on at 2pm yesterday. At 7pm, we were eating a delicious, healthy (albeit higher in sodium), no-fuss meal. Crock pot liners are your friend. Invest.

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken very slightly adapted from Group Recipes and That’s Damn Good!

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can be frozen)
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can corn, drained
16-ounce salsa
8 ounces light cream cheese

Directions:

Add chicken to slow cooker and cover with black beans, corn and salsa. Cook on high for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked. Place cream cheese on top and cook an additional 30 minutes. Chicken will naturally shred, and cream cheese will blend nicely after being stirred. Yield: 5 entree portions.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 421 calories; 12.4 g. fat; 90 mg. cholesteorl; 890 mg. sodium; 50 g. carbohydrate; 5 g. fiber; 4.8 g. sugar; 44.8 g. protein

Result: Mr. P said, “It’s not pretty, but it’s good…especially considering how easy and cheap it was.” That pretty much sums it up. It is on the higher side in regards to sodium, due to the canned goods (the salsa added the most sodium), but the fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are all very balanced. I plan to make this again, and will probably try making homemade salsa/pico de gallo to cut out a LOT of the sodium. The portion is generous and can be made into a salad, tacos, or just eaten on its own. Enjoy!

And because it was a night of Illini football and basketball to finish up 2 LONG days at work, I popped open some Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale. It was very dark and I didn’t finish it all. Good thing…9% ABV!

Mmmm!

Question: Do you own a crock pot? If so, do you use it?

I am going to a Weight Watchers meeting tonight — I look forward to learning about the program and providing feedback to you all!

Off I go,

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts(can be frozen)
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can corn, drained
16-ounce salsa
8-ounce cream cheese

Add chicken to slow cooker and cover with black beans, corn and salsa.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked.  Place cream cheese on top and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Serve.

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Filed under beer, crock pot, dinner, fiber, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, sodium, Weight Watchers

Digging deep for the jolly

It seems like the closer we get to Christmas the less jolly I feel. Quite frankly, I am beat. I haven’t been sleeping well with the anxiety I’m feeling towards my new teaching job. Obviously I am well-versed in nutrition, but I have never lectured 5 hours a week…while balancing a nearly full-time job and a growing private practice. I feel like my to-do list leaves me feeling like nothing ever gets accomplished and there’s always so much on my plate yet to get done. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about my new teaching gig…I just hope I do well and give my students the best dose of nutrition ever!

My schedule come January is going to be…insane. I work 34 hours a week in dialysis, teach 5 hours + prep and grading, spend time in private practice and meetings with my partners as much as possible, and love to spend time cooking, exercising, playing ice-hockey, and blogging. I feel like there’s about 8 million balls in the air and I’m trying to keep them all from colliding or crashing to the ground. I thrive in busy environments, but this impending schedule is simply stressing me out.

In order to keep blogging a hobby that brings me enjoyment, I will have to see what my schedule allows as far as posting. While I hope to continue blogging most every day, that may no longer be realistic. As much as that saddens me, I hope you understand…a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!

Today I am working a short day before picking up Lily at doggy daycare and we make the trip together to Chicago. Mr. Prevention is off on a “Poker Run” today in Illinois with his high school friends. Imagine 30-year-old men in 80’s workout clothes, running around the University of Illinois campus collecting poker cards from various bars for drinking certain beers, shots, and cocktails. As imature as this sounds, it’s a blast….and I will be stuck working. Bitter much? You betcha! The excessive alcohol doesn’t interest me, but not being able to witness this event this year is a shame! But really, I just miss having an actual “Christmas Vacation”…or any substantial amount of time off for the holidays. Oh well. I am very thankful for being employed, there is no doubt.

On a completely unrelated note, several of you have asked me about the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers. As familiar as I am with Weight Watchers, I am not familiar with the new plan. I did, however, find out that my company reimburses 100% for Weight Watchers and so I have plans to attend a meeting very soon to get the skinny (pun intended). With my company, however, you sign-up for either a 13 or 18-week package and are then reimbursed if you attend all the meetings (you can miss up to 3). Several coworkers are taking the plunge to join and I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the new program (and give my honest feeback to you all, of course!) and to possibly take off some weight that I have commonly referred to as my “PCOS weight”. Being the go-getter that I am, in addition to feeling as heavy as a boulder with all the Christmas eats, I went all out for the 18-weeks of Weight Watchers. Sure, it will be a challenge to take that time out for meetings, but it is a part of my “me” time that I require for sanity.

It will certainly be interesting, as a dietitian, to sit in on a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended Weight Watchers AND lead Weight Watchers meetings. I have heard bits and pieces of the new program — good and bad…from media and members alike. The information regarding PointsPlus found online is very vague and I hope to bring you all information on the new program from my perspective.

Well, that’s a wrap for the most whiny and random post…ever (?) on Prevention RD. I will be glad to pull into Chicago this evening and spend some time with the family, and hopefully a good night’s rest!

I’ll leave you with a recipe for some tasty Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter, inspired by our hosts in Albuquerque. Their pumpkin french toast was delicious!!


Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter

1-16 ounce loaf challah, cut into 8 slices, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
1 cup of Egg Beaters or egg substitute
1 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, divided
1 cup of skim milk
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
1 Tbsp brown sugar
non-stick spray

Directions:

For the butter, combine 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree with the Smart Balance Light and brown sugar. Combine well.

Cut bread into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, whick together Egg Beaters, 1 cup pumpkin puree, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in milk-egg mixture for 1-2 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the soaked bread in the skillet or on the griddle, flipping after the bottom has browned. Cook the opposite side until browned. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with ~1 tablespoons of pumpkin butter.

Nutrition Information (per slice with 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter): 221 calories; 6.6 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 340 mg. sodium; 35 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 8.2 g. sugar; 8.2 g. protein

Result: Carb-o-licious! It’s hard to limit to just 1 piece, but they are rather large. I splurged and had 2 one morning and I ate the leftover pieces one at a time with an over-medium egg. Delicious! Pumpkin is never out of season in my kitchen or belly!!!

I may not be 100% jolly (just yet!), but our neighborhood is sure all decked out! Our block all decorates our trees the same and it really does look festive and beautiful!

Question: Does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you giddy with glee, or do you get a bit overwhelmed and stressed?

I think working adults need sanctioned holiday vacations like kids in school. I remember the days of a full MONTH with nothing but sleeping in was of concern! College, I miss you!

Tis the season,

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