Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to avoid holiday CRAZINESS!!

12 Tips to Keep Joy in the Holidays

Copied from PsycCentral and written by John Grohol, Psy.D

I really couldn't have said them any better myself, so I'm using Dr. Grohol's words. Personally, I need to focus on several of these to reduce my own anxiety because, as you know, where there's anxiety, there's the potential to do some serious emotional eating...

1. Be realistic and put the “ideal” Christmas out of your head. Too many people have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like, instead of what they really are. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has an ideal, picture-perfect holiday. By setting expectations up-front — and keeping them realistic — you won’t be disappointed that your family gathering devolves into another eating free-for-all, when it has happened every year since you can remember.

2. Take a time-out from materialism and do something spiritual, family-oriented, or non-materialistic this season. All too often we get caught up in the shopping, the endless sales, the “need” to make sure we buy something for everyone, that we lose sight of things that really matter — our friendships, our family, our spirituality, our fellow man (and woman) who may be less fortunate than us. Even in tough economic times (some might say, especially in such times), others need our help even when we feel we have little to offer. Volunteer at a food bank, do something additional for your church, adopt a family in need this season. If you cut just 10% of your spending on gifts and donated that money to charity, you’d be surprised at how much a difference such giving would help.

3. Take a time-out from family arguments, simmering feuds, and unhappy relationships. In an ideal world, we’d be friends with everyone and everyone would be friends with us. But in the real world, we get into disagreements or sometimes full-fledged arguments with others we care about. In the spirit of the giving season, give something that is priceless — your compassion and forgiveness (even if only temporary) to those in your life you feel have wronged you in some way.

4. Schedule sooner and often. Feeling overwhelmed by too much to do and too little time to do it all in? Schedule it all out right now on your favorite calendar or planner, then stick to it. Too many people get into trouble accepting last-minute invitations, or by trying to accommodate a last-minute visit with someone they hadn’t planned on seeing. If your schedule allows for it, fine, but if not, you’ll know in an instant.

5. Check your coat — and guilt — at the door. Everyone has likely felt the pang of guilt due to not being able to meet some holiday obligation or feeling bad about a gift gone awry. But this is the season of joy and celebration, not one where every misstep is meant to make us feel badly for our choices. Leave the guilt at home for a change and if you find yourself going down the guilty road in your head, simply tell yourself, “Yes, I feel badly about that, but I’m going to let it go and enjoy myself anyway, because time is short and this moment only lasts right now. There’ll be time enough to feel guilty next week!”

6. “No” is not a four-letter word. We’re all human (yes, you too!), and we humans get ourselves into more trouble than you know because we simply don’t know when to say, “Thank you, but no.” I suspect it’s tied closely to guilt (see Tip 5), but at some point, the sooner we learn that it’s okay to say No, the sooner we’ll feel less stress and anxiety. You can’t do everything, every year. Choose carefully, schedule well (Tip 4), and then say No to the rest and you’ll rest better at night.

7. Give yourself a break. While rushing around the holidays, we often put ourselves last on the “To do” list. We also feel guilty when we indulge in things we wouldn’t ordinarily indulge in (”Another piece of pie? Why, thank you!”). Give yourself a break this season, forgive your transgressions, and be kind to yourself. That means taking some time out for yourself and your needs, even if it’s just a few minutes of solitude in the morning or before you go to bed that you can relax, catch up a crossword puzzle or some reading, and just enjoy your own company. It also means not beating yourself if you step off your diet or can’t get to the gym for a few days. More people cause themselves more anxiety and stress about beating themselves up over such decisions, when the resulting difference is almost always negligible.

8. Be aware of your breaking points. Rarely does a holiday season pass without someone realizing they’ve reached their “breaking point,” the point where if one more thing goes wrong, they’ll simply breakdown or just lock themselves up in their bedroom and only come out in the new year. Know yours, and when you’re coming close to it. Then stop, take a break, and make sure you avoid those things in the future which bring you closer to it.

9. It’s okay to ask for help, often and directly. Part of the reason we sometimes get into trouble around the holidays is that we simply attempt to do too much on our own. Ask for help from your significant other, children, friends or family when you need it, and be direct and honest with your requests. Don’t expect others to read your mind, either. If you decorate the tree every year, but this year find you won’t have the time, ask someone to do it for you (don’t just assume people will see the bare tree and offer their help). Don’t stop at a single request if you need help with a dozen different things, either.

10. Connect with your significant other on the things that matter most. One of the people we often leave out of our holiday plans is our significant other. Not physically, but often emotionally and directly checking in with them and their expectations for the holiday. Too many couples get into an escalating tug of war about reading each other’s minds, or keeping score on what happened last year, that they don’t start with a clean slate each and every year. Check in with your partner and see what his or her expectations are, and share with them yours. You might be surprised to learn something you didn’t know.

11. Moderation in all things. Aristotle knew a thing or two of what he was talking about a few thousand years ago, and yet it’s a lesson many of us forget. While the holidays are a good “excuse” to stop being moderate in our drinking or eating, we should resist the urge to overindulge. Sure, you can have an extra piece of cake or one extra drink more than you might usually enjoy, but that shouldn’t open the floodgates to eat the remaining half of the cake or finish off a half bottle of Jack Daniels on your own. In the same way, even buying presents for your kids can be taken to an unhealthy extreme (”Always leave them wanting more”). Celebrate, but not to the point of excess.

12. Remember your friends and those forgotten. Because we get so busy, we sometimes lose touch with our friends and people whom we normally rely on to be our sounding boards. Don’t be tempted to go into a communications blackhole and resurface only after the holidays, as such regular communication is often one of those touchstones that keep us grounded. And while not an ideal time to renew old acquaintances, the holidays are a good excuse to do so if you’d otherwise.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Week of November 30 to December 6, 2008

B E L I E V E !

"Do or do not—there is no try." –Yoda

FOLLOW UP ON LAST WEEK: Did you have anyone try to sabotage your weight loss efforts over your Thanksgiving celebration? Come share your stories with us!

THIS WEEK: Did you ever decide to treat yourself to something brand new? How did that make you feel? What does this have to do with weight loss? Well, you’ll have to come to a meeting and find out…

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Do your efforts have “staying power,” or do you give up too easily? In order to be successful at weight loss, you MUST have staying power. How do you get it? Well, it starts with making the decision that you are in this journey for the long haul. No “buts.” No “what ifs.” No “maybe.” You don’t coast through the motions when the going is easy, and then slowly back away and eventually disappear when times get tough. Once you make the decision to not quit, you then challenge yourself regularly to keep yourself on track. Every day, you ask yourself what you can do to “stay the course.” You listen carefully to successful people so that you can extract from them the habits that help them to be winners. You read motivational stories, books, websites, greeting cards or whatever else you can get your hands on to keep your heart and soul feeling good. You reach out for help when you need it. You speak to yourself in language that motivates you and doesn’t berate or belittle you. You search for new ways to do things so that you don’t return to your old habits. You quickly recognize when you’re “being pulled to the dark side,” and you challenge yourself to not give in to the “pull.” You eliminate “always” and “never” from your vocabulary and replace them with “sometimes.” You recognize all the rules of your old dieting games and seek to learn the fundamentals of the new rules: “lifestyle change” versus “short term fix to a long term problem.”

It’s hard to have staying power. And don’t confuse it with willpower. Willpower is a myth; staying power is real. I really believe that we only use the word “willpower” to describe our weaknesses (i.e. I have no willpower when it comes to cake…). What a useless word! Staying power can be acquired, but you have to be willing to do the work to reap its rewards. Think of yourself wearing a red cape and an “SP” logo on your chest (SP = Staying Power). Be your own SP superhero…but remember, every battle you fight is for YOU! You are SO worth the battle—fight as hard for yourself as you would for anyone else, okay?

DONATE BLOOD, SAVE A LIFE: THIS Saturday, December 6, a Blood Drive will be held at the WW Gateway Center from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. The Center is located in Gateway Square and is in the same shopping center as Outback Steakhouse and Carraba’s Restaurant. Let me know IMMEDIATELY if you can participate—email me at to sign up. This is NOT just for WW members—spouses, friends, kids (must be at least 18 years old), neighbors, co-workers are ALL welcome to participate! If you are concerned about having to cut back on gift giving this year, then consider making a donation of something that may help to save a life. I hope to see a LOT of you there!!


10% award: Sue G from Thursday PM Gateway;
Goal weight:
Lifetime award: Leslie and Desiree from Tuesday AM Giant

If I missed your celebration, email me IMMEDIATELY, and I will include it in next week’s newsletter. Be sure to tell me what meeting you attend!

JINGLE ALL THE WAY: I hope you each have a “jingle all the way” pin! For each week you come to a meeting between now and January 1, you will earn another bell for your pin. The pin is an anchor to help guide you through the temptations of the season by reminding you that you will “jingle” and not “jiggle” your way through the season! If you didn’t get a pin, see me for one—I’ll have them with me.

THE WHITE CHRISTMAS BAG: How exciting as our big event draws near (December 9th)! Donations are being accepted through Monday, December 8th. If you don’t know what this bag is about, email me or see me in the meeting room this week, and I’ll explain it to you.

GREG’S JOKE FOR THE WEEK: What do snowmen wear on their heads? Ice caps…

RECIPES: Here are some that you might be able to use at potlucks throughout the month…I didn’t have time to spell check, so be prepared…

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
Makes 24 (1/2 C) servings at 3 pts each

1 box spice cake mix
1 can of diet lemon lime soda
2 small boxes sugar free pudding prepared with fat free milk
1 can pumpkin
½ c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
8 oz. light whipped topping
4 ginger snaps, crushed

Prepare cake mix with diet soda. Split in half for two layers, let cool. Cube cake and layer ½ in trifle bowl. Mix prepared pudding, pumpkin & cinnamon and layer on top of cake. Top with ½ whipped topping. Repeat layers & top with cookie crumbs.

From a private recipe collection
© 2008 Weight Watchers International, Inc. © 2008, Inc. All rights reserved. WEIGHT WATCHERS and POINTS are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc.

BBQ Turkey Joes
Serves 4 at 6 pts each

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 medium bell pepper(s), chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped
1/2 medium onion(s), chopped
1cup barbecue sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 medium mixed-grain hamburger roll(s), sliced in half

Brown turkey in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off liquid. Add peppers and onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add barbecue sauce and cayenne pepper; heat thoroughly, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Top bottom half of buns with turkey mixture; cover with top half of bun and serve.

Crockpot Baked Beans
Serves 10 at 3 pts each

1/2 medium onion -- chopped
5 slices turkey bacon -- chopped
4 ounces ground beef (80% lean)
1 can vegetarian beans in tomato sauce - (16 oz)
1 can vegetarian baked beans - (16 oz)
1 can red kidney beans - (16 oz) -- rinsed, drained
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke - (to 2 tsps. )
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Lightly spray an unheated medium skillet with no-stick spray. Add the onions and bacon. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the onions are tender. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer the onion mixture to a 4- to 6-quart crockpot. Stir in the beans in tomato sauce, baked beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke and maple flavoring. Cover and cook on the medium-high heat setting for 4 to 6 hours (if necessary, adjust the heat setting so the beans slowly simmer during cooking). Stir before serving.

Pioneer Beans
Makes 12 servings at 5 pts each

1 pound ground beef
1/4 pound sliced bacon – chopped
1 medium onion -- chopped (1/2 cup)
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans -- rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can butter beans -- rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can pork and beans in tomato sauce
1 cup catsup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar -- (1/2-1)
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, chopped bacon, and onion until meat is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Drain off the fat. Stir in the drained kidney beans and butter beans, undrained pork and beans, catsup, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, and mustard. Transfer the mixture to a 3 1/2to 4-quart electric crockery cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours, or on high heat setting for 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Slow Cooked Beef Burgundy
Makes 5 (1 2/3 C) servings at 7 pts each

1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 lb. cubed beef stew meat
1 1/2 cups fresh baby carrots, halved crosswise
1 (10-oz.) pkg. fresh pearl onions, peeled
1 (8-oz.) pkg. small fresh whole mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 (10 1/2-oz.) can condensed beef consommé
1 1/2 cup water
Fresh oregano, if desired

In 3 1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker, combine flour, salt, pepper and beef; mix well. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover; cook on LOW setting for 10 to 12 hours or until carrots and beef are tender. Garnish with oregano.

Hot Crab Dip
Makes 5 cups; ¼ C = 2 pts

1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 cup salsa
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) light cream cheese, cubed
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) imitation crabmeat, flaked
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies

Combine milk and salsa. Transfer to a slowcooker coated with nonstick cooking spray. Stir in cream cheese, crab, onions and chilies. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hrs., stirring every 30 min.

Chicken Wings in BBQ Sauce
1.5 pts per serving

3 pounds chicken wings -- about 16 wings
Salt and pepper -- to taste
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce -- any variety
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons prepared mustard - or spicy mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Hot pepper sauce -- to taste, optional

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut off and discard wing tips. Cut each wing at joint to make two sections. Place wing parts on broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 minutes, 10 minutes a side or until chicken is brown. Transfer chicken to Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. For sauce, combine barbecue sauce, honey, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce, if desired, in a small bow. Pour over chicken wings. Cover and cook on Low 4 to 5 hours or on High 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Serve directly from Crock-Pot Slow Cooker.
Per serving: 61 Calories; 3g Total Fat; 4g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 16mg Cholesterol; 106mg Sodium

Chicken Wings in Honey Sauce
2.9 pts per serving

3 pounds chicken wings -- about 16 wings
Salt and pepper -- to taste
2 cups honey
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup oil
Sesame seeds -- optional

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut off and discard wing tips. Cut each wing at joint to make two sections. Place wing parts on broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 minutes, 10 minutes a side or until chicken is brown. Transfer chicken to Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. For sauce, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil and garlic in bowl. Pour over chicken wings. Cover and cook on Low 4 to 5 hours or on High 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.
Per serving: 124 Calories; 5g Total Fat; 4g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 16mg Cholesterol; 322mg Sodium

Chicken Wings in Teriyaki Sauce
1.6 pts per serving

3 pounds chicken wings -- about 16 wings
1 large onion – chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry -- or chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cloves garlic – minced

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut off and discard wing tips. Cut each wing at joint to make two sections. Place wing parts on broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 minutes, 10 minutes a side or until chicken is brown. Transfer chicken to Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. Mix together onion, brown sugar, soy sauce, cooking sherry (or chicken broth), ginger and garlic in bowl. Pour over chicken wings. Cover and cook on Low 5 to 6 hours or on High 2 to 3 hours. Stir chicken wings once to ensure wings are evenly coated with sauce. Serve from Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Cranberry Citrus Spritzer
Serves 4 at 0 pts each

1 1/3 cups light cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
4 (12-oz.) cans diet citrus soda, chilled
4 lime wedges

Combine cranberry juice cocktail and soda in a pitcher. Pour evenly into 4 tall glasses filled with crushed ice and squeeze a lime wedge over each glass.

From a private recipe collection
© 2008 Weight Watchers International, Inc. © 2008, Inc. All rights reserved. WEIGHT WATCHERS and POINTS are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Be a Tigger, and keep on bouncing!!