Monday, June 15, 2009

Talking Like a Winner : )

Hi all,

Well, I was cleaning off my desk and came across these "17 words to live by" that someone shared with me a while ago. In my ongoing effort to get each of us to find the positive each day and to speak to ourselves with hope, I thought I'd share the words with you. Learn them. Embrace them. Live by them. You will be amazed at how differently your outlook will become.

Have a great week!

Mary Ann

17 Words to Live by
(sorry--I don't know the original author)

Weight loss will be yours when you...

Prepare - yourself to be thinner
Listen - to positive messages
Smile - through the challenges
Care - enough about yourself to do the work
Succeed - in doing whatever it takes to make things happen
Choose - to embrace the changes that are occurring
Focus - on your Winning Outcome (your GOAL, kids--you should know what these two words mean by now...)
Believe - in yourself
Relax - and don't expect yourself to be perfect :)
Act - on making the changes that will further your progress
Forgive - yourself as necessary
Trust - the program (not the program that you've created with your own self-imposed rules--I mean the program as it is designed and meant to be lived and followed)
Change - the things that you can and embrace that change!
Persist - in the face of obstacles
Accept - that success doesn't happen overnight
Risk - becoming thinner (yep, some of us hesitate to become thin people...)
Wait - even when it is the hardest thing to do

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday...It's a new day, it's a new week

Hi kids!

So, if you've been struggling a little on this trek we lovingly call our "weight loss journey," listen up: it's never too late to start, and it's always too soon to quit. Isn't that a great saying??

So, the kids are home now. Vacations are coming up. The pool (and the concession stand) is now open and will be frequented often. Summer baseball is in full swing (get the pun?!). Picnics and barbecues are happening every weekend. Festivals and carnivals are EVERYWHERE! In the midst of all of that, crises still pop up, family members become ill, spouses lose their jobs, cars need expensive repairs, kids get into trouble. Do you know what all of this combined is called? LIFE. So...let's find a way to be successful while managing this thing called LIFE.

1. Get out of the black and white thinking. You don't have to always be "good." You can be "okay" sometimes. Being 100% on target, every minute of every hour of every day will definitely guarantee success--that success, though, will be successful placement in a loony bin. So...practice moderation, not perfection.

2. Make a plan, and stick to it. If you're going to the pool and love the hot dogs or ice cream or candy or french fries, then find a way to periodically fit your favorite thing into your day. I am tired of hearing, "But it's so HARD when I see everyone else eating what they want." Here are some words to commit to memory: build a bridge, get over it, and move it along (these words are stolen from an anti-bullying program, but I loved them the minute I heard them). That's what THEY do. What do YOU do? Plan it, live it, enjoy success. It's that simple.

3. Do you want to lose weight? What are you willing to do in order to make that happen? "I want to lose weight, but I want to have french fries at the pool every day." Okay, then, you need to accept that your weight loss will not be as good as it could be if you chose to have the french fries once a week instead. Don't whine that the program doesn't work if you're not doing the program. Unless 35 points cover 7 days worth of french fries, then you're creating your own rules. Harsh words, indeed, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the truth.

4. Why are things not working for you right now? What things are getting in your way of making self-supporting choices? What can you change/alter? Do you REALLY need to take the kids to the pool every day? Why not set up a slip and slide in your back yard (plastic, dish detergent, water, hose = great fun!).'ll have complete control over your personal "concession stand."

5. Why do you keep sabatoging yourself? Why are other people's needs more important than yours 99% of the time? How can you begin to convince yourself that you deserve to be taken care of, just as much as you take care of everyone else? You really need to answer these questions before you find a resolution; otherwise, you'll just keep going back to the "same old, same old."

6. Before you go to bed each nite, identify one thing that you did that day that supported your efforts to lose weight, and write it down--keep a journal. The thing you write down doesn't have to be life altering, people--I had 1 burger instead of 2, I didn't lick the beaters when baking cupcakes, I drank a glass of water when making dinner. Let's focus on what we do right instead of all the things that we do wrong, okay? Positive self talk....

The most important thing on this journey is convincing yourself that you are worth the effort it takes to lose weight and believing that you are worthy of achieving a healthy goal weight. You really need to believe in your dreams, in your capabilities, and in your ability to navigate and overcome daily struggles. Eliminate "it's too hard right now" from your dialogue. Period. How about "It's hard right now, but a freaking candy bar isn't going to make it any easier." You'll then see how different this journey will become.

Have a GREAT week--see you in the meeting room!

Mary Ann

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A new month, a new start...

Hey kids,

It's hard to believe but Monday is the first day of June. May will be gone...finished...kaput...over. We can cry about it, regretting that we wish we had done things differently. We can anguish over it, lamenting our "lack of willpower" and poor choices. OR...we can start a new month with a new attitude! I WILL make the changes that have been hard to make. I WILL learn how to navigate food and food choices. I WILL challenge myself to do things differently when I face a crisis instead of reverting back to my comfort, sweet comfort, of food. I WILL learn to feel empowered, capable, and strong.

Start thinking in these terms, people, and we'll continue our dialogue on Monday. See you then!

Have a peaceful weekend,
Mary Ann

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Watch this clip...

Check out this site:

It's a great source of inspiration and a way to tap into your ability to do the work that needs to be done so that you can reach your goal!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Thinking differently" Thursday

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. ~Bill Meyer

Is that a great quote or what?!?! No matter what we do, no matter how much weight we lose, no matter how hard we've worked, it all comes back to how much you've changed your beliefs. If you lose 100 pounds but still believe you're a fat person, you will eat your way back to your highest weight. You have to change your core belief system FOR GOOD if you want change to be lasting change.

This week, when you find yourself being swayed by the negative thoughts--the ones that eventually keep you from doing the hard work--write the thought down. Once you've done that, take a look at the words, and think about how they've affected your life so far. What good has come from them? What change have they inspired? You already know the answer, but you have to walk yourself through the exercise to get the impact of it.

Now, think about what words you can use to replace that negative message. "It's hard right now, but I need to keep moving forward." Or, how about "I don't want to do this, but I know I will be proud of myself when I do." Or, what about "My family needs me right now, but I owe myself at least 5 minutes to take care of ME, too." We need to stop ignoring, minimizing, chastising, judging, labeling, and negatively prioritizing our needs at the expense of others' needs. We also need to be really honest with ourselves by realizing and admitting that we continue to do so in order to give ourselves permission to eat the food that comforts/calms/distracts/de-stresses/and keeps us company.

Plant a seed that will harvest Golden Delicous or Jonas Gold--crab apples are easy to grow but really distasteful to swallow. Rake up the old seeds, clear out the field, and plant brand new seeds. Will some crab apples still pop up between our Golden Delicious and Jonas Gold? Yes. But they will be few and far between and much easier to harvest and destroy.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Program Doesn't Work...

If you ever want to make the hair on my neck stand up, utter the words "the program doesn't work" with nothing to back up your words. This seems to be happening quite a lot lately, and I feel the need to vent, so pull up a chair or log off immediately.

Doing the program is not about starving yourself. It's not about going to the gym or working out several hours a day and not eating properly to refuel yourself. It's not about "getting in the points" but paying no attention to the quality of them. It's not about regularly eating below your points and then complaining that you're "starving all the time." DUH!!! This is not a "design your own" program. We give you guidelines to follow FOR A REASON! You can be flexible within the guidelines, but you should be following the guidelines and THEN doing your spin. It's hard to help a struggling member when there's no tracker to look at ("keeps track in his/her head" or "I eat the same thing so I don't need to write it down"), when there are no good health guidelines checked ("I don't have enough points to get in the oils and milks"), when no meeting is attended (those of you who attend regularly know what I mean), when activity is not tracked ("I don't ever use those activity points anyway" or "the machine said I burned 1000 calories in 30 minutes") OR when activity is avoided like the plague.

Look, we give you the basics, but YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM! You can keep verbalizing all of your old excuses (I'm really not into it, I have too much going on in my life, I'm in menopause, It's too hard to make choices at the ballpark/soccer field/pool, I don't want to "punish" my family, I travel all the time and it's so tough to find good things to eat, My job is a challenge, None of my friends have to worry about their weight, I'm too stressed right now, It's too hard to do this, and, my personal favorite, I need to take a break from this. Frankly, and this is going to hurt the feelings of some of you, kids, those words are, almost always, your built-in excuses to keep eating what you want whenever you want it. There are a few times when logistics prevent us from staying on as members (loss of job, health issues, etc.). It's HARD WORK to change. I know that. Remember? I do the program, too. BUT...only in doing the hard work will you get eventual and lasting results. The hardest part of losing weight is not what you put in your mouth but what you put in your head.

We ALL have stuff going on in our lives that challenges our choices. Some of us are verbal about it; others of us are not. But, trust me, we all have challenges. There are some of us who feel the need to say "no one has it as tough as I do right now." You would be surprised, people, at what your neighbor has going on--you just don't KNOW about it. So, acknowledge that life might stink right now, but don't minimize other people's struggles to be less than yours and don't magnify your issues to be ten times worse than everyone else's so that you can, once again, use food to comfort and de-stress yourself "because you deserve it."

Do you want to lose weight right now?"
If so, what are you willing to do in order to make that happen (not what you are NOT willing to do but what you ARE willing to do)?
Will you do that today?
Then, get to work!

So, if you don't want to lose weight right now, then say you don't want to lose weight. Accept it and move on. Stop beating yourself up. But don't blame the program--it works if you do it! If you DO want to lose weight, then embrace all that you have to offer and all that you are believing you will accomplish, and enjoy the journey...

Attention, Team BELIEVE...

We are meeting at Hampden Park at 6:15 pm today, RAIN OR SHINE!!! There are no whiners or complainers on this team, so wear a rain coat, bring an umbrella, get yourself one of those plastic ponchos or a rainbonnet like your grandma used to wear. Don't use the rain as yet another excuse that "it's just not meant to be." It's meant to be, and it will happen--tonite at 6:15. See you at the park.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Long Lost Leader has returned...

Hi Kids!

Sorry for the long absence--things have been a little crazy on this end, and I've had some stuff to take care of. I think I'm going to trim the weekly posting down a little so that it doesn't take so long to write. That way, I can post more frequently and give you the motivation between meetings that this blog was supposed to do in the first place!

I hope you are all practicing some good, old fashioned self care this week and have decided to take me up on my challenge of finding 5 to 10 minutes to do something JUST FOR YOU! Enough with the guilt. Enough with the "I promise I'll do it tomorrow." Enough with the "I just don't have time to take care of me." If you don't FIND the time, your body will MAKE you find the time when it shuts down in one way or another. So...find the time this weekend to make yourself feel special, if just for a few minutes.

I'll be posting again on Monday. In the meantime, Happy Spring--I hope you were all able to get to Rita's today for your free Italian Ice to celebrate!

Mary Ann

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

AWESOME sale items!!!!!

Hi Kids!

I just came from the Dollar Store in the Hampden Plaza (by Karn's Foods on the Carlisle Pike). They have the Chex Cereal Turtle Bars (2 pts), the Chex Cereal Chocolate Lovers bars (2 or 3 pts...can't remember and didn't buy them), and the Fiber One Bars (Oats and Peanut Butter and Oats and Chocolate). They are ONE DOLLAR PER BOX!!!!!!!! I guarantee they won't last so, if you want to buy some, hurry in!

Enjoy...gotta love it when we can save some money, right?!

Monday, February 16, 2009

February 1 to 21, 2009

B E L I E V E ! ! !

Weeks of February 1 to 21, 2009

Sorry for taking so long to get an entry typed up for February. Life got in the way, if you know what I mean!!

Okay, okay, I guess we’re going to have to wait just a little longer…Donny Osmond will NOT be a contestant in the 8th season of Dancing with the Stars in March. HOWEVER, my sources tell me that he WILL be on the dance floor in the 9th season….WAHOO!!

FOLLOW UP ON LAST FEW WEEKS: We’ve been reviewing some highlights of the new Momentum plan, and, hopefully, you’ve stepped “out of your box” to try to implement some new components of the program. Instead of saying “nothing’s change,” why not TRY to eat more filling foods OR why not track your feelings of hunger, satisfaction, and fullness when you’re eating??

THIS WEEK: What habits do you currently have the support your efforts to lose weight? What habits do you have that get in the way of your success? Learn to identify them, strengthen them, replace them, or refine them this week!


5% award: Maria from Direct Brands, Inc.; Denise, Barry, and Elaine from Tuesday PM Giant; Karen F, Julie F, Pat S, Joan K, Candy, Denise, and Angela S from Thursday PM Gateway; Beth and Beverly from Select Medical Corp; Terri from Travelers; Elaine and Pat S from Wednesday AM Gateway; Deb, Nellie and Sherry from Tuesday AM Giant; Melinda and Carol from Delta Dental
10% award: Jennifer from AMES True Temper; Dora M, Karen D, Becky S, and Joelene from Thursday PM Gateway; Lois H from Tuesday PM Giant; Cami and Jami from Holy Spirit Hospital; Pat U from Tuesday AM Giant;
Major milestones: Dena, Jonele, and Karen from Direct Brands, Inc.; Melanie B and Mary Ann from Tuesday AM Giant; Jessica W, Teresa W, Dottie S, Nicole R, Mark R, Bill M, Judy M, Joyce J, Jerry J, Gary G, Janet F, Christine E, Cheryl D, Alice L, Karen D, Claude L, Sue G, Mark R, Susan J and Dorrie B from Thursday PM Gateway; Janet Y and Gretchen S from Tuesday PM Giant; Dani and Barbara H from Wednesday AM Gateway;
Goal: Deb G from Tuesday PM Giant; Pat J from Thursday PM Gateway
Lifetime: Jane from Wednesday AM Gateway

If I missed your celebration in the chaos of the last few weeks, I apologize! Please email me at, and tell me your name, your celebration, and the location you attend. I’ll be sure to include it in next week’s blog.

UPCOMING EVENTS/ACTIVITIES: Team GI JOES will again participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life on Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19, from 12:00 noon til 12:00 noon at Trinity High School in Camp Hill. If you want to participate as a Team GI JOES member, email me at If you can’t participate but you’d like to donate, that’s cool, too!!

On Saturday, March 28, Kathy Wickert from the Camp Hill Giant Cooking School will return to our Gateway Center again for a FREE “Celebrate Spring” cooking event from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Email me at if you want to sign up—registration is required!

RECIPES OF THE WEEK: I’ve included the much-requested Buffalo Chicken Wing Casserole that I made for the Super Bowl, as well as a few others for you to enjoy…

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

1/2 uncooked instant brown rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use about 3) cut into thin strips
1 small onion - diced
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/4 cup low fat or fat free blue cheese or ranch dressing

1: Cook rice as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350*. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, celery and onion; cook 5 to 7 min, stirring frequently, until no longer pink in center. Remove from heat. Stir tomatoes and wing sauce into chicken mixture.

2: Spray 8-inch (or whatever you happen to have) baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon cooked rice into dish. Spread chicken mixture over rice (do not stir).

3: Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until hot in center. Drizzle dressing over top or let others put dressing on to taste (which is what I do.)

Corned Beef Hash

3 cups corned beef brisket – cooked
2 small onions – chopped
3 potatoes – chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup lowfat beef broth

Run first three ingredients through food grinder (food processor?). Mix well with all the remaining ingredients. Press into well greased pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
Per serving: 297 Calories (kcal); 18g Total Fat; (52% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 63mg Cholesterol; 589mg Sodium

Savory Beef Fajitas

Makes 12 servings
1 beef flank steak (2 lbs.) thinly sliced
1 cup tomato juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs. minced fresh cilantro or parsley
1tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 med. onion, sliced
1 med. green pepper, julienned
1 med. jalapeno, cut into thin strips
12 flour tortillas (7")
Sour cream, guacamole, salsa or shredded Cheddar cheese, optional

Place beef in a slow cooker. Combine the next 7 ingredients; pour over beef. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hrs. Add onions, pepper and jalapeno. Cover and cook 1 hr. longer or until meat and vegetables are tender. Using a slotted spoon, place about 1/2 cup of meat vegetable mixture on each tortilla. Add desired toppings. Roll up. Per serving (without toppings): 225 cal 7g fat, 3g sat fat, 39mg chol, 254mg sod, 19g carb, 2g fiber, 20g protein Points: 5

Crockpot Sour Cream Salsa Chicken

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 package reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
1 cup salsa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup light sour cream

Spray the crockpot with cooking spray. Add the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with Taco Seasoning. Top with salsa. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. When ready to serve, remove the chicken from the pot. Place about 2 Tablespoons cornstarch in a small amount of water. Stir well. Stir the cornstarch mixture into salsa sauce. Stir in 1/4 cup of sour cream. Per Serving: 170 Calories; 2g Fat; 28g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 70mg Cholesterol; 403mg Sodium. 3 POINTS per serving

South-Of-The-Border Lasagna
Makes 7-8 servings
3/4 lb. turkey sausage
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 fresh tomatillos, husked and chopped
1 (19 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
8 oz. lasagna noodles
1 cup low-fat or nonfat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded reduced-fat jalapeno jack cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro

Crumble sausage into a slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes, tomatillos, enchilada sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low 5 1/2 to 6 hrs.

Preheat oven to 350* Grease a 13x9" baking dish. Cook lasagna noodles according to pkg. directions and drain. Spread about 1/2 cup turkey mixture in bottom of prepared pan; arrange alternate layers of noodles, ricotta cheese, and hot turkey mixture. Top with Jack cheese. Bake 25 to 30 min. or until bubbly around edges. Sprinkle with cilantro. Per serving: Cal 340 - Carb 36g - Prot 21g - Total fat 13g - Sat fat 3g - Cal from fat 117 - Sodium 817 mg

Hungry Girl’s Big Fat Blueberry Muffins
Makes 6 muffins at 2 pts each

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup light vanilla soymilk
1/4 cup sugar-free pancake syrup
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Original Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
3 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
2 tbsp. no-sugar-added applesauce (get Mott's Blueberry Delight if you can find it!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. In a separate, large mixing bowl, combine soymilk, syrup, egg substitute, butter, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, mix until thoroughly blended. (Don't worry if butter bits do not break up completely.) Add dry ingredients from the first mixing bowl to the mixture in the large one. Mix until completely blended. Then fold in the blueberries. Line a 6-cup muffin pan (or half a 12-cup pan) with baking liners and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute batter among the 6 cups. Place in the oven and bake for about 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 48 cookies at 1 pt each

1 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 & 3/4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda.
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1 -1/2 Tbsp light Corn Syrup
2 -1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
Cooking spray
3 Tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine first four ingredients. In medium bowl, stir well & set aside. Combine next four ingredients. In large bowl, mix w/electric mixer til well blended. Add the next three ingredients; blend well.
Stir in flour mixture. Coat hands lightly w/cooking spray & shape dough into 48 one-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar & place 2” apart on cookie sheets coated w/ cooking spray. Flatten balls w/ fork dipped in sugar( making criss-cross design). Bake for 7 minutes or til lightly browned.

GREG'S JOKE FOR THE WEEK: What do you call a pig who does karate? A pork chop.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Sometimes, in order to experience success, you need to make the hard choices. In your career, it might mean packing up and moving to accept the offer of your dream job, leaving behind friends, family, and security to experience nirvana. Sometimes, it’s making a sacrifice to get what you want, whether that sacrifice means going back to school while working full time (been there, done that…) or working a job you hate for a while so that you can accumulate capital to start your own business. I think you know what I mean. Well, on our weight loss journeys, sometimes we also have to sacrifice in order to achieve and experience success. We have gotten so used to eating what we want when we want that we don’t think about it—we just do it. Now that we’re trying to change, we begin to recognize our habits and realize that some level of change is necessary. When our day starts to spiral downward with bad news at home or at work, we have to challenge ourselves to NOT use food to deal with the situation. We are SO used to saying, “It’s just so stressful right now, I don’t have time to worry about what I eat” that we aren’t sure we can actually DO anything else BUT eat. Yes, we can!!!

Many of us also use the dialogue of “I just don’t care right now about my weight.” Again, we say it when we don’t feel capable of a healthy response to a challenge. Take it from me, kids…we ALWAYS care about our weight, but we have mental lapses in judgment sometimes that push the “play” button of those words. How do we change that? By recording a new message to replace the old one! “Right now, I would give anything for a chocolate donut, but in 5 minutes, the donut will be gone, and I’ll be more miserable than I am right now. I need to MOVE.” And then, instead of eating the donut, get up and walk to the bathroom. See what I mean?

Pay attention to your own dialogue this week. Do you find yourself saying any of the following?

“Well, I blew it. Next week will be a new week/Tomorrow will be a new day.”
“I just don’t have the time right now to worry about what I’m going to eat.”
“I have too much going on with kids’ activities to spend time planning meals.”
“I spend Saturdays at the hockey rink/basketball court/indoor soccer field/pool while my kids practice and there are no good choices there.”
“I can’t afford healthy foods/WW meeting right now.”
“I’m never going to lose the weight anyway.”
“I have diabetes/I’m going through menopause/I’m on steroids and it’s impossible to lose weight.”
“I’m not able to exercise so I’ll never lose weight.”
“I need to have cookies/Doritos/candy/ice cream in the house or my kids would kill me!”

If you can relate, then you’re using this dialogue to support your efforts to “cave” when challenged or when you don’t want to make concessions on your meals/snacks. Recognize it, and then you can change it. Ignore it, and you’ll continue using it to create your own barriers to success. Pretend it’s not you, and you’ll get the same results as “ignore it” gets. Thoughts predict behaviors. Think negative thoughts, and you’ll act in a self-sabotaging way. Think positive thoughts, and you’ll develop new, supportive behaviors. Only when you do an honest assessment of your internal dialogue will you be able to TRULY begin this journey as a lifestyle change. Have a great, honest, reflecting week!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

URGENT: Wednesday, 1/28, 10 AM Gateway Meeting

Hi everyone,

I am going to make every effort to get to the Center for our 10:00 am meeting today. It's 7:54 am as I type this note. If I can't get there, I'll turn around and officially cancel the meeting. For now, it's a "go," but PLEASE don't put yourself in any danger to get there! There's always tomorrow, Friday and Saturday to weigh in!!

Have a safe day!
Mary Ann

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Feed Hunger, Feel Feelings--go figure!!

B E L I E V E ! ! !

Week of January 18 to 24, 2009

Another lesson to be learned from the Philadelphia Eagles…sometimes, despite careful planning and preparation, you blow it. What’s the lesson? Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again. Thankfully, pitchers and catchers report in less than 1 month…GO PHILLIES!!

FOLLOW UP ON LAST WEEK: We learned to enhance our eating satisfaction by using our daily target point number and our 35 weekly points allowance to increase our satisfaction and, as a result, reducing or eliminating that feeling of being deprived. Never having the food we really like will eventually sabotage us; let’s learn moderation so that we can be successful for the long haul!

THIS WEEK: We’ll learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger, and we’ll explore avenues to manage the emotional eating. Imagine how different life will be when we address THAT issue successfully?!?!

DON’T FORGET!! Join Kathy Wickert from the Camp Hill Giant Cooking School this Saturday, January 24th to sample some low point, low calorie treats that you can serve at your upcoming Super Bowl parties! Get free recipes, too! Party time is from 1:00 to 2:00 pm at the WW Gateway Center in Mechanicsburg (located conveniently next to the Outback Steakhouse on the Carlisle Pike…). Email me at if you want to attend because registration is required!

RELAY FOR LIFE AND “TEAM GI JOES”: Yep, it’s that time again, so mark your calendars. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20 from 12:00 noon til 12:00 noon at Trinity High School in Camp Hill. Team GI Joes, organized last year in honor of my brother, Joe, who is battling cancer, will again participate. New members are welcome! Email me at if you’re interesting in joining our team! An organizational team meeting will be scheduled in February (date to be announced).


10% goal: Rebecca and Sue from the Tuesday AM Giant meeting; Gary from Thursday PM Gateway
Major milestones: Phyllis and Rebecca from Tuesday AM Giant meeting
Weight goal: Melissa from AMES True Temper
Lifetime member:

RECIPES OF THE WEEK: How about some warm, delicious soups for these cold, bitter days!

Potato Soup
2 pts per cup

2 cans chicken broth
1 C water
1 package of fat free gravy mix (white gravy mix)
1 package of o’brien hash brown potatoes

Boil broth and water. Add gravy mix and stir with wire whisk. Add frozen potatoes. Cook until potatoes are done. Yummy!!

“Homemade” Chicken Noodle Soup
(uses WW Chicken and Noodles side dish)
Makes 6 cups at 2 pts each

2 cans fat free chicken broth
1 C diced carrots
1 C diced celery

Boil until veggies are tender. Then add :

¾ lb cooked, diced boneless chicken breast
2 C water
1 package WW Chicken Side package

Bring to boil; simmer 10 minutes untl noodles are soft.

Cabbage Roll Soup
makes 10 1 1/3 C servings at 4 pts per serving)

1 pound ground round
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
1 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cans beef consommé -- undiluted--10.5 ounces per can
2 cans diced tomatoes -- undrained--14.5 ounces per can
1/2 cup uncooked converted rice

Brown meat in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; drain well. Place meat in a 4-quart electric slow cooker; stir in water and next 10 ingredients. Cover; cook on low-heat for 8 hours. Increase heat setting to high; stir in rice. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes or until rice is

Slow Cooker Vegetable Minestrone
12 servings at 2 pts each

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium carrots – sliced (1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks – chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion – chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (3 ounces)
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces) undrained*
1 1/2 cups uncooked rotini pasta – 4 ½ ounces
Shredded Parmesan if desired

Mix all ingredients in 4 – 5 quart slow cooker except pasta and cheese. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7-8 hours or until veggies are tender. Stir in pasta, cover and cook on high heat setting 15-20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. (add points for cheese)

Slow Cooker Wild Rice Soup
Makes 8 cups at 3 pts per serving

1/2 Cup wild rice – dry
1/2 Cup shredded carrot
3 Cans fat-free chicken broth
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves -- cut into 1" pieces
1/2 Cup chopped celery -- approx. 1 stalk
1/2 Cup chopped onion -- approx. 1 medium onion
8 ounces spinach leaves, whole
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 Cup flour

Stir together all ingredients except spinach, sour cream and flour in slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW for 10-12 hrs. or until chicken and rice are tender. Just before serving, stir together sour cream and flour in small bowl until smooth. Increase heat to HIGH. Add the spinach and slowly stir sour cream mixture into hot soup mixture, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened and creamy (6 to 10 min.).

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

16 Ounces chicken breast halves without skin – cubed
30 Ounces black beans, canned – undrained
30 Ounces mexican-style stewed tomatoes – canned
1 Cup salsa
4 Ounces chopped green chiles
14 1/2 Ounces tomato sauce
2 Cups reduced fat cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients except cheese and tortilla chips into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. To serve, put a handful of chips into each individual bowl. Ladle soup over chips. Top with 1/4 cup cheese.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 248 Calories; 4g Fat (13.2% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 1215mg Sodium.
Serving Ideas : Would be good with a dollop of sour cream too.
Might also add minced garlic and cilantro to soup. Could use Monterey Jack cheese instead of the Cheddar.

Chicken-Vegetable Chowder
Makes 5 (1 ½ cup) servings at 4 pts each

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs -- cut in 1" pieces
1 cup fresh baby carrots, cut in halves -- lengthwise
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 14 1/2oz can ready-to-serve chicken broth
1 10 3/4oz.can condensed cream of chicken & broccoli soup -- 98% Fat Free, with 30% less sodium
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 9 oz. pkg. Green Giant Harvest Fresh Cut Broccoli -- thawed

In 3 1/2 to 4-quart Crock-Pot slow cooker, combine chicken, carrots, mushrooms, onion, water, garlic powder, thyme and broth; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting for 7 to 9 hours or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain fat from slow cooker. In small bowl, combine soup, milk and flour; beat with wire whisk until smooth. Add soup mixture and broccoli to chicken mixture. Cover; cook an additional 30 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

Turkey-Tomato Soup
Makes 6 servings at 5 pts each

1 pound turkey thighs, boned, skinned -- cut into 1" pieces (2 medium)
2 small red potatoes -- cubed (or white)
1 3/4 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water
8 ounces no salt added tomato sauce -- (1 can)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients, except parsley, in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 9 to 10 hours. Stir in parsley; serve.

Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup
Makes 8 (1 cup) servings at 2 pts each

16 ounces navy beans -- rinsed
8 cups water
1 cup carrots -- finely chopped
1 cup celery -- finely chopped & leaves
1/2 cup onion -- finely chopped
1 cup tomato vegetable cocktail juice
1 tablespoon chicken-flavor instant bouillon
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine beans and water. Bring to a boil. Boil 30 minutes; remove from heat. Let stand 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender. In slow cooker, combine beans (and water) and all remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or until beans and vegetables are very tender.

White Bean and Green Chile Pepper Soup
Makes 5 servings at 4 pts each

30 ounces great northern beans, canned -- (2 - 15 oz. cans) rinsed and drained
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 1/2 ounces diced green chiles -- (1 can)
1 teaspoon ground cumin – divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
14 1/2 ounces fat-free chicken broth -- (1 can)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sour cream – optional

Combine beans, onion, chilies, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and garlic powder in slow cooker. Cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours. Stir in cilantro, olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Garnish with sour cream, if desired. Makes 5 servings.

White Chili
Makes 6 (1 1/3 C servings at 6 pts each

1 pound dry great northern beans, rinsed and sorted
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (4-oz) chopped green chilies
½ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cubed
1 teaspoon salt

Place beans in a soup kettle or Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid. Place beans in a slow cooker. Add the broth, onions, garlic, and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until beans are almost tender. Add the chilies, chicken and salt; cover and cook for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Serve with cheese (if desired – must add the points!)

GREG'S JOKE FOR THE WEEK: A dog was chasing a neighboring cat around the block. The dog soon had the cat flattened. What did the cat say...? Me-Owww!!!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: If I had a dime for every time someone tells me that they’re overweight “because they just love to eat,” I would be a very rich woman. It always amazes me that people don’t see the giant, waving RED FLAG of emotional eating in that statement! When you eat for reasons other than hunger, there is an emotion tied to it. You might not recognize it as such, but there is emotion involved. “Whenever I’m around cake, I have to eat it.” Sorry—not true! We remember having no self control over a particular food because we seem to surround ourselves with that same food every time we’re emotionally challenged. Can you see, then, how we might come to the conclusion that we “just can’t be around it?”” Remove emotion from the equation, and we will react in a very different way. Remove a trigger food from our environment when we are emotionally challenged, and we make a completely different choice. Sometimes the food BRINGS UP a particular emotion, which then results in our so-called lack of control. I’m going to make this sound simple, although we all know it is not, but changing emotional eating starts with choosing different internal dialogue: “I choose not to let this cake rule me” VERSUS “Oh my God, there’s cake in the house, and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it.” Hmmm…very different messages, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s start there this week…when you’re feeling mesmerized or “possessed” by a particular food, listen to what you’re saying to yourself. CHANGE THE MESSAGE, over and over again. This isn’t a one-time deal, kids. This involves repetitive new message and repetitive new behavior—that’s how we go so good at what we currently do, right? We’ve been doing it over and over again for years. So, let’s get to work. Fill in the blank with YOUR challenging food, and repeat this over and over again: _____________________ does not OWN me. Good work!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Week of January 11 to 17, 2009

Week of January 11 to 17, 2009


Last Week: Okay, now that we reviewed the 7 steps of the K.I.S.S. principle, let’s complete our challenge to focus on 2 of the steps this week! Do them for ALL seven days, kids. I don’t usually issue a 7-day, every day, challenge, but we’re working on developing habits, so we have to keep repeating the behaviors over and over again. You CAN do it!

This Week: Learning the fine art of getting satisfied and staying satisfied will be explored. 24 points worth of Twinkies won’t keep you satisfied for more than 10 minutes, people, so stop trying to make that work for you!

What’s New: On Saturday, January 24, the WW Center in Mechanicsburg will be hosting Kathy Wickert from the Camp Hill Giant Cooking School as she prepares some low point Super Bowl foods. Wear your team’s colors, and come out to sample some foods that won’t break your points bank—recipes will be provided, too! Email me at if you want to sign up. Guaranteed we’ll have lots of fun (and, should the Eagles win this Sunday and make it to the Super Bowl, you’ll see me in rare form!!!).

WAHOO and Congratulations to
• Major Milestones: Dorrie, Kathy, Janet, and Tom from Thursday PM Gateway; Whitney from Delta Dental
• 10% award: Cheryl from Thursday PM Gateway

Greg’s Joke of the Week: What did the Giants fan say to the Cowboys fan? Nothing…he just passed him a tissue to wipe his tears…

Recipes: Here are some yummy recipes that you can serve at your Super Bowl party…

Sweet Onion Kielbasa
From the National Honey Board

1 lb. low fat turkey kielbasa sausage
1 small onion, chopped
2 T. light whipped butter (don’t use soft spread—it’s mostly water and will evaporate)
12-oz. can light beer
1/3 c. honey
2 or 3 T. spicy, brown or Dijon mustard
Pepper and/or chili powder (or favorite spices), to taste

Slice kielbasa into 1-inch medallions. Saut� onion in butter until onions are transparent. In a large skillet, bring ½ can of beer to a slow boil and add kielbasa. Cook until the beer is reduced by half, then add the remaining ½ can of beer. Add honey and mustard, and spices to taste. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce reaches a thick, honey-like consistency. Onions may be mixed into the finished sauce, or added to top as garnish. Makes four to six appetizer servings.

Guacamole With Lots of Lime
Makes 3 Cups (2-tablespoons per serving: 45 calories, 1 protein, 3 gm carbohydrates, 4 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 96 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber)

3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
Finely grated zest from 2 limes
2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
6 scallions (white part only) finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
2 T. minced jalapeno chili pepper, or to taste
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro, or to taste
Salt to taste

Coarsely chop the avocado. Place it in a large bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, scallions, garlic and jalapeno. Using a fork or a wooden spoon, mash to the desired consistency. Add cilantro and salt to taste and mix gently. Serve immediately.

Lime Spiked Black Bean Dip
From Cooking Light magazine
Makes 5 Cups (serving size is 2 Tbs@ Calories: 19, Fat: 0.1g , Protein: 1.2g, Carbohydrate: 3.9g,
Fiber: 1.3g

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Place beans in a food processor, and pulse until almost smooth. Combine the beans, carrot, and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until well blended. Let stand 30 minutes. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Ultra Decadent Chocolate Chip Brownies
From Cooking Light magazine
Makes 2 dozen (1 brownie = 175 calories, 3.3 g fat, o.4 fiber)

1 1/4 cups applesauce
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
1/2 cup vanilla-flavored baking chips (such as Ghirardelli)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon applesauce into a fine sieve over a bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Discard liquid. Scrape drained applesauce into a large bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla, eggs, and egg whites; stir well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add to applesauce mixture; stir just until moist. Fold in chips. Spoon the batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray, and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

FRITO PIE - Thank you Jean from Kansas and WW Leader Zig
Serves 8 - 4 points each Total points per pie is 32 points

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped green chilies
1 cup chunky salsa
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed corn chips (1 1/2 oz)

Brown beef, onion, chilies. Drain. Add remaining ingredients except chips. Heat through. Spoon into 10" pie plate and top with crushed chips. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes; let cool 10 minutes

Weight Watchers Layered Fruit Salad recipe
Thanks again to WW leader Zig
Makes 6 servings, 4 pts each

2 medium bananas, sliced
2 cups pineapple chunks
2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 medium grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon, rind of
1 cinnamon stick

In a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice and zest, lemon juice and rind, brown sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Layer the fruit in a glass serving bowl. Remove the cinnamon stick from the sauce; pour the sauce over the fruit. Cover and chill for several hours before serving.

From Taste of Home magazine; thanks for sharing with us, Donna!
1 cup = 3 points (10 servings)

1 medium onion, chopped
2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium yellow pepper chopped
1 can solid packed pumpkin (15 oz)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cups cubed turkey or chicken
2 tsp. olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. Dried parsley
2 tsp. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. Dried oregano
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. Salt

In a large skillet, sauté onion, yellow pepper and garlic in olive oil until tender. Transfer to a 5 qt. slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Franks’s REDHOT Buffalo Chicken Dip
Makes 4 cups, total pts value of 31

1 pkg (8 oz) low fat cream cheese, softened
2 cans (9.72 oz each) chunk chicken breast, drained
½ C redhot sauce
½ C low fat blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 C low fat crumbled blue cheese
Assorted veggies

Stir cream cheese in deep baking dish until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until hot and bubbling. Stir. Serve with veggies (if you serve crackers, don’t forget to account for the points!).

Thought for the Week: You may hate the Philadelphia Eagles, you may love the Philadelphia Eagles, or you may be indifferent to the Philadelphia Eagles. HOWEVER, we can ALL learn a lesson from their experiences of this season—NEVER STOP BELIEVING! If, 6 weeks ago, they had given up on themselves like a lot of other people had, they’d be done right now. Their bags would be packed and unpacked, and they’d be watching the NFC Championship game this coming Sunday at home, wishing they were there. But guess what?? They WILL be there! Despite the odds and despite a poor first-half-of-the-season performance, they dug deep down, fought harder, ignored the negative comments, focused on what they ultimately wanted to do, and did the work; most importantly, they NEVER STOPPED BELIEVING THAT THEY WERE CAPABLE OF WINNING. So, when things aren’t going your way, when you’re not giving it your all, when people start telling you that you’ll never get to your goal, reach deep down, set a goal, keep your eyes on the prize, and JUST DO IT!! Block out the naysayers, and internalize on your inner drive, power, energy, and motivation, and show everyone what you’re REALLY made of! By the way, do you know what Andy Reid has the team chant in the locker room? Yep, you guessed it: “On three…one, two, three…BELIEVE!” Have a GREAT week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

week of January 4, 2009

January 4 to 10, 2009

Happy New Year to everyone! Remember, we are going to SHINE IN '09!! Whining about what you wish you had done in December is wasted energy; focusing on what you ARE going to do in January is energy well spent. Let's get to business...

Last week: Fittingly, we reviewed 2008 but focused on what we did WELL and identified the qualities that helped us to be successful. We also looked at what we want to have achieved when December 2009 rolls around. "I want to lose weight" is NOT it, kids.

This week: Remembering that we want weight loss to be easy to follow and sustainable for our lifetime, we looked at 7 steps that will help to achieve that. Hint: the steps are in new materials that you received in December, but we'll review them just to refresh your memory...

WAHOO and congratulations to...
* Jane from the Wednesday AM Gateway meeting, Charlene from the Tuesday PM Giant meeting, and Joan from the Tuesday AM Giant meeting who reached their goal weights in December!
* Claire from the Wednesday AM meeting who became a Lifetime member
* Mary Beth from the Tuesday PM Giant meeting; Rosemary, Bob, and Jim from the Tuesday AM Giant meeting, and Gary from the Thursday PM Gateway meeting who all reached major milestones

Greg's joke of the week: He's having issues right now, as he forgot his Social Studies book and can't get his homework done. Sorry for any inconvenience...


Marinated Vegetable Salad
makes 8 servings @ 1 pt each

2 2/3 C small cauliflower florets
1 1/2 C diagonally sliced carrots
1 1/3 C diagonally sliced celery
2/3 C sliced red pepper
1/3 C sliced ripe olives
1 (14 oz) can quartered artichokes, drained
1/2 C white wine vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Steam cauliflower and carrot, covered, 3 minutes or til crisp tender. Rinse under cold water and drain. Combine cauliflower mixture, celery, and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss gently. Combine vinegar and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Pour onto veggies and toss gently to coat. Cover and chill.

Black Bean Soup
makes 8 servings @ 1 pt each

3 cans black beans
1 canlow sodium fat free chicken broth
1 jar salsa
cumin to taste

In a blender, puree 1 1/2 cans drained, rinsed beans with broth. In large saucepan, mix remaining 1/2 can beans, last can (with liquid), jar of salsa and broth mixture. Bring to a boil, add cumin to taste.

Eggplant Parmesan
makes 4 servings @ 3 pts each

1 eggplant (stop making faces and TRY it--you might like it!!)
(about 1 1/2 lbs, pared and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 egg white, lightly beaten with 2 Tbs water
1/2 C seasoned italian bread crumbs
1 C reduced fat spaghetti sauce
3/4 C shredded 2% mozzarella cheese
3 Tbs parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Coat eggplant slices with egg white, then bread crumbs. Arrange on prepared baking sheets; bake 30 minutes. Turn slices over; bake until browned on both sides, 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven; leave oven on. Spread 1/4 C sauce over bottom of 8 x 8 pan. Arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer over the sauce; top with half of the remaining sauce, then half of the cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake, covered, until heated through and cheese is melted, 30 to 40 minutes.

Snickers Dessert bars
makes 8 @ 3 pts each

2 C vanilla or chocolated low fat frozen yogurt (I use chocolate)
1 C frozen non-dairy reduced fat whipped topping (defrosted)
1/4 C crunchy peanut butter (low fat)
1 box (1.1 oz) sugar free, fat free instant chocolate pudding

Let ice cream and whipped topping soften at room temperature. In a chilled bowl, beat with an electric beater the ice cream, whipped topping, peanut butter and pudding mix until smooth (about 5 minutes). Freeze in an 8 x 8 pan/dish until sold, about 2 hours. Cut into 8 squares.

Southern Style Oven Fried Chicken
makes 4 servings at 5 pts each

1/2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 oz buttermilk
3/4 C corn flakes crumbs
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 4 oz pieces)

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 x 2 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Combine flour, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a medium size bowl. Place buttermilk and corn flakes crumbs in 2 separate shallow bowls. Roll chicken breast halves in flour mixture and evenlycoat each side. Next dip chicken into buttermilk and then corn flakes crumbs. Place coated chicken breasts in prepared baking dish. Bake until chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 20 minutes (there's no need to flip the chicken during baking).

Thought for the week: It's hard work taking care of ourselves, isn't it? How many of us were sidetracked by the needs of others in December, so sidetracked that we didn't take very good care of ourselves at all? There is a certain vocabulary that accompanies this lack of self care and it sounds like this: "I was too busy to worry about what I ate. I don't have to cook so we ate out a lot. I have so many commitments that I can't worry about going to a meeting. There's too much to get done to try to focus on eating healthy." I'll stop there, because I think you get my message. That's just plain bull, and we know it. We say this things to EXCUSE ourselves from being healthy and to PERMIT ourselves to return to old habits. No time to run in for a weigh in? Give me a break...Now, if we said "I don't want to see the number on the scale," I might be willing to listen to the words. At least that would be honest...

Most of all, though, we chose not to take care of ourselves because, deep down, we WANTED to go back to the old ways. We WANTED to eat cookies when we were baking and not write down points values. We WANTED to go to the office party and drink and eat to our heart's content without "worrying" about how much we were consuming. We WANTED to join in our families' food fests so we didn't get questioned, cornered, and sidelined about what we were and were not eating. We WANTED to eat the boxed candy (caramels first, of course...) and not worry about how many empty papers were in the box. We WANTED to spend more time partying, socializing, and celebrating and less time working out, tracking, or attending meetings.

But...there's good news! 2008 is over! You can do NOTHING to change it. We can, however, start taking care of ourselves and realizing, through the reflection above, that choosing to not take care of ourselves is exactly what sabotages our efforts to lose weight each and every time we've tried unsuccessfully to do so. We think we're fooling everyone with our busy-ness, our overbooked calendars, our family food-laden feasts, and our sabotaging friends, family members, and co-workers. We know deep down, though, that they're our "smoke and mirrors" to eat what we want, when we want, in whatever quantity we choose. It doesn't work too well any more, does it? Oh, it works to permit yourself to eat, but it does nothing to help you develop habits to lose weight and to keep it off when challenged. And the guilt is horrendous.

Here's what we're going to do: file this information away, and remember on the 14th of February when the heart shaped candy boxes show up at work, in your house, on the grocery stores shelves, and in your kids' backpacks. Remember how you felt last week when the holiday was over, and remember the choices you made that contributed to those feelings. Then...refer to above and REFUSE to use the excuse-making dialogue. Learn from experience, people. Start learning some new statements to repeat to yourself when "it only comes once a year" starts reverberating in your brain! Think new thoughts and you'll perform different actions that will support you. Won't it feel great to feel in control when a holiday is over?

We can do this, but we need to do it together, and we can't take "breaks" if we truly want to be successful. What are YOU willing to do to take care of yourself when challenges arise this year? Are you ready to stop lying to yourself? Are you ready to stop hiding behind words that have become transparent? Okay then, let's get to work!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

WW BELIEVE Team - 2009

Happy New Year, everyone!

I apologize for the absence of an entry over the past few weeks. I took some time off to rejuvenate and renew, and, BOY, am I feeling ready to ROCK AND ROLL!! For those of you who were at a meeting this week, you heard my announcement of my getting back into the running scene (well, actually, the jogging scene...) and you also heard my invitation to any of you to join the WW BELIEVE team in training! Anyone can join; you can walk, run, jog or utilize whatever level of activity you are able to embrace. There are, however, team rules:

1. positive attitudes only (no whining)
2. show up, pay attention, do the work (no excuses)
3. share your knowledge and experience
4. be patient (no "it's too hard")
5. be realistic (no "I want to run a marathon in 2 months even though I've never run a day in my life up to now")

You are accountable to yourself, but you also are expected to relay your progress on a team chart, which will be at all meetings. You must sign up to get your name on the chart; you then update your progress each week. Don't lie on the chart--you may fool yourself, but you won't fool me :)

Are you ready to sign up? Email me at Training starts next week (the week of January 4, 2009). Once I receive your email, I'll send you the training schedule. The plan is to complete a 5K (3.1 mile) race once a month from March until December.

Did I hear you say "I can't do it?" Please refer to rule #1.

Did I hear you say "It's too cold outside?" Please refer to rules #1 and #2.

Let's get it started, people. No goal = no result. What do YOU want to have happen in 2009? That's your goal and the source of your motivation. Do you believe you can achieve it? That's your empowering belief. Are you willing to do the work? That's your drive.

Make this year, 2009, the year to SHINE!

Mary Ann