Do You Have What It Takes To Lose Weight?

Weight loss isn't about will power. It's about having a sense of urgency and believing in yourself.

Weight loss isn’t about will power. It’s about having a sense of urgency and believing in yourself.

I’m reading Weight Loss Boss by David Kirchhoff, CEO of Weight Watchers (review coming soon!) and ran across an interesting factoid about the two common attributes of people who successfully lost weight.

According to Weight Watchers’ own research, regardless of weight loss program, those who were successful:

  1. Had a sense of urgency (weight loss was a top priority)
  2. Believed in themselves and in their ability to stick with their plan

That spoke to me.

I’ve tried losing weight for the last 25 years. My latest weight loss journey is successful because I was in a good place, mentally.

My horrendous physical gave me the sense of urgency I needed (point 1). While I never view fear as a “good place” to be, it was the swift kick in my size 28 pants that I needed.

And once I stopped dieting and focused on changing my life, I knew I’d succeed (point 2). Sure the weight was coming off, but it had done that before — only to come back with abandon. Once I read Why We Get Fat, my path became clear, and I just knew in my shrinking gut that this time I’d drop those hated pounds and finally get healthy.

If you’re trying to lose weight but it’s not a priority (remember, just saying it’s a priority doesn’t make it so), you might lose a few pounds. But, down the road, you’ll find them again and a few of their friends, too. I know I did.

On the other hand, if the urgency is there, you’re less likely to give up in moments of self-doubt. Believing in yourself may take time. It took me about 3 months after my doctor’s visit to find the right tools and plan (low carb variation of Weight Watchers) that gave me the confidence and belief that I could do it.  It really is about finding your groove.

Do you have what it takes to lose weight?

Yeah. You do.

Weekly Weigh-In: That Damn Peanut Butter

I'm up 3 pounds this week thanks to dipping a spoon into the peanut butter jar a few too many times.

I’m up 3 pounds this week thanks to dipping a spoon into the peanut butter jar a few too many times.

When I woke up this morning, I instantly knew the scale would show movement in the opposite direction. My bad knee swelled during the night. That along with incredibly sore abs and arms from my new upper body training meant I’m retaining some water.

When I walked into my Weight Watchers meeting I expected to be up a pound.  Not the three the scale showed.


Confession:  It’s not all water. I think the peanut butter has something to do with it too.

Our Old English Sheep dog has to take a pill with every meal. To make sure she actually eats the pill, we smear it with peanut butter.

The first time, I finished a workout and I needed to eat something. So, before I prepared the pill, I dipped the spoon in the peanut butter jar for some quick protein.  Well, over the course of the week, that little dip turned into a full-blown peanut butter monkey on my back. Before feeding Peekabu, I would take a little taste…or two. OK three, no four tops.

I just couldn’t help myself.

Well that’s not true. I could have, but it tastes so good when it hits the lips.

I think I need to let the husband feed the dogs for a while.

Update: Cuban Pork Tenderloin With A Twist!

As promised, below is the finished product of the Weight Watchers’ Cuban Pork Tenderloin recipe I posted a few days ago, but with a spicy twist!

Yes, I loved the lime and garlic flavors, but last night I desired a little heat.  So I broke out a Christmas gift from my sister and her husband. Spicy and delicious with the right amount of crunch.  I topped the tenderloin with this bad boy and got the kick I wanted.

Added some heat with this pepper dish my sister and brother-in-law made. It was awesome!

Added some heat to the tenderloin with this pepper topper my sister and brother-in-law created. Amazing flavor without cauterizing your mouth!

The concoction includes  jalapenos, carrots and cauliflower soaking in oil. It’s spicy but not to the point where you burn your tongue off. I was really shocked by the crunch.  While the carrots are a little soft, the cauliflower really holds up. I don’t know if they will part with the recipe, but I want it!

This is so good I can't get enough. Need to convince my sister and hubby to share recipe.

Pretty with a bow on top! This is so good I can’t get enough. Need to convince my sister and hubby to share recipe.


One Simple Start Recipe That Needs Work

My grilled cheese and vegetable soup. The soup was great, although it needs some protein. The grilled cheese, was lacking. Next time it's real cheese, not this fat-free stuff.

My grilled cheese and vegetable soup. The soup was great, although it needs some protein. The grilled cheese, was lacking. Next time its real cheese, not this fat-free stuff.

For lunch today I tried the Simple Start grilled cheese with vegetable soup. I can’t say I loved it. I made the soup last week and it is very tasty. I added elbow pasta and stewed tomatoes to it for a nice Italian twist. It’s the “grilled cheese” I have issue with.

The recipe calls for fat-free shredded cheese and two slices of tomato on a light English muffin. Just heat in the oven until the cheese melts.

Easy enough. Problem is fat-free cheese doesn’t really melt. It seems to form a hard shell on top of the tomato.  Also, I had to put the muffin in the toaster first. The cheese “melts” too quickly for the muffin to get toasty.

I can have real cheese on Simple Start, but it’s pretty expensive points wise. But in this case it would make for a better grilled cheese.

Finally, I ended up adding a hard-boiled egg to my lunch. This meal really lacks protein. I try to eat 3-6 ounces of protein at each meal. I think the next time I make the soup, instead of the noodles I’ll add chicken or turkey.

Grilled Cuban Pork Tenderloin

This is a great little Weight Watchers (subscription required for link) recipe I’ve made a few times and is a big hit with the husband. The pork is marinated for at least 4 hours, but to get the full flavor I recommend marinating overnight.

I’m marinating 2 tenderloins today to cook tomorrow (photo tomorrow).

Gilled Cuban Pork Tenderloin
Net Carbs: 2
Weight Watchers PlusPoints: 4
Servings: 4


  • ¼ C fresh live juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tsp. tried oregano
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic, or to taste
  • 1 pound uncooked, lean pork tenderloin, use one or whole loin


  • In small bowl, combine lime juice, oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Spoon 3 tbsp. of marinade into a zip-top food storage bag or shallow glass dish.
  • Add garlic and pork to bag (or glass dish). Seal bag and turn to coat pork with mixture (or turn in glass dish to coat and then cover). Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  • Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade in a small bowl – this will be the sauce.
  • Heat grill to medium-hot heat or preheat oven to 425.
  • For the Grill: Remove pork from bag and place on grill or in shallow cooking dish. Discard marinade in bag (or glass dish). Grill pork, turning occasionally, until meat thermometer inserted in center reads at least 145 degrees, about 20-25 minutes.
  • For the Oven: Place pork in a shallow roasting pan, discarding marinade in bag or glass dish; roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove pork from grill or oven and let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing. Stir any juices from cutting board into reserved sauce and drizzle over sliced pork. Yields about 3 ounces of pork and 1 tbsp. of sauce per serving.

Simple Start: Day 4 Musings

Simple Start

Day 4 of Simple Start. It works, but not alone. You’ll still need Weight Watchers meetings, app and E-Tools  to break those bad habits and learn how to eat right again.

I had my first real test on the Simple Start program last night. The program succeeded, while I failed (a little).  We went out to dinner last night and I ordered a Cobb salad and stayed on track by replacing the salad dressing with oil and vinegar and requesting no cheese (fat-free not available).

A perfect night…until I ordered the 2nd glass of wine. D’oh!

Under Simple Start, a glass of wine is considered an indulgence and allowed.  My problem was the second glass. In my defense, it was just so tasty!

Other than this bizarre bias against the nectar of the gods, I’m enjoying Simple Start. It is living up to its name. The program takes away the guesswork for you. Just follow the prescribed menus or pick from the power food list.

And yet…that ease of use bugs me. I’m worried that people new to Weight Watchers will see how easy it is and think this is all they have to do to lose weight. Two years ago, I would have. I was still looking for the Easy Button. Now I know that one of the hardest things about weight loss is unlearning bad habits. If you don’t understand your triggers, and why you got fat in the first place, you’ll be doomed to dancing the ten-pound-tango every time a new diet comes out.

Certainly my Weight Watchers leader hit this point pretty hard in last week’s meeting.

And yet as the great wizard-philosopher Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore once said, “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

It’s human nature to go with easy.

There is no easy peasy, nor lemon squeezy:

Simple Start is NOT the Holy Grail. The program gives you a kick-start and helps you build confidence. Follow it and you’ll see results on the scale. But if all that interests you is some movement on the scale, without learning from your mistakes, then it’ll be like that time you tried the 3 Day Diet, or the Cabbage Soup Diet, or the Hollywood Diet, or the Grapefruit Diet. Or my favorite one of all, the Tomorrow I’m on a Diet.

It’s common for folks in my meetings to say they can’t scrounge up enough minutes in a day to make healthy choices. Simple Start can help. But if you’re not willing to create time for yourself, no plan, no matter how easy, won’t help you in the long run.  Not even the Tapeworm Diet.

Look, I’m not saying eat perfectly all the time or that I never have moments where I don’t think about what I’m doing.  I still slip up (“cough” wine “cough”).  If you want to lose weight, you have to make yourself a priority in your own life and understand it’s not about dieting. It’s about changing your lifestyle!

I’m off the soapbox now.

(Damn thing’s about to shatter under me anyway…two glasses of wine, hello?)

I’m Speaking At A Weight Watchers Meeting

weight loss fashion makeover

I’m sharing my weight loss adventure at my next Weight Watchers meeting. I’m so excited.

My Weight Watchers leader asked me to speak about my weight loss journey at the Saturday meeting.  I’m really excited but also feeling a bit overwhelmed. I mean, how do I distill all that I’ve learned over the last two years into 5 minutes?

Plus, my weight loss journey is a bit unorthodox  — I did quit my job to shed the pounds (not something I’m recommending everyone attempt).

This morning I’m working on my outline. I think I’m going to divide the presentation by years — 2012 was the learning curve and in 2013 I got my mojo back!

2012: Re-learning How To Eat
In 2012 I re-learned everything I could about food — dealing with cravings, which foods triggered binges, and most importantly, how food becomes fat in my body.  For me, understanding the science of Why We Get Fat is the key to my weight loss.

With Weight Watchers, you’re not deprived. You can have any food you want as long as you count the points and keep to your daily point range.

Well in 2012 I discovered I couldn’t have any food I wanted. The more carbs I ate, the more insulin in my blood, the more my body stored fat.

I eliminated sodas, processed foods and my trigger foods (pasta, bread and grains) from my diet. Sugar got the boot too, and I even limited fruit. I found I had more energy, felt fantastic and yes, the weight started coming off faster.

2013: Finding my inner confidence
I really feel that I started living my life for the first time in 2013.

I lost my excuse for not trying new things.  Weight lifting, yoga, running, new foods…I wanted to try everything! Heck, this life long fish hater fell in love with sushi when I tried it for the first time last year.

I even conquered a phobia. Walking into an Old Navy, Nordstrom and Macy’s dressing room for the very first time is nerve-wracking. Doing it all in one day was terrifying.

No doubt my fashion makeover gave me the biggest boost to my confidence. Sure I went from a size 28 to an 18, but the thought of shopping somewhere other than Lane Bryant is terrifying when you’re overweight. I’ve had plenty of dressing room meltdowns in my life to know.

Sure it may seem superficial. It’s just clothes, right? But when you wear clothes you never could before, try a new hair style, and get all dolled up for your very own photo shoot, it’s not superficial. It’s awesome.

So, all of that in 5 minutes? Easy peasy.

Day 2 Of Simple Start

simple start veggie omelet

My veggie omelet turned was very tasty, despite the fat-free cheddar.

I’m on Day 2 of Weight Watchers’ Simple Start plan and so far so good. The recipes are super easy to make and fill you up. I’ve kept on track with my net carb count fairly easily, and I’m enjoying the program so far.

I made two of the recommended meals today – a veggie omelet with a lite English muffin for breakfast and chicken Parmesan with a side salad for dinner. Both were excellent.

I did tweak the chicken Parmesan by adding spinach to the sauce. Yum.

As much as I worried about the amount of carbs in the food offerings, I ended up creating my own lunch (with power foods, of course!) because I needed more carbs.

After an hour of yoga, followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill, my trainer put the hammer to me with a very intense muscle workout. I needed my mid morning protein shake and 30 minutes later I gobbled up a chicken quinoa salad.

That hit the spot.

Keeping Score Of What I Eat
I admit I am still tracking. I know…I know you only eat power foods so there is no need to track.

Well I’m tracking for 2 very good reasons.

First, I need to track my net carbs. Yes I’m doing Weight Watchers but I’m doing a low carb version. Ever since my doctor told me 2 years ago I need to change my diet or become a diabetic, I’ve tracked carbs.

Second, tracking food is not second nature to me. I worked hard to create this good habit and it doesn’t take much to break it. Sure tracking is annoying, but if it helps me shed pounds, I can put up with it.

Today's indulgence: homemade vanilla ice cream buried under a mountain of berries.

Today’s indulgence: homemade vanilla ice cream buried under a mountain of berries.

Day 2 Indulgence
I’m about to enjoy a half a cup of homemade vanilla ice cream loaded with blueberries and strawberries. So, the same indulgence as last night.

I have to admit, I do enjoy the ice cream. It’s a rare treat these days. It’s something I’d pass on simply because of the amount of sugar. But with my carbs in check I can indulge a little.

But I think homemade frozen custard is on the horizon.

Whipping Up Some Vegetable Soup Italian Style Tonight

Made a batch of Italian style vegetable soup, compliments of Simple Start. Perfect for a cold night like tonight.

Made a batch of Italian style vegetable soup, compliments of Simple Start. Perfect for a cold night like tonight.

It’s 23 degrees out and freezing rain is on the way. A perfect night for soup, no? I’m making a vegetable soup following the Simple Start recipe with two additions — spinach and red bell pepper.

I am kicking myself for not buying kale today.  Kale is wonderful in soups. I went with baby spinach and the soup still tastes great.

I made a big batch for the week for a filling, comfy snack (yes, soup is a snack in my book!) during this cold streak.

Vegetable Soup
Net Carbs: 9g
Weight Watchers PlusPoints: 1
Servings: About 10-12


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 2 c spinach
  • 2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 c water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (low carb)
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 c whole wheat elbow macaroni


  • Add oil to pot over medium heat; add garlic and simmer until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add carrots, celery and onion, stirring occasionally; add salt and pepper to taste; cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables become soft. About half way through, add the red bell pepper.
  • Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, water and basil; add salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Add spinach and pasta; simmer until pasta is cooked.

Weekly Weigh In: Got a Surprise When I Stepped On That Scale

Thanks to very sore leg muscles I'm retaining water and up just a pound the week after Christmas.

Thanks to very sore leg muscles I’m retaining water and up just a pound the week after Christmas.

I weighed in this morning and expected to see a 5-pound gain (although 10 pounds was in the realm of possibility).  Turns out I’m only up 1 pound and all of that is water weight thanks to my very sore glutes, hamstrings, calves and adductor muscles.

So with my trainer’s killer workout and those blasted awesome burpees I probably lost weight this week but my body hasn’t recovered yet.

Looks like I didn’t go insane over Christmas after all. Yes I ate cookies. But unlike someone who will remain nameless (“cough” husband “cough”), I can count on one hand how many I ate.

Weight Loss Doesn’t Equal Perfection
We talked about perfection in my Weight Watchers meeting today. If a person fears they didn’t do the program perfectly, they tend to skip the meetings because they can’t face the scale.

It is easy to tell yourself, “One small cookie and the week is shot.”

I think I had my own bout with “perfection” in Texas and it lasted until I got on that scale this morning. For a moment I thought about not weighing in today. Oh, I’d go to the meeting but WW does allow you to skip a weigh in during the year.

Thankfully I came to my senses and know where I’m at after the holidays. I wanted to lose another 5 pounds by December 31st. Instead I lost a total of 2.4 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Not perfect, but I’ll take it!