Saturday, June 23, 2012

Home at Last!

We are finally home from five months in Europe and it's finally time to take off the weight that's been gained over there.  It's only been three days and already my eating habits have changed.  I'm hardly eating between meals and am full much faster (thanks to more protein and much less carbs).

The jet lag is still bothering us and we have been up before 6AM every day (with 3AM on some days).  The only upside to that is that I was able to hit the gym by 8AM yesterday, allowing the higher metabolic rate to work for me the rest of the day.  I'm not a morning person by any means, but getting in the gym early rather than late is much better.

I went shopping yesterday to buy some new summer bermuda shorts because the size 8 pairs I bought in January don't fit.  I have a size 12 in storage, but was fortunate to get into a few size 10 pairs.  They're not perfect, but if I work hard, I feel that I'll be comfortable in them in a few weeks.  For the time being, I'm hanging out in knit shorts and dresses because they're comfortable and non-restrictive.

I still haven't been on a scale since early May when I was 166.6lb.  I plan to go to a meeting and weigh-in during the first week in July, so that gives me another week to work out and eat right.  Hopefully, I'll be able to shock my body into a big loss and see a number smaller than 166.6lb.  I have no illusions that I'll be under 160lbs, but the summer is still young.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

In 20 days we will be on a plane headed back to the States and although I've enjoyed our travels, it won't be one minute too soon.

I haven't been on the scale since early May and at that point I was 166lb.  I haven't dared to step on since, but I know that things are bad since I have about four pairs of pants that actually fit me now.  On our most recent trip, I caught an image of myself in the full-length mirror in the hotel.  I really didn't like what I saw and was forever grateful that our apartment only has mirrors that show us from the shoulders up or I'd feel even worse about myself every day.

I hate feeling uncomfortable every minute of every day and I know that I only have myself to blame.  There are some factors that are beyond my control here (such as the minimum fat content on meat here being 13%), but I'm sure the brunt of the blame falls to me.

As if I didn't feel bad enough about myself, I know that going home, everyone who hasn't seen me since Christmas when I was at my lowest is going to be commenting on how I look now (whether to my face or behind my back).  To top things off, all my "fat" clothes are in a storage unit that I won't have access to until we have a permanent residence, so I'll have to buy new clothes as soon as we get home.  There's nothing I hate more than buying clothes in a bigger size when I know that I have them already.  I'll even have to buy new bathing suits for the beach, since I doubt that I'll be bikini ready only six weeks from our return.

Although it's super convenient when it comes to feeding Brady, I will not miss the easy access to street food.  In the States, you have to consciously make the effort to eat out, whereas here food is everywhere.  I'm hoping that the instant decrease in fat content and carbs in my diet will help give me a jump start when I get back and the number isn't as bad as I think it's going to be when I step on a scale in a meeting during the first week in July.

When we touch down in the States, I'll be starting at square one, but I know from past upswings that I can take the weight off, it's just a matter of hard work and will power.  I can guarantee I'll be in the gym within 24 hours of our return because I just hate the way that I feel.  In the meantime, I'll be rocking out to "Fat Bottomed Girls" (either original of Glee version) and "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

6 Year Anniversary!

Six years ago today, I walked through the doors of weight watchers and changed my life forever.  I had just finished my sophomore year of college and was seriously unhappy with how I looked and felt in my clothes (gosh doesn't sound too different from now).  My mom was overweight too, so we went together.  I can still remember how shocked I was to see my starting weight : 197.2lb.  I had only weighed 183 the last time I'd weighed myself only 6 weeks before, so I wasn't expecting a number so close to 200lb.

That first summer, away from college food and classes, helped to spark my weight loss.  My mom and I were so very serious about our new lifestyle and that first summer, that I lost 25.6lb, which was 13% of my starting weight.

There have been a lot of ups and downs since that first day in May 2006.  In that span of six years, I met Andy, graduated college and grad school, got married, had Brady, became a lifetime member, and finally moved to Germany.  We've gone through our fair share of program changes as well.  I've gotten as high as 215lb (the day before Brady was born) and gotten down as low as 148.2lb (right before this last Christmas).  I've had periods of gaining where I've had to take the weight off over again, and other times where I've been stuck in a maintain for six months or more.  Right now, I'm in a difficult position of gaining weight, but I know as soon as I get home and have more control, I'll take it back off again, just like I've always done in the past.  No matter what has happened, up or down, I don't regret walking into that meeting room and changing my life for the better!

Here's how I've weighed-in at the anniversary point each year, since I started.

May 2, 2006 : 197.2 lb
May 2, 2007 : 165.2 lb (down 32lb from previous year)
May 2, 2008 : 172.4 lb (up 7.2lb from previous year)
May 2, 2009 : 164.2 lb (down 8.2lb from previous year)
May 2, 2010 : 187.0 lb (up 22.8lb from previous year)
May 2, 2011 : 168.6lb (down 18.4lb from previous year)
May 2, 2012 : 164.4lb (down 4.2lb from previous year)

Overall, in exactly six years, I've netted a loss of 32.8lb.  Even though I'm in an upswing, I'm nowhere near where I started on day 1 and I'll be happy to never see that starting number ever again!  Thanks weight watchers!

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 Stats

Starting weight : 158.2 lb

Ending weight : 164.4 lb

Change : 6.2 lb gained (average 1.5 lb gained per week)

This time last year : 168.6 lb

It really sucks that I'm almost even with where I was last year.  I really don't want to see my weight this year be higher than it was a year ago.  I hate that a lot of my clothes don't fit and I didn't have the foresight to bring my clothes from last summer, instead of buying new smaller ones.  I've never really seen the numbers go up this fast except that one summer between 8th and 9th grades where I went up 30lb.  I feel helpless and just want to be home so I can turn this around.  I constantly feel uncomfortable and am always thinking about what others must be thinking of me.  I know that these past few months have shown that I'm human.  I know that when I started this blog, I was working really hard and losing almost every week and now I'm gaining beyond control. May is full of so many trips and celebrations, I just hope the numbers don't get too far out of control.  At this point, there's no way I can take off the weight as fast as I've been putting it on.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weigh-in for 4/27/2012

Last weigh-in (3/31/2011) : 158.2 lb

This weigh-in (4/27/2012) : 164.4 lb

Change : 6.2 lb gained

I am beyond tired of watching these numbers creep up and can't wait to get home so I can take it off.  At this rate, I will easily be 170lb by the time we get home and that's a number I haven't seen in almost exactly a year.  I'm so discouraged that I spent the last year working my butt off (literally) and it's back.  I felt so good about myself and now I feel like a complete slob.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Feta & Veggie Stuffed Zuchinni


4 medium uncooked zucchini
4 large fresh tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped (we used carrots instead because I don't like mushrooms)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat Feta cheese
8 tbsp fat-free Ranch dressing

Step 1:

Heat a pot of water.  Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and cook in boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.  Scoop out and discard pulp in the center of the zucchini.

Step 2:

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and coat with Pam.  Add tomatoes, onion, and mushrooms.  Cook until pulpy (about 5 minutes), then add salt and pepper.

Step 3:

Scoop filling equally into the 8 zucchini halves.

Step 4:

In a bowl, stir together feta cheese and salad dressing. Drizzle over stuffed zucchini.

Makes 4 servings (2 halves per serving); 3 Points Plus each

This is a great light, but very filling dinner for nights when you've had a large lunch.  The saltiness of the feta mixes perfectly with the sweetness of the cooked zucchini.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 2012 Stats

Starting weight : 154.0 lb

Ending weight : 158.2 lb

Change : 4.2 lb gained (average 0.7 lb gained per week since last weigh-in on 2/18/2012)

This time last year : 172.6 lb

Sure, I'm not happy seeing two months straight where I've gained about 4lb each, but I've finally taken control of my weight gain and made the effort to change.  The past two weeks have been much better and I've made better choices.  Even if I'm unable to lose anymore here, I can feel confident in the knowledge, that when I put my mind to it, I can at least maintain.  If I can get home with this number, I know I can take it off quickly when I get there.  I'll have more food choices and way less stress on myself.  I'll have access to a gym and more help during the day with Brady.  I just have to keep telling myself, that if I can make it through the next 16 weeks, I'll be home and it's so much worse it could be.  Here's to a much better April!

Weigh-in for 3/31/2012 ~ Didn't Make the Cut

Last weigh-in (2/18/2011) : 154.0 lb

This weigh-in (3/31/2012) : 158.2 lb

Change : 4.2 lb gained

Well, this starts the mark of all weigh-ins being "unofficial" until we get back to the States.  I wasn't quite able to bring my weight down low enough to make it to the last meeting of the month. 

Although I would have liked to see a better number, I take comfort that during the past two weeks I have taken myself down almost a pound.  I felt like I was on a runaway train, so putting on the brakes was not only necessary, but vital to my physical health, but my mental health as well.  I have been making better choices both at home and out of the house.  I'm still allowing myself a few small things here and there, but nothing like before when I seemed to have no self control.

I've never experienced a period of gaining quite like this during my time with weight watchers.  Sure, I've put on weight before, but never this fast.  I know there are so many factors I can't control, but I have to try my hardest to focus on those factors that are in my control to help balance things just a little bit.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tex-Mex Rice & Bean Casserole


1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
1 tbsp canned green chilies
15oz can pinto beans
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 2-quart glass baking dish with Pam.

Step 2:

In a large bowl, combine corn, chilies, beans, rice, 3/4 cup of cheese, sour cream, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Step 3:

Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Step 4:

Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese melts and casserole is slightly bubbly, about 10 minutes more. 

Makes 6 servings; 5 Points Plus each

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meatless Lasagna

I want to preface this by saying lasagna is not something I have eaten very often in my life.  It seemed growing up, that every time my family ate lasagna for dinner, someone ended up in the hospital (no joke).  We stopped eating lasagna in our house and I can safely say, I've eaten lasagna once in the last ten years until this past week, when we tried this recipe.  It was really good and no one ended up in the hospital!


1 large onion
24 oz tomato sauce with basil
12 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
8 oz fresh whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large lasagna pan with Pam. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley and 3 tbsp parmesan cheese; stir in about 1/3 cup tomato sauce so ricotta mixture turns pink.

Step 2:

Spoon about 1/2 cup of sauce on bottom of prepared pan. Cover sauce with 4 lasagna noodles, breaking up some noodles to form a single layer, if necessary. Cover noodles with 1/2 of ricotta mixture and 1/3 of mozzarella cheese; spoon 1/3 of remaining sauce over top.

Step 3:

Add another layer of noodles and remainder of ricotta mixture; sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese and another 1/3 of sauce.

Step 4:

Add the final layer of noodles and cover with remaining sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and remaining tbsp of parmesan cheese. 

Step 5:

Add the final layer of noodles and cover with remaining sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and remaining tbsp of parmesan cheese. 

Makes 12 servings; 7 Points Plus each

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Rollercoaster Week, but a Step in the Right Direction

This week has been interesting to say the least.  I definitely buckled down, although I know I can try and be even better this week.  The only time I had a pastry was when I had my first apple strudel in Germany on Saturday night when I went out with my friends.  I think that's the least amount of baked goods in a week I've had since we've been here.

I stepped on the scale mid-week and was down about half a pound, so I was starting to feel like what I was doing was working.  I got back on the scale yesterday to see if going to weigh-in this week was possible and I was blown out of the water.  The number staring back at me was 161.2lb!  That meant in the time between Tuesday and Friday, I went up 2.6lb!  I was just dumbfounded, thinking what I could have done in those three days that would set me back in such a huge way.  I had started walking with friends, so I thought that was going to help me.  I felt really defeated in that moment, because I was making better choices, yet I was putting on weight as fast as I was when I was making bad choices.  I was starting to have images in my head of how much I would weigh when we went home in just under four months if things continued this way, and that just scared the hell out of me.

Fortunately, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I was back at 158.4lb.  I had talked to both my mom and Andy on Friday in despair, and they both suggested that the sodium in the food has something to do with these huge fluctuations.  I can't think of any other reason for the weight to come on and come off in such huge numbers in a matter of 24 hours or so.

I am going to try even harder this week and hopefully be down to 157lb, where I can at least weigh-in and not lose my lifetime membership status.  That would greatly upset me, so I need to do everything in my power to see that it doesn't come to that.  Last week, I was able to cut down dramatically on the number of baked goods I was eating and this week I'm going to try and focus on tracking everything and only eating when I'm hungry.  Hopefully, those two things, in addition to the decreased baked goods, can get me where I need to be next Saturday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Paprika Chicken


1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tbsp paprika, divided
16 saltine crackers, crushed to crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1lb uncooked chicken breasts, split into 4 - 4oz pieces

Preheat broiler and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Step 2:

Place yogurt and 1 teaspoon of paprika in a small shallow bowl; mix to combine. Combine cracker crumbs, salt, pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons of paprika on a large shallow pie plate; stir to combine. 

Step 3:

Place each chicken cutlet in yogurt mixture and turn to coat. Next, place chicken in crumb mixture, turning to coat both sides and pressing lightly to make crumbs stick.

Step 4:

Place coated chicken on prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat source until golden brown and cooked through, flipping once, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Makes 4 servings; 5 Points Plus each

Monday, March 19, 2012

Whole Wheat Chili Mac


12 oz ground beef 7% fat
1 medium onion, uncooked, chopped
14.5 oz stewed canned tomatoes, Mexican-style, undrained
12 oz canned tomato sauce 
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup dry whole-wheat macaroni (rotini or penne works well)
15 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Step 1:

In a large pot, cook beef and onion.  Stir in undrained stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, and cumin.  Bring to a boil.

Step 2:

Stir in uncooked macaroni and kidney beans.  Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until macaroni is tender (about 15 minutes).

Makes about 6 servings, about 1 1/4 cup each; 6 Points Plus per serving

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scale Shock

Earlier this week I made some resolutions to get myself back on track.  Well of course, there's the initial reaction that you want to get being bad out of your system and that's just as bad.  Our friends had gotten me a Swiss truffle cake for my birthday, so that was eaten during the week.  I went out with friends a few times and ate badly.  I was just at a point where I couldn't help myself.

Yesterday was the first time I was on the scale since before Switzerland, which was only a week and a half before.  Before Switzerland, I was 154.6lb and when I got on the scale yesterday I was 159lb!!!  It was so shocking it took a few minutes to really sink in.  That means that not only have I gained almost 10lb in the two months that we've been here, I've gained 4.4lb in the last week and a half.  I could easily use traveling as an excuse, but that would be a lie because in all the trips we've made in the last year, I've come out with a loss at the end of the week.

I'm even 2lb above my buffer weight for lifetime, so I can't even think of going to a meeting to weigh-in for this month until I've lost that 2lb.  There are only two weekends left in March, so I am on the clock and that's never a good feeling.  It also doesn't help that Andy also got on the scale and hasn't gained a single pound the whole time we've been here.  I just don't understand how that's even possible since he eats a hot lunch at work every day and the Germans eat their "dinner" at our lunchtime.

Being here is hard with the lack of variety and light options, but I'm not making good options outside of the house.  I was at a point where I was always saying, tomorrow I'll start being better.  Then tomorrow would come and I'd be just as bad as the day before.  I can honestly say that although I've had upswings before, I've never put on weight this fast.

I've had several breakdowns over here, wanting to come home, and mainly it's due to weight gain and the never ending stream of temptations that I can't seem to turn down.  I see something good and I get it, no matter if I'm hungry or not.

Even before I started this blog, my weight issues have been a public struggle, so it's hard to separate my weight from my identity anymore.  Growing up, I was under constant scrutiny by my extended family.  Even when I was newly pregnant with Brady and had barely gained 3lb, I found out later that although they didn't know I was pregnant, they were discussing that I'd put on some weight.  I can't even imagine 3lb being that noticeable.  All my friends know I'm on weight watchers and as soon as anyone knows, I'm forever under the microscope.  People watch everything I eat, questioning whether or not I am even allowed to eat certain things.  It's a lot of pressure.  So when I got to 148lb and was starting to feel really great about myself, I was thinking that there was no going back, not only for my self-esteem, but because of what people would think or say about me.

I'm very self-conscious, even when I'm at my lowest weight.  I worry about what people will think about how I look in the clothes that I wear.  I've mentioned before that I'm not the type to dress nicely every day and that means even in jeans because I like to be comfortable.  Last night, I went out with some other mom friends here and because my jeans were tight, I had to wear yoga pants.  I was then thinking what they would think of me.  I didn't bring many nice things here because of the freight weight restriction.  I have a lot of sweats and right now only a few of them fit.  

I am horrified to think that I might have to resort to the few maternity pants I brought with me just in case we decided to try for baby #2.  At this point that's not even something we can discuss because the stress of being here, the new food situation, the time change, and the weight gain combined have completely stopped my cycle.  I've taken several pregnancy tests just in case and they are all negative, so that's not even a possibility.  It's crazy to think that something like a move overseas can affect your body so severely.

I've talked to some of the other ladies here who sympathize with me because they are in the same boat of wanting to lose weight, but it's difficult over here.  One lady walks with her daughter in the stroller every day to get her to sleep and takes the train to different parks in the city so it's not the same scenery all the time.  She has a monthly train pass and initially I thought it would be a wash for me because it would cost the same as if I took the train twice a week, which is what I was currently doing.  The more I thought about it, the better the monthly pass option sounded.  That would mean I wouldn't always need cash on hand if I wanted to get out of the house and I could go out every day if I wanted to and just walk if the weather is nice.  I also intent to get a monthly pass the the zoo in the next few weeks and that will be another great opportunity to get out and walk, and for Brady to enjoy as well.

It's going to take some major changes on my part, both in attitude and actions.  I don't want to come home two weeks before our beach vacation and not be able to wear my bathing suits, which I was started to get really comfortable about wearing at my lowest weight.  I would like to have a second child sometime in the near future and would hate to start at a higher weight than I started with Brady.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reaching a Breaking Point

We've been in Germany just shy of two months and I've reached a breaking point.  I had a pair of jeans that were my favorite "skinny" jeans.  When I went down below 155lb, they became my "fat" jeans because they were way too big.  This past weekend, I brought them with me, and when I put them on, they were uncomfortably tight.  The only time they've ever felt that way in those jeans was when I was around 165lbs and I know I'm nowhere near there.  That just scared the crap out of me.

I'm still in a point where I'm putting up a fight, but not a very good one, so the weight is still coming on.  I'm not very happy here, so it's easier for me to give in to eating than pick a healthy option, but that has to change.  I don't feel better when I don't fit into my clothes well and I don't have an endless supply of sizes in my closet.

Most people make a New Years resolution, but since my birthday was two days ago, I'm going to make a birthday resolution.  Here's the list of things I'm going to try to do to turn my situation here around:

  • Track more consistently
  • Eat a maximum of two pastry/bread items a week
  • Make healthier choices when I'm away from the house
  • Plan to cook more meals instead of filling my freezer with pre-made ones
  • Drink more water
  • Pick more filling snacks
  • Go for a walk with Brady when we have nothing else planned and the weather is nice enough (no rain), instead of staying inside the house
  • Try to have a more positive attitude
  • Eating only when I'm hungry and not when I'm bored (which is all to often here)
  • Stick to the food plan I have for the week
  • Ration out the Swiss chocolates we recently acquired so they don't create more of a problem
  • Stop thinking about my weight all the time (which is easier said than done)
  • Try to manage the pre-dinner slump a lot better instead of eating anything I can find and then not being hungry for dinner and eating it anyway

That probably seems like a long list, but there are so many moving parts in weight loss and weight management.

I haven't been on a scale since before our trip to Switzerland this past weekend and I know I was about a pound up from the last official weekend, and I know it could easily have gotten worse in the last week.  A huge sticking point for people frustrated with small loses in meeting rooms, was that the weight didn't come on overnight, so the weight coming off won't either.  Sometimes I agree with that, but right now I'm having a hard time.  I keep thinking in my head that if I continue gaining at this rate, I'll be up almost 20lb by the time we come home and I just can't deal with that mentally.  I've had periods of weight gain during the course of my journey, but I made more bad choices during those times.  I feel frustrated and helpless with the limited variety and light choices here and sometimes when I feel bad for myself, I just say, "It's not fair."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beef Stroganoff


1 pkg egg noodles cooked
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion grated
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
dash ground nutmeg
1 pkg fat free brown gravy mix
½ cup light mayonnaise.


Step 1:

In a frying pan brown the beef and onion, drain.  Heat up a pot of water.

Step 2:
Prepare gravy according to package directions.  Place egg noodles in boiling water and cook according to package directions.

Step 3:
Add mayo and seasonings to the meat/onion mixture and then add the gravy. Blend well and heat through.
Serve over noodles

Makes about 8 servings of meat mixture.

1 serving of meat mixture over 1 cup of egg noodles; 
12 Points Plus

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 2012 Stats

Starting weight : 150.0 lb

Ending weight : 154.0 lb

Change : 4 lb gained (average 1 lb gained per week)

This time last year : 170.8 lb

I'm not very happy with this month.  I've had a little bit of trouble adjusting to the food situation here in Germany, and I hope I will be able to change things and get back to where I was.  The last time I gained this much in a single month, I was pregnant with Brady, so that number is very hard to see.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Angel Hair with a Twist


1 package whole wheat angel hair pasta
1 package frozen Steamfresh peas
1 package low sodium honey ham
Fat free cheddar cheese
Butter spray

Step 1:

Boil a pot of water for the pasta.  Microwave the package of peas.  Heat a skillet on medium heat.

Step 2:

Once water has come to a boil, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Cut up ham slices and place in warmed skillet.  Use butter spray on ham while warming it throughout.

Step 3:

Strain pasta.  Add cooked peas to ham and use a few more sprays of butter.

This is a recipe that my great-aunt used to make for us when we were kids and my mom and I still make it.  The proper technique for putting it together is to place your portion of pasta in a bowl, place a portion of the pea and ham mixture on top, then finish off with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

Serving size : 1 cup of whole wheat pasta, with 1/2 cup peas and ham, and 1/4 cup fat free cheddar; 7 Points Plus

Thursday, February 23, 2012

German Diet Coke

 The first thing I wanted when we got off the plane in Germany almost five weeks ago, was a Diet Coke.  Pictured above is what I got.  Here it's called Coca-Cola Light.  I took a sip, thinking that it would be the same as home and I was wrong.  

I had remembered my mom telling me long ago that Diet Coke used to taste the same as regular, but it became a problem with diabetics in restaurants because they couldn't tell the difference.  For a diabetic, getting regular Coke would be a big problem.  I can't tell you how many times I've gotten regular Coke in a restaurant by accident, so I could see how this could easily happen and a diabetic wouldn't notice the difference.  Hence, they made Diet Coke taste like it does today and those who aren't used to it, don't like that taste.

Diet Coke here tastes exactly like regular Coke, and since I've been drinking diet for the past 15 years, that took me a little by surprise.  I won't even drink Coke Zero because it tastes too much like the original (which was the whole point of its creation).  The moment I took that first sip, I was already looking forward to the first Diet Coke I got on our return trip in July.  That was pretty sad since we weren't even in our final destination at that point.

Like at home, there are generic versions for everything.  Pictured above is the 1.5 liter generic Diet Coke from Aldi's.  It only cost 39 Euro cents!  They have a bottle deposit here as they did in Michigan, so that's not something new for us.  39 Euro cents seems like a steal for us and because it's generic, it doesn't taste as much like regular Coke, which makes me a lot happier.  

I had heard before we got here that ice was not something common in Europe.  We had learned from some of the Germans working with Andy in the States, that a big reason for that is because there aren't free refills in Europe and you'd rather have more to drink than ice (gotta love how good we have things in America).  It's also a bit of a luxury item.  The price really depends on where you're eating.  In the grocery store you can get a small bottle for a little less than a Euro.  I've encountered places where it can be as much as 2 Euros.  Yesterday, I was out at lunch and was shocked when I got the bill and it was 3 Euros! That translates to $4 in the US.  I only paid 1 Euro for Brady's whole lunch and had I known it would cost that much for my drink, I wouldn't have gotten it. 

I knew before we came over here that diet pop was something that was going to be rare, so I planned ahead.  I bought the new Brita bottles that have a filter in the spout so that you can put water from anywhere and it'll filter it right before it hits your mouth.  These are great to keep in the fridge for cold water and will be great when we travel. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

German Weight Watchers

This past Saturday was the first time making it to a German Weight Watchers center and I wasn't sure what to expect.  It was set up where you walk into the meeting room and you had to go up some stairs in the middle of the room to get to the weigh-in area.  I walked into the area where there was a woman standing behind a counter with all the food products because that's usually where the scale is in the US.

A man came up behind me and motioned for me to come to the scale in another room.  He started talking in German, but when I said I only speak English, he switched and I was very grateful to not have to try and figure it out with the language barrier.  I was impressed that there was a man working there, because in all the centers I've ever been in, the employees have always been women.  

There was some confusion when it came to giving him my lifetime card and the membership number on it.  Thankfully, I had one of my old monthly passes and he just used that number.  They aren't as sophisticated with computer systems and wrote everything in my book and just had me sign a paper with my membership number beside it.  I had brought my free etools voucher to see if they had something similar, but he looked at me like I had two heads and initially thought the code on it was my membership number.  Guess I'll just have to pay from April to July when I get back and can obtain a new voucher.  

I had anticipated the weight being in kilograms and he politely told me, and I reassured him that I could calculate it in pounds myself and that as long as I was under 71.6 kg, I would be under my lifetime weight limit.  It came out to 70 kg, so I knew I was fine.

It was quite an ordeal and a good distance from our house, so I think I will only go the once a month that is required of me and weigh myself at home the other weeks to keep myself in check in between official weigh-ins.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weigh-in for 2/18/2012

Last weigh-in (1/7/2011) : 150.0 lb

This weigh-in (2/18/2012) : 154.0 lb

Change : 4 lb gained

I can honestly say that I'm disgusted with this number.  I can also honestly take responsibility for this number.  I've started to gain some control on the internal factors of living in Germany (ex. what we buy in the stores to prepare at home), but now I need to gain some control over the external factors of being here (ex. foods I consume when out of the house).

At least three times a week, Andy was bringing home a pastry or pretzel home from work for me and I would eat it regardless of whether or not I was hungry.  I've been getting out of the house more in the last two weeks and going to play dates for Brady.  Every time I was offered something to eat or there was a spread at someone's house, I ate.  My "just say no" attitude has been sorely lacking.  Also, I've been eating lunch out and about and the selection is not quite the same over here.  There isn't the option for special requests because most people don't speak English and I don't know the German words for what I want.  Everything is very salty and I can feel the swelling in my ankles, which is very telling.

I was weighing myself at home every week, even though I wasn't making it to an official Weight Watchers, and surprisingly, the first two weeks, I was down from where I left the States.  That means, I've gained this 4lbs (yikes) in the last two weeks.  At home, being out of the house and busy kept me from eating, but here it's the opposite.  If I needed to eat on the run, I would stop at Chick Fil-A or Subway and get something low on points and keep going.  Since they eat their big meal at lunch in Europe, it's difficult to get something small and light.

In addition to the mental toll of seeing such a huge gain, there is a physical toll.  I'm so used to eating healthy that eating meats that are higher in fat and carbs (which I hardly ever eat), makes me feel really gross.  It's not a great feeling, so there's a small motivator to try and change.

This is just a bump in the road.  Weight loss is never easy and I've come up against obstacles before and pushed past them.  I knew coming over here wouldn't be easy and I was right.  I have to reassess the situation and adapt accordingly.  I have to take my body's signals and only eat when I am truly hungry, and not just because there's food in front of me. I have to keep my eye on the prize and remember about all the size 8 summer clothes I bought to bring over here and that I still want to fit in them when the weather gets warm.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Help from an International Friend

I've mentioned before how the food selection here in Germany has been posing some problems for me. I was always hungry and would just be eating all day long, never feeling full or even satisfied. A friend from Switzerland came to visit and I shared these concerns with her, thinking she might have some insight as she has lived in Europe for the last five years, and has spent a lot of time over here before setting up a permanent residence here. I was not disappointed with the suggestions she had.

I confided in her that I was concerned that Nutella was becoming my new peanut butter, because I was eating sometimes three slices of bread a day with Nutella spread on them. She said that she eats Nutella every day, but instead of on bread, she eats it on plain rice cakes. The rice cakes are low in carbs and bulky, so they fill you up. I am able to eat two rice cakes with 1 tsp of Nutella on each for 3 Points Plus, or three rice cakes with 1 tsp of Nutella each for 4 Points Plus. It is definitely filling, I get that great chocolate, hazelnut taste, and I forget about food for a while.

I was already eating yogurt, which isn't something I would normally eat at home. It was nonfat, but eating it for a snack or breakfast didn't feel like enough. My friend suggested putting some muesli into my yogurt to bulk it up a bit. She mentioned that getting the non-sugar plan muesli was best for this. The first time I tried this as a breakfast, I was STUFFED! I couldn't believe such simple adjustments could change everything. Basically, she was teaching me to use the situation of carbs being everywhere to my advantage.

I've been stocking up on fruits and veggies and have been using hot tea to help fill me up when I don't want to eat anything with points. Instead of eating out once a week, we have started picking out a pastry at the end of our large shopping trips. Normally pastries are high in points, but nothing compared to a full meal at a restaurant. I still haven't made it to weight watchers here in Germany yet, but the plan is to make it there this week or I'll be cutting it close when it comes to the requirement that I weigh-in once a month. This weekend will mark 6 weeks from my last weigh-in.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Discovering New Markets

We've now been in Germany for two and a half weeks. From my earlier posts, you could probably tell that I was starting to freak out about the lack of variety and light options. Since that time, things have changed slightly with the discovery of new markets.

Our neighbor took me to the butcher and the Rewe market near the train station about four blocks away. I took Andy there last weekend and we stocked up on some good food, but were still feeling rather limited because they are big on packaged soups (in powder form) and mixes here. We were unable to find cream of chicken soup to make one of our favorite dishes and if we want to eat that, we'll have to make our own cream of chicken soup. We also had to get canned vegetables for another dish and it wasn't very good that way.

Our American friends in northern Germany mentioned a Real market that is the German equivalent of Walmart. Another mom from our English-speaking playgroup mentioned that there are several Reals in the area and I quickly looked up the locations so we could go there this weekend. We went there (about 20 min by car from our house) and it was comforting to see that this was a store where we could get almost anything we could want (minus the coveted cream of chicken soup). We got a cheese grater, bagels, light cream cheese (it tasted like diet food 10-15 years ago, so not very good), several frozen meals, fruit, and a few other items. It was a huge store and I'm sure when we go back next weekend, we will find lots more to eat. We have a tiny freezer, so we can't fit very much in it, so we have to be careful when in such a large store. It's still easier and cheaper to get the main staples around the corner at Aldi's and we don't have to worry about stocking up for the week on those things. I still don't like that most things are carb-based and I'm a little taken aback by that. I knew France was famous for their bakeries, and never really expected there to be a bakery on every corner here in Germany.

On a side note, we located the weight watchers location with a Saturday meeting, but didn't quite make it in time before the meeting. It was a very small location and the meeting had already started. In the States, there is a separate area for people weighing-in that wouldn't disrupt the meeting. That wasn't the case here, so I didn't get the chance to weigh-in. We will have to try and get there earlier next week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Goals for Germany

Normally, at this point in the month, I would be sharing the goals I have for this particular month. Until we get back to the States, I will refrain from doing that. Instead, I am setting a blanket goal for our entire time in Germany, which will cover the next five and half months.

My goal for our time in Germany is simple, but in a way not so simple. I want to maintain. My last weigh-in was at exactly 150lbs. I would like to stay in that ballpark and if a loss should happen, I would gladly welcome it. On the other hand, I know that the food over here isn't what I'm used to and I will have to adapt. The bottom line is that in order to maintain my lifetime member status, I have to stay under 157lbs. I would hate to think that I could get back up there in that short of a time, but that's something I'm going to have to work on to make sure it doesn't happen.

I will be going to a German weight watchers (it's an international company, so the plan is the same) tomorrow for the first time. We haven't been to an actual meeting in over a year due to Brady not being able to behave in a way that we feel appropriate. We usually go and weigh-in, then leave. That's what we intend to do, but I'm nervous that they won't speak very much English. I also expect that my weight will be measured in kilograms instead of pounds and I will have to convert that later. My lifetime card gets me access anywhere in the world, but I don't know how their system of free etools works. At your first weigh-in of the month as a lifetime member, you receive a voucher for 8 weeks of free etools as long as you are under your goal weight. Since you get one every month, you always have a little extra time, so I'm good through the beginning of April. My concern is that the vouchers here may only work on the German component of the website and since I'm a registered member in the US, it may not work for me. Only time will tell and when it comes time to enter a new code this week, I will try theirs first to see if it works. If not, I'll have to pay from April until we get home, and then get a new voucher valid there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Final American Food Tour

Before leaving the States, I decided to try and make a list of places and things I wanted to eat before leaving the country for 6 months. Since we're a very food-chain oriented nation, I knew I wouldn't be able to find any of the same restaurants over here, save a few fast food places, and mainly McDonalds (which I haven't eaten at in over 10 years).

I made sure to get some decent pizza since I'd heard that the pizza in any European country other than Italy is sub-par. When I made it up to Pittsburgh a week before we headed to Germany, I knew I had to hit up some restaurants that I'd crave if I didn't eat there before we left. Since I had only a week left, I had to choose the most important ones. We definitely went to Cheesecake Factory, Ichiban, Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Lobster, and a few others. I also made sure to get one last diet cherry limeade at Sonic (my all-time favorite drink). One of the things I wish I'd gotten to eat before leaving was a grilled Rachel at Food For Thought in Oakland. Food For Thought was a small deli directly across the street from our apartment and we used to get a grilled Rachel there all the time. It's like a Rueben sandwich, except it's turkey instead of corned beef and cole slaw instead of sauerkraut. It's something we took for granted when we lived there and I haven't had one since we moved out of that apartment in June 2010. I will be certain to get one almost as soon as we get back.

We used to eat out once a week after getting weighed-in and we've been here two weekends already and haven't eaten out once. They're not too keen on small children and the noise they make, plus prices are more expensive (before taking into account that 1 Euro is $1.30). We hope to make it out for major occasions and get a babysitter (we have some friends coming over in the next month that are very familiar with Brady). On the other hand, not eating out once a week will likely help keep my weight in check. On those days, I would often go well over my daily points plus allowance, if not double it with all the courses offered at most restaurants.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012 Stats

Starting weight : 148.2 lb

Ending weight : 150.0 lb

Change : 1.8 lb gained (average 0.42 lb gained per week)

This time last year : 173 lb

I can honestly say that I'm pleased with this month's result. I know my goal was to get back to 148.2lb, but having only gained 1.8lb from the holidays is a win, no matter which way you look at it. Now, we move on to next month!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The German Food Experience

We've been in Germany for 10 days now, and although I anticipated the food experience being tough, but not as tough as it turned out to be. The first two days weren't so bad because we were out and even ate at a Subway, so things looked positive.

We arrived last Thursday, and I didn't make it to the store myself until last Saturday. We have an Aldi's right around the corner from our apartment and that's when the culture shock really hit me. I knew about bringing your own bags, but what I saw inside the store really freaked me out. There was absolutely NO variety. Almost everything in there was carbs, too, and we all know that in Points Plus 2012, carbs are the enemy. We grabbed cereal, a jar of Nutella, some yogurt, sandwich bread (we never have bread in our house), a package of chicken breasts, whole wheat pasta, a can of chili, and two packages of microwave veggies.

I was already starting to freak out a little because I had no idea what I was going to eat for lunch. Andy hadn't gone back to work yet, but I knew that time was coming soon and I'd be on my own, with not only myself to feed, but Brady as well. I had brought from the States 12 packets of tuna (they don't sell it in Europe) that would last me 3 months, a few cereal bars for Brady, and oatmeal for Brady.

For those of you who have never been to Europe, the fridges are small, and the freezers even smaller if you have one at all (which we do). You don't go to the store once a week and stock up. Most people go every day. My goal is to go no more often than every other day.

We had coffee with a neighbor last Sunday and she offered to take me to another market, in addition to the butcher, where she assured me that I could at least acquire lunch meat. I got some sliced turkey at the butcher, and then we went to a market that had more variety and plenty of produce. I stocked up on apples, bananas, yogurt, tortilla wraps, and a few other things that would help get us through part of the week. Another part of the trouble with Europe is that parking is all paid on the street and most people use public transportation. That means, when I go to the market, I have to consider what I can carry, the distance to the certain store, the weather, and the fact that I have to push Brady in the stroller. It's certainly overwhelming.

In our first week here, what we ate for dinner consisted of frozen pizzas, chicken breast, that one jar of chili, and pasta. We went through an entire box of cereal, a whole loaf of bread, and an entire jar of Nutella. Eating things like this had me convinced that there was no way to lose weight or even maintain. Andy was convinced that I wasn't eating enough to even hit my points, but I assured him that most of the items I was eating were carbs and that was just bad enough to hit my daily points plus allowance.

Today, we again went to the larger market and the butcher, this time with Andy in tow. We found it difficult to find many of the main staples needed to make most of our favorite recipes. I was very frustrated and again wondered whether or not I'd starve to death or go the opposite route and start eating badly.

The only weigh-in I had this month was a week after New Years, and I was up to exactly 150lbs. Four days after that weigh-in, I left to spend a week with my parents and I was up a little over a pound when I left. No doubt, I gained some more in the week before we traveled here, since we ate out lunch almost every day. I stepped on the scale this morning because we got our freight shipment on Thursday, and almost didn't want to know what it would tell me. It showed me up less than half a pound from my last weigh in, exactly three weeks ago. I hope this is a good sign but only time will tell what the food here will do to my weight. There are several weight watchers within the city, but only have weekday meetings, and mainly in the afternoons during naptime. I did a broader search and specified only weekend meetings and found one just outside the city, within 20 minutes driving distance. This way, Andy could take me, as he has the car at work during the week. I technically only have to weigh-in once a month, but to keep up my accountability, I think I will try to make it every other week.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weigh-in for 1/7/2012

Last weigh-in (12/17/2011) : 148.2 lb

This weigh-in (1/7/2012) : 150.0 lb

Change : 1.8 lb gained

Although I'm not too happy to be at that 150lb mark again, I'm grateful that it's not more of a gain. I had no illusions that I would lose or even maintain, so it's nice to finally have the number so I can work on getting back to where I was a week before Christmas. Next week will be the last weigh-in before Germany!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January Goals

January is historically a bad month for me (as I'm sure it is for a lot of people), due to the holidays. I think there has only been one January in the last five years that I've had a net loss, and that would be the first one that I was on program, since I was really strict about what I ate. Every other January has been a net gain and although you never want to see a gain for the month, in some ways, it's worth it to enjoy a little.

My goal for the month is simple. To lose whatever I've gained due to the holidays. I was 148.2lb at my last official weigh-in in December, so I want to end the month like that, regardless of how much I've gained.

This is a brand new year and I'm excited for all of the experiences I will get this year. We are moving to Germany in two weeks! Although we've known unofficially for almost two years and officially for 9 months, it still feels a little unreal. I'm sure it'll take some time to sink in once we get over there, but I know that the food situation will be a lot different and I'm sure light options may not be available.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cookie Overload

We are finally home after a week and a half away, spending the holidays with family. Even though I'm on weight watchers and this is my fifth holiday season as a member, I still like to enjoy the holiday eating. It comes but once a year and I have the chance to eat things that I rarely get the rest of the year. Since it's a lifestyle, you have to be able to enjoy yourself and not be miserable while everyone else enjoys. That being said, I always regret how much I eat over this short period of time.

I've often mentioned that when I eat things that I know aren't good for me, I immediately picture my body ballooning and expect that my clothes won't fit. Fortunately, I was able to get into some small pants and several size 8 pants, so I know that that mental picture is false, although it doesn't necessarily mean that I didn't gain a little weight.

Cookies are probably my biggest weakness next to peanut butter and this holiday season, we made six different varieties. Having the cookies in the house makes it almost impossible not to eat them. We try to give them away at every turn, but I think I averaged at least four cookies every day since we went home for the holidays. We made a decision that none of them would come back into our house, so at least that's a good thing about being home.

I'm probably going to weigh myself at home tomorrow, before the weigh-in on Saturday so that I know what I have to work with. My last weigh-in was almost three weeks ago and I haven't been the the gym. I'm hoping that the sudden change in diet will at least shock my body enough so the number I see on Saturday isn't too shocking. Last year, over the same three weeks, I bounced up 2.2lb. I'm hoping to keep it under a 2lb gain so that I don't bounce back up into the 150s.