Weight Watchers A to Z

Remember a million years ago when I was doing Weight Watchers and lost 43 lbs and posted all the time about it and was kinda obsessed with it? Well, this week I joined again! Long story short – wanted to lose 100 lbs, lost 43, almost half way there, dad got sick for a while then passed away, grief, stress, lost motivation, gained all but 10 of those 43 lbs back. I’m in a great place emotionally, better than I’ve ever been, more reliant on God and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life than I’ve ever been, and I prayed one day last week about having more energy, being healthier, and positive stress relieving outlets. The prayer wasn’t about losing weight, it was about wanting to be the best version of me that I could be. I asked the Holy Spirit to give me supernatural motivation to workout and said if losing weight can happen and me not get obsessed with it or discouraged by the journey then I need Holy Spirit level supernatural power for that too. That day my place of employment sent out an email saying they needed two more people to sign up for Weight Watchers at Work to be able to start the program. I knew I was supposed to be one of those people. I signed up and that afternoon I worked out for the first time since I hurt my back this past August. A million years ago when I did Weight Watchers, I started a post called Weight Watchers A to Z. I never posted it because I wasn’t practicing Weight Watchers principles anymore. But now… I’M BACK! And back with much excitement and motivation I might add. So I thought I’d finish and post this post as a refresher to myself on the things that worked for me before, and maybe even a help and encouragement to others. 


This will probably be cheesy at times, but you’re use to that because that’s just me. I have thought of every tip and trick I can think of to share, and therefore, this will be LONG. (But full of helpful, useful info, so long is okay right?)

1. The NEED TO KNOW WW Blog: Skinny Taste! This blog is a life saver! She posts at least 3 recipes a week and they are all REALLY good and have no weird ingredients. A lot of healthy eating food blogs use weird ingredients like tofu, blech! I want to be able to cook with stuff I’m familiar with and like and she helps achieve that goal. I have made and fed her recipes to lots of people and they always love it. She posts everything! Sweets, pasta dishes, holiday favorites, everything. And she always included the points for each meal. 
2. Other great WW friendly blogs:
3. Use Pinterest! Go to Pinterest and type in Weight Watchers. A ton of recipes will come up. There is a big Weight Watchers community on Pinterest. Also… Instagram! Search the hastag #weightwatchers and be inspired by all the other people doing this right along with you and their fantastic meal and snack ideas. 

4. Calculating: To be a dedicated tracker (and you must be for WW to work!), you need a points calculation tool. You can buy the point plus calculator at your WW meeting or from the WW site ($14). You can also sign up for eTools ($15 a month). OR, you can buy a “copy cat” app. I had a calculator, but I lost it! I had eTools for over 2 years, but it actually hurts me more than it helps me (I need to actually go through the process of writing out my points and food on the traditional paper tracker). So I did some research and found an app called Ultimate Value Diary. It does allow you to track your points in the app, but I don’t use it for that. It comes with a points plus calculator function, an activity calculator function, a how many points you get calculator function, a bar code scanner function, and a meal builder function. It was $3.99 and I use it multiple times a day. I’m not advocating for not supporting WW, but I pay for my weekly meetings, and paid for eTools for 2+ years and never used it! So I personally don’t feel bad about using this app. If you do, I support you! Try one of the other methods, but the point is… you need to be able to calculate and you HAVE to track. 
5. Quick Tips:
  • Take your points plus calculator to the store with you. Compare things before you decide what to buy. Once you get used to what options are best you won’t need to do this likely! 
  • Once you’ve calculate how many points something is in your fridge or pantry, write it on the container. Later on once you’ve memorized things you won’t need to do this, but it’s REALLY helpful in the beginning. 
  • Buy a cheap food scale at Wal-mart or Target. The food book will say this many points for 4 oz chicken breast, etc. If you guess on how many ounces something is you’re usually wrong. I bought mine for less than 15 dollars at Target. 
  • Make sure you have a good set of measuring cups. The scoop measuring cups like these are easiest. They also sale 1 cup and 1/2 cup measuring spoons at the meetings, which I love. But the scoop cups will work just as well. When it says 1 cup of pasta, 1 cup or rice, 1/4 cup or this or a 1/2 cup of that per serving, measure it out! Don’t guess. 
  • Don’t take the things you love away! Modify them or make space for them. The Weight Watchers motto is that it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. Success comes when you don’t feel like you are keeping your self from things. I bake something usually at least once a week! I use Weight Watchers sites and recipes and do healthier things, but they are still just as yummy and a treat. Even your favorite candy isn’t off limits. 10 M & Ms are 1 point! 1 Dove Chocolate square is 1 point. Don’t deprive! 
Quick Tip – Cut off the top of a kiwi and eat/scoop it with a spoon! 
6. Breakfast: ALWAYS eat breakfast. It’s proven that people who eat breakfast loose more weight, make better food choices, and splurge less. Some ideas that I love: 
  • I actually blogged about breakfast ideas the last time I did this: http://www.kasiaskitchen.com/2011/06/perfect-summer-wake-up.html
  • Greek Yogurt – This is my go to. It’s easy and comes prepackaged for you! I always thought I hated yogurt, and I do hate normal yogurt, but I love Greek yogurt. Points vary by brand, but 90% of the time a container of Greek yogurt and some sort of fruit is my breakfast of choice. 
  • Crustless Quiches or Egg Muffins – I’ve made minis and regular sized muffins. The minis are 1 point for 2. The biggies are 2 points each. 
  • Banana Pancake Muffins – These are also good to freeze and keep on hand for breakfast. They are 3 points for 4. 
  • Frozen Waffles – I like the multi grain frozen waffles. They are 3 points for 2 and I usually spread them with Nutella or peanut butter if I’m on the go. If I have time to sit down I’ll use Mrs. Butterworths sugar free syrup and some yogurt butter. 
  • Oatmeal – I only like to eat oatmeal when it’s cold outside, but it’s a good, filling, low point breakfast. Just be careful which packets you get. Always check points before buying. 
  • Overnight Oats – Aka cold oatmeal. Yummy, healthy, delicious, and so filling! I have recipes here and here. They range from 7 – 10 points. 
  • Fruit Parfaits – Yogurt, cottage cheese, and fruit yumminess. 
  • Breakfast Burritos – 5 points each and VERY filling. You can make them ahead and freeze them! I like things like that. 
  • Bagel and Cream Cheese – Mini bagels or bagel thins are 3 points each. There are lots of varieties of spreadable cream cheese. 1 tbsp of reduced fat is 1 point. You buy a container of the reduced fat plain or just a block of reduced fat plain (whichever is cheaper) and make you owm cream cheese variations. I’ve done cinnamon (cinnamon and sugar to taste added in and whipped up). I also love pumpkin spice.
  • Breakfast Sandwich – Whole wheat reduced calorie English muffins are 3 points. I toast them, add 3 slices of deli ham for 1 point, and add a piece of reduced fat cheese for 1 and microwave it for 25 seconds. It’s a fake healthy McMuffin type thing. You can also use Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked bacon (2 points for 4 slices!)
  • Cereal – I do like cereal in the summer and spring time because it’s light and cold. Special K varieties are usually good, about 3 points per cup. I’m sure Kashi is good. But my secret favorite is Kroger brand bagged puffed wheat! It’s like sugar smacks without the sugar and 1 cup is 1 point! I usually have 2 cups, add some splenda, 1/2 cup milk, and strawberries or a banana chopped in it. Total it’s 3 points! 2 for the cereal, 1 for the milk. 
  • Fruit – Add fruit. I always always have some fruit item with whatever breakfast I have. It’s 0 points and you are required to get in 5-8 servings of fruit or vegetables a day. I basically eat one or the other with every meal or snack. I also love to take splenda sweetened or no sugar added fruit cups (0 points) and top them with 1/4 cup of fat free or low fat cottage cheese (1 point). 
  • Toast –  I like cinnamon toast for 2 points (2 slices of reduced calorie bread for 2 points. Spray each side with Parkay spray butter for 0 points. Sprinkle with Splenda and cinnamon 0 points). I also like Nutella or peanut butter toast (2 slices of reduced calorie bread for 2 points. 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter or Nutella for 2 points).
  • Banana sandwich – Really filling. 2 slices of reduced calorie bread toasted (2 points). Spread with 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter or 1/2 tbsp Nutella (2 points). Slice a banana and build the sandwich. 4 points total.  
  • Weight Watchers shakes – You can buy the packets from the class. They are 2 points if you use water, 4 if you use skim milk. I like the chocolate, but they do have other flavors too. I always use milk to get in my 2 dairy servings for the day. I have made mine in the blender with frozen strawberries as ice cubes. I’ve also made them with 1 cup of ice and 3 tsp of instant coffee granules. Mocha frappe-ish. 
  • Egg Mugs – These are really good and very easy! You can find tons of recipes here, here, here, here, or here. Hungry Girl does these and most are 2-3 points depending on what ingredients you add. It’s scrambled eggs in a cub basically. My favorite ways are with sundried tomato basil laughing cow cheese and either bacon bits or sliced deli turkey meat and green onions. I always add salt, pepper and onion powder to mine too. 
  • Boiled Eggs – 2 points each
7. Lunches: Lunch is hard! The key to doing well at lunch is planning and doing things ahead. Eating out is not recommended, BUT doable if you plan for it. I’ll post eating out tips later. 
  • Sandwiches – I did a post about sandwiches and great sandwich topping and additions:  http://www.kasiaskitchen.com/2011/03/grilled-cheese-and-jesus.html. Sandwiches can be great if you don’t let them get boring. Most deli meat is pretty low fat. I get the 99.6 or 8 or something fat free ones. The thin sliced turkey, chicken, or ham are usually 1 point for 4-6 slices depending on the brand. I prefer the Land O’Frost brand. Add veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, or cucumbers for free. I love the sandwich slider pickles. Dill pickles are 0 points. I also enjoy thinly sliced apple, like super super thin, on my sandwiches some times too. Laughing Cow cheese has lots of great varieties for 1 point a wedge to spread on. Weight Watchers also has 1 point spreadable wedge cheese. Reduced fat sliced cheese isn’t bad either. 1-2 points a slice. Mustard is free! There are so many great varieties of mustard. Dijionaise is free to add a little creaminess. Fat free mayo (a tbsp or less) is also free if you need to have mayo on your sandwiches.
  • Chicken Salad – On Sundays before the work week starts I often mix up a batch of chicken salad and/or tuna salad to use for lunches. DON’T use premade and don’t make it the “normal” mayo heavy way. I buy the big cans (13 oz) of chicken breast from Sam’s in a 5 pack or something. You can buy the 13 oz cans anywhere though. I mix that with 2 tbsp of Kraft Fat Free mayo, 2 tbsp of fat free sour cream (you can also use greek yogurt), 1/2 cup of grapes sliced, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1 tbsp of dill relish, salt, pepper, a little sage, and some green onions. It makes 4 hearty helpings for sandwiches and is 4 points per serving. 
  • Tuna Salad – I mix 1 can of drained tuna, 2 chopped hard boiled eggs, 2 tbsp of fat free mayo, 2 tsp of mustard, 2 tbsp chopped onion, 1 tbsp of dill relish. Makes 2 servings. 4 points per serving.
  • Avocado Chicken Salad – I’m always obsessed with this when avocados are in season. Recipe here. Use one avocado instead of 2. It makes 4 servings and is 6 points a serving. It’s great on a sandwich or on a salad. 
  • Salads – Salads are great but kind of complicated to bring to work as you need so many containers to not wilt lettuce and such. And then I discovered this idea! I didn’t make mine like hers, but definitely borrowed the idea! Mine looked like this. The key is making sure the dressing doesn’t touch the lettuce. I layer mine with dressing (most low calorie and fat free varieties are pretty good), onions, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, reduced fat cheese, chicken, and then salad greens. I used spinach for one and and romaine for the other. They keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. I made a couple on Sunday for lunches for the week. I usually have shredded chicken on hand that I make in the crock pot for salads and recipes, but I also buy bagged precooked chopped chicken from Kroger in the frozen section sometimes. I warm it up in a skillet with some cooking spray and Tony’s. 
  • Sides – Veggies, veggies, veggies! I always bring sliced cucumbers, carrot chips, grape tomatoes, or bell pepper. I often bring a dill pickle spear. All zero points. Every two weeks or so I mix up fat free ranch dip (16 oz container of fat free sour cream, dry ranch packet, mix in the container, 1 point for 1/4 cup). I bring a 1/4 cup of the ranch dip or to dip veggies in to make them more enjoyable. A couple of tbsp of hummus is 2-3 points and good with veggies too. Veggie chips or straws (from Sam’s) are good and usually 3 points for 20 or so. Special K chips are 3 points for 30. Normal chips are 3 points for 15 or less. Stay away. 
  • Leftovers are great too. Just be sure to portion them out and know what you’re eating. (I probably bring leftovers more for lunch than anything else.)
  • Smart Ones frozen meals put Weight Watchers points right on the package. There are other varieties of healthy frozen meals that are low in points too (Healthy Choice, Leah Cuisine, the Great Value healthy options). I like making homemade things too much to eat these often, but in the beginning I did eat them for lunches just because it was so easy (and I didn’t know all the tips I’m sharing with you yet). 
8. Dinner Tips:
  • Plan plan plan plan! I can’t stress that enough. Weight Watchers will be a breeze if you plan. I am an avid meal planner. I post my meal plans every Monday(ish) and wrote a long post on the basics and reasons for meal planning (go here). If you have a recipe builder or meal builder, you can easily figure out how many points your meals and dishes are per serving. You can do it by hand also (add total ingredients and points for everything and then divide by serving size). 
  • Chicken breasts are your friends. Tilapia (or any fish) is your friend. Ground turkey is your friend! I pretty much use ground turkey in the place of any recipe that calls for ground beef. I buy chicken breasts at Sam’s and tilapia there too. Lean meats are lower in points.
  • Swap things out. Use whole grain pasta (Wal-mart and Kroger have cheaper store brands). Use wild rice or brown rice (I still use white rice too though). I still use white flour, but I always keep wheat flower on hand and usually do half and half. I still use sugar, but I substitute Splenda in a lot of things. 
Find awesome reusable containers that meet your snacking needs! 
9. Snack Smart: Don’t use all your points on meals. Snacks are important. Try to do at least 2 snacks a day. I usually try to keep it to 2 points or less, but sometimes up to 4. I’ll share a few ideas. 
  • FRUIT! It’s free. I include it in almost every snack. Add fat free cool whip to strawberries. Bananas sustain! 
  • Boiled Eggs – they stick with you!
  • Almonds – 1/4 cup is 4 points but they really do last you all afternoon on hunger level AND they are a healthy oil and protein
  • Veggies and Ranch Dip or Hummus
  • Healthier Chips – Special K, Veggie Straws, Etc. 
  • Microwave Mini Cake – 5 points
  • Edamame – 3 points for the individual portioned bags from Sam’s
  • Frozen Yogurt Bites
  • Granola Bar
  • Crackers and Cheese – 5 saltine crackers are only 2 points, I usually have 8 with two slices of reduced fat cheese, melt for a few seconds, quick easy snack
  • Deli meat – 4-6 slices are 1 point! Have a few slices with some grapes 
  • Reduced fat cheese stick
Cut up fruits and veggies for easy snacking access. 
10. Eating Out: Eating out is part of life! It happens, it’s fun, it’s social. Plan ahead. Most places have menus online. Don’t be afraid to ask to have your meal differently. At Margarita’s my order is so complicated but they do it [mostly] willingly (Fajita Taco Salad, no shell, extra lettuce, no cheese sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole on the side). At Red Lobster (the one time I’ve eaten there in 4 years), I asked them to prepare mine without butter. They listen! Don’t be scared. A tip they always tell you at meetings is to ask for a to go box as soon as you get your food. Split it in half before you eat it and take the rest home. Applebee’s actually has Weight Watchers items on their menu with points listed. There are a couple online resources that have points calculate for many popular restaurants as well. 
11. Favorite Products: These are some of my favorite products that I’ve discovered while doing Weight Watchers
  • Wal-mart Brand Splenda – Cheaper than regular
  • Oscar Mayer Full Cooked Bacon – Microwaveable, center cut so less fat, 2 points for 4 slices
  • Fat Free Cottage Cheese – I could never eat it by itself, I add it to baked potatoes, fruit, and salads
  • Fat Free Sweet Condensed Milk – 1 point per tablespoon. I love to drizzle it over strawberries or as an icing glaze on the microwavable cake
  • Fat Free Cool Whip – Walmart doesn’t have a generic brand but Kroger does. 2 tbsp is 0 points. Great on fruit or desserts
  • Fat Free Kraft Mayo – Perfect for dips and salads. 2 tbsp is 0 points
  • Fat Free Greek Yogurt – great to use in place of sour cream or mayo in recipes. 2 tbsp is 0 points 1/4 cup is 1
  • Fat Free Sour Cream – great for dips and adding dollups to things, 2 tbsp is 0 points, 1/4 cup is 1 
  • Brummel & Brown Yogurt Butter – 1 tbsp is 1 point
  • Parkay Spray Butter – O points! Great on toast or baked potatoes
  • Fat Free Salad Dressings – Kraft has lots, they are usually 1 point for 2 tbsp
  • Sugar Free Pudding & Jello – Buy the box and make the mixes. Sugar free pudding is 2 points per serving and sugar free jello is 0
  • Grape Tomatoes – I live on these things. I get the big box of them from Sam’s and it’s $5 for a lot. They are much more expensive at the groceries stores. 
  • Strawberries
  • Angel Food Cake Mix – Lightest easiest cake around. I make it into trifles, add crushed pineapple to it, top it with spelnda sweetened strawberries and fat free cool whip. 
  • Cocoa Roasted Almonds
  • Reduced Fat Cheese Sticks – I get Sargento 2% Cheddar ones, 2 points each
  • Kellog’s Fiber Plus Bars – 4 points but good fiber and filling

Real Life: Celebrate Victories

I know you’re all probably like, “Why do you keep talking?! Give us recipes already!” Don’t worry! I have them, pictures and everything. I’ve just been inspired lately with random bits of unsolicited encouragement and inspiration. First leopard flats and being you, now motivational celebrating victories talk. Tomorrow? A recipe! I promise. (Don’t hate me if I break that promise, I have it prepped and ready! But you know what happens sometimes when I promise.)


Five weeks ago I started a boot camp. An intense boot camp. Some of my boot camp buddies and our trainer/killer (the one guy) are in the picture above. A little history about my weight loss/getting healthy journey. I’ve always struggled with weight. I’ve been chubby since I was two. In high school I wanted to lose weight because I thought being a certain size made be beautiful, worthy, or cool. I never wanted to try just for me until two years ago. Two years ago I started Weight Watchers. Prior to those two years I was the biggest I had ever been. I was defeated in so many areas of life. A new job, a new year, a new/old state, a new beginning, and closure of two years of counseling where I learned to love myself for the first time led me to think clearly and without defeating thoughts! I decided I wanted to do Weight Watchers for me and my health, not because skinny was pretty or to find self worth, but just for me. My mom and dad had both had heart attacks since I graduated from college. My dad was having serious health issues which later lead to liver cancer and later lead to death. I wanted to be healthy! I didn’t want to be a statistic of family genes and bad lifestyle choices. And for the first time, I knew I could do it. I believed in myself. The defeated thoughts were no more (okay not completely true, they come back often, but after counseling I knew how to recognize the defeating lies and combat them). In the first three months of Weight Watchers, I lost 25 pounds without working out at all, just counting points (it REALLY is a great program and I’ll always be an advocate for it). When I started to plateau, I added in some working out. I was proud of myself the day I worked up to one hour on the eliptical! Especially since the first time I did it I could only do five minutes.
Yep. I took a picture and will always save it. A milestone worth remembering. Then I had toe surgery… Not allowed to wear tennis shoes for two weeks. Two WEEKS?! Two weeks is a lot when you’re finally in working out [almost] everyday mode. I was introduced to water aerobics which I fell in love with and did faithfully for a while. They I started doing two classes a day! Zumba and water aerobics. And then… I got pneumonia. No working out for at least two week again. After than my dad starting get worse, life was harder, and I would work out here and there but pretty much had given up until boot camp. I had lost 43 pounds with Weight Watchers, but gained half of it back over holidays and losing my dad. I say all that to say, working out is NOT natural for me, ever, at all. I like how I feel after I do it, but I hate doing it. I hate sweating, I hate wearing work out clothes, it’s NOT natural for me. It’s hard and I have to work at it. After four weeks of boot camp and losing no weight (in fact, I gained!), I was getting frustrated! Yes I felt better, could tell in my clothes, had more energy, knew I was gaining muscle and getting healthier, but no weight loss was a serious motivation killer! I finally decided I wasn’t going to focus on the numbers and just give it my all. Last night, for the first time in my life, I didn’t finish last at something requiring physical activity!

I was third out of six! I can’t say I’ve ever been so proud of myself! I mean, it was AWFUL! I hated every moment, but when I got to huff and puff out the word “FINISHED” to my trainer and write down my time and not be the last one everyone was sympathetically (okay really it’s encouraging, TOTALLY encouraging and the best intentions possible, but still embarrassing when you’re last) cheering on at the end as they were all already finished. I felt empowered and awesome! I finally decided to weigh myself this morning after not doing so in two weeks and… I LOST 10 LBS!

Let’s celebrate victories guys! Every small victory that isn’t small at all. Taking the effort to work out when you haven’t been doing so at all is a victory. One pound lost is a victory. Not getting out of breath when you walk up the hill to work, it’s a victory! Working out three days a week when you previously worked out none, victory! Loose pants, victory. Making it three laps around the gym without have to slow to a walk which you’ve had to do every other time, victory! Looking in the mirror and loving who you see before you, VICTORY! Not believing the lies that Satan (it’s him, it’s really him) tells you about yourself, VICTORY! Getting up early to spend time with Jesus when before you “never had enough time,” VICTORY! Asking for forgiveness, forgiving yourself, accepting grace that none of us deserve but get instead of living in self-condemnation, VICTORY! Choosing to grieve losses in a healthy way instead of letting yourself get numb and avoidance, victory, big, huge, not small at all, victory.

Yesterday was the three month anniversary of my dad no longer being here. I miss him all the time, a lot. I never want to stop missing him or forget him or anything about him. The thought of not missing him, not thinking about him, or not remembering him makes me want to cry more than actually missing him. I decided on the month two anniversary to set a monthly reminder. Not to dwell in sadness, but just to never forget. The reminder is simply titled, “Remember.” Like I’ve said, and everyone says, a million times, we all grieve differently. For me, remembering is good. You know I’m on this goal kick, weekly, sometimes daily, sometimes hard, sometimes simple goals. My accountability partner helps me come up with them sometimes. For Monday, the three month anniversary, we came up with three goals. 1. Come up with five reasons I’m thankful for my dad. 2. Freak out if you need to freak out, feel what you need to feel, cry if you need to cry. 3. Bake something. Why? Well baking makes me feel good and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Feeling good and accomplished are good things to feel on potentially sad days.

So I did it! I’m thankful that he had the kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. He helped so many people get jobs and get back on their feet. He literally would have given someone the shirt off his back or boots off his feet if it would have helped them. I’m thankful for the sense of security he always provided, coming from a land of crazy family life. Even if he wasn’t physically there, I knew he was there. I’m thankful for his work ethic that he [tried] to pass down to me. I could never be as hard and as dedicated of a worker as he was! But I am a hard worker and dedicated, because he taught me that was important. I’m thankful for the things he taught me about money. I’m bad at money! He knew it. But he was so good at it and some things stuck with me. I still won’t apply for credit cards when people ask and my reason still is, “my dad would kill me.” Lastly, I’m thankful for how he modeled forgiveness. He was one of the most forgiving people I’ve ever met and gave so many chances, over and over and over again.

AND I baked a Skillet Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. What goes best with bread pudding? Caramel sauce! I haven’t attempted caramel again since my three times of failing at it last summer. I’ve continued to make cheating caramel sauce (brown sugar, butter and cream), but even after buying the pan I didn’t have and knew I needed to make successful caramel, I was still scared. I decided the “remember” day was as good of a day as any to try again. And I did it! I also decided I will make a point, almost for every “remember” day to do something that makes me proud of me, like defeating caramel! It was a good thing to feel on a sad day.

Oh, and I did cry and feel. I cried yesterday and I cried while writing this, while proof reading it, and while re-proof reading it. And it was okay. I was okay. I am okay. Crying is okay! Okay? (Could I possibly say okay any more?)

So all that rambling to say, CELEBRATE VICTORIES! Silly ones like waking up early. Making good life choices ones like choosing the salad instead of the pizza, losing one pound, not finishing last, or working out more than you did last week. Spiritual freedom ones like spending time with Jesus, conquering a sin with His help, or learning to love yourself and not be self condemning. And serious, big deal, healing ones, like remembering the loved ones you’ve lost, facing grief instead of numbing it, and figuring out what helps you heal and grieve in healthy ways.


Let’s celebrate victories. Our own. Each others. Let’s agree to this okay? It’s a simple, good thing to do.

Salad in a Jar & Boot Camp

Remember that whole boot camp starting this week thing that I mentioned in my last post? Yeah. It started. It’s not called boot camp to just sound cool, it’s intense! Today is the first day that I didn’t make audible noises every time I moved to or from a standing position. Getting up, sitting down, it all hurt. I also left a trail of things everywhere I went that I dropped on the ground of floor. Just today I was able to pick up the bar of soap that I dropped in the shower two days ago. Sorry Starbucks about that pink plastic spoon I dropped on the floor and couldn’t pick up, it just hurt too bad!

I would say it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be, but I won’t lie… It was pretty awful!  Life is good, I don’t feel like I’ve been hit by a truck anymore, and I’m proud of myself! However, my apartment is a wreck because my week consisted of nothing but wake up, Jesus & Starbucks time, work, boot camp, eat something I didn’t have to stand to make, sit until I could convince myself it was better to take a shower at night than in the morning when I’d hurt worse, shower, sleep, rinse and repeat. I don’t remember the last time I went to be before midnight every night in a week. Several nights I went to be before 11!

A few things I learned the first week: Burpees were created by Satan himself. I suck at sprinting. I can sweat way more than I thought I could. My entire body turns red when I work out intensely. I can do a lot more than I thought I could. Weight Watchers gives more Activity Points for doing intense physical activity for a reason! It’s apparently normal to gain weight the first week of starting new, intense work out programs (we all did!). Even when it feels like my heart and lungs are about to leap out of my chest, my body can apparently keep going. Working out with people makes a huge difference! I need to marry a personal trainer so I have a motivator for life.

Now to the food! For me, lunch can be the hardest meal of the day to make healthy choices for. It’s the one meal we usually aren’t home to eat. So today I bring you my all time favorite lunch idea!

A few things you probably already know about me.

  1. I love any make ahead recipe.
  2. I like food prep work A LOT.
  3. I love anything with layers.
  4. I love anything in a mason jar, anything. 
  5. I don’t believe in paying money to eat out for lunch breaks!
  6. I’m not a fan of the whole get up early to pack a lunch thing.
If you share any of these things in common with me. This recipe, which is more of an idea, is for you! I don’t do these every week, I like variety! But it’s one of my go-to make ahead favorite lunch ideas. I love salad! Love it. But before this idea, it was impossible to bring salad to work for lunch without bringing everything and the kitchen sink with me to work. And who wants to be that much of a diva and have a lunch bag bigger than the purse and work bag we already have, or am I the only one who carries three bags to work? If you layer these salads correctly, they can keep in the refrigerator for up to four days! Last week I made two, but I’ve made four before and had them every day for lunch.

First let’s talk a little prep. Prep! It can be so easy with the right tools. So many prep tasks can be done before.

I used to hate carrots in my salads. I liked them dipped in hummus or ranch, but hated them in salads for two reasons. 1. Carrots are hard to cut up into bite sized pieces! Every time I tried little carrot pieces would fling across the room. 2. Stabbing little carrot slices with a fork is equally as hard. Carrots meet mini food processor. It chops carrots in seconds to little crumbly type pieces, about the size of bacon bits. Perfect!

Other prep involves chopping whatever you want in your salad. I usually use whatever I have. For this one my prep involved boiling and chopping eggs, sauteing some pre-cooked frozen chicken pieces, and chopping green onions. That’s it!

Then it’s all about the layering and ingredients. The most important thing is to keep the dressing and lettuce as far away as possible. Keep the wet stuff on bottom and dryer stuff on top. I layered this batch of salad with the following ingredients in the order listed.
  • strawberry balsamic vinaigrette
  • green onions 
  • finely chopped carrots
  • julienne chopped cucumbers
  • quartered grape tomatoes
  • dried cranberries
  • a little sprinkle of mexi-blend cheese (close to expiration date)
  • a little sprinkle of feta cheese (close to expiration date)
  • cooked chicken breast, seasoned with Tony’s, pre-diced
  • a little sprinkle of turkey bacon bits
  • one boiled egg, chopped
  • romaine lettuce (Keep stuffing it, lettuce compacts!)
  • dried french onions (left over from holiday cooking)

Did I mention this recipe can also be used to clean out your fridge/cabinets? If it can be put in a salad, put it in! Be sure to bring a paper plate or large bowl with you to work to pour out the salad. The blog where I found the idea, said to shake it up and eat out of the jar, but that’s never worked for me. Just slowly pour it on a plate or bowl and eat!

I saw a blog that posted weekly pictures of what she brought for lunch, no recipes, just ideas. It was useful to me, and I’d be willing to do that if it would be useful for you! Yes? No? Let me know and I’ll start doing it! 

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Grilled Cheese and Jesus

Not to be confused with Glee’s craziness, Grilled Cheesus. Love that show, but not that episode! But Jesus and sandwiches have been a big part of my life lately. My job challenges me daily. My RAs are amazing young women who love the Lord and make me want to love him more and more. We’ve been going through the book of Roman’s together and it’s just been so rewarding.

I love love love my job. I love my life! Being surrounded by a positive atmosphere makes such a difference in my life. Since February 1st I’ve lost 19.6 lbs! I’m a much healthier person all around. I’m LOVING Weight Watchers. It’s somehow like magic to me. It really works! Because they are an easy, light lunch or dinner, I have been eating a lot of sandwiches lately. If you make them right they can be really substantial, not a lot of points, and yummy! I use Sara Lee 45 calorie multi-grain bread. It’s 1 point per slice instead of 2! My bread, and yours, can be a blank canvas for a yummy and satisfying meal!

Some of my favorite additions…
-1 wedge of Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese spread on one side (1 point). Their are also lots of other varieties, Chipotle, Blue Cheese, Sun-dried Tomato and Basil. I intend to try them all! A 3 pack at Sam’s is $6.
-Honey Mustard, Spicy Brown Mustard, any variety of mustard (0 points).
-Slivers of red onion (0 points).
-Thin slices of Granny Smith apple (0 points).
-Lettuce, Tomato, or pickles (0 points).

AND my favorite addition to any sandwich that just seems to take it from a blah sandwich to a perfect meal…

I spray the outside of the bread with Parkay spray butter (0 points), sprinkle the bread with dried parsley, basil, and a little bit of reduced fat parmesan and toast it! I use an electric panini grill. You can use a sandwich maker or just a skillet! I promise, try it! Paint a beautiful picture on the bread canvas. Yes sandwiches are going to be boring and no fun if you eat the same old plain sandwich every day!

Tell me that doesn’t look good?! That whole yummy sandwich is just 5 points! That particular one has lettuce, granny smith apples, red onion slivers, garlic and herb cheese, honey mustard, and mesquite deli turkey with the ungraded bread. Served with a salad of romaine, cottage cheese, tomatoes, green onions, deli turkey, sun-dried tomato dressing, and fat free cheddar and the rest of the granny smith apple on the side. Total meal = 9 points.

Another fun WW friendly recipe I’ve tried recently is an open face tuna melt. It was sooo yummy! I did it exactly like this recipe: Skinny Tuna Melt.

Last favorite tip of the day. A lot of fresh veggies are 0 points. I LOVE 0 point things. But there’s only so many bites of raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or celery you can take before it feels like you are forcing yourself to chew and swallow. So a simple thing I always keep in my fridge now to make fresh veggies an enjoyable snack is fat free ranch dip! Who doesn’t love those veggie trays and dipping your veggies in yummy ranch? If you make it with a dry ranch packet and a 16 oz container of fat free sour cream it’s only 1 point for a 1/4 cup. It may not sound like a lot, but that amount is perfect for a good portion of carrots or celery or broccoli or whatever you like!

A diet can be boring and feel depriving and make you hungry and angry and defeated! Don’t diet. Make simple, yummy, exciting lifestyle changes that you look forward too. A spiced up sandwich and salad really are more filling than any combo meal you can get at a drive thru. Change some things up! Low fat, fat free, or Weight Watcher friendly foods do not mean tasteless, boring meals! Be brave. Be bold. Let food be an exciting adventure. Experiment!

It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age.

*Plops down and begins to ramble on endlessly about changes, new things, food, and Taylor Swift*

Well, I have neglected you Julie. (In case you forgot, like I did, Julie is the blog’s name. I had to go back and remind myself what I re-named her.) But… in my defense I did move to a new state, live in a new apartment, have a new job, and am eating a new diet. I gave you a pretty make-over! That counts for something right? Okay good. I’m glad we settled that!

In case you haven’t heard, I moved! I was living in Slidell and had been a social work case manager for a year. God definitely used me, I learned so much and grew as a professional and a person. Everything just sort of perfectly (and divinely) fell in to place for the new job. I am now a Resident Director at my Alma mater. Which means I’m the “grown-up” that lives in a female residence hall at Mississippi College. There are a lot more details about the job I could bore you with, but that’s the jest.

Moving was a roller coaster of crazy! I love love love my church and the family I’ve made in Slidell. It was impossibly hard to leave, but God continuously affirmed that this was where he was leading, and continues to do so every passing day. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this one song on Taylor Swift’s newest cd’s and just cried my eyes out! I even had to pull the car over a few times. I am an expert crier. The song is called Long Live. She wrote it to her band about the night they won several awards at one of those award shows. It captures the perfect sentiment of how I feel about my time in Slidell and just the journey of life and faith in general.

“And you take a moment… Promise me this: That you’ll stand by me forever. But if God forbid fate should step in and force us into a goodbye, if you have children someday, when they point to the pictures, please tell them my name… Long live the walls we crashed through. All the kingdom lights shined just for me and you. I was screaming, ‘long live all the magic we made.’ Long live all the mountains we moved. I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you. I was screaming, ‘long live the look on your face.'” 

Of course I haven’t said “goodbye” to any of them, but it’s a change. I’m probably not the best person when it comes to change. But not all change is bad. Not every move is goodbye. Looking back over the last four years of my life that the body of Christ at Northshore Church invested in and became such a huge part of, I can’t help but to remember it all with such joy! I see the “walls we crashed through.” I see how the “Kingdom (big K of God’s kingdom as opposed to the little k in the song) lights shined on us.” I see “the mountains GOD moved.” I did have the “time of my life fighting dragons with you.” Okay so not literal dragons. But the struggles of life! And the fun times of life. They aren’t over either, just further away. Family is forever. All of life is like this! Being back on a college campus, I can’t help but think of the time I was here with my friends (who are still my best friends!). We too had the time of our lives “fighting dragons” together. We continue to do so every time we reunite. Life is a big, on-going book.

The beginning of the song also says, “it was the end of the decade, but the start of an age.” It was the end of December when I moved, the end of 2010. My new job started on January 3rd, the beginning of 2011. I got so excited as I thought about using that as my “I moved” blog title, thinking it was so relevant and perfect. Then I realized 2010 was not the end of a decade. Duh. I decided to use it anyway in honor of one of my many “oh.. wait” moments. There are no ends though. Just new chapters in the book of life, which luckily is not over yet. Former chapters can always be revisited (and will be in a couple weekends!).

So I’m here, in Clinton, Mississippi at the best college ever! I LOVE my job. I studied women’s ministry at seminary. How perfect is it that I get to live in an all girl residence hall at a college?! I have a nice little kitchen too! I get to cook and bake for people often. I get to invest in the lives of girls. It’s just great. I’ve gotten gas in car once since I’ve moved here! AND my apartment is really cute! Soon I’m going to buy a camera (mine has been broken for a couple years) so I can take pictures of the apartment and my food.

Speaking of food… I started Weight Watchers two weeks ago. One of the wellness benefits of working here is that every two years they will pay for you to do Weight Watchers at Work if you want. There was no way I was passing up that opportunity. In two weeks I’ve lost 7 lbs! I’m actually really enjoying it. The tracking feeds my obsession with organizing nicely. So my recipes will likely all be Weight Watcher friendly now :). It’s a trial and error process as I try new recipes and tweak things. I do have a recipe for you today though! It’s a dessert of course. My weakness will always be sweets. I love baking for others and inevitably when you bake for others you eat some too! I decided to try a Weight Watcher muffin/cupcake recipe I found. They are 5 points for a normal size muffin or 2 points for a mini. Which is really good considering a small piece of cake with icing is 14 points! In case you aren’t familiar with Weight Watchers, based on your height, weight, gender, and age you are a assigned a daily points value. You can eat whatever you want as long as you have the points for it. So obviously you aren’t going to waste half of your points for the entire day on one piece of cake. But don’t get scared! All fruits and most veggies are zero points. It’s such a doable “diet” that doesn’t feel like a diet at all. No starving!

Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes

1 box of Spice Cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin

Chocolate Muffins/Cupcakes

1 box of any kind of Chocolate Cake mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin

Mix. Fill cupcake liners. Bake as directed on box. THAT’S IT! Did I mention how easy they were? The chocolate ones don’t taste like pumpkin at all and the pumpkin ones taste perfectly warm and cozy spicy and pumpkiny. I dusted the chocolate ones with powdered sugar and the pumpkin ones with cinnamon sugar. I tested them on my Resident Assistants today and they loved them too. You really can’t tell they are way less fat and calories. Just make sure you let them cool completely before dusting them and storing them. Mine got sticky. Yummy, but sticky.

If you are looking for low-fat recipes I HIGHLY recommend the blog http://www.skinnytaste.com/. I’m loving this blog right now and intend to try out so many of the recipes. She posts the Weight Watchers point values and nutrition information with each recipe.

In other exciting news, my blog is going to be listed on http://foodieblogroll.com/! I’m really excited. It’s basically a database for all people who have blogs about food. It will maybe give me some publicity and other neat opportunities. Plus it’s a cool community of fellow cooks, bakers, and foodies.

Last thing! I am also blogging at bloggingSHE.com. I am a member of a team called SHE, which stands for Sending Her Equipped. We do quarterly women’s events that are just great! They each have a SHE acronym (Scaling Her Everest, Shedding Her Excuses, Shaping her Expectations, Strengthening Her Endurance, etc.). We are trying to build a SHE community and the blog is really good! Several of our teachers (including me) blog for the site. Check it out if you have time.

I promise to blog more! Or I promise to try. I made one New Year’s Resolution. It was to paint more. As I was packing to move I realized I hadn’t painted anything in the entire year of 2010. I think I want to change it to create more! Paint more, write more, cook more, create more.