2 Year Anniversary

Two years ago, I took that first step towards a healthier me. It's been quite the ride, and I have to say I can barely remember the struggles, even though I'm sure they were overwhelming and all-encompassing at the time. I've learned so much about myself, and grown along the way. My biggest lesson - to love what I see in the mirror, regardless of what the scale says. It's going to be an evergreen lesson - one that I'll work on every day for the rest of my life!

With my 2 year anniversary upon me, I've made a decision to retire my Secrets of a Former Fat Girl blog. A big part of learning to love what I see in the mirror is to quit using negative labels on myself, and even though "Former Fat Girl" isn't a bad thing, it still has a negative connotation. So ... I'm in the process of creating a new and improved blog that will see me through the "forever" ...

In the meantime, while I gather my creative energies and create this new blog, you can keep track of my half-marathon training and bodybug'in by following me on Twitter, or adding me as a friend on Facebook by searching for "Michelle's Weightloss Page"!


Mental Monday

I'm always on the look-out for suggestions or advice from fellow healthy bloggers, and this article from Weight Watchers recently caught my eye. One of my main hurdles is getting into a rut of eating the same things over and over, which on one hand, is easy and saves me time, but after a while, I get bored and more easily tempted to cheat or worse, fall off the wagon completely. I love the suggestions in the following article, and plan to try the veggie quesadillas!


16 Foods Dieters Can't Live Without

Calling all dieters: Are you tired of eating the same old stuff? Would you like something new and different to wake up your taste buds? We asked readers on the WeightWatchers.com message boards to tell us what diet-friendly foods and drinks they just can't live without.

Now we're going to share the wealth and give you some of their best ideas. And whether you've got the mid-afternoon munchies or a late-night craving, want something sweet or something savory, none of these 16 favorites will cost you too many calories.

1. "Quaker Oats Low-Fat Chewy Granola Bars. They've got the size and taste of a regular candy bar. PB and chocolate are the best!"

2. "Fat-Free Cool Whip with anything! I could kiss the guy that invented it!"

3. "Pitas! I can't live without them; they have so many uses. Make pita chips or slice them into two layers and toast them for two tostada shells!"

4. "Ground turkey breast! The meal possibilities are endless! Whether it's sloppy joes, turkey tacos, spaghetti sauce, turkey loaf or turkey burgers … I can find a million ways to make it."

5. "Hormel Turkey Pepperoni — great for making pita pizzas. This has kept me from calling Pizza Hut many nights."

6. "Veggie Quesadillas — I eat them all the time with fat-free sour cream, and they are so filling."

7. "GUM! Chewing gum has saved me many a day when I wanted to eat, eat, eat."

8. "Folgers Cafe Latte Caramel Groove — it tastes so good."

9. "Grape tomatoes — great for guilt-free snacking."

10. "Tomato juice with horseradish and hot sauce — just like having a Bloody Mary. I like to drink it while making dinner."

11. "A Boca Burger, Wonder Light Bun and Velveeta Light Cheese: That makes a low-calorie cheeseburger I can't live without!"

12. "Diet Root Beer — add a scoop of light vanilla ice cream and have a root beer float."

13. "Pirate's Booty (snack food by Robert's American Gourmet). Wish this little goodie wasn't so popular because my supermarket constantly runs out of it."

14. "Sweet potatoes sliced into strips and 'fried' in a pan with Pam. Yum!"

15. "Splenda! I use it in coffee, desserts, cinnamon toast … anything! It's wonderful."

16. "Nonfat chocolate pudding with just a dollop of light or nonfat whipped cream … so creamy it should be illegal."

From www.weightwatchers.com

Something wonderful

A few days prior to my surgery, I was sent a wonderful email from Ryan at POM Wonderful complementing my blog and offering to send me a complimentary case of POM Wonderful 100% pomegrante juice. Having two children that absolutely love POM, I naturally said YES!

The case of POM arrived the week after my surgery, and I managed to snap a photo before the kids guzzled themselves into a POM frenzy :)

    If you haven't tried POM Wonderful yet, you really should. And not just because Ryan sent me a free case! ;)

    • POM Wonderful is the only brand guaranteed to contain 100% authentic pomegrante juice. It's all-natural and contains no added sugars, preservatives, colors or cheap filler juices. Other pomegrante juice brands are made with juice imported from Iran, Turkey and India.
    • POM Wonderful's pomegranate orchards are located in California's San Joaquin Valley. They grow their own fruit, pick it by hand, squeeze it with their own proprietary presses, and even manufacture their own bottles!
    • There have been 45 studies about POM Wonderful pomegranate juice published in leading peer reviewed journals. To read the full studies, visit Pom Wonderful.
    One of the things that Ryan mentioned in our subsequent email conversations is that POM Wonderful is, well, erm, really quite wonderful to cook with! Their website features a lovely receipe section, and the kids and I decided on the Pear Salad with POM Honey Dijon Dressing and Blue Cheese Crumbles. This salad was so scrumptious, it was almost like a dessert for me! I could have happily sat at the dinner table and eaten all 8 servings by myself :)

    My son LOVES red velvet cake, so our next POM Wonderful adventure will definitely be the POM Velvet Cake and/or POM Velvet Cupcakes with POM Cream Cheese Frosting! I just need to be sure I accumulate extra activity points the week prior to our making these next yummy treats! :)


    "What you do today is important because you're exchanging a whole day of your life for it." ~Unknown

    Recipe of the Week

    Ok seriously, this pie sounds to die for! I haven't actually tried it out yet, I'm a bit afraid this is one recipe that may push me over the edge, but I just had to share it with you LOL If you do try it out, please let me know!


    Frozen Chocolate-Cherry Pie

    POINTS® Value: 6
    Servings: 8
    Preparation Time: 10 min
    Cooking Time: 0 min
    Level of Difficulty: Easy

    Friends and family will love this fresh, creamy twist on a delicious dessert classic.


    4 cup(s) low-fat frozen yogurt, chocolate-flavor, softened
    40 item(s) maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    6 oz Ready Crust Hershey's Chocolate Ready Pie Crust, or other brand
    1/2 cup(s) lite whipped topping, frozen, thawed
    3/4 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated (about 2 Tbsp; optional)
    8 item(s) maraschino cherries, with stems (optional)


    In a large bowl, combine yogurt and cherries; fold gently to combine. Spoon yogurt mixture into pie shell; cover and freeze for 8 hours or until firm.

    Cut pie into 8 wedges and top each slice with 1 tablespoon whipped topping. Garnish with chocolate and cherries. Serve immediately. Yields 1 piece per serving.


    From Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2010 Copyright © 2010 Oxmoor House, Inc.

    Mental Monday

    We're all looking for that magic bullet, and we all want fast and easy. But we all know, taking the easy route isn't always the right route. I'm a firm believer that taking the longer route will teach you lessons that will last a lifetime, because you work harder and longer to learn that lesson.

    Be that as it may, I still admit to looking for shortcuts whenever possible. This recent article from Weight Watchers caught my eye, and I'm pleased to share it with you. I think you'll find the tips informative, educational, and helpful!


    7 Fast, No-Fuss Ways to Eat Smarter

    Too busy to make sure you're eating foods that are good for you? No sweat! Try our no-frills approach to healthy eating.

    Who says healthy eating has to be work? Our nutrition experts let us in on some super-fast, incredibly easy ways to fill up on foods that are good for you. Try these tips:

    1. Get sneaky. That is, sneak fruits and vegetables — excellent sources of disease-fighting vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals — into the foods you already eat, advises Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, author of Stealth Health: How to Sneak Nutrition Painlessly into Your Diet (Penguin, 2000).

    Top off your morning cereal or yogurt, for example, with blueberries, peaches and the like. Add finely chopped carrots, broccoli and kale to pasta sauces, meat loaf, soups and salads. (Hint: Buy them ready-cut at your supermarket.)

    2. While you're at it, experiment with exotic fruits, such as papaya, mango, melon and fresh pineapple. "Tropical fruits are especially potent sources of antioxidants," says Felicia Busch, RD, author of New Nutrition: From Antioxidants to Zucchini (John Wiley & Sons, 2000).

    3. Check your iron intake. Iron helps carry oxygen to the blood and deliver it to cells. Without enough iron on board, you're apt to feel sluggish and fatigued. But consult with your physician first to evaluate your iron stores, because too much of a good thing can be just as bad for you.

    To up your iron intake if needed, consume a vitamin C-rich food, such as orange or tomato juice, with meals. If there's iron in any of the other foods you're eating, "you'll increase your body's iron absorption two to four times," says Tribole.

    4. Down some veggies. Another no-fuss way to eat more veggies? "Drink vegetable juice," Busch suggests. Besides offering disease-fighting nutrients, "most vegetable juices are blends, so they provide more unique combinations of vegetables that you might not otherwise eat," says Busch. A varied diet maximizes your body's arsenal of health-promoting nutrients, she says.

    5. Milk those calcium moments Choose calcium-fortified juice instead of the regular version — you'll get as much calcium (300 milligrams) as you would in a glass of milk (although milk has more nutrients, particularly vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium). Make oatmeal and other hot cereals with skim milk instead of water, and switch to skinny lattes (2/3 skim milk, 1/3 strong coffee) instead of regular coffee, suggests Tribole.

    6. Don't bypass beans at the salad bar. They're an underrated source of disease-fighting fiber, as well as a great source of iron, protein and folate, the last of which is especially important for women of child-bearing age, says Busch. Studies show that a diet high in fiber can even help keep your weight in check.

    Use canned, rinsed beans in salads, and incorporate them into soups, stews and sauces.

    7. Choose fish. "The average American eats fish about once a week," says Busch. But two to three times a week is better — so why not grill some up, or make a filet in minutes in your broiler pan?

    Fish, especially coldwater fish like salmon, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, the heart-healthy fat that helps lower LDL (or "bad") cholesterol. "Eating more fish may also reduce your cancer risk," says Busch, "and even lower your blood pressure."

    From www.weightwatchers.com

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