Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recipe: Healthy Oatmeal Bars

I recently had a bunch of tests run, and despite the fact that I'm a vegetarian, my cholesterol levels came back high.  I was totally shocked by this.  I do eat eggs and cheese, but not in an overabundance.

So my doctor suggested a few things to help me lower the cholesterol.  The first is that I must exercise daily about 1.5 hours.  Doing so will lower my cholesterol 5-10 points.

And the second is to eat oatmeal EVERY DAY!  He said that doing so will lower my cholesterol 5-10 points.  Now that can be as cereal or in the form of a "healthy" cookie.

So I started looking at cookie recipes.  As you know by now, I follow Weight Watchers.  And with only 26 points to eat in a day, the last thing I want to do is waste too many on a cookie.  Most recipes were filled with sugar and nuts.  So I decided to try my own recipe.

This recipe will make about 20 oat bars.  They do NOT taste like your typical oatmeal cookie.  They're not sugary sweet but have a natural sweetness.  Each bar has only 2 points plus.

Healthy Oatmeal Bars

3 cups oats (I used Quaker Oats but any good oatmeal is fine.  You just don't want to use instant.
1 ripe banana (ripe, like yellow skin wih a few brown freckles)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup egg whites (Or I suppose you can use a whole egg or two but i'm tryin to cut cholesterol.
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped unsweetened organic turkish apricots (I bought these at Trader Joe's)
1/2 tsp salt  (I didn't use any, and I felt that it needed it)

OPTIONAL: Now, if you would like to add sugar, I'm guessing that 1/2 cup brown sugar would probably be plenty.  You can also add chopped walnuts.  Because I'm trying to keep these low calorie/low points, I didn't.  But feel free to experiment.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray.
Use parchment paper and cut it to the size of the bottom of your plan.  Place parchment in pan.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until moist.   Pour on top of the parchment and press into the corners, keeping the whole thing even.  Bake for 30 minutes or golden.

Remove from oven.  At this point, I free the whole thing from the pan and remove the parchment backing placing the whole slab onto a cooling rack.  When warm, use a large knife to cut into 20 pieces.  Enjoy.
Cut into 20 pieces - 2 points plus
Cut into 16 pieces - 3 points plus

Checking In: What week is it again???

Hi Everyone!  I haven't been on here for a long time and I guess it's because I don't have anything exciting to report.  I have been staying on plan, but actually plateauing for about 5 weeks now.  I lost 1.8 pounds...and then the following week the scale went up 1.8 pounds (though I have really no idea (honestly) why.  Then the following week I was down .6, and then up .4 and then down .2.  Ridiculous!!

What have I been doing wrong?  And what have I been doing right?
Okay, wrong things first:  So I can't reallly think of anything that I've been doing wrong, per se.  One thing I tried was to cut down on my fruit consumption.  Even though WW says fruit points are 0, the reality is that they still do have calories and carbs...and I started thinking that maybe I was eating too muh fruit.  It's summer, and I love the stone fruits of the season, like peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums.  So I told myself that I would limit my fruit intake to 2 a day. So for that week, I did lose!!!  Woohoo...I thought I had solved my problem.  The following week I did the same thing....and I gained.

Things I'm doing right:  This list is easier:
1.  Showing up to meetings.  Do you weigh at home?  I know we're not supposed to, but I do!! I have to.  So when Wednesday comes along and I don't see that the scale has moved, it's my first instinct to tell myself that I'm not going to the meeting that afternoon.  But I talk myself into it.  it's more than the number on the scale.  This is an investment in my health, in myself, in my progress.  So showing up to my meeting is the first thing I've done right.  I make sure I go.

2.  Tracking.  I track.  I track it all, even when I go over my 26 points for the day. (This is okay because we still have the 49 bonus for the week).  So I do track...everything that I put in my mouth.

3.  Drink!  I lots and lots of water.  Throughout the date at work, I fill my water bottle at least 4 times.  So that's not the problem.

4.  Stay active.  I have the active link monitor...and I am averaging getting to 97% to 100% of my weekly goal.  So that aint it either!!!

But the thing that I'm telling myself is this:  It's all about the journey.  Seriously....this time around it has to be a lifestyle change for me.   I have been to WW so many times in my life.  If I had just stuck with it, I'd be at lifetime.  But no.  I got discouraged.  I stopped showing up to meetings.  I started thinking I could do it on my own.

Sooooo....I'm still here.  And while I'm waiting for that scale to move, I am still going to stay on plan, eat healthy, exercise, and do what's right for me.  I'm still better off that I was 16+ weeks ago!   And I'm enjoying the ride.

How are you doing?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Checking in: Week 16: Life Happens!

 I can't believe I haven't posted in 3 weeks!  So much has happened.  First off, I had this incredible loss (1.8 pounds)  at week 13...and hit my 15 pound mark.  Yay!  Well, that victory was short lived.  So here's the story of the journey.

Week 14:  We took a girls weekend trip to and some of my work friends. I have to say that I don't understand my weight gain because even though we went to Vegas, I was still very moderate in my eating and I walked A LOT.  I even reached 150% of my activity goal for both Saturday and Sunday that I was there!  "Must be the alcohol," you say.  Nope.  I wish (now) that I could attribute it to that, but Friday evening I had one beer.  Saturday night at dinner, I had one mojito.  So I was okay with going to weigh in on Wednesday (I returned on Sunday)...and was not happy...and totally surprised to find I had gained 1.8 pounds (exactly what I lost the week prior!)  Grrrrr!!!!

At the meeting, we discussed mini goals....small little plans that we were going to work on during the week.  Week 15 was going to take us to Chicago for 5 days to visit family and our beautiful granddaughter Grace.  So my goal for week 15....."try to track my food as much as I can.....and SHOW UP TO THE MEETING!!!"  Why is this a big deal, you ask?  Because in the past, I have been very scale oriented.  If the scale moved down, great!  I'm so there.  And if the scale move up...or if I feel the scale is going to move up that weigh in day, I've not shown up, thinking, "I'll make up for it this week on my own, and go weigh in next week."  So showing up to meeting, after gaining the week prior...and after having 5 days on vacation is a big deal for me.

Week 15:  Chicago.  I went armed for battle.  I bought a few WW snacks at the meeting for
Me and Grace...she's so yummy.
She's looking very contemplative here!
the plane...(at least I'd know what I was tracking).  I packed fruit and snacks for the airplane so I wouldn't be tempted to buy the snacks.  We had a great time playing with the baby in Chiago, and visiting with my step-daughter, brother-in-law and cousins.  We hosted a BBQ for the family on Memorial Day.  I made some WW recipes (no one knew they were low cal).  Tracked as much as I could, walked a lot....both on our own and with Grace in the stroller!  Got back on Tuesday night.  With weigh in on Wednesday, already, when I went to bed on Tuesday night, I was making the excuses why I wasn't going to go to weigh in.  Seriously.   I didn't even get on the scale on Wednesday morning.  On the busride in to work, I was talking myself into it.  "It's not about the's about the need to go the meeting....good or bad.  Own up to it.  Life Happens!!"

Lunchtime came and I went to weigh in.  Stepped on the scale...and I had actually lost.  Not much, mind you, but I didn't gain!  I lost .4 pounds!  So, like almost a half pound.

So here's the lesson.  It's all about the journey.  Repeat after me.  "It's all about the journey."  Life happens.  There will be times when you are right on the money as far as being on your weight loss plan.  And there will be times when you'll just have to do the best you can given the situation at hand.  Own up to it.  No one is perfect.  We are on this journey to get healthy together.  If you're following Weight Watchers:  Remember that the meeting is not there because things are going perfectly;  They're there for support....and to hear what's working (and what isn't) for other people on the same journey.  So it's important to go when things are not going well.

Okay, I'm getting down off my soapbox now!!!
I hope you're all having a great week!

P.S.   I'll share the recipes I made for the BBQ!  Stuffed jalapenos and Asparagus/Tomato Salad!  Yum!