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Weight Loss Wednesday: Tenikka Lost 101 lbs!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Tenikka Lost 101 lbs!

Name: Tenikka Phillips
Height: 5’5”
Starting Weight: 261 lbs
Current Weight: 160 lbs
Pounds Lost: 101 lbs
How long did it take you to lose the weight? 2.5 years, & I am still not quite to my goal weight.

Lightbulb Moment: I have battled my weight for the majority of my life and for a period of my adult life I began to ignore the same. I attempted to carry the problems of the world, and it literally began to show on the scale. I eventually began to experience such severe anxiety that I contemplated being medicated as there were times that I would feel too anxious to participate in daily life. As a licensed professional counselor I knew what was going on, and I knew the extra weight was only exacerbating the anxiety. I managed to lose about 35 lbs. from the middle of 2011 through the beginning of 2012. However, I gained 10 lbs. back after experiencing a difficult time when I lost my job in 2012 as a result of the office closing/a program being discontinued. Rather than utilizing this extra time to focus on getting healthier, I focused solely on trying to find another job and feeling defeated when it took longer than expected. It was in January 2013 that I decided it was time to get serious before I no longer had a chance to improve my health. I decided to finally take the advice I continually give clients. I knew for me to be seen as a credible counselor then I needed to be a better example of a healthier lifestyle (a healthy nutritious diet as well as being physically active). I decided to treat my body as if I had received bad news from my doctor. I hadn’t received bad news from any physician, but I knew I was headed in that direction.

How did you do it? I initially lost the previously mentioned 35 lbs. by utilizing Visalus shakes & exercising mostly on the elliptical (my knees weren’t ready for much else). I quickly learned that this was not a lifestyle that I could maintain for more than a few months. When I decided to really get serious in January 2013 I began Weight Watchers and adding a variety of physical activity. For me this was the lifestyle change that I needed. Weight Watchers has been something that has assisted me in establishing a more balanced & nutritious diet without eliminating any food groups. I incorporate an abundance of fruits & vegetables daily while also ensuring that I drink a minimum of 64oz of water per day. I take two 32oz bottles of water to work every day and consume them prior to the end of my work day. The water I consume in the evenings (which is typically another 32oz or more) is considered “bonus” for me. I was alarmed to learn the amount of calories I was consuming just through beverages prior to January 2013, and I was not even drinking soda regularly. I began to try new activities in efforts to keep myself interested (I tend to get bored easily). I complete a minimum of 30 minutes per day of physical activity (even on “rest” days) while aiming for 1-2 hours at least 5 days per week.

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French Toast Muffins

French Toast Muffins

Let me just start out by saying this isn’t the healthiest recipe. It’s packed with white bread and doesn’t have too many nutritious benefits. I can also attest that it isn’t the best for staying full. I was hungry about an hour after eating one of these bad boys. However it is a great recipe for curing any French Toast cravings, comes in perfectly portioned, adorable muffin packages, and is great for kids, brunches, and get togethers. It also takes about 15 minutes to put together and most importantly tastes great. I made them this weekend and they were gobbled up in an instant.

So now let’s talk about how to make these healthier and more filling, because there are lots of ways. First, switch up the bread. Use a whole wheat, high fiber bread and you immediately up the health benefits and add fiber. Then add some healthy, fiber packed add-ins like flax seeds, chia seeds, or nuts. Finally, consider using a more natural sweetener – mashed bananas, pumpkin with maple syrup, dates, honey, or a low calorie sweetener like Stevia. Then serve them alongside something packed with protein – like egg whites, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese and you’ll have a more nutritious breakfast.

With that said, no one will blame you for making and enjoying them as written. It’s a great weekend treat that won’t ruin your diet.

French Toast Muffins
Servings: 12
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Nutritional Information: 164 calories, 1.2g of fat, 28.9g of carbohydrates, 1.1g of fiber, 7.6g of protein, 7g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 4 * (more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Sunday Slow Cooker: Ratatouille with Polenta Rounds

Sunday Slow Cooker:  Ratatouille with Polenta Rounds

Have a bunch of extra vegetables laying around? The this is the perfect recipe for you. Traditionally cooked low and slow on the stove-top, this simpler version is made in the slow cooker and served with crispy polenta rounds. Since it low in protein, consider adding chickpeas, chicken, or some sauteed shrimp to the dish to make it a more complete meal. It also makes a great side dish or pasta sauce. I served mine with some crumbled goat cheese and fresh basil.

Slow Cooker Ratatouille with Polenta Rounds
Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1 cup and 2 polenta rounds
Nutritional Info: 193 calories, 2.9g of fat, 36.2g of carbohydrates, 8g of fiber, 8g of protein, 13g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 5 *
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* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Friday Five: Healthy Passover Recipes

Friday Five:  Healthy Passover Recipes

Many people began celebrating Passover this week and with it’s limitations on bread, yeast, flour, corn, rice, and other ingredients; it can be a tricky time to stick to your diet and find meals that are Passover friendly. So this Passover if you are celebrating, consider trying out some of these healthier options before reaching for fried or fat laden meals. Additionally, these are great options for anyone following a gluten free diet or simply looking for a delicious and healthy meal to make.

1. Matzo Pizza, 148 calories, 4 PointsPlus®

A traditional Passover meals in many homes, especially with children, this matzo Pizza doesn’t disappoint. The key is creating a layer of cheese between the matzo and sauce to keep everything nice and crisp.

2. Chili Rubbed Brisket with Potatoes, 293 calories, 7 PointsPlus®

Brisket is a traditional Passover meal but this version is kicked up a notch with a delicious, chili rub. Everything is cooked in one dish and it makes an easy and delicious meal for the holiday.

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* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Stuffed Italian Eggplant

Stuffed Italian Eggplant

Lately I have been getting lots of questions about how to make traditional recipes low carb. I have a sneaking suspicion this is due to the fact that summer is right around the corner and cutting carbs can be a quick way to shed some unwanted pounds or breakthrough a weight loss plateau. So although this recipe isn’t an exact lower carb version of a traditional dish, it is a lower carb twist on a traditional Eggplant Parmesan. Since we are eliminating both the breading and traditional pasta side dish, I usually look to add a lean protein, in this case, 95% lean ground beef. Chicken would also be delicious. From there, I like to use a low sugar marinara (diced tomatoes would also work) and use the eggplant as my cooking vessel instead of making traditional eggplant cutlets. The resulting dish is low in carbs, cheesy, and incredibly filling. It also freezes great and can be made ahead for a quick weeknight meal.

Stuffed Italian Eggplant
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1/2 eggplant
Nutritional Information: 339 calories, 11.5g of fat, 26g of carbohydrates, 10.5g of fiber, 33.8g of protein, 7.8g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 8 * (more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Weight Loss Wednesday: Celia Lost 32 lbs!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Celia Lost 32 lbs!

Name: Celia McCormack
Height: 5’8”
Starting Weight: Heaviest 180, 175.6 starting WW
Current Weight: 143.4
Pounds Lost: 32.2
How long did it take you to lose the weight? 11 months

Lightbulb Moment: When I graduated college in 2011, I figured the vodka-saturated pounds I gained frequenting the bars and frat parties were bound to shed themselves when I took myself out of the element. But there I was, two years post-grad in April 2013, celebrating a Chicago rendition of my Alma Mater’s claim to fame, Little 500, even heavier than the day I graduated. The next morning I woke up to unwelcomed light pouring into my windows and a slight hangover directing me to the fridge. Opening the refrigerator door I thanked myself for picking up a large pepperoni pizza and 2 liter of Mountain Dew, then made my way to back to my bed not to move an inch for the rest of the day. By the end of the night still feeling crappy, I realized this wasn’t just a hangover—it was defeat, it was dissatisfaction, it was unhappiness, and it was the last time I was going to make excuses.

How did you do it? The first thing I did was join Weight Watchers. I became a member on April 21, 2013 and chose to attend meetings for the added accountability and sense of community. Throughout WW, I’ve learned the importance of balance. I learned that by planning ahead, I could have whatever it is I want, even if that means Chinese take out or drinks with my friends. I’ve found it helpful to plan for these indulgences first, then make food choices based off the points I have left so I never feel deprived. WW never tells you ‘no’, they teach you how to say ‘yes’ by giving you the tools you need to make more food conscious decisions that balance out the indulgences.

The program encourages you to track your food/points intake on a daily basis, but I decided to take it a step further and created a WW Instagram account (celiabediliaa_ww) to keep a visual record of my meals and progress. I had no idea how much support and community I’d gain from creating this account. We share our individual journeys via photos of the up’s, the down’s, low-point grocery finds and recipes. It’s great to have this constantly streaming community to help you throughout the week between meetings, and it’s also an easy way to look at your week’s food choices all in one place.

What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it? My biggest challenge that I’m still working on is validating my accomplishments and feeling satisfied with my progress. I’ve dieted my entire life, so on April 1, 2014 when I reached Lifetime (which means I hit my goal weight which is within the BMI healthy weight range and maintained that goal weight for 6 weeks) I thought to myself, “well, this can’t be it, there’s no way”. It’s just really hard to grasp the idea of finally getting something you’ve wanted your entire life. I have my moments when I discount the hard work I’ve put in, or still see a body that’s “not good enough”.. but I’m overcoming that with a heavy dose of tough love. I used to put myself down a lot, but these days I work on elevating myself and giving credit where credit is due.

What was the single thing that helped you most along the way, especially when things got tough? The recognition, support and acknowledgement from my family, friends, my Weight Watcher leader and meeting members, as well as all the individuals I’ve come across on Instagram, have really pushed me along when times were tough. Whether they’re asking questions about how I do it and steps I’ve taken, or if they’re just going out of their way to give me a genuine compliment, it’s a huge help.

How has your life changed since losing the weight? What I love about this question is that my life isn’t all that different! I still go out to dinner with friends, I still get an order of crab rangoon with my beef and broccoli, and I’m still planning to celebrate Little 500 with my friends over drinks. What’s different is my mentality after learning to live a balanced life. Losing the pounds and committing to a healthy lifestyle made me feel happier, more confident, and more accountable for my choices. Everyone is deserving of these things, but for me, I was only able to capitalize on these when I worked hard for them. I don’t waste time making excuses anymore, because that’s not going to get me anywhere.

Exercise routine: My goal is to work out three times a week, incorporating cardio (typically running) and strength training (free weights, machines and squats), but I also enjoy biking, hot yoga and going on long walks. I’ve also learned that racing is a hobby of mine and I absolutely love being able to run outdoors. I’ve participated in several 5ks, a 10-mile race, one triathlon and am about to begin training for my third half marathon in which I (try to) follow Hal Higdon’s 12-week program.

Favorite breakfast: Coffee and a light English muffin topped with 2tbs light cream cheese, 1oz smoked salmon, sliced cherry tomatoes and red onion.

Favorite grab and go snack: FRUIT! And low calorie popcorn like Black Pepper Skinny Pop or White Cheddar Smartfood.

Favorite 20 minute dinner: I love cooking and trying new recipes, but when I’m short on time I make tortilla pizzas. I’ll take a light tortilla and brown it in a pan until it’s slightly crispy, add about 1/4 c of pasta sauce (or more depending on the tortilla size), turkey pepperoni and veggies, a drizzle of barbecue sauce, then top it with 1/2c part-skim or fat free shredded cheese. Pop it in the oven at 400 and wait until the cheese melts.

Advice for someone just starting: Don’t beat yourself up. Losing weight is a process so you can’t let yourself derail after one unhealthy choice. My old mentality after eating something off-plan was, “I messed up, might as well restart tomorrow” and I’d binge the rest of the day. That type of attitude gets you nowhere because it means you can never indulge! If you slip up, accept it and move on. On average, we make more than 200 food-related decisions per day… so don’t worry, you’ll get the next one.

Anything else that you would like to share: Don’t believe them when they say “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”…. They’ve clearly never eaten crab rangoon or a Big Mac. The key is moderation!

Have a weight loss story to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at [email protected] and start inspiring others with your success.

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