Food Tips & Techniques  

Here are some of the techniques we learned to help us better manage our eating.

Three Biggest Secrets to Success
People often ask us for our "secret" to success.
  1. Attitude - You have to have the right attitude. This is not a diet, it is a change in life style. I can now tell at a meeting who is going to be successful and who will not.

    People that will fail say things like:
    "I was off the diet"
    "I can't have that"
    "I cheated this week"

    People that will succeed say things like:
    "I ate more then I should have, I will do better starting right now"
    "I do not want any of that right now, thank you"
    "I over ate today, I will do some extra activity to compensate" 

  2. Portion Control - It is all about portions. Learn to gauge portions. Start by measuring EVERYTHING. This is the only way to learn. After you think you have it, check yourself. It takes years to learn.

  3. Support - You need a support network. Ours starts with each other. We attend WW meetings almost every week. When we travel, we check the WW web site for a meeting where we are going. We have been training the people we work with that we can eat anything we choose to, it is all in control. They are learning to help us keep control. When people tell me I am looking skinny or thin, I say "no healthy". I am not skinny Bob, I am healthy Bob.

Go to the Meetings
I can not stress enough how important going to the weekly Weight Watchers meets are. You can read the 12 weekly books and "do the program", but the meetings really bring it all together. Talking with others that are doing the program or have done it and are in maintenance is important. I see myself going to meetings for a long, long time. Go face the scale in at the meeting and put your weight down in a little book. This lets you look back and see where you have been and where you are going. Just do it!

Find a meeting
Package everything into serving size portions
When you get home from the store, repackage food into serving size portions. We use 1/2 cup Glad reusable containers to repackage things like cottage cheese. We also make Jell-o and pudding in in 1/2 cup servings, no guessing how much is one serving. We use wax paper or parchment paper to separate lunch meat into servings. When it is time to make sandwiches for lunch, it is simple to get one portion.
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Use a marker to write the points plus on the containers
When we get home from the store, we use a marker to write the number of points plus per serving or for the entire package on it. This way when you want a snack, the points plus are right there, no calculating.
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BLT - Bites, Licks and Tastes
Everything counts, keep an accurate log. If you eat it, you need to count it. Every bite, lick or taste counts.
If you bite it, write it.
Be true - Count, measure and weigh everything, close is not good enough.
Spend the money to buy a good scale. I really like the one I got from Weight Watchers. I had a bread scale, but it was only accurate to 5 grams or 0.25 ounces. The Weight Watchers scale is accurate to 1 gram and 0.05 ounces.
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Do Not Deny Yourself Any Food
We found when we deny ourselves of foods, we later binge on those foods. Learn how to manage your problem foods whether it is chocolate, pizza or ? Manage your problem foods, do not deny yourself the foods.

We found that if we ordered a pizza to be delivered we ate two or three pieces each. This is too much. We have a local pizza place that services pizza by the slice. We can go there and get one slice of pizza each and a salad from the salad bar. This keeps us from craving pizza and bingeing on it.

There are two of us, so a serving of Pizza is 1/2. So we order a small or single size pizza. We might pay extra for delivery on a small pizza, but our health is worth the little extra money.

We also buy chocolate chips and then weigh out one point plus worth to add to pudding or eat with a frozen banana. 

Do not let your food get boring, have variety in your meals. WW has many good cookbooks, but do not limit yourself to WW cookbooks. Go look at the store for cookbooks. Look for books that give the nutritional information for each recipe.
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Serve in the Kitchen
We found that serving the food in the kitchen and not at the table helps. When we make a dish that serves four, we split it in half, put one half away in the refrigerator, and split the other half between our two plates. We do this in the kitchen before we sit down to eat. This stops us from going back for seconds that we do not need. The exception is vegetables and salad.
Plan your Meals,
Make a Shopping List

Plan what you are going to eat in advance then make a shopping list from your plan. Shop from your list. We plan our week on Friday evening, go to our WW meeting on Saturday morning, then shop on the way home.

We have a "standard" list of things we get all the time, we then add the extra things and cross off the things we do not need that week. The list is in the order we walk through the store, this speeds up our shopping. After we get home from the store, a new list is placed on the refrigerator for the next week.

Word, PDF

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Plan, plan and plan some more...
As you know from the previous item, Katie and I plan our meals a week at a time. We also plan our days. We think ahead about where we are going and what we are doing. I have a standard work day meal plan. We start the day with hot cereal. Then I pack in my lunch:
  • sandwich (5 to 7)
  • Pretzels (3)
  • Chips (3-4)
  • Yogurt (3)
  • Carrots and Celery (0)
  • Cheese Stick (2)
  • Banana (0)
  • Fruit, 2 or 3 pieces (0)
  • Salad (1-3)

I do not eat it all every day, but I have the variety and choice to eat what I want when I want. I take more then I need. Right now am eating 46 points plus a day, between breakfast and lunch I normally eat 27 points plus, this leaves me 19 for dinner. Add a weekly point plus or two and I have a very filling and good day. 

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Instant Hot Cereal
We take some of these with us when we travel. We use these to avoid the donuts and junk that you find in the lobby of most motels. In the morning, we use the coffee pot in the room to make hot water for our cup of cereal. We then get fresh fruit from the lobby and call it breakfast. Try it, you will like it.

Sometimes we leave very early in the morning when we travel. We will take fruit and some cups of cereal. We then put hot water in a thermos and make the hot cereal in the car later. This is so much better then stopping at a fast food place.

Cup O' Soup
Sometimes when we travel, we take a thermos with hot water and make cup of soup for lunch. Eat this with a slice of bread and some raw vegetables and you have a low point plus healthy meal, much better then burgers at some fast food place.

Take a small camp stove and have a picnic.

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Activity not Exercise
When most people ask what we have done to lose weight, they ask what is our exercise? My normal response has been, "It does not have to do with exercise so much as managing what you eat. I have never really considered what we have been doing as exercise, we walk."

Fast forward to today, 4 February 2004. At the WW meeting, this last week, we were talking about Activity and I realized the real answer is, "we manage what we eat and have increased our activity, we do not exercise."

What do I mean by activity not exercise. What comes to mind when I think exercise, and I think most people think this way too, is lifting weights in a gym, running or swimming. I think about working so hard I can not speak, sweat dripping off my face, sore muscles, and all but passing out for an hour or more when I am done. This is not what I feel you need to do to lose weight. All you need to do is get out and move, walk.

When we started our journey, we were not able to jog, it hurt. We would jog a block or two and be so out of breath we had to stop and rest. We did not feel this was good for us, so we walked instead. At first we were walking at less then 3 MPH, 20 minute miles. This is a nice slow pace. Today, I can do a jog/walk combination for over two miles and maintain a 4.5 MPH average.  That is a 13 Minute mile, not Olympic but not bad. If we just walk fast, we maintain a 4.2 MPH pace, 14 minute miles.

We get up early and walk most mornings. We do 2 or 3 miles. When we are done, we are not out of breath, we are not dripping with sweat, we do not hurt, and we do not have to stop to take a rest. We move on with the day. I call this activity not exercise.

Go out and walk for 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 5 times a week. As the weight comes off, your speed will SLOWLY increase. We walked for 2 years and went from less then 3 MPH to over 4MPH. That was a slow increase, it takes time.

For some incentives to to get you out and walking, check out the AVA to find a walking club in your area.

I now walk on a treadmill in the morning. I walk for 42 minutes, why 42? This is the length of a 1 hour TV show with our commercials. We have a number of TV shows on DVD. I have a small portable DVD player that sits on the treadmill. I watch one episode every morning as I walk.



American Volkssporting Association



SLO Soles
Our Local AVA Walking Club

Find Your Activity Grove
Everybody has their own activity grove, what they do and when they do it. Find your activity grove. Is it walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, biking, what is your activity. Our activity is walking, not running or jogging, but walking. We have been walking regular for two years now and we walk rather fast, but it is a walk.

When do you like to do your activity? Are you a morning, mid day or evening person? Do you get your activity on your break at work? Do you go to the gym after work? Our time is in the morning before work. We tried to walk in the evenings but it did not work. When we get home after work, we want to stay home. Our compromise is we go to bed early, normally we are in bed before 9, and are up at 4:45 to be out the door by 5:00. It is early and cold, 29 degrees most winter mornings.

The bottom line is; you have to make activity a priority, you have to find your activity, you have to find your time.

Those Darn Chips at the Mexican Restaurant
You sit down in a Mexican restaurant, and before you know it there is a basket of fresh chips and salsa sitting on the table in front of you. Next thing you know, you are eating and the chips are all gone and a new basket is arriving. Stop them before they hit the table. When they bring the chips we politely tell them, "No thanks we do not want any chips tonight." This works great.

So, you are out with friends and they want the chips. Here is what you do, meter out your chips. Take a napkin and count out 12 of the larges most perfect chips in the basket and place them on your napkin. This is your chip allotment for the evening, 4 points plus in chips. Guard them and enjoy every one of them.

Reward Yourself
Reward yourself with a non-food item at every milestone. After you lose 10% or 10 pounds reward yourself. Get a pedicure or manicure. By a new DVD or CD. When you reach goal get the picture on your drivers license updated and put your new weight on it. Plan a trip to a day spa or get a massage. Do something for yourself at your milestones, reward yourself for a job well done.

Katie and I are getting new wedding rings as a reward for reaching goal. Our old rings are too big and falling off our fingers.

Maintenance vs. Loss
(NOTE: I do not know the points plus maintenance points, theses numbers are from the old points system)
The line between maintaining your weight and losing weight is very fine. On the Weight Watchers program, the difference is 4 points per day.

What is 4 points:

  • 4 apples
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and 1 yogurt
  • 1 cup of apple sauce and 2 servings of air popped popcorn
  • 4 teaspoons of regular butter
  • 4 teaspoons of oil
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

What is not 4 points:

  • A bag of peanuts M&Ms, 6 points.
  • French fries fast food, medium, 6 points
  • Garlic bread, 1 slice, 5 points

I think you get the point, the difference between eating to lose weight and eating to maintain is very fine. Be careful when you reach goal, it is not a high sign to eat anything you want. Remember what you have learned about portion control and how much you need to eat.

Count Quarter Points Plus
If you are on a plateau, try counting quarter points plus. In Weight Watchers, you count anything from 1.01 to 1.99 as 1 point plus. So, two 1.5 point items would be 2 points plus. If you count the quarter points plus, two 1.5 point items is 3 points plus.

Watch what you eat for a week and see how many items you eat that are right at the top of the scale, more then 0.75, 1.75, 2.75, 3.75, ... vs. how many are in the bottom of the scale, less then 0.25, 1.25, 2.25, 3.25, ... They should balance out, if they do not, try counting quarter points plus.

We Gain Weight Because of the Way We Live
There is only one way to change your body, change the way you live. This is a life altering change in your life. You can not go "on" a diet and then "finish" the diet and go "off" it, you must change your diet for life. If you return to the old habits, your body will return to the old body. To make it all work better you should also add activity to your life.

A Health thin lifestyle is part of who I am.  

From, the first definition of Diet, noun,  food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health

I am not on a diet with Weight Watchers, I have changed my diet. This is the way I should be eating. I do not limit what I can have, I control how much I have. I pay attention to what and how much I eat.

What techniques have helped you?
Share your food techniques with me,

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