Weight Watchers Friendly Cocktails

Do you like to have a few drinks on New Year’s Eve? I don’t drink very much throughout the year, but I do like to have a few drinks before ringing in the New Year. Of course, I don’t want to blow all my points on cocktails — as I was creating my New Year’s Eve menu, I came across a few delicious-sounding recipes (one of which I will be making myself!). I modified them slightly to be low point — often just changing out juices or soda for low/calorie-free versions.

The Kitchn
The Kitchn

Here are some Weight Watchers-friendly cocktails to make on the 31st:

Seabreeze — 4 PointsPlus

4 oz. grapefruit juice
1.5 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice
1 oz. vodka

Add to an ice-filled glass and gently stir. Use an orange slice as a garnish (optional).

Slice of Cake — 2 PointsPlus

1 oz. vanilla (or cupcake-flavored) vodka
8 oz. diet ginger ale (I also love to order diet Cherry Coke)

Add to an ice-filled glass and gently stir to combine.

Champagne Punch — 4 PointsPlus 

4 oz. champagne
4 oz. diet ginger ale
2 oz. pink lemonade

Add to an ice-filled glass and gently stir. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Don’t drink alcohol? There are plenty of delicious mocktails to try out, too! Here’s a Woo-Hoo concoction, along with others found on HGTV.com:

Woo Hoo — 4 PointsPlus 

4 oz. orange juice (use a low-calorie version, such as Trop50)
4 oz. pineapple juice (low calorie/Trader Joe’s)
Dash of bitters
1/2 oz. grenadine
Squeeze fresh lime juice

Add to an ice-filled glass and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge or peel.

There are plenty of modifications out there so you can enjoy a cocktail or mocktail to ring in the new year. Check out the Weight Watchers page for even more cocktail recipe ideas!

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time again — say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in 2015!

I am feeling a little bit nervous (odd number years always seem to be a bit difficult for us), but also excited and optimistic about where this new year will take me. Lots of changes here in my household and I am feeling ready to take on the challenge!

Pixgood.com
Pixgood.com

This year, I have a few goals I want to achieve:

  • Get myself organized and scheduled (see: Getting Organized)
  • Build my self-confidence
  • Better manage my money
  • Track consistently on Weight Watchers
  • Join 2-3 more 5ks — and possibly run one!
  • Engage in classes at the gym
  • Cook more at home
  • Expand my freelance writing business even more in 2015

All of these sort of run hand-in-hand for me — eating right (saves money, helps me track and lose weight), exercising (builds confidence and health) and elevating my business are all important to me and I will be working hard to achieve those goals!

What are some of your 2015 New Year’s resolutions?

Bikini Countdown Challenge — Walking

New Year’s Day is just around the corner — it’s time to get ready to kick some butt and start 2015 off right!

bikini countdown challenge

I have created the #bikinicountdownchallenge on Instagram (follow me: BikiniCountdown) and it will kick off January 1st and end on January 31st! My birthday is the last day of January, so what better way to gift myself than by completing a challenge and feeling healthier?

I want to make it challenging, but attainable, for everyone so I have created two options to suit your fitness goals/needs. First, you can do 100 miles total throughout the month — that means racking up miles on the treadmill, hiking trails, bikes or even elliptical machines — it’s your call!

The second option is to commit to exercising for an hour a day — a yoga class at the gym, walking with friends throughout the neighborhood, or throwing on some Spotify and hitting the gym solo. Whatever activity you want to do for an hour counts toward the #bikinicountdownchallenge!

Use the hashtag on Instagram to follow along and let the rest of us see your progress!

So, who’s going to join me in creating some healthier habits in January? I hope you’ll join me — I need the motivation and support as much as the next person!

Christmas Recipe Ideas

This year has felt so busy to me — unlike other years where I am typically relaxed in the days leading up to Christmas. I don’t feel ready, but trying to remember any last minute ingredients or details I need to have before Christmas Eve so I don’t have to go out unless absolutely necessary.

If you’re trying to put together a few last minute dish ideas, here is what I am making and they might be a good option to add to your own table.

Pancake Breakfast Casserole — Not low points plus by any means, but something I can make the night before and have it ready to pop in the oven Christmas morning. I also purchased frozen buttermilk pancakes from Smart & Final Extra! so it’s an even easier breakfast option.

pancake casserole
Food Network

Stracatto with Porcini Mushrooms — Okay, let’s just admit that Stracatto is a fancy Italian word for pot roast. There’s only two of us in my household so the typical ham often yields too much for us to eat — and I don’t want to eat ham for days afterward. I reserve the beef tenderloin/filet mignon for our New Year’s Eve celebration, so this year my only option at the store was a pot roast. I’ll be attending two masses on Christmas Eve, so a crock pot roast is even better for convenience. I won’t be adding mushrooms to my roast!

Food Network
Food Network

Garlicky Green Beans — I must have been a vampire in my previous life because I can’t get enough of that stuff. Green beans are one of my favorite veggies so this recipe is always an essential for me.

Real Simple
Real Simple

Italian Affogato — Is there anything better than a nice, icy dessert after a filling meal? I don’t think so. One delicious dessert I am serving is Italian Affogato, which I learned from Laura in the Kitchen. Today I picked up some Talenti Salted Caramel Gelato from Sam’s Club and going to add a shot of espresso over the top. YUM!

Buzzle.com
Buzzle.com

I’ve also ordered some chicken tamales to enjoy for Christmas Eve — I’ll definitely be hitting the gym full force come the 26th!

What are some of your go-to Christmas meals?

Getting Organized

We are just over a week away from the new year — another year where I didn’t quite meet the goals I set for myself this time last year. It’s not that the goals I set were unrealistic or way too ambitious. It’s that I didn’t dedicate the effort necessary to achieve those goals.

I didn’t make the time. I was unorganized and didn’t create the time needed to exercise or ensure that my food planning was ready to go for the week. In fact, being unorganized is a huge roadblock for me in a variety of ways — I could be doing better with business, I could be saving more money, I could be educating myself through reading or learning new things. Instead, I waste a lot of time.

Since moving out at 20 years old, I’ve never given myself the discipline to do the things I ought to do — instead, doing what I wanted to do at that moment. This has carried through the last 10 years of my life and it’s now starting to stifle my growth in ways that I can’t afford — I want to be healthy and successful, so it’s time to get organized and meet my goals.

ErinCondren.com
ErinCondren.com

I am setting myself up for 2015 by getting organized. I work for myself, which means I don’t have set hours or obligations — that’s about the change. I need to dedicate time every day to exercise, learn, grow and reach a better version of myself. My dear, crafty friend Alex told me about these Erin Condren life planners that allow you to organize anything you need — menu planning, morning-day-night activities, calender, exercise, budget — you name it, you can use these life planners to stay organized.

I purchased my planner and found one that I really loved — it has a quote on it that just reinforces what I need to do on a daily basis: ‘Believe You Can and You Will.’ Check out how it looks in action!

The thing that sets this life planner apart from ones you could find elsewhere is that I wanted something that encompassed my entire daily life — work, fitness and pleasure — and gave me plenty of space to write in projects, gym routines, weekly menus and much more. I am very excited to get it in the mail and start filling it out. If you love to personalize your planners or other organizers, the Erin Condren life planner is perfect for that and there are many vendors on Etsy who offer accessories and goodies for personalization!

If you want to order your own life planner for 2015, feel free to use my referral link and receive $10 off your order! 

Weight Watchers Chat –24/7 Support

Have you been on the Weight Watchers page lately? There’s an exciting new addition, which they have been hinting at for a while and now it’s here: Weight Watchers 24/7 Expert Chat.

Weight Watchers Expert Chat

 

As you can see, there are various chat rooms to visit and talk to a Weight Watchers expert regarding common topics, such as:

  • Getting started
  • Finding motivation
  • Getting back on track
  • General questions

I decided to give it a try to see how it worked, so I entered into the ‘Get Back on Track’ room. I had been hearing of some glitches taking place with other members, but I had no trouble at all connecting and in under a minute, I was talking to ‘Nancy’ — she wrote that she has been ‘helping members on their Weight Watchers journey for 6 years.’

My main point for trying out the chat was I wanted to see how the interaction went. I was pleasantly surprised! Since I was in the room dedicated to getting back on track, I told her about my struggles regarding tracking for a week or so and then losing motivation.

The experience was like stopping in a meeting for a quick kick in the butt — you also have the option of saving the chat transcript for future reference. I saved it and you can see it here to get an idea of my experience talking with Nancy: Weight Watchers Chat.

Overall, I think this new addition is awesome — especially for an online member like myself who can sometimes feel a little lacking with support at any given time.

Has anyone else tried the Weight Watchers 24/7 Expert Chat? What are your thoughts?

Want to give the gift of Weight Watchers this holiday season? Sign up here using my referral link and receive a free subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine!

 

Managing Your Workspace

For those who don’t know, I work as a freelance writer from home. That setup has plenty of advantages, but in my eyes, there are some additional struggles that come along with it — especially when I tell you that my ‘office’ is set up in my breakfast nook next to the refrigerator and pantry!

Moving to Long Beach and downsizing to a smaller apartment meant having to forgo (for now) the second bedroom/den that I used to have in Colorado and making do with the space I have — though I love my office setup! It has corner windows and plenty of space/light for what I need; however, being relegated to a kitchen space isn’t always a safe bet when I am trying to stay on track.

Business Week
Business Week

Despite the challenges, I’ve been able to overcome a lot of the temptation by keeping myself on track and focused. For those who work in an office, some of the temptations are the same — when I worked outside the home, it was always hard to avoid snacks and treats left in the break room, especially when I was stressed out and famished. Here are a few tips that have worked for me and a few other ideas I’ve learned along the way:

  • Eat something in the morning — When I’m satisfied, I’m not tempted to snack or graze off schedule. Before I get started working, I have something — anything — that curbs hunger until snack or lunchtime. One of my favorite, easy things to grab are the BelVita Breakfast Biscuits. I eat these with my coffee or a diet soda to get my brain juices flowing for the morning ahead. When I have more time to spare, I usually cook up something substantial like oatmeal or scrambled eggs.
  • Schedule your meals — This has been essential to avoiding the unnecessary snacks and junk that I would otherwise be tempted to eat. I’ve gone so far as to schedule notifications on my iPhone through the Weight Watchers app — even if I am not hungry, the prompt reminds me to have a small snack so I avoid reaching the famished stage later during the day. Currently, I’ve been loving small snacks such as apples with almond butter, blue cheese with pears, or just a cheddar cheese stick and an orange.
  • Bring your own snacks — If you work in an office, put plenty of healthy snacks in your purse or drawer so you can easily grab them when hunger strikes. I know the feeling all too well — you become starved, stumble into the break room and wolf down some day old doughnuts without second thought. Been there, done that! 

I leave temptations out of sight, so they become out of mind — what are some things you do to make your work space safer?

Want to give the gift of Weight Watchers this holiday season? Sign up here using my referral link and receive a free subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine!