Considering Purchasing a Fitbit?

My Fitbit Charge 3 was a birthday gift to myself in early November.  I previously had a Fitbit Flex that was purchased YEARS ago and while it served me well, I was desperately in need of an upgrade.  I found wearing the Flex extremely useful in the spring to keep track of my daily movement. We did a step challenge at my school and I was able to sync my Fitbit to the program used to track everyone’s steps.  It was very motivating! As this was an older piece of technology, it did get “glitchy” from time to time and the battery life was not ideal. In November I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new one. After doing some research, I settled upon the FitBit Charge 3.  While I did consider the next model higher, the Versa, I have been more than satisfied with the Charge and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fitness tracker! Here are my reasons why:img_1169

  1. The Battery Life.  The battery on my Charge 3 lasts an entire week!  
  2. Apps and Programs.  The Charge has a number of different apps available including a breathing exercises, workout programs, weather, timers, and alarms.
  3. It is basically a smart watch.  I have not been in the habit of wearing a watch for YEARS.  I wear this every day and as a teacher, it is awesome!
  4. Call handling and text.  It is so helpful to not keep my phone on me constantly, but I can still see if I get a call or text and then decide if it’s something that I need to respond to immediately or wait until a more convenient time.
  5. Silent Alarm.  There is not a more peaceful way to wake up in the morning than by gentle wrist vibrations.  Many mornings, Nora winds up in bed with us and the silent vibrations prevent her from waking up when I do.
  6. Sleep Tracking.  I know previous versions of the Fitbit did this, but I still like it!  
  7. Heart Rate Monitoring.  I think this perhaps is the most motivating feature of the Charge.  I love seeing my resting heart rate decrease when I am consistently working out.  
  8. Visually Appealing.  I like the sleek look and got the grey band with rose colored tracker.  

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Fitbit.  All reviews come from my own experience and I’m not being paid (unfortunately) to give my opinion.

When Meal Planning Fails

I LOVE to go out to eat.  I’ve always loved to dine out, but sometime in the last year, I realized we were eating out WAY too often and it was taking a real toll on our pockets, waistlines, and general sanity.  Eating out with two kids is not the same as leisurely dates.  We found that we were going out to eat as a convenience and really wasn’t anymore convenient than eating in.

when meal planning failsI find it helpful to have several essentials and “back up plans” for those nights we are getting home late or generally exhausted.  Here is a list of those meal ideas to hopefully save your pocket, sanity, and diet!  All are family friendly and work well with WW Freestyle!

  1. The good old Rotisserie Chicken.  Pairs well with bagged salads, steamed frozen veggies, and fresh fruit.
  2. Steamed Frozen Shrimp.  I try to always keep a 2lb bag on hand.  Thaw and pop on the stove for a few minutes.  I like to serve it with a bag of pre-cooked rice and again, steamed frozen veggies…might as well add them to your weekly grocery list.
  3. A ham slice.  Again, served maybe with some fresh fruit, rice, boiled egg noodles, or veggies.pizzameme
  4. Aldi Mama Cozzi’s Deli Pizza.  A cheaper alternative to ordering pizza and if you serve it with a salad, it’s not too points heavy.  I’ll pick one of these up while grocery shopping because let’s be honest, who feels like cooking after shopping?
  5. Tuna Melts.  I always have a couple cans of tuna on hand and tuna melts are quick to whip up in a flash.  I make mine open face on toasted light english muffins.  Top with a super thin slice of swiss and pop in the oven for a few minutes.

Freestyle Snacking

The very first time I did Weight Watchers was a few programs ago, back in 2008.  I had tremendous success, but there were a good many times that I was hungry. I have this specific memory of myself sitting alone in my apartment in my first year teaching STARVING and resorting to eat a container of raw mushrooms because they were “free.”  During this program, many fruits had points as did a number of vegetables (peas, corn), eggs, and yogurt. Granted, cake and breads didn’t have as many as they do now, but all in all, I would take Freestyle over anything that came before. The number of zero points foods makes all the difference!  I’ve not had a single, sad, mushroom moment since switching to the newest program. I have 3 big snack-y moments of the day.img_1166.jpg

The first comes mid-morning…sometime around 10am.  Since I am at school at this time, a piece of fruit or hard-boiled egg works well to tide me over until lunch at 11:30.

Another trigger time for me is after coming home from work.  I get home between 3:30 and 4 and generally start on dinner shortly after.  Yesterday, I discovered an awesome snack: Turkey and Pickle roll-ups. As primarily a salty snacker, chips and salsa or cheese and crackers are my usual craving.  The turkey/pickle combination satisfies my salty craving while offering enough protein to tide me over until dinner without further snacking.

We don’t do dessert with dinner 99% of the time.  If I get hungry later in the evening, I have a couple suggestions.  The first is to simply try a cup of hot tea – the more flavor the better.  My favorite lately has been Celestial Seasonings Caramel Apple Dream. If you are an evening-bowl-of-cereal kind of person, I suggest trying a bowl of nonfat greek yogurt with berries.  If you like it to be sweeter, add some stevia. If you want some crunch, try adding a little bit of granola or muesli. You’ll wind up with a 0-3 point snack that you can eat with a spoon and will leave you even more satisfied than if you had that bowl of cereal.  

Please share! What are your snacking triggers?  What have you found that works well?

5 things I learned in 2018

1. Leopard print footwear is a closet staple.  Throughout much of my adult life, my day to day wardrobe has felt uninspired.  I had to do some major closet clean-out this summer as I prepared for a new school year approximately 20 pounds lighter.  I did a lot of shopping at Thredup and found some fabulous deals on pants, but also decided to update my footwear.  One item I have LONG wanted, probably since season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy first aired, was a pair of leopard print flats.  I can’t tell you how many times I longingly walked by the same pair at DSW before finally mustering up some courage to buy them and let me tell you, that was probably the best $30 I’ve spent in a long time!  Leopard print shoes are the perfect way to perk up an otherwise “blah” outfit.  They immediately take an “8” to a “10.”  If you are lazy in terms of accessorizing, like me, buy yourself a pair of leopard print shoes!5things

2. I only really need to wash my hair twice a week.  I probably should edit this to say that I really only need to wash my hair AT most twice a week.  I’ve been growing out my hair since Nora was born, mostly because I haven’t felt like dedicating the time to get regular cuts.  I spent the better part of my 20s and early 30s with my hair in a ponytail.  My hair is pretty thick with some serious wave and loose curls.  I am not a morning person and have little interest in styling my hair daily.  Then, I found a fabulous blog post  from Merrick’s Art that explains how to go longer between washes.  One of the best reason’s Merrick gives for washing less frequently is her desire to style infrequently.  Like, me she has small children at home and the idea of styling (drying, curling/ironing) daily is unappealing.  I started this in August and never looked back.  At first, I could only get away with 2-3 days, but I’ve found that I can go 4-5 comfortably and without dry shampoo!  Eventually I breakdown and wash my hair mostly because it does feel nice!

3. Aldi is my favorite grocery store ever.  I have loved Aldi for a long-while now.  Obviously the prices are awesome (and without the need to coupon).  I like the limited selection.  I don’t need 10 kinds of ketchup to choose from.  The streamlined design is helpful when trying to shop with two littles.  My favorite products are their German Roasted Coffee, their unbeatably priced cheese sticks, nonfat greek yogurt, and their light bread.  I also am a huge fan of their season mint mocha coffee.  Their selection definitely varies by store, but ours was recently remodeled and that made a tremendous difference.  I love you, Aldi.

4. Memories are made during bath time.  I saved my deeper thoughts for last.  When you have little children, it is so easy to become lost in the monotony that is racing to pick up children from pre-school or daycare, strapping them into carseats, fighting to cook dinner while people are wanting to be held or asking for snacks, cleaning up after dinner, baths, and bedtime only to repeat the entire process tomorrow.  There have been too many nights that I am just racing to get the kids in bed to feel like I can finally enjoy some time myself.  I understand that these are natural feelings for any parent.  One night during bath time, one or both of my children were happily playing in the tub when something powerful dawned on me.  Bathtime is something my children will remember about their childhood.  While for me, this is just another task to accomplish, they are making memories among the bubbles.  Keeping this in mind has helped me to let some things go a little.  Live in the moment.  Lighten up.  Enjoy the bubbles.

5. Real communication is best done face to face or at least voice to voice.  Yes, yes, we all know this is true, but I have short personal story to share with you.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a teacher.  My parent interactions are 99% awesome and positive, but occasionally, issues crop up.  I received a very unhappy email from a parent that largely indicated we had a miscommunication.  It was rather lengthy and I’ll spare the details.  I responded to her email and tried to explain myself, but there were still many questions that clearly were unanswered.  She responded again, rather hotly and in that moment, I desired some real resolution and closure.  I asked if I could call her and promptly did so.  We had a great conversation over the phone, resolved our issues and misunderstandings and moved forward.  There is definitely a place for email and text communication, but I fear we rely on these two forms to indefinitely respond to each other without really reaching resolution.  I have DEFINITELY been guilty of this.  Earlier this year, I made the mistake of passive aggressively using “…” in an email and man, did I regret it later.  Moral of the story: check yourself, your motives, and your intentions and when in doubt, call or talk in person!

A cold and blustery day…157.4

I’ll keep tonight’s post brief because I’m working on something bigger for tomorrow!  Today was an insanely frigid day in the northeast.  Most of the day was in the single digits with wind that brought a windchill below zero.  I spent the day painting windows and hanging out with my 19 month old, Nora while Elizabeth, my almost 5 year old was at pre-school.  I’ll be back at school tomorrow so I was trying to squeeze some last productivity out of the long weekend.

Dinner was the most amazing recipe from Gina’s Skinnytaste One and Done Cookbook.  If you do not regularly follow Skinnytaste, you need to do so NOW.  I made the Quick Gnocchi Bolognese recipe with a spinach side salad and my husband’s first words when he came through the door were, “Whatever you are cooking smells amazing.”  It was deeply satisfying and I love that I don’t have more than one pot to clean.  Pots and pants are by far my LEAST favorite dish to do so any way to minimize that drudgery is fine by me.

Anyhow, time to put Elizabeth to bed.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the 5 things I learned in 2018!

My WW Journey

Weight is definitely something I’ve always been conscious of.  Growing up, I was always among the tallest girls in my class and to a middle school girl, it’s difficult feeling that you are bigger than your classmates in any way, even if it is just height.  Both of my parents struggled with their weight but I had the benefit of watching my mom successfully lose weight a number of times.  It wasn’t something I obsessed over in high school or college and fortunately, with minor fluctuations, I stayed within a healthy-ish range.  It really wasn’t until after I graduated college that I dabbled with Weight Watchers my first time.  In 2008, I began my first teaching job post-college and looking to take a few pounds off and join a community, I started going to meetings.  It was a really positive experience and I reached a healthy weight (though not my goal weight) and stopped going through meetings.  I think at this point in my life, I felt like I was 22 and why should I have to watch what I eat all the time?  Life was for living and so what?

Well, the pounds came back and maybe a few more.  It wasn’t until after I got married and we thought about trying to have a baby that I decided to peel away those pounds and did so with a close friend who did the online program with me.  Once again, ever faithful WW worked its magic and I lost probably 15-20 pounds.  My heaviest had been 180 or so and I got down to the mid 160s.  A few months later, I got pregnant and we all know how that goes…Post pregnancy, I didn’t really do anything substantial to lose the weight and in another 2 years, we decided to have a second baby.  I started the pregnancy higher than I would have liked to, but watched what I ate and ended up topping out where I did with my first pregnancy.  Not long after having Nora, I joined WW once again and here is where my story begins…

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Me and the girls April 2018, a few weeks into starting WW.

My most recent and successful WW (or Weight Watcher/Wellness Works) journey began shortly after the birth of my second daughter Nora.  Starting with the online-only program, I paid for probably 6 months before actually getting serious.  Come to think of it, after 6 months, I think I cancelled my membership and then within DAYS, my mom said, why don’t we try doing Weight Watchers together?  I climbed on board and we started going to meetings.  It was wonderful.  Saturday mornings – 7:30am.  I left the two girls with my husband and carved out an hour for myself to be with other adults sans children to do something that was truly for me.

When I really got down to my motivation, there were several factors.  While yes, I wanted to do this for myself, my biggest motivators were my children and my mother.  If my children were to look at both of their parents, both sets of grandparents and great-grandparents in 2017, being overweight or obese would have been their destiny.  They would not have had a single role model in their family who demonstrated healthy eating habits or a healthy relationship with food.  That devastated me.  This was not a fate I wanted for my girls so I decided I could do something about that.  Thinking about my mother and my own role as a mother: we all want to know that our children will be ok without us.  We want to know that they will be happy and healthy.  My mom was turning 70 and I want her to know that her daughter is taking care of herself.  These were some big feelings and powerful motivators for me.

I worked the program starting in March and by the end of June, I had reached the top of my healthy weight range: 164!  I started the 6 week “maintenance” period, but I continued to lose because I wanted to establish a bigger cushion and I hadn’t really reached my own personal goal yet…TBH, I still haven’t.  After 6 weeks of maintenance, I became a Lifetime member.

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October 2018 after running a 5k and fun run with my daughter

So that brings us to today…more or less.  Since this summer I have fluctuated from the mid 150s to 160.  I’d like to shake loose at least 10 more pounds.  Today was a good day in spite of meltdowns in church, a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and no nap for my 19 month old Nora.  One more day off before going back to school this week! It is FREEZING here with crazy predicted windchill tomorrow.  Thanks for reading!

The Journey Begins 159.6

Thanks for joining me! Let me introduce myself.  I am Kelly, wife, mother of two spirited young girls and one floppy basset hound.  Orchestra teacher by day, chef, seamstress, and general caretaker by night.  Haberdashery seems an appropriate title for this blog as it encompasses my love of sewing with the many other notions that I have and feel so moved to share with my readers.  While I intend to begin this blog to chronicle the remainder of my journey towards healthier eating and weight maintenance on WW, I hope to share sewing projects, thoughts on the WTF experience that is parenting and life in general.

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It’s ok. We’ve all been there, Howie.

Accountability here is the goal.  It is so easy to start something that is never finished and I have had many intentions to blog with it only ending a few posts later.  Day 1 is in the books.  I weight, I ate, I tracked (even two chocolate covered cherries that I stole from my dad’s candy supply).  I should probably mention that two years ago we sold our respective homes and moved in together.  Expect great stories about our adventures together!  I already have a few up my sleeve for later.  This is all I’ve got for tonight.  Tomorrow I’ll delve into my WW journey, my “whys” and how I did it.  Stay tuned!

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. — Ben Franklin (supposedly)