Okay, I know that I have been a little whiny on “the internets” here lately. As many of you know, I started Weight Watchers three weeks (or so) ago. I joined because I needed to regain some much needed structure and get a fresh start after a particularly challenging time in my personal life. I have been blown away by the point system and the realization of just how much food I was sneaking in throughout the day: ten crackers here, a cheese cube there, a chocolate square there, a little wine there…aaaaaaaand there’s that wine again. You get my point.

So far, Weight Watchers has forced me to get real with myself, acknowledge my responsibility in the kind of meals I make (and order), to exercise so that I can eat more later that night, and to get the first 8 pounds off faster than I ever expected. It’s called discipline and that is something I’ve never had. The other thing I’ve tried to do is make more of my food, which takes lots and lots and lots and lots (you get my point) of effort. Between the planning, chopping, calculating, storing, measuring, weighing, and finally EATING the meals, I pretty much think gold should be dripping off of my fork by the time the food actually gets to my mouth. Sure, I could throw caution to the wind and buy Lean Cuisines and throw a pizza at my husband and kid every night, but I’d rather enjoy the meals and feel like I’m still indulging a bit. I told y’all about the website I found, www.skinnytaste.com, right? Well, it has been incredibly helpful each week. Here are a few highlights from last week’s meals:

The first: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/01/asian-chicken-lettuce-wraps.html#more
As you can read in the link, Gina (“skinnytaste”) used chicken thighs and processed them in her food processor. Amanda (ahem, “foodrevival”) bought some ground chicken at the store and called it a day. I thought this dish turned out really good, but probably could have used a tad bit more sauce in my opinion. You can see a theme now: When in doubt, just wrap everything in a lettuce leaf.

Next I added some fun condiments (see? I’m so desperate for extra food that I consider condiments “fun” now):
Total points for these two wraps = 6  (1/4 cup chicken mixture in each leaf). That left room for this 2-point gem (apologies in advance to some of my non-alcoholic followers):
Next up? Sesame-Soy Meatballs from MyRecipes.com: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sesame-soy-meatballs-50400000107425/
I have to admit these meatballs were a bit too garlicky for me (I know, I know…but the garlic aversion thing happened during my pregnancy three years ago so instead of blaming me, you should really just blame my kid). Go ahead…I double dare you:
Okay, back to the meatballs. As you can see, I wrapped these bad boys in a lettuce leaf too. Hey– I take my 0-point items very seriously. Warning: Not such a great photo of this meal, but it was good. Total points for everything you see: approximately 7 or so (4 for the meatballs, 1 for the sauce, and 1 for the rice noodles). Broccoli is free (hence the amount of it on my plate).
After I got through these dishes, I was craving something with cheese. With salt. With crust. Something that didn’t need a LEAF to downgrade the point value. I immediately turned to Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks from Skinnytaste: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/skinny-baked-mozzarella-sticks.html#more. I used panko instead of bread crumbs. Overall, this definitely did not remind me of the mozzarella sticks I’m used to (I mean, seriously…how could they?), but they were definitely worth making and really tasty. Plus, when you are wrapping everything in a lettuce leaf, warm cheese– in any form or fashion– is a good thing. Now, please don’t judge these sweet little sticks by the way they turned out on the baking sheet. I think I left them in a bit too long. Poor things. Looks like I ran over them with the hungry truck. Maybe I did. Points? 2 for two of them (one whole stick).

So you get my point: it’s really not so bad once you get used to it. I still eat cheese dip every week, I’m  just not eating an entire container of it. Instead of ordering a cheese quesadilla WITH my cheese dip, I’m getting vegetarian fajitas with NO sides so that I can eat the cheese dip. It’s that balance thing everyone keeps going on and on about. Hopefully, I’m learning.
It’s also nice to count down the 8 pounds I’ve been losing. Sure, there are times when I want to bury my head in a bag of vinegar and salt potato chips, but the thought of having to seriously calculate that in my handy dandy Weight Watchers app just makes my head hurt. The result? I end up not burying my head in chips at the end of the day. Guess those WW folks knew what they were doing when they started this whole enterprise. I still think it’s unfair to think everyone has an assistant helping them chop, research, and enter points (ahem…I’m looking at you Jessica “post baby” Simpson and Jennifer “I don’t judge success by a number on a scale” Hudson).
I think I’m going to spend next week doing easier dishes to give myself a break. Speaking of break, I’m also planning to take a week-long hiatus from Facebook starting Monday. There’s no huge reason besides the fact that I’m simply trying to find more time in my day and I have a sneaky feeling once I start paying attention to the time I spend on the computer (kind of like the food I was sneaking in before I started counting points), I will see where my time is really going.
A big thank you to so many of you for your encouragement and continued support as I find my way through the days after losing my Dad last month. I’ve had some tough days, but I continue to find light and love around every corner. In fact, last week marks the second week in a row I found flowers on my doorstep (see top photo).
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” 
― Frederick BuechnerBeyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith