AlaskaCare Wellness News | August 2013

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August 2013 | Issue #12

Weight Watchers At Work

Weight Watchers

The State of Alaska Weight Watchers at Work program has seen exciting progress over the past year and we are encouraged by the success and impact of the program. Nearly half of program participants in over 10 different meeting locations statewide lost 5% or more of their total body weight!

Beginning August 5, 2013, Weight Watchers is offering an 18-week Meeting Series. AlaskaCare members who meet the participation requirements are eligible to participate in the 18-week series at no cost. Meeting locations will remain open throughout the course of the series even if attendance drops.

More information about the program, meeting and open house locations, and many FAQs can be found on the Weight Watchers At Work web page.

If you want to lose weight but don’t have a Weight Watchers meeting in your area we have lots of great options including:

Health Heroes

Jaime Muhr

Jaime Muhr

Jaime Muhr joined Weight Watchers at Work in August 2012, with the goal of shedding some winter pounds. She set up a final goal weight, but honestly never thought she would accomplish it because she hadn't been at that healthy weight since high school. Now, after losing 47 pounds through the Weight Watchers program, she describes how the program helped her lose weight and improve her health.

Jaime struggled to learn the food point values and to stay within her “budget.” Over time she became aware of how much she was overeating and how unhealthy her food choices had been. She found she wanted to eat simply, incorporating more “power foods” because it was easier for her to track. Since Jaime likes routine, she would eat the same things regularly and pre-planning came naturally to her. To be successful Jaime pre-plans at least a week's worth of meals and grocery shops accordingly.

Jaime hit her 10% goal in January and happened to have an annual physical around the same time. She was shocked at the significant drop in her blood pressure. In the past she struggled with seasonal affective disorder in the winter, but this past winter she felt more energized than ever.

Jaime added exercise into her daily routine about six months ago. The more she exercised, the more she wanted to push herself. By the summer, she was able to bike over 50 miles in one day and has started other new exercise routines like jogging.

For Jaime, one of the best parts of the Weight Watchers at Work program has been the support of her co-workers who are in the exact same situation. They see each other in the hallways, giving praise and support. Jaime looks forward to her weekly meetings so that they can share their struggles and celebrate their progress. 

Jaime’s journey is not over and she is continuing to look forward to opening up more avenues for healthy and positive changes in her life.

Kate Sumey

Kate Sumey

Kate Sumey attends the Weight Watchers at Work meetings held at the Alaska Court System. Since joining Weight Watchers in August 2012, she lost 54 pounds and has seen her health improve as a direct result of the program!

Kate recently had blood work done and was ecstatic about her results.  At her annual physical last year, she learned she was pre-diabetic. Approximately 10 months later, after joining the At-Work program, her physician told her that her HgA1c levels were within a normal range and that her cholesterol levels were “outstanding.”

The key to Kate’s success has been eating more fruits and vegetables, eating smaller portions and increasing her activity. She has stocked her house with healthy food (and hides snacks—if she wants a snack she can have one, just not the entire bag). Kate plans a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner—she brings her lunch to work and always has fresh fruit and veggies on hand. The at-work meetings, online tools and ongoing support from her co-workers have been a HUGE contributor to her success.

Over the past year Kate has increased her activity which now includes swimming, taking cross-country ski lessons, biking, hiking and hitting the gym with a friend when the weather is bad.

Kate has learned it’s not just one thing that contributes to her weight loss; it’s an entire combination of developing new habits and skills for long-term lifestyle change. Weight Watchers is not a diet, it is a tool to teach lifestyle change.

Complete a Health Hero nomination form to recognize someone in your office.

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August Wellness Challenge

Don't Eat More, Just More Often!

balanced meal

When it comes to how many times a day you eat, it may seem counterintuitive to eat more often, but studies have shown skipped meals are trouble, often resulting in a slower metabolism and overeating when you finally make time to eat. Eating small meals every two to three hours can have benefits such as increased energy levels throughout the day, reduced food cravings and increased caloric expenditure.

Visit the Wellness Challenge page to participate in this month’s challenge

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Lunch-n-Learn: Nutrition Disasters

Eat and run

Eating on the run, grabbing unhealthy convenience foods and eating portions that are way too big are some of the most common mistakes people make. These bad habits can sabotage all efforts at eating healthy. Whether trying to improve diet for overall health, to lose weight or to prevent disease, being aware of these common pitfalls can help keep you on track. Join the HealthSmart Wellness Coach as we go through some of the common “Nutrition Disasters” and how to avoid them.

  • Tuesday, August 13, 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 15, 1 p.m.

Read more information and sign-up for webinars

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Support Groups: You Are Not Alone

team huddle

If you want to lose a significant amount of weight, or even maintain losses you have already accomplished, sometimes it can feel like an impossible task.  One way to stay focused and motivated is by joining a support group.

According to, support groups help by connecting people dealing with the same types of issues, so you can obtain advice, support and encouragement. They help people experiencing difficulty in their lives to connect with others who are facing similar challenges. The exchange of stories and information can be valuable tools for those seeking answers and emotional support.

To find a support group in your area call (800) 478-2812, or login to for additional self-help resources.

Read more about the AlaskaCare Employee Assistance Plan.

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Healthy Recipe: Mexican-Spiced Crab Burgers

Mexican-spiced Crab Burger

Weight Watchers Recipe

  • 8 Points Plus Value
  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Serves: 6

Crab and avocado make a wonderful pairing. Though we turned these into burgers, you can serve the crab cakes over salad instead.


  • 1 pound(s) lump crabmeat, picked over for shells   
  • 2/3 cup(s) panko breadcrumbs   
  • 3/4 cup(s) (chopped) uncooked red onion(s), or minced   
  • 1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, minced   
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-calorie mayonnaise   
  • 2 large egg(s), lightly beaten   
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste   
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt   
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste   
  • 6 spray(s) cooking spray   
  • 6 Tbsp store bought guacamole   
  • 6 leaf/leaves (large) lettuce, romaine   
  • 6 slice(s) fresh tomato(es)   
  • 6 item(s) light English muffin, toasted   


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine crab meat, panko, onion, cilantro, mayonnaise, eggs, cumin, salt and cayenne. Scoop a heaping 1/2 cup crab mixture onto a flat surface and shape into a 3/4-inch thick patty; repeat with remaining ingredients. Coat tops of burgers with cooking spray and place on prepared pan sprayed side-down; coat other side of burgers with cooking spray.
  3. Bake until bottoms are browned, about 10 minutes; carefully flip and cook until browned on other side, about 10 minutes more. Serve each burger on an English muffin, topped with 1 tablespoon guacamole and 1 piece each lettuce and tomato. Yields 1 burger per serving.


Crab burger patties can be prepared in advance to speed dinner prep. This mixture can also be used to make smaller Mexican crab cake appetizers – just reduce the cooking time to 12 minutes total.


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