Changed Cooking Style, Weight Watchers Helped Librarian Lose Weight
Jennifer Osborne's cucumber coleslaw makes a great side dish or condiment.
Jennifer Osborne, head of Adult Reference at the Brighton District Library, joined Weight Watchers and changed her cooking style to lose more than 160 pounds.
A Wayne State University graduate, Osborne still loves to cook, but has become good at changing out ingredients in recipes she enjoys to make them healthier.
She began her weight loss journey while she was a Teen Services librarian at BDL from 2007-2010. Coworker Margaret Vergith, program specialist for Youth Services, said that what struck her about Jennifer’s efforts was her determination to move on steadily to her weight loss goal. (Vergith took the before picture of Osborne as Little Red Riding Hood taken on Halloween in 2007.)
“A friend of mine said, ‘I’m going to join Weight Watchers — want to come?” Osborne, who had joined Weight Watchers twice before, said this time, things were different.
She already knew the plan, so started following it the week before she and her friend went to a meeting. One of the things she said helped her was writing every bite she took in her food journal.
She made changes one at a time. “In the very beginning, my main goal was just to eat eight servings of vegetables and fruits a day,” Osborne explained. (The idea was to help keep her feeling full with fiber.)
Now, each day, she says she probably eats about 80 grams of fiber, well over the minimum recommended levels.
Two months after starting Weight Watchers, she began to work out, walking and using the Wii fit to start to incorporate exercise into her daily routine. Originally, she exercised three to four times a week for an hour; today, she exercises five to six times a week for an hour.
At first, Osborne was worried that her losing weight was a fluke and wouldn’t last. She was very careful about what she ate.
“Probably the whole first year, I was terrified that something would happen that would reverse what I’d done," she said.
Despite this initial fear, she has always allowed herself a small treat every night to help her stick to the program. What she eats at night has evolved. One of her former favorites was a Weight Watchers ice cream bar. Now she usually enjoys slightly thawed frozen berries topped with Cool Whip, which she said tastes just as good as the ice cream to her. “I trick myself with a lot of things,” she laughed.
Osborne, who had moved to Connecticut for a year, missed Michigan; she is back and works in “the same office, at a different desk, and a different job,” commuting from Berkley. She’s thrilled to be back.
“I really like it here," she said. "I love the work and I love the patrons.”
She nearly always brings her lunch to work, which is easy because library staff members have access to a kitchen area with a microwave, refrigerator and space to sit down and eat somewhere other than their desks.
“My husband [Buddy, who’s an engineer] and I always have vegetables at lunch — the crunchier the better,” Osborne said.
She’s happy to share Cucumber Slaw, one of her favorite recipes, with library patrons or anyone else who wants to try it.
The slaw also makes a great side dish that her friends love to eat. Osborne usually serves it alongside a sandwich. It’s great as a condiment, too, she said. Try it on fish tacos, “or however you want to use it,” she added.
1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
¾ cup Stevia in the Raw (comes in a bag)
½ tablespoon celery seed
1 package of coleslaw mix
1 package of shredded/matchstick carrots
2 bell peppers (whatever color you like best), sliced into very thin strips
2 large cucumbers, sliced into very thin strips (either julienned or cut into thin circles)
- Whisk the water, stevia and celery seed in a large bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients, mixing well to combine.
- Refrigerate and stir occasionally throughout the day to incorporate flavors.
Note: This is best served after being refrigerated a day or more.
Editor's note: The recipe has been updated for accuracy. As originally published, the directions referred to sugar. There is no sugar in this recipe. This recipe was developed by Jennifer Osborne and is not an official Weight Watchers recipe.