Wednesday, November 26, 2014

And then, the cravings hit…

In an attempt to stop myself from writing yet another blog post that revolved around that event that’s coming up on Monday night, I decided today to write about the OTHER thing that is occupying all of my attention these days.

And that is “Healthy November” and trying to get myself back on a clean-eating path.

For three weeks, I was good.  I was strong.  I ate what was on my meal plan, and I was not swayed.  My treats were planned.  The number on the scales dropped.  All was well in the Healthy Land of Jill.

But I’m now in Week 4, and suddenly, faithfully, my old foe has returned. 

The Craving Monster. 

It started over the weekend.  Sunday evening, actually.  I wasn’t even hungry when all of a sudden I started thinking about mozzarella sticks with garlic dip.  And not just any mozzarella sticks with garlic dip – the kind we used to serve at the restaurant I worked at as a teen.  I swear to God, my mouth was watering just thinking about them.  I suppose my saving grace is that the restaurant closed years ago, because if it was still located just down the street, I probably would have walked down and ordered some.  At 7:30 PM on a Sunday night.

Mozzarella-Sticks-with-Buttermilk-Dip-1024x768

The following day, I was heading to Renfrew after work to do some shopping for a few last-minute things I needed before the event that’s coming up on Monday night, and I knew I’d stop for a bite to eat at some point.  I spent all day thinking about what it should be.  I wasn’t scheduled for a splurge, but for some reason, all I could think about was chicken fingers and fries.  Chicken fingers and fries, chicken fingers and fries, chicken fingers and fries.  I put the brakes on that, though, and forced myself to have a sandwich at Tim Horton’s.  I settled instead for a Boston Creme donut and hot chocolate to satisfy my “I NEED A TREAT” thoughts. (Which, by the way, might have been worse than  just getting the chicken fingers and fries, according to My Fitness Pal.  ugh.)

chicken fingers

Most of my shopping that evening was done at Walmart.  And for me, Walmart is the devil.  Why?  Because of the lingering scent of McDonald’s that permeates the air in every single inch of the store.  McDonald’s is one of my biggest weaknesses.  So big, in fact, that I have not eaten there in almost two years.  I keep telling myself I’ll have a Big Mac someday, but I’m so afraid that if I get a taste of it again, I’ll be back to treating myself to a Big Mac every time I’m in the vicinity of a McDonald’s.  And though I don’t live near one, that can still be often.  I mean, I used to literally fabricate reasons to go to Aylmer just so I could have McDonald’s.  I drool just thinking about it.

big mac

Needless to say, visions of Big Macs and McD’s french fries have danced in my head ever since.

The doors have been opened.  The cravings are waltzing in left, right and centre.  In the past four days, I have fantasized about pancakes with corn syrup, big luscious poutines (also still haven’t had one of them in almost two years), cheese burgers of all makes, shapes, and sizes.  Not to mention my freezer is chock-full of Christmas baking, which, if I stop and listen closely, actually whispers my name.

cranberry-bliss-close

The Cranberry Bliss bars are especially insistent. “Jillian.  Oh, Jillian.  We’re here and waiting to be eaten.  Come get us!!”

My head is a sick, sick place, I tell you.

The really sad part is that the holiday season hasn’t even really hit yet.  There are so many treats and indulgences that come with the month of December, and it’s just around the corner.  I had three solid weeks of healthiness in November, but that’s not enough.  I can’t enter into Christmastime and just lose control.

I have to shake these cravings that are threatening my success.  I’m hoping that maybe they are stress-related, with that event that’s coming up on Monday (even though I’m not really feeling stressed…)

I need to hang tough.  Get through this.  Stay mindful and hold firm.

The life of a food addict isn’t easy, friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Random Tuesday Stuff

  • My brain is already scattered, so what else to do but random it up?
  • Less than a week.  It’s officially LESS THAN A WEEK til the Christmas House Tour.  November feels like it’s dragged on forever.  I’ve been super busy, obviously, getting everything ready, but Halloween feels like it was an eternity ago.  I’m so excited that Tour night is finally almost here!
  • Last night, I had to buy 10 extension chords.  TEN.  Crazy.
  • Barring any last minute disasters (there’s bound to be one or two), I’m feeling pretty ready.  A few more goodies to make for the treat table, a few more little projects, some final finishing touches, and I’ll be good to go.  I can’t believe it.
  • Thank God there’s still one more whole weekend left to prepare, though, as the evenings this week are full.  Tonight is my only night at home all WEEK.  I’m even having to wake up early to get my work-outs done in the morning, and everyone knows how much I LOATHE that alarm going off an hour earlier. 
  • It’s a good thing everything is pretty well ready or else I’d be freaking out right now! Oh, of course I”m kind of freaking out anyways.  Every time I cross something off the “To Do List”, another thing seems to get added on!
  • Friday is our company Christmas party, which is a luncheon this year starting at noon, and then I’m off on Monday to make darn sure everything is ready for that night – so I’m kinda looking at this as a long weekend coming up!  Woo Hoo!
  • The non-woo-hoo part is that because all the decorating is pretty much done, this weekend is about cleaning.  And cleaning is not so much fun.
  • OK – enough House Tour rambling.  Here’s something that’s bothering me right now:  Bill Cosby.  I don’t want Bill Cosby to be a bad guy.  I don’t like reading all of these allegations against him, and I don’t want them to be true.  I want my image of Cliff Huxtable to remain squeaky-clean and in tact.  I know he’s been through this before, but now with each new story, it does appear that the man wielded his power, fame, and money in an inappropriate way over young women.  There’s a big part of me that doesn’t want to believe it.  It might be wrong of me to say it, but I want them to leave him alone.
  • Despite my gung-ho-ness about Christmas, I still have only watched on Christmas movie, and that was The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I have some ground to make up.
  • Whoops…I’m back to Christmas again, aren’t I.  Sorry dudes.
  • Healthy November!  It’s rolling on!  I’m still not even close to being back down to my goal weight, but I’m back in my comfort zone, so I’ll take it.  Clothes don’t feel tight anymore, and that’s the main thing.
  • I have to confess that I did a pile of Christmas baking on the weekend, and I taste-tested probably a teensy bit too much.  Could be why I’m still so far away from the Magic Number. ;)
  • And…I think that’s all the random I’ve got for today!

Happy Tuesday, friends!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Les Confessions.

My favourite day of the week is here again at last! I’m going to kick off the weekend in my usual way with some Friday Confessions.

I confess… that although I love Friday, I was not particularly fond of how it treated me this morning. I bought a load of baking ingredients last night, thus my cupboards are kind of jam-packed right now. When I tried pushing my Shakeology bag back into said jam-packed cupboard this morning after making my shake, it pushed out a box of … wait for it … toothpicks. Eleventy billion toothpicks scattered from one end of the kitchen to the other. Awesome.

I confess… that I totally blew the budget last night on things like Baker’s Chocolate, chocolate chips, candied cherries, flour, sugar, condensed milk, Oreo cookies… Dudes, Christmas baking is an expensive sport. But I’m pretty sure it will be worth it.

christmas_gingerbread_84244_16x9

I confess… that I’m SO excited to get my bake on this weekend! There’s still some decorating to do, but in and around it, I’m going to get the Christmas cookies and bark underway. I’d like to have a few treats out the night of the House Tour for folks to sample. The goal will be for me to not sample them too much in advance.

christmas baking 3

I confess… that my perception of when Christmas is has been totally skewed by this House Tour. It dawned on me after I tossed and turned all night with my head just spinning with what’s left to do and the anxious excitement building inside me, that I’m feeling very much like I do in the days leading up to Christmas. This year, I get an advanced screening of it because instead of getting wound up for Dec. 25th, I’m now getting wound up for Dec. 1st. By the time actual Christmas gets here, I’m going to have felt totally strung out for 6 weeks I think.

I confess… that it’s the good kind of “strung out” though. The good kind of stress. Not the kind that makes me want to explode into tears and bury myself in a hole in the ground.  Thank goodness.

I confess… that my friend Lindsay’s excitement over her new PVR this week has me looking back fondly to just over a year ago when I finally got my PVR, and how excited I was about it. It felt like the coolest thing in the world. I still very deeply appreciate it every day – especially that sacred time each day that I get to spend with Jimmy. ;)

tonight-show-jimmy-fallon

I confess… that as much as I love being able to fast-forward through commercials, I do find myself stopping every now and then to watch the odd Christmas commercial. Life is just empty without Christmas commercials.

I confess… that I have to admit, I was a teensy-tiny bit jealous of Buffalo and their snow this week.  Pretty sure they’d all kick me in the head for saying that, but there’s a part of me that would really love to be part of a giant snowstorm like that.  I don’t suppose I’d be loving it so much if I was actually there, especially now with the temps rising and flood warnings becoming urgent, but that feeling of been trapped inside with six feet of snow blocking your front door?  Gives me a little thrill just thinking about it.

buffalo-snow-storm

houses-covered-in-snow-in-western-new-york

I confess… that this is normally the time of year that I start to get jealous of my American buddies because they’re getting all psyched up for Thanksgiving. This year, I can honestly say because of my early on-set Christmas spirit, I don’t even begrudge them their turkey dinner. I am excited because it feels like once American Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season can officially begin!

I confess… that I don’t think I’ve ever talked so much about Christmas in November before in my life. I’m sorry guys… Nope. Not sorry at all. ;)

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When is it that I’m supposed to get old again?

In some ways, I can definitely tell that I’m 31 years old now.

For one thing, I’ve noticed my bottom teeth are starting to get discoloured.  I’ve always had pretty decent, nice, fairly white teeth.  Now, suddenly, there’s a brownish stain developing around the edges.  They tell me it’s because of drinking coffee.  Adult problems.

Another thing has been the introduction of All Bran into my diet in the past year.  And, well… yeah.  We won’t get into that one too much.

Of course, there’s the constant dread every time I wake up in the morning and have to analyze the wrinkles and creases around my eyes in the mirror.  Where the hell did THEY come from?!  I don’t like them.

I can’t stay up past 10 PM.  Even on weekends.  That desire to go out and get drunk and dance all night is long gone.  I watch Saturday Night Live on Sunday mornings with a hot cup of joe, like a grown up.

But, in many other ways, I still very much feel like a kid at heart.  And I’ve thought a lot about that lately as I reflect on my taste in music.

When is it that people reach the age that they stop liking “new” music?  When I was a kid, my parents hated the music we listened to.  When we went on Sunday drives, we were relegated to the few tapes my father would allow – Elvis Presley, Gail Gavan, Kenny Rogers, and, if he was really living on the edge, Randy Travis.

My mom & dad’s record collection (which has been dug out of a dusty basement corner recently with the purchase of a new record player for my mom) is limited to the likes of The Platters, The Everly Brothers, gospel records, Floyd Cramer, Anne Murray, and, of course, good ol’ Elvis.

If I was in the basement blasting the New Kids, or, in my teen years, the Backstreet Boys, or any number of pop, rock, country, or rap artists (ooooh how they loved my Eminem phase!), dancing around like a cool kid, I would almost always here the mighty slam of the door upstairs as the ‘rents tried to block out “all that racket”.

I don’t have kids, so I don’t really know.  But if I had, say, a 7-year-old there’s a good chance my kid might like Justin Bieber.  Or Katy Perry.  Taylor Swift.  Ariana Grande.  Maroon 5.  Or any number of the big hit-makers I listen to daily on my favourite radio stations.  My go-to station is still Hot 89.9 (although I do bounce around quite a bit on the radio dial, depending on my mood.)

If my kid was downstairs blasting One Direction’s, “Steal My Girl”, I’m more likely to yell “TURN IT UP!!!” rather than slam the door to block it out.  Because that’s my jam, yo.

I keep wondering when I’ll reach that age.  That age when I start shaking my head and saying, “Man, they sure don’t make ‘em like The Tragically Hip anymore.  Have these kids ever even heard of Nirvana?  Do they understand the pure genius that is Bruce Springsteen?  Fools, I tell you!  They are all FOOLS!”

I love me some classic rock.  And I thoroughly enjoy digging out old CD’s and listening to the sounds of my youth.  The bands and singers that I grew up with, the ones my parents tried to shut down.  I’ve even developed a deep appreciation – and yes, in some cases, love – for those “golden oldies” that my parents brought us up on.

But I also really love a lot of the current stuff too.  I haven’t yet hit that stage where a song comes on, and I think, “ugh.  This is terrible.  WHAT is wrong with the youth of today?!  Where is the oldies station?!”

I hope I never do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Loves!

The morning hasn’t been going so smoothly… nothing major, just… “one of those mornings”.  I forgot it was garbage day and thus had to rush around gathering all of the garbage bags to put out this morning.  Then I forgot my travel mug of coffee on the counter when I left the house.  I returned home to get the mug after having breakfast with my mom (because I can’t live without my morning coffee), and that little detour had me arriving at work late.

Yeah.  Just… “one of those mornings”.

But rather than letting my bad start to the day get me down, I’m going to cheer myself up by thinking of the things I’m loving this Wednesday!  Here we go!!

I’m loving… Jimmy Fallon.  Of course.  Always & forever.  You guys know that.  But last night was extra-special.  See, this was supposed to be U2 Week on the Tonight Show, with performances, sketches, and all kinds of fun stuff with Bono and the boys all week long.  But then Bono broke his arm in a cycling accident over the weekend, leaving U2 Week on Fallon a bit of a bust.  Meh.  Whatever.  I’m not a huge U2 fan, so I didn’t really care.  But towards the end of Monday’s show (which I watched last evening), Jimmy announced that he had struggled to figure out what to do to fill in the last-minute musical act that night, when he realized he’s got the best band in the world right there with him in The Roots, and hell, he could pretend to be Bono for the night, right?  So he dawned a Bono-esque hat and shades, grabbed a guitar and harmonica, and then performed an amazing cover of “Desire”.  His impression of Bono was dead on, and I loved it.  Like, butterflies-in-my-stomach loved it.  Give me Jimmy & The Roots any night over U2!

I’m loving… that the Leafs lost 9-2 last night.

I’m loving… that I’ve finally made a start on my Christmas shopping.  Actually, more than a start.  I have gifts purchased (on-line) for my two nieces and nephew, as well as Danica’s birthday gift on order.  Kids are donezo.  Phewf.  Now if SOME PEOPLE in my family would SEND OUT THEIR CHRISTMAS WISH LISTS, I could get going on the rest of my shopping.  *hint*hint*family* ;)

I’m loving… that Christmas House Tour is just over a week away now.  My house is pretty much Christmasified right now.  I have two rooms that still need work – dining room and “craft room” – and some baking to do -  but I’m feeling very prepared and ready otherwise.

I’m loving… CHRISTMAS!!!  The snow we got this week has definitely added to the atmosphere, as well as the Christmas shopping on-line, plus the fact that every corner of my home is screaming “CHRISTMAS!!!!”.  I know it’s still too early for normal people, but I’m feeling as festive as can be here in mid-November, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up. ;)

I’m loving… Maroon 5 and “Animals”.  The first single of their new album, “Maps”, didn’t really do it for me, but last year’s Sexiest Man Alive (who trumps this year’s by a LONG shot, in my opinion – no offence Chris Hemsworth, but I barely know ye) has re-ignited my love for him & his band with this one.  It’s my jam right now.  This morning, it came on the radio when I was driving to work, and then I actually sat in my car in the parking lot to hear the big howl he lets loose.  I love it.

EditI didn’t watch the video before I posted it.  And… it’s kinda grody, dudes. My apologies.  Adam, I still love ya, but this is a little bit messed.  ick.

I’m loving… that the number on the scale keeps going down… and better yet, I finally feel like I have my healthy eating ways back in check.  I know that when presented with temptation, I’m still far too easily swayed, but at least when I’m on my regular daily routine, I can keep myself on track.  No more foraging through the fridge and cupboards each night stuffing my face.  I eat what my meal plan tells me to and that’s it.

I’m loving… my long johns.  Oh, that’s right, folks.  I had to bust the long johns out again this week.  I’d been putting it off and putting it off, but the time had come.  I’m enjoying my second skin and the warmth it brings me.

I’m loving… that the long johns actually fit under my pants.  Two weeks ago, I think it would’ve been a painfully tight squeeze…

I’m loving… New babies!  My friend Sara and her husband Graham welcomed their third child last Friday.  I hear beautiful baby Hannah is getting lots of love from her big sister Charlotte and big brother Daniel – and I so can’t wait to meet her!  Newborn snuggles are my favourite!

Happy Wednesday friends!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Target Back in Sight

This morning was a good morning for me.  When I stepped on the scale, I was back within sight of “The Magic Number”.  And by “back within sight”, I mean less than 10 lbs. away from it.

Here’s a thing you should know about me:  I violate one of the biggest weight loss rules there is each day, and that is that I get on the scale almost every single morning.  Not supposed to do that.  Once a week max, the experts warn.  Measurements are more important than the number on the scale anyways, they say.  That number can fluctuate daily, and it’s not worth it to get depressed over it when it goes up and down like a yo-yo.

And yet, I get on it every morning.  I don’t log my weight daily – that I only do once a week - but I just need to know.  It’s kind of a weird little obsession I have.  I take it as my warning for the day:  “OK, here’s your number.  Now you need to try to make sure it doesn’t go higher tomorrow.  This is your mission, if you choose to accept it.”

In recent months, I hadn’t been accepting the mission.  I’d been watching that number steadily climb, growling over it, and feeling very much in denial about it.

But that number, when it reached a certain spot, was my indicator that it was time to get smart about this again.  I thank God it finally smacked me upside the head.

So for the past week and a half, it has been bringing me great relief to see it on the decline.  As my diet became cleaner, as my choices became healthier, and as my portions became more reasonable, combined with a regular exercise routine, the number started to go down. And I find myself breathing a sigh of relief each morning, as each pound lost is one more little step in the right direction.

Last week, as I previously reported, I lost 5 lbs.  This week, the ounces have continued to be shed (albeit at a slower rate, as I expected) – and it was so nice this morning to finally see that I’m back within grasp.

I’ve always considered losing 10 lbs. a very doable task.  Even at my heaviest, I knew that with some effort, I could lose 10 lbs. fairly easily.  And along this journey, I’ve always set little 10 lbs. goals for myself because it’s more encouraging to look at the small picture than the big picture. 

My goal weight – the weight that I’m most comfortable at, the weight I’ve always targeted, “The Magic Number” – is back within reach.  It’s less than 10 lbs. away.  If I dig deep, work hard to avoid temptation, and stick to the plan, I just might get there before Christmas.

Easy?  Hell no.  Especially not this time of year, with all of the parties and potlucks and goodies of the holiday season lying in wait.  And I know just how easy it is to let myself be led astray.  It can happen in the blink of an eye.

But right now, I really feel like I’ve got my mojo back.  I feel strong.  I feel focused.  I feel like I’m back in control of this thing.

That in itself just might be the biggest victory of all.

Magic Number, here we come.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I’m LOVING Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day, gang!  I’m in a super good mood this week, so why not share a few of the things I’m LOVING this Wednesday?  Here we go!

  • I’m loving that I finally busted out the Christmas CD’s last night.  I got one tree up and lit while Elvis & friends crooned Christmas tunes to me.  It was bliss.

elvis christmas duets

  • I’m loving that I now have all of the borrowed furniture I required to assemble one of the upstairs spare bedrooms for the tour.  Another piece of the puzzle in place…
  • I’m loving my new bedroom!  OK, it’s not a new bedroom.  It’s the same bedroom I’ve been in for 6 years.  But in the past two weeks, it has been completely re-vamped.  New paint, new bedding, new blinds.  I go to bed half an hour early to read now, just so I can spend more time in it!
  • Speaking of going to bed early to read… I’m loving the book I’m reading!  It’s a book by Jeanette Walls called Silver Star.  I had high hopes for it, since I loved her memoir The Glass Castle, and sure enough, Silver Star is living up to my expectations!

silver star

  • I’m loving that it’s soup season again!  I swear, I think that’s the thing I missed most during the summer months.  (I know… who misses WINTER?  Well… I kinda did…) Last winter, it truly was one of my favourite things to do on cold days – get busy in the kitchen, and have a big soup pot simmering.  Late Saturday afternoon, after a busy day, I tried out a mish-mash of squash soup recipes hoping to create the perfect autumn blend.  It didn’t quite work out the way I hoped, but it’s still edible, and I’ve been enjoying it for supper each night this week.

squash soup

  • I’m loving that my bigger sized pants are finally starting to feel loose again.  Healthy November is going SO well!! A few more pounds and I’ll be able to fit back into my “skinny” pants again.  But I might just stay in this baggier size for a bit.  It’s been a while since clothes felt loose on me.  I love how they make me feel “thinner”.
  • I’m loving that snowflakes have started appearing in the pictures for the weather forecast.  So far, we haven’t seen many of them, and it doesn’t look like we have any major dumpings heading our way in the near future, but… I just love it when they are finally a possibility.  Flurries make me happy.

snowfalll

  • And speaking of snowflakes… I’m loving that I have mine cut out!  It’s become tradition for me to hand-cut snowflakes to go in each pane of glass for the door between my living room and dining room, and while it’s kind of a pain in the ass, it makes me feel good when they’re done.  Even if they do give me a snowflake-cutting blister on my thumb.

snowflakes 2

  • I’m loving that I feel like I’ve got time.  Last night I was rushing around trying to get a few decorating things done, and I had to pause and shake my head.  It’s only November 12th.  I still have three weekends left before the Tour.  There is still so much time… I know the list of things to do is long, but there’s no need to go about it all frantically.  (At least, not yet.)
  • I’m loving that I’ve had so many helping hands who are gung-ho about getting me & my house ready for the tour.  I hate burdening others with tasks and requests, but so far, most have been greeted cheerfully, willingly, and even sometimes with great enthusiasm!  Decorating for the holidays should be a jolly chore, and it makes me happy that so many family & friends are making sure it is just that for me as I prepare for the Tour.

I think that’s all she wrote for today, folks!

What are YOU loving this Wednesday?!