Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Weekend Challenge

Ladies and gentlemen, here I am on Day 4 of the 21 Day Fix, and thus far, things are going very well.

I have stuck to a meal plan all week long, and haven’t been sucked in by any “treats”.  I’ve been trying to eat clean as much as possible (except for the pea soup, of course), watching portions… I’ve even given up my beloved steaming mugs of hot chocolate.  And I’ve been OK.  Watching the number on the scale dip a little lower each day is the reward, and it’s a reward that feels good.

The 21 Day Fix workouts have been wonderful.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve been excited about a workout.  I love that they are only 30 minutes long.  I love that sometimes I use weights, sometimes I don’t.  I love that each exercise lasts 60 seconds followed by a short rest, because when Autumn tells me, “Anyone can do anything for 60 seconds,” I really believe her, and I push myself to finish it.  When the half hour is up, I can’t believe how fast it went, and how sweaty I am.  I’m certain this is the next program I will be purchasing from Beachbody, because I’m quite interested in seeing how it works if I follow the nutritional side of things and using the container system that they offer with the program.


But here’s the problem I’ve been battling lately:  Weekends.  For whatever reason, no matter how well I do during the week, I always seem to kill it on the weekend.  Any progress I make Monday through Thursday gets destroyed by the time Friday evening rolls around.  I’ve fallen victim to that age-old prank the mind plays, when I talk myself into, “It’s OK to have the bacon cheeseburger and spicy fries, because you did SO WELL all week long!  Treat yourself, Jilly!”


Yes, treats are allowed.  There will always be bacon cheeseburgers and spicy fries in my life.  But since Christmas, the treats have been happening at a regular frequency, and they keep knocking me off track.  I need to space them out more.  I can’t put in 4 good days, and then go overboard on a weekend of treats.  Just doesn’t work that way.

Originally, I thought this would be a perfect weekend to stare down the treats, because I really had no plans – at least, none that revolved around food.  That is, until I realized my niece & nephew are on March Break this week and decided it would be fun to take them to the movies on my day off tomorrow.

Dun dun dun…  Movie theatre popcorn… Peanut M&M’s… Boston Pizza just a short piece away…

This weekend, I have presented myself with the Movie Challenge.  And I am DETERMINED that I’m going to survive it.  But it’s going to be tricky.

You see, I always get the kids each a Kid Combo at the movies – a little colourful box of popcorn with a side of candy and a slushy drink.  Then I get myself a large popcorn with extra butter, Peanut M&M’s, and a big ass Diet Coke – because, you know, I need to share with the little people.  These kids are children of my own heart, and love popcorn as much as I do, so they always end up running out and I refill them from my big bag of p-corns.


Oh, and yes, I may eat 90% of it myself.   It doesn’t take very much of my giant popcorn to fill their little boxes.  I don’t even tell them I have the Peanut M&M’s stashed in my purse, I just sneak them out and eat them myself when it gets dark and they are wrapped up in the movie and don’t notice.

Then there’s the possible stop at Boston Pizza afterwards.  I always promise myself that I’ll order something light, but then I fall down the rabbit hole of Cactus Cut Potatoes and delicious cheesey pizzas - “I’ll take a Small… the Individual size looks too tiny” – and, of course, the notorious dessert menu that twists my arm every damn time.

boston pizza

When I was discussing these movie/dinner plans with my sister this morning via text message, she said, “I think you’re trying to eat healthy this week, so maybe we won’t do supper.”  And I said, “No, no, I can eat healthy at Boston Pizza… it’s the popcorn I’m worried about.”  But really, it’s all just one big booby-trap, isn’t it?

So here’s the mission:  Small popcorns for the kids at the movies, and a small for Jill too – when it runs out, it runs out.  Sorry kids.  And no hidden Peanut M&M’s in the purse.  I’ve also done my Boston Pizza research on their website, and have decided I will be getting an Individual sized Tropical Chicken or Szechuan Chicken pizza, depending how the spirit moves me (and on a regular thin crust, not multigrain as I usually do to be “healthy”, because, as it turns out, multigrain is a trick – it’s more calories than the regular thin crust) – they are two of the lightest options on the menu, ringing in at 500 cals or less, and are the smartest choices I could find.  No appetizer.  No dessert.


This is the mission, and I DO  choose to accept it.  I want to stay well behaved this weekend so that I can commence week 2 of the 21 Day Fix ahead of the game.  No more one step forward, two steps back.

Say a prayer, people.  I’ll hopefully be back to report success next week.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Wednesday Loves

Jill’s Crankfest 2015 continues. I’m outta sorts.  In a funk.  I’m constantly stressing about things I have no control over.  I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of limbo.  And I hate it.

We all know that one of the things I do to pull myself out of a bad mood is to remind myself of things that I love.  Because even on the worst days, there are little bright spots.

(Also, please note that I’m being a tad melodramatic.  These days of crankiness are far from the worst days of my life.  Don’t feel too sorry for me, dudes.)

Here’s a list of my loves this Wednesday:

  • Habitant Pea Soup with Smoked Ham.  I’ve been attempting to eat much healthier of late, as you all know, and I suppose canned soup doesn’t rank very high on lists of health food, but it’s been this little bowl of comfort each evening this week that I’ve been looking forward to the most.

Pea Soup 2

  • Jared Leto cut his hair.  I really haven’t been a fan of Jared’s Jesus look the past few years.  It delighted me immensely when I heard yesterday that he lopped off his long locks and shaved.  Apparently I’m in a minority, though – what’s up with the ladies liking that look?  ick.  Give me Mr. Clean-Shaven Leto any day.

Jared Leto

  • The 21 Day Fix.  While I may feel like I’ve been in a rut in many ways lately, I feel like I’ve busted out of one on the exercise front.  My Beachbody coach offered to let me try out his copy of The 21 Day Fix workout DVD’s, and they have been a breath of fresh air to my exercise schedule.  While he was unable to loan me the nutrition guides and containers that also come with the program, I’ve vowed to eat extremely healthy for these 21 days and see what kind of results I can get.  I know, I’m only on my third day, but it feels good to be doing something different.  So far, I’m a big fan.


  • Jimmy Fallon singing a medley of duets with Kelly Clarkson on Monday night.  Apparently Kelly has been having a hard time lately finding people to collaborate with, so I thought it was really cute of Jimmy to say, “Hell, I’ll sing with you, Kelly!”

  • Speaking of Jimmy… he had Ryan Reynolds on his show as well, and it reminded me of how much I love Ryan Reynolds.


  • The Hamburgler.  aka, Andrew Hammond, the Sens’ rookie goaltender who stepped in between the pipes when both our goalies went down, and has been playing AWESOME!!  Last night was his first loss, but it was in a shoot-out, so it hardly counts.  He has me excited about watching the Senators again.

andrew hammond

  • Adam Levine.  The Voice is back, and I so enjoy my Adam time every Monday and Tuesday evening.


  • News that Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood welcomed their son, Isaiah Michael, last Friday.  I’ll never forgive Carrie for stealing Mike away from me and my hockey team, but I’m so happy for him.  Mike was always one of the nicest, most humble guys, and I have no doubt he will be thrilled in his new role as daddy.
  • Knowing that I’m going to be an auntie again in a month or so… My brother and his wife are expecting, and the time is drawing near!  I got a little baby fix on Sunday, getting to meet and snuggle with my cousin’s new baby girl, and it made me itch to meet the newest member of our family.  Coming soon… very soon!!

Well, that’s about it for today, folks.  I hope you’re all having a good week!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday

  • I’m in a total crank this week.  Like, had a full-on meltdown last night because of things I have no control over.  I thought it might make me feel better to get it all out, but it really didn’t.  I’m at that point where I just want to curl up in a ball and disappear.  Throw my hands up and say, “I’m out”.  Go to sleep for a month and when I wake up, hopefully everything has resolved itself.
  • Sometimes I hate being a grown-up. 
  • And I hate change.
  • Well… isn’t this an uplifting post so far.  yeesh.
  • Remember yesterday, when I said my goal was to only eat 4 little sandwiches at Soup & Sandwich?  I really didn’t know if I could do it, but I did.  I had a bowl of soup, and four little sandwiches, a piece of pie (and I actually, I had the “diabetic” pie, even though I’m not Diabetic, because I thought it might be a tad healthier), and then a very light supper, just as I said I was going to do.  One small victory.  I’ll take it.
  • I’m looking forward to a sort-of-quiet weekend this weekend.  My mom has my sister’s kids for their PD day tomorrow, so I’ll spend the day with them, and then on Sunday we’re going to a family gathering at my aunt’s, but aside from that, no plans.  With a very busy spring and summer shaping up, free weekends are going to be a rare commodity in the near future, so I’m going to soak this one up!
  • I have officially run out of Criminal Minds episodes.  My PVR time has been cut down drastically recently, so I guess they lasted longer than they could have, but I’m sad that I’ve hit the end.  I don’t even know how to watch a show that doesn’t have FBI agents in it.  criminal minds
  • Or Jimmy Fallon.


  • In recent months, I’ve been on this “expand my Disney movie collection” mission.  I had purchased a few of my favourites in the past couple of years on DVD – Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Frozen – but lately, I’ve been buying more Disney movies than anything else.  Since Christmas, I have added 101 Dalmatians, Tarzan, Brother Bear, and Finding Nemo to the ol’ DVD shelves.


  • Fun fact:  I’ve never seen Finding Nemo.  A few snippets here and there, but I’ve never seen the whole thing.  I can’t wait to watch it.  I just got it in the mail the other day, and I’m hoping I can talk Caden and Danica into watching it with me tomorrow.


  • Maybe some magical Disney time will make me feel better, huh?  We can only hope.
  • My life is so sad.

Have a great weekend, pals.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week 1 of “Lose Weight Lent”: Big Fail

Yes, that’s what I’m calling this Lenten season:  “Lose Weight Lent”.  Last year was “Sugar-Free Lent”, this year is “Lose Weight Lent”.

Today marks one week down, and boy oh boy, was I an utter failure.

This is the problem with tackling Lent the way I have chosen to this year. When I give something up completely, I can be strict about it.  I can control myself.  By doing this general and vague “I’m going to use these 40 days to lose weight” promise, it gives me too much wiggle room.  It gives me too much freedom to cheat, bend the rules, and lose sight of the goal.

But that is also why this is the perfect Lenten practice for me this year.  One week in, I can see that even more clearly.

It’s not going to be easy to keep focused when the goal is “giving up 15 lbs.”.  But focused is what I must be.  I used to be able to do this really well.  I could be tempted by a buffet of my favourite foods, and instead of diving in, I’d show restraint.  Somewhere along the way, I lost my ability to do that.  I was throwing caution to the wind so often that I forgot what it was like to show a little willpower.

Throughout Week 1, I was unsuccessful in getting back in the groove.  There were too many occasions where I was tempted and failed.

But I did reflect quite a bit on how I once was able to face these challenges and walk away feeling successful.  For instance, last year for one of the lunches, I was doing a 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge, and I was able to tackle Soup & Sandwich without breaking any of the rules.

I think I’m finally ready to step up and be that girl again.

I’ve already wasted one week of Lent, and I’ve now resolved that I’m not going to waste any more of these precious 40 Days.

Today is the first challenge:  Soup & Sandwich lunch at our church.  This is an occasion that I always have trouble with.  The soup is never an issue, but when faced with a platter of delicious sandwiches, I struggle to find restraint.  If I was making a sandwich for myself at home (which is rare), I would never make more than one.  Yet faced with those delectable little triangles at Soup & Sandwich, I can easily lose track and eat the equivalent of two full sandwiches…sometimes more.

Then comes the dessert.  I always bop around the dessert table – today, it will be laden with assorted kinds of pie – and search for the biggest piece.  Once I’ve selected my giant piece of pie, I’ll top it with a huge dollop of whipped cream.  And no, I won’t leave one crumb on my plate.

Then, I return to the office feeling stuffed, and by mid-afternoon, very dopey and sleepy.  Happens every time.

My goal today is to enjoy Soup & Sandwich, but dig deep to find some willpower. To not go pure glutton once I hit that church basement.  My plan is to eat no more than 4 little sandwich triangles – the equivalent of one sandwich.  I contemplated skipping the pie altogether, but I’ve decided I will allow myself a modest piece.  But then a very light supper tonight shall follow.

There will be more challenges coming up in the coming Lenten weeks.  A baby shower, an Irish Tea, a day of bridesmaid dress shopping that I’m sure will include a stop for a bite to eat…

Today will set the tone.  Today, I will prove to myself that I can do it.

If I can “give up” 15 pounds by Easter Sunday, I will be feeling rejuvenated, and very much back on track again. My clothes will feel good again, and I’ll have my confidence back.

This Lenten goal is probably more important than any other I’ve had before.

I can’t lose sight of that.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It’s almost Lent. AGAIN.

I know, right?  Like, wasn’t it JUST LENT a few weeks ago?  I remember it with terrifying clarity.  It is a little shocking that it has creeped up on me again.

Normally, I have a game plan set long in advance.  It’s weird, but what I give up for Lent always is a long thought process for me.  I usually have a list of things, I weigh pros and cons… I put an irrational amount of thought into it.  Then, once I’ve settled on what I’m giving up, I put a lot of thought into how I’m going to handle it.

I get a little obsessed with it, actually.  I might take it a smidge too seriously.

But not this year.  I have no freakin’ clue what I’m giving up this year.

As we all know, last year I gave up sugar & artificial sweeteners.  It was hard.  And I don’t think I ever fully recovered from the sugar binge that followed.  I truly believe that what you give up should be something important; something that you know you will miss; something that you know will be a challenge.  If I never ate chocolate (hahaha, funny joke), and then decided to give up chocolate, well, then… what’s the point, right?  That’d be too easy. 

But last year… Last year was almost too hard.

So I’ve been thinking about what I would really really miss if I had to give it up, but that won’t totally destroy my life.  Honestly, right now the one thing I can’t seem to get enough of is hot chocolate.  But I’m not entirely sure I’m prepared to give it up.  I know, that’s ridiculous, since it’s just a small portion of what I gave up last year.  But I’ve come to soooo look forward to my big mugs of hot chocolate lately.  Since getting back on track after Christmas, it is the only indulgence I’ve really permitted myself…

Oh wait.  Another problem I have is dining out.  While I’ve rid my house of the junk food (save the hot chocolate, of course), I haven’t really stopped myself from eating out at restaurants so much.  And I haven’t made the healthiest choices while eating out at restaurants.  I know that removing that from my life would be a challenge – but again, almost too big of a challenge.  There are dates I have circled on my calendar in the upcoming 40 days that will involve dining out, and I don’t want to cancel them.

I know many people who say that you don’t have to give something up for Lent – instead, you can make a vow to DO something instead.  For instance, I could simply take the Lenten coin box they offer us at church and follow the schedule for adding coins to it each day.  But I did that last year in conjunction with the giving up sugar, so isn’t that taking a step back this year if I only do the coin box?

I’m really stumped this year.  I’m just not sure what I’m going to do about it.

One idea that I keep coming back to is to just use the time period of Lent to really focus on getting back down to a weight I’m comfortable at.  I’ve been doing much better the past two weeks at eating healthy (aside from the hot chocolate), and of course I’ve never wavered from my workout schedule, but I’m not seeing the results I’d like to see.  I need to give it more focus and devotion. 

I’ve also been thinking a lot about McDonalds and how I haven’t eaten there for almost two years… sometimes my mouth waters when I think about Big Macs, and I thought if I was successful at reaching my goal weight again during Lent (I’d have to lose about 15 lbs), I’d reward myself with a visit to Mickey D’s.  I’m still not 100% sure if that’s what I’m going with, but it does seem to be the idea I’m leaning towards the most…

Have you given it any thought?  Do you give something up, or do something as a Lenten practice?  What are your plans for Lenten promises this year?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge: On Love and other stuff

Having writer’s block these days, folks.  So might as well use some prompts to churn out a blog post on this frigidly bright Wednesday!  Here’s some Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Wednesday Hodge Podge

1. Have you ever written a love letter? Have you written one recently? Had one written to you? Did you keep it?

Of course I’ve written love letters.  I’m a hopeless romantic.  Have been since I was a wee little girl.  I just don’t think I’ve ever actually delivered a love letter. ;)  I haven’t really written any recently, no.  And I don’t really recall ever receiving any, although I probably did when I was a kid.  There were, like, 3 boys in my elementary school class that I bounced around, surely to God ONE of them wrote me a love letter back in the day!

2. What’s a movie that ends in a way you especially love?

There are so many.  But because it’s fresh in my mind, I’m going with Cocktail.  I discovered a few weeks ago my DVD was missing, so I bought a new one (yes, it is one of my all-time favourites, I cannot exist without it in my collection), and then watched it right away.  It’s totally cheesey, but when Flanagan gets up on the bar and recites a poem to his unborn child, it melts my heart.  Fun fact:  when I was young, my sister had taped this movie on VHS from the TV, so the version I grew up watching was edited for TV, and also, the tape cut out right at the end when Jordan says to Brian, “Bet I can still spook you.”  I had no idea what she whispered in his ear, and my sister refused to tell me.  Took me years to find out just exactly how it ended. (I had my suspicions – it was pretty obvious – but I wasn’t sure until getting my hands on a real copy years later!)

cocktail scene

3. Something that makes your heart sing? And for those of you who are parents, I mean something besides your children that makes your heart sing?

Snow!  Beautiful, falling, accumulating snow!!  Oh come on, dudes.  It’s still only February.  Too early for springtime.  Let it SNOW!!!  I love the smell in the air when it’s snowing.  I love the sound of snowplows waking me at 4:30 AM.  I love the crunch of it under my boots when I walk.  Nothing quite like a snow day… Snow makes my heart sing.

4. What’s the last event you had to attend, phone call you had to make, routine task you needed to complete, or meal you had to prepare, that you did do, but only half-heartedly?

I honestly can’t think of anything right now.  I hate talking on the phone, so pretty much any phone call I make is half-hearted.  Also, I’m the “social notes” writer, representing my town in our local paper (there are a handful of towns that the paper circulates to, and each has a correspondent that shares news, birthday wishes, etc.) – and there are weeks when I don’t want to be bothered with it, so some of my columns are written and submitted half-heartedly, I confess.

5. Tuna fish salad-yay or blech? If you said yay, how do you like your tuna salad prepared? Hey, this is the Hodgepodge, right?

Yay, but a mild yay.  I have to be in the mood for it.  Growing up, I was always an egg salad girl, but tuna was just about the only fishy thing I would eat for years.  I’m a big BLECH on salmon sandwiches, but I could handle tuna.  I like it with Hellman’s mayo, diced onion, celery, chopped up dill pickle, salt & pepper.  I like it on a whole wheat or multigrain bread.  And now, I’m realizing, I AM in the mood for it!


6. What’s something you ‘know by heart’?

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.  I can’t think of anything else… I know there are song lyrics and other things, but right now, it’s that poem that comes to mind.  I always kind of amaze myself when I discover I can recite it without pause or fail every year on November 11th.  I guess they really drilled it into our brains at Remembrance Day ceremonies in school.  I’m proud of the fact that I can rattle it off as well as I can.  It’s an important poem.

7. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what two or three word phrase would you write on a conversation heart for someone you love? That someone could be a spouse, child, parent, cousin, bestie…anyone at all whom you love.

“I Love Jimmy”.  OK, I stole this.  Jimmy posed this question to an audience member the other night, and when she replied “I Love Jimmy”, he rewarded her with a hug.  I thought she was pretty damned lucky.  Plus, all of my family and friends – even the kids – know about my Jimmy love, so they’d only think it appropriate, right? ;)

jimmy heart 2

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m actually excited for Valentine’s Day this year.  This is big for me.  And no, I don’t have a hot date.  My sister’s kids are coming for a sleepover/movie night, and I truly do look forward to spending this time with them.  I have a plethora of ideas for fun things to do – go sliding!  make crafts!  eat pizza & V-day treats! bake cookies!  watch movies! – probably more than we can accomplish during one day/night – but I’m excited. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

The V-Day Conundrum

I’ve been thinking a lot about Valentine’s Day this week, as it looms in the not-so-far-off distance.


I know what you’re thinking.  “Why are you thinking about BARF Day, Jill?  You hate BARF Day.”

And that would be correct.  I really have hated it in the past.  Loathed it.  Most Love Days were spent lamenting the fact that I was single and alone.  One was spent at my dad’s funeral.  The day has just never held any warm-and-fuzzy connotations for me.  I used to try and rally my single friends to join me in an anti-V-day celebration, but let’s face it… I have no single friends left anymore.  It’s just me.

OK, it hasn’t always been that bad.  There have often been surprises – treats from my mom, or my friends – to lift my spirits.  Last year, it delighted me to no end to find that my friend Stacy’s kids, Maddy and Tanner, had left Kisses and pictures at my door for me.  And to be honest, I’ve always kind of enjoyed planning what I was going to do that day to “celebrate”.  I played up the fact that I was throwing a pity party for one, when in actuality, I relished the thought of watching my favourite movies  and treating myself to my favourite comfort foods.

This year, I can honestly say I’m actually looking forward to it.  This could, perhaps, be because of the revelation I’ve had  in the past six months, which is that I think I kind of want to be single.   I like doing what I want, when I want.  I like my routine.  I like living alone.  For the first time in a long time, I don’t find myself wishing for a man in my life.  I’m enjoying the freedom.  Imagining it being otherwise kinda almost makes me panicky.

So, by dropping the whole “I hate Valentine’s Day and all the stupid people in love” attitude, I can now look at it as a FUN occasion again, like I did in elementary school.

The problem is this:  Ideas keep swirling through my head on how to celebrate, and I just can’t DECIDE!!!  Because it’s on a Saturday, I know I have a whole day to fill, and the options are endless!!!

  • Because going to the movies is one of my favourite things to do, the obvious choice is to take myself to see 50 Shades of Grey, which will be debuting in theatres next weekend.  However, I have the feeling the theatres will be packed – with both armies of single girls and sappy lovey dovey couples – so I think I’d rather wait a few weeks til the hype dies down.  Besides, who needs a theatre full of people judging someone who is there ALONE on Valentine’s Day.  And their giant extra-buttery popcorn.


  • I’ve thought several times that I should take my mom out for dinner.  Somewhere nice, a place we don’t normally go to, as a special treat. But again, every Tom, Dick & Harry will be out for dinner that night.  We don’t need to get tied up in those masses.  (And also, don’t need those judgers again - “It looks like she’s on a date with her mom??”)
  • So maybe a nice dinner at home then?  Something fun and special, like lasagna or homemade pizza?
  • Back to the movies – as we have well established, I love watching movies.  So of course, getting some yummy treats and settling in for a movie marathon sounds fabulous to me.  I’ve contemplated re-watching the entire Twilight series – spending V-day with Edward? Not too shabby, eh? – but I’m not convinced that’s really what I want to do… I’ve also thought of watching some of my favourite old-school flicks, like I did around this time last year.  Funny and cheesey… maybe just what the doctor ordered for a single girl on V-day?

Twilight series

  • Of course, getting a little taste of Jimmy is a MUST!  I could go back and revisit some of my favourite episodes of The Tonight Show that I have saved on my PVR, or maybe even watch Fever Pitch (again)…


  • Another idea I’ve had is this:  I’ve been wanting to have my niece and nephew for a sleepover sometime soon, and maybe this would be a fun opportunity to throw a little Valentine’s Day party for them, while giving my sister and BIL a chance to go out sans les enfants?  Maybe take them sliding?  Have a fun supper?  Get them some sweet V-day treats?  And of course, watching movies?  An extra-special sleepover at Jilly’s?  I honestly think this might be my favourite plan of all – but it will all depend on whether or not the kids are free.  Knowing my luck, they already have plans.

So, what do you think a single girl (who has decided that maybe she LIKES being single) should do to celebrate V-day?  Have you made plans?  If so, what are you & your loved ones doing to mark the occasion?