Friday, July 25, 2014

Goin’ on vacation!!!

It’s here… It’s finally ALMOST here!!!

For weeks, I’ve been watching fellow co-workers come in on Friday afternoons, clicking their heels with excitement as they punch out before going on vacation.

And now, it’s MY turn!!

Nothin’ beats that “last day of work before vacation” feeling. Just try to wipe the grin off my face today!

Here’s some Friday pre-vacay randoms…

· The best way to kick off vacation is definitely with the company golf tournament, which is set for this afternoon. I actually decided not to golf this year, so I volunteered to stay in the office for to answer phones and help any customers that may drop in. However, I am still going to the golf course after work to meet the gang for dinner, and I can’t wait!

MVT Golf 2013 A scene from last year’s golf tourney… my favourite part is always when the jam session starts!

· I admit that I’ve been feeling mildly stressed out this week over next week’s weather forecast. The long-range hasn’t been looking so great – cooler temps, and a lot of rain/showers in the forecast. But I finally told myself yesterday, “That’s enough worrying about the weather! You have no control over it, and you’re going to be off anyways, so there’s point troubling yourself over it. The point is you get to stay up later than usual, sleep in later than usual, and just ENJOY your time! So RELAX!!”

· One of my favourite places to relax is, without a doubt, my aunt & uncle’s camp. It’s not far from home, but for the last few years, it’s become our favourite summer get-away. Despite the weather, my family and I are still planning to head there next week for a few days. I can’t wait to be sitting around the big table in the kitchen playing cards or games, relaxing with a cup of coffee in the morning on the deck, sitting on the dock dangling my feet in the water, having fun with the kids on the beach, roasting marshmallows on a campfire… bring it on!! The rain & cool temps won’t stop us!!

Camp

· Part of the fun of going to the camp is the meal planning. I’ve spent all week making lists, talking it over with my mom, and I’m so excited to shop on the weekend for it! I volunteered to look after buying the snacks for the week. My original plan was to make it as healthy as possible, but… Mom and I have both agreed you need at least some treats at the camp!

· Monday is my birthday, and thus the conclusion of The Six-Week Plan/The Bikini Project. I’ve been giving it one last push this week with a 5-day high-protein diet, but alas, I really don’t think the bikini is going to happen, dudes. Possibly a tankini, though, if any of the ones I ordered arrive in time and actually fit! Haha!

· It’s supposed to be rainy & cool on Monday anyways. I doubt I’ll be strutting around much in any kind of swimwear…

· The good news is that, despite a few major slip-ups in the food department, I have managed to work out EVERY DAY for the past six weeks (and I don’t foresee any reason why I can’t complete that over the weekend), and of course, haven’t missed a day of Shakeology. I have been able to shed most of the pounds I had put on since Easter, and I’m back down to my “Magic Number”. Phewf! Feeling so relieved! Now, the trick will be to enjoy myself next week without complete demolishing my progress all over again…

· I have a new plan in mind for when vacation is over. It doesn’t involve a number on the scale, or a piece of clothing to fit into, or a size that I want to be. It’s simply to work on developing a better relationship with food. I say all the time that I love food soooo much, but lately, I seem to be feeling shame and regret any time I over-indulge. And every time I get a sniff of the junk, I am TOTALLY over-indulging. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t get me any further ahead, and only makes me feel bad about myself. I want to nip this one in the bud, so I’ll be looking up resources to help with this next phase of my journey. If anyone has any recommendations for books or websites that deal with this matter, please let me know!

· But first… VACATION!!!!

Camp 18

· Aside from the camp, here are some of the things I want to do on my week off: Wash my car, watch Blue Hawaii, go shopping in a REAL mall, go to the movies (maybe even more than once?!), eat out at several of the places I’ve been dying to go to lately (Montana’s & Chinese food, I’m lookin’ at you!), spend time with my nieces and nephew (and the rest of the fam-jam, too, of course), rent a movie from the store and finally pick up that bag of ketchup chips I’ve been thinking about for weeks, and READ (hopefully on the back deck, with a mug of coffee…c’mon, weather, please co-operate)!!!

Only a few more hours to go…

See y’all in a week!!!! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why I broke up with running. And why it’s OK.

I think I’ve mentioned it briefly here in recent weeks, but I really lost my running mojo this year.

Last year, in the midst of my “30/50 Before 30 Project”, one of my long-term fitness goals was to be able to run a 5K. I started out slowly in the spring of 2013 with the Couch to 5K app on my phone, and by the end of the summer, I was running 5K in about 35 minutes. I had hoped to get it under 30 minutes, but I was never successful in doing so. (I think the closest I ever got was 31-ish mins, and I thought my head was gonna explode).

Still, the fact that a kid who had never been a runner could now actually run, non-stop, for 5 kilometers, was big in my world. Really big.

Completing the Army Run 5K last September was one of my greatest achievements in a year filled with pretty incredible achievements for me. I felt like Supergirl.

But then the fall came, and with it came much cooler weather. I didn’t have a treadmill, so by the end of October, the too-cool temps had forced me out of my jogging routine, and back indoors full-time doing Beachbody programs like TurboFire and Les Mills Combat. I vowed that when the spring came, I’d get back in the jogging groove, and I’d spend this summer working towards breaking that 30-minute mark.

I admit that when spring of 2014 finally came and things started warming up around here (it took a loooong time for that to happen!), I was eager to get back out there pounding the pavement. I was surprised at first at how easily the jogging came back to me, and how quickly I was able to work myself back up to the pace I’d finished with last fall. Only two weeks of jogging 3x a week, and I was already running my 5K as fast as I was last year, and I was sincerely hopeful that if I kept working at it, I’d be able to get it under that 30 minute mark this year.

But I soon noticed something was off with me and my jogging. I started realizing that on the days I had jogs scheduled, I wasn’t looking forward to them. My mindset had become, “Just get it done. Get it over with. As fast as possible.”

After only 3 or 4 weeks of resuming my jogging schedule, I was downright dreading my jogs.

Why? I really can’t explain it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like being outdoors – in fact, that was something I LOVED about jogging, especially when the temperatures and weather conditions were favourable. And it wasn’t that it was too hard… physically, I was quite capable. It always kind of amazed me that jogging didn’t “hurt” more. I never had sore knees or shin splints… Still, I found myself running sluggishly, mentally berating myself, Why aren’t you trying to go faster? You’re not drastically out of breath, you’re legs feel strong, nothing hurts… why aren’t you trying harder??

The magic of jogging had faded. I wasn’t enjoying it.

And rule #1 for me when it comes to exercise, as I’ve said many times before, is that it HAS to be something I enjoy.

No, not necessarily something I love. Or something I look forward to. I’m probably always going to have to twist my own arm and mentally psyche myself up for a workout.

But when I’m actually doing the exercise?

I have to be enjoying it. I have to be OK with it. I have to be having a little bit of fun with it.

I have that with Turbo Fire. I have that with Les Mills Combat. I have that with Yoga. And yes, it’s true, I even have that with the Jillian Michaels 6-week 6-pack.

I didn’t have that anymore with running.

And so, I had to break up with it.

That wasn’t a decision I made quickly or easily. I forced myself to keep it up for a while, mainly because I really liked being in “the runner club”. OK, so it’s not an official club, but I still felt like I was part of something. I liked all the motivating & powerful running quotes and memes that I’d see on my Facebook newsfeed or on Pinterest. It made me feel good to know I was one of them.

runnign quote

running quote

runner

And I also don’t like thinking of myself as a quitter.

But I had to quit running. I had already started coming up with lists of excuses in my head to get myself out of running on the days I had it scheduled. Well, it looks like it *might* rain tonight, so I think I’ll do Fire 45 instead. … Ugh, last time I ran the black flies were crazy, it’d be best to do an indoor workout tonight. … All of my decent workout tops are in the laundry basket, I can’t go jogging around town in a ratty, holey t-shirt.

Eventually I realized that there was no point in scheduling the jogs anymore. I just wasn’t into it, and I was stressing myself out because of it.

Here’s the good news: I wasn’t trying to get out of exercising altogether. At least I have that going for me. Even though my brain was trying to get me out of jogging, it was still always coming up with an alternative.

If I’ve learned anything in the past 18 months, it’s how important exercise is in my life. I simply cannot quit exercising. It is the only reason I survive these binges and losses of willpower around food.

And thankfully, it has just become part of my daily routine. If a workout is on the schedule, it has to get done at some point during the day. No ifs, ands or buts about it. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that I sweat just as much doing Turbo or Combat or even 6-week 6-pack.

That’s why I’ve decided it’s OK that I’m not running anymore. I’ve made peace with the decision. It doesn’t mean I’ll never run again – who knows, maybe I’ll get hit by the running bug again someday and take it up again. Maybe even just go for a jog once in a while to change things up, if the other workouts I’m doing become stale.

Truth is, I never really fell in love with jogging.  I felt empowered by the accomplishment, but it was never love.   I did it because it was quick and easy. When people asked if I was going to try a 10K, or maybe even a half-marathon someday, I never once felt that urge.

I was jogging for exercise, plain and simple.

And since I’m still exercising on a daily basis, then it’s absolutely OK that I’m not a runner anymore.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Birthday Wishlist

The other day, my mother said to me, “What do you want for your birthday?”

I drew a blank. 

I think that might be a first for me, the Queen of the Wishlists.

Truth be told, I’m pretty content right now with what I have.  Sure, there’s always new toys and trinkets to dream of, but I’m not really longing for much these days, materially.

I guess I really AM getting old, huh?

In any case, I’ve done some pondering and google perusing, and though I don’t expect any of this last-minute birthday wishlist to actually be given to me, here are some of the things that I wouldn’t mind receiving if the Birthday Fairy decided to veer my way on or around July 28th:

Jumbl™ Vegetable & Fruit Spiral Slicer w/Three Stainless Steel Blades

spiralizer

With a machine like this, I’d finally be able to test out those “zoodles” that I’ve been wanting to make!  This has been something I’ve been almost-ordering off Amazon for weeks now.  I keep stalling.  But eventually, I’m getting one.

Fitbit

fitbit

A few months ago, this little activity tracker – which keeps tabs on your steps taken, calories burned, hours slept, etc – was high on my list of “wants”.  However, I’ve read some reviews on Amazon, and it seems this might be a gadget whose novelty fades quickly.  I’m not sure it’s worth the coin now.

Indoor Grill

Indoor Grill

As someone who thinks a lot about healthy eating, I know that one of the healthiest ways to cook lean meats is on the grill.  And I loooove grilled food.  But Jill is afraid of BBQ’s.  Don’t know how to start ‘em, and I’m always afraid I’m going to blow my face off or something.  The old hand-me-down BBQ on my deck hasn’t been started in years, and I’m pretty sure it WOULD blow my face off if I tried to start it now.  A little indoor George Foreman would really help me out if I had one.

PiYo

piyo 2

It’s the new workout program from Chalene Johnson, and you guys have NO idea how many times I’ve gone to the Beachbody website and actually had this in my cart before cancelling the order.  I keep telling myself, You can’t afford it right now, Jill!  Wait until you can!  You don’t need it right away!!  But man, I’m dying to try this program out.  I’m hoping to start it in the Fall.  I’ll have to buy it sometime over the next month.  Unless, of course, it magically appears, wrapped in a bow, that is. ;)

Food Scale

food scale

They say it’s an essential tool for an attemptingtobehealthyeater who tracks their calorie intake.  I’ve been using MyFitnessPal religiously for a long time, and I’ve managed to get by this long without, so I’m not sure how “essential” it is.  But I admit there’s a lot of guesswork involved with my tracking.  For instance, the half of a BBQ’d chicken breast I had for dinner on Sunday evening?  I picked one out of the list on MFP that said 4 oz.  I have NO idea if that’s how much my half of a chicken breast weighed.  This would certainly help with portion control and eliminate my guessing.

Dutch Oven

dutch oven

We all know my penchant for making soups and chilis and thick hearty sauces in the fall/wintertime, right?  I’d love to own a nice, sturdy Dutch Oven to help in these kitchen endeavours.  But these mothertruckers are expensive, yo. These are the kinds of things girls register for when they’re getting married.  We all know I have no such opportunity on the horizon.  This is why my birthday and Christmas wishlists end up looking more like a wedding registry.  I really need a “just because” shower.  Somebody?  Anybody??

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

the rosie project

This is the last book I will need for Book Club this year – and I won’t need it for a while yet, as it’s the last selection of 2014, but I’m excited about it.  It sounds promising.  My kind of book.

Frozen on DVD

frozen on dvd

Another long-standing item on my Amazon Wishlist… I SO regret not ordering Frozen when it was on sale coming up to Easter.  I remember at one point, it got as low as $13.99 or something like that.  I check on it daily, but it has held steady at $23.00 for months now.  And I’m refusing to pay $23.00 for it.  (at least, for the time being.)  And Danica won’t let me borrow hers.  *sigh*

Gift Cards for Shopping/Dinner/Movies

gift cards

If anyone asked me what my “perfect day” would be, it would be this:  waking up without an alarm, then spending a leisurely morning over a large mug of coffee (or two), watching TV or reading on my back deck, with no rush to get ready for the day.  Once the spirit moved me, I would shower & get dressed, then hit the road.  Stop #1 would be a quick bite – maybe somewhere like Tim Horton’s, for some kind of yummy sandwich and a Honey Crueller, and a rich, creamy iced cappuccino.  Then I’d be off to Carlingwood for an afternoon of shopping.  I do most of my shopping on-line, and I haven’t done much of that at all lately -  so to actually go to a mall and be able to go into stores and actually try things on would be so very nice!  Then, once I’d “shopped til I dropped”, it would be supper time.  I have 80 million favourite restaurants, but these days, it’s Montana’s calling my name.  I’d have an appetizer of Antojitos, and then I’d probably have the chicken tacos for a main course.  Of course, I’d have saved room for a skillet cookie for dessert (or not, but since when did that ever stop me??) – OR, maybe skip the skillet cookie and hold out instead for a stop at Dairy Queen.  mmmmmmm!!  After that, it would be off to the movies – one of my “happy places” - for a bag of buttery popcorn, a huge icy Diet Pepsi, and a few hours spent in the dark, laughing at a flick like “Tammy” or “Sex Tape”.

That’s Jill’s Perfect Day right there, friends.

Gift cards for these activities would be greatly appreciated. ;)

But honestly?  None of these material things really matter to me.  And as I said, I don’t expect one thing off the list for my birthday.  I am turning 31, after all… I do believe this is the age where birthdays cease to be important.  As I keep telling my mom, “I don’t care, I don’t care.”

I’ve already spent one great day with friends, and if I could pack in some more time with family and friends next week on my vacation, then all my birthday wishes would be fulfilled. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Kick-Off to 31

Does anyone remember how I kicked off my birthday celebration last summe?

Justin Bieber.  For reals.

Oh, how things can change in a year!

Just about the last thing I’d want to be doing right now is going to a Justin Bieber concert.  Lucky for me, there were no JB plans on the calendar for this past weekend.  Instead, I was super excited to be joining a group of friends for a pool party at Lindsay & Ryan’s in honour of the July birthdays in our group – Ricky, Josee, et moi!

I spent Saturday morning hustling around – got a workout in, tidied up the house and swept the floors, prepared my food, and cut my grass.  After a quick shower, I changed in to my bathing suit and a cover-up, and after reading on the back deck for about an hour, I packed everything up and headed for the pool.

It was a peach of a day to be poolside, let me tell you!  I was the first to arrive, but shortly after, the rest of the group gathered, and it wasn’t long before kiddos and parents both were all hitting the water.  I quickly joined in!  I LOVE floating in a pool – being in the water is one of my absolute favourite places to be!

pool party 1

After a nice long swim, the BBQ was fired up and before long we were chowing down on cheese burgers and dogs, delicious salads and snack foods.  It was a feast, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it!  YUM!!

Once supper was over, a bunch of the gang got back into the pool while some of the rest of us sat on the side and just chilled out, chatting, visiting, and enjoying the laughter and splashing that was happening right before us.  We finished the evening off with delicious cookies and lemon cake made by my friend Priscilla.

What a wonderful way to start celebrating my birthday!  I so enjoyed spending the afternoon chatting with friends and I had a blast watching their kids playing in the pool.  They were all such a hoot.

pool party 2

pool party 3

pool party 4

pool party 5

pool party 6

pool party 7

pool party 8

It was a perfect day, from start to finish!

And now… less that a week until vacation, and officially turning 31… can’t WAIT!!! :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Random Friday Ramblings

It’s been a long time since I’ve done some random rambling…let’s kick off the weekend with a little of that, shall we?

· A few weeks ago, my friend Lindsay gave me a long black maxi dress she was culling from her closet. I loved it. I wore it on Sunday to Britt’s shower, and not only did I receive many compliments on my dress, I felt really good in it. Like, tall and sleek and graceful – three words that don’t often get associated with me. Not only that, it was soooo comfy. Monday evening, I washed it and then accidentally tossed it in the dryer with the rest of my dark load. It shrunk a good three inches in length. And it had been the perfect length before the unfortunate shrinkage. *sigh* And no one to blame but myself…

black maxi

· Cake. Can’t stop thinking about cake. I keep telling people that damn Costco cream-filled cake is my biggest weakness (and I’ve had random run-ins with it over the past month), but really, any cake at all right now will bring me to my knees. My friend Brenda made the most delicious chocolate cake with thick icing for her son (my Godson)’s birthday dinner on Wednesday night. (I ate it because she didn’t put any calories in, guys. Duh.) I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. drool.

chocolate cake

· I’ve told people for a million years that my favourite TV show is Friends, and that I just don’t “get” Seinfeld. But after hearing them talk about how iconic the show was on the radio one day last week, and how it’s still referenced by so many still today (I didn’t recognize most of the references they talked about), I decided it was time to give Seinfeld a fair shot. I asked my brother-in-law if I could borrow his DVDs. I’m well into Season 2 now, and I have to say, I’m finally starting to “get” it. I’ve been really enjoying it, and I’m sure it’s only going to get better.

seinfeld

· I’m still a Friends girl, though. 100%.

friends_cast_004a

· I’d like to send out a big thank you to Iggy Azalea for making me love the radio this summer. I haven’t heard one of her songs/collaborations yet that I didn’t like. I like to think I discovered her, because I saw her perform on Seth Meyers and loved “Fancy” months before I even heard it on the radio. “Problem” is my current jam.

· I’ve got my eye on a new workout program to start in the Fall, and that is Chalene Johnson’s latest, PiYo. I’m not sure it has the intense cardio I’m seeking in a fitness program, but because Chalene is my favourite trainer, and because I luuuuuurve Yoga, I think I HAVE to buy it and give it a whirl. It looks so awesome…

piyo

· I’m so terribly excited for tomorrow! I’ll be gathering with friends pool-side at Lindsay and Ryan’s for a birthday celebration and BBQ for Josee and I (and Ricky too!) The weather looks like it’s going to be perfect for lounging by the pool, playing in the water with the kids, and just soaking up a wonderful summer day with friends. I can’t wait!

· I’m exactly one week away from vacation, and I’m trying not to think about it because I get too wound up. My family and I will be spending a few days at one of my favourite places in the world, the Draper Camp. I’m also hoping to do a few other of my favourite things on my week off – like go to the movies! (I haven’t been to a movie in FOR-EV-ERRRRRRRRR) And just stroll down to the store to rent a movie and buy a banana-flavoured popsicle. Maybe get a little shopping action in? Possibly some time at the beach in Norway Bay? Getting to eat out at a few of the restaurants I’ve been craving lately? I also can’t wait to just relax in the morning on my deck with a good book and a big mug of coffee. Who knows what all the week will hold in store, because I really don’t have any concrete plans yet. I just want it to be perfect and summery.

Camp 11

· It’s terrible to say – especially since I’m the one always warning people not to wish their time away – but I’m already kind of craving fall. I can’t seem to stop my mind from drifting to sweaters, leggings and boots; big pots of soup or chili; my scary movie marathon that I have leading up to Halloween; fun fall activities like Car Rally (which my team is organizing this year), and prepping for the Christmas House Tour. SO bizarre. I love fall, but I’m also a “live in the moment” kind of girl, and summer has always been one of my favourite times of year. I haven’t had enough time in the water, or enough popsicles and ice cream, or enough BBQ’d burgers and corn on the cob; or enough suntanning and reading on the back deck yet. Like, c’mon, Jill!! Get with the program!

summertime-blues

Hope you all have a fantastic summer weekend!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Zucchini Dilemma (+ a recipe!)

It’s that wonderful time of year when gardens are starting to come alive with delicious, fresh summer produce.

vegetable garden

Not my garden, of course. This girl ain’t got no green thumb. Weeding is just about the last thing I want to do on a hot summer’s evening. So hence, I have no garden.

Lucky for me, my momma does. And lucky for me, she shares.

I was telling her a while back about how I wanted to try out making vegetable “noodles”. I keep seeing recipes online – especially from my favourite healthy recipe resource in Gina at Skinnytaste.com – using vegetables such as zucchini, squash, and carrots sliced julienne or spiralized to make what they call “zoodles”. A low-carb option for a pasta lover like me, and a way to get extra veggies into my diet? Right up my alley! I’ve already learned that I enjoy spaghetti squash in place of pasta, and so I’ve been wanting to get a spiralizer or mandolin to try out these other veggie-noodle options.

julienne-summer-vegetables

(Gina’s picture

My mom remembered this desire of mine, and thus brought me one of the very first zucchinis from her garden this year. So kind of her, right? Except that I haven’t yet purchased the spiralizer or mandolin. And aside from wanting to try out “zoodles”, I really had no desire to have anything with zucchini in it.

Confession: I actually really hate zucchini.

(Unless it comes cut into sticks, breaded, deep fried, and served with a side of creamy dip.)

zucchini and onion rings

I know. This is starting to make no sense. Why would a person who hates zucchini steal her mother’s first one fresh from the garden?

Well, because I thought these “zoodles” might get me back on the zucchini train. I mean, I used to like zucchini. As a kid, my mom made this stuff that she called “ratatouille” – slices of onion, zucchini, and tomato, sautéed in oil with some seasonings, and topped with melty mozzarella. I used to love it. Until I ate too much of it. We used to have it a lot. And once I got sick of it, it was the zucchini part that really made me sick. I could still just gag on the memory of it.

So, yeah, since then I’ve been more than a little leery of non-deep-fried-zucchini.

two fresh zucchini isolated

Anyways, I claimed that early gem from Mom’s garden over a week ago regardless, and it had been sitting in my fridge ever since. I didn’t have time (or money) to buy a tool to make noodles out of it, and it was starting to get a little soft, so I decided Tuesday that I had to do something with it that night. I couldn’t just let it go to waste!

Plan # 1 was to try and satisfy my chocolate & peanut butter craving-of-the-day after google turned up a recipe for “healthy” chocolate zucchini brownies with a low-fat no-sugar-added peanut butter sauce. I put “healthy” in quotes, though, because no matter how low-cal and low-fat one of those brownies might have been, we all know that isn’t so if I eat the whole pan. Zero willpower, remember? It was a very real possibility that I might just do that, so it didn’t make sense for me to tempt myself – and thus, continue to sabotage myself – in that way.

Plan # 2 = the Cream of Zucchini Soup recipe from good ol’ Gina at Skinnytaste.

I’d pinned it a while back, and while I didn’t exactly have everything I needed to make it, I figured I could improvise. And it would go well with the toasted tomato sandwich I was already planning to make for supper that night. AND there wasn’t as big a chance of me eating a whole pot of soup as there was of me eating a whole pan of brownies.

Seriously, guys. Welcome to a day inside my brain. *sigh*

You can find Gina’s original recipe here, but this is my altered version:

Creamy Zucchini & Spinach Soup

1 medium zucchini, skin on, cut in large chunks

2 large handfuls of spinach

1 small onion, quartered

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

32 oz. fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth

2 Tbsp. 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Combine zucchini, spinach, onion, garlic, and chicken broth in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Puree using an immersion blender. Add the Greek Yogurt, salt & pepper, and blend again. Serve hot.

cream-of-zucchini-soup (Gina’s picture – mine was darker green because of the spinach, I guess.  I did drizzle the olive oil over top, but skipped the cheese.)

Let me tell you guys…this was mmm mmm good!! As we all know, one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen is make big pots of soup, but with warmer summer temps upon us, I hadn’t done this in quite a while. It felt good to be stirring a pot of soup again! It almost made me crave fall! (almost – too soon yet, I know – haha!)

So, Gina’s recipe calls for 3 zucchinis, but of course I only had one, so that’s why I added in the fistfuls of spinach. I also used more onion & garlic than she called for because…well… I love onion and garlic. I probably could have used less chicken broth, as it made a thinner soup than I like, but if it had been all zucchini, I think it would’ve been more of the thicker consistency that I prefer. And also, she uses fat-reduced sour cream in her recipe, which I did not have, but we all know plain Greek yogurt makes a perfect substitute for sour cream, so boom… Cream of Zucchini Soup, in mah belly!

It was delish, a perfect summer soup!

I still want to try out the “zoodles” some day, but until then, at least I know of another way to enjoy zucchini in the days of fresh garden produce ahead!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It’s like friggin’ Lent all over again.

The Six-Week Plan. Here’s how it’s been going:

The first two weeks, I was strong. REALLY strong. I didn’t waver in my steadfast vow to eat healthy each and every day hardly at all. I was a g-d powerhouse.

Weeks three & four were pretty good, too. I mean, I had a few slip-ups, but nothing major. Nothing detrimental. And I was pleased with the progress I was making. Of the 15 lbs. I’d gained since Easter, I had lost 10 of them, and I was pretty positive that I’d be able to reach my lowest weight by the end of the six weeks. Everything was going tickety-boo. I didn’t even go buy that bag of ketchup chips I was fancying last week.

Then, the weekend of Week 4 – this past weekend - happened. All I can describe it as is pure sabotage. On Saturday, I had an unexpected splurge at the restaurant Scores, where I discovered the soup, salad & fruit bar sounds healthier than it is, especially when paired up with a massive platter of food. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d halted there, but for whatever reason, Saturday evening turned into one of those binges that seem to hit me periodically.

I ate my leftovers from lunch for dinner, then moved on to a PC Blue Menu Frozen Yogurt Bar. Followed that up with a bowl of fruit, and then I scrounged around in my freezer and found two really old freezer burnt cookies to eat. I was dying for chocolate, so naturally, I ate a bag of chocolate chip & cookie pieces meant for topping sundaes (which was hiding in the back of my cupboard). Next came the spoonfuls of peanut butter and honey. And last, but certainly not least, a chocolate Santa from two Christmases ago.

chocolate santa

He didn’t even taste right, but I still ate him.

Seriously. WTF.

I hadn’t even pin-pointed Saturday as a “problem day” on the schedule. It was Sunday that I had circled as a “be careful, be mindful, be strong” day – the day of the baby shower my friend Kerry and I had been planning.

I was anything but careful, mindful, or strong. I left Brittany’s baby shower feeling extremely stuffed. I over-ate. It was obvious to everyone around me, as my mother kept shooting me “stop eating!!” eyes, and Kerry kept hissing at me, “That’s enough! No more!” (they were trying to be helpful, not mean – trust me.)

Here’s the kicker: I had supplied the chips, dip, Party Mix, etc. for the shower, and thus brought home several bags that had been opened but still had plenty left in them. I decided Sunday evening that I couldn’t have these chips lingering around tempting me, so I ate them.

bags of chips

ALL of them.

Yesterday, I literally had a food hangover. I felt sluggish and thirsty and bloated and just plain ol’ gross.

Worst of all, I felt severely disappointed in myself. My weekend binge had erased a large portion of my progress over the first four weeks of the plan. And I was the one who kept saying, “Anyone can do ANYthing for six weeks!” Apparently not. *sigh*

I awoke Monday morning with new resolve, though. Two weeks left. Time to buckle down and finish strong. I can STILL do this!!

And then, yesterday, I was hit by peanut butter and chocolate cravings. Of course I was.

chocolate-and-peanutbutter-300x279

When did I become such a GIRL?!?! I NEVER used to crave pb & chocolate! But right now, I’d give anything for a bag of Peanut M&Ms. Or a package of Reeces Peanut Butter Cups. Or better yet, a huge slab of Café 349’s infamous Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake.

chocolate-peanut-butter-cheesecake-fork

This is absolutely, 100%, exactly what happened to me during Lent. A few weeks of being a machine, a few weeks of hanging tough, then a few weeks of lunatic cravings that all involved peanut butter Easter eggs.

The thing is, this time around I swore I wasn’t going to do a post-challenge food-fest. A few treats in honour of my birthday and being on vacay, but NO $100 worth of Easter chocolate or a list of things to “reward” myself with.

Instead, I’m doing my best to block out the cravings for bad stuff. I’m focusing on re-grouping and closing out this six-week challenge as best as I can. Is the bikini going to happen? Considering this past weekend and the damage I did to the number on the scales with my indulging, all indicators are pointing to no.

But I’m no quitter. I’ve had a set-back, but I’m still determined.

Gonna giver one last shot…