Friday, October 11, 2013

After the wedding, the marriage

When I was 19, I worked at a self-serve gas station, spending 8-hours shifts solo tucked away in the convenience store part of the station. On slow days, I would read the magazines on offer and, after exhausting the selection of tabloids, would flip through the bridal magazines. In one of these magazines I found the wedding dress of my dreams and very carefully used an X-acto knife to cut out the page. I hung on to that page for years and it might still be kicking around at my mom's house. While I still think the dress is beautiful, it looks nothing like the dress I chose for my upcoming wedding.

Even though I picked out that dress 14 years ago, I never had any other wedding fantasies or daydreams. I never picked out colours or planned the kind of fairy-tale setting I wanted to celebrate my nuptials. I also went through a phase where I wasn't going to get married, but that quickly passed. Despite this, I was teased a bit by good friends when, upon receiving my engagement ring, I quickly set out to plan my wedding.

The thing is, it wasn't some vision I was setting out to fulfill. Rather, because I wasn't allowed to elope, and because I'm a planner, I immediately began putting together the non-eloping wedding that would satisfy us as a couple and allow us to celebrate with friends and family.

Even now, four weeks away from my wedding, I'm more excited about the days that will come after November 9. Our wedding day will be wonderful and magical and beautiful and perfect and it will be a fantastic celebration, but I'm most excited about the marriage that I'm getting out of it. I'll be honest, it's the marriage that I want the most.

We bought our wedding bands last weekend and, while wearing his, the Beau casually said, "I can't wait to wear this everyday." Of course I almost lost it. But this also helped emphasize the importance of the life we are building together and the days and months and years we will spend and husband and wife. And it's just going to mean so much to be that wife, to be part of the marriage, to experience every day something that we'll grow and build and work on and cultivate into something even more beautiful than the day before.

I'm still ecstatic for the wedding day that we have planned and for all the work we and our wedding party and family have put into making it so special and unforgettable. And the wedding will, of course, serve as a wonderful starting point for the marriage that comes after.

I am a little scared that I'll suck at being a wife, but I think that just comes with the territory of embarking on a new thing. (Though we've been living together for almost four years so really I've been a wife that long; on November 9 it will become official.) But I'm not scared of the commitment or of the work or anything else that a marriage will throw my way. Bring it. It's what I want most of all.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My body's nobody's body but mine

Yesterday, I attended a bridal shower for my cousin's lovely bride-to-be and while chatting with my aunts the conversation naturally turned to my upcoming nuptials. One aunt commented on how my mom had said she had lost 17 pounds and then asked how Mom had done it. I said Mom was just being more aware of what she was eating and then cracked a joke about how Mom was more concerned with losing weight before my wedding than I was.

But the thing is, it's not really a joke. I'm not stressed or panicked about losing weight for the wedding.

I had a dress fitting a few weeks ago and that was a little stressing but I wasn't wearing the proper undergarments and the bridal shop didn't have bras that went beyond a D-cup (and I'm beyond a D-cup...sigh), so while the dress fit it didn't look perfect, you know? But I'm going back on Wednesday, armed with all my undergarments, and I'm convinced it will look perfect. And I haven't lost any weight since buying the dress.

I don't even know when I stopped worrying about that. It might have been when more important things - seating charts and making favours and meeting with our officiant and planning the ceremony and finalizing the reception set-up - came up. It might have been when the Beau had chest pains and was later diagnosed with periocarditis and body image was the last thing on my mind. It might have been when I started spending more time on xoJane, an any-body-positive (among other things) website. It may have even been when I did some shopping and found a bunch of things that fit at a size I could handle.

Or it may have just been that I'm really getting tired of hating on myself. Like, just fed up and done with it. Because, honestly, it takes a hell of a lot of energy to be constantly down and degrading towards myself and there are so many more things in life that are much more deserving of that energy.

Also, acceptance, which is hella major too. Being on Weight Watchers let me prove to myself that I can lose weight, but I have to track everything I eat, measure all my portions, plan ahead as necessary and get on a scale each week to make sure I'm doing it all properly. This did help make me more aware of what I put in my body, which is a good awareness to have, but the little things started to weigh on me and really sucked the fun out of living (at least for me; I don't want to take away from the success that others have had with the program).

So I know I can lose weight and I know I can gain it all back and now I know that this body, the one I'm currently in, the one I'll be getting married in, that the way this body is now could be the way my body just is. This me is the me, where I'm happiest, at least physically. And by accepting this physical happiness maybe I can move to mental and emotional happiness with myself.

Of course, I'm not about to eat pizza and chocolate cake for every meal. I'm still going to run (currently nursing a sore calf - boo!) and do strength training (three sets of 10 FULL push-ups are now a regular thing for me - hurrah!) and be aware of what I'm eating. It's not dieting or trying to lose weight; rather, it's doing the things for my body that will help my body do things for me. Eating well and being active will give me the energy I need to run 5K and plan a wedding and help keep the house tidy and go out for friends' birthdays and dance at my wedding and chase after my nephews and all the other things that make life good. And my good life will include wine and too many fun-sized chocolate bars and pizza and chocolate cake because these things make me happy.

Now this isn't just some epiphany that will last forever. Body acceptance and body love will still take work, every single day. But it's about starting with good thoughts ("I look good in this dress") rather than bad ("This dress makes me look fat. I can't ever wear it again.") and embodying those good thoughts, acting like I look good (but not being arrogant because that sucks) and believing that I deserve to feel good about myself. And that leads to happiness and, really, isn't being happy what it's all about?

Monday, August 26, 2013

About that wedding...

Holy snowcakes, the wedding is fast approaching.

I don't have my countdown calendar in front of me (it's proudly displayed at home) but I think we're down to 75 days, or thereabouts. And it's pretty exciting.

I booked my final vendor on Friday and it FELT SO GOOD! It was a salon for hair and makeup services and, let me tell you, it was getting a bit stressful - though a lot of that was self-induced stress because I was lazy about researching a vendor. But it all came together and hair and makeup will only take two hours for the nine women being dolled up.

So what does that leave, you may ask?

Well...

Favours. Seating chart. Place cards (will likely be attached to the favours). Table numbers. Hair and makeup trial. Dress alterations. Picking cocktail reception and dinner music. Visiting the church (because we haven't actually been there yet). Rehearsal dinner plans. Cupcake tasting. Finalizing the menu. Engagement photo shoot (maybe...likely...hopefully). Bachelor and bachelorette parties. Bridal shower. Finalizing the floor plan for the reception. Picking someone to do a reading. Finalizing the day-of schedule.

But everything is in progress and, dare I say it, right on schedule. Overall, this wedding has been pretty easy to pull together. Sure, I've had my meltdowns, because of centrepieces and over the invitations, but it's all been minor issues that were easily fixed.

I gotta say, I'm feeling pretty good about the whole shebang.

Oh, I should also share some pictures of my wedding stuff, like the flowers and my shoes and the guestbook and my veil, because it's all awesome.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Measurements

Wow, it's been awhile since I've been here. That's really only because nothing new or exciting has been happening; even with the wedding coming up, summer has been pretty relaxed. I'm still running (though I've fallen off my schedule the last couple of weeks - back on it today!) and the wedding plans are coming along but it's all the little things now that, frankly, aren't that thrilling to talk about.

So life has been going on and I've been doing some shopping - because that's what I do - and I have realized that I need to get new bras desperately bad.

I've been meaning to go into a specialty lingerie store and get properly measured, but until I find the time for that, I did some measurements at home. Now, armed with a better idea of what my bra size actually is, I'm excited to go shopping again and to try on sizes that will actually fit!

While I had the tape measure out, I got bold and decided to do my hips. I'm not quite confident enough to share the numbers, but I wasn't completely horrified by my hip measurement, which was pleasantly surprising.

Then I measured my waist.

No way I'm sharing that number; it stung more than a little.

HOWEVER -

Armed with a hip measurement and a waist measurement I was able to calculate waist-hip ratio and see what that number meant in terms of my health. A higher waist-hip ratio can mean you have a higher risk for health problems like heart disease and type-II diabetes. So I plugged my measurements into a calculator and braced for the answer.

To my shock and surprise, my ratio puts me at LOW RISK! LOW RISK! I honestly thought that I had a higher risk - and this number doesn't take my family history of type-II diabetes into consideration - but based on my body composition, I'm okay.

The waist-hip ratio calculator had a link to a body fat calculator as well, so I figured in for a penny, in for a pound (ha!) and plugged in the numbers I needed to get my body fat percentage.

Again, shock and surprise at the outcome: I'm acceptable. Sure, it's not in the athletic range or high performance or anything, but still - I'M ACCEPTABLE! Again, I was expecting to be in the obese range so suddenly I'm feeling okay about myself.

Yes, I'd still like to slim down. Yes, I'm a little anxious over the fact that I haven't lost more weight before the wedding. Yes, I'm still freaking out about my double chin for my wedding photos.

But these numbers have definitely made me feel better about myself and have told me that I'm acceptable, just the way I am.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My body battle

Whoa, it's been awhile since I've been on here. Oops. No reason, really, except things have been pretty busy but also pretty much the same, so nothing really new to write about.

I'm still running and that's still going well; I should have no problem with my 5K run in September. And I think I'm starting to see the changes - however small - that regular running can make on a body. I've actually started looking at my body and thinking, "I look okay." rather than thinking, "Ugh."

But I'm also going through a body battle between what I see in the mirror and how my clothes fit (and what the scale is saying to me, the odd time I jump on it).

I was sorting through my clothes the other day, making a pile for donation, when I came across a pair of knee-length shorts that I hadn't pulled out yet this summer. I've had them for a few years but they're still holding up so I thought that I'd get one more season out of them - except they don't fit. Realizing this caused me to cry for about half an hour. (Seriously.) I got over it but I still feel bad about myself because of this. The other weird thing, though, is that other things that fit me at the beginning of the summer are now too big for me; one pair of shorts I bought two months ago are so baggy that you could pull them off me while they're still buttoned up.

And it's all very annoying and discouraging because I don't know what will fit me from day to day nor do I know if I should feel good about myself and how my body is changing because of my running or if I should feel bad about myself because I'm clearly gaining too much weight and need to stop.

I know that most people would just go with the "feel good about myself" plan, but I'm not most people and my brain just can't seem to work that way. And, of course, the wedding countdown is on (just over three months to go!) so I feel extra terrible for not being thinner than I am. But I also feel strong and proud for regularly running 5 kilometres at a time.

Really, I just don't know what cues I should be looking for in my battle with my body. Or maybe I'm just not fully accepting that I'm bigger than I ever should be and need to start some hardcore dieting STAT.

I honestly just don't know.

Monday, July 8, 2013

And then I ran five kilometres

This past week marked the final week of my Couch to 5K training program and they were all big runs - at least that's how they felt to me when I looked at the amount of time I was supposed to spend running.

In the previous week I had pushed myself a couple of times and ran through the 5-minute cool down, which boosted my overall running time to 30 minutes. And I was pretty proud of this but I wanted to make sure it wasn't a fluke, that I could actually do that more than once. So with those last three C25K runs (2 x 28 minutes, 1 x 30 minutes) I was cautiously optimistic of my success but also aware that it may not work out after all.

Turns out I needn't have worried.

The first 28-minute run I stuck to the 28 minutes and was almost able to do it; I hit 20 minutes and needed a quick walking break, so after a minute of catching my breath I ran the remaining 7 minutes. It was a bit discouraging but setbacks are to be expected, right?

The second 28-minute run went much better though; I was able to push through the extra 5 minutes at the end and top out at 33 minutes of running. I also turned on my RunKeeper app to track distance - and I clocked in at 4.9km! While I was a bit disappointed that I didn't hit 5km, I was also completely surprised that I'd even made it that far. Woot!

Then last night was the final run of the program, 30 minutes. Again I set RunKeeper to track my distance and suddenly I found myself running...and running...and running...until I'd topped out at 6km.

SIX FREAKING KILOMETRES!

Given, 0.7km of that distance was my walking warmup but still - I managed to hit 5km!

I gotta say, I'm pretty proud of myself. When I first started the program and had to do some of the first long runs (you know, 5 and 8 minutes) they were HARD. And there were times when I was pretty sure I couldn't do it and that I should just forget it and find another activity. I'm not really sure why I kept going; maybe deep down I was actually enjoying running (and now I can admit that I do enjoy running). Whatever the reason, I'm glad I kept at it. And the humidity has also helped, which is pretty much the only thing I like about the humidity. The warmer air helps make breathing easier for me. It will be interesting to see how the cooler air of fall affects me but I'm hoping I can ride the wave of summer running success into the fall and overcome any obstacles.

Overall I'm ridiculously pleased with myself and I have no problem bragging just a little!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

That song and that dance

For Cat Stevens (and Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow) the first cut is the deepest. But for a just-married couple, the first dance is the sweetest!

(Ugh, that blog opening is terrible. It's also hilariously cheesy so I'm leaving it.)

The wedding plans are coming along really well and we're trying to focus on the things that will be important to the day but also will be the main things we take away from the day as a couple. The wedding rings are a big one and we haven't made any decisions on those yet. Photos are huge but we're very happy with our photographer and we're confident there will be photos that our family and friends think are amazing and beautiful and that we'll tolerate (we both HATE having our pictures taken).

Another big one for us is our first dance song. While guests may not remember months or years later what we danced to, we sure will and that song will be representative of us as a couple for the rest of our marriage. Needless to say, a lot of thought has gone into picking that first song.

The main obstacle with finding that song comes from our taste in music. Being teenagers in the 90s, the Beau and I came of age and grew up listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Joy Division, Garbage and the rest of the grunge scene. We're also both big fans of 80s music, which will help make our reception ultra danceable, but there are few (if any) songs in our preferred playlists that fit the requirements of a first dance song.

Of course, there are SO MANY songs out there that are great for a first dance. If you're a Whitney Houston or Shania Twain fan, you're golden. If you're into the classics, like Louis Armstrong, Etta James or Nat King Cole, there are lots of great choices. And if you're a country music fan, the world is your first-dance oyster.

But what happens if you're like us and every discussion of the first dance song devolves into, "What about 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' by Joy Division?" (Seriously. Every time. And the joke has yet to get old.)

A quick online search provides many, many lists of the best first dance songs though it's clear the authors of some of these lists haven't listened to their song choices. If they had, they would know Every Breath You Take by The Police is all kinds of stalkery and voyeuristic; that Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler is all about no longer being in love; that All I Ask of You from The Phantom of the Opera is incredibly beautiful and full of a love triangle and the unrequited love the Phantom has for Christine; and that Here Without You by 3 Doors Down is completely angsty and not at all about love and marriage and being together.

We have managed to cobble together the beginning of a shortlist and there are a couple solid contenders but we're both very focused on finding a song that we both love; that is by an artist or band we both love (or at least enjoy/respect); and isn't full of lyrics about infidelity or depression or political activism or dark erotic imagery. (While I can't think of examples that fit those descriptors, we have encountered songs that seem great at first until the lyrics reveal their true nature.) We're also running into a tempo problem, where quite a few songs that have lovely lyrics and melodies are just a bit too upbeat for a first dance. And we're discovering that we both really like depressing music.

So what will that magical first song be? I guess you'll have to wait until November 9.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hot run in the summertime

Toronto summer arrived with full force yesterday. As someone who hates extreme heat I consider myself lucky that the intense humidity didn't arrive until June 23. But arrive it did and since it was hotter than a cave troll's temper and stinkier than an orc's breath, it was a day best spent inside watching The Hobbit and Arrested Development. 

It was also the perfect day to catch up on laundry since fabric could hang outside without spontaneously sweating through everything. But around 6:45 pm our neighbour knocked on our back door to alert us to the start of the rain. The laundry made it in but the forecast said there'd be thunderstorms by 8pm. I wanted to run but was waiting for the sun to set, meaning the temperature would drop by half a degree. But with the threat of rain I made the executive decision: I would go running right then.

And I did. And it was hot. And sticky. And hot. And humid. And HOT.

But I made it. It was another 25-minute run and I made it through all 25 burning minutes. And I'm happy to say that the first 18 minutes were easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Actually, it wasn't until about 22 minutes that it really started to hurt and not just from the heat. Even with the last three minutes full of pain I kept going and it was awesome. (Well, eventually it was awesome. When I was done I was done.)

And because the rain held off, the Beau was able to barbeque. It's just so nice to come home from a steamy run to find burgers on the grill, eagerly awaiting cheddar cheese and anticipating being topped with carmelized onions and BBQ sauce.

Om nom nom!
I don't always grill burgers, but when I do I grill the best burgers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jealousy, part II

Jealousy is an ugly thing that will eat away at you, even if you know it's there, even if you try to ignore it, even if you think you've succeeded at ignoring it.

I'm sure it can be overcome and properly defeated, I just haven't got there yet.

I don't really know how or when or even why my own bout of jealousy started. Sure, I've struggled with various types of envy most of my life, particularly when it comes to my body, but those have been intense bursts of "Why don't I look like that?!" followed by a cooling-down period and then all is forgotten. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but at least my envy has been manageable and I've been able to (mostly) realize it's silly to be envious and that my energy is better spent making myself happy rather than fixating on the perceived happiness of others.

Yet, despite this awareness, I found myself completely, totally and horribly consumed by jealousy of one of the Beau's ex-girlfriends.

The odd thing is that this jealousy has only reared its ugly head in the last six months or so - meaning after almost four years of dating, after buying a house together AND after getting engaged, I became jealous of an ex-girlfriend. Oh, and it should be noted that the Beau and this particular ex ended their relationship back in 2005 - so roughly four years before he and I even started dating. They have worked at reestablishing a friendship, so they are still in touch, but it's strictly platonic now.

So what gives?

I don't even know. I don't know why it happened now. I don't know why it happened towards her. I don't know why it's become so all-encompassing. I don't know why it's reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. 

What's a girl to do?

After having it bother me for a few weeks, I did a very difficult thing: I talked to the Beau about it. At first I didn't want to bring it up with him because I felt that actually putting my feelings into words would make it more real, give it more power over me; I thought that if I just battled it out in my head, I'd win.

I didn't win.

So I sucked it up and told him. I told him who I was jealous of and that it was gnawing away at me and making me scared and insecure and I hated it, but it was still there. I told him I didn't know why it was happening or where it was coming from, but that it existed and that I couldn't beat it alone. I also asked him some awful questions, like if he felt he was settling by marrying me and if he wished he'd proposed to her instead of me (his answers to both questions was an unequivocal and very decided NO). I told him I didn't know how to make it go away and that it was going to be there for the foreseeable future and that I couldn't promise it wouldn't spill over again.

His response? Hugs. Kisses. Gentle back rubbing. And the reassurance that he loved me, that I am the right person for him, that he doesn't know what to do for me but that he'll always be there for me, that he'll help me now and forever. But the most important part of his response was listening to me, not getting angry with me and not judging me.

Talking with him definitely helped but it hasn't made the jealous feelings go away completely and, honestly, I don't know if they ever will. I hope they do, but until then, the best thing I can do is to keep talking to the Beau about it and making sure he knows when I'm feeling particularly vulnerable to those feelings.

Because that's what jealousy does: it makes you feel bad about things but it also festers and if you don't talk about it, if you don't recognize it for what it is, it will continue to spread and before you know it you're fighting with the person you love about who's turn it was to empty the dishwasher and then you're sleeping in separate beds or worse separate homes, for good. And I never want that to happen.

I do plan on beating this jealousy thing though. I just don't expect it to be easy.




Thursday, June 20, 2013

MORE RUNNING!

Last night I went out running again and it was the first time since I've started that I actually wanted to go out. Usually it's all, "I have to go running now to keep up with the progress I've made." But I had planned to go in the early evening and I didn't try to make excuses or spend an hour saying, "I don't want to go running...but I have to."

It was a pretty nice feeling, I gotta say.

It was also a damn hard run - 25 minutes straight. I managed to do it, but it hurt. My allergies may be playing a part in the breathing pains I was having, but by the time I went to bed (4 hours after finishing) my lungs were still a bit sore. Even today, 15 hours later, I can still feel little twinges when I breathe deeply. I will be a very happy girl when allergy season is over. (Wait, when IS allergy season over?)

Even with the breathing challenges, I'm pretty proud of my progress though sometimes I need to be reminded to be proud. The Beau is my biggest cheerleader and after every run, when I tell him how long I ran for, he always responds with genuine enthusiasm and pride. And when I start comparing my progress to that of marathoners (which of course makes my 25 minutes seem like nuthin!) he makes sure I realize that, for most people, running for 25 minutes straight IS a big deal and should be treated as such. It's an accomplishment and shouldn't be scoffed at.

And - you know what? - I agree!


Post-run sunset. Aaaaaaahhhhh.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jealousy

It's a terrible, terrible thing.

Sigh.

RUNNING!

Last night proved to be another wonderful night for a run. Though there was a point when I almost poured myself a glass of wine but I was strong and went running first - and it was SO WORTH IT.

Last night's run was run one of week seven of the Couch to 5K program and the furthest I've made it yet with the program (last time I did it I topped out at week six). I was a little worried about the run because it was the second long run of the program - 22 whole, continuous minutes. Even though I was scared and worried that I wouldn't be able to do it, I made myself go out. The result?

I DID IT! I RAN FOR 22 WHOLE STRAIGHT MINUTES!

There was even a point where I think I was hitting the beginning of the mythical runner's high, where I felt I could go forever. This was tempered rather quickly, though, by the feeling that I was going to die but then the magical, mechanical voice in my app said "One minute left" (sweeter words I've never heard!) and I pushed through and made it. And it was awesome.

So far I'm only worrying about time spent running, not distance. I know I have to eventually focus on distance but I'm more interested in getting my endurance up. When I ran on the treadmill I was at a 7-minute-kilometre pace. If I'm doing about that outside (and I honestly don't know what my speed is) then last night's run would have put me at 3 km, or 60% of where I need to be for a 5K. (Did I mention I've registered for a 5K? No? Well, I may or may not be doing a 5K that may or may not be in September. Heh.) Of course, throwing out the 60% number takes away a bit from the 22-minute number, but I'm not discouraged by it. I've got lots of time before September, so lots of time to keep building my endurance.

I've gotta say, I was beginning to think that I'd never really be a "runner" of any kind but since I've started running outside it's been so much better. I think I just might be able to do this.

Evening run, FTW.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The wedding present backlash

So apparently there's this new trend where people write articles and blog posts decrying the outdated, old-fashioned, selfish, terrible, horrible, no good and very bad practice of not just giving gifts at a wedding but also of brides- and grooms-to-be of having the audacity to ask for presents.
(I'm sure there are more examples out there. These are the two I came across today that prompted this post.)

Because anyone getting married is a selfish jerk who should not at all expect anything from their guests. And I get it; we're asking our guests to travel for our wedding and possibly book a hotel room and those costs add up. But because our invitations do not state "GIFT MANDATORY YOU UNGRATEFUL BUM", we're okay with how we've arranged the logistics.

I'll be honest, I could have done without a gift registry. When the Beau and I set up house last October, we combined two full households. Do you know what we bought for our three-bedroom home? A bed frame, an IKEA closet (but only because our master bedroom closet was tres petite) and two couches. THAT'S IT. We already had, between us, enough furniture to furnish said three bedrooms (add: one bed frame and one closet); most of the main floor living room (add: the two couches); the dining room; the kitchen (gadgets, not furniture, but still); the basement living room; the basement den; the basement kitchen (yay storage!); the front entryway; and this interesting space we have in our dining room/kitchen that nicely accommodates our buffet and another storage cabinet and also holds one of our two desks that we use as an extra table for big family dinners.

Plus, we have bath towels, tea towels, dish cloths, flatware, stemware, dishes, a coffee maker (as well as a much-loved Keurig, which was a housewarming gift), place mats, table cloths, an iron and ironing board and all the small appliances a person could need. (Except a food processor, but we've purposely put off buying one of those so we could put it on the registry.)

I'm not trying to brag about how much we have, but instead make the point that when someone makes the argument that gift giving is outdated because it's no longer about young'uns leaving their parents' house for the matrimonial home and needing everything to set up house, I can understand the argument. When it comes to giving a gift at a wedding, it's not about "What lovely thing can I pick out for the couple that they will need and love and appreciate for years to come?" but instead "They have everything. What's the point in buying something for them?"

This, of course, is where the wedding registry comes in handy, yet many hate on it as well. Because the Beau and I have so much that we need, we made the decision to build our registry around the few things we don't have (like the food processor); one high-end item that we're honestly not expecting anyone to buy but we wanted to give the option (erm, Le Creuset); and items that will replace old/mismatched/worn out items we currently have (like new, matching coffee mugs and a full dinnerware set for 12). We also registered at Mountain Equipment Co-op as we enjoy the outdoors and could use a few more things. And I know some people who don't like registries and who would rather buy a gift they like and think the couple will like. This is fine, but I view registries as a list of what the couple wants and will use, which to me is much more practical to shop from. And since we've included some pretty things on our registry, guests can buy items that aren't just utilitarian.

I think we did alright with our registry and we were very aware of how much things cost and that we should give our guests a wide range of options to fit all budgets. And if someone doesn't give us a gift? No biggie - that guest will still get a thank-you card because that guest celebrated with us and that's what matters.

So why did we bother with the registry? I think it's about the generational divide more than anything. Guests from our parents' generation were very keen on us creating a registry so they would be able to buy us something that we wanted, rather than just give us an impersonal cash gift. Of course, some will prefer to give cash. Some will prefer to pool resources and give one gift on behalf of several couples/families. And some will give us a card and leave it at that. But it's okay because all options are wonderful and fantastic and completely acceptable.

So were did the backlash against giving wedding gifts (and wedding registries in general) come from? This is all just my opinion, as I haven't researched anything and don't have any data to back up my thoughts, but I wonder if it comes from engaged couples who have everything building a registry of more expensive items that they wouldn't normally buy for themselves but are better to give as gifts. Or maybe it comes from the brazen couples who specify cash amounts to give in lieu of gifts (a practice I consider rather gauche). Or perhaps it's simply a general backlash against the wedding industry, one that is growing and constantly demanding more and more from couples (engagement party! bachelor party! bachelorette party! stag and doe! bridal showers! rehearsal dinner! post-wedding brunch/lunch/something!) and their guest list.

Then, of course, there's the etiquette that says a guest should spend as much on a wedding gift as the couple has spent on the food/drink for said guest. I think this is a great starting point, but again, it's up to each guest how much to spend.

One thing I did wish was available when we were registering was the ability to register for events. Because we're watching our costs with the wedding planning, we're not going out as much and gift cards for dinners out, a night at the movies, theatre or museum tickets or a fancy food store would be awesome. (Perhaps this should be a new business venture...?) But even though we didn't find that, we found what works for us and we're going to share that with our guests. How they use that information is completely up to them.

When it comes to my own wedding, I view it in two ways: firstly, as a legal ceremony to officially make me and the Beau husband and wife and secondly, a celebration of this awesome new legality. He and I both want to make it a fun and fantastic experience for our guests. Anything on top of that is a wonderful bonus.

The bottom line: buy a gift if you want to. That is your right and regardless of your decision, you should expect a thank-you card. (I feel skipping the thank-you card is a bigger faux pas than skipping the gift, but maybe that's just me.) Of course, each couple will react differently to guests who don't gift and that this their right. But don't be angry because two people decided to make a list of what they want and told you where you can buy it. Go to the wedding, have fun celebrating your friends/family/work buddy/acquaintance nuptials and be sure to tell the bride she looks beautiful.

And if you're at my wedding, expect a thank-you card. (I'm really keen on those.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Real, perfect weddings - like mine, right?!

My cousin's sister-in-law recently got married and the photos have been shared over Facebook. And let me just say - the photos are amazing! The wedding was incredibly beautiful with many well-thought-out details and a lovely vintage theme. In fact, you can see some if for yourself right here!

With my own wedding fast approaching (150 days to go!) I find I both love and loathe looking at other weddings, especially real weddings.

I was never one of those girls who has had her dream wedding planned since she was a child, nor did I have a clear idea of how things just had to be once I got engaged. Because our guest list is at 180, the biggest factor when we started planning was finding the right place at the right cost to comfortably accommodate our guests. And it's all worked out just fine and I love the venues we've picked but that doesn't stop me from feeling both envious and doubtful when I see other weddings.

Of course, each couple is different and will want different things in their wedding (another cousin of mine is getting married in Mexico next February because that works for them) but that doesn't make me stop second-guessing our decisions.

It's not like it's some kind of competition - even though those things exist - or that people are going to leave my wedding and say, "Well, it would have been better if they'd done what [insert other couple here] had done." And really it's not about the wedding but about the marriage, about making it official and legal and then celebrating the awesomeness of it.

As a bride-to-be I've spent hours on Martha Stewart Weddings and other sites for ideas but I know those photos and ideas are staged to look as perfect as possible, so I take the inspiration but not the exact execution. But real weddings - man, they're always so perfect that I instantly start to worry that mine won't be. And that's what it comes down to, right? Not just the desire for a perfect wedding but the desire for everyone else to thing it's perfect.

All brides-to-be go through this, right? Right?!

(Our wedding will be perfect. I know that. Honestly, I do!)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Smooth(ie) movies

You know what? Smoothies are awesome. I've been having one every morning for breakfast and I kind of love them. I just make one each night before bed and grab it on my way to the bus stop and by the time I get to work I'm full of fruity (sometimes veggie) goodness - though I still need a coffee.

It's also a great way for me to get more fruit in my life since I'm so hit and miss with my fruit consumption. (The mad apple cravings I was having a month ago have passed.)

I've been fervently collecting smoothie recipes and I'm finally getting brave enough to change them up and add and subtract ingredients as I see fit. One thing I've done is stop making my smoothies with yogurt. While using Greek yogurt gives a smoothie a great protein boost, I'm just not a fan. For liquid, I'll use 1% milk but mostly water is just fine. I guess it depends on how think you like your smoothie; if you want to be able to walk on it, go with yogurt. If you like it a little thinner, milk or water will do that for you.

And that's a big reason why smoothies are so great: customization baby! I've already shared my love of the peanut butter-banana smoothie; here are two more I'm into right now:

Spinach-strawberry-mango-banana smoothie
1 banana
1 cup mango
1/2 cup strawberries
Handful spinach
1 cup liquid (I use milk in this one)
Then blend it up and drink it up!
I also through in one scoop of vanilla protein powder and a tablespoon of flax seed oil.

Spinach and strawberries and mango, oh my!

 Grapefruit-mango-strawberry smoothie
1 medium grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (I cheated and used stuff from a jar)
1/2 cup mango
1/2 cup strawberries
1 cup water (I feel like milk would be weird with grapefruit)
Blend and drink!
Again, I did my protein powder and flax seed additions. I don't eat a lot of citrus fruit so this is a great way for me to get some extra vitamin C.

See those grapefruit chunks in the bottom?

Monday, June 3, 2013

A (TV) marathon and my own long run

Every few weeks, the Beau and I are gifted with a Sunday where we have absolutely nothing to do - no plans, no commitments, no pressing house or wedding duties. When these Sundays roll around we do our best to enjoy them in all their lazy, responsibility-free splendor.

Yesterday was one of those Sundays.

Now, it's not very often that the plan-free Sunday is also a house-duty-free Sunday, but we hosted my book club on Saturday night and cleaned up after the party, so there was no need to do housework. Just a couple loads of laundry and we were good for the day.

The weather also cooperated with us, in that it rained on and off for most of the day so we didn't feel the least bit guilty spending the day inside, on the couches (I'm so glad we have two!), watching a TV marathon.

And no, it was not an Arrested Development marathon. Instead, we watched Orphan Black. It just so happened the season finale for Orphan Black was Saturday night and Space, the station that carries the show, ran the entire season during the day Saturday. So we PVRed all the episodes and settled in for a day of excellent TV.

What. A. Show.

Orphan Black is a sci-fi show that centres around a young woman's discovery that she is one of many clones. Who made her, where she came from, why she was made and how she can have her own biological daughter are all explored in the 10 episodes of season one and it is one hell of a story.

But while watching Orphan Black, I kept thinking about running (and not just because the characters do a lot of running, for exercise and other reasons). I wanted to keep the momentum from Friday going but I also knew what was waiting for me in my next run: 20 minutes of straight running. I had hit this point last year when I did the Couch to 5K program and I successfully ran for 20 minutes, so I was also worried about not being able to match my previous performance.

Finally, shortly after 8pm, I made up my mind: I was going for a run.

The biggest change from Friday night to Sunday night was the weather. Gone was the humidity that had helped keep the air (and my airways) warm; now I was faced with a 16-degree evening, complete with chilly breeze.

Normally that kind of temperature is what I love - perfect for walking around the neighbourhood with a coffee. But I had to run and run I did. And I made it - almost. At about the 17-minute mark, I took a 30 second walking break, then ran the remaining time. But only 30 seconds of walking. Otherwise, it was all me, all running, all success.

When I got home, the Beau was so happy and supportive about my progress and corrected me when I said that my 17 minutes of running was probably a warm-up to most people; he said that for the average person, 17 minutes of steady running was excellent and something to be proud of.

So I am proud. And I feel pretty good today, though my lungs are a little tight still from the cold last night. But because I'll be fine, it was totally worth it.

Midnight run

Okay, fine, it wasn't a midnight run. But it was an evening run (which I'm fast discovering is my favourite time to run).

When I left work on Friday, it was in the middle of a serious rainstorm. But this being Toronto, the rain didn't last long and by 8:45pm, it was still overcast but dry enough to venture outside for a run.

And what a run it was.

I'm still on the Couch to 5K program and Friday night was the second run of Week 5: 5 minute warmup; run 8 minutes; walk 5 minutes; run 8 minutes; 5 minute cool down. I'll be honest, the 8-minute sections had me a little worried but I gave it my best go anyways...and the first one was easy peasy! Not even sure why that happened but it did so I just kept going.

When I finished the second 8-minute section, I still felt really good so instead of cooling down in the last five minutes of the workout, I ran it. That's right - 13 minutes baby! And - AND - when I was done I felt GREAT!

Why it went so well can be attributed to my working at running more regularly but also partly to the humid evening that was Friday. Even with the rain the humidity hadn't dissipated completely and proved an instance where the environment didn't work against my asthma. (Because both exercise and the environment cause my asthma to flare up, it's always neat to see when it HELPS me to breathe.) The humidity helped because it kept the air warm; when the air is cold and I'm gasping for it (like when I run) it causes my airways to constrict more, making my breathing harder. That's why running in the winter can be hard unless I've got a scarf or something over my mouth - but even then it can be dodgy.

But now that it's summer and the air is moist my running is getting on track and it's awesome. And I'm finally getting not just excited about building my strength as a runner but also confident that I can keep going and keep getting better. What an awesome place to be!


My neighbourhood, post-run, late in the evening

Sunday, May 26, 2013

An indefinite scale hiatus

Remember how I said I'd start back up with the weigh-ins the Wednesday after the long weekend? Well, the more astute of you would have noticed that the Wednesday after the long weekend came and went with nary a weigh-in blog post.

Now, I did get on the scale. Turns out I weigh more than I did before I started Weight Watchers.

But here's the other thing: I've had people tell me recently (like on Thursday) that I look slimmer and I have been asked if I've lost weight.

Which means there have definitely been changes happening to my body, which is good, but they aren't changes that are necessarily identified by the number on the scale. Some of my clothes are tighter on me now but other pieces fit me the same as when I was a lower weight.

So when you combine this with my deeply entrenched angst towards other numbers (like clothing sizes) I think it might be good for me to not weigh in. I know that is a big part of the Weight Watchers program but I just don't want to take part in that weekly weigh-in anymore. I'm still going to remain part of Weight Watchers because there are a lot of benefits to it and I did successfully lose almost 20 lb before.

And I am still going to blog, to talk about the wedding and the house and my life and, yes, my efforts to get in better shape and to be healthier. It's just I can't do the scale right now. Maybe one day I will go back to it and I will find my motivation in that number but right now it's stresses me out more than it helps and if I want to get in better shape - physically, mentally and emotionally - I need to stick to the things that help, not hinder.

So now begins the indefinite scale hiatus.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The dumps

I've been in the dumps lately, for reasons known and unknown, and decided it would be a good idea to hop on the scale. You know, just to see how things were going.

Bad idea.

I'm supposed to be back into my weekly weigh-ins next Wednesday and I'm slowly coming to two realizations:

1 - My current weight may be as good as it gets for me.
2 - This completely depresses me.

Yeah.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A chewy conundrum

I've always been a snacker. Unless it's a big family dinner, I'm mostly content to just graze all day and eat a variety of things at a variety of times.

(While some weight loss plans/experts suggest this is a good thing, it requires a person to be very aware of what is being grazed upon and the bad food count can add up FAST. But this post isn't about that, so I'll leave it alone for now.)

As I've been working on improving my eating habits I've been discovering I actually like various healthy foods, like apples and oranges and smoothies. (I'm a little obsesses with smoothies right now, but ones I make at home, not the sugar bombs you can buy in the food court.) The one thing I've been discovering with healthy snacks, though, is that many of them are hard and crunchy, especially when eaten as-is. (Like aforementioned apples and nuts and baby carrots.) Sure, oranges, cucumbers, yogurt, among others, don't crunch, but they're also generally cold and juicy. Of course, they should be, so that's not the problem.

The problem is that I often get a craving for something chewy and I've yet to find the perfect healthy snack to satisfy this craving.

And when I say chewy, I mean something like bologna and cheese on Wonder Bread. Pizza with melty cheese. Pasta with meat sauce. Mushroom risotto. Food that doesn't make a sound when you eat it, except the slurping sound you make as you shovel it in. Nom.

Perhaps it's not so much my love of chewy food, but what kind of chewy food I reach for that's my problem. You'll notice the examples I listed are deliciously carby and awesome calorie bombs. And any decent eating plan will include chewy foods, carby and otherwise. I'm just still looking for the "otherwise" kind of chew that will both quash my cravings but not my weight loss goals.

Wouldn't a meatball sub be awesome right now?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Me and my wedding flowers

Perhaps it was the arrival of spring but I'm suddenly in full wedding flower mode at home! Ever since picking out the pattern for my flowers, I've known I had to actually make them but it never felt like something immediate I should do.

Then I made a to-do list of what I still had to complete for the wedding and when it topped out at almost 60 items, I figured I'd better get on the flowers! And so far, it's bee a lot of fun.

The first - and most time-consuming - step was to cut out all the petals and leaves. To make sure I made enough, I made a chart of how many flowers of each size (large, medium, small) and each colour (red, purple, book pages) I'd need for each bouquet (bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets x 5). I'm currently working with 18 flowers for mine and 12 for each of my bridesmaids. That works out to 18 + (12 x 5) = 78 flowers. Or, a LOT of cutting.

Fortunately, I have an amazingly talented card-making bridesmaid/sister-in-law who lent me her Silhouette, this magical machine that connects to your computer, reads a template and DOES ALL THE CUTTING FOR YOU. All I have to do it listen to it sing along as my petals are made.

The Silhouette and my laptop, hard at work
While the Silhouette hummed along, I did dishes, ironed, vacuumed and folded clothes. Best multitasking ever! I was even a little sad when all the cutting was done (which happened because I ran out of paper). But I did manage to squeak out everything I need, which is great. Of course, all those pieces needed to be organized; good thing I have lots of baking sheets around the house.

I won't be making cookies for awhile (also: toes)


After cutting and organizing comes assembly and, really, who can assemble flowers without TV to watch? I set up a station in the living room with all my supplies and began making flowers. I've spent two evenings so far making flowers and have assembled close to 18 of them; at that rate I'll have my bouquets made in no time!

Large red blooms come to life!

                                                                     
Large purple roses join the mix   
















Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My new-and-improved, wacky-and-wonderful eating habits

It would be easy to blame it on spring, if spring had arrived when it was supposed to. To be honest, I'm not really sure why it happened and I can't definitely point to when it happened, but it happened and it's great.

My eating habits have become pretty awesome.

Maybe it was because I decided to step away from the scale and Weight Watchers for a bit. Maybe it was because spring kept flirting with me. Maybe it was because I subconsciously felt kind of blah and decided to fix that. Whatever it was, I'm suddenly eating apples; obsessed with salads; not really wanting carbs; seriously craving protein; and starting most days with a smoothie.

Sure, I was a bit hung over this past Saturday so I had pizza and chicken bites but the next day I had a smoothie and a super healthy dinner of fish and vegetables. I still drink coffee every morning (okay, often more than one) and I still have a beer or a chocolate bar when I want one but for the most part I suddenly feel wired to want to eat better.

I was talking to the Beau about this and he told me about when he made a serious change to his eating habits many years back (before I even knew him); he wasn't looking at the scale but was focused on being active and viewing whatever he ate as what would be good fuel for his body. So maybe taking a break from the scale was the impetus behind my new habits. I have to admit, it's very tempting to hop on because I want to believe that my new habits have magically helped me lose all the extra weight I'm carrying.

But I'm going to stick to my commitment to stay away from the scale until May 22. When I do weigh in again, I'm going to have to seriously think about how I want to continue on. I know that Weight Watchers is a good program (I had great success when I first started) but maybe it's just not the program for me. Maybe the program for me involves staying off the scale while making sure I properly fuel my body.

For now, though, I have no plans to stop eating well because I'm really enjoying how it makes me feel and when I do weigh in again, it may even show up on the scale too!

And here's the smoothie recipe I'm currently obsessed with. I may add some strawberries or raspberries next time, to make it more like a PB&J in a cup!

1 cup skim milk
2 tbsp protein powder
1 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced

Blend together and enjoy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Running scared

I'm through the first three weeks of the Couch to 5K program and it's going well. Since I've been here before, I know that I can do it and that it just takes a bit of work on my part to stay motivated and to run regularly. And I could be running more regularly, but I'm doing my best with it.

But I'm also getting scared. It looks like spring has finally decided to join us and I'm worried about my allergies. Last summer, I was making great progress and was all set to do the zombie run when allergies hit and I couldn't breathe...at all...even with two inhalers and allergy medication. And I'm scared of this happening again, of my hard work being negated by circumstances beyond my control.

Normally my fears are irrational as they are the result of me assuming the worst will happen in any situation and then magnifying that by about a bajillion. But this time I know my fears are actually based in reality and - worst of all - there's not a lot I can do about it.

Sure, I can keep running - and I will - but it feels like it's just a matter of time before I'm struck down and forced to start again after months of allergy-induced breathlessness.

And after spring comes the horrible humidity that is a Toronto summer, which also makes breathing hard. Then fall, with more allergens, then winter, with cold air that burns. Now that I'm running regularly outside I don't want to go back in on the treadmill; I love feeling the sun on my face, having the wind blow through my hair, smelling the freshness of spring.

I just have to keep trying (and keep reminding myself to keep trying).

It ain't easy being wheezy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stress is okay; bridezilla is not

When picking out linens for the reception, we decided we wanted ivory table clothes with a purple overlay. Our contact at the reception venue showed us the linens; they were ecru.

"I don't want ecru linens! I want IVORY!" I screamed at her, before throwing the table cloth in her face and storming out.

That didn't happen at all. And it won't happen for several reasons: 1) our reception venue contact is a wonderful woman and I would never scream at her; 2) I would never throw anything in anyone's face; 3) ecru and ivory are pretty much the same thing to me, regardless of what wedding dress manufacturers and paint companies will have me believe; and 4) I will not become a bridezilla.

Ever since we started seriously planning the wedding, I've been very aware of what might constitute bridezilla behaviour and I've done my best to avoid it. Sure, I've had my moments (with the centrepieces and with other small things) but mostly I've just driven the Beau nutsy. I've never vented/yelled/swore at any of our vendors or suppliers and I don't plan to. But that doesn't mean I haven't felt the need to vent or yell or cry or stomp or eat a lot of ice cream.

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking; I didn't really realize how huge until I made my "Still To-Do" list yesterday.  I thought we were making great progress because of all the things we have done:

- date set
- ceremony and reception venues booked
- officiant confirmed
- bridal party set
- dress/veil/shoes bought
- mens' suits picked
- flowers picked (though not yet made)
- save-the-date cards mailed
- invitations picked (almost ready to order)
- hotel rooms booked
- dinner menu set
- photographer/DJ booked
- bridesmaids' gifts bought
- centrepieces decided on

I mean, that's a lot, right? But it's nothing compared to the 55 items I put on the list yesterday. And it really stressed me out, seeing all those things so carefully itemized. It was like they were taunting me, saying "Nyah nyah nyah nyah, you have to do us!" And I wanted to have a huge freak-out, just bridezilla all over the place.

But I didn't. Because I know I can handle this. I just don't understand why people would do this more than once! I also know that it's okay to feel a little stressed about things because we are planning a rather major life event.

And one of the things on my to-do list is picking linens for the reception but I know it will involve neither yelling nor throwing; it will be just fine.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clothing sizes: not just hellish for me

I've written about my frustration with clothing sizes before, and also about the psychological impact those numbers can have on me. I know women's sizes are messed up and an article from Best Health magazine reinforces this knowledge.

It's really interesting, actually but the most important piece of information is that
"Women’s sizes aren’t standardized in North America. “Voluntary standards were created in the 40s and 50s, but manufacturers don’t follow them,” says Lucia Dell’Agnese, associate chair of the School of Fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto. “So depending on the company, the ‘ideal’ 34-28-34 woman could be a size 4, 6, or 12.”"
 It also horrifies me that, for some, the 'ideal' waist is 28" and that is synonymous with a size 12. No wonder women all over have such trouble shopping for clothes!

I also know that this is nothing new, that clothing sizes have been wonky for a long time and, as the article mentions, that some manufacturers size their clothing based on their target market. And I also understand why clothing sizes can't be standardized because women's shapes differ as well.

But men have it easy with sizing in actual inches rather than arbitrary even numbers. I understand that women can be vain when it comes to sizes (like me cutting size tags out of my clothes so the Beau doesn't see them when he does laundry) but why can't the switch be made for women's clothing? Why are we forced to labour over the desire to be a size 2 or size 4 or whatever number is deemed 'perfect' at any given time?

Since I know that will never happen, I guess it's up to me to overcome my fixation with the number on the tag and go with what fits, regardless of size.

One day I'll overcome that. One day...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hotels: the new source of wedding stress

When the Beau and I decided to get married in Kitchener, we knew we'd need hotel rooms for our guests. While we both have family in the Kitchener area, the majority of our guests will be traveling from out-of-town so we have always planned on setting aside a block of rooms. Our reception site is close to a number of hotels so we figured we'd have our pick of them and would be able to go with the best rate.

And then we discovered there is a curling qualification tournament in Kitchener the weekend of our wedding.  And not just any qualification tournament: the winners will compete for a chance to represent Canada at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

What this means is the hotels near our reception venue that we were counting on are now full. One hotel has 5 rooms left; another has 8. So what became a wealth of choice has now become rather dire.

The other catch? Most hotels will only set aside 10-15 rooms. Sure, once those are filled they will set aside more, but our invitations aren't going out for a couple more months so by the time our guests know about the rooms available, they may be all that's available.

Gak.

I know that it's not our responsibility to make sure that all of our guests have somewhere to stay but with 180 people being invited (we're estimating 160 will come) that could mean up to 80 rooms.

I think we've hit upon a solution that will involve two hotels but the details still need to be confirmed. But if the details don't work out in our favour, I'm going to be pretty stressed. I'm trying to find what wedding etiquette says about how many rooms should be set aside. So far, no firm answer but I'm trying for about 70 rooms. If I can get that I'll sleep much easier.

I'll also be both cursing and cheering our Olympic curling teams in Sochi.

Friday, April 12, 2013

WW hiatus

I have decided to take a brief hiatus from weighing in each week. I'm still part of Weight Watchers and I'm still doing my best to follow the program, but my body has been going through some weird stuff lately.

It may be from our trip to Prince Edward County and all the delicious food we ate, but I've been feeling off recently. To look at me, I don't appear to be any heavier (and have, in fact, been asked if I've lost weight and told that I look really good) but when I get on the scale the number keeps going up.

One culprit, I'm sure, is that I feel backed up, so clearly I need more fibre in my diet. But there are other things I need to change and I need to spend some time focusing on that and not worrying about what the scale will say each week.

So what's my plan? I'm still figuring it all out, but it will involve smoothies, more fruit, more fibre, regular exercise, more weightlifting all while still treating myself when I want. I also want to keep up the good habits I have, like how much water I drink, walking whenever I can, lifting weights while watching TV and eating vegetables/salads every chance I get.

I'm not doing a detox or a cleanse; rather, I see this as a reset, a way to get myself - mind, body and soul - back to a place where I'm happy and comfortable and confident. And knowing that I have to get on the scale each Wednesday has been stressing me out of late so I need to step away and focus more on myself, rather than the numbers.

But I'll still post here, even if it isn't about my weight. And I'll be back with a weigh-in on Wednesday May 22.

Cheers!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A beautiful day for a run

Ha, just kidding! Happy April Fool's Day!

Today was actually a terrible day for a run but I still manages to do it, no foolin'!

We're at the Beau's folks for a couple of nights before heading off to Prince Edward County for a few nights. I'm bringing my running gear to PEC but who knows if I'll actually use it so I wanted to get a run in today. It was a frosty -13 this morning an the winds were at 40 km/he and I was damn chilly and my lungs hurt but I'm pretty proud of myself for doing it!

This is what it looked like on my run - brrr:




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WW Weigh-In #64

Down a bit this week. I'll take it!

Last week: 196.0 lb
This week: 195.3 lb
Total lost this week: 0.7 lb

I'm still struggling but I'm also still running and doing weights, which I hope will help. But I've really got to focus on my eating. It's starting to get away from me again, which is likely obvious from my lack of weight loss.

And I won't be around next Wednesday; the Beau and I are off to Prince Edward County for a few nights. I'll hop on the scale when I get back on Friday, while doing my best to make sure that number isn't too scary!

Friday, March 22, 2013

WW Weigh-In #63

I blame my cycle for this week's weigh in result.

Last week: 195.0 lb
This week: 196.0 lb
Total gained this week: 1 lb

But I haven been out running more and it's still kind of ugly but I'm doing it and that's what matters. I've also started doing more weights, which works out well on TV nights. No more lolling on the couch all night!

So with any luck I'll soon start seeing some results on the scale.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wedding shoes

Bought 'em today. But they're from the internet (ModCloth to be specific) so I don't physically have them yet. When they arrive, I'll post some pictures.

So very excited!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Etsy + my wedding = win

The wedding planning is coming along nicely. After the big push at the end of last year to confirm the date and secure the venue, all the other bits have been finalized rather piecemeal. But it's happening and Etsy has been a huge source of that success.

It all started when I was lamenting finding a design or designer for our wedding invitations as I wanted to have them printed locally, through a print shop where a friend works. My sister-in-law mentioned that Etsy had a huge amount of designs to purchase as well as options to work with a designer for something custom.

Several hours of (fun, awesome) browsing later and I'd found designs for the invitations and the save-the-date cards! The save-the-date design has been purchased already, through a shop called DontPanicDesign. I communicated with Amy and she was wonderful and lovely and incredibly quick at replying to my queries and getting the final files to me.

After that, I was sucked into the wonderful world of Etsy and quickly found gifts for my bridesmaids (which I can't tell you about because a couple of my 'maids read this!); my veil (which I bought from Forever Veils and should arrive soon!); and our guest book. The guest book is handmade and comes from Zenfish Leather and again the seller was able to do some custom requests for us. Shipping time will keep us from getting the guest book for a few weeks yet but when it arrives I'll share it - we're really excited about it!

I've also got an invitation design earmarked but we're still finalizing the timing and wording for the invitation. But it's all coming together and we're slowly able to cross things off our list.

We've also confirmed a few vendors, including who will make our cupcakes and our photographer/DJ. It's all coming together!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

WW Weigh-In #62

Holding steady:

Last week: 195.0 lb
This week: 195.0 lb

I haven't been out running since last weekend; the weather turned cold and that wreaks havoc on my lungs. So I've been a little lazy...so I'd better change that this week!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

WW Weigh-In #61

Oh hey, it's Sunday and I haven't updated my weight progress. I'm still getting on the scale on Wednesday (as always) but it's been a crazy-busy week and I just haven't had time to blog until now.

Last week: 195.0 lb
This week: 195.0 lb
Total lost: 0.0 lb

And I'm holding steady. And that's okay. The weather is slowly getting warmer and I'm ready to recommit to my Couch to 5K program and I'm making weights a priority in my workouts so I'm feeling good about what I can achieve.

I can do it!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

WW Weigh-In #60

I feel like I had a very good week. I did my best to eat well and I felt better overall for it. And it showed on the scale:

Last week: 196.0 lb
This week: 195.0 lb
Total lost: 1.0 lb

It's not much but it's something! I would still like to lose 25 lb before my wedding, but I'll be happy if I can lose (and keep off) 15 lb. The more I struggle with my weight the more I think 180 lb might just be were it's at for me and that the last 10 lb to 170 will be my lifelong battle.

Honestly, though, that wouldn't be bad at all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

After the Oscars

Did you watch the Oscars last night? I sure did! The Beau even watched the first 2 1/2 hours with me and we had lots of fun making fun of things.

I also entered an Oscar pool and - drum roll please - I WON! I went 21/24 and I'm pretty proud of that, considering I had only seen one nominated film this year. (It was The Avengers and it lost its category.)







 See, I won!

I mostly watch the show for the clothes and I found the red carpet to be hella boring last night. Lots of sparkly column dresses and long, flowy hair. Honestly, it looked like most of the women came straight from the beach and wrapped themselves in sequined towels.

I've also realized that many media outlets have terrible taste, as my picks for best dressed made their worst dressed lists. Silly media outlets.

My faves for the night were Naomi Watts, Olivia Munn, Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Garner and Deborah Lee Furness (aka Mrs Wolverine - she wore a pant suit! Love!).

 Naomi Watts; photo found here.

Olivia Munn; photo found here.

Amanda Seyfried: photo found here.

Jennifer Garner; photo found here.

Deborah Lee Furness; photo found here.

But even with my pool win and impeccable taste in fashion, I'm proudest of this: I snacked on veggies all night!

At one point, while whining for chocolate, the Beau said he knew where there was chocolate in the house. I told him I didn't want to know about that and that I was counting on my laziness to keep me from going to the corner gas station and loading up on crappy food. And laziness for the win, ladies and gentlemen! I did have a hot chocolate to help quell my craving - and it worked! - and for the rest of the night I chowed down on baby carrots.

(I did have one square of Lindor almond chocolate at the end of the night, but it was only one square, which is really just fine.)

Overall, I did much better last night than Seth McFarlane who, while not terrible, was at best okay. Though he's an amazing singer. AMAZING. If he had sung the entire show it would have been that much better.

(And Catwoman and Mystique totally won Oscars too, which is awesome!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm trying


Behold, my lunch and afternoon snack for today!



It's really time for me to be honest with myself (and the four people who read this blog): a big reason I slacked and pretty much stopped tracking my points is because I didn't like seeing the points values of my favourite bad foods and how quickly they depleted my daily allotment. 

Out of tracking, out of mind, right? Maybe, but definitely not out of hips.

Knowing I need to be better and that I need to try harder - and knowing how crappy I feel (mentally and physically) after junk food - I set out today to start trying. For my lunch, I had turkey on whole wheat bread with lots of veggies and regular mustard (but no cheese - sigh). The salad was chopped veg (no lettuce because, really, why bother?) topped with reduced-fat Italian dressing and bacon bits for crunch. The fruit cup I'm saving for this afternoon when I inevitably crave something sweet. 

When tallied, the sandwich, salad and fruit cup come in at six points.

SIX POINTS.

That's it. I get to eat ALL THAT and it only costs me six points. My coffee this morning was two points so all told, by this afternoon I'll only have used eight points of my allotted 31.

So with 23 points left on the day, it really feels like I have endless choices. Of course, bad food will use up those points pretty quickly so I still have to be mindful. But when I actually stop to think about it, I can eat a lot of god stuff for minimal points so not tracking because I want to have a cheeseburger is a really lousy excuse. 

I'm definitely going to try harder, not just with eating better but with tracking all that I eat, cheeseburgers and salads and donuts and fruit and all of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WW Weigh-In #59

It's my birthday today! And not only did my age go up; so did the scale.

Last week: 195.2 lb
This week: 196.0 lb
Total gained: 0.8 lb

Really, it was all my fault. My week was filled with a concert (and dinner and beer at a pub); babysitting the nephews (and using this as a good excuse to eat sugar donuts and chips); a night out for my birthday (with more dinner and beer at a pub); a holiday Monday filled with day-after-drinking fried chicken; and then Tuesday spent trying to undo it all.

In all of these situations I could have made better choices but I didn't. And I can't keep using the excuse that I want to be able to still have fun while losing weight because, often, what I like to do for fun is not conducive to weight loss.

So really, it's a matter of focusing on what's important: using fun as an excuse to not be good about my eating or finding a way to have sensible fun and still lose weight.

It would seem that the answer is obvious yet by reading this blog for the past year and a bit, it's much easier said than done.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

WW Weigh-In #58

In keeping with the weighing-in-on-time-but-posting-late theme, here we go:

Last week: 194.0 lb
This week: 195.2 lb
Total gained: 1.2 lb

Interestingly enough, I gained back exactly what I had lost the week before. That was partly because of the awesome sibling weekend we had with the Beau's siblings and their spouses. Oh, and bowling is not a physical enough activity to work off an amazing dinner at an Italian restaurant, complete with red wine, and followed by dessert at home that included cookies, orange loaf and chocolate brownies with mint icing. (Seriously, why did it take me this long to think of putting mint icing on brownies? Must try peanut butter next.)

I have been doing my best to be active this week too. Wednesday was another big walking day: I spent my day off walking down Runnymede to Bloor (a half hour walk) and then wandered around the bookstore for another hour. Yesterday was a bit harder as we went to see The Tragically Hip; the only activity was some awkward, confined-space dancing but I did do it for almost two hours. Today was more walking and some stretching and exercise band resistance work while watching a movie.

Tomorrow we're off to baby-sit the nephews overnight so some frolicking in the snow will be in order, then we'll see what Sunday brings. Plus it's Family Day weekend so I'm off Monday AND we don't have an issue going out next week so I took Tuesday off too. That means I can get some activity in on those days too!

I'm also going to make a concerted effort to really track my points. I was doing my best when I was banking all my activity points. When I did that, even when I used up all my flex points (and sometimes went into my activity points) I was consistently losing on weeks when I had activity points in the bank. And on those days when it feels like I haven't had nearly enough food to have used up so many points it's nice to see accumulating points mean something good.

There are also some changes coming at work, which I should know more about next week. And these should be good changes too so I'm excited about what's going to be happening and how that will have a positive impact on me.

I also turn 33 next week. Weird.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

WW Weigh-In #57

It's a late post again, but I did get on the scale Wednesday morning.

Last week: 195.2 lb
This week: 194.0 lb
Total lost: 1.2 lb

That's a bit better.

So how am I doing just being active? Wednesday I spent a good four hours walking - sure, it was walking around the mall but it was still four hours of walking.  Thursday saw a workout with free weights and 40 minutes on the exercise bike. Friday I was home late and didn't have time to fit in a good workout but today I'm planning a nice walk to my optometrist (an hour round trip) and bowling tonight! BOWLING! I love bowling!

And tomorrow I want another good weights workout. So overall I'm doing all right...so far.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My new fitness plan

How many times have I blogged about my latest and greatest plans for fitness and building an active lifestyle? I'd look up those posts, but frankly I'm embarrassed. I've had so many wonderful ideas that have only ever been that: I was going to get up early and exercise before work (nope - I like sleep); I was going to run regularly (this did happen - then allergies and inability to breathe kicked in); I was going to go to the gym five days a week (also happened - but I'm tired of my work gym).

So now what?

The current plan is to be active, at least five days a week. Just some kind of active. Get on the bike we have at home, go for a walk, go for a run, take a class - just be active. I'm going to try to fit something into Mondays and Tuesdays but because I work late on those days, I'm going to cut myself some slack if it doesn't happen. But if the weather is nice I'm going to at least try to get outside for a walk.

I'm also looking into classes at various gyms near my house. So far I've found zumba, spin and yoga that are offered at times I can make in locations that are close. I'm also going to get a new, nicer gym bag (so far I've been using an old one of the Beau's) and I'm going to reevaluate my workout wardrobe. If I have the pieces I need and something good to carry them in, I can make these workouts happen.

But I'm going to go easy on myself for now: just be active. I love the idea of long, hard, sweaty workouts every day but I need to face up to reality and admit to what I'll actually do. And I want to fit other things into my life, like knitting and wedding planning and seeing my fiance.

No matter what, though, I am totally capable of just being active.

So very simple.

Monday, February 4, 2013

And the end of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

I don't often look forward to Monday, but I was very glad to see it this morning. The past week (well, nine days, really) have been pretty rough for both the Beau and myself - and it was all my fault.

It all started a week ago Friday, when I came home inexplicably crushed because of my body size. I was just so upset about how big I perceived myself to be, how high my weight was, how awful I was certain I looked. Now, I have these funks from time to time and usually a night of pouting and self-pity are enough to make it go away.

Not this time.

My funk continued through the weekend, though it broke a bit Saturday night when we had friends in for dinner. But it picked up again on Sunday and only got worse when I weighed in this past Wednesday and hated the number on the scale.

Thursday was bad. Friday was worse. Saturday was really worse. But then I realized why my emotions were so erratic - I got my period. For me, the worst symptom of PCOS is irregular periods. Usually I'm pretty good at gauging my moods and figuring out if PMS is contributing to my emotional meltdowns. I thought that might be the case this past week but I was honestly a little freaked out when my mood just didn't get better for over a week.

Even figuring out the root cause didn't make me feel any better and Saturday the Beau and I almost had it out. I think we've only really fought once or twice and we don't raise our voices to each other; we get mad, but we get quiet and go to separate rooms until we calm down and then we talk it out. Saturday, though, it almost all came out. And it really sucked.

By Sunday morning, I was back to my old self: still aware I have to get in shape but at least focused on what I have to do and how I have to work at it. And it was one of those weird things, where I went to bed Saturday night unhappy with myself and woke up Sunday feeling so much better; it was almost a little scary how suddenly my mood changed.

I'm thinking it's finally time I investigate other forms of therapy, namely CBT, which will help me change the way I perceive myself and the thoughts I have about myself. It was one thing when my body image issues dragged me down and the Beau just dealt with it as best he could, but it's another when I drag him down with me and we both end up at the bottom of a spiral of despair.

It also freaks me out that simply getting my period makes me so depressed about my weight. It's one thing when I know it's coming; I can prepare myself, be ready, understand why my pants don't fit. But it's a whole 'nother thing when it punches me in the gut from out of the blue like that. Which is why I finally need to accept that I need help learning how to think better of myself. And I wonder if this will help me with my own weight loss goals in that I won't feel as guilty or beat myself up when I make a mistake and fall off the wagon completely, but instead accept it and move on.

Regardless, I know it's time for a serious change. With so many great things happening this year, it feels like just the right time to also change my self-image.