Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WW Weigh-In #56


Last week: 192.6 lb
This week: 195.2 lb
Total gained: 2.6 lb

I suck.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WW Weigh-In #55

Oh hey, how's it going? Here it is, already Wednesday again. And Wednesdays mean the scale and I wasn't sure how to feel about it this week. Fortunately, 'twas good news.

Last week: 194.2 lb
This week: 192.6 lb
Total lost: 1.6 lb

You know, it's only taken me a year to realize this, but I'm finally beginning to accept the hard work that will have to go into losing the weight I want to lose and maintaining that weight loss. When I first started Weight Watchers, the first 10 pounds came off so quickly, which really was just the result of not eating like crap. The next five were not too bad but ever since then it's been a struggle and I know it's because I got cocky and started to ignore the hard work I'd have to keep doing to keep up the momentum.

And it was great to have that success but I stopped appreciating how hard it really was going to be and that's why I've been on such a weight roller coaster for the last eight months. So maybe this is the mental breakthrough that will FINALLY help me get on - and stay on - the right track. \

I know where I want to be but so far I've refused to accept that it's not only going to be hard but that it's going to continue to be hard. But hard is not synonymous with bad; it's just something I will have to work at.

Eventually, healthy eating and making the right choices will be habit for me and I'll make exercise a regular part of my life and then it will be easy. But until then it will take work, it will be hard, it will be a challenge.

Good thing I like a challenge.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's in a bridezilla?

I always promised myself I would never be a bridezilla. Long before the ring, long before the Beau, I decided that I would not be THAT bride, that I would not freak out over any of the details (big or small) and that I would not let emotion ruin what should be a wonderful time in my life.

Tonight I had my first bridezilla moment and I'm not proud of it.

The Beau and I made a trip to Michael's yesterday and picked up some things to experiment with centrepieces. I had found some submersible LED lights that came in our wedding colours and we also found some aqua gems which would colour the water as well as add filler for lights to rest on. We also picked up a wide circular vase and floating candles and started experimenting.

We used various combinations of LED lights, candles, aqua gems, plain water and other coloured gems we happened to already have and nothing really worked. We then tried wrapping a book page around a tall narrow glass and putting a candle in that but the effect was underwhelming.

And then I got frustrated and disappointed that nothing was working and I had a bit of a freak-out. The Beau rightfully pointed out that we have lots of time to figure out what we want to do with centrepieces and that we don't have use any of the things that we picked up yesterday; that we can investigate other options. And this is very true. And after talking it out, I think we have another very viable option.

So why the freak-out?

As we all know, weddings are expensive and it's something we are only going to do once. So when you're spending that much money on a one-time-only event you want it to be perfect. Of course everyone's definition of "perfect" varies and the details that one will sweat will also vary. For me, I knew the venue would be limited to what could hold our guest list. My dress was limited to my budget (which was, fortunately, flexible). Our wedding party was in our control and thankfully everyone we asked agreed to participate. So far we haven't had much to sweat about even as we've made big decisions.

What was it about the centrepieces then? Why were they the trigger for my freak-out? Honestly, I don't rightly know. All I can say is that I am striving for a certain level of perfection and, for me, perfection happens when the Beau and I look at something and we both say, "That's it!" And because that didn't happen with any of our plans, I overreacted.

The plan is for this to be my first and last bridezilla moment. We DO have lots of time to figure out things like centrepieces and we can wait until we have our "That's it!" moment and it will be perfect for us.

But for me, my battle against my inner bridezilla will be my battle against my own impatience and desire for instant perfection. We have time to make it right. And it will be right.

Heck, it will be perfect.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I love to knit and most of what I knit (okay, ALL of what I knit) is for someone else...which is just fine because I love seeing people's reactions when they open a gift and realize it's something I made for them.

Even with the wedding coming up I wanted to have a knitting project on the go and it just so happens I have several friends/family members who are either expecting or plan to be expecting in the near future. What does this mean? BABY BLANKETS of course!

And, really, blankets are quite easy (or can be, if you source the right pattern). Here's one I've started already:

Because I don't know the gender of any of the unborn babes, I'm either using gender neutral solids or this awesome pastel variegated yarn. And even though this looks all fancy-shmancy, it's a simple 4-row pattern that is repeated to the desired length, with the lacy looks being made by yarn-overs. I found this pattern on the big ball of yarn so it was a two-for-one kind of thing. And the best part of going with the pattern on the yarn ball label is that I know right away that I have the proper yarn and how much I need to get. 

This is blanket #1 and I'll be sure to post a picture of it when I'm finished. Blankets #2 and #3 will follow. This one here is for the friend who is currently with child; she's not due until April so I've got a bit of time yet. (Should I be invited to a baby shower, I figure I've got until March, which works too.) The other two blankets I have a bit more time for but I'll make sure they are good and ready for when my other baby mamas are ready!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Paper flowers

The Beau and I always wondered what we would do for flowers for our wedding as we found ourselves in an interesting position: in university, the Beau worked in a funeral home and, because of this, flowers have taken on a darker, sadder connotation for him. White roses are especially macabre as they signify dead children.

While it's easy enough to avoid flowers in centrepieces, I wanted a floral bouquet. The solution? Pinterest! Thanks to all the amazing visuals found here, I stumbled across many, MANY patterns and pictures of paper flowers and, after sharing these with the Beau, we quickly became inspired to create paper flowers for our wedding. It also proved a wonderful way to bring our love of books into the wedding theme, as we could make paper flowers out of book pages. (I feel the need to mention that we are only using books that are either really awful and deserve a second life as something beautiful or are advanced reading copies [and therefore uncorrected] that we acquired free of cost.)

After a fruitful trip to Michael's for paper and Walmart for a glue gun, I got down to work trying out some patterns we liked. Here are the results:

The origami ones were the easiest to make as it was just a matter of cutting 3" x 3" squares (one square per petal), folding and gluing five together to create a bloom. This red is very close to one of our wedding colours and I think it turned out lovely for a first try. The string of hot glue and the warped centre circle can be improved upon. But even though we both liked this one, it felt to angular and modern for the vibe our wedding is taking on. With an old-world-style venue, Gothic-style church, ivory lace dress and even a vintage-inspired engagement ring, our wedding is evolving into a vintage-esque, old-world event and we wanted to keep with that.

That said, these flowers may fit in elsewhere in the decor, but have been kiboshed for the bouquet.
(If you want to make your own, here's the tutorial I used)

The next pattern I tried was a rose out of book pages. This was the original idea so I wanted to see how it would look when completed. This particular flower consisted of four petals of five different sizes, all done freehand. The idea of doing freehand flowers is both good and bad: good because it will allow for a more organic, imperfect final product (just like roses are) and bad because it meant that making multiple flowers with multiple people could be problematic as too many different flowers can make for a lopsided bouquet. That said, I love how the printed pages looked but overall, I felt this guy was a bit too stiff. It would be easily adjusted and softened but I really wanted a template so when I recruited my bridesmaids for help (because, let's face it, this is going to happen) we would all be working with the same sizes and shapes.

(Though if you want to give a freehand rose a try, check out the tutorial I used)

And so we come to the final rose - and the winner! Again made from the same red paper as the origami flower, I made this one from a template and I'm so happy with how it turned out. There are some tweaks that can be made but seeing the final product, I KNOW this is what I want for my bouquet. The amazing template and tutorial can be found here, along with a great photo of a completed bouquet. Knowing the bouquet used 24 roses of three sizes, I can start the tracing and cutting of all the petals and have everything ready for the inevitable rose creation assembly line.

The Beau and I are headed back to Michael's this weekend to look at centrepiece options as well as to check out more paper. I hadn't realized until this week that all these undecided little details were starting to weigh on me so much; I haven't been sleeping and I've been clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth at night (clear signs I'm stressed). Having the flowers sorted has gone a long way to relieving that stress and with plans to finalize our wedding budget and to move ahead with other details, I'm confident I'll be sleeping again in no time. 

That is, of course, if I can contain my excitement at having decided on the details and having found the perfect flowers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WW Weigh-In #54

So I'm more tortoise than hare when it comes to weight loss, but sometimes that's okay.

Last week: 195.4 lb
This week: 194.2 lb
Total lost: 1.2 lb

I will get this holiday weight off and I will get more off to boot and I will look amazing for my wedding and I will reach my goals.

(Even with the Great Pants Debacle of 2013.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Great Pants Shopping Debacle of 2013

After the holidays, none of my jeans fit. (At least none of the jeans I wanted to wear; my skinny jeans still fit which was just cruel because at that point I felt everything BUT skinny.) Because denim is a staple of my office wardrobe this was a bit of a problem so I had to suck it up and venture into the deepest pits of pain and insanity and go...pants shopping.

I've mentioned before that I love shopping and I do, just not always for myself. One of my favourite shopping pastimes is to pick out clothes for the Beau and when we shop together, he always has huge success. But shopping for myself is just not that fun.

A woman needs pants, though, so the Beau and I ventured into Sherway Gardens to find me some jeans. I wanted to get good quality denim though I balk at spending $200 or more on jeans; I just can't do it. The other main factor in my pants shopping is my size and knowing what stores will fit me. I don't even bother with True Religion or Jean Machine or Aritizia because they don't carry sizes that fit my bottom half and I just don't need that kind of embarrassment. It's already hard enough going into some stores and having to go for the largest size on the rack, not knowing if it will actually fit.

So I had my stores in mind: Gap, Banana Republic and Jacob. Sherway Gardens is a fairly large mall with dozens of women's stores and I had three to go to. THREE. Roots and Eddie Bauer also made the short list if I struck out at any of these ones. We started with Banana Republic, where the Beau had to drag me away from the wrap dresses to the denim wall. I've never actually tried on pants at Banana Republic and thought I'd give it a shot - until I chickened out. I made an excuse that the pants were too expensive and we left.

Jacob was second on the list and having a huge sale so I stocked up on things to try (if I'm going into a change room, I'd better have at least four things to try on). I managed to squeeze myself into three pairs of jeans (one pair was eliminated instantly) but - miraculously - two pairs fit! I tried very hard to focus on the fact that they fit rather than the fact they were the largest size available in the store and was mostly successful. While one pair was far too long (and hemming would have eliminated the boot-cut leg) I did buy a pair of straight-leg jeans.

We then went to Gap where, after trying on eight pairs, I managed to find two (TWO!) that fit. The saleswoman at Gap was most wonderful too; I think she could tell that, for me, trying on pants was akin to death by a thousand cuts so she brought me various sizes and styles and always complimented me when I came out of the change room. The Beau was also wonderful the entire time, reminding me that it wasn't my body that was weird, it was how the clothing industry decided to size things.

So I was able to leave the mall with three new pairs of jeans. Why a debacle, you say? Because the whole experience completely destroyed my self-confidence, nevermind that I was still bloated and soft from an overly indulgent holiday. Sure, I probably went pants shopping at the worst time (body-wise) but when nothing fit, it was a necessary evil. And the frustration and self-defeat I felt was almost overwhelming. Had I been alone, there's a very good chance I would have left several stores either near tears or in tears.

Clothing sizes are so ridiculous but they still exist as another number to be applied to our bodies and it's something I continue to struggle with (and have written about here many times). Men have it easy when it comes to pants: waist size + inseam, all in inches. Women? We get that stupid 2/4/6/etc sizing and depending on the store, the number can equal different waist sizes. In one place, a size 12 equals a 32" waist while another store has size 14 at a 32" waist and yet another puts the size 14/16 at a 32" waist. And then other stores have denim sized in inches and other pants sized in single or double digits. AND they don't have pants sizes that go as high as denim sizes so when I think I've found a store where I can buy pants I learn I can only buy denim there because the pants sizes don't go big enough for me. (Seriously, who decided THAT was a good idea? Wouldn't you want a person to come back to your store for everything, not just jeans?)

After shopping, I posted on Facebook about how I'll never understand how women's pants sizes work and many of my friends expressed their own frustration - and these women were of all shapes and sizes! So that got me thinking: who on Earth are these clothing sizes made for? I mean, there must be SOME woman out there who fits into these sizes, no matter what? Because women come in all shapes and sizes and, yes, I know there's no such thing as "one size fits all", but if so many of us have problems finding pants that fit, why haven't pants sizes changed?

(Though I suppose my Facebook feed is not quite enough evidence to support my sweeping generalizations, but still.)

Today I'm wearing my jeans from Jacob and I feel good in them. They're not cutting into my stomach nor are they too tight anywhere. But this morning, after drying off from my shower, I caught sight of my belly and it wasn't pretty. So I'm conflicted: I'm sitting here in pants that fit me well and are comfortable to wear yet I know that my stomach is bigger than I'd like and that my jeans are a size bigger than I'd like. Even my successes can easily become failures.

Stupid pants.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WW Weigh-In #53

I did my best to get back on a healthy eating kick this past week and it paid off, ever so slightly.

Last week: 196.6 lb
This week: 195.4 lb
Total lost: 1.2 lb

After that embarrassing gain last week, it's nice to see the scale going down, even just a bit. It will never cease to amaze me how quickly I can put on over 7.5 lb and how hard it is to get rid of that weight. But the scale is going in the right direction and I'd like to keep it that way!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wedding dress - sneak peak!

It's just a peak - but here's my wedding dress! It's all you get to see of it until sometime after November 9th.

I love it. So much. I love it like peanut butter loves jelly. Like macaroni loves cheese. Like I love the Beau. And like he loves me.

The best day ever

I had a most wonderful day yesterday.

It actually started Saturday evening, when my (officially-future-but-unofficially-current) sister-in-law emailed me about going ice skating Sunday morning. She and I had talked about this before and thanks to her initiative it was finally to be realized. She picked me up Sunday morning and we headed off to Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail, an awesome figure-8 trail in Etobicoke. During our lovely 45-minute skate, I mentioned I was picking up my wedding dress later that afternoon and that the Beau may or may not be coming with me.

It just so happened she had no other plans for the day and when the Beau opted not to go get my dress with me, she came along and we had a lovely afternoon of shopping and lunch out.

Now, I've had plenty of days like this (though this is my first with her) so what made it so special? Sure, picking up my wedding dress was pretty awesome and having the chance to show her my first choice for bridesmaids dresses (she's also in the wedding) and getting her ringing endorsement was great. And spending a few hours wandering around Michael's was wonderful too.

But what really made it the best was the informal conversations we had that, from time to time, ventured into clothing size territory. And, for the first time in a very long time, I had a conversation about clothes sizes that didn't focus on how high (boo) or low (yay) the number was or on how a little bit of weight gain was the end of the world or how certain body types are preferred over others.

And it was so refreshing!

I don't even think she realized she was doing this, but it was wonderful to spend an afternoon with a woman who is comfortable in her body; who is aware that fitness is important but who does it to make herself feel good rather than to conform to a certain ideal; who never once said anything to me to make me feel bad about myself or my clothing sizes.

I came home and gushed all this to the Beau and how it made me realize that I look good the way I am and that it's okay to want to lose weight and to get in shape but to do it for me rather than because external influences think I should and that it's no big deal what the number is on the tag as long as the clothes fit well.

He looked and me, smiling, and said, "That's what I've been telling you!"

And, yes, he has been telling me that and of course I listened to him but I never really believed it until yesterday. It's amazing how such a simple thing - an afternoon shopping with my sister-in-law - turned in to such an epiphany-filled day.

I think I just might finally be on my way to really, truly, honestly loving myself and it's a wonderful feeling.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wedding update!

There are only 310 days until our wedding! How do I know that? The Beau and I have set a date! And found a ceremony site! And a reception venue! And picked our bridal party! And I bought my dress!

We're a bit excited about the whole thing so we've gone ahead and planned all kinds of stuff.

The Beau and I will be wed on Saturday November 9, 2013. Our ceremony will be at the Church of the Good Shepherd, where we will also be able to take pictures. This is a huge boon as it can be difficult to plan pictures in November. Our wedding is the week after daylight savings and our ceremony is at 4pm, making it almost impossible to get good outdoor shots (provided the weather worked in our favour, of course). But the church is a beautiful Gothic-style stone building and should provide ample photo ops.

After the ceremony, guests will head to the Concordia Club for cocktails and hors d'oeuvre while photos are done, then a family-style dinner of hearty German fare. And of course the day will wrap up with a few hours of lively dancing and fun times with friends and family.

With all the big things picked and confirmed, we now get to focus on the fun stuff like centrepieces, bouquets and wedding favours. Oh, and we have invitation samples and have picked our favourite so now it's just a matter of finalizing the guest list so we know how many invitations to get.

We've only been engaged two months but I feel like we're making decent headway. Some people are amazed at how much we've done, but isn't wedding planning supposed to be fun and easy like this?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"I'm not hungry, I just feel like eating"

And THAT, dear friends, is a big part of my problem.

There are many habits you learn as a child that you may think you outgrow but when you actually examine your habits you realize you've been doing it that way since you were knee-high to a grasshopper. (I do love that expression). And so is the case with me: I've always been a fast eater and an over-eater. I was always a little chubby as a kid but I grew up in the country, in a time when you shoved your kids outside after breakfast and only let them back in when it got dark. Lunch would happen, of course, but it was usually whatever the parents could cram down my throat rather than a formal affair. So being a fast eater and a heavy eater didn't matter as much because I was running around outside burning it all off.

It caught up with me in high school, when we moved further into the country and much further removed from neighbours. Suddenly I didn't have friends' houses nearby to walk or bike to or a swimming hole to spend all summer at.  And then my PCOS blossomed and suddenly none of my pants fit and I had this tire around my stomach (which is still there, BTW). Despite this, my eating habits didn't change.

And in university, of course I put on weight. I mean, my meal plan let me eat at fast food restaurants every day, every meal if I wanted and there was no one to tell me differently. Sure, I knew it was bad but this was also the late '90s and early 2000s, so the fast food industry wasn't yet the despised beast it is now, but rather a decent outlet for an occasional lazy dinner.

Even after university, when I started making a better effort to eat well, I kept up with the fast eating and eating when I felt like it, whether I was hungry or not. I'm not even sure why I became such a fast eater. I was an only child until I was 10 so I wasn't competing for food with several siblings. And when you're a fast eater you finish your reasonable portion and still feel hungry you so go in for seconds and when your body finishes digesting you're suddenly stuffed to the seams and, more often than not, in a bit of pain. I speak from too many years of experience but - and here's the rub - I keep doing it. Egad.

I know I need to slow down and I know I need to cap how much I eat and how often I eat but, honestly, it's really hard. I've been doing this since I was a wee lass and it's not easily switched off even when I know it's bad for me and that it is the main contributor to my weight and body image issues.

So this is the big thing for me to tackle this year: eat slower, eat less, eat when hungry and STOP when I'm full.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WW Weigh-In #52 - Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013! I hope everyone had a happy, healthy, fun-filled holiday season.

2012 was a great big year for me, what with buying a house and getting engaged, and that awesomeness is going to continue in 2013 since we've got a wedding to plan and a house to continue making a home.

But since it's also Wednesday, it's a weigh-in day for me. Today also marks week 52 of my WW journey - a full year! It would have been amazing to get on the scale this morning and see a nice low number but it was not to be:

Two weeks ago: 189.0 lb
This week: 196.6 lb
Total gained: 7.6 lb

Egad! That was a little more than I expected and, let's face it, a bit of an embarrassment. But - BUT - I know from experience that it's easy to lose those first five pounds simply by eating normally again. And that, combined with more diligent point-tracking, will help me get the excess holiday weight off quickly.

I also need to start exercising again, not just for weight loss but to do away with my back pain and tight muscles. I feel so good when I exercise so it amazes me a bit how lazy I've become with it. My walking plan hasn't panned out yet but that doesn't mean it won't! It really is just a matter of overcoming my own laziness.

And there's lots to share about the wedding and I need to post some pictures of our house and how we've decorated it. It's all so very exciting so here's to a fabulous 2013!