Wednesday, November 28, 2012

City Girl.

Last weekend, a bunch of us "Calgarians" went to a hockey game at the Saddledome. With the NHL lockout, it seems like taking in a WHL game on a Friday night is the thing to do for us hockey fans. I've felt like something was missing from my life, and it was the smell of the rink, the atmosphere of the game, and the team spirit. Growing up watching my brother play hockey saw a love for the sport grow within me. So, when Jenny proposed going to see a game with a group of people, I didn't hesitate to commit! 

The hockey game was great and everything, but I learned something about myself that night that has nothing to do with hockey. Allow me to paint a picture for you. My roommate Andrea and I both work until 6pm and the game started at 7pm. We knew we wanted to cab or take the transit to the Saddledome. By 6:40pm when we still hadn't succeeded in contacting a cab (ALL phone lines were busy!) we ran to catch the bus outside the apartment. We already know at this point that we are going to be late for the 7pm start time. We had to make a connecting bus downtown, but because of construction, we couldn't find the stop. Here's where the story gets good...

Andrea: "They must have removed the bus stop because of construction!"

Me: "Should we take the C-Train?" 

Andrea: "I don't know..." 

Me: "Or I could hail a cab!?" 

As I stepped off the curb slightly, and with the swift lift of my left arm holding up one finger and waving at the yellow SUV cab coming my way, the driver swerved in our direction and gave us a lift to the rink. I sat in the front seat with this goofy grin on my face, not knowing that Andrea was thinking the exact same thing I was. When we got out of the cab, Andrea just looked at me and said (something along the lines of): "You look like you've done that before!"

I had my first Carrie Bradshaw moment...This means I'm a real city girl, right?!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Motivation is the Key to Success.

What's important is not necessarily where you are, 
but in what direction you are going.

I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting last night, and I left felling extremely motivated and excited to start the program. Today is officially my first day of my new "lifestyle change." The program has changed a little bit since that last time I did it in high school. Your daily point total isn't decided upon solely by your weight, but figured out through an equation that takes into account your sex, age, height, and weight. I as given lots of resources and all of the welcome forms, and then I watched as person after person hopped onto the scales and found themselves a seat for the meeting. 

As I left work yesterday on my way to the meeting, I could feel a nauseous pit in my stomach making me question my motives and decision. To get to the building, I have to pass right by my apartment. I kid you not, I totally convinced myself not to go and turned the blinker to turn right onto my street instead of continuing straight. I was worried about so many things - would I be the only younger person? Would people judge me? Would people stare and know that I was new? Would the employees snicker about me? Would I look out of place? Talk about insecurities! Then I thought about how much I would be letting myself down if I backed out. I would just be quitting all over again - without even starting in the first place! So I went. And am I ever glad I did! 

We talked about the holidays and what to expect when you're on a diet. We talked about strategies and ways to still eat the things we love, but not over do it. I totally know that I'm starting a diet at the most inconvenient time. Christmas and the holidays are so much about family, and a lot about food too. But with will power and support, I know I can get through it and still enjoy all the Christmas fixings that I love so dearly (mmm, gravy and mashed potatoes!) 

This blog isn't going to turn into a tracking device for my weight loss. But the reason I did start this blog was to document my life and as a means to look back at this crucial and ever changing time in my life. All of the readers and support from my family and friends are just the cherry on top of a pretty sweet cake! So every now and then I might post about my successes and maybe some of my worries. 

At the end of the meeting yesterday, our instructor showed us the quote above on the board ("What's important is not necessarily where you are, but in what direction you are going.") Talk about relevant! Relevant to my new weight loss journey, relevant to my future career, relevant to my present day life. 

Did I mention that I left the meeting highly motivated?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turning Over a New Leaf.

For about two years now, I've been promising myself that I would get in better shape and lose some weight. I did DVD workout programs, dieted, and tried to go to the gym/pool more often. What I found was that most of the time I'd lose focus once, and that would ruin it for me permanently. You know what I mean? Like those evenings when you're exhausted and you say to yourself "I'll go tomorrow." Or "Just this once." In the end, I quit. I don't like that I'm a quitter, but the reality is that it was easier for me to quit than to continue. So that's what I did. 

Now I'm at a point in my life where I have a constant daily routine and I have an income that can allow me to join a gym and dieting program. So, on Wednesday I will be attending my first Weight Watchers meeting. On top of that, I have been going to the pool every Sunday to do between 1 and 2 km in lengths (minus this past Sunday - congrats to whoever won the swim meet that took up the time block that is adult lengths). I have done Weight Watchers in the past when I was in high school with my mother. We both were quite successful and I think that this program will work for me again. I think the biggest difference for me between joining Weight Watchers and dieting on my own is the fact that I will have someone to report to once a week. They will be there to weigh me in and to view my point totaling for the week. They will know when I've cheated, and I will be focused on not letting them down, and subsequently, not letting myself down.

So, in preparation for my new routine, I went out this weekend and bought a cookbook at a used book store that is full of Weight Watcher recipes and their point totals. Like my mother, I'm not a sandwich person. I like one here and there, but not every day. So what ends up happening is that I eat out for lunch or just eat little snacky things to tie me over until supper time. I need to have stuff pre-prepared that are quick and easy to reheat that I can eat for lunch. My first recipe: Chicken and Rice Soup with Vegetables. I posted pictures on Instagram and had a lot of people asking me for the recipe and commenting on how delicious it looked. I'll tell you right now - it's AMAZING! So for those of you who are interested, here's the recipe. Super easy to make, and done in under an hour. 

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
1/3 cup quick-cooking brown rice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme; cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften (about 5-6 min). Add the broth and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a cutting board; cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cover the saucepan and return to a simmer.

3. With 2 forks, shred the chicken. Add the chicken and rice to the saucepan and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and salt. 

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think! I portioned it into 4 containers (1.5 cups in each) and put them in the freezer. The book says that if you microwave them on high for 5 minutes, they'll be hot and ready to eat. 

Wish me luck!

Recipe originally from the book by Weight Watchers entitled "From Pantry to Plate - Easy Meals from Foods You Keep on Hand"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

Today is my amazing friend Amanda's 23rd birthday! Amanda and I go back about 5 years. We met when we both lived in Holy Cross House during our first year of university but didn't become the kindred spirits that we are today until our 4th year when we were RA's together in Vanier Hall. Then we became roommates during our grueling year as education students. And now we are beginning our lives in the "real" world - her in China, and I in Calgary. 14 hours apart. When this all came about it almost seemed impossible to stay in touch with someone so distant. But when you have a friend as dedicated, loyal, and kind hearted as Amanda, it's hard to not have that constant light in your life. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here, Amanda, is that I miss you and I wish you a million birthday wishes and only wish that I could celebrate with you. Hopefully this blog post will help connect us across the miles and affirm the love and admiration I have for you, friend!

On your 23rd birthday, I want to take one of your birthday blog post rituals and give it back to you. Here are 23 reasons why I'm glad I have you in my life (mostly in the form of memories):

(In no particular order): 

1. You encouraged me and motivated me to start this blog. When I complained on several occasions that I didn't know what to write about, you reminded me that the blog could just be for me. I'm thankful every time I write a post that you got me doing this, because I'll have these memories and writings with me forever. 

2. You always know the best time to have a spontaneous dance party. 

3. You love trying new things (and inviting me along for the ride). Even little things, like making banana muffins. 

4. John Cougar Mellancamp. 

5. You appreciate a classic road trip. Those road trips to Vermont are some of my favourite memories with you, and I'm so glad I have them to cherish forever. 

6. You introduced me to the joy of Gilmore Girls. I'm sorry that we didn't get to watch more of it together, but every time I watch an episode I'm reminded of you. (PS - OMG! Luke has a daughter. And Rory and no likey. He's gonna really hurt her. He has so many times already. I still don't think Luke and Lorelei are gonna get married. I can't believe he hasn't introduced her to April yet! I'll be sad when the series is over...) 

7. Friday Night Lights - all of the tears and laughter. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't loose. 

8. Remember that time you, Alex, and I went and saw the Breakfast Club in the theatre and it was my first time seeing the movie. Now I've watched it 5 times. And every time I think of you.

9. Snooty Fox. And the charm of the rooftop patio.

10. Numerous Sunday suppers.

11. Sitting on my screened in porch, sipping beer, and just enjoying each others company.

12. You always remind me how important it is to read for pleasure. I admire how quickly you go through books, and how you are always reading something for yourself. I try to be more like you in that aspect, and am thankful that I am - because I've read more in the last 2 years than I have...ever!

13. You also remind me how important it is to journal. Even if it is just a sentence or two. Those memories, when written down, can truly last forever.

14. Winning a cheer off together.

15. Thank you for introducing me to Mumford and Sons. OH MY GOSH, GOOD!

16. One thing (of many) you taught me: It's never too late for a girl talk.

17. Listening. You are the best listener I know. You make eye contact, you respond, and you give thoughtful advice. I can truly say I have never met anyone who listens like you do.

18. Honesty. Your honesty helped me grow. It helped me to be honest with myself and my friends. It made my relationships stronger, and helped me to appreciate ours even more.

19. Laughter. Cures everything.

20. You're the only person I know who drinks milk with her popcorn. I always thought it was disgusting. Until the other day. You were right. A wonderful combo!

21. I'm so glad your camera takes better pictures then mine. And that you appreciate taking pictures to commemorate the different stages in your life. Because those pictures remind me of the happiness that we have shared together.

22. Remember that time we got kicked out of Cara's room for being too loud. And the time I asked Cara to open the window and she opened it about 1mm. And all of the times we did homework in your room. And watched Grey's. And all of the girl talks we had, you, me and Cara. And hearing Cara's shoes clicking down the hallway, and my slippers shuffling. I miss those times. But so glad I have those memories.

23. Your loyalty to your friends stretches for miles, and I admire it. You have always been there for me through thick and thin, good and bad. You literally picked me off the ground when my world came shattering down upon the news of my Grandfather. You held me, gave me a shoulder to cry on, and listened to me and my insecurities. I only hope I have been as good as a friend to you as you have been to me. 

Happy happy happy happy happy happy birthday, Amanda! I hope it is all you wish it to be and more.

Love you, always!