Lunch Challenge

June 29, 2009

I’m a creative of habit. I always have been. And when I think back to what I eat, I can definitely see it with my breakfasts and lunches. I’m more willing to change it up with dinner but for some reason that hasn’t carried over into my other meals. I typically eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and a sandwich each day for lunch. I’m less willing to change my breakfasts, since oatmeal is quick and filling, but I think I can change my lunches. So I’ve decided to shake things up a bit with a one-month Lunch Challenge!

What exactly is the Lunch Challenge? Well, twice a week I’m going to spice things up with something different for lunch. Something that isn’t a sandwich.

I’ve already got some ideas:

  • Salad – I’m trying to be more experimental with salad toppings and I’ve already made progress by adding things in the first place! I used to eat salad pretty bland with lettuce/spinach and dressing only.
  • Soup – This is the perfect excuse to make more sweet potato soup.
  • Rice and veggies – Who says rice is only for dinners?
  • Bean burgers – I have two frozen right now that I could definitely use.

I tried a different lunch experimentally yesterday. I ended up eating roasted sweet potato chunks (tossed in a bit of olive oil and seasoned with oregano, salt and ginger because I realized it was NOT cumin about one second too late, but it tasted fine) and a spinach salad with a bit of cheddar and croutons, tossed in aged balsamic viniagrette. It was delicious and more filling than I anticipated.

So for the next month, I’ll mix it up. I’ll keep you posted on any ideas I come across as well as what I’m eating. Maybe I’ll even sneak a picture or two on here even though I’m not super into taking pics of my eats.

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Work, dresses and fail muffins

June 25, 2009

Okie doke, so after that mega job rant yesterday, I’m feeling much better!

I went to work and straight up asked how many hours I could work per week. The answer? 15-20. Hello, 20 hours per week, a.k.a 5 more than I thought I could work and a good chunk more money on each paycheck! So I made up a fancy budget – well, it was on a Post-It but I’ve never been good at making elaborate Excel spreadsheets of my expenses – and things will work. I laid out x dollars per week for groceries, rent for the rest of the summer and looked at how much I’d have left over. Um, whoa? A heck of a lot more than I thought I would!

So worries are gone! Well, the only worry is that my dad will be like “Go find a second job” even though, like I said, I’ve tried at 50 places (applied to FOUR jobs yesterday) with no luck. So hopefully he will understand but the ‘rents are pretty supportive about stuff so I’m sure that as long as I’m not bugging him for cash, it’ll be fine.

Having just this job will work out nicely for scheduling too. Basically, I make my own schedule. Cool, right? That will be super helpful in August since I have plans three of the five weekends. Wow. The first weekend (Civic weekend, woo) I have a final exam (boo… on a Saturday too, at 9 in the A.M.). The second weekend is a weekend with the whole extended fam jam that I’m so excited for. We are doing Treetop Trekking. Oh my! I am scared of heights but it looks so exciting that I’m just going to suck it up. Aaaand finally, the last weekend in August my friends are getting married in my hometown up north so a whole weekend is required for that extravaganza!

Speaking of the wedding, I’ve gotta do some dress shopping. Normally I love shopping for dresses even though I’m not usually a girly-girl. There is just something about trying them on that I love, and its doubly better now that I’ve slimmed down and don’t have to worry about being “too big” for certain styles. Anyway, I said normally right, implying that this time it’s not so lovable.

Here’s why: Shopping for a dress for a wedding means completely different styles than, say, formal or proml. So my usual store of choice is not helpful! I’m heading down to the other mall in the city to check it out since I did a little looking online and found a couple nice looking options down there. So let’s hope they pan out! They are also on SALE which is great times a thousand and since dresses to wear to a wedding are a little less out there than formal/prom dresses, I could probably wear it again just for the heck of it.

In other news, I had my first Tim Horton’s iced capp of the year. Sadly, it will have to be my last. Since switching off a lot of dairy, I’ve noticed I’ve become even more sensitive to it than I was while still consuming it. My tummy is not a happy camper right now. I tried to settle it with some tea and a sugar-free gluten-free muffin (I’ll get to that in a sec) but it’s still hating me.

So about those sugar-free gluten-free muffins, a.k.a fail muffins. My housemate decided to bake something for one coworker that is diabetic and another with a gluten allergy. Basically they don’t have much in them and just a bit of Splenda to sweeten. They turned out very very flat and more scone-like in texture rather than fluffy muffin goodness. Too bad! I think adding some fruit like mashed banana or even unsweetened applesauce or some blueberries would have spiced them up but of course there was no way of knowing that before. So we might make another attempt just to use up the brown rice flour, even if they’re no longer diabetic friendly. I think they would be awesome with banana and chocolate chips! Yum!

Anyway, it’s off to bed for me so I can go to work and then have a dress shopping adventure tomorrow!


Wanted: a second job!

June 24, 2009

Job hunting has never been something I’ve enjoyed very much. Job hunting when there are few jobs and insane competition for those few jobs (some of which are not even that amazing – low pay and crappy duties) is the worst.

I have a folder on my computer filled with resumes – 46 to be precise. So I’ve applied to 46 jobs and haven’t been called back a single time. Ack!

I always think, maybe it’s my resume! Maybe it’s awful or there are grammar/spelling errors. But I’ve used the same resume (updated obviously) successfully for several jobs in the past. It’s gotten me many interviews and job offers. And my new resumes are error free according to my two housemates that have reviewed them. So maybe it isn’t my resume or my job skills, since I’m definitely not lacking there. I’ve done it all – Tim Horton’s (worst job ever), grocery store cashier, assistant pastry chef (best job ever), research assistant (probably 2nd best, or tied for best), camp leader, rental clerk at a ski resort, theatre usher & backstage crew. Obviously those aren’t all on my resume as I started working when I was 15 and I’m now almost 23, but I’m definitely not lacking in related experience to a lot of job I’m applying for.

It’s just really frustrating, as I normally wouldn’t have this much difficulty getting a job. Heck, I have 90% of a university degree in addition to my work experience. But, I keep trying to remind myself that it’s not necessarily me. It’s tough for everyone. I know grads from the computer science field (aka a huge field right now) who can’t find work! One works two days a week at his old summer job for a shipping company. One of my other recent grad friends had to settle for working at Staples because there wasn’t anything else out there. A fellow psych grad gets one or two shifts a week at the restaurant she works at and she can’t find anything else. Another is stuck selling shoes for the summer (she’s also a recent graduate). Basically, no one seems to be able to use their degree OR find full-time work.

I guess I should be thankful I have a job at all, but I feel like I never work (so I’m bored a lot) and my parents seem to expect that I can get a job if I just try hard enough. Well, 46 resumes is definitely trying. There is only one type of work I’m not up for and that’s fast food stuff. I’ll survive on my 10-15 hours a week of research work before I do that. One summer of working at Timmy’s was enough for me – getting up at 6am after 6 hours of sleep (from working til 11pm the night before) and then getting yelled at by cranky, uptight people on the way to the cottage deserves more than minimum wage pay.

So, I realize this was quite the rant about jobs but it’s been really bugging me lately as the summer goes on and I have only part-time work. I’m just trying to budget out my current job and if it will work out to pay for rent, groceries and have even just a little left over each month, I’ll just stick it out and not be too bothered by not having something else. But it’s hard when I know a lot of us students are used to that “I must work 35-50 hours per week in the summer or else” mindset that it’s hard to accept working only 15, even if it still adequately pays the bills.

Anyone else hating the job hunt this summer? Do you have a job right now (and do you like it) or are you like me, stuck working part-time or maybe not at all?


Am I ready…

June 22, 2009

…to ditch the scale?

One of my goals once I hit maintenance was to eventually leave the scale behind and only weigh-in once a month, if that. My goal was to maintain for 8 weeks using the scale to weigh-in and then ditch it once I got used to how much I could eat and how much activity I needed to maintain my weight. I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on that, but I’m still anxious about my plan.

I think it’s because I don’t fully trust myself. I mean, I’ve been good about maintaining and if I’ve seen a gain that I know is because I’ve ate too much or not exercised enough, I’m right on top of it. Usually I know before I step on the scale whether I’m going to have gained any significant amount based on the week I had. But the thing is, I almost never used to weigh myself. Not when I was thinner, not while I was gaining weight and not while I was at my heaviest.

I think my fears stem from the fact that when I didn’t weigh myself in the past, I let 30-40 pounds creep up on me.

I want to think I’d know better this time – that I’d realize something needed to change if I had to buy pants in a larger size like I did in the past. But I’m still kind of scared to put that kind of trust in myself.

I don’t want to be ruled by the scale for the rest of my life and I feel like if I don’t ditch it, I’ll be weighing in weekly forever. I need to be able to get to that place where I feel comfortable with what I’m eating and don’t have to weigh-in to check up on things each week. I need to be able to trust that my eating and exercise habits have changed and will continue to stay that way.

This is week 8 of maintenance for me, meaning that after Friday’s weigh-in, I should be trying to ditch the scale. After Friday, I shoudn’t be weighing again until July 26th! The thought kind of overwhelms me!

Any ideas to make it easier? If you’ve ditched the scale, how did you get away from feeling the need to weigh in so often?


This is called procrastination

June 17, 2009

So I may or may not have a paper due tomorrow and I may or may not be blogging instead of finishing it.

Even when I only have one course, I still procrastinate! When will I ever learn? 😉

I actually wrote 99% of the paper over the past two nights while at work. There’s nothing like writing a paper at 3am while trying not to fall asleep. But hey, I basically get paid to do homework and play games on my cell phone (I’m shamefully addicted to one of them right now). Technically my job is watching over the kiddies staying in the residences at the university but they’re usually out like a light by 12:30 or so, leaving me to occupy myself until 6am. It means I get a lot of school work done, since, even if my laptop didn’t completely suck, I wouldn’t have able to use the internet since I don’t think there is wireless. At least not active during the summer.

Anyway, this residence I’m in? I want to ask my dad if someone… like… died there. Or something. He lived there in first year when it was new so he might know. But seriously, there were some creepy noises going on last night. It could have just been my imagination but I nearly had a mini-panic attack a couple times until I told myself that it’s only the ventilation system making noises that sound like people talking and walking around in the halls. The halls that I could see were empty.

6am couldn’t come fast enough at some points. But I survived to procrastinate another day.

I can’t wait until this class is done. August 1st! Then I get a nice month and a half break until my easy semester of 3 classes, which I registered for the other night. This is how I feel about our online registration system:@#!%^@!

Seriously, it’s that bad. And it used to be worse. At least now they break it down by year and faculty. It used to be a mad rush of every single person in a certain year swarming the system at midnight. Second year was the worst EVER. Everyone on my floor in residence was freaking out because they couldn’t even log in at some points. But I managed to get into all the classes I wanted – yay for being in fourth year and getting first dibs. So I got my research class, one with a placement (it’s a requirement… and yes, I’m a horrible procrastinator for taking it in my last sememster of undergrad) and a distance ed bird course. Pyschology and Religion. It appears that my experience with a certain Dr. Freud will have to continue for one more class before I can say goodbye to him forever. I’ve learned about him in at least 6 classes so far. I know he was a big deal but I feel like I could recite his stuff in my sleep at this point.

In non-school related business:

I’m taking a trip home this weekend! My friend is back from China and he has a present for me! We’re probably going to end up going out for food/drinks a gazillion times on the weekend so my plan is to eat a little healthier. So far that’s only partially happened, but night shift totally throws off my eating (and I found out I was working the one evening at about 1pm that same day… so I couldn’t really prepare). I’m getting back into the exercise groove though. Did a 2.75 mile run the other day, my longest yet. Although I couldn’t quite make it to 3 (ran out of steam) I still felt pretty darn accomplished!

Well, that paper is calling my name, as is a resume or two I should write!


40 down

June 13, 2009

I have officially lost 40 pounds! When I started losing weight, I don’t think I ever could have imagined losing that much!

I know I’m technically in maintenance mode right now but I told myself I’d be okay with losing a couple more pounds as long as I wasn’t consciously trying to diet. And I haven’t been, so I’m completely fine with dropping a few more pounds. I think it’s mainly due to being busy! When I’m keeping busy, I don’t have as much time to snack and I’m also on my feet more.

My limit is 130 though – I don’t want to go below that since I have a larger frame and there are already some areas on my body that are quite slim at my current weight so I don’t think my body would be comfortable weighing less than that. I’m still not 100% satisfied with my legs but I’m trying to love them the way they are. I carry my weight in my hips and thighs and I always have so I’m sure even if I got down to a much lower weight, my thighs would still be a little larger…. but I’m trying to be okay with them the way they are. I don’t want my thighs to be the reason I think I should lose more weight. I could be stuck in that trap forever!

I know a lot of us struggle with that one (or two) body part that no matter how much weight we’ve lost, it still bothers us in some way. For me, it’s my thighs (and about once a week my stomach joins the club). I know others are frustrated with not having a flat stomach after losing a lot of weight. The list could go on and I’m sure we could all add our own less-than-perfect body part.

But really, why do we beat ourselves up over that not so flat stomach or larger thighs? I know I sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture – the weight I’ve already lost and how much healthier I am because of my new eating and exercise habits. I know so many people have come really far in their weight loss journey and I think we should be proud of that and focus on it, rather than think “if I lost another 5 pounds, my stomach would look the way I want it to” or obsess over an area on the body that isn’t perfectly toned and slim or think we have to be skinny to be healthy and beautiful.

Reaching your weight loss goal does not automatically make you love your body. I’ve learned this since achieving my goal weight as, like I said, there are days when I still find things to nitpick. I think you have to find that acceptance within yourself and realize that being a certain weight doesn’t equate to happiness. I think you have to look at yourself and see the things you love rather than the things that you consider flaws (easier said than done, I know).

So today, be proud of what you’ve accomplished and don’t let that one body part bother you. When you look at the big picture, we’ve come so far and your stomach, hips, thighs, etc aren’t going to change that!


The past week

June 6, 2009

I’ve definitely been MIA from blogging for a bit. Since I started working more hours last week, I’ve been pretty busy! Here’s a quick recap of the past week:

Sunday

Josh & I had a date night. It started with me making dinner for him (pumpkin gnocchi – I’ll have to post a recipe later) and then we ended up renting a movie and buying some frozen yogurt (chocolate… yum!). It was really nice to have a night in and spend some time together after both of us being busy during the week.

Monday & Tuesday

Both of these days were work days. I was out of the house early both days to rive to a nearby town. I spent the day doing the usual work stuff – observations and interviews. I also have a confession – I have a mad crush on the one teacher at the school we go to. I feel like I’m back in elementary school!!

On Monday, my roommates and I went for dinner to Kelseys. Going out to eat still stresses me a little – probably leftover from when I was losing weight. But I looked at my options ahead of time and planned out what I was going to get. I decided to get a chicken sandwich and swapped the fries for a salad with fat-free raspberry vinaigrette. So I didn’t do too badly at all!

Wednesday

I worked my first ever night shift starting at 11pm! I was working in a residence building at my school keeping an eye on the kids staying there for the university’s camp. It’s super easy – in fact, I basically played crazy eights and chatted with my work partner all night. It turns out it’s a small world – he went to high school with my one roommate! Anyway, I was up until 6am which brings us to….

Thursday

I went home after work and slept until 8am. I then got up to go teach a camp class at the university from 9-11am. Yes, I’m clearly insane! One of the ambassadors that stays with the school group saw me the night before and then again when he walked into the classroom. He could not believe it! I assured him I was fine – I slept during the day Wednesday and then napped when I finished night shift. Those ambassadors are the crazy ones – they’re routinely up until after midnight in the residences when they have to be back there for 8am the next morning! I can’t imagine that for two months!

Friday

I worked night shift again, 11pm-6am. Then I came home and napped until 9ish. At that point I was off to the university to participate in a research study. I had my brainwaves recorded.. super cool! Well, except for the gel they use to amplify the waves. It was gross times – I went right home and showered to wash it out of my hair. On the plus side, I got fed some cookies and paid money! Yay!

Saturday

My sleep schedule is back to normal and I have big plans for resumes today! How exciting! I also have to finish a quiz for my summer class… yuck. And maybe I’ll finally get back on the treadmill for a run.

Maintenance has been going pretty well. I’m down to 134.0 since I lost 1.0 this week and 1.5 last week. I think it’s all the running around for work and the fact that I have less time to snack since I’m out and about.

I’m off to make some lunch and then get down to business with those job apps!