Hello friends! I hope everyone had wonderful weekends! Mine was pretty good actually! The highlights:
- Meeting everyone doing the Santa Shuffle at the running store this weekend
- Doing my first sub-freezing run of the season (it was slow)
- Drinking whiskey and watching a game of beer pong
- Going to my first Bikram yoga class! (review coming in a couple weeks once I get the full experience – promise!)
You will have to bare with me today, as I will not be yammering about nutrition for the Food For Thought Sundays series. It will continue next week – double promise!
Today, December 5th, is actually a bit of an anniversary for me and I wanted to take pause to acknowledge it.
Exactly one year ago today, I worked my last shift at the radio station. It’s an important day for me because it was the beginning of so many changes and wonderful things that started happening in my life.
For those of you catching up, it’s good to know that I wasn’t always a personal trainer living in Toronto!
After getting a Journalism and Communications degree in the spring of ‘09, I accepted a full-time position as a radio reporter. I loved working at that radio station throughout university, loved the people, and in theory was the best job for me. But once I was there permanently, I got that gut feeling I was in the wrong place. My heart was pulling me in another direction and I quickly became miserable in the city I once loved as a college student.
After crying to my mother one night, she convinced to just set a date already and stick to it. That date was December 5th. I left the station’s doors with almost three years of great memories and learned experiences. I left what had defined me for so long. I had no idea what lied ahead. No clue what my future “career” would be or how I would make enough money to live.
I worked at a Starbucks for three weeks until I got offered an amazing job out of the blue at my old university.
Not even a week after I started this new job, my four-year relationship ended. I never blogged about it much, but it was another huge adjustment.
My university job was only a four-month contract. I loved it and it was the type of environment I could see myself being in for a long time. But I was still getting that pull. I knew I needed to get out of my small city and experience life elsewhere.
I made a decision I never thought possible, to move away from my home and family and come to Canada’s biggest city.
When my contract was up in April, I packed up my car and moved home for a month.
I’m not sure if my family knows it, but that month spent at home was hands down the best I’ve had in recent memory. A psychic once told my mom that her and I could grow old together, so it was imperative she get me out of the house or else I’d never leave!
So even though we both sobbed when I left, my mom and I knew I was off to live the life I was meant to. To experience, adventure, and act my age again.
That included a life-changing week in Banff, Alberta.
Followed by two weeks in Ottawa with my sister. We’ve now lived more years apart than together, but I feel like I left that trip with a much deeper sisterly bond.
Then, in July, I arrived to a Toronto heat wave.
Got a full-time job as a personal trainer where I am honestly blessed with the most amazing clients and space to work in.
Got a part-time job in a running store where I spend all day talking about running with runners. And eating candy.
I re-connected with university friends and met new friends through blogging.
I’m in a city that never sleeps. A constant hub of activity with never a dull moment.
I went to Chicago to meet 200 other healthy living bloggers.
I went to San Francisco to meet 400 other food bloggers.
In short, I’ve done things I never imagined possible from my little Fredericton bachelor apartment.
Leaving the radio station was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. It was more than a job to me. After so many years of hard work, it felt bizarre to just throw journalism away.
But I learned something very valuable that day, one year ago.
If you want something to change, you have to initiate it.
Happiness wasn’t going to fall into my lap. I had to make a lot of tough choices in order to find it. I just had the best year of my life, and none of it would have happened had I never had the guts to take that first step. Once I set that date, it put everything else into motion. It got the ball rolling. My life has been nothing but rich, fulfilling, and amazing ever since.
The best part is, a year into this adventure, and I know I still have more left :)
Pssst! This is your last chance! I’m doing a special giveaway tomorrow open ONLY to Facebook friends. Are you one yet?
I’m sure all of you have heard of the “Freshman Fifteen.”
Or the “Sophomore Twenty.”
How about the “Newlywed Thirty?”
Then how come no one ever warned me of the “Toronto Ten?”
Okay, honestly, I kind of suspected it might happen. In fact, I actually feared the idea of gaining weight once I moved here almost four months ago. But I thought anything noticeable would be unlikely. I exercise. I eat healthy.
I was wrong.
I did not expect exactly how bombarded I would be by delicious food in Toronto. Nor did I know that I was still lacking in many foodie experiences. New Brunswick is a fabulous place. Its culinary culture however, is severely lacking.
Toronto has Thai.
The spiciest Indian food I’ve ever had.
Boats and boats of sushi.
Cute and colourful French desserts.
An area of town devoted to my favourite food ethnicity – Greek.
A Dim Sum place on every other corner where white girls such as myself say they want the chicken feet and end up spitting it out.
It’s a city that takes its brunch very seriously, offering never ending choices of morning themed dishes on weekends.
Including a traditional Jewish brunch. Blintzes, challah French toast, beets, hummus and smoked fish.
In New Brunswick, I had to get in the car if I wanted to go to a grocery store or restaurant. In Toronto, I am just a hop away from homemade sausage.
A skip from a gelato place.
And a mere jump from the city’s best cinnamon buns.
And no matter where you are, there is a street meat stand ready and at your disposal.
Including at the entrance of the park I run in. You have no idea how tempting hot dogs smell after running 6 miles.
Toronto is also known for some signature dishes. Ones I can’t help but try out.
When Bobby Flay says it’s the best peameal sandwich he’s ever had, you eat it.
I can’t say if we actually have the best Italian food outside of Italy as some claim. However, it saved me from a pricey trip to Naples just to try the pizza.
Toronto is home to food I could have never even imagined.
A lot of bacon has been consumed in the name of foodie curiosity and adventure. Things that I know won’t be any good… but have to try just to make sure ;)
I know what you are thinking. In such a big city, it must be at least easier to find healthy food. You are correct. Produce is cheap and bountiful. There are a gazillion types of seedy breads and organic meats in grocery stores. But be careful. Not all “health” food is healthy for your waistband.
I was initially easily lured into the never ending options for juices here in the city. Every place specializes in some immunity boosting concoction. Fine. But not when paired with a full-sized meal.
Toronto loves its raw vegetables.
As well as its nut and calorie-dense raw desserts.
It’s not just restaurants to blame. The food markets and grocery stores carry so many foods I was never exposed to in New Brunswick. And so many foods I now want to try!
Including every flavour in the Whole Foods nut butter aisle.
I am of course forgetting a main contributing factor here. The beer.
My goodness. The beer.
As I’ve confessed before, I am a GWLHB. “Girl Who Loves Her Beer.”
Being a more populated province, Ontario has way more microbreweries. Also pulls in way more kinds of imported beer I’ve never been exposed to.
We can’t just blame the beer though. There’s been the odd jagerbomb as well ;)
Yesyes. It seems the change in location and lifestyle has taught me all about the Toronto Ten. Something no longer feared. Definitely not loved. But perhaps embraced.
It’s recently been decided that my time in this great city is limited. So I am open to experiencing it for all it is worth. Bacon adventures and all. I thank my lucky stars I work in a gym and running store. Otherwise, we may have to invent the Toronto Twenty.
Having a bed and a closet to put your clothes in is luxury I previously took for granted.
Things have a funny way of working out. I definitely make the decisions, but the universe still nudges me around.
Gaining weight is not the end of the world when trying to maintain a weight loss. But when you’ve been maintaining for so long, trying to lose again sucks.
There is a very real possibility that this healthy living blog will exclusively turn into a waffle blog.
I spent years being sleep deprived when an eye mask was all I needed. I now sleep close to 9 hours a night in utter darkness.
There is such a thing as too much bacon.
I shouldn’t feel pressure to blog every single day, nor should I. In order to blog about my life, I have to live it :)
I am a nerd of epic proportions, proved by squealing with delight at Harry Potter props with 13-year-olds.
This country girl may have a bit of a city girl in her.
It’s possible to wake up one day and be living the life you always wanted.
Marshmallow fluff makes the world go round.
Kensington Market eludes me.
Getting paid to meet wonderful people and put them through workouts is amazing.
I have a lot more drive and energy than I ever gave myself credit for.
It’s really important to actively stay in touch with people. Old friends, new friends, relatives. Don’t always count on others to make the connection.
Pitas make the best easy pizza crust. No, really.
I’m finally in a place where I can go out to bars with people, stay sober, and still have tons of fun. It’s taken a long time to get here.
No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can always find a sense of comfort.
Going to bed last night, I looked up and spotted the moon through my skylight. I spent a long time looking at it, just as I did as a little girl while sitting on my bedroom window seat. I think it would be so easy for me to feel an overwhelming sense of drowning in this big new city. But my heart is so full, my eyes so wide, and my mind so peaceful. Following my gut was the best thing I ever did.
Question of the Day: What did you learn in July?