Monday, June 30, 2008

The best laid plans...

D'oh, my bento plan has been scuppered by a surprise lunch invitation. A teacher came over and asked if I had brought lunch with me today and I said yes. She was a little sad because she was going to invite me to lunch with her and some other teachers. I told her I was sorry and if I'd known I wouldn't have packed it, but she just said 'how about eating it tonight?' instead and then stood there kind of awkwardly.

I didn't feel like I could say no, and they're really nice people, but it means that my carefully planned day has now been interrupted, and that the bento will go to waste as tomorrow I already have lunch plans. Unless the bento would last until Wednesday (it's Monday here now?) Thoughts anyone? It's the one from the picture below, so maybe if I kept it refrigerated it would be OK?

They haven't decided where to go yet so I have no idea what kind of food it will be.

Edit: Fuck, they said we'd be leaving at 12:30 and there is still no sign of anyone. I'm starving, and it will take a good half-hour to collect everyone and get to a place, plus ordering food time. I knew they'd be late.

Edit 2: Okay, I had a good time. The teacher came back about 5 minutes before the deadline I'd decided on and told me to get ready to go. We drove around for a friggin' hour because they couldn't decide where to go (at which point i was beginning to feel a little sick), but once I had sat down and eaten something I was feeling decidedly less grumpy about the whole situation. It also had the upside of the teachers feeling like I'm more part of the group, which helps in day to day relations.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lunch for tomorrow

120g peppered beef, yellow bell pepper, 100g boiled potatoes:

The rest of the yellow pepper, tomatoes, cream cheese:

Me :1 DVD:0

Remember when I said I'd bumped my mileage up to 2? Well after my DVD crapped out I was having to take those two miles from the 4 mile express version and just turn it off half way through. With a few days exercise under my belt it seemed to be a little easier today, so I thought that I would try the three mile.

Turns out getting through those five minutes from two to three miles (when I usually turn it off) if the hardest part. I had given myself permission to quit after three miles but when I got there found that I just couldn't do it. I reached for the remote and that little voice in the back of my head was whispering "You're not actually exhausted are you? You could keep going a bit more. You'll feel guilty if you don't because you know you can, the fourth mile is mostly cool down anyway, so it's going to get slower any second". Given that the voice is usually telling me things like 'have cheese with that' and 'cookies = good' I was particularly surprised. Maybe the voice finally filled her Valium prescription? Maybe it has an evil identical twin that is working a plot against my normal inner voice and I'm just caught in the cross-fire? MAYBE I'M PUTTING TOO MUCH THOUGHT INTO THIS!?

Whatever it was, I've just completed the 4 mile express and have eaten completely to plan since Wednesday, so things are good.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A day out

I was feeling a little bored of my DVD, and with the problems I been having with my player I didn't want to over-tax it too much, so I decided to go for a walk instead. There is a big video/DVD/CD rental place called WAY about a mile and a half down the road so I set off for it. I don't usually go down that way so it was a good walk to see what was around. Turns out it's not as far as it seemed when I'd been driven down the road before.

Some sights from my (fairly ugly) city:

I would have loved to have been on the board of marketing for this decision

I'm not going to lie, I'm not sure of the purpose of this building. Somehow I imagine an actual egg appreciation society being smaller and less organised

I walked normally so it wasn't exercise intensity, but it was a round trip of 5k and I quite enjoyed myself despite the light rain.

To all Americans: Why is it you use 5k/10k to describe a walk/race when you use imperial for everything else?

Friday, June 27, 2008

I love my fan, it keeps me sane.

Air con still not fixed. This makes two weeks.

I got home today and ate my shake/pudding thing and wanted nothing more than to collapse in front of my computer and attempt to cool off while convincing myself that I didn't have time to do my workout before I had to leave for my adult class, but the truth was I did have time and I was already sweating like a pig so why not get some good out of it?

When I tried to load my DVD it made that grinding noise again, so maybe it is the DVD player that's buggered after all. I'm thinking it might be over-heating? The room is quite warm and it sits on top of my cable box which generates heat. I've stuck a thick book under it to give it some space, but until my air con is resurrected there isn't a lot I can do to test the theory.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ready

Oh the organisation of me! I'll savour it while it lasts.

My lunch tomorrow will be 3 boiled baby potatoes, with chicken and cranberries:


Red bell peppers with cream cheese:


In a cute bento box, because if there's one thing Japan does really well it's cute:



I'm doing my best to make my food look good. I enjoy it so much more when it looks pretty rather than just bunged in a tub.

Alas poor DVD, I knew him Horatio

Last night I turned on my WATP DVD to be greeted by an unfortunate grinding noise instead of the usual group of marching wonders. My DVD, she is dead. For a horrible moment I thought it was my DVD player that had packed up, but a quick test of different DVDs proved otherwise.

I was going to leave it at that, I swear I was. Air con is still not fixed (and probably won't be for a while, fucking Japanese love for red tape, someone explain to me what they need to check with the higher ups?) and I was just going to jump in the shower and finish my shake.

A glint caught my eye as I closed the glass doors of my DVD cabinet. At the bottom of the pile was my WATP Express 4 mile I bought the last time I was exercising seriously. My fully functional Express 4 mile. Still wrapped in cellophane (the source of the light-catching glint). I was putting it in the player even as the back end of my brain was saying "You know we really don't need t-".

Wow. I usually do the WATP for the Abs series (even though I've lost my belt thing), but this one just focuses on the movement without other props.

Bitch moves.

I didn't make it through all 4 miles. I didn't even make it through 3. A combination of the heat, the fact that I was absolutely dripping sweat, and minor exhaustion, meant that I wilted just after the two mile marker was called and had to live to fight another day. I crawled into my cool shower convinced that if I were to play the tape in slow motion I'd here the 70 year old grandmother in the backing group laughing at me, so I'll give it another shot tonight and see if I can get any further.

My first day of clean eating with the shakes went well. I got hungry before bed and had a banana. Curbing late night eating has always been a problem for me, and I was cooking lunch for today at the time so that's not surprising, but I'm sure this was hunger rather than boredom or cravings so I had something little and healthy. I think technically I should be having two shakes a day, but they're really big and to be honest the powder is expensive so if I use the packets that fast I don't know if I can afford it. I made the it with milk instead of water today and I'm going to see how that makes me feel, or if I should just stick to water.

I have lunch in the staffroom fridge (chicken, potato, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes and cream-cheese, and a yogurt for a snack later) and my shake made at home already, so I feel quite well planned out for the day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Panic receeding

My panic-bought meal replacement shake powders arrived today, so fast! The company I bought them from were real sweethearts too, they answered all my emails super-fast (something you really appreciate when your outside of everyone-else's timezone) and generally bent over backwards to help me. I bought my product from their site bodybuilding.com. Stop laughing. No, seriously.

I'm not a bodybuilder, but I found a MRP there that seems really healthy, with none of the sugar flavourings, that subscribes to 40/40/30 ratio. All of its supplements seem to come from good natural sources instead of the artificial ones so common in these types of drinks. I'm not a body-builder, and won't be using these shakes 4-5 times a day the way a body builder would. I'm going to be using one as a meal replacement and then eat one regular meal a day. I may even use one packet as two meal replacements as the servings are massive! I don't really eat breakfast too much, but I had a few gulps before I left for school today and had no hunger problems. I brought some food to school with me for lunch (leftover spaghetti bolognese from last night) as I generally need food while I'm here and I don't really want 'my new eating plan' to become staff room fodder. Apparently the milkshake thickens really quickly if you leave it, so I put the leftovers in the fridge before I left and will eat it as a pudding type thing tonight.

Today is only the first day, I'll see how it goes.

I'm also just finishing my period, which now I'm feeling slightly more rational, may explain my freak-out last week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Old Mother Hubbard

My cupboards are bare! I'm doing to be making my lunch out of the sad remainders from my freezer and the potato I found on my table. That sounds even more sad when I see it typed out like this. I have to plan my meals for the next week so that I can go the grocery store today.

I bumped up my WATP to two miles today. Ha! I say that like me actually doing my WATP is a regular occurrence, when in fact I' only done in twice in recent history, but whatever - I bumped it up.

I think if I want to see any sort of difference then I have to increase my amount of planned exercise. I have a stationary job (sitting at a desk for the most part, or sometimes standing in front of a class) but walk a decent amount to get there, which means that my body is pretty much used to having a certain level of activity. I remember many a moon ago when I first started using this DVD, and how I saw a big difference quite quickly, but I was moving up from doing nothing to doing the one mile.

I suppose this is another one of those good and bad things. On one hand it's not bad that my body is used to waling a certain level, and therefore doesn't really care too much if I do another mile. On the other hand, it means more work for me to actually make a difference, and I'm not going to lie to you; I wasn't too thrilled at having to do even the one mile to begin with, so this is not cool.

I'm thinking of trying yoga. For a long time it seemed a little too hippie-dippy for me, and with my size there was no chance of me getting into the right positions without my body getting in the way. I have the flexibility of a rock though, so it would be nice to be a little more bendy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good in a bad way.

Today (in my infinite wisdom) I walked the humidity laden, sweat-drenched 0.87 miles/1.4km to school, went up two flights of stairs, sat down at my desk, and then realised I had failed to bring the power cord for the laptop I had just lugged in with me. I the had to leg it home and back again before the rest of first period finished in order to ensure that no one noticed I was gone. It was not fun.

I got back to school and attempted to look nonchalant while semi-collapsed at my desk in the staff room and furiously fanning myself.

I suppose all I can do is try to find the silver lining in this situation, which is that once I have walked home (yet again) I will have clocked up a total walkage of 3.48 miles/5.6km for the day, which is better than a slap in the face.

Yes, I could have gone without Internet for the day. I could also have gnawed off my own arm from boredom as I only have one lesson scheduled.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Panic

At the end of ESS club last night one of the girls said she had to do a presentation on her favourite subject, English, and wanted some pictures of us (in funny poses). We agreed and messed around for 5 minutes so that she could take the shot.

Afterwards she showed us the photos, and they looked so bad I felt ill. I've spent the last to days with that odd feeling of panic clawing at my throat, gottodosomethinggottodosomethinggottodosomething. I'm going home in a month; I can't look like that! I won't fit on the plane!

The rational, it has abandoned me. I went online and ordered meal replacement shakes (it took me some time to find one that wasn't LOADED WITH HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, seriously manufacturers, can we talk about counter productive?). I've never used meal replacement shakes before, except for that one time when I was 15 and it lasted a day. It was long before I realised the importance of things like protein and fibre. It may not work, but if lets me breath properly again then I'm willing to try.

I can't do this anymore guys. I'm really starting to hate myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shut UP Brain!

eateateateateateateateateateat
eateateateateateateateateateat
eateateateateateateateatea....

So far I've put my laundry on, drank some water, watched some TV, read some news, updated this blog, and am not this-close to doing my WATP 1 miles DVD again, to try and get my mind off the fact that it wants food. I'm not particularly hungry and I'm not craving any one thing, I just keep having to stop myself from going to the supermarket so I can grab junk off the shelves. I want chocolate and pocky and doughnuts and GOD DAMMIT this is hard.

Thank God I'm in my pajamas (at 19:30, I know, shut up) so I'll have to actually get changed to walk there. In the past I've found myself in front of the store with no clear memory of the walk over, as it's only a couple of minutes walk away and is open 24 hours should you find your self on binge auto-pilot. Got a craving for ice-cream at 3 in the morning? Sure thing! Want to eat your weight in chocolate? Not a problem!

I think my mistake came from the white rice today. I made mango chicken and served it with rice, then left some rice in the rice cooker to take to work with me for lunch tomorrow. Then about 3 hours later I just dove in and ate it. Not good, but not disastrous. I decided to just count that as my dinner and call it even, not the best choice but never mind. Now though, I want to eat everything! I want to make a chicken salad for lunch tomorrow and I know if I do I'll just eat it.

Oh, and it's just started raining, so if I walk over there I'll get soaked too. I don't know at this point if that is enough to stop me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Got there eventually

I went to the supermarket and got everything on the list I made up the other day. The more astute among you may realise that I intended to do this on Thursday night, but I got invited to dinner with my friend on Thursday, and then went out to dinner with two other teachers yesterday night after they came over to see what was wrong with my air conditioning. Oh the burdens of being popular!

The bad news is that my air conditioner is dead and the temperature is climbing. The good news is that they now actually believe that my ac has left for another world and will get someone in to fix or replace it. Probably replace because the one I have now is so old. All in all not too shabby.

I was going to make my mango chicken thing today, but now I'm leaning towards shrimp pasta because I think it will be a little lighter.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Update blog - check

Meals planned - check
Shopping list for meals planned - check
Soul sold to recipezaar - check check

I spent my very productive morning at work scouring recipezaar for new things to try this week/end instead of marking the ever-increasing pile of student notebooks that are about to topple over an kill anyone in the immediate vicinity. And I'd do it again!

I then decided what meals I was going to eat and made up a shopping list so I know I'm only getting things I'm actually going to use, instead of buying things I think I usually have in the house and having to clear out their wrinkled remains a week (or more) later. Progress!

Included on the menu for the next few days is the proper version of the shrimp pasta I made the other day, Chicken Ghivenci which looks like it could make a really nice pasta sauce if I left out the potato, a mango chicken stir-fry dish that I am very excited about trying, and a roasted potato and green bean dish that I'm planning on having as a main instead of a side. It's going to be a tasty weekend.

To all non-British people who read my last post: 'Chuffed' was not a misspelling of 'chafed', it's slang that means 'pleased/happy' i.e. "I'm well chuffed!". Sorry for the confusion, but thank you for all your non-chafing suggestions!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Accidental Exercise

I want to add more exercise to my regular routine, but I find that I'm really lazy about getting up and doing it. Given that I walk to school every day I was wondering how far it actually is and if it could actually be counted as exercise. Imagine my surprise when I put my route into mapmyrun.com (don't be fooled, I do absolutely no running) and found out that my walk there and back comes in at nearly 3km. That's 5 days a week!

Now, I don't do it all at once (half getting there in the morning and half getting back), and I still think I need to add more because this is just part of my lifestyle so I think my body is used to it.

But I'm chuffed.

And the beat goes on

Things are going fine. The scale hasn't really moved but it hasn't been long, so I've got to give it a chance I suppose, even if it takes a while my body won' be able to hold on to all my weight indefinitely while I'm eating right. I just have to keep telling myself that.

More everyone who wanted the recipe for Mabo-Dofu (the dinner in the last post), I got it from here.

I have to plan some more meals and then go to the supermarket because the cupboards are bare, but I like it that way. If I only have the ingredients for certain dishes then I can only make those dishes, it helps keep me on track.

Speaking of on track, I checked my bank account yesterday and was surprised by how much of my paycheck I had left. It's amazing what a difference really paying attention will do.

I went to the konbini today and heard this pineapple and lemon drink calling me sweetly from inside the chilled cabinet:


Some people would be warned away by such a startling colour, but not me. Sadly the taste did not live up to the artificial hue and I had to throw it away after just a few sips.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Going well so far

Well, the title pretty much sums it up. After I posted here yesterday I completely cleared out my fridge and scrubbed down the inside. I planned my meals for the next few days (shock, horror! I never do this), and then went to the supermarket. My eating tends to include a lot of fresh veg so I don't do a big weekly shop, I'm also hoping that planning three days at a time will mean that I actually stick to it instead changing my mind half way through.

Because I had cleared everything I had to do quite a big shop, which meant that I ended up spending 6,653 yen (just over £32, or $63 based on today's exchange rate). That's much higher that what I generally expect to spend on a grocery shop, but as I was starting from scratch it was understandable. I looked up the recipes for my planned meals and made a (long) shopping list before I went, and stuck to it. I'm also still well within my grocery budget for the month so I'm feeling really good about everything.
Breakfast: Bran flakes and a banana

Lunch: A lettuce, tomato, yellow pepper, bacon and shrimp salad, with a hard boiled egg and diet sesame dressing

How many calories is all of this? I have no idea. I don't see that as the point though, I'm more focused on the control I'm feeling now, and how I'm enjoying my food. If it doesn't make a difference on the scale then I'll start worrying about calories, but for now I'm not going to freak out about it.

Lunch started out as a cheese-less Cobb salad, but as you can see from my twitter I managed to buy the hardest avocado known to man, so had to do some last minute changes. Dinner is going to be Mabo-dofu, but I'm trying out a recipe instead of using a packet in order to make things a little healthier. I've just noticed that the recipe doesn't call for miso though, so I'm not sure if it will taste the same or not. Nevertheless, I'll give it a try and update pictures when I've made it.

ETA: I made the mabo-dofu and it tasted fine, so I was worried for nothing. It's much easier to cook than I had been imagining, so I'll definitely be making it myself from now on.

Dinner: Mabo-Dofu

Saturday, June 7, 2008

So here we are again

I got on the scale today, and it gave me a reading of 113kg. That's all but back to what I was when I began all this. It made me feel a little sick, brought a tiny little lump to my throat, and prompted me to go and do my exercise DVD.

I have been off the rails for a while now. I'm flying back home on July 22nd and I want to try and be close to where I was when I got to Japan at the very least. I don't want to go home and have people see me at this weight. I wish I could work up the ass kicking enthusiasm that would motivate readers far and wide, but the truth is that all my energy is focused on just getting through today making better choices than yesterday.

I'm tired of wasting money on buying healthy food that then rots in my fridge while I go out for dinner, or make a dent in the bakery instead.

Speaking of wasting money! I started a budget at the beginning of this pay period (I get paid on the 21st of the month), it's really been opening my eyes as to where my money goes. I've tried starting a budget before, but after a few days it's just been left by the wayside (hmmm, why does that sound familiar?). This time I made a spread-sheet and started entering every single thing I spent at the end of every single day - I really didn't realise how much more expensive it is eat unhealthily! When I factor in my (embarrassingly frequent) junk runs from the last few weeks I find a large portion of the money I spent on groceries going on just that.

For example, if I buy a pack of the sugared danish sticks that they bake next to the register (seriously, they smell amazing and the press they cook in is right. there.) it costs me 600 yen (about £2.50 or $5.50). For 600 yen I could buy 450g/1lb of fresh chicken breast (216 yen - chicken is so cheap here), half a cabbage (88 yen), a pack of those cooking sauces I like (185 yen), and some broccoli (100 yen), and still have change. Why am I wasting my money on this? And if you think those danish sticks were the only think I was buying you would be very wrong.

If losing fat won't motivate me, perhaps spending less money will?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It came as a shock to me too

Most days I'm not witty, interesting, or even coherent.

I have some stuff to do for the next week or two, and as you may have noticed there has a been a little bit of a slow down with my posts. Instead of saying I'll be back in a few days and then slinking back to this blog in two months time, I've decided to add twitter to my sidebar. I'll post when I can think of anything relevant to say that may require more than 3 lines.

Sometimes all you need is a few lines to check in with.

As I'm here anyway, food hasn't been good. Not 'I've jumped off a cliff and destroyed myself', but bad. It's only been a couple of weeks but somehow it seems forever, and I can't seem to find the turning point of this particular road.