Monday, June 29, 2009

I feel pretty

I'm wearing a new dress to work today because it arrived last weekend and it was hot when I woke up (but is now just warm and the wind tells me it will rain, d'oh! Typical).

For those not in the know, my school work clothes have consisted of black trousers and a top (or jeans and a top if it's extra cold/I'm feeling lazy/I haven't done the laundry) basically since I got here two years ago. So, to show up in a dress, even a dress with leggings under it, is apparently a big deal. The JTE I worked with today has said repeatedly how gorgeous I look (her words, sometimes usage of certain words don't quite translate so she says 'that necklace adds a gorgeousness to your outfit, but it gets the point across), and apparently it's a topic of conversation among the staff as a Japanese teacher who doesn't speak English said to my JTE that everyone thinks I look good. One one hand it's awesome to get so many compliments, on the other it's mildly creepy that they've been discussing me.

The dress is a really nice blue that would go very well with a certain orange bag. I'm just saying.

Sadly my quest for the bag is going backwards because it turns out the 103.8 was just a dip caused by the end of my monthly visit, so it looks like it's the bike for me when I get home. I'm thinking some Doctor Who while I work, now that the DVD player is up and running again.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I covet thee

I really want to buy this bag, but I've been watching my money and with me buying a new DVD player after mine broke a couple of weeks ago, I really don't have any 'fun' money going spare right now. I've nearly convinced myself to buy it a dozen times in the last few days because my laptop bag is wearing out and I need a replacement, but the truth is that I can get a much cheaper bag to serve my purposes if my old one breaks so it was really just an excuse. So, I've decided that I'm going to save it until I see a new number on the scale, than buy it as a reward.

I celebrated the arrival of my new DVD player yesterday by getting on my bike for the first time in a good 11 days. With the old player acting up for a week or so before it's final demise I couldn't really use it, so I got bored very easily and stopped exercising. A flimsy excuse at best but it was enough. I continued my exercise today, and my food have been going very well. I'm hoping to keep the biking up, even if it's only for short jaunts.

Lunch yesterday ended in far more calories than I hoped for, but I ended the day on track, so I'm calling it a success. I had to get some medical things while in town (contact lens fluid, eye-drops, allergy tablets) so I ended up spending more than I would like too, but then today I went for my big shop and managed plan my list so that I could get everything I needed with the money in my purse, rather than hitting up the ATM again. Given that originally I was going to spend less in town so I could spend more on groceries, I count that as them canceling each other out, so I'm doing fine.

Today I weighed in at 103.8kg. It's possible that that number is a little lower than it should be as it is my first day after my period has ended, we'll see. My lowest number so far as been 102.2kg, so getting to 102 or lower is my goal to get the bag.

Here we go.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday WI

Wow, that was a busy week. I've still got a couple of things to do, like recording the listening test dialogues, but I'm definitely on the home stretch.

Food had gone really well this week, especially considering that in the middle of the spider hunting I spoke about in my last post I started my period, so things could have gone really wrong. This morning I was 104.4kg, so I'm going in the right direction at least. I'm not sure what I was last Saturday, but I know the highest I saw on the scale recently has been 106.6!

I need to do my big shop at some point (I'm trying to plan enough that I just end up going to the supermarket once a week. I managed it this week so I feel really good about that), but my friend has invited me out to lunch, so I'm waiting for her. I think we're hitting Coco's for lunch, which is good because it's a family style restaurant so it prints calories/fat grams on the menu. Hopefully it will help me out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


So, at 3am this morning a big spider crawled extremely close to my head. It stopped at eye level (either to stare me down, or to say 'hey, check me out, you're not dreaming!'), then chose a small area to scurry around just to freak me out by how fast it could move. Being the sensible, self-sufficient, independent 26 year old I am, I screamed and ran into the other room with my blankets and pillows to barricade myself into the living room.

A few minutes later I ventured forth with a can a spider killer that did nothing! Except make the spider move around faster to scare me off, and change it's location to the curtain so I had nothing solid behind it with which to aid squishing. I am now convinced that all the cans of bug killer are actually compressed air to get whatever beastie you're having a show down with to move, rather than die. I'd greatly prefer the latter idea.

It ended with a stalemate. I didn't want to shake out the curtains lest the spider jump at me (something, I was extremely freaked out to witness, they can actually do here. No fair having spiders with super-speed and jumping powers Japan!), so it remained unkilled. I spent the remainder of the night on the couch, the bedroom curtains just brush my mattress so I wasn't going to risk a rude awakening. At this point it was around 4am and the adrenaline (Fight or Flight? FLIGHT! ALWAYS FLIGHT!) kept me from getting much more sleep. I have to go back home after school with the knowledge that it is lying in wait somewhere for me.

One piece of good news for the day though, a teacher has just told me that we're getting someone to fix the sound in the LL room, so we can actually use the headphones and other fancy tech stuff that has been useless since I arrived 2 years ago. The English JTEs have been waging a very quiet war against the principal because he wants to turn the LL room into a regular self study room. We have dozens of unused rooms he could do that to, but he says that we don't use the facilities so we should get rid of the only specialized language facilities we have. How's that for an argument? 'You don't use the (broken!) LL room tech, so therefore we shouldn't spend money fixing it/should get rid of it all together'! We politely remind him that were it fixed we could use it (I would love to have video clips in class, but without being able to hook up the sound my laptop speakers aren't up to it) and he says we don't use it so we shouldn't fix it. And so it continues.

We mounted a bit of a covert operation with one of the new school office workers who was on our side though, so he worked to get the budget approved by the Board of Education (they actually get the final say in this, it was just my principal wouldn't request it and they're very big on 'going through official procedure' here). The next war: Get AC installed in there, it's awful without it. But you have to pick your battles so I suppose that will be for the next budget maybe. Right now we're thinking of moving classroom for the worst summer months because it is so difficult to work in there, but we were being stubborn before because we didn't want to prove to the principal that we could make do with a regular classroom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It started out really wet this morning, with a crisp breeze blowing away the humidity and cooling off the day. However by the time lunch rolled around the rain had cleared away and the world was starting to heat up again.

I took my lunch to school so I had a decent meal then, but I after my walk home I just couldn't bear the thought of cooking, so I starting chucking things in a blender to see what I could come up with that would approximate a meal. I ended up with a portion of silken tofu, a spoonful of smooth peanut butter and a little honey, along with some milk. It was fine (better than expected) but would have been much nicer if I'd had a banana left in the house to toss in with it. If anyone out there wants an easy cool meal, then with the banana this would be close enough for me. I'm going to chop some veggies and have them with some salad dressing a little later (to balance up the nutrients), but I'm a little too full right now.

It would make a good breakfast I think as the tofu and peanut butter would keep you full. I think with the banana for sweetness you probably wouldn't need the honey, but that would depend on personal taste I suppose. The tofu gives the shake a nice rich, full texture that froths up a little and goes down smoothly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Must Remember Restraint

I am here, I'm just busy. Things are on track with food though so it's all good.

The humidity cranked itself all the way up to 88% yesterday, which was an unpleasant all round. The school finally cracked and switched on the AC 'on a trial basis to check it's working'. The Government recommends that schools don't switch it on until we get to 28C and a certain amount of humidity, so for them to go against that you know it must have been bad.

My DVD player finally gave up after acting strangely for the past week or so. It's like it heard me say I want to save as much as possible and thought 'O RELY?!!!1!' before promptly shutting down. I've found a cheap replacement but it's still money I would rather have not had to spend, especially since I've been trying to justify buying a really cute bag I have my eye on to replace another I have that is wearing out. I extra money spent replacing the player means that it's been pushed out of reach I think. I could buy it, technically I have the money, but I've only just got to the point where I've got money in savings instead of just keeping out of debt, so I don't want to spoil that. It's on sale, so I don;t know how long it will be around, but I may make it a little goal purchase, where if I stay on plan for X amount of time I can buy it. Decisions, decisions.

I was going to choose a weekend soon and head up to Osaka for the day to hit up Ikea for new bedding and stuff, but now I'm think mayhap that wouldn't end well.

Edit: Oops, I was so caught up in blogging that I didn't realise until after that I hadn't packed my lunch for tomorrow! Nice way to stay on plan huh? I went into the kitchen and whipped up some chicken/onion/veg with a dash of chili mix, and put threw some brown rice in the rice cooker though, so as soon as it's cooled I'll pack it up. That was a close one! See, it's not the intentions I get wrong, it's the actually doing it part...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

When the going get's tough..

... the tough tuck into puddings I couldn't help but link it, I loved the title. For those too lazy to click through, it's a look at why food spending doesn't tend to be affected as much during a recession.

Personally I think if you're not too fussy about food then you can eat healthily on a budget no problem. Dieting and spending money are very linked for me, if I'm on plan my groceries cost less because I'm not including a lot of prepared food that tends to be more expensive and not stay around for long because I can't stop eating. The cost of binge food adds up in ways other than on you hips! I loosely planning my lunches and dinners for the next few days so I could (horror of horrors) actually make a shopping list to follow. With a list and some idea of what I was actually making I have much less chance of filling my trolley with things that just look good, a habit that's bad for both my wallet and my waistline. I do tend to eat the same thing day in and day out during the week because my lunch is usually whatever I had for dinner the day before, but I don't mind that so it's not a big deal. My shopping list for today consisted of:

Chicken , Pork, Soft tofu, (I had no protein in the house!)
Bananas, Green peppers, Broccoli, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Onions,
Stir-fry sauces x2

I have some things at home already (a big bag of brown rice that should last me a while, juice, milk etc), but this should be me sorted 'til next weekend if I stay to plan. This cost me a total of 3185 yen (about $33). Given that everything on there was reasonably healthy and it puts me well within budget (I have just under 10,000 yen a week after bills and savings). If I count 150g of protein per meal (5.3oz, yes, I know that's a little more than a portion, but calorie-wise it works fine for me) then bought enough meat for 9 meals, and the tofu can be used for two others. I bought two different kinds of sauces to vary the taste a little, and I can use either the eggs or the oatmeal for breakfasts.

I'm lucky in that very fatty meat is prized much more highly in Japanese culture, so things like chicken tend to be quite cheap. The prices vary from day to day, but with BBQ season upon us my local supermarket had chicken for 69 yen per 100g. For those of you who aren't metric, there are 454g to the lb, so 1lb of chicken costs about 313 yen ($3.20). Chicken breast will run you a little higher, but not a lot (today it was 102yen/100g). Given that I'm going for frugality I decided to go for the cheaper stuff and spend a bit more time and effort removing parts I didn't want.

I also picked up a couple of containers to use as lunch boxes. It's no where near as cute as my bento box with it's little individual compartments, but it's microwave safe (I was never sure about my other one), and it seems like it will suit my need much better.

I'm going to go get my dinner ready and pack lunch for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eventually you have to stop planning and start doing

I don't know you guys, something is out of whack. I'm doing fine at work, and yet my eating is still out of control. Usually stress at work is one of the factors that sets me off.

I think it my be good (bad), old fashioned, will power vs laziness. Mentally I'm ready to get back to a dieting place in my life, but I'm allowing myself (and I use the phrase 'allowing' on purpose) to take the easy way out, like going to the store and buying binge food, because I get home from a hot and humid workday (the school doesn't allow air conditioning until it gets to 28C and certain percentage of humidity) and the cooling evening makes me sleepy so I don't want to cook.

Well, that can't go on forever, not if I want to keep my sanity, so here is where I take a stand. When I finish typing this I am going to find the remnants of the food from last night and toss it. I know a while back while I was doing South Beach I cut out white foods (white rice, white sugar, white potatoes) and I really think it worked for me, so I'm going to try that again. It will be difficult the first few days but it gets so much easier after that, I know it will make me feel better.

I sent very spare penny home when I got paid yesterday, so things are going to be really lean this month, but it means that my plan to start the savings I was going on about at the beginning of the year is now underway. Planning food isn't just something I want to start doing again, it's necessary for me to make lunches and be frugal with my groceries to stay in budget, so that's something that will all link up together. I need to know what I'm going to eat so I can know how much I'll need to spend and make adjustments accordingly.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Productivity: I HAS IT!

Today has been an absolutely awesome day, work-wise. I was studying kanji last night and feeling good about what I had reviewed, so in the spirit of continued productivity I made a to-do list for today. I went to bed at a reasonable time, looking forward to getting a god night's sleep and getting up in the morning (to say that this isn't usual would be an understatement).

This morning I set my alarm for 6am, and having enough sleep ensured I was actually up by 6:10. Not hitting the snooze meant that I had time to grab a shower (I usually shower at night but the weather has been humid the last few days and I really wanted to freshen myself up), pack my lunch, AND both make and eat a bowl of oatmeal calmly without worry about the time. I packed up all my stuff, took out my trash for the bin men (that's usually the one that gets left when I'm running out the door), an didn't have to fast-walk through the sticky, overcast morning.

When I got to school I kept to my list, and it has made my day so. much. better. I've felt completely on top of things all day, and I'm amazed by how much I did in quite a short space of time. I finished marking essays for one class (I still have others to do, but it was something I was really putting off so I'm glad I took a swipe at the pile), did a metric ton of photocopying for my lesson last period (each class has 40 students here! How much would that completely not fly back home?), checked out my third year lesson I have planned for tomorrow and made up another activity so I'm completely prepared for it, started writing questions for the third year exams, and went through the lesson plan carefully with my JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) and the teacher trainee that shadowing her for his university work placement. The lesson went great, the first years responded well to the song I was using and seemed to have fun.

I can't remember the last time I had such a good work day.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I woke up this morning expecting my knees to hurt because I had been kneeling most the day on Sunday to get down onto the kids level at my play station at the kindergarten. They were feeling a little raw when I went to bed. What I failed to consider was what staying in a crouched/squat position for the better part of six hours was going to do to my muscles when I woke up this morning. Let's not gussy this up by calling them glutes; my arse hurts. I've been hobbling around like one of the tiny obaachans (grandmothers), hunched over their woven carts as the go ever so slowly down the street towards the rice fields. The day was worth it though. The kids were awesome, I manned the play-dough station with pride. I was utterly amazed at how good some of the kids are at English considering their age.

Planning today has been good. I did indeed get up early, giving me enough time to have a raisin spice instant oatmeal pack, followed a little later by scrambled eggs. I packed a lunch for school the night before so everything was ready, it's so nice knowing that I have it here instead of running the gauntlet of the store. I even remembered to put two pork chops into a bag with a couple of spoon of a ginger meat glaze I found at the store a few days ago, so that should be marinating nicely for my return. I'll be able to stick some brown rice in the rice cooker when I get home and chop a little cucumber for a easy, tasty meal with fairly little effort on my part.

I think my break was a really good thing. Well, I think that because I managed to come back from it, most the time 'a short break' is really the end. I think if I hadn't I'd still be struggling and hating it. It feels quite easy again and I'm left wondering what made it so damn difficult before, because I'd forgotten, I'd forgotten what it was like to enjoy this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Wow, what a tiring day! I spent all day at the international preschool volunteering with the open day for their new building. I had such a good time! Really very knackering though, it will probably be a reasonably early night for me.

I planned quite well I think, had a filling breakfast to keep me going, did my exercise before I left, packed a light lunch, and then the owner treated us to dinner at a Japanese place. I think overall I probably went over calories a little because it's hard to judge calories in a restaurant, but I feel really good with how today went. I had left a goodly amount of calories free to account for not preparing dinner myself, and over or not I felt well in control all day. Victory! I could have easily used it as an excuse to eat crap all day.

I'm going to pack a lunch before bed so I have it to eat at work tomorrow. The most important thing is going to be to get up in time to eat breakfast. I'm hoping that will be fine because I have a lesson first thing tomorrow so I always try to be careful to get up extra early as I absolutely can't be late.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday WI

Finally finally managed a full clean day yesterday, I'm hoping it's a good sign of things to come. I know it's only been a day (and I said I probably wouldn't step on the scale for a few more) but I forgot what day it was, and with this being a Saturday I'm putting up an official weigh in to get back into a regular schedule. So without further ado:

Previous weight: 106.6kg or 234.5lbs
Current weight: 105kg or 231lbs
Difference: -1.6kg or -3.5lbs

It's amazing what a good night's sleep and the proper amount of water will do for you! I said yesterday I thought some of it might be water weight, but I was surprised how much.

My friend is picking me up at 3pm and we're going to go to the mall for a little shopping and a movie. We're going to see 'Confessions of a Shopaholic', which I've heard is kind of terrible but I want to see anyway. I remember reading the book a long while ago, and my friend was quite keen. We always see chick movies together so that she doesn't have to inflict them on her boyfriend. Given that the movie starts at 7 there is a good chance we'll be having dinner there, so I'm eating lightly today. Mindful of the fact I won't be here later I've already done my 10km.

After we get back really, really need to go grocery shopping. I'm going to be busy all day tomorrow with the international kindergarten (if I don't update again it's because I've DIED FROM THE CUTENESS), so I want to get it out of the way. Luckily (most the time, you've all heard my rates about having food available 24/7 when I'm binging) the store will be open so I can go later. Although, I've just realised it's not even noon yet (I was planning on getting up a lot later) so I could go before I guess.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 1

I got up a 5:30 in the Godforsaken morning this morning so that I could call my Granddad to wish him a happy 80th birthday before he went to bed/I went to work. I'd tried at a much more sane time the previous night, but couldn't seem to catch them. I wish I'd been able to go home for it, but it just wasn't possible.

The bad news was my weigh in, you can see the damage in the sidebar. I did weigh in with less sleep than I'd like, and I'm aware that the first couple days eating correctly with yield some water weight, but it was not a happy number. The morning was more good than bad though, seeing that weight today makes me really glad that I am trying this again now, instead of leaving it to fester for a little longer, other than that I'm trying not to dwell on it too much. I may try and give myself a few days before I weigh in again though.

The extra time this morning meant that I had a chance to shower before work instead of at night like I usually do, and I also had time to make a proper breakfast. Lunch at work has made the slide back to the convenience store, and I've started eating it earlier because I've been missing breakfast, which has lead to me being starving around 2pm, and then eating everything not nailed down when I get home at 4:30. I made myself eggs with yellow bell pepper and cheese this morning, and it's definitely made a big difference. I didn't have a huge amount of lunch stuff ready at home, so I put a banana, two kiwi fruits, and a portion of yogurt covered raisins with almonds in a bag. I'd like more protein in the future, but other than that I'm happy with it as a 'grab and go' lunch. I'm hoping that coupled with the fact that I'll eat it at a proper lunch time and the eggs are keeping the worst of the hunger at bay, that it will be fine for the day.

Today I need to get myself back into pushing the water, so I'm keeping an eye on my bottle level. This is good, I'm feeling virtuous. The real test will come late tonight later tonight when the cravings hit, I think I'll be in for a difficult few days with them as I've been denying myself very little recently. Still, chin up! Never trouble trouble 'til trouble troubles you and all that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Breathe in, breathe out

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do I wait until my motivation comes back to start exercising and eating right, or will my motivation come back after a few days of feeling the effects of eating better and the endorphins of exercise?

I really needed a break, and when I stopped updating I was hoping that not writing everything down would free up enough brain space to ease the pressure and allow me to start enjoying this whole process again. The pressure did ease, and while I don't feel bad anymore, I have yet to reclaim the dizzying heights of rapture the start of this invoked. Maybe I won't. Maybe that's the deal, and after a while it settles and it's up to us not to mistake that and give up.

I've gained weight in the last couple of weeks and that's OK. I expected it. It didn't matter because of the relief of knowing I didn't have to come on here and log the failure over and over and pretend I was really optimistic about it. I wanted to get back to regular exercise while I was away but I haven't managed yet. I've been doing more of it the last few days and have a plan to move forward with it. I was overwhelmed before, so instead I'm just going to do 10km a day. That way it's not a huge amount of time to devote to it but I still get it done. I was too hard on myself before, if I didn't do a 'good' amount (or if I did it a little slower than usual) then I wasn't successful for exercising, I was a failure for not exercising better.

Back to that egg. My motivation isn't back, but the unhealthy food is working it's way more firmly into my day and I've had a couple of binges. I figure the point when 'taking a break' starts to feel as uncontrolled as I did when I was on plan but off plan, is the time to start focusing again.

Tomorrow I'm going to weigh myself, and whatever the number happen to be is fine. It won't be the number I started at, and the fact that I'm here, perfect or not, hopefully means it won't get to my starting number again.