Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Keep on truckin'

It would be understandable at this point if you all thought you'd never hear from me again, and were no longer following this blog. It has been difficult recently but slowly I'm trying to get back to what I know is better for me in the long run. Sometimes you need a fresh start. I know all this chair hopping gets tiresome but if you'd like to keep up with me then you'll be able to find me at Bottomless, my new blog. If you haven't completely given up on me, please change your links.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And the point of that is?

My first years got set home at lunch time because of swine flu. The board of education has a system that once over a certain number of pupils have it, then the grade goes home.

Which doesn't make a lot of sense because one or two kids in the 2nd and 3rd grades have it too, but because they haven't met the numbers those grades stay at school. Which means they'll just be passing it to each other in class and club, thereby completely negating the idea that sending the first years home with help stop infection from spreading.

The three days they have off will have to be made up too. They'll have three days less in their Winter holiday. I don't think they realise that though, the vast majority of kids (that aren't sick) now officially think Swine Flu is the best thing ever.

Ah Japan, it's not so much with the logic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Staying the path

Well then, the weekend went well. I managed to keep up with my eating and get on my bike. I'm less than enthused about my bike still though, hopefully that will improve as I remember how good it makes me feel.

I made the nicest green smoothie this morning! My smoothies have ended up with an unfortunate brownish tinge recently, thanks to my habit of throwing a handful of frozen blueberries in to the mix. It tastes fine, but I tip in into a green glass so it looks more like it's supposed to. Today I changed my ingredients a little, and had nectarine, banana, spinach, and a few mangetout. Th result was a lovely bright, fresh green that I blended really well so it was smooth. It was great.

Swine flu has hit my school, and we're being told that if more than one student per class gets it then the class they're in will all get sent home. It never fails to amaze me, when swine flu first rolled around everyone was going 'OH THE HORROR, if anyone gets it we'll close all the schools in the area', but now that it's actually here? 'Oh, maybe we will cancel one class'. It makes sense on no level.

I think the overreaction to swine flu has been insane, but if you're going to cancel school cancel school, else what's the point? Canceling one class just screws up the schedule and leaves that class losing part of their Winter holiday to catch up the work they missed. It's especially back timing because the exams are coming up in two weeks. Also, the asks half the staff are wearing are driving me mad, as are their not so subtle attempts to suggest I put one on lest I accidentally brush against one of the first years.

Breath. Breath. Okay, I'm done. Back on topic.

I've been making a special effort to keep try out new recipes instead of falling into my 'meat, with veg on the side' rut I tend to get into during Phase one of SB, so far so good. Tonight I'm going to stuff some aubergines I have in the fridge and bake them, should be good!

All's well friends, let's hope it stays this way.

Friday, September 25, 2009

100 days

Well, technically 98, but round numbers sound better. Wow, how did we get to less that a hundred days before the year ends?
Chubrubb terrified me with this realization of time, but has a good post up right now about what she wants to achieve in the last 100 days of 2009, and it seemed like a good time to lay out some ideas of what I want to do too. 100 days isn't so long that I'll completely lose track of myself, so it's worth a try. It would be nice to begin next year by continuing with my goals rather than restarting.

So what do I want to do before we put a cap in the first decade of this century? I want to...

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get as close to (if not under) 100kg as I can in the time
  • Stop binging, and related to that:
  • Stay on plan solidly
  • Drink a green smoothie every day
I have been saying I want to exercise regularly for months and haven;t got my arse in gear. Rather than give myself a certain amount of km to cover (though I may switch to that i I feel it will be more motivating for me), I'm going to say 5 days a week no matter how big or small the ride. I think this will help me to get more in the habit again, I can always focus on distance later.

My second goal is something that will come as a result of achieving the others, so I don't have anything to put in place for that just yet.

Drinking a green smoothie in the morning (or starting and then finishing during the day, I have the one I started this morning in my cool thermos right now that I'm sipping from) should start me off well for the day and ensure I get my fruit and veg minimum. I will also mean that I always have at least a mouthful of something in the morning which will hopefully help me with my other two goals.

The only way I'm going to stop binging on stay on plan is to plan my time better. Make sure I eat breakfast every day before school, and make a lunch (either the night before or the morning of, but be honest with myself over whether I will really get up to make it). Plan out snacks, and make sure one of those snacks is around the end of school so I'm not climbing the walls looking for food by the end of work. The times I'm most prone to just buying food is school lunch and directly after school. These hungry times often lead to binges ('if I'm going to buy ready made food I may as well') and it doesn't need to.

Just keep repeating to myself: I don't want to make today (or tomorrow) the day, I want to make now the moment.

What are you going to do for you in the last hundred days?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Biggering

I'm biggering again. It's an issue. Such a large issue in fact that it has required me to go back to my old size clothes, which makes me kind of sad.

I got lazy. After my experience I intended to keep making stuff for myself but there were nights when I was tired and hungry, and wanted things now now now! So I'd go the store and buy something. 'Eat anything I want provided I make it' became 'Make most things but have a treat now and then' became 'Binge eat anything I want and promise I'll get back to other stuff soon'.

Obviously this can't continue, so I'm starting South Beach again. I was making the excuse that produce is SO EXPENSIVE here, but I'm willing to shell out the extra money for specialized ingredients and imported ingredients, so why not for this? No real reason other than the fact that I'm justifying it differently in my head.

I had a bit of a false start today; I overslept which meant that all my planning kind of went out the window. I did try my first ever green smoothie today which was better than I imagined, so that's a step in the right direction. My blender made an unfortunate grinding noise that I think was it's death rattle, so I'm going to have to get a new one.

Sigh, lather rinse repeat.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking for a healthy dinner?

I made a bean burger thing that was incredibly quick and simple, but OMG good! Check it out here if you'd like. I accidentally made it with soybeans instead of chickpeas, but it was delicious either way.

How is exercise so easy when you're doing it and so hard when you're not (shouldn't that be the other way around?)? A month went by with the only action my bike saw being side work as a clothes hanger, and yet I've done 95km in the last 4 days no problem? Life is funny sometimes.

I'm back to my old problem of finding stuff to watch though, luckily amazon.co.uk stepped in to help me. They're doing a sale right now, 'Will & Grace' season box-sets are only £7.98 (about $13) so, um, I bought 7 of them. Looks like I won't have a problem with TV choices for a while.

My food order arrives tomorrow: excitement! Now to figure out what I'm going to make with it...

Monday, September 7, 2009

I swear I'm not getting paid for this

I was sorting through my bookmarks last night when I came across a link to Tengu Natural Foods that I'd bookmarked ages ago and meant to explore, then forgotten about. Man, have been missing out!

I think I've mentioned how Japan tends to be all white, all the time, when it comes to most carbohydrates. With me cooking more now I really miss the variety that I used to take for granted back in the UK. Imagine my delight when I finally check out this site and realise it's an organic/health and vegetarian alternative food supplier. It has wholewheat versions of flour, rice, pasta, as well as completely different versions for people with wheat allergies. It also has a choice of grains and other things that I would have a really hard time finding in any non-specialist store. I put an order through last night for:

Quinoa
Whole Wheat Couscous
Bulgur Wheat
Kamut Fusill
Spelt Penne
Whole Wheat Spaghetti

This is going to be awesome! I can still make whatever I want and just replace parts of the recipes with healthier versions. I was getting really frustrated with the unrelenting 'sameness' of many ingredients, and now I can change it up a bit. I was seriously considering buying it internationally and shipping it here, but the shipping costs would have been so high, I'd been putting of off. As this site is based in Japan it's really cheap to ship!

I made a big order of cookbooks from amazon.co.jp on Friday and they arrived yesterday, so I'm trying them out. I made pita bread dough before bed last night, and put dried chickpeas in a bowl to soak (canned beans would make my life so. much. more. convenient. right now) so when I get home I'm going to try out a falafel burger recipe from my new 101 Healthy Eats recipe book.

On a related note, I have been so impressed with the BBC GoodFood 101 cook-book range I cannot tell you. They're cheap, not overly fussy, a reasonable size so you don't need a crane to carry it around the way some of these mega-hardbacks can be, and have really nice recipes that won't intimidate the average home cook.

No seriously, I swear I'm not getting paid for this.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Facing Forward

Late last night I managed to convince myself no to go the supermarket 'to get ingredients for today's meals' because I knew that reason was just an excuse to get junk so I could have a 'last supper' before taking control of myself. I knew there was nothing stopping me from just going today (which I did), and I also knew that if had I binged last night I would have talked myself out of getting on my exercise bike today. I would have told myself to wait until Monday, and on Monday I would have moved the start line again.

But I didn't I went to bed instead, and today I got on my bike for the first time in a month and did 20km. I'm not logging food, I don't want to. Not because I'm eating badly, I'm not, but because I don't want it to overtake me again. I think I know enough about food that as long as I'm reasonably sensible, I can handle it without letting the numbers kill me. It was never a case of not knowing what I should eat, but ignoring them in favour of other things. I'm continuing with my cooking because I enjoy it, but easing off on the desserts and baking.

It's not a lot, but I've done more for myself today than I did yesterday, and I can live with that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So, how did it go?

The hardest thing about stopping for a while is starting again. This goes for blogs, exercise, and (I think) everything else too.

I think my experiment at making all my own food was a good idea. There are good and bad things about it (that's I'll go into in a sec), but overall I enjoyed it.

The bad: it takes time. This isn't usually a problem for me as I'm single with no children and work that (for the most part) stays within work hours, but it could be more difficult for someone with other commitments to take care of. One of the problems I had during this month was not planning well enough though. Often I'd wait until I was hungrier than I should have been to start cooking, and factoring in the extra time it took to make meals that would mean I was either starving by the time I had my meal, or looking around for snacks I could eat. I was also trying out lots of new recipes for my food blog, so I was spending a lot more on food than I usually do. My food is a lot more varied, which is both a good and a bad thing, because I don't want to keep repeating meals, but then means I'm trawling my books and the Internet for new recipes to try that can be adapted to use ingredients I can actually find here.

The good: It's harder to binge, because there aren't that many really unhealthy non-convenience foods. It's possible, I had dessert-for-dinner a few times this month because I love to bake, but it's definitely harder to eat mindlessly when you have to put some effort into making things yourself. I chose to have dessert for dinner, I didn't mechanically stuff it in my mouth and then wake up to a bin full of empty wrappers. Also, while I was spending much more on food, I ended up having equal or even more money than I was used to because of things (like binge food and ready made meals) that I wasn't buying. The fact that it evened out really made me face up honestly to how much ready cooked food I must realistically go through.

It's easier than you'd think to make everything. Things I'd just assumed would be hard (like bread) were incredibly simple. It just requires time management.

Overall I'm glad I did this, and want to continue with it (though perhaps with a little more flexibility when needed). I'm focusing more now on healthy meals if I can. This last month has taught me to enjoy food again, I purposely just ate what I felt like and didn't worry about it. For the most part this was good, and I'd go with what satisfied me, but I've noticed in the last week or two that I'm going past that, into the realm of eating until I'm uncomfortable again, and eating late at night. Which tells me it's time to focus a little more again, and choose meals I can enjoy making that are also good for me. I don't want to be trapped int he endless repeat of stir-fries, I want something that will stimulate me in the activity of cooking as well as supplying my nutritional needs.

I didn't exercise at all last month, and that was a waste. I think if I can start doing it again the things I eat will take care of themselves.

What's your favourite recipe? I'd love ideas, I'm always on the lookout for something new to try.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An experiment

Hello all, sorry for my absence. My outlook on food has had a slight shift of perspective the last few days and it left me going back and forth about whether to blog it here. You see, just recently I haven't been trying to lose weight. I've just been going with the flow, not binging (well, there was that one time), but not falling off the wagon. It's been more of a 'get off the wagon and decide to take the bus' sort of a week rather than 'left in the dirt with wheel tracks down my back' time.

It all started when my BOE finally replaced my old crappy fridge. The possibilities of what I could do or make with the extra two shelves to actually hold the food rather than the piles crammed in and squashed, were amazing. I've gone over all domestic the last week and have been cooking and baking up a storm, I forget sometimes, allowing myself to be cowed by my lack of kitchen resources, how much I love the act of cooking.

The I read an article by Michael Pollan that contained this quote from someone he was talking to: "I have the diet for you. It’s short, and it’s simple. Here’s my diet plan: Cook it yourself. That’s it. Eat anything you want — just as long as you’re willing to cook it yourself".

And slowly, stubbornly, an idea took route.

I've made a food/recipe website that starts by explaining the big idea and my plans. I've been wanting to start food blogging for some time, but it seems so at odds with the diet blogger I've been for so many years. Yes I know you can have healthy recipes, but it gets so difficult to come up with new, different, healthy enough to post on a diet blog, ideas that I put off starting one. I tend to eat the same kind of food day in day out when I'm on plan. I don't mind that, but there are only so many ways you can put 'meat and veg stir fry' on a food blog before people get bored.

So I'm going in a slightly different direction. I'm going to eat anything I want, provided I make it myself. I'm not focusing specifically on healthy or unhealthy things, I'm just going to cook what I can when it looks good. I don't know how this will effect my weight, whether it will make me lose gain, or do nothing, but for the duration of this idea of mine I'm going to roll up my sleeves ad dive into making and enjoying food.

This blog will still be here, I will see how updating both of them go (though it may be less frequent here), or if it doesn't work I may come back here after I'm done. Right now I'm saying a month, if I hate it or find it unsustainable I can be done with, if not I'll take the idea and start purposely applying it to more healthy food (as appose to anything that strikes my fancy) to push it in more of a weight loss direction.

I hope all of you are OK out there. As I said, I'm not giving up this blog, so don't worry. I'll be posting food pics/recipes on my other blog, if you'd like to have a look to see what I'm making, it can be found at http://www.substitutechef.blogspot.com.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mmmm

I've just made pita bread from scratch and it turned out so well! I follow Serious Eats on my Google reader and they linked to this recipe. The link only shows US measurements, so I'll copy it on to the bottom of this post with the metric conversions I used.

I can't find pita bread outside of a specialty shop here, with the exception of one type of pre-packed sandwich they sell at the convenience store, and the recipe looked so simple I decided to give it a go. My dough ended up a touch too salty for my taste, but I think that may have been my converting it wrong, so the next time I do this I'll half the salt (recipe below shows the halved amount).

Each batch of dough makes 8 pitta breads, coming in at 66 calories each (changeable subject to brands of ingredients you use I suppose), and aside from the kneading time requires very little effort. Most of the time you need is spent waiting for the dough to rise, so you can go off and do other things during that. You could also make this healthier by using wholewheat flour or a half/half mix, but I don't know how that would affect rising/baking times (if it would at all). The dough keeps wrapped in the fridge for up to a week, so you could take a portion off as needed and bake it (they only take about 3 minutes in the oven)

Pita Bread

1 cup/236ml warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 teaspoons/12g active dry or instant yeast*
3 cups/375g flour
2 teaspoons/5g salt**
1-2 teaspoons/5-10ml olive oil (optional)

1) Combine water and yeast, let it sit for 5 minutes. If using instant yeast I think you can skip this.

2) Add 2 1/2 cups (approx. 310g) flour (save the rest for the kneading time), salt, and half the olive oil (if using) to the yeast-water. Stir until it comes together as a rough dough.

3) Sprinkle some extra flour on the work surface, turn out the dough onto it. Knead (or in my case, bash at and hope for the best) the dough for about 10 minutes until it has been properly cowed into submission and has gone smooth and elastic. It will probably still be kind of sticky (it was for me) so grab the flour you saved and add a little at a time as needed. Try not to be too enthusiastic with this, it's easier to add more than it is to take some out later. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading. Smirk when you realise you can totally count this as your exercise for the day.

4) Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it's coated with oil. I don't know if you could get away with using a spray for this and saving calories? Worth a try. It's only a very light film though so I don't think it will make that much of a difference.

6) Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it's doubled in bulk (about 1 - 2 hours).

7) Pre-heat the oven to 450°F/230°C. If you have a baking stone (Ha! Sure I do, yeah), put it in the oven to heat. If you don't have a baking stone, place a large baking sheet (that's more like it) on the middle rack to heat. Definitely do not get so distracted watching So You Think You Can Dance that you go to grab it out of the oven later without thinking about putting on oven gloves.

8) Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. For me it deflated itself while I was trying to turn it out of the bowl because a bit got stuck to the sides.

At this point you have a choice, you can divide it into 8 pieces and bake them all, or grab as many pieces as you need at this particular time. If you don't want to use all the dough now, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week wrapped in cling film/plastic wrap. If you're keeping it, allow the parts of the dough you use later to come up to room temperature again before you bake them, then follow instructions as below.

9) Divide into pieces and gently flatten each piece with your hand. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap wrap until you're ready to bake them (I was only making two so I skipped this, they weren't going to be hanging around in the open air long enough to warrant it. If you're making batches you might want to go with it though).

10) Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. Make sure the dough isn't sticking to your counter and sprinkle both the dough and the counter with a little flour if it is. Roll out as many pitas as will fit in your oven at once.

11) Place the rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone or baking sheets and bake for about 3 minutes. It seems to be most effective to lay the pita flat on the palm of your hand and then flip it over onto the baking stone. The pita will start to puff up and is done when it has fully ballooned.

If your first pitas don't balloon, don't worry! Pitas are a bit like crepes in that the first few don't always work (mine ballooned perfectly, if yours don't, I point and laugh!). Un-ballooned pitas are still delicious and can be folded in half to create a pouch for fillings.

*I used active dry yeast, which requires a few minutes combined with the water at the start to get it going. If you use instant I think you can add it with the rest of the dry ingredients and skip the wait. There were mixed answers on exactly how much yeast it converts as, but my supermarket sells it in 6g packs so I used two and it turned out fine.

**I used 10g as that is what it converted to, but as I said I think I would prefer less next time. It was still fine to eat though, so I guess it's down to your personal taste.


My little microwave/convection oven fits two of these little babies on a baking tray, so that works out perfectly for meals as I live by myself. People with actual people-sized ovens can obviously do more at once. Next up I might try some of these flat breads that I can try in a pan on the stove-top.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Be cool

I'm trying really hard not to jinx this... but I think I may be back on track. The last three days I have finished reasonably healthy and under calories, and I have forced myself to do proper amounts on the bike (20, 25, and 25km respectively) instead of the 10km I was half-assing when I exercised at all. Right now all I'm shooting for is to get to Tuesday (the day of my medical check-up) exercising every day and under control.

I'm not going to tell you what I weigh right now, but I will tell you that in the last few weeks I managed to undo months of progress. Literally, months. The scale is heading in the right direction now though so I'm relieved, but I'm trying not to step on it too much as it really affects my mood. If it's high it triggers a binge and if it's low all I can think about is my food intake and all the info surrounding it, which makes me burn out. Hence I've been taking it slow with the blogging, I'm trying not to fall into the trap of overdoing it again.

I changed my title picture. I actually signed up for a wordpress account, intending to change pages entirely, but then decided to scale down the idea a bit. I can keep the account for the next time I get itchy e-feet. I wanted some kind of food theme, but the downside is that most of the food blog layouts make me really crave unhealthy food! Slightly counter-productive no? I settled on sushi because I like the look and the food, but not so much that seeing a picture makes me what to dive head first into the nearest kaiten sushi place.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hi

Anyone still here?

I've calmed down a little but I'm still not eating healthily, I was going to get back to it and then start blogging when I got it under control, but I keep putting off starting so I'm wondering if blogging will get me moving again.

(all pics can be made bigger if you click on them)

So what have I been doing while I've been away? Today I went to an amazing unagi restaurant. Unagi is freshwater eel, and as the day to eat eel is coming up so I went out with some of my private students to have some. It is believed that eating eel gives you stamina, so it's often eating during the hot, hot summer. Sadly I forgot my camera, so I only have a fuzzy camera phone pic, for that reason I'm grabbing a pic off the Internet to better illustrate how good it is. I'm always shocked how mild the flavour is. I've only ever eaten unagi nigiri (sushi) but fresh off the grill it just melts in your mouth.

The soup next to it is not miso, but kimosui, a soup made with the eel liver.

In other picture news, I was in a restaurant last Tuesday and got a snapshot of the menu, we're not entirely sure who they're referring to (the South of China maybe? Korea?), but jeez Japan, say what you really think!

'Source of chicken' should be chicken in sauce, translations occasionally go awry.

A much grosser thing we found in the 100円 shop, can you guess what it is?
No? How about now?

(putting aside the 'Oh God Whhhhhhy?!' of the existence of this product; if you were going to use it, why would you trust one from the Japanese equivalent of the dollar store?)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My reader has been piling up because I've been 'off' reading blogs for the last few days. I thought I had myself under control but then I lost it a little in Nagoya.

Well, no, not lost, because I went saying that I could have anything I wanted because it's not somewhere I go often and that was fine, but then Friday turned into Saturday, Sunday, yesterday and today.

I'm getting really sick of this, and my trousers are getting tighter. I really want to be here saying 'oh, no worries, I'm fine now - back to it!' but I've done that so many times it just doesn't mean anything anymore. I honestly don't believe I can lose this weight. I think I'm going to struggle like this forever and that depresses me so much you have no idea. Even if I get into a rhythm and things go really well for a while, which I don't see happening any time soon, I'll have a couple of months of that and then be back here again, just like always, and it really makes me wonder why I'm bothering.

Just now I spent a good 10 minutes in my kitchen trying to convince myself to go to the grocery store. I was going to get sushi for dinner because I don't want to cook, but I know if I go I'll just grab anything I can get my hands on to put in the cart. I sat down and thought about how awful I was going to feel afterward, about how gross I felt this morning from going to bed so overfull and waking up still feeling the food sitting in my stomach. I felt panic rising and my brain shouting at me to Go Now! Quick! Don't Think About After! That panic is still with me now as I type this, unable to stop tapping my foot in a need for some kind of outlet.

I have a fridge full of healthy food and a sink full of dirty dishes and I have to do something about one before I can do something with the other, but it's not enough to get me up and moving. The memory of how good it feels not to be like this isn't enough to stop me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I bought the bag

I know, I know, I said it was a goal bag, I did, and that was my intention. But the, on my way home from work the strap on my bag began to unravel, and that moved up the urgency rating from 'hmm, this is getting a little beat up, I should probably get a new one', to 'crap! this could break any day and leave me at the side of the road juggling all the piece of stuff I have to haul 20 minutes to home!'. So into the virtual shopping bag it went.

I know this sounds like an excuse, but there we go.

I wish I were ordering it because I had magically woken up this morning at 102, but sadly that's not the case. It will probably take a couple of weeks to arrive though, so maybe I could be by the time it gets here? Who knows, but I'll give it a shot.

For anyone who was admiring the bag, I got it from Etsy, there is a great bag designer called Janine King Designs. My last laptop bag (this one) was from her too, and I can't tell you how I've abused it the last couple of years. I carry it, overstuffed, to and from school every day. I've used it for hand luggage, I've used it for grocery haulage, this bag has paid it's dues and held up well. She has some awesome patterns and I highly recommend her. It's a little pricey, but definitely worth it in my humble opinion.

Tomorrow I'm off to Nagoya, I'm having lunch at Hard Rock Cafe and can't find their nutritional info anywhere. I'm beginning to think I'm better of just going and enjoying myself, rather than worrying about it. It would be, well, not niceper se, but informative at least, but I don;t think ti will hold any good news for me. Does anyone know where I can find the info for future reference? The usual calorie places don't seem to be turning it up.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day off

I took the day of work today. I had no classes (and won't have any until after the exam finishes in a couple of weeks) and wanted more sleep this morning, so I texted my supervisor to tell her I was taking a vacation day and went back to bed. It was nice.

I failed in my initiative to only go to the supermarket once this week. I ran out of oatmeal and broccoli so I nipped to the store and grabbed a few things. I only spent 1300 yen though, so that was good at least. I also called my friend and canceled our plan to hit up Osaka so we could go to Ikea. I had gotten the impression she wasn't as keen to go as I was anyway, and after updating my bankbook (we don't get statements here, you have a book you update at the ATM that lists your transactions) and realised that with the bills still to come out I didn't have the money to fit it in without causing myself trouble. After thinking about it for a while I realised if it was going to cause me that amount of worry it wasn't worth it. We're going to try and squeeze it in on the 24th because my friend is visiting home for the summer and will leave on the 30th, and we also get paid on the 21st, so it would work out much better. I'm feeling much less stressed about things now, so I think it was the right decision.

My dad got a new kitten! Obviously I haven't seen it in person yet, but my sister got a few pictures of it so I can share:

The kitten, apparently, thinks it's a parrot and likes to sit on dad's shoulder:

And so a new month cometh. I updated my sidebar and exercised today, I seem to be getting into the swing of it again. I'm not so into it at the moment that I feel I can take a day off without losing it again, but it's not bad. I'm hoping that it will start making a difference to the scale soon, but I know from past experience that when I start biking again my weight usually sticks for a week or so before moving. I am saying now that July will be better than the June before it. My annual school medical is at the end if the month so I have something to look towards.

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

Ugh

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

Ugh

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,
Eggs,
Oatmeal,
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

Owww

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

Zzzzz....

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Checking in

This is just a quickie to let you all know what's going on. Things were quite up and down after my last post, but the last two days have been good. I'm at a point where I need to spend less time writing about what I'm going to do and more time actually doing it. With that in mind I'm taking a short break. I'm only anticipating that this will be for a week or two, just while I get myself back together and know I can keep myself consistently on the right path, rather than the sporadic effort I've been putting in lately. Trying to keep writing on my blog every day in an attempt to keep myself accountable was making me focus on my food, but in a really bad way, which was causing me to burn out.

As I said, things have been better the last few days but I need a break from the account book for a while. I'll be back soon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quelle horreur

I managed to have a clean day eating and exercise yesterday, so I bit the bullet and weighed in. Actually, I stepped on the scale last night before bed (when will I learn!?) and nearly had a heart attack when I saw 105.4, but this morning was a much more reasonable 104kg. It kind of sucks that I gained over a kilo, but given what I had been eating it's hardly a surprise. I have a tendency to panic a little when I see a gain, but I have to remember that it's just 1.2kg. That's not insurmountable. Things like this can blow up into an impassable wall in our heads when in fact all it need mean is an extra week.

My next step will be to correct my sleeping. A little difficult with weekend almost upon me, but not impossible. When I'm exercising and not eating into the night then sleeping comes a bit easier, so I'm hoping it will fix itself, but I'll keep an eye on it for the next week and focus on bedtimes/getting up times. I've been waking up for school too late/super-tired and I kind of hate it.

My supervisor gave me a paper for the mandatory teacher health check (we have one every year), it's on July 28th. The last time I had one of those I weighed 114kg and had a note in Japanese expressing concern over the fact that I'd gained 12-13kg in a year. I really want to be under 100 before I go again.

It's theoretically possible for me to make my 100km goal if I do 40km tonight, we'll see how it goes. The new strap still hasn't arrived so it's been driving me a little crazy. I'm in desperate need of new DVDs, it's amazing how many I go through when I exercise every day. I'll be able to pick up some cheap ones in Korea, but until then I'm going have to find something to fill the gap, I'm so bored with all the ones I have now. Amazon has some good sales on right now (I got the British DVD of the Canadian show 'Blood Ties' for only £5, and the British version has all the episodes instead of splitting it into two the way the US version did!) but I'm trying not to spend too much money at them moment. Now I'm back in the black I want to save, not spend, but my mum is putting some birthday money into my account so maybe I'll treat myself with some of it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let's try this again

I'm not going to lie to you, it's been a bad week.

I didn't exercise for 6 days, 6 days you guys.

I really thought last time I posted that I was going to get through it relatively unscathed, but it didn't happen, and the thought of my birthday (which was on the 18th) was bothering me more than I was admitting, and I feel like I just went mad. I stopped logging my food. I stopped reading blogs (so sorry for the lack of comments this week).

But now my birthday is over and I'm feeling better. I have a dinner out on Saturday but I think I can handle it. I spent the last few days looking a short trips in Asia for September because we have a group of public holidays coming up, and yesterday made inquires at a travel agent about a cheap flight I saw to Korea. They got back to me and I accepted so I'm going to Seoul in a few months time. It will be my first time in Korea (even though it's only a short trip, I get 5 full days as I arrive late night and leave early morning, hence the cheap fare) and I'm looking forward to it. My supervisor is going to take me to the bank to help me with the money transfer this afternoon (the chances are high to very high that I'd screw up the kanji by myself) and I've booked my hostel. This is all very exciting!

I exercised last night for the first time in a while and it felt good to knock 40km out, even if it was slow. I was going to wait until I had a few better days under my belt before I posted anything here, especially after I posted last time and then went off the rails, but I want to capture this mood and keep it. I leave September 17th so that's just under 4 months away, for some reason that feels more tangible, more real, than the hazy goal of Christmas. Korea should also be a good dry run for the plane too, it's only a short flight (2 hours) so it will be a small plane. If I can be comfortable this trip I will be totally fine for the long-haul flight home.

Things are looking brighter.

Friday, May 15, 2009

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”

I binged last night and it's made me feel surprisingly calm this morning. I've decided not to weigh in this week because I have the enkai tonight so I think the number will make me want to cry, but it's safe to assume it's a gain, and probably not a small one. I'll update the number when I think it won't knock me back. I don't keep junk/trigger food in the house so I went to the 24hr supermarket a minute or so walk away to get my fix, but I couldn't finish all the food I bought as it was making me feel sick. How did I used to eat so much on my binges before? It's been a couple of months since I had this problem last and I did a fair bit of damage, and yet I know I went through a period whee I was binging almost every night and was eating a lot more.

Things are OK today, in fact more than OK, I'm feeling positively chipper. I'm not sure why but let's go with it. I still have all the food in the world coming tonight, but my brain chemistry seems to have leveled off a little so I'm not (currently) in the depths of despair. I took a vacation day yesterday because I didn't go to bed until about 3am and that meant I felt sick when I woke up in the morning, so I decided not to go in as I had no lessons. I really should sort out my sleep, I was more on track when I was sleeping proper hours. I've finished my one lesson for today and have decided to use a little vacation on the rest of today too. I guess I'm just kind of sick of this week and want it to be over? I'm fed up of just sitting here with nothing to do. It's exam week next week so I'm going to have looooooads of time to plan lessons and stuff as there are no lessons, so I don't need to do it today.

I'm going to do what I can to stay positive, and not to binge for the rest of today just because I have this dinner coming. Tomorrow is the start of my week in terms of dieting so I'll start fresh and try to have a really clean week. I want to get in a good amount of exercise today as I've been slacking and my pedal isn't fixed yet, but I won the auction so the new strap should be with me soon.

I'm trying guys. It's not easy, but in the end I find this easier mentally than feeling worthless because I binged or haven't exercised, even if I forget that sometimes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

No pressure kid

Child 1lb Overweight Sent Obesity Warning

Still here, still struggling. I have an enkai to go to tomorrow night to welcome the new English teachers that there is no getting out of, I saw a gain for the week on the scale this morning (with no real hope of getting rid of it in time for WI because of Friday night), I'm still feeling kind of depressed, and all I really want to do is eat and eat and eat.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Receeding

I'm a little stuck for things to say. The first day I didn't update because I had a bad day, ate about a thousand over calories but then didn't exercise! I'm not sure why. Usually I don't worry to hard about calorie count because the amount of biking I do means I can even it out or still come out on top, but then I was really tired and just decided not to. It kind of bummed me out.

Yesterday food was better and not. I ate within calories, but only because I chose to count the cookies I'd eaten as dinner. I did do my exercise (30km) so that's back on and fine. I don't know you guys, I'm keeping up and not letting myself dig too deep of a hole, but I've really been feeling blah this week and I don't like it. Also, the humidity has been giving us a small taste of what summer is going to be like and that makes me so sleepy at the end of the day (when it starts to cool down and ease off), which means that even if I were feeling at my most genki I would be having to push myself a little more to get up and do stuff.

It's odd, this is the first time I've struggled, properly struggled past a momentary longing, for the last few months and I hate being back here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indianapolis to Denver

I have a rule when running that I have to stop on a point that's divisible by 5, so 5km, 10km, 15km etc. It was to stop me from petering out on a bike and giving up, if I want to stop it has to be on one of those numbers. Today I made an exception. I did 30km this morning and I just finished 24.6km. An odd number to stop on be sure, so why did I choose it?

Because I needed 24.6kn to get to a total of 1609.4km since I bought the bike. The significance of this (for anyone who doesn't work with the metric-imperial conversions too well) is that it means I have now biked a total of 1000 miles.

Awe. Some.

Sadly, tribute must be paid for those who died in the attempt of this achievement.

During my last leg to victory I managed to snap not just one but two of my pedal size holder notch things and now need to get a new strap for it. I have no idea how to go about this, so any advice on where I can get them from that will ship worldwide would be great.

So yeah, feeling good. It's kind of strange, when I bought it I never thought I'd get so far with it. I've heard the phrase 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' before, but never thought I'd ever be able to say it literally. Well, for anyone just starting out who thinks they can't keep up with it, if someone of my weight can go from doing nothing but a walk to school to a thousand miles in 93 days, then I'm sure you can too.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

*Breathe*

Okay, the day is almost over.

This morning's rant sent me off to the supermarket angry, lunch consisted of a curry/egg doughnut and a mini pizza ball, followed by a glazed doughnut for dessert - healthy! I moped around for a bit before finally getting over myself. Thankfully I'm now feeling entirely less self-indulgent. I logged everything and have ended up fine for the day so I suppose it wasn't the end of the world, compared to my binges of old at least relatively little damage was done.

I found a movie to watch and got on my bike and ended up quite surprising myself. The last few days my workouts have made the distance but have felt like I haven't been really pushing it. Today I biked through the entire movie (Wimbledon) and made it to 50km. I did it all in one go so that makes it the longest jaunt I've done on my bike since I bought it, and thus the longest time I spent on it at 95min 46sec. After I was done I didn't feel like having a whole meal like the dinner I had planned, so I made a nice smoothie. It's been hot today, even now, so it really hit the spot.

All in all the day has finished a lot better than it started.

Saturday WI

Why Scale, we're in quite a mood this morning aren't we?

Weight Today: 102.8kg/226.1lbs
Difference: -0.6kg/1.3lbs

I was at 102.2kg earlier this week, in fact I held below what I am now for the entire week, even during my period. Son of a Bitch.

I'm really angry about my weigh in today. Yes, I know, any loss is good blah blah blah, but I didn't deserve to see this number as I had lost twice that.

I had one day this week (3 days ago!) where I ate out of turn. I went out for dinner and the damage was somewhere in the region of an extra 350 calories. That's 0.1lb, not 0.6kg. I don't know exactly why this has made me so angry, but it has. I had a hard week this week, my period came and I didn't binge - I didn't binge at any point - do you know how difficult that is for me?

The weather was awful all week and mentally that really wore me down almost 7 days of straight rain (and by straight I means continuous, it didn't stop at all) but I kept plodding along and forcing myself to get my kilometers in. It's been a slightly depressing week because my birthday is coming up but there are other events happening that people had already agreed to go to (that I won't be part of) so thus far no one is free on either weekend around the date, so my attempts to organised a get-together have failed.

But despite that I kept my food and exercise on track, it was the one thing keeping me balanced. I had a good number and there is no good reason for me to not have it today, I deserve it.

Fuck.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tagged

Thank you to BlenderGirl at Time to Uncover the Real Me for tagging me with this award!


For my five blogs I choose:

Ani @ Ani Pesto, an awesome girl whom I feel very much 'on the same page' as when it comes to weight loss.
Tully @ You Would Be Pretty If..., she's having a hard time at the moment but I identify with her on so many of the things she writes.
Hanlie @ Fertile Healthy, one of my regular reads and a great source of info.
Chubby Chick @ Journeying to Lose 200lbs, is always supportive and encouraging others, no matter what may be happening.
Chubrubb @ The Chub Fight, fresh back from Rome (lucky girl!) I really enjoy reading her.

Here are the rules for those who are tagged:

Pass it along to 5 fellow super bloggers, and comment on their blog to let them know how lucky they are today!When you present your Super Blogger awards, link back to the super blogger who gave it to you.

TGIF

My God, today has been one giant rush around. I had a class to teach second period and worksheets to make for my third year class that were fiddly that just kept me busy busy busy. The lesson wasn't bad, but was the worst I've had with that class so far. It wasn't really their fault though, (or at least, not a problem with them in particular). We've only just come off of Golden Week vacation so it's been a two day week, and they have exams coming up week after next. Which basically means that there was going to be no way their minds would be on their lesson. They did better than I thought they would and tried their best, but they were very easily distracted and talking to each other a lot more.

Man, I did not get enough sleep last night at all (spent three hours looking for what should have been a really easy to find worksheet, but no, I had to draw one from scratch). I was dreading today a little because I knew I had a lot to do, and it led to feeling like everything was going wrong. I woke up late, missed breakfast, grabbed a banana and went to throw some yogurt raisin/almond mix into a container to replace it, only to realise that I didn't have a second pack of almonds like I thought. My work was taking longer than I thought so I ended up working through lunchtime instead of being able to go buy some food, which means my total intake today has been the banana and 30g of raisins with the 7 or so almonds I salvaged from the bottom of the pack. And that was at 9am. I've just finished my lesson so I can now relax, I'm done with my work for the day.

I don't want this post to be one huge complaint so I'm going to end with the positive that after almost 7 days of uninterrupted pouring, the rain has finally stopped, and in the last hour the grizzly, overcast sky has given way to blue. The forecast says it's going to stay that way for the next few days, my lessons are over, the weekend is less than an hour away, and I have a chocolate coffee to keep me company. It's going to be OK.

I have no idea what I weigh. I know I was up before, but forgot to check this morning in the panic, and even if I had probably wouldn't have liked it because of how little sleep I'd had. I saw a low of 102.2 this week so I'd love to see that again tomorrow, but I'll just have to get my workout in tonight and see what happens with the scale.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Workhouse, glorious workhouse

I'm back at school and time has not improved it. The alarm went off this morning and I was tired enough that the first alarm just got incorporated into what I was dreaming, thank goodness for the snooze. Once I was half way awake my stomach started actively shouting 'feed me you bastard!' and I had to get up for breakfast. It's not usually that insistent of a morning, like me it needs half an hour before it's properly awake and able to process things, but I guess that's what happens when you feed it mostly fruit and carbs the day before.

I had such a nice lunch planned and have now cocked it up by realising that I left my protein on the kitchen table - oh noes! I should have cucumber sticks and salsa, a tin of tuna, an almond and yogurt covered raisin mixture, and a banana. Without the protein to help I think it's going to be a long afternoon.

Oh, oh - And! I realised while lying in bed last night that I had forgotten to put something into daily plate and was therefore more over than I thought, FAIL. I was up this morning which was expected, but still I thought a kilo was a bit excessive. I suppose it's irrelevant as I am refusing to count it for motivational purposes. If it doesn't disappear tomorrow then I'll put it up but until then: nothing doin'.

On to non-weight related news.

1) WTF is up with the new Kindle DX from Amazon? $489 just two months after the last incarnation of the Kindle was revealed? I think Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books says it best: "Keep it coming, Amazon. I’m enjoying this a lot. I can has moar fail please? kthxbye”.

2) Am I completely going to hell for finding Swine Flu ridiculous? Not the illness itself obviously, but the reaction to it? I understand that you have to be careful but it really doesn't take much to whip Japan into a frenzy and it's not even in the country! Also, I know this is a serious thing, but every time flu comes around it kills people. People have been going nuts about this and I really think it should be treated like any other illness where precautions are taken and we go on with our lives. Ah well, I have a feeling pork is about to get a lot cheaper at the supermarket.

Ah! My stomach is rumbling again! And it's not being subtle! My stomach once rumbled so loud in a seminar at university that conversation actually stopped. Time to dig out my banana...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Full

Okay, back, full. I've just plugged all my estimates into daily plate and it's showing me as being 75 over calories, so all in all it could have been worse. It makes me glad that I ate lightly after all. I think I could have made better choices as I ate after I felt full, but that's something I'll have to try and tackle in the future.

I was thinking of getting back on my bike to make up the deficit (I went on it before I went out) but I'm tired and still feeling full so I think I'm going to leave it for tonight. I ate a lot later than I usually do and it was at a restaurant, so I'm expecting to see a gain tomorrow, but there is no reason for it to stick around past that. We popped into the supermarket on the way back so my friend could pick up some milk and I found some salsa, so I will take that with some cucumber to dip in it as part of my lunch tomorrow.

Okay, I have a lesson first period tomorrow so I have to make sure to be up early...

*Grooowwwll*

HungryHungryHungry....

I've eaten very lightly today because I'm meeting a friend for dinner and don't know where we'll end up going. Unfortunately I'm not meeting her for another hour and my body is used to an earlier dinner.

Um..

I'm not sure how to write this without sounding like an ungrateful bitch, so I probably won't succeed. My apologies to anyone I offend, but this is seriously driving me crazy.

I love comments. It helps me stay on track when I feel like people are listening and care enough to respond, which is why I've put off writing this for the last couple of months, but I was reading through some old posts for motivation and noticed that this is getting more common and it's driving me crazy. Please be aware that I'm not pointing the finger at any one person when I say this.

If you're going to comment, please READ THE POST YOUR COMMENTING ON, and please DON'T LEAVE AN EXTRA LINK TO YOUR OWN WEBSITE AT THE END OF YOUR COMMENTS.

I cannot tell you how much this has been bugging me. I love comments, I hate hate HATE comments that are only there to advertise the commenter's blog. I understand that everyone loves comments too, and it's nice to get a comment back if you've posted on someones site, but there is a link for your blog/website in the comment form; use that and be done with it! I usually go to other peoples sites when they've commented on mine, and if I feel I've got something to say that's relevant or you're due a congratulations I'll post. I know where the link is, I promise.

There is no reason for the rage that extra link inspires, but inspire it it does and I'm much more likely to not comment because of it.

Another point of what I think of as 'blog advertising' is a little more subtle, and I think largely well-intentioned, so I wasn't sure about mentioning this, but it's been happening more over the last couple of month so I will. It sounds obvious, but please read what our commenting on before posting. I've had a lot of advice recently that if you read what I've written either makes no sense or I've already said I'm doing. As I said, some of this is well intentioned, people who are doing well in their plans and are so eager to give advice that they skim through the post and then get writing.

On a slightly related note, thank you for your congratulations but I didn't lose 50lbs, I just said that if/when I got there I would post a picture.

As I said, I don't mean to offend anyone and I'm sorry if this has. This is not a personal attack on anyone and I don't want to lose readers or make people scared of commenting, but while I find the first an annoying habit, the second is really demotivating because it tells me that no matter how nice the comment is nobody is actually bothering to read.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bollocks

I just left my house for the first time in 4 days to walk to the supermarket in the pouring rain to get some cans of chopped tomatoes (and a few other things) so I could use them at dinner. I came home with two bags of food and no tomatoes! Screw this guys, I'm not going out again. Sadly the tomatoes were kind of vital to my dinner plans, so now I'm going to have to think of something else. I indulged in a less healthy lunch (shrimp tempura sushi roll and an Oreo bar. Mmm... chocolate...) so I wanted dinner to be more balanced, but now I'm not sure. Maybe I'll make a nice vegetable omelet/scrambled eggs (er.. which one I have depends on how successful the flip over is when I'm cooking it).

Still feeling good and woke up down again this morning (completely unheard of during this particular time). With all my free time I've gone on a bit of a period drama/movie craze. I've always liked them, but I'm just on the mood for them now, and the rain has made it a perfect time to just relax in front of the TV. Don't worry, exercise is still getting done (especially considering I haven't been/won't be walking to school much this week) but I've been shockingly lazy otherwise. I cleaned out a couple my rooms though (my bedroom and the junk room that I gave up on and left for dead a few months ago) and will have a thorough vacuum and clean out of my kitchen and living room before I start work again on Thursday so things will be nice.

I'm getting closer to double digits! When I get to 95.8kg I'll post a before and now pic because I'll be 50lbs down. 6.4 more kilos to go though.

Aww, the 'first birthday baby' pic I put in the last post makes me not want to update so that it can be the first thing I see when I load my page..

Monday, May 4, 2009

Good things


It's Debiggering's 1 year anniversary, no-calorie cake for all!

Now, I've had blogs for years, before this I had The Cakehole, and before that (during one of my more successful weight loss stints) I remember having a blog called Self/Image, but a year ago today I decided I needed to shake out the dust and have a fresh start on this whole dieting thing.

When I left my old blog I weighed just over 110kg, a number I settled at for quite a while, but it would take me another 10 months and getting up to 118.6kg before I finally managed to get myself together and rededicate myself to losing, and I started this year just 0.4kg below where I was when I started this blog. But, deciding that we can't change what's behind us, I moved on. So, where am I today?

This morning Auntie Flo arrived, but despite the fact that today is usually my heaviest time I weighed in at a new low of 102.6kg. This is the first period I haven't binged in the lead up to/during, so I'm hoping to really focus and keep that up. It doesn't seem like a huge thing, but my period often leads to a week or more of really terrible nightly binging, making it hard to get back on track even when it's over.

Yesterday I spent a total of 122 minutes on my exercise bike. I did a total distance of 60km. Now, that wasn't all together (I did a 20km and then a 40) and it definitely wasn't the fastest time in the world, but it's a new personal best in both duration and distance for any one day and I know that a year ago (and hell, even when I first arrived in Japan and weighed what I weigh now) I couldn't have done it.

I have managed to make exercise a habit, a feat I never thought possible. I've become more active in years past because I've been living away from home and I don't drive, so walking everywhere has become much more a part of everyday life, but exercise (true, planned exercise) is something I've always hated. During better times I could feel a certain sense of satisfaction at finishing a workout, but it was always an effort to start. Always. And if I missed a day, it was difficult, if not impossible, to get back to.

Even though there were times when I hit a new low (or, ugh, high), I've also managed to get myself back down from it, and get myself out of debt while I was at it (a feat I will repeat in a couple of weeks when I finish paying off my plane ticket). New Year 2008 I was sitting in a hotel room in Bangkok making a list of New Year Resolutions, and those were my two big things I wanted to sort out. I'm not there yet, but I think there were worse ways I could have spent this year.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Victory

I made it to bed last night without giving in to the binge impulse so I'm very happy with myself. I woke up this morning with the reward of being down to 103, no sign of Auntie Flo yet so maybe I can get below 103 before she arrives? We'll see.

So far my food has been awesome. I went grocery shopping a couple of days ago and the (expensive) frozen blueberries I added to my smoothies last week were nearly half price, as was the frozen mango. I took advantage and bought two, along with a pack of the mango (that I haven't tried before). Because of the holidays I have more time to prepare and eat breakfast, so I had bran flakes with a chopped banana and milk, and a smoothie of strawberries, blueberries and banana, with a splash of milk. It's a big breakfast (and higher calorie) but it's super-healthy, and really refreshing now that the weather is moving up to the wrong side of warm. I had a light lunch of tuna, cucumber (my love affair with sliced cucumber continues but I can't help myself, it's so good cool from the fridge), and dressing. I have a beef/tomato/veg mix to be served over broccoli planned for dinner, so my plan to eat more balanced food is going really well.

I didn't end up exercising yesterday, and my knee feels much better for it, so I'm glad. It would seem it didn't cause me any kind of set back so things are great. I'm going to get changed (I had no plans today so stayed in my night shirt, lazy? Yes, am I bothered? No) and put on my Family Guy DVD so I can get my workout done. Hope everyone's Sunday is going well!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Warning: Unedited ramblings

I know I've already updated once for today, but I suddenly have an urge to binge and I thought maybe writing would help me wait it out. This will probably ramble quite a bit, feel free to turn back now.

I certainly hope my 'time of the month' theory is right because this is the first time I've had a properly strong urge to stuff myself since... well, last time I was on my period actually. I've got an odd craving for pork pies that has come out of nowhere, and I really want some crunchy, biscuit-y chocolate. It's definitely not hunger because I ate really cleanly today and was actually about 100 calories over what I should have been. I was planning on getting on my bike (as always) so it wasn't going to be an issue, but my knee has really been bothering me today so I'm thinking of giving it a rest.

It could partly be an emotional response because a lot of my friends are off doing stuff for Golden Week and I'm here in my apartment, as well as a quasi-thing happening with a friend I was going to visit but am now not which is making me feel bad. Mix that in with a faint PMS feeling and that way there be dragons.

Ah! Friend just called and we sorted things out (argh, I don't want to go into details here but basically I canceled on her because of another person there but couldn't explain that to her on the phone because the other person would hear and I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings), I'm still not going but we're fine and she understands.

Hmm, weirdly my worst cravings are now gone. Guess it was emotional after all? Or I've just been typing long enough that the craving has passed. Jesus this is going to be a long 'visit' at this rate. So, I suppose that now makes this rambling post redundant. I'll press publish anyway, maybe it can serve as a lesson to not give up and walk to the store straight away.

Saturday WI

I was hoping to shave a little more off my weight before the week was over, but my body had other ideas.

Weight Today: 103.4kg/227.5lbs
Difference: -1.2kg/2.6lbs

I held steady at 103.2 for the best part of the week, then I went up to .6 yesterday and down to .4 today. I'm feeling kind of heavy though which tells me that my period may be coming in the next couple of days. According to my medhelp chart I am due in 5 days, but I've never run like clockwork in that area. If my hunch ends up being right then it could actually be a good thing because this would be a much smaller gain than I usually have around this time, which hopefully would mean I can look forward to seeing a drop in the numbers once I'm finished.

That's what I'm hoping anyway, else I'm in for a frustrating week.

Goals for the next week: My water and exercise have been fine so keep up with that, my food has been OK and under calories, but could be a little more balanced? So try and focus on that a little more this week.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Okay

Okay, so for 'breakfast' I found a peanut butter cracker pack in my desk and ate it. Not at all what I wanted but it was that or have to shout over my stomach rumbling through my second period class, so I went for it. I went to the store for lunch but made some good choices (a sandwich, a small salad, a yogurt that I've just remembered I left in the fridge at school, and a snack pack of all bran strawberry and milk crisp things). The weather stayed really warm so I had my smoothie when I got in from work, it was delicious. I have just taken out some chicken to defrost for dinner, but now I'm thinking I might have what I had originally planned for lunch instead (a sardine and tomato paste sandwich, sliced cucumber and bell pepper, a little dressing on the side) because it's still gorgeous out and that has put me in the mood for fresh things. I have 5 days until I have to be in school again. All in all my day has turned out a lot better than the beginning promised it would.

Edit: I had been looking forward to the lunch I missed so I decided to go ahead and have it for dinner:

I love it when I get a meal that exactly hits what I want.

Damn

I had some good plans for this morning. I was going to get up, have a nice breakfast of branflakes with chopped banana and milk, and maybe even one of the strawberry/blueberry smoothies I made the other day because the weather has gone warm again. I was going to make a sandwich for work as I ended up having sushi for dinner last night so I didn't have my usual leftovers. I even went shopping yesterday for bread/milk/fruit because I'd run out.

Sadly none of that happened because I overslept and had to leg it to school. I'm now sitting here hungry because I had no time for breakfast, lunch-less, with the knowledge that I have to teach a class before I can go and buy something (and whatever I buy will not be as nice as the lunch I had planned that I was really looking forward too). It's a hard life. I did end up exceeding last months total thanks to the 30km I did last night, so that was something good at least.

I just need to get through today and then it's Golden Week, which means 5 days of public holidays so no school. Is it a bad sign that I want the day to be over given that it's only 09:07?