Friday, May 10, 2013

Wobbles

After the last post I had some great intentions. but then my period screwed me. I had all the symptoms of being on my period (stomach/back ache, heaviness, irritability and cravings) but it didn't actually show for 3 more days. The frustration of it eventually got to me, so I had 3 or so bad days eating. I *think* I'm going to be OK now, I thought I had it on track yesterday but then ended with some massive chocolate chip pancakes, but me and two friends I spoke about before all confessed our eating sins for the day (none of us [separately] did that great) and we have resolved to make today better. I saw this post on pintrest and think I am going to give it a go:

 

I'm usually against gimmicky diets, but in this case I might do this for the week to give myself a boost and get me back on track after the little downturn in dieting fortunes. I think as it#s only a week it should be fine, and then I will return to my regularly scheduled programming (assuming I don;t get bored of it and give up half way through).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sometimes you just have to slog through

How are we into May already? Seriously, this time passing thing is getting out of hand.

Weight loss is going, albeit slowly. I've been quite frustrated the last few days as I saw a new low on the scale (what I believe was a 'real' new low instead of a fluke from a light eating day) but then my weight jumped up for no discernible reason and has stuck there for the last three days. I try not to weigh myself every day for exactly this reason, but I want to see the jump up disappear and can't leave it alone until it does! Actually, I say 'no discernible reason' but I think my period should be showing up very soon. I hope to God it is anyway, because I've had stomach and back ache today to accompany the weight gain. If I'm going to suffer the symptoms I want to at least get this over with for another month. In the mean time I'll try not to make it make me too crazy. I've kept on doing my thing and trying to keep my basic rules going and it seems to be working. At least I know I haven't eaten anything that would justify this kind of gain.

Things have mostly gone well, though I've noticed the last few days that I'm slipping a little on water intake. I've not been consistent with taking my water bottle to school with me, so I find myself trying to 'make up' the water I've missed at home, when I'd much rather be taking it regularly all day. I slipped once on my 'no deep fried food' idea since last I wrote here. I didn't fall into a deep fat fryer or anything, but I ordered a steak during a grill charity night my local was doing, and forgot until it arrived in front of me that the steak came with fries. I was starving as my friend J had said to meet at 4 (so I hadn't eaten) but then we didn't meet until 6:30 (!) so I just ate them. Yes I could have left them, but I was hungry and didn't. I was really happy that I didn't let this turn into my usual process of 'you've eaten this so may as well eat everything'. In theory I don;t actually think having something deep fried every now and then is actually that bad (balance is obviously important, I couldn't keep eating a lot of it most days the way I was) but I do find eating that kind of food makes it harder to stay with the good stuff, so boycotting it all together tends to work better for me.

I've been craving sweet things later at night just recently, but assuming my period is on the way that could just be the PMS talking. I've talked myself out of microwave cakes a few times this week!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quiet

It's been a quiet couple of weeks for me. Thankfully, not because I was binging or anything, but just because with no money I wasn't doing a lot.

I'm pleased to report that I've kept to everything while I've been gone. I haven't had McDonald's or deep fried food and my friends and I did meet up at the lake on Wednesday as planned. A down-turn in weather and M going to Indonesia for vacation means we're not doing it today, but we'll be back to things when she comes back. I like the rules I have in place right now, the no deep fried thing means a LOT of the food around work is cut out, but it doesn't leave me feeling like a failure if I make a not so perfect choice here and there. I've struggled in the past because I tend to think 'well, if I'm not doing it perfectly I may as well not be doing it! Let me go comfort myself in this pan of brownies instead' Where as now I have more flexibility, but am still mindful of what I'm eating.

I haven't lost masses of weight, but what I have lost really seems to be making a difference to my clothes. Things feel looser, and there were one or two items that weren't wearable in public before but now are. My total loss is quite small at the moment, I was 119kg when I started and am 114.8kg now. I like knowing numbers, but they can drive me crazy too! I was actually really pleased with myself a few days ago because I had 114.5 on the scale one day, but then it jumped back to 115.6 the next day! Usually this would be the time when I would freak out, and then quit the next day when it didn't go back down. This time I stuck to it, and now I'm back under 115 which makes me really happy. Looking back on my food the day before I saw the 114.5; it wasn't a realistic weigh in. The day before I had eaten mostly fruit (smoothie for breakfast, fruit through work when I could grab a minute on my busiest day, then I was too tired to make a proper meal so I had whizzed up some pineapple and lemon in the blender) so I was bound to see a falsely low reading the next day.

I'm really glad I didn't let it derail me the way I usually do. I don't have a regular weigh in day as it tends to induce panic the night before which just makes me want to eat. I try not to weigh myself every day, but check in now and then to keep myself on track and check progress. I (briefly) joined a weight-loss challenge one Sparkpeople, but then had to quit because it was messing with my head too much, which was leading me to eat unhealthily. I've done challenges before that have really worked for me, but it would seem it's not for me this time round, at least not at the moment.

I got my new cash card! I feel rich because I can access my money again, which isn't great because I'm not rich and probably shouldn't be spending too much. The trick now will be keeping the balance up even though I've got money to go out with friends and eat at restaurants again. I dropped my external hard drive the other day and now it's broken and I have to buy a new one. This was annoying because it's not very old and only dropped about a foot off the sofa, but I have a tile floor. The fact that I've had to shell out for a new one means my extra frugal days are not behind me just yet, but pay day is a-comin' and I'm due my re-sign bonus of a month's pay; it's going to be great! I will be sending all my saved money home in June to go towards future university costs, so it will be really nice to see the jump up in my little nest egg.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Broke, but not broken

It turned out that wasn't the start of a controlled week; I kind of disappeared down the food rabbit hole for a while. Fortunately I came back up for breath after one of those tipsy heart to hearts with friends in a bar a few days ago. I spent the next day eating right and rehydrating like a mofo with lemon-cucumber water (detoxing). Turns out either God wasn't watching for those two weeks of constant McDonald's and pizza, or lemon-cucumber water is actually magic in liquid form, because when I weighed myself the day after I was exactly the same weight I had been two weeks prior! Little miracles. Those same friends and I have made a pact with each other: No McDonald's (the bane of my and friend J's existence as it's one of the few fast, cheap, easy choices near work, so we eat it way too much), No deep-friend foods, and J, M and I (er, myself) are going to meet up on Wednesday's (communal no-work day) and walk around the lake. We've all got our little goals. M doesn't need to really, she's healthy and works out, but she'd like to get her sugar habit under control. J is thin in my book, but has gained weight since coming to China so she feels uncomfortable in herself ('cuz all girls feel too big sometimes, regardless of their size) and wants to get things under control before she goes home in June. We all thought being able to talk out our food that week while walking around would be a helpful thing for us.

The weather has gotten a little warmer so I've been having smoothies for breakfast, which means I'm getting nice hit of fruit in the mornings, and I've started taking a water flask to work. I still don't think I'm drinking enough in my working hours, but if I take a flask rather than using the little paper cups they provide, I at least tend to drink a bit more.

My cash card went missing a few days ago, which is an absolute arse and is driving me crazy, but was actually kind of a blessing in disguise as it means I have no money to waste on junk food. My Chinese account is now frozen for 10 working days while the bank wait for my new card to come in. Fun fact about China compared to home? In the UK, if you lose your card and are waiting for a new one, you can go to the bank with your photo ID and get some money out over the counter. China? NOT SO MUCH. So when I walked in there with 100 kwai (£10/$15) to my name, that's all I walked out with for the next 2 weeks. I had multiple lovely friends offer to lend me money while I waited, but I pulled some out of my savings in my home account instead because I really don't like to borrow money unless I have absolutely no other choice. This is great motivation not to spend much though, as I don't want to have to do it again before I get access to my account back. I'm trying to look at the silver lining with it forcing me back on the straight and narrow eating-wise.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ups and Downs

Well, I was not on the tail end of the cold if my blocked sinuses are anything to go by, and I'm not loving the addition of a pounding headache to the mix. I think I might be quite dehydrated which is probably making everything feel worse, so I am drinking as much water as I can right now.

Food wasn't good this past week, despite my plans to keep it confined to that weekend. The combination of being sick still and having to visit the dentist (one emergency appointment when the back of my tooth came off, one appointment after that to fix cavities seen in appointment 1), with more appointments in the works (root canal on my front tooth, impacted wisdom tooth to remove, tooth root to be taken out), meant that I fell back in to old habits of taking the easy way. That is, eating out for my meals. At weigh in I was a kilo up, whether it's all real weight or some water I'm not sure but we'll see.

The good news is I cleaned my apartment yesterday, I'd gone off my cleaning calendar when I got sick too, either everything works or everything slips, so I'm feeling much better mentally for doing that. I also got paid yesterday, which has me breathing a sigh of relief. I'm using 'you need a budget' to keep track of my money, so I plugged it straight into there along with what I expect to spend this month and where I want the money to go. Is it incredibly geeky of me to be excited about that this? I love this kind of thing. I'm hoping this will help me save what I want to go back to school when I finish in China.

I have my lunch made and packed, may this be the start of a controlled week.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wobble

When things don't go great I have a way of disappearing. Sometimes I want to wait until I've got a few 'good' days under my belt again so that I can say 'hey, this happened but things are fine now' (but either I don't update or I don;t have a few good days), and sometimes I just fall into the abyss to turn up months later, sheepish and weighing 20lbs more. In the interest of not doing that it's probably better I come clean now. This weekend was not great for me (My 'weekend' being yesterday and today).


The last week has had its good points. I was down again on the scale on Monday, I took my lunch to work 4 days out of 5 like I planned, and I made it to Monday under budget against all the odds, so I was feeling pretty good. I can't pinpoint why I couldn't keep that going, maybe the fact that I could loosen the reigns a little bit and I let it go to my head? Maybe there was no real reason other than opportunity, but if that's the case it still teaches me (well, re-teaches me) the importance of a clean living environment (both literally and figuratively) at home. 

Yesterday I overslept, waking up at 11:15. I'm on the tail end of a cold so I figured I needed the sleep, but now that I've had two days in a row of late wake ups I think it's just a sign of apathy on my part. Getting up late meant I didn't feel as motivated to get my cleaning schedule done. Having my environment be untidy makes me mentally more likely to allow other things to fall into disorder. I couldn't be bothered to make something proper to eat, which led to me picking at food most the afternoon. This all led to me baking a pan of brownies and eating them. Genius! Today I got up late again, but wasn't doing too badly as I made myself do some laundry, and got a little of the cleaning done so the day wasn't entirely unproductive. I went to the store and got groceries, but then on the way back got lazy and decided to go to McDonald's instead of waiting until I got home and spending time preparing something. I don;t really have an excuse for this, but I think the reason may have been poor planning on my part. I should have eaten something before I left.

So there we have it. One a scale of 1-10 on how bad this could have been, 1 being 'did what I was supposed to' and 10 being ' found dead face down in a pile of chocolate spread 3 days later' I would rate this at about a 4. One incident of plain binge eating/giving in to cravings, and 1 incident of old fashioned laziness. I'm hoping better planning, and adhering to a schedule of getting up and completing a set lists of jobs a day before allowing myself to relax, will give my weekends more of a sense of purpose and achievement. That way I won;t feel like it's OK to let things slide on days when I'm not at work.

So there we have it. A reasonable look at what happened, at attempt to identify why, and a plan to stop it happening in the future. Onwards march my friends.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blah

This week is definitely turning out harder than last. I went and paid my Internet/cable bill on Wednesday, it came to 2300 (for the year) which means I am now totally skint. I have about 200 kwai in my purse for the rest of the week (£20/$32, shouldn't be a problem), but then only 1,000 (£100/$160) until pay day (somewhere around the 28th). This is China, so it's doable, but it's half what I had planned so I will have to watch things carefully. In anticipation of this I made a big pot of chilli yesterday and froze it into individual portions. I kept some unfrozen for lunch today/tomorrow, but if all else fails it means that I have that ready and waiting.


I'v been feeling kind of low for the last few days. No discernible reason, just mildly depressed. I'm feeling kind of burned out on work even though I only came back from my holiday home 3 weeks ago (maybe because I came back only 3 weeks ago?). It's assessment/End of Term Presentation time, which is always stressful, so that could be it. It also doesn't help that I was feeling a bit off around 3pm yesterday, and that feeling has now descended into 'I'm sick'. I've been chugging orange juice and trying to stay hydrated in a hope that it won;t get worse than it is. I get sick a lot in China (working with kids, everyone spitting/not covering their mouth when they cough/sneeze) and it usually turns into a hacking chesty cough, which I'm desperately trying to avoid. I'm hoping the fact that I have been eating well, taking my vitamins and sleeping properly will work in my favour and that this will pass me by without too much incident.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Going well

Well, I made it through the week sticking to my budget. It was actually fine, and I underspent which was nice. I sent home all my money but what was in my budget, so it's important I stick to it. It's a little unfortunate that I realised right after sending it that I actually have to pay my internet and cable for the next year tomorrow, but I had completely forgotten about it! I think it's about 2,000 kwai, so I'm hoping I can still pay it and manage on what is left in my account, but things will be pretty lean at the end of this month! I figure if it gets terrible I can also get some money out of my home bank (my card from the UK is accepted in most cash machines here) but I'd rather not if I can manage at all!

A fortunate side affect of cutting down the money I spend is that I've been sticking to eating mostly home food, which means I lost 5lbs last week. That's great for me! I've joined a weight loss challenge on SparkPeople that ends right before my birthday, so I'm going to try and keep it up without overwhelming myself.

Gotta go, I'm late!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Plans

(I've had this sitting in Drafts for a while, sorry)

Turns out when using an automatic, driving is kind of awesome. I had a small heart attack when I merged on to the motorway for the first time, and then again when I had to do my first big island solo, but after that things were sort of great. Every time I overtook a lorry I started humming the Indiana Jones theme tune. Not having to worry about stalling the car was really nice.

I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I've had to sit and think about my 5 year plan just recently (which makes me feel about 50 years old) I want to go back to university and become qualified as a teacher. That means (somehow) getting on a program (my biggest worry) and then supporting myself through the time I'm studying. This in turn means saving enough money in my time left in China to do all this.

(end of draft)

I'm trying to look upon the budgeting as an opportunity. In order to make my budget I'm going to be doing a few things, and those things usually directly correlate with me losing weight, so everything should hopefully start to fall into place. I want to save at least 5000 kwai (£500/$800) a month, something that's actually completely doable in China. In order to do this I've been looking at my basic income and come up with this:

Salary: 12,450 (after tax)

-5,000 savings
-3,000 rent and bills/month
4,450

4,450/31 (max days in a month) x7 (days in a week) = 1004.84

I'm rounding that down to an even 1,000 (£100, $160) a week for simplicity's sake.

Every Monday I go to the ATM and get the thousand out, then I live from the cash in my wallet until the next Monday. This helps me keep track of what I'm spending and what I have left. No visits to the ATM in-between or paying for stuff on cards! I walk to work so commuting coasts aren't an issue, but anything else (taxis, groceries, any eating out/fun things I do) will come out of that money. If I use up that money by Wednesday, I'd better be ready to scavenge meals from what's left in my apartment and freezer until next Monday.

When Monday arrives, if I have any money left from the week, I will top it up to 1,000 so that I'm starting with the same all the time. Anything I don't spend can be extra savings.

Even though I budget for my rent/bills every month, I only pay them every three months (in a lump sum, very common here in China). I just did my most recent payment this week, so after every rent payment from now I will go to the bank and send what savings I have home. I find this a lot easier than having the money in China, as once it's in my home savings account the money doesn't exist for me in the same way it does in my Chinese bank. I'm much more likely to chip away at it here.

I'm at the end of the first week now and things went great this week. A big part of keeping to this is not eating out at work so much! It's all we go right now and it siphons away your money fast! Not to mention that eating at MacDonald's every day loses its appeal rather quickly and is really bad for you. I brought meals in 4 days this week and ate out of the 5th, which is about where I want to be. I'm not banning it, I just want it to be an occasional thing instead of everyday. This, in turn, is meaning I finally lost a little weight this week (1.5kg) so I'm hoping to keep this going.

There aren't 31 days every month, and 3,000 is the top estimate fore my bills, so it's entirely possible I will save more than I am planning. Also, 1,000 a week is quite generous if I keep to my plan of making my own food. I'm going to keep on the 1,000 a week for the next month while I try things out, and if I find I have quite a bit left over at the end of the week (as I did this week), I may lower my weekly budget and try and save 7,000 a month instead. I don't want to budget myself into the ground though, to the point where I feel like I can't do anything so I say forget it and blow a load of money on something, so the next month should show me what a comfortable compromise is.

Sorry if this post got a bit boring! I'm trying to keep things laid out and straight in my head to keep it going.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The bosom of my homeland

Well, I'm back home now and am pleased to report that I didn't have major problems on the flight. I filled my seat but I did fit, so that was good. I was lucky in the fact that on both planes I didn't have anyone sitting next to me, so even when the arm rest did dig in slightly (only very slightly, I could have dealt with it if I'd been sitting by someone) I was able to just raise it up and have two seats anyway. I'm now very glad I didn't spend all that money upgrading to business class. My dad mentioned something worth checking on though (that I forgot about when I was checking in), that I should ask how much an upgrade is on the day as they'd rather sell it cheaper then to fill the seat than have it wasted. I'll possibly look into it when I go back. If it were the case of a few hundred I would probably pay that.

I met my baby brother and sister for the first time yesterday! There were adorable, but then I knew they would be. I bought them ALL THE OUTFITS from China so they're going to be the best dressed babies in the village for a while.

I'm going up to my mum's at the weekend, and I'm really nervous because I'll probably be driving. I passed my test about three weeks before I went to China and haven't driven since, making the longest journey I've ever taken outside of the safe haven of the dual control instructor car about 5 minutes. Mum lives in East Anglia, which (for someone who knows what they're doing) is about 2 and a quarter/2 and a half hours away. For someone who knows what they're doing. It also involves driving on BIG ROADS instead of the usually back streets I'm used to. I believe the phrase to best describe me right now would be shitting brick. I called my old driving instructor and asked him to give me a top up lesson or two, which I have booked for tomorrow and Thursday. I called my mum to finalise details, and though I think she meant well, she actually made me feel a lot worse about it, so I've gone from 'This is awful but I can do it' to 'crap'. Fingers crossed anyway.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unpretty truths

One unfortunate part of my job is the fact that we have to take a minimum of 4 pictures per class that we put up on the class page each week that the parents can see. It leads to some really cute pictures of my kids (I teach 2-10 year old Chinese kids, cute is kind of what they do), but the unfortunate part for me is that it's a weekly endurance test over 7 classes of catching shots of myself and going 'Oh God, that's unfortunate'. I'm very fat anyway, but my tan pants and compulsory tucked in shirt does no favours for my pear shaped body. It doesn't seem to have done enough to, I don't know, make me do something about it, but it is a fairly regular reminder.

About 2 weeks ago I had to book a flight home. It's a long flight (18 hours or so all told) and I'm worried about fitting in the seat. Worried enough that with the memory of all horror stories I've heard about other people being stopped and humiliated while checking in, I was actually contemplating paying to upgrade to business class. I agonized over this for a while. The price difference WAS HUGE. The economy seat is costing me £745 (and that was a good deal!), whereas the equivalent business class  seat was somewhere in the range of £2500. That's right, it was over 3 times the price. The premium economy seats aren't really worth the bother (unless maybe you need the exit row because you're very tall, but for width concerns they are the same seat) and would have cost £1500. In the end I checked the flight I wanted to take on seatguru.com and found out the seat width. I love that site so much! Then I measured my own width sitting down in my chair. The width of the seat is a scant half inch bigger than the width of my arse. 'Okay' I said, 'This is doable. I've got a month, as long as I don't gain any weight (and if I can lose some it would be a bonus) I might be OK with this'. So, unable to justify how much more money it would cost versus how long it took me to save said money, I booked the economy seat.

And of course, haven't been able to stop eating since. Genius!

The crazy thing is, I have a gym membership to the gym that is 15 minutes walk from my house. There is no reason not to go! I've been going around and around this fact while sitting at work or at home eating junk, saying 'OK, tomorrow is the day!'and not doing it. I read a few other blogs today about people who feel like they're spiralling and even though it's hard for them I'm glad they're sharing their stories. Because people like me are sitting here feeling like it's just our fault for being such losers. To every one of those blogs all I can think to say is I'm so sorry you feel like this, I know the misery, but You. Can Do .It. Even if 'it' is only one step. Even if you haven't succeeded before. No matter how many times you've tried this. If I can offer this to other people why can't I have it myself? Know, you people that post your slip ups online, that you are inspirational. Even when you are at the bottom of your personal barrels, you are inspiring me to say 'hey, I know that feeling, it's not hopeless it just feels that way right now' Too late is for when you're dead, everything else is negotiable, so maybe I can do this again?

Take care of myself. Clean my apartment. Walk to the gym (no matter how many times you say it you won't do your exercise videos at home, that's why you joined the gym). Accept that some things work for me and some things don't, and I don't always know which is which so try more! Accept that it's easy to say 'that doesn't work for me' when I actually mean 'I don't like/want to do that'. Be kinder to and about my self.

The only thing I'm sure I can do out of any of those is clean, but I can try. And even if I try and fail, the attempt is more than I'm doing now.