Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank Goodness for that

When I ran into my house a few minutes ago to grab my laptop power cable, I quickly nipped to the loo. After all, never pass up the chance to use a western toilet here, the chance may not present itself again. Upon the discovery that the universe had decided that this was to be my 'special time', my first instinct was to praise whatever holy being is currently controlling said universe.

Long time readers of this blog will know that this is not the normal reaction to a monthly visit from my little red friend.

See, the thing is, this whole losing weight deal? Not so much at the moment. The days since weigh in have not been kind and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't just put down the cookie dough*. When I saw 103.something kilos on the scale this morning I may have shed a little tear.

But oh! Fate has smiled down upon me, and granted me the boon of this logical, temporary reason for gaining

I wish my body would just make a plan and stick to it so I wouldn't get caught unaware by this crap every time. "But then"-I hear it's tiny voice shouting-"You don't so why should we?"


*If you're wondering what the cookie dough was doing there to start with: A student and I exchange an English notebook so she can practice. She writes me a letter and I write one back. It's just started, and she was telling me about Japanese sweets. As a thank you for agreeing to help she made me some. In return I surprised her with some tiny people shaped cookies. It made her happy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Challenge WI 2 - 100.6 kg

Thankfully I got the scale moving on the weekend so I saw a small change. I was hoping to start the challenge with a big loss, but I'll take what I can.

It turns out the lack of movement was either too much sodium or not enough drinking. I'm actually leaning towards the latter as I didn't drink very much after my WI yesterday (I take my Tuesday morning reading as the 'official' one) and sadly my scale reflected that this morning. It's good in a way though because it means I have a reason, so I can stop beating myself up and take steps to prevent it.

Something went wrong with my washer yesterday, and my clothes came out with huge brown splodges all over them. Splodges being the technical term. Quite a few of tops were ruined, leaving me to swear and cry hysterically in alternating parts. You see, I'm screwed. I don't fit into anything in this country so I can't replace them. I've ordered some things online but they're going to take a few weeks to get here so until then I'm stuck in the my one remaining work top.

People are going to think I never wash.

Okay Zan, pull yourself together. I want to break 100kg so bad right now, I'm going to put my less than stellar day of eating behind me and really work for it.

Last thing, I'm challenging you all to give me nice things to eat! Write down your favourite recipe, than tag 3-5 (I know, some peoples links list aren't as long) people on your links list to do the same! Here's mine:

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 large carrot, in strips or chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped

Saute 5-6 mins.

Add Seasoning:

1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Saute 2-3 mins.


1-1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes

Simmer 10-15mins.


1 can red kidney beans
1 medium chopped zucchini

Simmer 10-15 mins.

Really good with crusty bread or brown rice, or anything really. The spices make it go from kind of blah-but-ok veg to 'holy crap! I made this?!?'. It's also really easy to customise any way you like.

Longest post in the world. Sorry.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Such a beautiful disaster

I didn't occur to me until after I'd eaten 2 (well, OK, 3) snack-size milky way bars and 6 gourmet cheese and onion pringles that perhaps the trip to Ise foreign food store wasn't the smartest move I made today. Yeah, I'm a little slow on the uptake, and my brain was fogged with images of all the good stuff I was going to eat before I 'started again' tomorrow. My God I bought a lot of junk. Luckily I stubbed my toe on the scale as I walked past with the shopping bags and it let out an angry beep to let me know it was awake, bringing me back to my right mind.

The 2 (2! One white, one milk chocolate) toblerone bars have gone into the freezer, along with the rest of the bag of the milky ways. If I want them I will have the time it takes to defrost them to consider. The pringles have been hidden behind the top shelf cans in my kitchen. I shouldn't even buy pringles, when I eat too many they give me heartburn, and the salt will have me swelling Violet Beauregarde style.

I considered just throwing the whole lot out. But then I thought, what would that actually teach me? Usually I have to have a completely clear environment, no snack anywhere because I just can't resist. The problem is, how does that teach me control? It doesn't, it just removed my ability to indulge. This is no small thing, sometimes that's exactly what I need, but eventually I have to learn to be around these foods without losing my mind. To know that they're always going to be available so not to freak out, else every time I step outside my door I'll go into complete free-fall. I can't always control my environment but I can try and control myself despite it.

It may not work, but as long as I stay in the mentality of 'I can only stop when it's not there to start' isn't really going to let me progress.

It's not all doom and gloom, I bought some healthy stuff too. I bought some Weetabix (breakfast of champions!), and I finally found some red beans! I'm not sure if they're red kidney beans as the label is in Spanish, and they're dried so I have to soak them overnight, but I can start making chili and other vegetable dishes. I also found some light coconut milk to use in my Indian curries, and some make at home naan bread mix.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

I've obviously been slipped some happy pills

I've just had a great day. No, seriously, great. Considering how the day went I probably shouldn't be so happy about it, but I just had a fun time. I woke up this morning to see a loss (finally!), and then went and ruined it by eating a burger, fries, and chocolate cake for lunch.

Except I didn't ruin it. The burger/fries/cake combo was definitely not on the agenda when I woke up, but my friend wanted to take me to a Japanese burger place (Mos Burger) so off we went. The great thing about going to Mos instead of an American chain? Japanese food portions. Speaking realistically I had what the US would consider a kids portion. Also, they don't automatically salt their fries so I didn't take a huge step back after yesterday. I didn't compound the problem by deciding to just eat whatever today and start again tomorrow, and when I got home I wasn't hungry so I've had no dinner. I'm drinking water. So yeah, ate something bad for me. Jeans didn't automatically pop its buttons, world didn't stop spinning on it's axis, The End is not nigh.

We went to an amusement arcade after we had visited Futami shrine and got some pictures from a super advanced Japanese picture booth. You know the kind, go in with a friend and they'll put your picture on stickers with different backgrounds? Except this one let us choose 6 pictures and then go to another booth to graffiti them on a computer screen. If I get my hands on a scanner at any point I'll put them up. I usually hate all pictures of me, but today was like I could do no wrong. My friend got a nice one of us both but she hasn't had a chance to email it to me yet so I can't put it up for you just yet.

It's absurd, I just feel so... buoyant. It may not last, but it's just so good for now to look at me and think, even though I'm technically not at my low weight, even though I've got a long way to go, even though this feeling may not last past today, I love just being me.

I don't want to jinx this but...

Movement! Glorious, glorious movement!

Though I'm not sure if it was salt or not. It was definitely me retaining water, but now that I think of it I haven't been drinking much water at all. It's been really hot here so my water intake should have been higher than usual, but it's been lower. I'll have to experiment with my mystery sauce, see what it does to the scale reading.

I woke up this morning and the little dry patch by my nose was loads better, after one day! Obviously my body was crying out for a drink.

I feel cute today. Logically I know that the odd kilo or two will not effect how I look (at least, not at this weight), but I'm glad I stuck to eating right even when I was frustrated and seeing no change. It makes me feel good now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Worth a try

Thank you to the commenter's on my last post. After considering your insight I am going to be really careful this weekend in terms of salt intake. I suspect that Mir may be right in blaming my beloved Mystery Sauce as a possible Trojan salt horse in my current eating. I really, really hope that it's not the culprit and I'm actually salt-licking in my sleep, because it's such an easy dish. That being said, I can't disprove it as I can't read the label, so we shall see.

And hey, if it works at least I'll have a reason at long last.

So, goals for the week are not to use the mystery sauces and to really up my water intake. I'm already working on the water and I plan to have chicken breast, sweet potato and cabbage for dinner.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Scale, you utter bastard

Scale remains unmoved, in any sense of the word, by my valiant efforts and perfect eating. I am baffled (aside from that old standby - Sod's Law) as to why number changes (in any direction!) have suddenly stopped.

I want to up my water intake. I drink a reasonable amount but with how hot it is here (compared with England) I'm thinking I may need more. The problem is (and this may be a little TMI for some of you, consider yourself warned) that my school doesn't have any western style toilets, they're all squatters.

I hate squatters. Oh the hate.

If I drink more then my trips to the bathroom increase, and I don't like that at all. I'm trying to drink more in the evening at home, but there's only so much you can get through in a limited time you know?

I also made a conscious effort to eat a yogurt for breakfast this morning. I don't usually have time (I make do with a mid-morning snack or an early lunch) and sometimes when I'm tired I feel a little sick when I first wake up, but everyone goes on about how important it is so I'm trying to have something little just to get my metabolism going.

Every school-day I am walking 15-20 minutes to school (and back again) carrying about 7 or 8 kg on my back (laptop, textbooks, and assorted junk).

I'm perfectly willing to accept no change if I know in my heart of hearts I haven't been sticking to the diet, but when I have been it just pisses me off. My body better be gearing up for nothing-nothing-BIG LOSS because if Scale doesn't start moving soon I'm going to punch him in the neck.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

To answer my own question...

Why isn't the scale moving? Because of the stupid, delicious Japanese food, that's why! Tonight I plan to make this:

This is マボドフ (mabodofu), it's a kind of spicy tofu dish with minced pork. Recipezaar has a listing for it here, though I will be taking the lazy route and making it from a packet sauce as I have flower arranging club tonight.

I am looking forward to it.

Edit: OMFG, it was nice. Like a party in my mouth. I'm happy because I've been trying to find ways to enjoy tofu as I find I don't like the taste as much plain, this will definitely be made again

Being stubborn is not an attractive trait

(I'm talking to you Scale!)

Scale is steadfast refusing to budge. I was like it said 'ohhhhh, you're on a challenge are you? A weekly weigh in you say? Right'.

*nails feet to the floor*

'Yeah, these numbers aren't going anywhere'

Logically speaking I know if I keep going and keep eating right then the scale will have to move eventually, I know that. I also know that I lost about a kilo right before I posted my first challenge weight, so that might be it for the week. But damn it I wanted to have a really nice number for the first weigh in.

I'm overreacting kids, don't worry. I keep thinking I've only got the weekend left when in fact today is Thursday not Friday, and I don't have to weigh in until Tuesday/Wednesday. I also tend to see results on the scale quite quickly when I'm doing everything right, so it's frustrating to see the same number on the scale three days in a row.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This is Bangkok calling

I'm going to Bangkok for New Year! Originally I wanted to go home, but prices will be quite high and I just can't face the 14 hour flight coupled with the inevitable bitch of a jet lag. My friend wanted to try Thailand and had some really cheap rooms available. It's only a short flight so the prices aren't too high (even though they spike a little that close to holidays) and I get to try a new country! I want to visit more of Asia while I'm here, it's too expensive to do from the UK but really cheap from Japan! With the public holidays around that time it means that if we leave the 23rd then I only have to take 4 days of my nenkyuu (vacation time - I get 20 a year) and then fly back on the 1st.

Start the year as you intend to continue I suppose, remembering that all a good life requires is a passport and a corkscrew.

I'm hoping the new challenge will mean that I have managed to either get close to or under 200 before I go. I have a new digital camera and would love some pictures of me that I actually like to surprise my family with. I flirted briefly with 205 a couple of years ago but his divorce didn't come through, so we parted ways. I'm hoping this new thing will work out better...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Challenge WI 1 - The Beginning

It's Tuesday here in oh so (damned) sunny Matsusaka, which means that it's time for my first Challenge weigh in! Survey says: 101.4 kg (223.08lbs).

So. You all signed up for the challenge right? Right?

Today being Tuesday also means that I eat out for lunch and dinner. Lunch is no problem, a sandwich and a yogurt, but dinner will be had in a restaurant before class so wish me luck in making good choices.

(Edited to add goals)

I didn't realise I was supposed to add my goals for this challenge into my first post. Hmm, I had originally just seen this as a way to keep myself on track so I hadn't considered any solid outcome. The problem with having a set goal is the possibility of failing, but then if I never do anything because I'm scared to fail...

Okay, let's call my goal getting under 200lbs. I think that's completely doable in 4 months and not only would it make me tremendously happy, I would also be at the lowest weight of my adult life. Come to think of it I would be the lowest weight of quite a portion of my teenage life too.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Looking Great Challenge 2008

Look what's going on over at Tales from the Scales! Excitement. I think I'm going to participate; I'm feeling a lot more in control of myself and it seems like a good way to keep on track. Although, with the time difference I have a feeling I will always be posting slightly early!

For those of you who can't be bothered to do the clicky clicky, here is the basic breakdown (further details on site):

What's the challenge?
Look Great in 2008 Challenge.
Don't wait for New Year's Resolutions, start the year out looking and feeling great!

When does it begin and end? Wednesday, September 19 - Tuesday, January 11th

Can I join at anytime? ABSOLUTELY.

What do I need to do? Every Tuesday - weigh yourself. If you have a blog, write about your losses, gains, successes, frustrations. Then come back to Tales from the Scales and sign Mr. Linky, linking back to your weekly blog post. We all need a little accountability, this is a great way to have it.

Do I have to weigh in every Tuesday? Weigh-in on whatever day works best for you. Just report to Tales from the Scales on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fighting tooth and claw

I've had a couple of good days (a rarity for me nowadays), but I've had to work damn hard to keep them that way. I've had to go back to basics and just clear the house of anything I shouldn't eat because it seems the force is not with me when it comes to resisting cravings. Let's focus on the good though.

That feeling that I'm falling, that I'm failing, is starting to dissipate. This weekend not only did I eat well, I averted the Jehovah's Witnesses (nicely, no goats were sacrificed in my bid to escape) which means I don't have to spend the next 2 years thinking of excuses to refuse their invitations, I cleaned my apartment properly (I don't care if I didn't want them here, if people are coming to my place it's going to be clean), I started making kanji flashcards to help me learn more Japanese, and I found the listings for upcoming Japanese dramas in English so I can start planning for the next TV season.

I stepped on the scale briefly today and it was down to 102.4. I have come to the conclusion that I hate working in kilos. It doesn't feel like I'm achieving as much even when I am and adding kilos to my weigh-in sidebar has screwed up the layout. I suppose I could just convert it to pounds but it doesn't give the same buzz you know? I think I'm going to take the kilo measurement off the stats but I have this faint suspicion that I will lose (or rather gain) something in the conversion.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I've just finished eating a lovely dinner. I buy a stir fry sauce from my supermarket, as I can't read the kanji I have no idea what it is, but I live off the stuff. So here you go (because pictures are always fun).

Cabbage, asparagus, thinly sliced pork, broccoli, spring onion:

Mystery sauce:

Chop up the asparagus and cook with a little olive oil in a hot pan until then soften. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan (it will begin to hiss/boil as soon as it touches the pan). Add the pieces of thinly sliced pork (the pork should be bacon thickness or thinner), you can either brown off the pork if you are using thicker pieces, or leave it and add the chopped cabbage straight away. After you've added the cabbage add a tiny bit more water and put the lid on the pan, the steam from the water will be trapped inside and help cook the veg through:

Once the veg is cooked to your likeness, add the mystery sauce. Before serving stir in the chopped spring onion. I've been trying to cut down on the white rice so I boiled the broccoli and served it on the side.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm being followed by a Jehovah’s witness

She came up and introduced herself when I was packing my bag in Okuwa the other day. A first I thought I had either met her before or she was a friend of my pred, as I couldn't account for her being so happy to see me. Turns out that no, she's a Jehovah’s witness and wants to visit. Religion not really being my bag I smile, give a vague answer when she asks if I live close, and say my goodbyes.

Today I'm walking home from school and she's walking with a friend and flags me down. I don't really want to talk to her so I smile, say hello and keep walking. They start to walk with me. We chat until I get home and I say 'sorry I have to go' and she says 'We want to visit you, Wednesday OK?'. I tell her I'm busy Wednesday night with English club (lie). At this point she's already asked me 'what god I have' and I've told her I don't believe in God. It seems to have made her and her friend more determined and they gave me some literature to read. The long and short of this is that they have refused to get the hint and are now coming to my house Saturday afternoon. Gah! I can't get rid of them! It seems the first one is local enough that I'm pretty much guaranteed to bump into her again (let's face it, I don't exactly blend in with the crowd) and they now know where I live.

This day sucks so hard.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It'll be all white on the night

September 10th and my scale still isn't budging. Last night I finally said 'fuck it' and hit the pastry counter of my supermarket. An hour later I was not feeling good. Also, my focus on the delicious pastry treat caused me to forget the toilet paper that I actually made the trip to the supermarket for, so now I'm on rationed peeing until I can go again tonight.

I am justly punished.

I have my suspicions that the lack of movement may be caused by the fact that (binge non withstanding) a large portion of my daily food now consists of white rice. They have it with pretty much every meal here, and it's so easy that I just stick it in the rice cooker when I get in and I'm sorted.

It's not technically bad for me I suppose, but I'll be interested to see if I notice any difference in the numbers if I cut it down a bit. I think the switch to a very carb heavy intake has screwed me around a bit.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Worker Bees

The school is abuzz with preparations for the school festival; predictions of a typhoon be dammed! There are a small army of students painting enormous banners and shoving food tickets for me to buy at every corner. They've got quite a racket going. Of course, all this excitement means no classes for me! It will change next week I think, but until then I will enjoy the freedom.

I went to the flower arranging club for the first time and they told me I should put a little display in with them at their stall. I was all 'Seriously? Did you see my arrangement?' but they remained determined so I am coming in early to make one with them.

I may have an IP phone waiting to be picked up. I will run home and negotiate with my post office vocab to see if we can hep each other out. If we come to an arrangement I will be Skype bound.

Monday, September 03, 2007

In which the author DOES repent.

I don't know how I get blindsided by this every time, but my little monthly visitor has come back to see me.

Maybe that's the reason one of the reasons I weighed in so heavy yesterday? Or is my wishful thinking progressing into full out delusions?

I couldn't stop eating yesterday. Given my little friend has come to stay I can now understand why, but seriously, if I ever eat anything fried ever again you have my permission to find a humane way to kill me. I was feeling sick you guys, no joke.

When I ran out of food and caught myself eyeing up the rice-like styrofoam packaging on my table I knew it was well past time to drink some water and go to bed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

August WI

I lost a piffling amount this month, but that wasn't entirely unexpected. I actually got down to 100.8kg at one point after I arrived but it didn't stick. Given all the stuff I've been eating I'm not surprised. Let's call this month a new beginning shall we?

My clothes are fitting a little better, I think the walk to/from school everyday had definitely helped in that department.

I am currently hanging new curtains and trying to redecorate a little bit to try and make the hovel look a little less 'student flat'. Must dash!