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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Success Begets Success

Anyone who says that the first month, two months, three months... or the first 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 40 pounds.... isn't all about willpower, pain, and forcing your way through the hell of changing an unhealthy lifestyle into a healthy one.... has never done it.

This morning was another scale-butt-kicking kind of morning. Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the thing and it spat back 128.6kg (283.5lbs). Less than four pounds away from the 270s. I probably haven't been under 280 since junior high school. No joke.

Seeing a success like that... pushed me on my intervals this morning and I managed to go a few more feet than usual. Not that much, but enough that I noticed.

I've always heard that you have to have money to make money. I'm going to say that you have to have success to succeed. When I'm doing badly, when the scale shows a terrible number, all I want to do is eat crap. Against all logical thought, gaining a pound makes me want to eat the caloric equivalent of five pounds.

However, a success, small or large, pushes me to work more, eat less.

But, getting started at all is kind of a miracle.

Anyone who has overcome the intial hurdle of willing a change, forcing healthy habits in to force out unhealthy ones... Kudos. If it's any consolation... it's happened to us all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Veni, Vidi, Vici! Angela - 1, Tokyo - 0

I beat you, Tokyo. You big, scary city of temptation, you.

On Saturday morning, as I was prepping to head out for a work meeting in Niigata City (the capital of my prefecture and a 3-hour train ride away), I weighed in. I was back at my lowest weight on record since I've been recording my weights in Japan - 130.2kg (or about 287 pounds).

I was actually a bit devastated because I thought, "Oh, woe! I am going to Tokyo where they have Krispy Kreme and TGI Friday's and Outback and Denny's and Hard Rock Cafe... bye-bye 130.2!! Guess I won't be seeing the 120s..."

You know what?


This morning, I tipped the scales at 129.6kg (285.7 pounds). We ate at Denny's....TWICE - I got the most sensible things on the menu - bean salad, light chicken plate, brothy veggie soup... a one-scoop ice cream cone. We ate at TGI Friday's - I got the Key West Tilapia and a glass of white wine... which my friends seemed to like better than their own orders of typical Friday's fare after we all tasted around and tried each other's food. The bus ride back yesterday was full of carbs and I was too tired after my adult evening class to cook, so I bought some pre-cooked (fried) garlic potstickers that were on sale at the grocery store instead of making real food when I got home. And yet... I still won. And after the water I was retaining from said bus ride and carb/sodium overload drops, I will probably find that I won even bigger than I initially thought. I feel like Rocky. I feel like the entire team of Mighty Ducks. I feel like every underdog-come-out-on-top there has even been in the history of competition.

It feels amazing. And motivating.

Onward and downward, keep on keeping on.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GACKT Eats My Money, or How A Japanese Rock Star Is Making Me Thinner)

Though I am not being directly effected by the recession in my job or my salary, I have found myself facing budget crunches to rival those of far too many Americans getting hit with downsizing and pay reductions.

I wish I could say I didn't know how/why this happened, but I do. I wish I could say that my company is suffering the ill effects of the economy's slow suffocation, and this is why I suffer. It's not.

It's a rock star. He eats my money. And that's okay, because when he eats my money, I don't eat cake. It's a kind of symbiotic relationship, you see? I buy tour goods and pay extravagant transportation fees to follow him to venues all over Japan.... and then I can't buy cakes or Oreos or chips or pizzas or anything 'extra' in my food budget, and it all works out for the best.

Things that I have in my apartment that I am using, now, because I can't really buy more food (this list is more for my own reference than your information... still, have a gander and toss some recipes my way if you have any!!):

- wild rice
- whole wheat pasta (and jars of sauce for said pasta)
- quinoa
- pearled barley
- oatmeal
- brown rice
- frozen veggies
- fresh veggies & fruits (lemons, avocado, leek, onions, potatoes)
- canned black beans & tomatoes
- frozen chicken and frozen white fish

See, my apartment is fully stocked for living a healthy lifestyle. It has been for a long time. I just haven't put forth the effort to live that lifestyle.... most of the time.

Now that I have no choice in the matter, let's see how things progress, shall we?

Today's grocery list:
- All Bran (although if I would prep oatmeal daily, this would ultimately be an unnecessary expense) - 400 yen
- bananas - 200 yen
- milk - 250 yen
- tofu - 100 yen

Ideally, these purchases will get me almost entirely through until next Thursday (with what I already have at home).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Going Green... Not That Way

I am a bit of a treehugger, these days. It's true. I do what I can to 'go green' in my daily life. I even put money toward a Carbon offset for my flight home last Christmas.

Still... I go green the other way far too often.


If my skin acted as a mood ring for all the world to see just how I was feeling at any given moment of the day, it would probably be green more often than most.

See, here's the way it goes:

- I can't buy clothes in Japan. Sometimes I can squeeze my rolls into mens' shirts, but only if they're stretchy and a bit oversized to begin with. I couldn't buy pants (and certainly not jeans), even if my life depended on it. When I go shopping with friends, I like shopping with them, but I can't help feeling envious of them.

- When I go to a restaurant, I painstakingly scour the menu, comparing both prices and calorie counts. The "healthiest" options are often also the most expensive and I am living my life on a strict budget recently. I usually try to choose something in the middle of the road for both calories and yen. My dining companions, on the other hand, flip blithely through menus, looking at pictures of deliciously fried, sauced, sweetened, honeyed, and any other manner of unhealthily prepared foods. They choose what looks tasty. The food that their eyes and their tongue say that they want. What does it feel like to go to a restaurant without suffering from menu anxiety, I wonder? Do tell.

- I have missed out on any number of opportunities in my life because of my embarrassment about my size. KODO (internationally famous taiko drumming group) came to one of my schools to give a performance and people were offered a chance to play with them. I didn't do it because I didn't want to be banging on a drum with hot taiko men in front of my 300 students with my arm flab swaying in the breeze. I have burned too many internet-built bridges with contacts in Japan (boys, yes) because the prospect of meeting them in real life is just too terrifying and depressing. I won't even dream of trying to go on a fan club trip with GACKT until I am half the woman I am now. No. Freaking. Way.

- I can't eat anything in public without near-crippling guilt and shame descending on me. Today, on the way home, I had a bowl of cut up watermelon from the grocery store. Watermelon. I ate it in the waiting room at the train station and knew, simply knew that everyone else in the waiting room was mentally berating the fat girl for eating anything - even something relatively harmless like watermelon. Friends can eat ice cream, French fries, crepes, frothy 500 calorie Starbucks ambrosia... and not think twice about it or about what other people are thinking. Admittedly, I have gotten better about this particular phobia over the past few years. When going out for dinner with friends four or five years ago, I would pre-eat before getting to the restaurant, so that I would eat less in public than I would have had I not pre-eaten. I've gotten over that.

Hopefully, my current budget crunch will help to keep things in perspective (and crap out of my kitchen) and I can kill this crazy green-eyed monster that makes life so miserable some days.