In Dire Need of Calm of Clarity.

I am utterly exhausted today. Mentally and emotionally. I spent one to two hours crying so hard, that I’m embarressed to see my neighbour. I know that this space is for my rantings, but I just don’t feel like going into the details of last night. In short, I had a massive fight with a friend that almost ended our friendship followed by an intense talk. Feelings of guilt regarding me not being able to attend my best friend of almost 20 years’ wedding (it is in South Africa, and I do not have holiday at that time), and then some words which I took to heart, even though they were only said with the best intentions. I just felt overwhelmed yesterday.

My future scares me a lot and it’s coming to the time where I need to make a big decision. It’s making me petrified and anxious. It’s so easy when people tell you that you’ll make the right decision. I know I need to sit down and make a pros and cons list. I feel like my head is so cloudy right now. I feel like I don’t ever get that moment of absolute calm and clarity where I can breathe and write.

Tomorrow is a holiday, and honestly it could not have come at a better time. After last night, I need some rest.

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One Week of Destruction.

A few weeks ago, my best friend told me that she was taking a break from eating well and exercise because she’d associated eating bad food with feelings of guilt. I didn’t quite understand it when she told me that, yet found myself feeling those exact same feelings a little while later. I moved cities just under two months ago, to a busy and bigger city. I am central downtown which means lots of restaurants, including many western places like KFC, TGI Friday etc. I live opposite the McDonalds, for heavens sake. A blessing and a curse!

My best friend and I had grown up together, and we were both overweight as children. She’s gone on to lose a lot of weight by eating well and exercise and she is my inspiration. We talk on Skype at least once a week and talk about our eating and feelings and generally, we motivate and inspire one another.

Last Friday, I had my cheat meal as normal – McDonalds and decided that I, too, would take the weekend off from eating bad food here and there and feeling guilty about it. I’d spent the last two or so weeks eating really well all day, but then dipping into nachos and salsa at night and it made me feel bad. So, I took the weekend off and ate whatever I liked in large quantities. My guy friend was over for the weekend and when he saw what I’d eaten he said I’d “gone into the deep end”, which actually wasn’t very nice. No one really understands my relationship with food. Not even me, at times. The weekend of eating badly extended to the entire week. Eating food from a bakery for breakfast and lunch and take out for dinner. I’d wanted to try many of the restaurants around here and used this week as an opportunity to try them, and get it out my system. Not only did I want to get it out my system, I was feeling overwhelmed with how busy my life has become. I work very hard at work, then it’s gym, cooking for dinner and lunch the next day, dishes, washing and then it’s bed time already. I wanted to take the time to come home, have a few hours to relax and not worry about dishes and cooking!

It’s now Sunday night and I wanted to reflect on this past week.

I literally cannot believe I ever lived a lifestyle similar to this past week. I felt tired and sluggish most of the week, even though I’d gotten enough sleep. It reminded me how I felt at work for the entire year before changing my lifestyle. I always just assumed that was normal. I felt overly full every night and went to bed feeling uncomfortable. I threw up on two separate occasions.

All in all, I am glad I had this experience. it opened my eyes to a lot of things. I got it all out my system and am SO ready to start this week off right again with eating and exercise. Feeling very motivated and excited.

How I, as an Expat, am Losing Weight in South Korea.

I am not very adventurous when it comes to food. I usually eat the same things, prepared differently. It works for me. I usually don’t get sick of eating the same foods – but there are times where I do need a change. For example, courgettes (zucchini) – which I ate with dinner every day, and soon became very tired of.

When coming to Korea, I totally neglected myself with alcohol and bad food. Yes, I’d done the same prior to Korea – but coming here felt like I was on a vacation from my own life. That, because I ~couldn’t read~ the food labels, or know where to find or ask for certain foods – I’d just not eat them. Thee worst excuse. When I started to take the time to actively look for fruits and vegetables that I recongised and liked, I realized that it really wasn’t that hard.

My diet started off drinking the Herbalife shake twice a day. I felt it was convienent because I really did not like eating so early in the morning, and it seemed a lot easier to have. I would take my shake to work and drink it at lunch and then eat a real meal for dinner. After a month and a bit, I decided that I missed food, so ditched the Herbalife and began eating right.

I started my day with some Special K with fat free milk. For lunch I would have one skinless chicken breast on brown bread with cucumber slices (delicious!). For dinner, I would have one skinless chicken breast, with lots of veg – lettuce, courgettes etc. I also squeezed a lemon over the chicken, and used basil. Throughout my day, I would have two snacks consisting of original or Greek yoghurt with cucumbers and a handful of almonds.

I’ve since changed my eating a little by having a smoothie for breakfast. I have fat free milk, one small tub of plain yoghurt, banana, strawberries, blueberries and a handful of almonds. Sometimes, I’ll change it around with just strawberries and banana, or peanut butter and honey, or kiwi. Basically, fat free milk, small tub of plain yoghurt with some fruits and sometimes nuts for the crunch. I really like having that in the morning.

I’ve since decided to cut out the bread every day, so I eat one chicken breast with cucumber for lunch. For dinner, I have one chicken breast with cucumber, peas, sometimes some brown rice. Surprisingly, I do not get sick of the chicken – I do not like fish!

Here are some pictures of the meals that I prepare.

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photo (4)In terms of exercise, I do 35-45 minutes at the gym desirably 4 times a week. I do not go over weekends. I do what I can. I am not fit, by any means. I’ve only just started running on the treadmill and I am out of breath after 30 seconds, AND THAT’S OK! Do what you can, push yourself and remember: The body achieves what the mind believes.

How and Why I wanted to Change my Life.

When starting to change my lifestyle in Korea, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I usually tend to doubt myself in general, and being in this foreign country – I never quite felt confident that what I was eating or doing was, in fact, healthy and good for me. Most brands are Korean with food labels in Korean, too – so, most of the time I just stuck to what I knew.

I started to change my lifestyle at the end of October 2012. I had had a messy break up a few months prior, one of my friends had lost a lot of weight and together, it inspired me to make a change in my life. I’ve been overweight since childhood and now, to be thin and healthy is my number one goal. However, when January came around I began neglecting myself again, wanting to take care of others instead of myself (which I am so prone to do). I did not give up entirely, yet I found myself craving (and eating!) bad food at night, going out for dinners more often and not sticking to my eating/workout schedule. Life took a dip at the point, where I was preparing for a big change and anxiety totally overcame me. I was quite unhappy for a few months.

Two week ago, I heard some news which made me feel unworthy. It was that moment that made me realize that I needed to continue on this journey. It reminded me why I decided to focus more on myself than anyone else. I’ve started eating well again, took out a new gym contract and I am back to that place I was in at the end of last year. Feeling confident, excited and inspired. I feel like everyone has the ability to be happy if they only knew what eating well and exercising would do for them. It’s really just a gift in itself.

To conclude, I felt that it would be useful (hopefully) for other expats in Korea to see what I’ve been eating while in Korea to lose weight. When starting out, I did a Google search and wasn’t entirely successful. My next post will be about my eating and exercise plans, with some pictures.

Have a great Monday, all. xx