chilling in HK

i wish i could live forever like this; wake up not having to worry about anything at all! that said though, if i actually live like this i'd go mad from boredom!

we've been here for the last 12 days and all joel and i did were eat, sleep, spend and walk. not much in terms of exercise and i feel a bit disgusted from too much eating out (that said, i haven't eaten until the point of discomfort). when i was younger i loved to eat out but now that i'm more concerned about what goes into my body, i actually don't enjoy it anymore since i don't know what goes into my food. eating out every day can become boring too, meals begin to taste similar and unexciting. don't get me wrong, i LOVE to eat, i just prefer to eat healthy meals because i know my body responds positively to nutritious food.

anyway, have been baking a bit since mum arrived. i made chocolate chip cookies, DG's cheesecake and a banana coffee cake with choc chip streusel. they were all positively received, and i have not been tempted to even taste any of them. because i realized i really don't like baked goods but do have a soft spot for ice cream. so yes, i have indulged in two pints of Ben & Jerry's (Brownie Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge Brownies) just because. :) I'm glad that i have reverted to my old "Happy Eating" habits, no more feeling guilty about what i've eaten, which is great! Because i really do believe when i eat this way, i will eventually lose the weight because i won't have to deal with binging.

what else is there to do in HK but shop, right? i have finally scored the new iPad after trying for 11 days, finally my hard work and perseverance have paid off! hahaha. it's quite difficult to buy the iPad here since you just can't get it in store and have to make a reservation. we also upgraded our six-year old laptop and switching from windows xp to 7 wasn't as hard as i expected it to be. we were initially thinking of getting a Macbook Pro but decided against it since it was crazy expensive.

so, 11 more days to go before we fly to Canada! i feel quite refreshed and ready for our new life ahead. :)

three more days...

until we fly out of NZ. it's getting really close! chomie's flight was this morning, i think, and will arrive in winnipeg in two days' time. we've had a hiccup with our apartment application in winnipeg and it seems like the suites are getting snapped up really quickly. this apartment is our first choice because our friend (and her family) also stays here and it would be really great if we can stay in the same place. there's heaps of stuff that needs to be done when we get there. oh the stress, but good stress! what i'm most looking forward to is kitchen shopping! I know i shouldn't splurge on things that aren't essential but i can't help it! :)

today i made Kalbi Jjim for joel and our friend's dinner, and i made a squash and green bean stir-fry (which I drowned in copious amounts of fish sauce) for myself. I'm looking forward to dinner! being on a deficit isn't as hard as it used to be, but i guess i get good and bad days. the aim is to stop calorie counting, binge/overeating and eat mainly real, whole foods. i'm so glad i don't have a scale anymore and i'll just go by how my clothes fit.

15 more minutes until dinner time! :)


last night at home

our last night at our flat and it feels a bit weird to sleep on the floor. we'll leave this place tomorrow and will stay with a friend. will also drop chomie off at the pet relocation company tomorrow afternoon. also getting a hair cut, which is timely, since my hair is getting harder to manage.

i need to pick up a new hobby to get my mind off food/weight. if there's anything i regret, it was trying to control my weight/going on a diet. i've screwed my thought processes, which sucks because i can never really relax around food. i wish i were back to my old self and not think too much about food. but thinking back, my food habits were never really good in the first place and i have changed bad ones with better ones. i think at the moment my only concern is my inner "wild child" surfacing again and eating everything until the cows come home.

i think over the years my taste have evolved to really love whole foods but i'm just like anyone, a total addict for sugary stuff. i think i just need to fail-proof my pantry in winnipeg so i wouldn't feel guilty whenever i go on an overeating rampage on calorie-dense/nutritionally poor stuff.

Being A Bum: a week in

packing has gone good, we've bought three boxes to ship our crap stuff to the Philippines since we either couldn't sell them off or just felt it would be a waste of money if we just left or donated them here. the house is pretty bare now and we're living without a fridge at the moment and it feels so weird! i'm still eating as healthy as i possibly can- very minimal processed foods. we're staying with a friend on tuesday until we fly off on saturday. which reminds me that i still need to book a shuttle to take us to the airport.

so spending three full weeks in HK before we leave for Winnipeg. very excited to say the least. I'm hoping this long break will get me excited for the new life ahead of us. joel and i are talking about getting a Toyota Rav4 (or a similar car) but i'm still thinking about it... I can be quite stingy when it comes to cars. although i do plan to splurge and upgrade to the new iPad. i think my iPad has served me well and it's time to get a new one. we might also get a new computer/laptop and will just decide when we get to Canada.

Chomie tore one of her front claws and had to visit the vet yesterday... that cat!! i'm hoping the claw will be fine and she wouldn't develop an infection or anything like that. here's to hoping she'll have a safe trip to Canada!!!


Being A Bum: Day 2

so, so bored. good news though: Joel has been offered a position with a private hearing aid company in Winnipeg. my only concern is that he might not be made permanent (given the three-month probationary period) and it's going to be NZ all over again! at the moment, joel's leaning towards taking this job, and I don't blame him. the salary offer is actually pretty good, $20K more than what I'll be making. and if he takes this job, this means we only need one car. I'm hoping and praying that he'll make the right decision- one that will not separate us again!

we've moved our flights to the 17th, more time to spend in HK and being with family. can't wait! very excited. :)


last day!!!

oh yeah, it's my last day at work today and i'm feeling ecstatic. somehow this huge weight which i've been carrying for a long time has been lifted. i can't quite explain it, i just feel liberated from it all: working, dealing with colleagues, dieting/disordered eating, everything. i feel like a totally new person and i'm loving it. guess i just needed the change after all. i'm especially looking forward to living under the same roof with my husband! we've lived apart for the last 2 1/2 years and became a weekend couple. it's so not recommended, but because joel's such an amazing (and patient i might add!) partner, he was able to tolerate me during my darkest days and never gave up.

he's coming home tonight and we'll never be apart again. this chapter of our life is finally coming to a close and i feel really relieved.


my brush with disordered eating

This is probably the first and last time I'm going to extensively talk about my experience with disordered eating and I do sincerely hope that people will find this helpful and not go down that destructive path like I did.

Quick background- growing up I never really restricted food on a large level or formally dieted. Mum was also not concerned about her weight so it wasn't like I got it from her. Thinking back, we never really ate lots of processed foods. Most of our meals were home cooked and nutritious. We rarely ate pasta or Western dishes but did eat lots of rice, protein and (some) veggies. Treats were rarely available; Mum wasn't in the habit of buying junk food although she did get a few from time to time, which my brother and I happily consumed before she even had a chance! Hahaha!

When I left home to work overseas, I had zero cooking skills and relied mostly on processed foods - instant noodles, sausages, white rice, bread, Coke (regular - my then addiction), cookies/chocolates. They were convenient and filled me up fine. I wasn't really eating huge amounts of food, just enough to satisfy my hunger. That said, when I say I can eat, I really can. I had no sense of portion control and had absolutely no idea what a calorie meant. But I did know when to stop eating, and never ate until I was physically uncomfortable. Living in NZ - I was mostly sedentary and didn't really move much. After living here for 8 months between 2005-2006, I gained an insane amount of weight, no surprise, and didn't really know how to lose it. I'd wager I gained about 10lb of extra weight, but I wasn't too sure. I didn't have a scale then but I did know my clothes were getting tighter.

So left NZ to work in Singapore to be with Joel (then BF), tried fad diets [fasting, grapefruit diet (which worked the first time I did it in college)] but nothing seemed to work. I gave up dieting and continued with my eating, but picked up badminton and got severely addicted. Joel and I would play about 20 hours of badminton each week - we lived and breathed it. I didn't really change my eating habits but eventually lost the weight after a year, without obsessing over my food. I felt I can eat anything and not gain a pound. Life was good! Obviously I was oblivious to the whole "you cannot outtrain a crap diet". At my skinniest I weighed 51kg - obviously I lost a lot of muscle from doing too much cardio. Even though I was a skinny twig, I was still "fat". 

We moved to NZ in November 2008 and I went from being severely active to sedentary. I was still eating like I was before, eating mindlessly, paid no mind to portion control (or calories), and began to show interest in cooking and baking. Food and me = we're best of friends. I loved food, I loved to eat. I just didn't like the weight gain. :) I became more conscious about my weight and got a scale to track this. I didn't understand that weight meant muscle, bone, fat, water, and food quantity. That was my mistake. After 1-2 days of too much eating, I'd jump on the scale and obviously didn't like the number reflected so I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and start dieting.

It was in 2009 when I learned about calories, fat, protein and carbs. I started to count calories although I still refused to eat whole foods. I thought I can get away with eating low-fat or processed foods. I severely cut my calories from eating I-don't-know-how-much to 1,200kcal/day. It was a disaster. After a few days I was craving more food. Mentally I wasn't also ready for it- my thoughts were just to get down to 51kg and that would be it. It became a vicious cycle- restricting and overeating. My weight was all over the place. It continued to shoot up, and every time it did, I panicked and ate less. I wasn't prepared for it, I guess. I was so naive about how the body works and how fat loss happens.

I was also unwilling to change my eating habits. I thought because "I have been good for 5 days, I can splurge for 2 days". No problem! Well that was stupid thinking. Haha. I continued to make yummy/fatty foods at home and ate dessert on a regular basis. We were also having get-togethers every weekend and I continued to indulge. I just couldn't understand why my weight didn't budge or even increased. In June 2009, Joel and I had to live apart because he couldn't find work here in Wellington and I suddenly had lots of free time on weekdays. I then decided to join a gym with the main goal of losing weight.

So I exercised, intensely I might add. I became addicted to the gym because I thought it was going to help me get the body I want. Well, remember the saying "You just can't outtrain a crap diet"? I wished I realized that sooner. I was doing 3-5 classes each week and thought I burned a gazillion calories and thought I deserved to eat crap junk foods on weekends. I can put away a bag of chips in one sitting, and more. I was a mindless eater and became food addicted as well. It wasn't pretty. A lot of it was mental- I was being a slave to my primal brain and urges. I tried different fad diets, and nothing worked. My clothes were getting tighter, and I didn't know what to do. I knew I had to eat less, but I just didn't want to give up food. I was just emotionally attached to it. I would eat Indian takeaway with two naan breads- would feel bloated yet I still want more. I would always follow what my brain was saying despite pleas from my body, saying it has had enough. I ignored its calls... big mistake.

I became obsessed with losing weight. I was at the gym most of the time, doing classes or working on cardio equipment. I didn't really enjoy running but stuck with it because I wanted to lose the weight. At that time, I didn't believe in "calories in VS out"; I thought there was a magic fat burning exercise that I just needed to find to make all this weight go away. I thought exercise was more important than diet. And then I started following Tosca Reno and her "Eat Clean Diet" which made things worse. That was the start of my binge/restrict cycle.

I was eating 5 small meals each day to boost my metabolism. I had to make sure everything was "clean". I wasn't allowed to eat white bread/rice, junk food, etc. I stuck with it on weekdays but would fall off the wagon hard by weekends. I was eating as much junk food as I possibly can by Friday. My "all or nothing" thinking, labeling foods as "good" or "bad" did me in. I binged really hard. I began feeling guilty when I ate stuff that I wasn't allowed. It was always "I'm going to be good by Monday". It was a horrible cycle. I felt so unhappy yet stuck with it because I really wanted to lose the weight. I became moody and anti-social. Refused to join parties because their food were "unclean" and I can't eat any of it. My relationship with food became really poor. I hated it yet I wanted it. I felt sick from binging yet couldn't stop myself from doing it. Those were really dark days... I didn't know who to turn to. On the outside I looked OK but I was already dying on the inside. I just didn't understand why I was doing it. Every time the urge came up, I gave in. My mind was in a horrible place. My "Wild Child" (check "The Four Day Win" by Martha Beck) took every advantage when the opportunity arose to binge. If there was any consolation, I'm glad I didn't learn to purge. I started to check out books about eating disorders and started to retrain my mind. Books by Geneen Roth were especially helpful during that time.

If there was anything positive I learned from Tosca Reno, it was weight lifting. I became interested in the subject and switched to a different gym to do more of that. I think at that stage I was done with eating clean although my eating still wasn't 100%. I have stopped labeling foods as "good" or "bad" and got the help of a popular nutritionist (bodybuilder) to help me figure out my macros, and she put me on a high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet. I tried my best to follow her guidelines but by weekends I would binge on carbohydrates it wasn't even funny. I was losing fat at a really slow pace but I just couldn't live with myself when I had binges. I hated myself when I binged because I lost self-control. I felt disgusted with myself whenever I did that but I had absolutely no control over it.

I pored over articles on fat loss/weight training/nutrition on the internet and for some reason, happened to stumble upon Leigh Peele. Anything related to fat loss, I would devour like crazy. I read her "Fat Loss Troubleshoot" and found nothing new from it, but learned heaps from her podcasts. I became a member of her site in August 2011 and shot her a question regarding my binges, despite my best efforts to stick to the macro guideline. Of all the "fitness gurus", she was probably the only one who wasn't carb-phobic. If you read mainstream articles on fat loss, every one of them says the same thing: "carbs are evil, protein is king!" but as it turned out, it depends on your body. My body doesn't do very well on ketosis and the best way for me to lose fat is to eat a high carb (complex carb) macro. That way fat loss symptoms aren't as pronounced and makes the deficit so much easier to handle.

After four months of working (and $800 poorer) with the nutritionist, I finally severed ties with her and decided to do it on my own. I was still binging every couple of days from being in a deficit- turns out the human body doesn't like losing fat (even if you're severely overweight) and will do everything in its power to stop it. I learned a lot and I mean heaps from Leigh Peele, from what fat loss really means to you, to the physical and psychological aspects of dieting. I really wished I knew about her sooner so I didn't waste two years of my life to stupid dieting and exercise obsession. I learned from her that "you can't outtrain a crap diet" and you really can lose weight just by being on a deficit. It's easier to create a deficit by not eating than exercising. She also advised that I go on a high carb macro on a deficit, which helped a lot because my binges became fewer and farther in between. I think a lot of it was also mental- habits that became ingrained when I was still on a binge/restrict cycle. The more I became aware of my thoughts, the urges became weaker and it was easier to ignore them.

I think one of the biggest reasons why I couldn't succeed with my weight loss was the fact I hated my life here in NZ. The fact that Joel and I lived apart was one of the major reasons I became obsessed with my weight and food because they were the only things I had total control over. When we had our vacation in December 2011, everything started to click and make sense. I really was unhappy about my life, and being with friends and family was so much more important than trying to hit a number on the scale.

So where am I on my fat loss journey? Let's say I'm more at peace with myself. :) I am still trying to eat in a deficit every day without obsessing over it. I don't want to count calories because it does my head in and I can become obsessive about it. What I eat mostly are whole foods, with a emphasis on complex carbs. I eat a lot of brown rice and lentils/beans. I also try to eat lots of veggies. I eat mostly pescatarian. I am also quite active since I have sold my car and have to walk 8km each day to and fro work. I haven't been doing formal exercises since October and I really do miss it. I used to think of exercising as a means of losing weight. Now I want to exercise because my body likes to move. I like how weight lifting made me stronger. I like maintaining muscle so as I get older I can still do things I enjoy. I can still move without too much difficulty at 70 years old. I want to live a happy and healthy life.

I guess you can say my mindset has changed from losing weight to healthy living. It's so much easier seeing things in that perspective and easier to stick to good, healthy habits rather than dieting in the short term and reverting to bad habits. I think throughout this journey I have picked a lot of good habits. It's just a matter of reinforcing these habits so that they become second nature to me. I still can't say my diet is 100%, because there are times I still do get the urge to binge eat/overeat. As long as I see the warning signs of the binge, I will be fine. My most important goal is to stop the binge eating/overeating because it isn't healthy and it's not fun shovelling crap junk foods down my throat.

My clothes are feeling looser although the scale is still stuck at 58kg. I have a feeling in a few months' time it'll budge and I can see a hint of abs. :P Maybe not. As long as I accept myself right now, I will get to my goal because it's something that I still want to achieve. I just need to be patient and be reasonable. I also think it's high time that I treat my body well. I just had my period (sorry TMI!) but when you haven't had it for three years, you do miss it. My period went AWOL because of the stress I've put myself through. That was really stupid and senseless.

My plan is to start exercising with weights again in Winnipeg, coupled with a few cardio (maybe badminton or Xbox Kinect!) and healthy eating, the excess fat will slowly melt off. My goal weight is 50kg but we'll see how it goes. I don't want to kill myself trying to lose the last 5lb of fat. I think I'll take my sanity over a specific number on the scale. Yoga has been especially instrumental during the deficit as well, it stops me from freaking out too much. :) 

Some things that I found really helpful during my journey-
1. Leigh Peele. Awesome fitness guru/PT.
2. Martha Beck's "The Four Day Win"
3. Bethenny Frankel's "Naturally Thin"
4. Happy Eaters forum
5. yoga
6. logging at
7. walking
8. eating healthy

Anyway, I'll see how I go with my fat loss. As long as I don't gain more, I'll be fine. :)

two more days!

and i'm going to be free as a bird! oh yeah! can't wait to start our new life in Winnipeg! :)


counting down the days!

Our final week at work! I'm so excited! It now all feels so real! I can't wait to take a break for seven weeks before starting our new life again! I do feel like we did make the right decision of uprooting ourselves and starting over in Winnipeg. I guess one of the upsides is we get to visit a new country and explore it together. So this week is going to be full of eating, and hopefully with my new eating habits in place, I won't go crazy with the food and still have some restraint.
We've sold most of our stuff. The only things remaining are small stuff that we can easily donate or chuck away. We haven't listed Joel's car yet but we'll do it soonish. We still have more than a week to go before we leave our cute little flat that we've called home for the last 20 months. Our cat Chomie joins us for the adventure, of course. She's leaving for Winnipeg on 12 March and arriving 14 March. We've already sorted her temporary accommodations until we find our own place.
So our plan now is to prepare for our Despedida on the 3rd and probably do a bit of sight seeing as we probably will not be back for a long time (or at all!). We just need to talk it over and we might fly earlier to Singapore, probably stay there for a couple of days before leaving for HK.
Exciting stuff!


another year gone!

damn, where did the year go? i know right?! it was around the same time last year when i wrote my last post. i can't believe i've left this journal to rot for a long time. i don't know; at times when my life isn't going the way i want it to go, i kind of leave blogging fall by the wayside when i know i shouldn't, because this is the best place for me to vent and put my thoughts out.

a lot has happened over the last year. and more things are going to happen this year.

well for starters, joel and i are moving again! this time we're headed to winterwinnipeg in canada. we made the decision last year since we've been living apart for the last 2 1/2 years and it hasn't been fun at all! this was actually the reason why i developed such an obsession about my weight/diet/food. thankfully i'm all good now, although i still have a lot of fat to lose. i'm slowly moving towards my goals, it's not easy given i'm losing fat (not weight) and the body doesn't like giving up fat even if one is overweight/obese. my diet mostly consists of whole foods with an emphasis on carbohydrates. when i was doing a high-protein diet, i'd get intense cravings for carbohydrates so badly that i'd fall off the wagon every weekend. nowadays it's much more bearable, although i still have to keep my eyes on the prize. it's not easy, there are a lot of temptations around.

we're now in the process of getting rid of our stuff and it's been stressing me out to no end. we still have a month left in NZ so we're hoping to sell everything before march. our plan is to do a road trip around NZ since we may not return. i don't know, NZ has been great, don't get me wrong, it's just that it's too small (and far) a country for me to live in. and i get bored easily.

joel has two job interviews this week, i'm positive he's going to dazzle them and get the positions. the question though is if he will make the right decision of signing up with the right company. i'll keep you guys posted.

seeing my family again in march, so looking forward to that!! we haven't booked our tickets to winnipeg yet, will probably do it end of february. i'm just excited about the change and look forward to our new life. i know it's a drag to start over, but i need this change- it might be the motivator that i have been looking for.