Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm stuffed.

Thought I'd add a China pic to see my new, slightly svelte form. When I started this blog, I was 23 lbs. In this pic I was 7 lbs lighter than I am now... 198. My hubby and I took a week's vacation with our two closest friends and jetted off to Beijing. This is at the Forbidden City. That trip was probably in my top 5 for best memories ever. Maybe top 2 or 3 even. Amazing. Gorgeous. And, of course, it helped that the couple we went with were (and are) some of the most amazing people I've ever met!!

Absolutely stuffed. I feel like Ive been eating all day, but it's been good stuff!

Breakfast: oatmeal (I forgot to bring pb or a banana to work to mix in... enter protein powder and 1/2 packet of sugar free hot cocoa)

Lunch: Salad buffet in my department at the office. Salad, a breadstick, carrotts, celery, cucumbers, fresh fruit

Dinner: 1/2 Panera Bread Chicken Artichoke sammie with a cup of vegetable pesto soup and an apple.

Really, I've eaten it all very close together. Now I have my whole evening and I have to watch it!!!

I've returned to my medical billing office. In this topsy turvy world, sometimes you must settle for the sure thing. I'd love to move on soon, but we'll see. Free benefits and good pay? Can I turn it down?

The hubbie is off for a game night with the boys. I, however, am off to visit some old friends and have a theological/philosophical evening. It should be wonderful to see old friends again and fellowship with them, something I've been desperately missing for a year.

I'm loving the blogs. I have a years worth of posts to read from many people. I've sure got some reading material to go through!

Scale today says 204. 1 lb down, at least. I must go, but I'll leave you with another tidbit of the day...

Get your walk on. In China, people walk or bike everywhere. The small cities haven't adopted Walmart mania yet, so you can actually walk to the butcher, then the bakery, then the open air veggie market, the bookstore, small independant tailors, bicycle repair shops, etc. I loved walking to the store, my friends' flats, and school.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm back!!!!

I've returned to the lovely U.S. of A. Actually, I returned on 2/1. But I've been busy with life, moving, starting work, and generally just adjusting back into life in a western country. I love it; I hate it. I miss China :( But life here is good.

Since this is a DIET blog, I should give an update on that stuff first, I suppose. Well, towards the end of my time in China I was a naughty girl. I fell absolutely in love with authentic Chinese cooking. I went out to eat at least 3 or 4 nights a week. At one point, I was down to 194 lbs... but it crept back up to 209! Once I returned home, I went back on a healthy eating plan. I'm back down to 205, but it's a struggle. I've really learned the importance of exercise; but man, do I hate it!

I've moved to an area right near the heart of downtown. After living in Fuyang and enjoying the freedom of walking to the supermarket, the park, walking to the corner to buy milk or toilet paper, I wanted to capture that lifestyle here at home. I now live a couple blocks from everything. A YMCA (which I plan on joining once the finances get more stable), a grocery store, a butcher, coffee shops, a library, restaurants, the zoo... it's heaven!

The other thing I've mentioned here quite often is my marital relationship. I am happy to say that it is in the recovery stage. Living in China taught me a great many things. I've learned, grown, and become a better woman for it. The self confidence it has given me is very attractive to my husband, I think. We get along better. We enjoy more similar things. I have realized the importance of being my own person, with my own interests, friends, etc. And I love it!

Anyway, I have many blogs to catch up on. I regret that I was unable to blog in China. I had so many stories to tell! I guess I will just have to pepper them into my posts now that I'm home.

Chinese tidbit for the day:

Make eating more difficult! I understand now why so many Chinese people are at a healthy weight than Americans. Eating is more work! You need to use chopsticks. Their meat dishes have bones in them. You have to eat around them, and pick it apart. Snacking means munching on sunflower seeds, in the shell. If you have a serious sweet craving, go to the corner store and buy a stalk of sugarcane. They will peel it and chop it up for you right there! Bring it to the office and share. everything is packaged carefully; cookies are packaged in groups of 2 or 3 cookies; even oreos! You'll think twice before ripping into three of them.

Anyway, some things are hard to carry over; I'm hoping I can fulfill my sugar cane cravings SOMEWHERE when I have them; but either way, the idea of keeping my snacks limited to fresh, real foods will definitely help me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wow. It's been awhile, huh?

Finally, I've found a way around the "Net Nanny" in China... I can't post pictures, but once again I can at least post text!

How am I? I'm doing REALLY REALLY GOOD! My God is good lately. Why?

1. I'm now 199 lbs. FINALLY broke that horrible 200 mark!
2. I just returned from a 2 1/2 week vacation on the beaches of Malaysia. I'm tan and feeling pretty darn confident in myself
3. Yesterday was my first day back to classes here in China. A small student said to me "Amy, you are thin this year!" WOOT!
4. Things have been getting progressively better on the marriage front. I'm happy to say that I think we will most likely weather this storm.
5. We've hit the halfway mark for our time here in China, and it's now a count down to go home!!

Really, I'm not TOO eager to leave. I love China, but I really really miss my family. I'm torn. I miss spending time with family and friends at home, smelling fresh air, being able to shop for things like familiar spices, brown rice, etc. But I also love the friends I've made here. I'm going to miss my favorite parks, favorite restaurants and dishes. I'm going to miss the students. Mostly, I'm afraid of what will happen when Husband and I return home. We've gotten so much closer recently; but what will the stress of being home, going back to school, both of us working, etc. have on us? I guess we'll see.

Our vacation was wonderful. We flew to Kuala Lumpur, saw the city, then went to the rainforest and the beaches. A lot of curry was eaten, along with *gasp* A & W and Burger King. We caved! We got very tan (and burnt) and got a lot of reading done too.

So... Amy Jo is alive, well, and looking up!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blogspot is blocked!!!

Have I fallen off the face of the earth?

Actually, no. I've just been BLOCKED! I finally found a proxy that will allow me to access and update my blog, but not post pictures. Man, that's the most interesting part! Anyway, I have WEEKS of blogs to catch up on.

What's new in my life? China is good! I've got new friends! We've been spending a lot of time with other foreigners here in Fuyang. There's a local karaoke bar that caters to foreigners, so we have spent a few nights out there. It's also more fun to go out to dinner in a large group. Most restaurants in China expect you to order dishes and share at the table. When you have a big round table with 10 people at it, you can order 10 or 12 dishes and sample them all! You put them on a lazy susan and spin it when you want something new. It's a great way to eat, and it goes slowly.... so you really don't eat that much!

Classes are great. I am adoring teaching this kids. They are so fun, and so excited about English. They say the darndest things. I can brainwash them, since they don't know much English...

Amy is pretty. Amy is smart. Amy is my favorite teacher. (hee hee hee just kidding!).

But really, I have actually had these conversations with kids...

student: Amy, you are beautiful and nice and I like you.
Amy: Thank you! I like you too.
Student: Thank you. I like you too.
Amy: um...


Amy: What does a donkey look like?
Student: It is STUPID!
Amy: But what does it LOOK like?
Student: A donkey looks like stupid.
Amy: *sigh*

Amy: What is in your desk?
Student: A teacher.
Amy: You have a teacher in your desk?
Student (realizing his mistake) um... the teacher is SO small.

Students here don't use the word VERY. They say SO. It is SO cute. It is SO big. I'm trying to break them of this and teach them to use very, but it's not going so well!

How's Amy's weight going? Alright. I'm holding steady at 205-208. I haven't lost in the last few weeks. Honestly, I don't much mind; I'm waiting for a letter from home to make sure my address here is correct. If I get the letter, then I'll have my family mail my "skinny clothes". Until then, I don't want to lose any because I'm already down to my smallest stuff here; and it's only a few shirts, one pair of jeans, and a pair of shorts!

It's really hot here; some days it gets up to about 95 degrees. I hear we haven't seen anything yet. We're pretty much staying home unless it's later evening. It's just too hot!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Know Why They Call it a Struggle

Why is it SOO hard to avoid unhealthy foods? How do some people have it so much easier? I see people here who never eat unhealthy stuff. Actually, that counts for most of the people in my office. The pregnant woman next to me munches on a banana in the morning, and an apple in the afternoon. At lunch in the cafeteria she gets her rice and veggies. For dinner, she usually gets rice, veggies, and some kind of meat for protein. This is similar for almost everyone who shares the English office with us. They come in in the morning and fill their cup with hot green tea. They sip this all day long. I don't see them hiding chocolate, eating ice cream bars on the street, tearing into a bag of Doritos they discovered, or bowing down to a can of regular coke. WHY, world?!

It's not just here; in the office at home, it was the same way. Sure, there were more overweight ladies... but still, there were those that would sit at their desk at 6:30 in the morning, happy with their boiled egg and fruit for breakfast. At lunch they'd break out their huge salad (minus the fatty dressing) and be perfectly content. At potlucks, they'd fill their plates with veggies, fruit, and whole wheat crackers, with a little cheese and maybe a cup of soup. Yes, some of these people were dieting; but most just happily followed the lifestyle. You could see who struggled; it was the women saying "Oh, I WISH I could eat that!" And THEN taking the healthy stuff.

Scale this morning reads? 209.00.

I lost a little less than a pound. But once again, I failed. I just don't know how to get the drive. Yesterday's menu (it is now tuesday morning here):

breakfast: congee and 1/2 a steamed bun
lunch: Rice, beet greens, cauliflour/broccoli mix, and the "mystery" veggie. It's green, a little bit slimy, no leaves or anything... about the size of the rectangular bamboo shoots at home. It's good. Tastes buttery!
Dinner: KFC again. 1/2 order of large fries (hubby and I split it) and an iced coffee with vanilla ice cream in it
snacks: ice cream bar, apple, peach yogurt

Here are the failures here. First, I started the day off great. The apple was before lunch, the yogurt after. THEN we went for a long walk. We walked to long without eating dinner, and we were famished. We didn't see any restaurants around with pictures to point at. :) So we ended up at KFC, where we know they have English menus. I ordered a mexican chicken wrap, but the chicken was terrible. I run into that sometimes here. The meat was so dark it was almost black - and it was really grisly and fatty. So I ate only one bite and set it aside. Also, fries were a bad choice; I should have gotten corn or coleslaw. Third; the coffee float. This was just weakness. I could have gotten water or fruit juice.

We had a great long walk. We bought Husband an Arhu (spelling?). It's a Chinese instrument that you play with a bow, like a violin. I bought a gorgeous cross-stich. It's my maiden voyage with them. I hope I love it! I did it for three hours last night while watching tv and only got a teeny bit done. Anyway, we walked home and I was starving since I hadn't really had anything of substance. The answer? Husband went to the shop next door and bought an ice cream bar for each of us. It wasn't a complete bust. I didn't binge, and I did eat fruit and veggies, and some healthy stuff; but I'm just disapointed in myself. I bet if I had eaten right, my weight would have had an 8 in it today.

Oh well - today is another day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Failure Should Not Be Rewarded

Why must failure be rewarded? It really screws with my mind. This weekend I was a bad girl. Here are just SOME of the things I've eaten in the past 3 days:
1 king sized chocolate bar
2 chocolate sundaes
3 ice cream bars
2 dinners of KFC (corn and popcorn chicken)
1/2 baguette with cheese (that's about a foot of bread)
grilled cheese
3 eggs each morning for breakfast
2 beers
PLUS, all my other normal meals (stir-fry, breaded sweet and sour pork, etc). I ate a LOT. And I ate JUNK. Scale says?

209.4. YAY!!!!

Another new number! But seriously, why can't this happen when I'm doing well? It is not very motivating. I did walk a lot yesterday, though; about 5 hours. That could play a big part in it. Whatever the reason, I was a bad girl, and I'm LUCKY I didn't show a gain this morning. I'm not gonna tempt fate. This morning I'm feeling energetic, excited to be wearing my smaller jeans for the first time in 2 years (YAY) and I'm chomping on the best apple I have ever had.

The fruit here is soooo good. They have everything. Right now, I'm feeling the apples and kiwis. The kiwis are so cheap! I got about 10 of them for about 3 bucks yesterday. Can you imagine how much those would be at home? Apples are even cheaper. There's also mangos, papaya, banana, grapes, starfruit, dragonfruit, pineapple, pears, and many other things I don't even recognize.

FYI - Wordpress is blocked in China right now :( I follow a couple blogs there, so I'm sorry, but I can't get to you!! (Debby being one of the two!) Anyway, today is a sunny, gorgeous, warm day. I'm dressed in my smaller sizes I packed. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Night on the Town

Yeah... so that thing about it being time to fight? Didn't so much win the battle today.

Class was great; my students are so fun. Tonight we went to dinner with some other foreign friends. It was great! We walked there, and it was quite a ways. Probably a 45 minute walk. We ate in a restaurant in this huge swanky hotel. The dining room was completely empty. We sat at a beautiful table, drank out of crystal wine glasses, had the servers put our napkins in our lap, the whole shebang! At home, it would have been a REALLY expensive place. As it was, it equaled about $7.00 a person. We went into the display area and pointed out the dishes we wanted, and we all shared. That's usually the way you do it; you put all the dishes in the middle, and reach with your chopsticks. Afterwards, we took a long way home, checked out some instrument shops, and got some ice cream. Yes, not on the diet; but so good!

The damage done:

breakfast: Congee and a steamed bun
lunch: rice, bamboo, steamed greens (maybe beet greens?) and zucchini/egg dish that I love
dinner: a little bit of everything; eggplant in brown sauce, pork ribs, fried potato cakes, and little sandwiches with bacon and lettuce on them. Dessert of fruit: Longens, cherry tomatoes, and watermelon
Snacks: 2 apples, ice cream bar, about 8 cashews, 6 small crispy cookies (eek).

Lots of walking today; I don't think I'll lose, but hopefully it will at least keep me even.