Life Update

As forewarned dear readers, the next few months are going to be quiet as I put my head down and concentrate on my studies and keeping on the straight and narrow.

Having said that I am very excited as I start planning for my travels next year.  As has happened a lot in my life so far, I have had to bide my time and wait patiently (or not so patiently) for things to fall into place so that I can realise a dream.

So my first plan of action has been to enrol in a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course.  Easy right.  Thousands of kids do this every year and go on to get amazing jobs overseas.  Well, the easy part was enrolling – nothing since has been!  I’m not sure what happened between leaving school 27 years ago (really!!!???) and what they expect to be taught these days but it is HARD.  Or should I say difficult, complicated, onerous (see I know all the big words but apparently not only are they adjectives but they can also be nouns when used in a certain way!) And, if used in another way, may be a gerund.  And don’t even get me started on past present continuous and the like!  Anyway, luckily Khaya is in Thailand teaching English and I get the sense that what you need to learn (and get over 75% for) is not necessarily put into practice quite so formally in the real world, so that makes me feel a bit better.  Except I still have to get 75% for every single assignment of which there are many in order to continue and ultimately pass.

The other exciting thing that happened is that I have already found my school!  It’s in Tehuacán, Mexico.  I had a Skype interview with the supervisor yesterday who asked all sorts of weird questions – like if you had a superpower what would it be?  I said, to be able to read people’s thoughts (Yes, I was an avid Misfits watcher!).  If I could choose between flying and invisibility which would I choose?  I chose invisibility.  How would your boss describe you?  I said ‘annoying’. 😉 Anyway, after a 45 minute chat he told me that he never does this on the first Skype interview but I’m hired.  He found my ‘quirkiness interesting’ and has a good feeling about me.  Well, I hope he does not say that to all the prospective teachers.  Anyway, its a long way away still but as soon as I saw the advert for this school, I knew it was the place for me.  I have 4 months there and am going to travel for 2 months and already I have changed my mind a hundred times about where I am going to go.  But more about that later.  As I type this I received the confirmation email saying that they want me to join their team! I am so excited!

I am thankful I have all these things to keep me going and occupied because life is hard and lonely in London when you aren’t doing much and are trying to save money.  It has literally rained the entire summer so far.  I bought a bike recently and have not really been able to ride (except for weekends) because every night when I get home it’s drizzling or pouring with rain.  I am really missing the boyfriend so much and and there is no sign of an imminent visit due to his expanding business which in itself is leading to huge stress because the Skype dates of old are very few and far between these days.  But on the plus side, his business is booming which is amazing.  I am so grateful to have this man in my life who will keep the home fires burning while I get to follow my dreams (with the general expectation that one day we will live and make a life together!)

 

The WEIGHT Blog : Chapter 2

I’ve decided to blog about my weight quest in the hope that by blogging about it, it will keep me on the straight and narrow and more determined to have a positive outcome to this endeavour.

I started my new eating regime on 20 June 2017.  This was the day after we came back from Amsterdam and I knew that I had to do something and fast!  I wasn’t entirely sure which diet I was going to follow at this stage, I just knew I needed to eat less so I decided to just count my calories.  Inserted my height, gender, weight etc into some app online and voila, it told me how much I needed to eat in order to lose.  At the same time the boyfriend was urging me to start Banting as its always worked for him and he believes it’s the best eating plan one could ever be on.  So after doing some research I decided to give it a go.  The premise behind it sounded good – if your body doesn’t have any carbs to burn energy, it will turn to the stored fat in your body and start burning that.  Sounds foolproof right?!  And it kinda is – if you can stick to eating the correct amount of protein and fat.  Unfortunately you have to eat a LOT of fat on this eating plan and I didn’t feel like that was working for me either.  I like that there are no carbs, except certain fruit and veggies but trying to get the right amount of fat in meant eating a lot of meat and cream and cheese which wasn’t really working for me and I didn’t feel like I was losing weight.  At first I didn’t worry too much about the scale, as I have enough clothes in my cupboard that don’t fit anymore and those are the true test.  But yes, I wasn’t feeling much difference in those clothes either.

So during this time I am reading and researching and trying to figure out what will actually work for me and I find a term call ‘intermittent fasting’.  Banting advocates it and I believe the 5:2 diet does too.  It has been around for thousands of years,  not as a diet but as a way of life. I am not going to go into the in’s and outs here – there is a vast amount of reading material on the internet – but this one struck a chord with me.  For so long I have been eating every 2 to 3 hours worrying that I will feel faint and dizzy if I leave too long between meals.  And if I did have longer breaks, I would feel like faint and dizzy.  But that’s only because of the all the carbs I was eating.  If eating a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet, people can fast for extended periods of time.  It sounded crazy to me that there are people on the internet advocating only eating ONE meal a day!

Anyway, so I have started on the lowest one you can get which is sure to make a difference and that’s 16:8.  With this one you fast for 16 hours and then ‘eat’ for 8.  You don’t obviously eat for 8 hours straight but you have your food during that time.  So my normal day is – you tend to work backwards on this one as it depends on what time you finish having dinner.  Generally I have eaten by 7:30 so 16 hours later is 11:30.  I eat what I guess we can call brunch.  It usually consists of an omelette – 2 eggs, spinch, peppers, mushroom and cheese.  Then a bit later I’ll have a bowl of fruit and yoghurt and then for dinner is a huge plate of veggies with some kind of protein.

I was crapping myself when I decided to do this, but at the same time reading about it, felt so right.  The science behind it made so much sense to me and also I had been limiting my carbs to next to nothing for two weeks by then so I reckoned that I would not feel dizzy and faint if I waited 2 extra hours to eat instead of eating at 9. And I was right!!!  It was SO easy!  The most difficult thing for me so far has been not to have a snack AFTER dinner.  I get peckish around 10 and then want to have an apple or something but NO – that immediately puts your body into receiving food mode again and so even just a little apple or a cup of yoghurt upsets it.  But in the morning, those extra hours fly by and to be honest, I’m actually not ever technically starving when I eat, I just eat because I still feel in my head that if I don’t it’s wrong.  I’m going to take a while to work myself up to fasting for longer – if at all.  The change in mindset has been surreal.

I’ve modified it slightly now so that if I feel like eating a slice of health bread, or a sweet potato, or half a cup of unsweetened muesli with my fruit and yoghurt, then I do.  For my body,  I feel that some carbs are necessary – you know when you just know.

I am eating FAR less than I was and have completely cut out sugar, bad carbs, beer, wine – it’s all good, healthy food so I feel like I should have lost more in the time I have been on this diet – which is 6 weeks.  For the first 4 weeks there was no change on the scale.  I deliberately didn’t start an exercise regime because I wanted to be able to see the change on the scale and not get confused between losing fat and gaining muscle.  Nada.  I was feeling despondent.  Then I read some more and most of the articles say that nothing will happen for at least 6 weeks and then the weight will just melt off.  My clothes however, were feeling less snug – although I have not yet attempted to put anything on that I couldn’t fit into anymore.

I left the weighing in for 2 weeks and on the 6 week mark I weighed myself – moment of truth readers!!

The sad truth is that on the scale, I’m lucky if I’ve lost half a kilo.  BUT on the upside – I went clothes shopping about 6 weeks ago and I found this amazing pair of pants that I liked.  They were so amazing that I thought to myself I cannot buy these in a size 14 as I will lose weight and they won’t fit so I bought them in a size 12.  They cost a lot of money and I thought if this isn’t incentive, nothing will be.  When I bought them I couldn’t even button the top button!!!!  Put them on this week and I can button the top button up – so yeah!  It really is true about not getting on the scale but rather using your clothes as a yardstick.  I still can’t zip them up or wear them but I’m getting closer!!! 🙂

 

My one year Londonversary!

I have been in London for a year already!  The time has flown!  What an exciting, exhilarating, amazing year this has been for me!  If I had told my 20 year old self that this is what I would be doing with my life at 44 I would not have believed me!

It’s weird because on the one hand I have had lots of time on my hands to do nothing, but when I put it all down on ‘paper’ I  can see just how much I have accomplished. This post is a tribute to my first year in London – all the places I have been in London, all the places I visited outside of London in the UK and my travels to other countries.  It’s a pretty impressive list, even though I say so myself!

July – Arrival which was coupled with a few stressful moments –  finding work and the accommodation debacle. Thank goodness Cait and I had our day out in London!  – Cait, Tait and Bi-Bim-Bap

August – I started work in August but prior to that I managed to get myself around quite a bit of the UK.  Nottingham (to visit Dan’s gran), Gloucestershire (to visit an old friend from SA), Cheltenham (to visit my cuz) and Malvern to visit my old friend Annabel where we had a marvellous time hobnobbing with the rich and famous! Also attended my first big festival in the UK: Nottinghill Carnival – what an absolute jol!

September – After only being in the UK for 2 months my only living parent (of which I had 3 originally), passed away suddenly.  Here is my tribute to my step-dad – On Becoming an Orphan

October – Little did I think that I’d be going back to South Africa so soon!  But I had to go for the funeral and sort out my dad’s affairs – I spent a hectic week in Cape Town

November – Went and saw The Lumineers as part of my birthday weekend and went to France for a long weekend!!!!

December – Went to Reading to my cousin for a few nights for Christmas and then of course, the main attraction of Dec 2016 and January 2017 – the Kids visit!!!!!

January – The Kids Epic Holiday in London

February – I did Dry February and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes this month.  MFATGG was the show I went to alone (but with Dan in my pocket)!

March – Back to South Africa to visit the family

April – Long weekend in Portugal – Lisboa you beauty!

June – I always love when I have visitors to the UK as it forces me to get out and about in London which I don’t tend to do when I’m on my own.  Extra special because it was the boyfriend who visited and we really got around this trip! Dan and Maria do London (and a bit of the countryside too!)

June – I LOVE AMSTERDAM!

July – Summer Concert in Hyde Park – main act was Green Day but we also got to the see The Hives, Gorgol Bordello and Rancid.  Hands down the best production I have ever been to!  Hands down the most sober I have ever been at a concert so maybe that’s why! 😉  Green Day played for 2hrs 45 minutes and their stage presence and interaction with the crowd was just amazing and heartwarming and yeah, I’m gushing.  🙂  We were in the middle of a rowdy group of people who moshed to most of the songs and everyone was making friends with everyone else, people were pissed and having a great time.  There are LOADS of videos on YouTube of this crazy event but the part that blew me away the most was when Green Day had a quick break and they played the music to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and the crowd sang every single word.  Watch this video to see and also to see how insanely BIG the crowd was – 65 000 people!!!!  If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, nothing will!

I’ve been in the same job since I arrived here and that too has been an interesting one as there have been times when its been super slow and boring and I was constantly weighing up the pros and cons of the job.  But for the most part I am really grateful to have a job with a great salary and very importantly, that I am able to walk to work, the little bit of exercise I do still get!

I will admit that the travel bug has bitten big time and what I’ve learned from all these quick adventures to other places, is that I would like to immerse myself into the culture of a country, to be able to take time to explore and learn things more deeply than you can when you go for a few days.

Which is why I am doing the TEFL course so that I can go to South America and stay there for as long as I can afford to, living with the people, learn a new language, and really explore … the country, and myself.  I love London and I am so happy here but I definitely feel like I do not want to just be here now.  I need new experiences and new adventures and that is what I am working towards with London’s help – as its paying me the salary I need in order to save enough! 😉  No more travelling for Maria this year!  It’s all serious from here on out – study, save and get slim is my new mantra for the next six months!