New here, from Japan

  • This is SO irritating! I just wrote a whole long introductory post and somehow my computer ate it! I'm new at posting, so it was probably operator error!

    Anyway, I've never joined any support group, or any formal diet...and clearly THAT policy hasn't been working. I need to, and want to, lose 40-50 pounds that I have packed on through various stresses of the past 5 years. My "baby' daughter leaves for university this fall, and my not-very-supportive-at-all husband leaves Japan in the summer, and I will be staying here, where I have been a teacher for the past 15 years. For the first time in
    28 years (oldest son's age), I will have the chance to focus on ME, to live life on my schedule, and to reassess and rearrange my life.

    Oh. The biggest adjustment, though, is that 6 weeks ago, I missed one step on a landing in a store, and managed to break my left foot and my right ankle. I've been in a non-weight bearing cast and a walking brace for six weeks, using a walker and a wheelchair. Despite the inactivity, I've lost weight...probably 8-10 pounds (I'd been avoiding scales), which I know because my pants are really loose, and I did finally step on a scale...but don't know how much casts weigh.

    I've lost, because I'm no longer raiding the refrigerator at night. That much is clear. And I've tried very hard to watch calories these weeks, whilst keeping up the calcium/vitamin D intake. But hopefully, soon I'll be back working, which I miss, but which also means I go back to commuting 3-4 hours, at least three times a week. And "forgetting" to eat, and then stuffing whatever I can down my throat about 4pm. Or being in different faculty and committee meetings from noon until 8pm...and it usually isn't "done" to eat. I swear, I don't know how they keep going on gallons of green tea. I could usually eat the teapot by the end of the day.

    So, it is time for changes, and as I mentioned, going it alone hasn't worked in the past, so why should I expect it to in the future? So, I'm doing something that is very hard for me, since I was raised with, and my marriage has only reinforced the idea, "it's all up to you." And it is, but I'm realizing I really don't have to do it ALL ALONE. It still counts if you talk to other people, and admit your problems, and ask their help.

    I've spent a couple of weeks "lurking" on your message boards, and you seem a really supportive and warm group of people. Thanks in advance...and I'll take any words of wisdom anyone can offer.
  • Hello nihongal, and welcome!

    My suggestion for when you go back to work is this. Carry your food with you. That is the only way you will be able to control what you eat. It takes a little preparation, both in planning and doing, but it works for me. Make a plan for what you want to eat during the week (you can make these plans now, before you go back to work). Shop on the weekend so you have everything ready...cook or prepare your food into packages that you can carry with you.

    What kinds of food can you take with you? That depends on your circumstances. If you have a refrigerator, there are a lot more choices available, of course. Also, it depends on what foods are available to you. Food you can eat with your hands...fruit, vegetables...are musts. But you can stick a fork into your bag, and take some rice that has been pre-cooked with veggies.

    Your comment about it not being "done to eat": eating is something that you must do for your health. Perhaps it would be a good thing to break that tradition.

    When you don't have a regular schedule or when you have very long days, it's really a challenge to eat well. But if it's important to you, then you have to make it a priority. You can do it!
  • Good grief! I'm impressed as heck considering what you
    are dealing with right now!
    I clicked on your post because of the 'from Japan' title.
    My daughter (graduating college in four weeks) is thinking
    of applying to teach English in Japan.
    I am also starting trying to get started. My challenge to
    add exercise and better sleeping habits so I don't have
    to rely on food to make me go back to sleep.
    bestest wishes,

  • ^_^

    That's determination. If I'd broken my feet or ankles, I'd probably gain ten pounds!

    Of course we'd love to help support you!

    So, obviously long periods of time without food is not your friend. This means that you might have to begin by scheduling in time to eat, or bring along snacks to have if it means a long time inbetween meals. I'm not sure how difficult this sort of thing will be in Japan. (As here I don't really have issues with eating at my desk during work, or having a snack on public transportation or in my car, and I'm no expert on what is considered normal or rude in Japan.) However, with some (or a lot) of effort on your part, eating less and eating healthier will become easier over time.

    Best of success!!!
  • Welcome. I wish it wasn't "done" here to eat at every stinking function that comes up. At work we have "Food Rewards" for everything. Mostly Pizza. Hey, give me $20 instead and I'll go buy something a little healthier.

    Good Luck. Come visit anytime.
  • Thanks...I know what you say is true, especially about the preparing the food. So, I'm planning ahead here in my days of "staring at the ceiling", and am going to try to put my breakfasts and lunches on "automatic", a la You on a Diet. I have my own office, so its really an "excuse" to talk about the cultural taboo on eating in public/meetings. In those various marathons of THursday meetings, I realize that I can simply excuse myself for a "bathroom" break if necessary, and have a half peanut butter sandwich, etc. from my bookbag about 6:30 or 7. Don't worry...won't EAT in the toilet room! I'll just pretend I"m going there. The cultural taboos ARE pretty strong, and I'm one of 3 foreigners on the staff of 60+, so I'm not yet brave enough (after 15 years!) to break them!

    Mostly what was great was your quick reply to my post. It buoyed me all of today. (That's another good evening is your morning...ergo, quick turn around times.)

    Thanks again.
  • Frogponder and Faerie...just tried to send you a private message, but apparently I have to write more posts before I can do that. Just wanted to say I repeated your first lines to myself over and over today as my mantra. Frogponder, I'll write you more about Japan when I've been "promoted" to being allowed to send private messages. Smile. Operator265...if anyone has been traveling, they bring back souvenir food to the faculty meeting, and we ARE allowed to eat that: chocolates, and dried squid at the last meeting! I'm infamous for my bottled water, instead of the endless cups of green tea.

    Everyone...I"m probably writing longer posts right now, because I have more time...please forgive if I"m too wordy.
  • Hi nihongal,

    Welcome to 3FC. Sorry to hear about your injury and everything else you have deal with, that's quite a load! I hope things will get easier for you down the road. I definitely agree with the suggestion that you have bring your food, and thank God you have the luxury of your own office where you can retreat to and have a bite. Don't the Japanese get hungry at all????

    Good luck, and please keep us posted how you are doing.
  • Hello Nihongal! I'm a new member too. I'm currently stuck at home too because of a recent surgery and even though my clothes are getting looser, I weighed myself and I gained 4lbs! NOOOOO!! But I totally understand the restlessness of being at home and analyzing your next step to weight loss. Good luck and hopefully we can support each other along the way.
  • Just got to check in after about a week.
    Had to leave town to deal with son in the
    hospital (the twin to the daughter who wants
    to go to Japan). He's fine - this is an ongoing
    issue we deal with. Twins are seniors at the
    same college.

    That's really interesting having to deal with
    cultural issues around eating! I guess we have our
    own but we just don't know them, or, we just don't
    think they are weird! Whenever my job duties change
    the first thing I figure out is how to get my water in
    and the needed bathroom breaks the water brings

  • Kjoyiss -- love that 3/4 inch! Yes, the staying in is tough, isn't it -- I find myself looking FORWARD to going to the hospital for my doctor's appointments. I've decided not to focus on the scale, and instead on clothes. I had my daughter bring down a suit skirt that fit two years ago -- an EXPENSIVE suit. I tried it on -- still doesn't fit...but it's better than it was two months ago. I've hung it in my temporary downstairs room, to keep from stuffing my face when I'm depressed.

    I keep reading about,and seeing pictures of, people who are wearing really small size clothing, but their weight doesn't seem to match --because they are toned. I'm going to try to use them for inspiration. sorry about the son's hospitalization. My first son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes his freshman year in college. He is a long, tall, thin drink of water, 6'3", 170 pounds to lose. Was hospitalized several times before he finally accepted that this was a disease he couldn't ignore. Now he's on an insulin pump, goes to the gym regularly, and is building a good career in Tokyo. BUt it was about 6 years of rollercoasters, healthwise. But I know that although "we deal with" these issues, my heart still pounds he calls, at odd hours, and I'm trying to NOT always answer his "Hi, mom!" with "What's wrong?"
    I think one way I "dealt" with the issue was by swallowing it...literally. Eating all those carbs he couldn't.
    And it doesn't help being around all these bird-boned Japanese people -- many of whom I love dearly, but still...
    I spent the first year on my job keeping my mouth shut (except for chocolate), and just WATCHING everything and everybody. My Japanese comprehension was really low then,but by the end of the year, I had figured out the big-button issues of the school, and where everyone fell out on them. The other interesting thing I learned was that when people started smiling at faculty meeting? PAY ATTENTION, because usually they were furious, and were about to, politely, let loose!
    The best thing about my ever-present water bottle IS those bathroom breaks -- which get me out of marathon meetings, even if just for a few minutes.
    As for whether Japanese ever get hungry, Tomato, sometimes I wonder. I was in another department (horticulture: a joke, because I barely know a rose from a petunia) of this school for six years -- most of the teachers lived at the school. Tuesdays, I would leave home at 6am, to fight the traffic and be at school by 7:30. Chapel at 8. Classes from 9-12, with five minute breaks. Lunch from 1215-1300, IF there were no committee meetings. Faculty meetings started at 5, right after a seminar with my students from 1-5. Other teachers were supervising labs or field work or work in the fields, again from 1-5. Then the faculty meetings often went on until 10 or 10:30 with NO FOOD, except for souvenir rice crackers or a Japanese sweet adzuki beanpaste dumpling (which, by the way, I LOVE)! THEN, people would go to the cafeteria for the waiting trays of five hour old dinners...and then SOME of them would have more meetings with students until midnight. I don't know HOW they did it, and that's ANOTHER reason I ballooned -- because when we finally did get to eat at 10, I didn't want cold rice and fish...and I'd hit my private stash, before falling into bed at midnight, to get up again to those everlasting bells at 5:30, telling students who were helping with breakfast or feeding the animals, to rise and shine. (I stayed over that one night a week, in the dorms. Rules for the dorms were straight out of the 1930's, which is when one of our former president's had attended a women's horticulture college in America.)

    Even more astounding though, was that of the 20 faculty members, I was usually the ONLY one who got up to go to the toilet during the 5 hour faculty meeting. And I wasn't drinking all that tea...

    All that "willpower" seemed to highlight my own lack of control. The Japanese have a word, "Ganbatte" or "Ganbaru", which is loosely translated as "Persevere...give it all you've got." And that is HAMMERED into the heads of teachers -- if one of your students gets in trouble in the evening, or on holidays, YOU go to the police office with him, or her. Even if they are living at home. Sometimes the police call the school principal before they call the family. can tell I'm at home, bedridden. Fingers moving as fast as my mouth usually does at school! Sorry --- but look at it this way...if I'm sitting here typing out stories, I'm NOT putting food into my mouth. YAY.
  • Feel free to send me a PM whenever you have enough posts, Nihongal!

    I've been very interested in Japan since I was in my early teens. (Okay, yes, the obsession was fueled a love of all things Anime and Manga.) So, I know "Ganbatte" and "Ganbaru" very well. Usually having to do with exams, though. However, I think both apply very closely to weight loss and eating healthier.

    If you can find a way (like excusing yourself to "go to the washroom" as you suggested you can do) to sneak in a quick 10 minute snack every few hours, you might find your stamina improving, and your ability to commit to less (and healthier) food improving.

    My friend spent a few years in Japan. And not only don't they eat, but she swore they don't sleep. (Even the younger children who were like 4.) I don't know how they run on so little food & sleep. Where do they get all their energy?

    Anyway, I'm rambling. But you aren't alone. Whenever you need an encouraging word or some support, come on 3FC!
  • >>I'm trying to NOT always answer his "Hi, mom!" with "What's wrong?"<<

    I can soooooo relate!!
    My son's problem is with a lung that keeps collapsing and
    our ongoing battles to not get minor collapses taken as
    major collapses - we lost the battle this time and he
    was hospitalized and got another scar to add to his
    collection (9). When his regular surgeon got back to
    town he said, in so many words, it didn't have to happen.
    Lost work, lost schooling, lost $ for hotel and travel, lost
    sleep, lots of worry. But it can always be worse - what you
    find out hanging around in a hospital for days on end.

    So interesting info about schooling in Japan. I work in
    a middle school. We had a mtg. at 2:30 about a student
    and half the folks cut out half way thru to pick up their
    own kids.