Losing Weight 体重減少

I am not sure if you noticed, but I lost a little weight. Naturally, this has become catalyst for a variety of interesting conversations about weight and weight-loss. A lot of people are shocked when I tell them I didn’t use a diet or detox program. I didn’t give up sugar, carbs, or gluten. I don’t have a gym membership. I eat Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream like it is going out of fashion. Just so you know, it actually does say limited edition on the packaging. Better get another one for dessert tonight just in case! My point is, I am clearly not following any diet plan, so what’s my weight loss secret? Well, there is no secret. I lost weight for two reasons. First, I started exercising more. Second, my digestive system decided to start disapproving of my lifestyle choices.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t wanted to lose weight for a while. After having been chubby almost my whole life, a part of me always wanted to be thinner, especially during the sensitive teenage years. But I never seemed to care enough to make a real change. Or perhaps, I never thought I could make a real change. I don’t really know which one it was, but somehow, without really planning for it to happen, the kilos slowly started to fall away.
My 25th Birthday, June 2014.
Hanging out with the besties, August 2015. 

It started with running at school. One of the teachers at my school invited me to join him and the junior high school students in their afternoon exercise routine twice a week. We ran around the gym and did simple body weight muscle training. It was a great opportunity to get to know my students, and needless to say, I got pretty into it. The students were running circles around me, so I started running on my own time as well. My neighbour, Rick, also started getting into running, so we ran around the neighbourhood together when we had time. To encourage ourselves even more, we signed up for a race. We skipped the 5km and went straight for the 10. Give us a real challenge!

At the end of the first race, I almost passed out. I made the mistake of leaning over to untie the GPS from my shoelace, causing all the blood to rush suddenly to my head. I managed to hold it together, but it was a close call! My time was 74 mins. Not bad for the first time I had ever ran 10km in my life! If you do intend to enter a 10km, you should probably practice running 10km. Do as I say, not as I do. Four months later, I ran my second race in 64 minutes. Last weekend I ran my 3rd 10km in 62mins. I was aiming for sub-60, but couldn’t quite get there. It was disappointing, but at the same time, I was happy that I gave it my all.  
Tsuno Marathon, February 2015

On top of running, I also do belly dance and yoga. Yoga is the most recent addition to my workout routine, and has been a lifesaver in more ways than one. It helps me stretch out the muscles I strain running and dancing, and has also become my ‘chill out’ time. Since work and my hobbies consume most of my free time, I find this hour and a half a week of quiet stretching and reflection has become essential to maintaining my sanity. The class is run by a lovely Aussie couple from Byron Bay, which is not too far from my hometown of Brisbane.
Getting into yoga!

Just a little side note for those of you who are turned off by the idea of running, I actually hated running in high school. Perhaps loathe would be a more accurate word to describe my prior dislike for the sport. I used to laugh so hard at the races held at school titled ‘fun runs.’ What on earth is fun about running, I thought. Ok so running isn’t the most exciting sport out there, but what won me over in the end is that it is relatively easy to continue running in the long term. It requires minimal gear, and you can constantly try new routes, running playlists, running partners, and enter different races to keep entertained. That’s not to say that I don’t have to convince myself every single time to get out there. Some days you couldn’t pay me to want to run. Other days I have to stop myself from getting out there. The running high is real and addictive!  If you use the app Runkeeper, you can add me as a friend and read my various post-run comments. It is a pretty good guide of what not to do. Although, a few weeks ago I discovered that running after wine tasting is not as bad as I thought it would be. What important life lesson will next week bring?
因みにランニングがあまり好きじゃない人に言いたいことがある。私も高校の時、走ることがあまり好きじゃなかった。好きじゃないというよりきらいだった。学校で「Fun Run」というイベントがあって、ランニングの何が楽しいのかとずーと思っていた。ランニングはスポーツの中で一番盛り上がっているスポーツじゃないかもしれないけど、長期間続けることが簡単だということもあり、だんだん好きになった。揃える物が少ないし、新しいルートに挑戦したり、音楽のプレイリストも変えたり、友達と走ったり、レースに参加したり、することで、面白くすることが出来る。と言っても、「今日は走ろう」と毎回自分を叱咤激励しないといけない。もしお金がもらえるとしても、絶対走りたくない日もある。ランキーパーというアプリを使っている人は、私の友達になってランニングした後のコメントを読むことができる。ランニングをする時、やらない方がいいことをいっぱい知ることができるかも。この間、ワイン試飲した後、ちょっとやばいなと思いながら、ランニングに行ったけど、驚いたことに大丈夫だった。来週の大事なライフレッスンは何だろうね。
Running after wine tasting... apparently not a bad idea!

I also mentioned that my digestive system is old and grumpy, and in general disapproves of my lifestyle choices. This has forced me to pay closer attention to what and how much I eat. I have tried to cut out a lot of fried or overly oily foods, such as ramen noodles or pizza. They just don’t make me feel good anymore. Other things on the feel bad list are pasta, bread, cheese, beer, spicy food, stress, and being stagnant for long periods of time. I certainly haven’t cut these things out of my life completely; I simply try to avoid them in excess.  When I want to eat something, I eat it. Keeping this in mind also helps. As soon as you try to stop yourself from eating something, you start wanting it more. We crave what we can’t have. I can have dessert anytime I want, so it usually doesn’t bother me if I don’t have it tonight.

Of course, there is one more contributing factor to my weight loss that I haven’t mentioned yet. I think I owe a lot of the credit to Japan. There is a reason that Japanese people are in general healthier. In Japan I can enjoy a wide variety of fresh and healthy food at a reasonable price. Japanese people enjoy eating good food. They like trying new foods with unusual textures, smells, and a vastness of flavourings. They appreciate quality over quantity, which usually means the portion sizes are much more reasonable.  The beverages and sweets have less sugar, and they drink green tea daily. Finally, there are so many opportunities to go outside and get moving, with marathon events, festivals, volunteering, and team sports just to name a few that I have joined. It took me two years of living here to realize it, but there is actually no better place to make a healthy change to your life than Japan. And when you do make the change, and find a healthier you, your co-workers and Japanese friends around you will never let you forget it. The constant praise and flattery is unreal! As if I didn’t get enough attention already! You know it’s just going to go to my head. Where is that tall poppy syndrome when you need it?
Japanese food is usually well balanced and healthier.


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