Monday, 5 August 2013

The rainy season has arrived

71.0kg, 5kg over goal weight

In the last month, it's been raining quite a bit.  That's good for me, because before that started, I was finding it just a bit too warm here in the Philippines.  It's noticeably cooler.  Usually here, it rains at night, and it's not just a light drizzle.  We're talking loud rain, water everywhere rain.  Over the next 9 months, it will rain less and less, until the cycle will repeat itself.

I've always known that it's hard to get started with weight loss, and you need to have the right mindset to get started, and to continue.  You can't force it.  I gave up on the 1kg/month goal, and decided to just do the easy thing - lose weight every week.  I did that back in 2011 and made it for 18 weeks, I decided to just try and do that, losing weight every week, and see what happens.  Currently I've achieved 3 weeks in a row.  I'm weighing daily, which is a good sign.

I really believe that after achieving goal weight back in September last year, I was pretty much burnt out of the weight loss thing, it's hard work, draining, and sometimes you just need a rest from it.  That's why I stopped weighing myself regularly.  It's nice to know that I can handle daily weighing again.

Life here in the Philippines is nice, but there are a number of things from back home that I really miss.  Probably the biggest thing would be my car.  The ability to get in your car and drive 1km or 100km is really powerful.  People in the Philippines have not yet developed a taste for maps for their public transport.  So there is a bit of "I don't really know how to get to where I want to go".  There is a lot of guesswork involved.  Plus the fact that I don't really know where north is.  I've lost my sense of direction.  That's because back in NZ I knew which direction was north was, just by looking at the sun.  Being on the equator has its disadvantages.  That's why I bought a smartphone, with GPS a few days ago.  I'm sure that it will be very handy, it's nice to see a map showing where I am.

Life with Miss Mindanao is good, we have fallen into a routine, and we're having a good time together.  Going to karaoke, shopping together, that sort of thing.  One thing I wish we could do, but it seems to can't, is go for walks together.  There is a serious lack of green space here.  Parks.  Christchurch has a heap of parks, including a huge one in the middle of the city that was gifted to the city back when it was first founded.

Philippine people have yet to discover certain aspects of urban living, as well.  The road near my home is being dug up, and replaced by concrete slabs.  So what did they do with the old chunks of tarseal and gravel?  Leave it by the side of the road, that's what.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Caved in and bought a scale

Yeah, it's one of those old style spring scales.  Although I had the intention of measuring myself with a tape measure while I was here in the Philippines, measurement is such a pain compared to just standing on the scale and taking an average.  So I just went to the local mall to buy one.  Even though the Philippines is a '3rd world country', there are a surprisingly large number of people here who are overweight.  Not many who you'd class as obese though.  Being overweight has been common for a long time though, I remember reading about research done on peoples weights 100 years ago in the US, and 1/3 were overweight.  That number hasn't really changed, although the number of obese people in affluent countries has ballooned from just a few percent to about 1/4-1/3.

Life here is the Philippines is fine.  I do have a bit of trouble enjoying it as much as I'd like, mainly due to depression and anxiety issues.  Also, the wildlife inside the home is a bit of an issue.  Mosquitoes, ants, other creepy crawlies of varying sizes (a few cockroach sized animals that I don't know the names of).  But the worst would have to be the lizards.  They come inside the house and can't figure out how to get out.  There is a nest of lizards a few metres outside the bedroom window.  I could catch them and take them elsewhere, but the idea of catching lizards (the biggest are about 10cm long) sort of freaks me out.  Generally I see a lizard inside the house once every few days.

Things are going fine with being with Miss Mindanao, she's commented about coming with me to New Zealand a few times, but there are a number of reasons why that would be a bad idea.  For one thing, I can't afford it.  I'd have to support her for a year or two before she gets a work permit, I just don't have the money.

Currently, I'm at 72kg, which is about 6kg above goal weight.  I've decided to take the easy route and lose weight about 1kg a month, until I reach goal.  I've done the 1kg/month thing before, and it must be 10 times easier than losing say 1kg a week.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Update (long)

Yes, it's been a while.  Nearly 2 months, actually.  I'm in the Philippines now, but first how has my weight loss gone in the last 2 months?  Not so good.  Just after my last post, I realised that I made a critical error in my spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are very useful things, but tend to be error prone.  I made a mistake in editing my spreadsheet that made me think that I had it easier than was actually the case.  As a result, it came to be point where it seemed impossible to reach goal weight by May 14th, the day I left New Zealand.  So what was I to do?  Break my promise to myself where I said that I'd never go overseas unless I was at goal weight, or postpone the flight.  I decided to go overseas and break my promise.

Getting overseas has been a challenge.  Being significantly depressed makes it hard to do most things.  After giving 3 weeks notice it was a challenge to do more than 4-5 hours of work a day.  Big jobs like doing the gardening or covering the dirty stones with nice clean stones were a real challenge.  The bathroom was a bit of a worry, but in fact it turned out to be pretty easy.  Cleaning carpets, cleaning floors, walls, replacing things that were broken, hiring a water blaster that never worked (that's 2 hours and $95 I'll never get back).  You know the story.

Shifting sucks.  As it turned out, I was 12 1/2 hours late for moving out.  That's not too bad.

Then it was a case of merging all of my stuff stored in 2 storage units into one storage unit.  That sounds easy but you end up walking an incredible amount (from trailer to storage unit and back, 100-200 times), you have to move stuff out of the destination to give room for the new stuff, but you have to estimate how much to take out, how long it will take (in case one of your storage units closes), deal with trailer hire, booking the free trailer that the storage unit provided and then forget to attach it properly (while in haste), resulting in the trailer falling off the tow bar, resulting in a loss of 2-3 days due to a domino effect of this and that.

After that I visited my family in Dunedin for 3 nights, and then headed north, my trip ending with about 5 days with my brother while I prepared my computer gear and all of the other things that I needed in the Philippines, prepared stuff that I was leaving with my brother, banking and emergency money.  The 11 1/2 hour flight from Auckland to Singapore went better than expected.  The 3 1/2 hour flight from Singapore to didn't go so well.  It turns out that taking $700 with me in emergency Philippine money was a bad idea, resulting in worrying about what would happen at immigration because I hadn't applied for permission to take such a large (!) amount. The upper limit of non-declaration was $300.  It turns out that the immigration lady was really nice about the situation, she seemed fine with things and I was apologetic about the situation which I guess helped as well.

After that, I was officially in Manila.  No searching through my bags for contraband or threats to the food industry, surprisingly (actress Hilary Swank famously got fined $200 when visiting New Zealand when she failed to declare an apple and orange she was carrying as a comparison).

Then it was time to meet the lady I've been Skyping for 6 months.  Miss (I'll call her) Mindanao, the island that she's from.  A family member and friend were there as well to meet me at the airport.  The meeting went well, and we all got on well, but I have to admit that I wasn't really happy having an extra two unexpected people to share the small apartment that I'd rented for 6 nights.  It was pretty cramped, there was a general lack of privacy and lack of time for Miss Mindanao and I to get to know each other.  I wasn't happy.

Manila is seething mass of people.  The malls, roads, buses, jeepneys, supermarkets, even public toilets are chock-full of people.  I would hate to live there permanently, it's just too congested for my liking.

After 6 nights just the two of us went to our current home, Cebu.  Although the population density is still high compared with my home, it's a lot easier to do pretty much anything compared with Manila.

So what do I think of Miss Mindanao?  I have to say that she's.....lovely.  I do accept that it's an unusual situation, from Skyping every 2-3 days to shacking up effectively on the first date, but she cares about me, I care about her, and it's all pretty genuine.

I guess there are two main issues between us.  Miss M's English skills aren't perfect, I'd put them at about 70%, which means that 30% of what either of us says, the other doesn't understand, resulting in a "what do you mean?" request. Over the year that I'm here, that's going to be a non-issue.  The other issue is that I went to the Philippines for the heat, it's probably 33 degrees C right now, with 90% humidity.  I'm sweating, and loving it.  Miss M. hates the heat, comments about it more than once a day, and craves air conditioning, causing a few disagreements at our hotel in Cebu city.

Our rented place in Cebu doesn't have air conditioning.  That's probably a good thing for our relationship, because electricity is phenomenally expensive here in the Philippines, and being cold makes me grumpy.

If you made it this far in my post, congratulations.  I am officially on a diet (we shared a yummy chocolate cake to celebrate moving into our new home) now, with my unlimited fish and vegetables diet.  I don't have scales (yet), but do have a tape measure.  I plan on updating the blog once every 2-3 weeks, about how life in the Philippines is going.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

March update

It's been a while.  It's my intention to post every calendar month, and I seem to be doing a moderately good job at that.  I'm not reading any particular blogs regularly, just looking at my blog roll and seeing if there is anything interesting.  I guess my interest in weight loss blogs has diminished, that's fine and to be expected.  I really enjoyed it, but I'd never intended to be an active reader and writer of weight loss blogs for the rest of my life.

My weight has been relatively consistent  about 5kg above goal weight.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I'm not getting on that plane unless I'm at or under goal weight.  My plane leaves in 45 days (I freak out whenever I calculate how many days it is, due to anxiety about the year away, not the weight loss), which is fine to lose 5kg.  Worst case scenario, I'll change the date of my ticket.

I've known for some time that I'm happier and more content in a relationship, than being single.  I'm fine with that, but the last 20 months of being single have been hard on me, because of all of the obvious things that I'm missing out.  Given that I have had depression (while being in a relationship) my mood has taken a dive since becoming single.  As a result, I have had extreme difficulty getting motivated to do things.

Today I give 3 weeks notice that I'm moving out.  I'll really miss this place.  If I had the money to buy the place, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.  I guess I get attached to some places, and I have no doubt that I'll be driving down the little lane and looking at it while sitting in my car, for years to come.  I still do that with the family home #1 in Dunedin, and we moved out in 1974.

Living in one place for some time (in my case, 7 1/2 years) you start to learn what, and what not to do.  Life is a learning experience.  You learn to rake the leaves on stones because you can't get rid of the organic matter in between the stones (it's a trade off between 50 hours of cleaning stones, or just spending a couple of hundred dollars and getting clean ones to cover the old ones).  Apart from that, the house is in good condition, although the garden needs 15 hours to make it perfect, I guess.

20 days and 5 hours a day is fine for getting everything done.  100 hours to do every single task, plus allowing time for a few unexpected things to come along.

Oh, by the way, in January I went to Queenstown, a town of about 20,000 about 6 hours drive from Christchurch.  It's been labelled "adventure capital of the world".  Not being an adventurer  I'm not sure if that's correct, but heading into the central shopping area, two things were evident.

1. 80% of the people in the central shopping area of Queenstown are tourists (apart from identifying them due to race, have you ever seen a tourist wearing old clothing?  Me neither).

2. Very few tourists in Queenstown are obese.  I guess that makes sense, being a place for adventurers, and most of them are young, so they are less likely to be obese.  Sort of like going back to pre-1980.

Some photos:

At the top of the Queenstown gondola, I drank my last bottle of Coke.  Yes, I'm 10 weeks off that demon drink.  Coffee too.  I'm hoping that drinking it at a place that I haven't been to in 25 years made it special enough, that I won't indulge again.  I want to break 2 years without caffeine, I did that in 1999, I want to do it again.

Apart from that, there is not much to tell you.  Learning Cebuano (the local language) has taken a back seat (I just can't get into it when I have trouble doing other, more common things) but I'm certain that I want to be an okay speaker after one year.  The lady I'm in contact with is a native speaker, no doubt she'll help me.  One thing is certain though: learning a new language sucks.  There are thousands of spoken languages on our planet, and I really wish there were only a handful.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Blog diversion - 79 days

An update on how I'm going on my organisation towards going overseas.

It would be fair enough to say that up until today, I haven't really achieved anything of value.  That's because I've been seriously depressed (and have been in the last 18 months since becoming single, it's been harder than I thought it would be).  Currently, that's just the way it is, and I have to accept it, and go around the problem.

I've been trying to achieve things, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Today I tried (and succeeded) to achieve 4 hours of doing things of value.  Here's what I did:

1:00 going out to do things - this is a regular occurrence, probably every 2-3 days

0:30 supermarket shopping - something I try and avoid, so I've bought 1-2 weeks of food and essentials

1:00 I'm not sure if I said that in the Philippines, I wanted to revise my mathematics courses done a number of years ago, for achieving my other goal in life (after reaching goal weight) - finishing my degree.  So that's the plan, 20 hours a week for a year, relearning first and second year mathematics.  I did them a while ago (and passed) so it won't be too hard to relearn and get up to speed for future courses.  I was planning on scanning one textbook, all 1200 pages (I don't want to take any books on my trip, just digital files) but decided to check and see if someone had (illegally) uploaded the book to any file sharing websites, and to my surprise they had.  I have mixed feelings about this, the author is deprived an income but I don't have to cut the book apart and then spend 20 hours scanning the whole book.  I did however need to check that the book didn't have any missing pages, the scanner had forgotten to scan the myriad of equations at the end of the book (not that big a deal, it's just for reference) and there were a few pages that were there twice, and a few that were not straight, but on an angle.  It did take me a whole hour though to check that everything was there.

1:10 something I've been avoiding, adding weight loss blogs to the blogroll here, I want to max it out at 250 and also only show weight loss blogs that are similar to my blog.  I'll do a bit every day until it's done.

1:20 photographing the notes from one of my many courses.  About 120 pages.

4 hours a day is not a lot.  I do have trouble with my big distraction (the Internet) and so I want to only spend an hour a day browsing webpages.  Plus I need to tidy and clean my place (and the garden: 5-10 hours work maybe) and basically get my life organised before I leave, so it's not a big hassle when I come back to New Zealand.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Blog diversion - trip anxiety and 102 days

71kg, 5kg over goal weight

Today is the first of February.  That means (hopefully) in 102 days I'll be leaving Auckland.  I've got a hell of a lot of things to do before I leave, and I'm suffering from the stress and anxiety about the trip. As a result, yesterday I did exactly zero hours of work on "stuff", the things I need to do before I leave.

I wondered what to do about this potential crisis (and yes, it could turn out to be a crisis) so in the middle of the night I decided to post on the blog about it.  For the next 3 1/2 months you'll be reading about what I'm doing, totally unrelated to weight loss.

Sorry about that.

Today I want to achieve 4 hours of doing things.  Most of that is tidying (a tidy place is welcoming to doing things, an untidy place is not in my experience).  I also want to start working on:

  1. Getting a tow bar for my car (essential because I need to put all of my stuff in storage, and remove a dead couch out the back collecting leaves)
  2. Make an appointment for essential medical tests
  3. Start working on getting a passport (today, just a phone call is all I need to do)
  4. Print out the form for travel insurance when I go to the doctor next week
The last one is what I'm dreading.  I keep hearing of awful tales related to travel insurance (probably because I read a lot, should cut back on that, right?) and potential life and death situations.  I know I'll probably be alright, but the anxious person in me is starting to worry.  About all sorts of things.  Half of them are related to travel insurance.

Living in New Zealand is like living in a cocoon.  State funded medical care and ACC.  ACC is a compulsory accident insurance system we have here.  It's been around for about 50 years.  What that means is that if you have an accident, ACC will (supposedly) take care of you and pay you money and your expenses etc.  Yes, there are issues and complaints but I'll take that over the alternative any day.  The downside is that you cannot sue.  I'm fine with that.

I just worry about what could happen if....  You get the idea.

So the goal today is to do 4 hours of work.  It could be anything.  From now on, until I've finished all of my tasks, this blog will turn into a motivation blog.

Sorry about that.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Christmas gain


It's been a while and my weight has slowly marched upwards, then Christmas came along and there was another gain.  I've been slack at posting here on the blog as well.

4kg to lose.  That's about 13 percent of my total weight loss, so I'm not worried.  I started yesterday with my unlimited sardines and vegetables diet.  I had a huge headache yesterday, caused by going low carb.  But I've started.  So doing that diet (the best I've ever done, in my opinion, lack of hunger) I'm very confident that I'll get back to 66kg.

I made the mistake of upgrading to the beta of Internet Explorer 10, which caused numerous blue screens of death whenever I used it, so I downgraded and they didn't go away.  So in the last couple of months I've basically read zero weight loss blogs, as they are all listed on the RSS reader on IE.  I'll be doing a reinstall in the next week and the problem will go away.

It's a bit sad that there will always be a 4kg blip on my graphs for the rest of the lifetime of the blog, but that's life, it was fair to say that most of my motivation left me when I reached goal weight.

My trip is still in the planning stage (I've yet to get tickets, passport or travel insurance) because I've got so much to do before I leave.  It's all overwhelming, which is why I'm thinking of leaving mid May, giving me hundreds of potential hours of time to do things.  I've taken voluntary redundancy at work early February which is good because it gives me both more time and more money to play with.

I've been in contact with a nice lady in the Philippines but I do wonder why someone would want to date a guy who'll only be there for a year.  I'll guess I'll find out soon enough.  It looks like we'll have a great time together but I'm a bit worried about the inevitable heartbreak at the airport 12 months later.

Sorry that this post has just seemed like a 'checklist'.  It's really just a catch up post.  4kg above goal.  That's not a lot, it's not awful, and it is definitely manageable.  One thing is certain, I won't be getting on the plane unless I'm at 66 or less.