From A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Hello out there to anyone who’s still around! Here I am in the good ol’ UK. I’ve actually been here two months now. What an up and down time it’s been! I’ve been completely slack about updating, but I wanted to have my head together a bit before I wrote again.

First things first – I have no email acccess at home therefore no access to my dietgirl email account. I’m really sorry if you think I’ve been a horrible snob, still trying to sort out (ie. afford) net at home.

Losing weight has been challenging here, to say the least. I really underestimated how difficult it would be to adjust to this new life. I guess I never really stopped to consider that I was moving to the other side of the planet, for goodness’ sake, and it would take a good while to get used to things.

I ate like a pig for the first couple of weeks. Well, a pig on a budget, that is. We knew the exchange rate wasn’t in our favour coming from Australia, but food is just so bloody expensive over here! While we ran around trying to find somewhere to live and find work, we ate quite poorly. Life was so overwhelming that diet and exercise was the last thing on my mind.

By about week four, my new suit that I’d bought in Oz before I left was getting more than a little snug. Plus I was getting incredibly down. Temp work is not the greatest thing for your morale, especially when you’re used to a mentally demanding job. I’d gotten into the bad habit of grazing on junk food at work out of sheer boredom, then coming home from work and flopping on the bed and sleeping. Or crying. Crying because I felt like a big fat loser and I’d come such a long and expensive way to feel like a big fat loser.

I tip my hat to anyone in the UK that has lost a shitload of weight. Maybe it’s a particularly an urban thing, but it seems to me it would be a lot easier and cheaper to eat unhealthily. Everywhere you turn here you can buy convenience meals, fresh or frozen, very cheap and decent portions. Or you can buy sandwiches in little plastic cartons that look okay but you have to sift through a litre of mayonnaise to find the meat. Or you can just rock up to the local chippie and buy some lard-covered delicacy.

Fruit and vegies, on the other hand, are comparatively expensive. If there’s any Aussies reading, I would like to say you have NO excuse at all not to lose weight. F&V are so cheap and plentiful back home, we are spoilt for choice. You can get good quality fruit at any supermarket. It’s cheaper to buy a shitload of vegies than it is to buy some ready meal. But here fresh produce is bloody pricey and has to be flown from Kenya or Chile or god knows where.

I’m finding eating well takes a helluva lot more willpower and planning over here. I can see why people would find losing weight a very daunting task. It’s summer now, but on those dreary rainy days it’s so easy to think "screw it" and not exercise or buy something easier to eat. We don’t have a car now so food shopping means a long walk or a trip on the bus and lug it all home in our backpacks. Some days it’s tempting to go to the local shop and buy something easier but invariably less healthy. And I can’t imagine what it will be like when winter kicks in and it gets dark at 4pm! It must be hard to get into gear then.

That said, I am doing well now. Sure it takes more effort, but I must admit I feel a little tinge of smugness when I am cooking some meal from scratch and the flatmates are heating frozen meals or opening tins of soup. Hehe. We haul ass up a hill to the local greengrocer to get a better selection of vegies, we walk a couple of miles in the other direction to get cheaper nuts and rice from a health food shop.

At work the other day I had my little container filled with mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, peppers, cheese, cucumber etc, and sat crunching away.

Colleague: What’s that you’re eating!?
Me: It’s a salad.
Colleague: Oooh. That looks complicated.

I’m earning less than half of what I was in Oz, yet everything is twice as expensive. This may make me sound like a freak, but I am quite enjoying making the pounds stretch as far as we can. I really took for granted how easy and plentiful and cheap food is in Australia, so now I am determined to make the best of things over here. It takes more effort but it’s somehow fun and satisfying. Good lord I am dork.

Anyway, back to the crying. I felt overwhelmed and out of control. I missed cheap mangoes and avocados and my Mum. Instead of feeling excited about this overseas adventure, I was convinced I’d spend the next two years gaining all my weight back and being miserable.

But then I thought of the PAST two years and all that bloody effort I’d put into to losing it, and realised there’s no way I could let it happen. Plus I was here to challenge myself and to have fun, to see and do things I’d never done before. I only have two years so I don’t want to waste my time feeling sorry for myself.

So I joined the gym. Sure it is expensive, but I was spending the equivalent in junk food anyway. I rocked up for my induction and discovered I’d bulked up to 104.5 kg. But four weeks and a bazillion classes later, I’m back down to 101.6 kg. More on the gym later, but I just wanted you all to know I’m back on track baby!

This losing weight thing is taking so much longer than I thought. But life has a habit of getting in the way of a diet ‘schedule’. So I am just going to enjoy myself and not panic and let the lard come off nice and sensibly.

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