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Losing Weight in Limbo Land

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Every couple of days I get the question of..When will you be going to Canada?…and I give the same answer…I don’t know.So while we wait for immigration to give us the okay…I keep living my life in Korea…known to me now as Limbo Land. It’s a lifestyle now where we know nothing of our future when it comes to the exact where, when, how, what until we get some answers from immigration. So in the mean time I am focusing on losing weight, learning the ins and outs of getting a business started, building a website and teaching Korean children. I have just finished my course in life coaching with ICA…technically I graduate in September. It’s exciting and I absolutely loved the classes, the readings, the teachers, coaching and all that it entails. I am now left with turning all of this into a business that will flourish despite the economy. I am in the process of business plan which is all Greek to me, but I am trekking through and learning what I can. Starting a business takes dedication, fearlessness and a willingness to learn. From Seoul, I can work on the online part of this business and once I am in Canada, I will work on the local part. That might change, depending on what can be done from abroad.

So as I am still in Korea, I will continue to focus getting my weight down. I have lost 22lbs and it’s been a slow process. I am making it a lifestyle change and it has become that over the past 6 months. I would like to make my niche for my lifecoaching business in the field of health and wellness. I would like to be an example of my own success of losing weight and changing my lifestyle to a happier and healthier one through lifecoaching. So I think I would like to lose at least 20lbs more by the time I get to Canada. (by end of my hope to be in Canada). In doing this, I would like to speed things up…which means working out more and sticking to the other habits I have put into place. I feel that I have been going quite slowly and getting off track from time to time. However, I have made changes that stick and have control around food that I have never had before. I don’t see how I could cut too much more from what I am eating each day as a being more active is essential.

If some of you don’t know, it has been raining non stop in Seoul now…they haven’t had this much rainfall in one summer since a century ago. So the walking I was doing outside has pretty much stopped. I have taken to dance aerobics online and I need to do it more often…like daily or at least 6 times a week. It’s pretty much the only active activity I do. So I must up the frequency! I have a hard time keeping much of any rhythm shown to me twice as it is in most aerobics classes, so I am all about following the moves online, pausing about ten times to get it right…and we are just talking about doing the grapevine! This is why I never took to dance classes, aerobic classes in a health club, or yoga. Walking, jogging, riding a bike and hiking are more for me. But I must say, with the opportunity to pause and take my time learning the steps, I love it!! It’s fun and challenging! Not to mention, it’s keeping me wanting to go back and do it again!

My wins this week:

not pigging out on fusili chicken alfredo I made…yummy and normally would have stuffed my brains out!
not over doing it at the all-you-can-eat Korean bbq meat extravaganza…I did good!
maintaining my weight on my week vacation
finally got my pedicure that was my reward for doing so well 6 weeks ago!
being mindful when I eat and listening to my body when it is satisfied.
Gonna keep this going, add on some more dance dance and I should be losing weight more quickly. Feeling very motivated!
As for when, what, how and where…I do not know…of course I care but I am taking each day at a time and practicing being in the moment and being grateful for it. I see Canada at the end of this tunnel!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Good for you...staying focused on your weight program with so much other stuff going on! Keep up the good work! Best Wishes to You!

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    Good going! I like your alternative to walking, and yes I am very uncoordinated too!

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    I think you are amazing to be making such progress "in limbo." I have problems when I am not in a structured situation and don't know what to expect. You are doing great and I love your rewards too!

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Tipping my hat to Sparkpeople for reminding me: It's a lifestyle, NOT a diet! Dropping the guilt!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So I have been putting off writing this blog entry because I gained weight…4lbs over the last two and a half weeks!!! I just went nutso food-wise and dropped a lot of what I had been doing over the past 5 months…and why?? Well I am not sure. I had been doing so well, eating 1500 kcals a day, exercising 5~7 hours a week, even with the cruddy weather and the incessant ringworm( which I still have, and feels like will never go away!!!!!). So what happened?? Well, I think I just got tired of trying to keep up with it all! I have been really stressed out with my body being covered in lesions, not to mention the insane cleaning and keeping my body from recontaminating itself…takes a LOT of time out of one’s day. I also was finishing up my research paper to graduate life coaching at ICA and I was in the process of doing supervised coaching and being evaluated over the past 6 wks. Now that I write this, I see why I was so stressed out and needed to comfort myself…and I did it with food. I was at the bakery again two weeks ago and bought some yummy stuff and was going to be like a normal person and just have a normal portion, but I am not there yet control-wise. I scarfed that bread down like I had not eaten for 2 months…blink of the eye and it was gone…and it was equivalent to about 4 huge muffins…and I ate it after I had already had dinner. I was back on a binge!! I haven’t had a moment like this in a long while! And I didn’t stop there…I just completely gave up really. I was eating way more than I was supposed to..I was exercising because of being so afraid of what the scale might say…I was back to my old ways. And it was depressing! Over the past week, I reminded myself that this is a lifestyle change I was making…I was not on diet. But I was feeling deprived. I was having a difficult time and didn’t give myself the sleep or time or phone call to a friend that I needed…rather, I ate to comfort myself. And I am allowing for this mistake. That it is a lifestyle and no one is perfect, I allowed myself to drop the guilt and pressure of keeping to the low calories I was trying to stick to. I reminded myself of the good I had done. I was keeping up with my exercise, in the most rainy season I have ever seen in Korea in all my 9 years here. It hasn’t stopped raining for over two wks. So my walking at night couldn’t happen and I started doing dance aerobics online at least 5 times a week. That’s a win! I also wasn’t pigging out on junk or buying bad food, except the bread. I was just eating way too much and it had caught up with me. So all is forgiven and I am back on track.

I joined about 2 or so months ago. What a fantastic site! It’s all about changing your lifestyle for a healthier one. It is run by life coaches and nutritionists. No one is on a diet, we are all learning about making healthier life choices and getting recipes, and reading great articles that keep us motivated. I can track my food, exercise and get support from the thousands of people on there. The other day, I wrote on the message boards asking what could help me control my sudden cravings and night eating that I was experiencing over the last 2 wks. I got about 50 replies giving me great tips and cheering me on. It totally stoked me and I have been doing better since. I have lost a 2lbs!!

So, I am back to my usual good habits,as I have been living this healthier lifestyle now for over 5 months. I am losing slowly but that’s what needs to happen for me to really keep it off and maintain the changes. Before, I would have lost 20lbs and rewarded myself with food and way too much of it. I would have started gaining half of it back and then all of it by fall. I would have been feeling guilty and giving up and going into denial of my feelings around it. Now, I can slip up, and get back to my good ways and it feels natural. I think that is the biggest win~the good habits feel natural most of the time. I am not perfect and some days I will eat too much or not exercise and that’s ok. Just as long as it is a short stint and quickly I get back on with being healthy.

I cannot say it enough that structures are what are helping me the most in making this change happen and stick. I have the support of a life coach, I journal and track my food intake and exercise, I get emails from and it reminds me and motivates me and what a huge supportive community, I make sure to have healthy food on hand and don’t allow myself to get famished, I don’t shop when I’m hungry…that is a recipe for disaster. All of these small actions keep me in check and keeps me focused on the long term goal of being at the top of my health one day soon. I am excited by the progress I am making and the lessons I am learning. NO guilt, acceptance, learn from it and move on! I still have things to add to this, like mindful eating more regularly. It really does wonders when I do it..I am way less hungry and don’t have cravings…I seem to always forget and eat my food so quickly and then beat myself up for it. Will work on that!

At work last week someone brought in donuts…they were on a table directly behind my chair…all day!! I resisted. I thought about what i wanted and the donuts were just donuts. They didn’t measure up to my goal. I also went to the bakery and bought sweet bread for some coworkers. I didn’t have any of it….and I wanted to! Sweet bread was my vice, my ultimate comfort food. I resisted. I am proud of myself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOKWORM27S 7/19/2011 10:56AM

    I have days like that too! But getting back on track ASAP is the key to long term success.
emoticon emoticon

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SAFIYAH9 7/16/2011 11:54AM

    Wow, kudos! You're definitely on the right track! emoticon

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My wins! Beating cravings, losing weight and gaining control!

Monday, June 27, 2011

What a week! I started last week feeling a little off track as I hadn’t lost anything since the previous week. It started badly when it came to keeping to my recommended calories which 1500 a day. That adds up quickly by the way!

I realized that on Monday and Tuesday I was almost up to that amount by mid afternoon! I was just feeling really hungry and eating more than I needed to for most meals. At lunch at work I ate extra sides and a doughnut and whatever else was on hand. I actually went up a pound by Thursday and was feeling pangs of guilt to accompany my pangs of hunger at night.

Why was I eating so much?? I realized that on Tuesday I hadn’t eaten much protein and had been loading up on carbs. I was feeling hungry all day…It came to me that night that this may be the issue. So on Wednesday I ate more protein and yet I still wanted to eat more and consumed well beyond my 1500 cal a day limit! Things were not going well!

Yesterday, I re read my blog from last week and realized that I hadn’t been doing what I had written about…mindful eating…I decided that I would truly put it into action. I did and it worked! I was aware of how the food felt, tasted, smelled like and it had me eating slower and enjoying it more. I even midway eating, realized that I wasn’t hungry for everything I had on my plate so I divided the portion into two and put it away for later. It also beat out the crazy cravings I was having on Saturday. Saturday I was having insane cravings which I have not had to deal with for a very long time! I think the subliminal tracks were helping me with this. But Saturday was something else! I wanted to eat all day! Since I was up a pound in weight, I refused myself to give in to the cravings. I tried to sit with the feeling I was having that was making me want to eat every hour. I was feeling a sense of anxiousness. I have been feeling that for a couple of weeks now with the ringworm and cleaning, the allergy to the treatment and other things one generally has to worry about. I feel my stress in my chest, a tightness as well as a restlessness in my stomach. I think I wanted to ease this with food. So I sat with the feeling instead and made myself a tea and worked on relaxing by listening to music, breathing deeply and even watching a funny movie. I didn’t give in!! I had even stayed up til 4am and still didn’t give in to my cravings! This is something that happens once a decade I think! But this time there was full awareness to the situation and the feelings I was having, and I was able to beat out emotional eating.

The following day I woke up and weighed myself and there was no change in weight…What??!! After all that hard work of resisting dammit?? I looked at my chart of wins…what is going on here!? I walked for 6hrs this week in monsoon weather! I even did a Zumba class online on Sat! I corrected my eating on Friday and didn’t give in at all! So why was I still up in weight?

Feeling grumpy I decided that I would focus on the mindful eating and just enjoy my day, go for a long walk and stick to my action plan and see what would happen. I’m being tested, is what was in the back of my mind. So I will pass it!

I took Minu for a 2hr walk, I made a plan for my meals and stuck to it, I happened to not have cravings and the mindful eating even helped me to eat less than I planned. Last night my appetite was calling but I resisted and focused on doing other things.

And my win is…I lost 2kilos!! I didn’t only maintain but I actually lost two kilos from what I was weighing on Thursday! I am thinking that maybe I was weighing high early in the week but either retaining water or not getting enough sleep but I was just hoping to get down a kilo and and be ok with maintaining…but I worked hard, stuck to my plan and goals and passed the test! WOOHOO!!

The biggest win is this, I didn’t give in to emotional eating. That is and has been the absolute hardest thing. I remember watching an Oprah show with Winona Judd. She was talking about wanting to lose weight and the battle she had with cravings at night. She had compared it to being harder than quitting smoking, which she had done in the past. I remember very well relating to this and thinking it was pretty much impossible to not give in to those nightly urges. That is when I have had all my cravings. I would sit in front of the television and eat a half day worth of calories in one sitting. It was such a habit for me and I would make up for it by hardly eating during the day. Not the way to eat or live by the way!
I have been lucky to not have had the cravings I used to have for the last couple of months. So trying to beat them was not an issue until Saturday hit. I surprised myself and realized that all that I have put into play in changing my lifestyle is truly working. I am getting control around food! I am starting to resist emotional eating by sitting with the emotion instead. I am mindfully eating and getting the most satisfaction from my meals and not wanting to overeat or eat the wrong foods.

So it’s time to celebrate…with some chocolate and fried chicken…KIDDING!! I will take myself for a pedicure on Sat, meet for a lovely dinner with friends and get social because I have been a bit of a homebody lately!

It already feels like a celebration just knowing that I am closer to my ultimate goal of being in control and enjoying the process getting there!

For more from me, check out my weekly blog here :

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AURORA.BELLA 7/15/2011 3:47PM

Good for you for keeping up with practicing mindful eating. Protein is important to get enough of because it will make you feel fuller longer, but if you keep feeling hungry all day, try getting more fiber into your diet too, it will help a lot (if you aren't already).

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WATRUMP 6/27/2011 12:19AM

    these same cravings are my biggest downfall....i will also sit with the feelings tomorrow and the next day......I will think of your victory.........thanks!!

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Slowly Growing Thinner (No extremes)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Growing slowly thinner!

I am posting about my journey to lose weight and get a healthier lifestyle going.

The last week was productive as I lost a pound/half kilo. I have learned after years of yo-yo dieting that extreme is not the way to go on this. I used to crash diet and would lose the weight fairly quickly for some goal I had in mind, mostly if I was going to see someone I hadn’t seen in a long time or if I had to dress up for some occasion. As soon as that was achieved and the event had come and gone, I would slowly put the weight back on by rewarding my success with…more food! It would seem that all common sense would say to keep on with what I was doing to lose the weight, but because I had gone so extreme, I needed a break and a reward…only I chose the wrong way to reward myself. All of the bad habits were back into place and the weight was back on. I think I spent the last 15 years doing exactly that and not really getting anywhere to keep the long term goal of keeping thin and healthy.

Things have changed! I have learned from my own past behavior that what I was doing, certainly wasn’t working. I have learned a lot of this from the coaching I was getting. I had to change old patterns! (Thanks Leah!) So that is what I have done in these past three months. I’ve become more aware of what I was doing and what I was feeling, and tried to change the belief system as well as the patterns.

The first belief I had was feeling shame for being overweight. I live in South Korea and weight is a big thing here…and being overweight is an even bigger thing(no pun intended!). I was more noticeably overweight as there are fewer over weight people here than in Canada, and people were not shy to point it out. My first year was my toughest. I thought before coming to Korea, that I would lose weight when I got here because Korean food was much healthier and I was going to eat better. Didn’t happen. I comforted myself with the grocery store down the road that carried foreign cheese and American chocolates. I remember eating a small package of Danish Havarti cheese for dinner…that is gooood cheese! I was in a difficult job situation and adapting to the changes here wasn’t easy and I relied on familiar foods to comfort me. In no time I had gained…are you ready?…I had gained 15lbs…and by the end of my first year and a half here I gained 30lbs!! I was binging alone at home and in denial of my weight, (not weighing myself) and not fitting into any of my clothes. Soon I knew I was going back to Canada and started at a gym. Desperate to lose weight before anyone at home would see me, I went on my famous crash diet. I was able to lose about 12 lbs. Oh the shame! So I was back in Canada and determined to lose more weight. I stayed at my mom and dads’ place for 3 wks before scheduling a visit with any friends. I walked 10 kilometers a day and ate very well as my parents are active and healthy . By the time my first visit was due, I lost another 8lbs. Now I felt I was at an acceptable weight to be able to see friends. In my mind, I didn’t deserve that right til I had at least slimmed down a bit( more shame). I continued to lose weight in my 3.5 months in Canada and dropped down 35 lbs in total! I was looking and feeling good! In fact, the clothes that I bought when I first arrived in Canada were way too big for me. And I vowed to never go back to my terribly bad eating habits again!

Back in Korea I found myself feeling really good! And so I rewarded myself with Kentucky Fried Chicken with sweet ands sour sauce about 3 nights a week. (This of course being before I knew the horrors of how the chicken actually got to my plate…wouldn’t touch the stuff now!) Soon I was back into my clothes that I had bought in Canada and not eight months later I was back up 30lbs. I would lose 10lbs before each visit to Canada to make me feel somewhat better and come back and gain it back until the next visit.

This continued for 8 years!!!!

How things have changed now! I have learned that in keeping with my old ways, that nothing would change. I have learned that going at it slowly and changing habits for good, in a way that wasn’t extreme, has helped me to lose weight and change my whole outlook on the process. The first thing I had to do was to remove the shame…I am still in the process of doing this. I was embarrassed to be seen out exercising because as a foreigner in Korea, I stood out already but being a chunky one, was making that matter worse. I realized through the help of my coach, that most of that was in my head. I didn’t really know that everyone was taking notice of me or taking notice of my weight or seeing me in a negative light. Those were my beliefs that I was projecting on them. I also realized that if I wanted to lose the weight and get active, that I indeed had to exercise (my treadmill had broken down, so I was forced to walk outdoors). So I got a walking buddy and we walked together and it was great! We also walked at night when there were fewer people out. However, soon my walking buddy moved back to Canada and I didn’t feel the same motivation to go walking or feel that it was safe to go so late at night. I had to brave it to walk alone and during broad day light(God forbid!!). Well I did it, with my dog, and it has been great! I am loving it so much that I don’t even think about how others may see me…or about my worries of being seen as overweight. I just decided I wasn’t going to limit myself and I was going to feel good about the fact that I was taking control of things and taking steps forward(literally!).

Part of making this whole journey public on a blog is another step to address the shame I was feeling for being overweight. So here it is: I am Alison Johncox-Oriko and I like to eat! hehehe! I am overweight and I am trying to make a difference in my entire lifestyle to get healthy, lose weight and be more active. I am trying to over come the feeling of shame for being overweight and also trying to overcome being out of control when it comes to eating. I am doing really well so far! By confronting the shame that I feel for being overweight, the negativity is diminishing day by day. I am putting it all out there because I am challenging myself, I am being supported by wonderful friends and I think it’s a fun idea to document this journey.

This week my goal is to exercise by walking at a faster pace and at least five times a week for an hour or more, I am going to be more aware of my portions~even with salad! I am going to allow 20 mins before I go for a second helping if I still feel hungry, I will make that second helping a glass of milk or seeds or one of protein and not processed food like crackers. I will continue to feel positive and keep my good habits that I have created over the last three months into place.

More on this journey next week!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBTEVELDAHL 6/26/2011 10:52AM

    You seem like you have a plan in place. I bet it is very hard to lose weight in a different country and the different customs only add to the difficulty. You are a very strong willed and determined person. I wish you continued success on your weight loss journey. emoticon for sharing your experiences you seem to be on the right track. emoticon emoticon emoticonDebi T.

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KEETAK 6/26/2011 2:05AM

    Great Job! :)

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GOURMETLOSER 6/26/2011 1:45AM

    Good for you. Sounds like you are making real in roads.Keep up the good work.

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CUINPARADISE 6/26/2011 1:21AM


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