Week 15 WI

Yes! Last week was a great week, and it showed on the scales :)
I stuck to points every single day, clocked up 22 activity points - which I didn't use - and could feel my clothes getting looser, so am really pleased it has resulted in a nice loss.

So, the results for week 15 are:
Loss this week: -1.5 kg/-3.3 lbs
Total loss: -9.8 kg/-21.6 lbs

Woohoo! On top of this good result, I also got my 3rd silver 7. It took me 2 weeks to get the first, 4 to get the second and 8 to get this one, so I am determined to get the next one in 4 weeks again.

Also, this means I have some nice little goals to look forward to in the coming weeks, namely to get my first 10kg off by next WI as well as my 10%, if not next WI, then the one after. I'm aiming for 0.7kg loss which would take me to just 0.1kg away from 10% loss. Also, next WI I should pass the 1/4 way mark: 10 down, 30 to go!

I wanted to have a visual of my progress, so made this chart:
The red line is my goal, the blue line my losses plotted against weeks... Hope to see that line going firmly down over the next few weeks :)

Happy to report...

I am really happy to report that I have managed to stick to my points so far this week!
I'm back in Brussels for the weekend and peeked at the scales this morning, and it seems I'm down 1.3 kg / 3 lbs from Monday, so I'm guessing Anne's scales - which I've been weighing in on for the past 2 weeks - are slightly higher than mine. Very good news :)

I'm really enjoying London, and am starting to find my way around Sainsbury's and M&S for lunch and dinner... have discovered the "count on us" and "be good to yourself" ranges and really enjoying trying new things and finding the healthy options out there - so much more choice and variety than here in Belgium!

For lunch I usually have either a healthy choice tortilla or some sushi or some chicken tikka bits from Sainsbury's, with a huge portion of fruit - mango chunks are my favourite! That sees me through to the evenings, and if I am peckish in the afternoon I can buy a banana or an Alpen bar at the school cafeteria - which is great :)

It does make me realise how little options I had up till now at work - if I was hungry in the afternoon and hadn't thought of bringing something with me, all I had to choose from were Mars bars (bleh!), M&Ms (yum, unfortunately), a bag of crisps and other similar niceties... I seems society in general doesn't really help people make healthy choices. TV ads are always for the foods you can't eat, or else for the "miracle" products promising to make you thin (usually also full of stuff you don't want to be putting in your body, like aspartam). And vending machines are full of high calorie, low filling snacks.

If there was a fruit vendor on every street corner instead of a newspaper stall full of crap, we'd be healthier people, I figure.

Anyway, on this rant, I'm off to enjoy the rest of the weekend and will report in after WI on Monday :)
Have a great weekend!

Week 14 WI

Well, I kinda cheated for this weigh in. I refused to believe what I saw on the scales yesterday, I was retaining water, my fingers were all puffy, and I really didn't want to register a gain for the past week, so I weighed again this morning with a much better - and more realistic - result.
I guess I'll find out next week if I was right to do it or not...

So, weekle results are:
Loss this week: -0.5 kg/-1.1 lbs
Total loss: -8.3 kg/-18.3 lbs

I'm basically still where I was 4 weeks ago, which is slightly demotivating, but I'm determined to get it going down again.
I'm walking an hour every day, which has to count for something, and I am determined to stick to points this week.

Life in London

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I have been in London for a week now and am nicely settled into Anne's great spare bedroom and my TEFL course.

This past week has been amazing - probably one of the best weeks in my life (except holidays of course ;)).
It's a mixture of the doing something I'm really enjoying, learning new things, meeting new people, doing more exercise and feeling I'm moving towards a goal that's gotten me feeling so psyched.

First of all, the course is great. There's 10 of us in the class and we have 2 really nice teachers, Ray and Jack. Ray's a jolly red-haired Irishman, while Jack's a quiet, well-spoken English lad. Can it get more stereotypical?

The other people on the course all seem really nice. Most of them are doing the course with the intention of moving abroad, to Spain, Japan, India or other places. A few are doing it to move back to their home land after living in London for several years. There's a nice mixture of Brits and foreigners, with me being somewhere in the middle of the two.

Last week we sarted off softly, with no teaching practice, but lots of other really interesting classes and exercises about how to structure and prepare lessons, how to manage a classroom full of student, English grammar, peer teaching and Welsh - yes, the whole class took 4 lessons in Welsh so we could experience it from the point of view of a foreign student. Freaky experience. But I can now say "Hello, pleased to meet you" in Welsh ;)

For the peer teaching, we had to each give a 5-minute class to 4 of the other students, on any subject we wanted. I chose - for some obscure reason - to teach them to make origami fortune tellers. I had a really good time preparing the short lesson and found it very comfortable "teaching" them, got some good feedback from everyone and from the teacher, so I hope once we start teaching real students next week it'll continue like that.

We also had a class on learning styles, which I found really interesting. I was already familiar with the NLP-based types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. But I was convinced I was a very strong visual learner. After doing the test, it would seem I am just as much a kinaesthetic learner as a visual one. Auditory on the other hand is not my strong point. In one ear, out the other... :)

Tomorrow we have to hand in our Unknown Language Journal, documenting our experience learning Welsh. I still have about 1000 words to write tonight, but am already really pleased that I actually already started it on Thursday and got 1200 words on paper - take that, my inner procrastinator!

So, so far, so good. Tomorrow we will meet the student we're going to be teaching and have a first 15-minute session each, animating an activity with them. Then Tuesday the serious stuff begins. I'm lucky, starting with a reading activity, as some people got grammar revisions on their first day!

But I'm looking forward to it all, and really glad I made the decision to quit my job, take the course and start out on this journey...

Week 13 WI

I'm almost a full week late posting my weigh in results for week 13, but it wasn't much to write home about as I had a stand still. At least according to Anne's scales.

So, results for week 13 are:
Loss: 0 kg / 0 lbs
Total loss: -7.8 kg / -17.2 lb

In the meantime, and more importantly, I have arrived in London and have completed the first week of my course, so I'll be posting a bit about that in a few minutes.

I've been walking to the course every morning and walking home every evening, it's a 30 minute walk one way, so I'm really pleased with all the extra exercise I'm getting. And Bart was just over to visit this weekend and we've been walking all over London, at least 2 hours a day yesterday and today. Which just about makes up for the afternoon teas at Costa's :p

Week 12 WI

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, especially when it concerns me... but I have to be brutally honest and share with you the results of this week's weigh in:

Week 12 gain: +1 kg / +2.2 lb
Total loss: -7.8 kg / -17.2 lb

I pointed everything and was a total of 70 points over for the week, so I can't say I didn't see that one coming.
Nevertheless, I was hoping for a miracle... so still quite disappointed.

Getting back on track today. Having lunch out every day this week so I hope I can handle it... If I can stay away from the nuts and crisps and wine it'll already be a start.

Out of the snake pit and into the fire

This week was my last week at work.
I'm having a lot of mixed feelings about it and feeling quite unsettled.
I should feel nothing but relief at it all being over, but it's actually left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and a nagging feeling I can't quite put my finger on.

First of all, tensions at work have been at an all-time high. My boss's wife and my boss have been conspiring to get a colleague fired. The 2 other managers intervened to insist they give her feedback on exactly why they weren't happy with her work first. Seeing as it's all a witch hunt and there's nothing wrong with her work, I'm not sure how they're going to handle that.

Then, the very same day, the colleague in question sent in an official request to work 4/5th, which she is legally entitled to as a mother of 2 young children. The boss exploded and gave her hell for sending in the request by registered mail instead of coming to see him about it first - so he could pressure her out of it, no doubt. He feels working 4/5th is incompatible with her level of responsibility and apparently mentioned "how difficult it was with Sara (me) working part-time". Ass-wipe. I've gone above and beyond to accommodate meetings, conference calls and work, shifting my schedule as necessary, taking time out of my days off to call in to several conference calls... The guy just refuses to see that we are all willing to make concessions - and he refuses to make any. He also twists reality to suit him whenever he wants to make a point in a discussion. He's done it so many times before it's amazing he still gets away with it almost every time.

On my last day, Thursday, I went to hand in my car and other stuff, and bumped into the HR/Finance Director, who invited me into his office for a chat. He said he would be interested in getting my thoughts on how the company was working - he is only involved from a distance, as we're an independent entity and the "mother company" provides us with HR and Financial support". So I told him. Everything. I said there were 2 main problems: poor people management and the boss's wife. And I gave numerous examples. I apologised for giving a negative opinion, but he assured me he found my input very objective. Apparently it confirms suspicions he already had. He was dead set against the boss's wife working with him as it is unethical. He wasn't the only one, but the boss eventually managed to convince the other shareholders. So my interview with the HR Director could mean trouble for them.

Then, after the meeting I cleaned out my desk and said goodbye to the few people who were in the office that day. We'd agreed I would come back next week for a goodbye lunch when more people were able to make it. I then went back Friday to pick up my official papers and bumped into one of my former clients - who still hadn't been informed by the boss that I was leaving, despite him assuring me he would do it before I left. I also bumped into the boss, who was in a foul mood and barely grunted in recognition when I said hello. A colleague then told me there had been a huge blow-out between yet another colleague and the boss's wife that morning, and that she'd been heard on the phone complaining to her husband and demanding he intervene. That had resulted in an argument between the boss and the colleague's direct superior. The atmosphere in the office was heavy to say the least.

When I got home, I received an email from another former client, asking me if I would be interested in doing the work I was doing for them before, but on a freelance basis. It's a huge project, one I'm familiar with and have managed several years in a row, but this would mean taking business away from my former employer - although there's a big chance that if I refuse, the client won't work with him anyway. But I know my ex-boss will consider me a traitor if I accept.

Then that night I had a really weird dream - I was with my 2 sisters, my mother and her husband (my stepfather) on a pier in a harbour. I was very upset and was trying to get away from my stepfather. He was naked and was somehow trying to convince me that it was normal. I locked myself in a bathroom, which was standing on the pier, only to realise it had glass walls. I was even more upset because I had just taken a shower and now realised my stepfather had seen everything. At this point, my sister - who was raised by our stepfather and mother while I lived with my father - apologised to me for not warning me that that was "just the way things were" and informed me there was a screen I could use to place in front of the shower next time. I looked down and realised I was sitting on the floor, cutting into my arms. At this point, I woke up, turned around in bed, coming face to face with Bart (asleep) and yelled out in shock.

I believe the interpretation of the dream lies in seeing my stepfather not as himself but as a "substitute father figure", aka my former boss. I obviousy feel like I have things to hide from him, because I have been talking to people behind his back, and feel threatened by him.

I am also thinking a lot about how I have always had a "controller" in my life. Someone with a huge influence on me that always bordered on abuse. First it was my father, then when I left home I got caught up in an incredibly unhealthy relationship with Bart who was emotionally abusive and cheated on me. Immediately after I found out and while we were trying to work things out, I started my job and found another controller in my new boss (and his wife).

Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why I'm feeling so unsettled and why I've been over-eating all week. I imagine these people to be like reference points in my life, people who have such a huge influence over my thoughts, feelings and actions that my whole life ends up gravitating around them. Remove the focal point and all of a sudden I feel lost, in the strangest way.
I need to dig deeper into this because there is of course a risk I am going to find a new controller to fill in the empty space my boss has left. Right now he's still doing his job, as I am creating scenarios where my actions will no doubt provoke a reaction on his behalf (my meeting with the HR Director, the contacts with my former clients, my involvement in my other colleagues' situations) but that won't last forever.

It's a strange realisation to come to, that I am attracting the very people who hurt me most, in order to perpetrate some unhealthy scheme I have been a part of since I was born.