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After months and months of a troubesome foot (along the lines of plantar faciitis) combined with 1.5 years of not being able to get my eating back on track I decided to try and kick start things with a 30 day "clean" focus for eating. I'm basing it around the Whole30 idea but of course the Whole30 programme relies heavily on meat which doesn't work so well for a vegetarian. The people who wrote the programme claim it helps with inflammation (the foot issue) and also with skin issues such a psoriasis (a genetic condition which I have).

I wasn't planning to blog about this but then I thought it might be interesting to keep track of how I feel each day and how my foot and skin is to track if there is indeed any improvement. Today is day 3 and I'm already sick of the food so we'll see how I go. 

Rules: I can eat as much fruit and veg as I want (including potato) along with eggs, nuts, coconut milk and olive oil, salt and curry powder is also ok. That's it. No meat, no grains, no anything else. 

Day 1 (Sat): Was fine. Didn't notice any real problems in the day. That night though I could not sleep, was starving (got up at 1am and cooked a full meal) and had a pounding headache (unusual for me). Finally took a sleeping pill at 4am. Hard to know if this was anything to do with the food or if it was jet lag since I'd flown in from the US the day before.

Day 2 (Sun): Didn't notice anything in particular. Took sleeping pills pre-emptively and made sure I ate a lot before bed. I'm definitely jet lagged.

Day 3 (Mon): First day of work. Vaguely hungry most of the day. Foot still sore, skin still the same but I didn't really expect to notice any sort of change this early on. Already feeling that my food choices are severely limited. 

Day 4 (Tue): My poor body is so confused! First the jet lag and lack of sleep (last night took a sleeping tablet, woke at 12am, at 2am admitted defeat and took another one, then no surprise just could not get it together this morning), then the total change to the diet (especially on the heels of Christmas) and then to top it all off my period arrived today, early which is really unusual for me (and I suspect to do with the time change confusion). Anyway today I started off feeling like crap but after the first few hours it turned out to be a great day. My limited food didn't bother me and I didn't get hungry. Felt full of energy by late afternoon.

I'm interested to see where this is going. Once I'm over the jet lag (which will probably be at least another week, it hits me hard these days) and now my period has started I might get a clearer idea of how the diet is actually affecting me. Compared to the timeline they publish for the Whole30 I seem to be on a speeded up version. How I felt today seemed to match about day 8 on their schedule. So we'll see what happens. I'd be very happy if I could remain this satisfied with the food. 

Day 5 (Wed): Pretty similar to yesterday, lousy night sleep, felt like complete crap in the morning. Feeling good by the afternoon although not quite as chirpy as yesterday. No noticeable difference in the foot or the skin. 

Day 6 (Thur): Repeat of yesterday. Lousy sleep, felt like crap until around 1pm. Ok in the afternoon. On the bright side I actually cooked a delicious dinner and really enjoyed it which makes a change from most meals this week. 

Day 7 (Fri): Less crappy feeling this morning. Maybe jet lag will actually pass... oh to feel alive in the mornings again. Had a super hungry day. The only extra thing I had to eat at work was nuts. That meant I ate a lot of nuts (I checked the cafeteria in hope of fried potato or vegetables or anything I could eat but there was nothing). Went to a party tonight. Parties are more fun when you can eat/drink. Left early because I was ravenous, came home and ate more nuts and a banana because I've not virtually nothing left I can eat. Tomorrow I'm going skiing, then when I get home I must shop for food or I'll starve (or worse, cave on the diet). 

Week One Wrap Up:  Well I survived! It wasn't fun but it wasn't too terrible. My weight is down 1.4kg but I know that's not a real loss. Last Saturday my weight would have been up because it was the day after I flew back and because it was a few days before my period started. If I can log another loss this coming week then I'll consider that my weight really is down. My foot is still causing me problems so that hasn't improved as far as I can tell. Skin seems the same. Because my diet is generally pretty good (not much processed food, junk food rarely, no alcohol) I wonder if I won't see the same extreme benefits some other people report. Oh well, only one way to find out, keep going. 

Day 8 (Sat): Another hungry day but on the bright side I'm definitely feeling less awful in the mornings. Got up early this morning and went skiing. It was fun but I was HUNGRY despite eating 4 eggs (along with other stuff) for breakfast. Lunch was the first meal I've eaten out since I started. I had a salad (basically tomato and cucumber, it's a Bulgarian specialty that becomes less special when you get it made without cheese) and fried potato. Physically, apart from the hunger I also seem to have become slightly constipated. That is mentioned as a possibility in the Whole30 diary of what to expect but since I haven't really had any of the other symptoms they've listed up until now I'm not sure whether to chalk it up to that or not.

Day 9 (Sun): Another hungry day but ok apart from that. Spent a massive amount of time doing food prep ready for the week ahead. The Whole30 timeline suggests people are most likely to quit on day 10 or 11 so I want to be prepared. One interesting thing for today (again in line with what they have on their timeline) is that while sitting on the couch I had some really bad cramps followed by a pretty intense episode of diarrhea (thankfully not on the couch!) It only happened the once but it's definitely not normal for me so it does seem to be that I'm experiencing some of the expected symptoms. 

Day 10 (Mon): Didn't feel any particular temptation to quit. Felt much better this morning than last week, the jet lag seems to have run its course. Got up at 5am and headed to the pool for the first swim of 2015. It was a bit painful, I took a nasty fall on Saturday and the after effects are worse than I was expecting. But I felt good about getting back into it. Was hungrier afterwards which was to be expected. Felt fine until the middle of the day when I started to get a very sore throat which is usually how my colds begin. Felt like crap by the time I got home, ate 4 cloves of garlic, took a few spirilina tablets and decided I couldn't face proper dinner. Ended up snacking on nuts, a banana and a potato. Not a great meal. Hard to seperate the symptoms of the diet from all the other issues I seem to have going on!

Day 11 (Tue):  Woke up not feeling too bad, the garlic and spirulina must have done the trick! Ate breakfast and then swam which meant I was very hungry again. Apart from that day was fine. No real desire to quit so I'm not on the timeline but perhaps I'll skip that (hopefully) or it will come later (hopefully not). Nothing really of note.

Day 12 (Wed):  Went running this morning and my foot was quite sore so the diet certainly isn't improving that (yet, there's still hope). Realised part way through the day that I was exhausted. Then my throat started to get sore and I started to feel all "fluey" again... drats, maybe I didn't beat the cold afterall. Can't tell if the exhaustion is due to getting sick or something to do with the diet. Finished the day with more garlic and spirulina.

Day 13 (Thurs):  Repeat of yesterday. Feel lousy, probably getting sick but my body is fighting it. Ate more garlic and spirulina. Definitely no tiger blood happening yet!

Day 14 (Fri):  End of the second week. I'm sick. Feeling grumpy and sorry for myself. Nothing particularly noticeable with the diet. Just plodding along. 

Day 15 (Sat): Half way! According to the predicted timeline I should be moving into tiger blood phase about now and life should be sweet. Perhaps I am... but a tiger with a cold so the feeling isn't too awesome. My foot issues and psoriasis are still not clearing up but I feel like my face looks different, the wrinkles seem less noticeable. Or perhaps it's just the cold medication making me delusional. Went to a friend's place for dinner tonight and she very kindly prepared a meal totally inline with what I could eat. One of the reasons I would't want to be doing this forever is how inconvenient it is when you socialise.

Day 16 (Sun): Didn't leave the house. Lay around feeling gross all day. Didn't care much about the food, I ate but it didn't bother me that it's all repetitive. Did prep a minimal amount of stuff for the coming week but not as much as I usually did since I didn't want to leave the house to shop. Here's to hoping tomorrow feels much healthier.

Day 17 (Mon):  Woke up coughing up a disgusting amount of phlegm. Called in sick (for the first time in over a year, I don't like taking days off). Stayed at home all day feeling sorry for myself. No real issues with food. At this point I'm not finding sticking with the diet particularly difficult although I do worry I'm putting the weight I've lost back on because usually I do quite a bit of exercise each day and right now I'm doing nothing.

Day 18 (Tues):  This is getting monotonous! Nothing in particular to report. Made it into work but it was rough. Definitely no tiger blood. Still no exercise as just staying awake all day was enough of a struggle.

Day 19 (Wed): Woke up this morning and actually felt like I'm on the road to recovery. I was hacking up a disgusting (truly disgusting) amount of phlegm but I could tell that some change occured in the night and that I've turned a corner. I'm hoping once I've properly kicked the cold I'll be able to tell if I do feel any healthier. I still have psoriasis and I still have foot issues (despite having recently spent 3 days hardly moving off the bed which did help) so no miracles as yet. On the bright side someone at work told me I am looking thinner in my face, it would be nice if that was true - I've got a rather fat face.

Day 20 (Thurs):  After feelig so positive yesterday about being on the road to recovery I managed virtually no sleep last night. I coughed and I coughed. I was fine until I lay down and then I just couldn't stop. I tried sleeping sitting up to no avail. I ended up emailing my boss at 4am and telling him I'd be late to work, I then went to a pharmacy as soon as it opened and stocked up on cough mediciene and strepsils. Sadly I'm sure both of them are not Whole30 compliant (ingrediants are in Bulgarian but it's sweet) but sleep trumps all. I am disappointed though that having made it 20 days through this programme I really haven't experienced anything except jet lag and illness. Nothing to report foodwise. 

Day 21 (Fri):  Three weeks done! Hard to believe it. Another poor night of sleep last night despite the cough medicines. I am a bit disappointed that I had to go off plan for those but I figure if that's the worst that I go off in 30 days it's certainly not too bad. I've gotten into a bad habit of eating a LOT of nuts. That's definitely increased over the course of the last 3 weeks. I probably should try and tighten up on that in the final week. Nothing else to report. Certainly no tiger blood, psoriasis still there, foot still sore. Will weigh in tomorrow and see how that's going.

Day 22 and 23 (Sat & Sun): I can really see why they lumped days together in the online version of the Whole30 diary. With Sunday over and done with I'm now into my final 7 days. My food for the week is pretty much prepared and I'm ready to go. I did seem to have a slightly dodgy stomach today but apart from that didn't notice anything. Managed a short (30 min) run today which was my first exercise in over a week. After being sick for so long (and still not 100%) I was happy just to get over the hurdle of getting out and running but I would have been even happier if I'd felt some tiger blood!

Day 24, 25, 26 (Mon, Tue, Wed):  This week is just passing in a crazy blur. Work has been super busy. Largely because I'm just so far behind due to operating well under par for the last 2 weeks while I was sick. That and meetings. SO MANY MEETINGS. A lot of them are actually useful but they certainly chew up a lot of time. Anyway I've not really had time to think much about diet. It's pretty much just the normal for me now and I'm not having any problem sticking to it. Sunday is my last day which is a bit of a pain because I'm going away with some friends Friday night (to ski Saturday) and I'll still be on the restricted diet then (being vegetarian is already quite a restriction here). I haven't decided yet if I'll just finish 2 days earlier, it would be so much easier not to be a pain about food. While I feel pretty good now I've settled into the whole routine it's pretty clear that my foot and my psoriasis have not been helped at all.

Day 27 - 30 (Thur - Sun): The week stayed crazy and I didn't get back to blogging. Friday night some friends and I went straight from work up to the mountain and skied Saturday. I stuck with the diet and decided to stick it out for the 30 days. This final week I actually put a little weight back on. I must admit I'm a little disappointed with the whole experiment, no improvement in either my psoriasis or foot (if anything it's worse but that's probably partially because I did a lot more exercise this past week because I was finally over the cold). I did lose a bit of weight (approx 2 kg) and I do think my belly fat went down significantly (there's still plenty there) which does mean there probably is something I'm eating that's causing me to bloat. Anyway today is the last day. I'm planning to cook dahl ready to eat tomorrow once I can go back to having legumes... I think I'll splurge and have rice with it too!

I am resolved...

Now I know that there are many who mock the making of New Years Resolutions. But I've always enjoyed this time of year, the chance to start fresh, the chance to set new goals. Last year I made only 1 resolution - not to eat chocolate. It was pretty much a success. I must admit I cheated a few times throughout the year and ate something that had chocolate in it (eg a chocolate chip cookie) but those occasions were relatively infrequent and I didn't eat any chocolate on its own so all in all I consider that the resolution was well worth making.

This year I'm being a bit more ambitious. Most of my goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and the two that aren't are more just general areas that I want to focus on. I'm setting them out here so I can refer back at the end of the year and see how I did. Many of them only apply while I'm working and so for now the timely aspect is "until the end of the current school year". I'll then decide if I want to keep them for the new school year as well. 

1. Recycle more. This is one of the vague goals. By putting it at the top of the list I'm just hoping to keep it in my mind.

2. Read something "spiritual" and focus on it every 2 weeks. This is the second vague goal although at least the inclusion of a time frame should help.

3. 30 burpees 4 days a week.

4. No diet coke (or coke zero) for the entire year.

5. 10,000 steps every working day (tracked with a fitbit - does not include any running)

6. Run at least 2 times per week (no set distance, the goal is just to get out there even if I only run for 5 minutes). This will preferably be outside but will resort to a treadmill if necessary.

7. Log food on working days.

So, there they are. The list will be on my fridge where I will see it each day. I haven't started yet (apart from not drinking coke) because I left the US on the 1st and arrived home on the 2nd. Today is the 3rd and I'm so horribly jetlagged (which is why I came back a few days early) that I'm not making myself do anything except stay awake. Monday is the first day of work for 2015 and it is when I will start to record my steps, do my burpees and try and get in a run.


Goodbye 2014

Another year coming to an end? How can that be? I remember when I was a child my mother telling me that time gets faster when you get older, and it's certainly true.

And truthfully 2014 isn't quite over yet. But there's only a few more days of work left for me, this time in just under 6 days I'll be on a plane heading for Florida for my Christmas break. I figure I may not get around to blogging while I'm there and even though I haven't written much this year I would like an end of year wrap up.

Looking back at the last entry I made in 2013 I see that I posted my NY resolution not to eat chocolate for 2014. I've pretty much done that. There's been a few occasions when I've been a little "flexible" and eaten something that has a bit of chocolate in it (like a chocolate chip biscuit or a muslie bar with a bit of chocolate) but in general I've stuck with it (apart from the accidental eating of a piece of chocolate at a quiz night) and not eaten any actual chocolate. Quite an accomplishment in Bulgaria.

The rest of my wishes involved getting back on track with fitness and eating. Sadly that proved more difficult that resisting the allure of chocolate. I'm finishing the year slightly heavier than I started it. My fitness is probably around the same and certainly well under where it was 2 years ago.

But on the bright side I haven't put all the weight back on. I'm significantly heavier than I think would be ideal but realistically only about 3 kg (5 or 6 lbs) heavier than my absolute lowest weight. I'm still well within the healthy weight range for my height. And, while my fitness is not where I'd like it to be either I'm still exercising for about 30 minutes around 5 or 6 days a week so it's not like I've given up altogether. I never made it back into logging my food but I have checked in most days to MFP which does help me keep a little focused and I've continued to weigh myself and record it once a week when I'm not traveling.

So, like most things in life, could be better could be worse. 

On the non-diet/fitness related side of life (yes, there is one!) everything is great. That's part of the problem, I have so much other stuff going on that it's hard for me to give my weight/fitness the focus it needs. I'm still really enjoying my job here (and enjoying the holidays even more) and I'm very much in love with the wonderful man I met just over a year ago now (we've only been a couple since March though). In just under a week I'll be flying off to meet up with him in the US and to spend Christmas with his family (and meet them for the first time). 

I'm hoping 2015 might be the year I get back on the fitness/weightloss track but if it turns out to be just like 2014 that certainly won't be a terrible thing.



Success! And a question.

First the good news. As of this morning my weight is back to what it was before I went away for the summer. The damage done by 5000 miles of driving, many enormous diet cokes and embarrassingly well patronised buffets has been undone. Well in terms of weight anyway.

My fitness is still not quite back to where it was. I just can't get enthusiastic about running and so that's not really happening. And right now I'm not swimming at all because I'm cycling to work which means I don't have time to swim (because of the opening hours of the pool it's only possible to use if if I'm driving to work).

And now the question. It's really just a question for me (since it isn't like this blog has a wide readership!) but I'm really wondering why I find it so hard to log things that I didn't plan to eat. Last week every day I was over my calories by around 1000 per day. MFP kept making dire predictions about how much I'd weigh in 5 weeks. That didn't bother me at all. But then yesterday was a hungry day and so I ate an extra banana and a couple of handfuls of nuts. I kept procrastinating about recording them. And then I realised that I really did not want to add them to my food diary

That's weird. What possible difference could it make. No-one reads my diary and even if they did a handful of nuts and a banana is not exactly going to leap off the page. It wasn't going to ruin a perfect day or anything - the stuff I planned to eat and had already logged had put me far into the red. So why would I try to get out of writing it down? I'm not sure of the answer but I think it has something to do with fooling myself. And I'm sure there's some sort of interesting information about my psych in there.

Just for the record I did eventually record them at the end of the day.

I've blogged before about the fact that last year was a bit of a write off as far as weight loss. I bounced up and down (more up than down) by about 3kg but roughly finished the year where I started it. I never managed to get into a routine of logging last year. So now I'm back to where I ended the year but with the advantage that I'm back into logging. Hopefully that means I can continue on a generally downwards trend, get back to the lowest weight I ever recorded and then continue on until I finally get to the weight I want to be. 

Back on the wagon

Alright. Two weeks since my last blog. And that means it has been 3 weeks of logging. I feel as though I'm slowly making it a habit again. My exercise has been increasing as well... my fitness levels are no where near where I want them but I'm pushing through and I know if I can stick with it things will improve.

Weigh in tomorrow. Last week I stayed the same so hopefully this week shows a loss. 

Dragging myself back on that horse...

Well I made it! One week of logging every day. I didn't log accurately - that wasn't possible the first half of the week due to it being the first few days of the school year and me having lunch provided at work-but I did log. Sure, I could have brought my own but I wanted to eat with everyone else on those first few days, get to know the new folks, catch up with the old.

Anyway it wasn't really about the numbers this week. It was about trying to get back into the habit of logging. I think I only managed to log about 4 days in the entire of last school year. So a whole week isn't bad. I won't claim to be back into the habit yet but I've made a start and if I can keep it up for a few more weeks I think I'll be back on track with that.

It's been about 10 days since I flew back into Bulgaria and I'm still struggling with my sleeping. It has gotten better, the last 2 days I've slept until around 4:30am (I usually get up at 5am in the week so that isn't bad although today is Saturday and I would have liked some extra sleep). For a while there I was waking around 1:30am and that was not good. The trouble is I really haven't felt up to any exercise because I'm so exhausted by the time I make it home from work (waking up at 1:30 am ensures you're pretty tired by 7pm). I have been cycling to/from work (20km round trip) but nothing apart from that. I'm hoping to build in more purposeful exercise this coming week.

My reward was a loss of 0.8 kg. I'm pretty happy with that! 

Now I just have to take how good it feels to be losing weight instead of putting it on, bottle that feeling and use it to keep me on this track.  


3 kg....and out of excuses.

Well summer is over and it was AWESOME.

Two months road tripping around the USA. Camping, hiking, seeing a whole lof of beautiful stuff. And all in the company of my very favourite person. I really couldn't ask for more. As expected the only not awesome thing is the effect it had on my weight/fitness. I'm about 3kg heavier than I was a couple of months back AND I'm a lot less fit. Yes, I did some great hikes (including to the bottom of the Grand Canyon) but I also did an awful lot of sitting on my butt (we drove over 5000 miles) and a lot of eating (damn you Chipotle for being so good).

I've been on this site for around 2.5 years. The first year and a half I was in Japan and I was pretty focused. I lost around 25 kg (a huge amount on a shorty like me) and made a big increase in my fitness. I took up running and worked my way up from barely surviving 60 seconds of running to doing my first 5k, my first 10k and then finally a 14k race just after I left Japan.

The last year however has not been as positive. I put on a few kg last summer and then didn't manage to shift them all year. I wasn't too surprised. New country, new job, new role and new relationship made it quite a rollercoaster of a year. Losing weight has always been something I really need to focus on to achieve and so with my focus on so many other things (all positive, I'm not complaining) I really wasn't surprised that I didn't lose weight and was actually relieved not to put more on.

But now I'm out of excuses. I'm not new at my job anymore. The relationship is still fantastic but it's not new either. I'm pretty used to life in Bulgaria and I can't really use that as an excuse anymore either. So it's time to get back in the game. I MUST start to log. I know this. I must do this. Over and over I've shown it's the onlyl thing that works for me. I also need to focus on getting back some fitness. I've gone from running 8k once or twice a week before the summer to maybe running 4k this morning (I did the whole 8k, I just walked about half of it).

I know what to do. I just have to actually do it. 

That's a wrap...

One of the weird things about being a teacher in the northern hemisphere is that your year ends in the middle! I grew up in Australia (where schools years line up with calendar years) and even though the majority of my teaching career has been in the northern hemisphere I still get a little kick out of that fact.

Tomorrow is the last day of the school year, my first year at this school and my first as part time admin, part time teacher. It's been a great year in a lot of ways but also a very steep learning curve. I'm not sorry that it's coming to an end, I get to take a break and then when I come back in August I'll no longer be "new".

In my last post I admitted that in terms of healthy eating and fitness this year has been pretty much a wash. While I would have been happy to report otherwise I'm not really surprised. I've never managed to move countries without gaining weight (and I've moved countries quite a lot so I've definitely put this to the test) and so the fact that I finished the year at the same weight I started it (even though it's a few kg above my lowest weight which was still a few kgs above what I want to weigh) is somewhat of a victory.

My hopes now are that I don't do too much damage over the summer and that when I come back next year I can have a stronger focus on fitness/healthy eating. I'm going to be spending the summer doing a massive road trip in the U.S. Hopefully the ridiculous portion sizes will be offset by all the hiking I'm planning to do. Traveling with my skinny vegan boyfriend will help out too with any luck.


It's been a year!

No, not since I started on MFP. A year since I stopped taking this weight loss/healthy living thing seriously.

So not exactly a date to celebrate. 

Actually probably more than a year. This time last year I'd just wrapped up living in Japan (after 5 years) and was back in Australia for the summer (or for the winter since it was Australia). I'm pretty sure my slide into mediocrity began at least a few weeks before I left Japan.

I left Japan weighing about 56.6 kg. By the time I arrived in Bulgaria 2 months later I was 60.6 kg. Quite a gain over a few months (actually it was more like 3 months because I didn't weigh myself until my scales had arrived and I'd settled).

Last Saturday when I weighed myself I was 60.6 kg! Quite a coincidence given that the past 10 months look like a rollercoaster. I've been up as high as 62kg and down as low as 58kg. This Saturday will be my last weigh in for a few months. I have to be at the airport by 5am the following Saturday so chances are I won't think of weighing first. Then I'll be having adventures for a few months so no weighing while that's happening either.

The Bad - Obviously that I didn't lose weight, didn't log, didn't get down to the weight I think would be best for me.

The Good - I didn't pile all the weight back on.

There's no excuse (she says then types out her excuses) but it has been quite a year. I moved countries (and to a totally different way of life, Eastern Europe after a decade in Asia), started a new job (at a level I'd never done before), fell in love (awwwww) and managed to keep my sanity. While it would have been ideal to have kept a decent focus on my eating and exercise as well I don't feel like I'm in a horrible place. Hopefully once I return after the summer I'll be able to regain my focus. 

And at least I'm still here... if nothing else I haven't stopped paying attention entirely.

This just isn't my focus anymore

Hmmm this poor neglected blog.

I feel like I should at least write occasionally just so I haven't abandoned it entirely. But then I have nothing in particular to say because it's pretty much just more of the same. My weight continues to bounce up and down with a slight upwards trend. I continue to know that's a bad thing but not to have the discipline/motivation/mental strength to get back on track.

I'm not eating horribly. I'm still exercising (although no where near what I once was). I'm just not being diligent enough to lose weight.

I think that really sums up the entire problem. For me to lose weight experience (years and years and years of it - a lifetime in fact) shows that losing weight has to be the main focus of my existance. I just can't seem to multi-task on this.  And right now there's just so much else that I need/want to focus on.

Now I realise this is to some extent just an excuse. Many (possibly most) have more going on that they need to focus on than me (family, illness, job stress etc). I know I'm pretty lucky. But I'm not sure how to get my brain to lose weight when it can't be the primary thing in my life.

So for now I'll just keep hanging on in here. Trying to log in most days, even if it's been almost a year since I logged properly. Weighing in once a week, even if it's an upwards trend at least I'm not ignoring it entirely. Hoping that at some point I either master the art of losing weight withough having to make it my entire focus or that I get back to a point where I'm prepared to focus on it.

In areas apart from weight loss life is going great. I'm 6 weeks away from the end of the school year. That means I'm only 6 weeks away from (hopefully) having survived a complete cycle in my new job. While many of the stresses will be the same next year knowing that I've done it once before will be a huge confidence boost. Next year I'll no longer be the new person and I'll start the school year with so much more idea of what's going on, My personal life is going wonderfully too. I met someone special, I'm very happy. Visa issues means he can't always be around but in a few hours I'm off to the airport to pick him up and he can stay 4 weeks. Happy!

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