Posts filed under ‘Detour’

Journey to Honeyville

cavitex

 

We just finished wrapping up our busy season at work. So here I am with some extra time on my hands, and I have decided to update my blog.

It has been 3 years since my last post and a lot of things have happened since then. To keep myself from repeating the same thing, please check my About page for updates about me and the kids.

In addition to what’s there, I have also travelled back to the Philippines this past March. Yes, after 23 years! I was very excited preparing for the trip, but at the same time I was sort of anxious. Imagine, it has been a long time since I was back home. I didn’t even know if I’d feel at home there, if I can still connect with my relatives, my aunts, my cousins. Will they like my pasalubong? Are they expecting a lot? Will they be disappointed that I didn’t bring designer labels? Will I manage to navigate my way to the places I want to visit? Will I be able to commute by bus and jeepney on my own, or will I always need a chaperone?

But you know what? The minute I got there, I realized how silly those fears were. Once I started meeting my cousins, it was just like old times. Non-stop stories about our childhood, our present lives, our work, our kids. We also shared stories about our partners, broken relationships, dyeing hair and getting highlights, ingrown toenails, etc. And as for finding my way, I did manage to find my way to the mall and back to the condo where my mother and I stayed. 🙂 And I think, if I had stayed longer, I would have managed to get on the jeepney on my own.

My vacation in the Philippines was only 3 weeks long, but I tried to make the most of it. I visited a few tourist spots, some of them with my cousins, some great bonding time there. And of course one place I made sure I get to visit was my childhood town of Noveleta, Cavite. Oh boy, that was one sentimental trip!  As I looked out the window of the bus as we drove along Cavitex, I thought, this is my “Journey to Honeyville.” That’s the name I chose for this blog before I changed it to “niceheart.” And as I try to revive this blog, I am bringing Journey to Honeyville back.

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July 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Starting Over

Wow! It’s been a year since my last post. And I’ve written only 3 posts last year. 2010 had been a very tough year for me. I’ve been really very busy that I never had the time to blog. Not only did I lack in time, but I also lacked in inspiration.

But that was last year and this is a new one. And things are starting to look better.

WordPress sent me an email at the start of this new year. They said that my blog did great in 2010. Yes, even though I only wrote 3 posts. Some of my most-viewed posts were written before 2010. “Your writing has staying power!” Well, that’s inspiration enough for me. 🙂

So I thought, I’d start writing again.

I thought of starting over. In my personal life, I did. I thought of starting a new blog, but that means letting this one go. But how can I, when this blog is still getting a lot of views and I still get feedback from readers that they get inspiration from my posts.

So, I’ll keep them there in the archives and just start writing new posts. My goal this time is to write just short posts. How often? Only time will tell.

January 24, 2011 at 12:20 am 6 comments

NaNoWriMo Update

This is just a quick update to those who have been following me on this blog.

No, I didn’t win NaNoWriMo 2009. I didn’t finish 50,000 words by midnight on November 30, 2009. Even on the first day, I doubted if I could do it. Then I received words of encouragement not only from people who believe in me, but also from the pep talks from the MLs (Municipal Liaisons) of NaNoWrimo. There was a moment when I thought that I could actually do this. I was motivated. But something came up – WORK.

I thought, so what? I could still try to do this even with a busy schedule. I planned to drink lots of coffee and stay up til late at night. But I soon realized that my mind and body could not do what younger writers could. So I didn’t bother anymore.

I do have the material. I believe I have at least 50,000 words up here on my head. I just don’t have the time right now to put them into paper or type them on the keyboard. I know I want to write, finish what I have started. So it doesn’t stop here. I’m going to continue writing a little bit every now and then and eventually I’ll have that 50,000 words on paper, or a Word document.

December 1, 2009 at 9:31 pm 4 comments

NaNoWriMo

I just signed up on NaNoWriMo this morning of November 1, 2009. I have heard about this National Novel Writing Month before. I have never taken an interest in this thing where you have to write a novel within one month. Just thinking about what I think is a very daunting task turns me off. Like who has the time to do that?

Well, I know that there are many people who participate in this, but probably not a very busy working mom like me. But then again, I have always wanted to write a book. Well, probably not always, but about six years ago, I started fantasizing about writing a book, a memoir. And so I thought, if I take on this challenge now, I could finally realize that fantasy. I know, it sounds like an ambitious dream. But I did say fantasize, didn’t I?

I haven’t even been thinking about this NaNoWriMo. I received an email with a link, or did I come across something on a website? I can’t remember now. Just this morning of November 1, 2009. And today is the first day to start writing. So this is probably a sign from up there, or anywhere, I don’t know where exactly. At first, I thought that I’d just take on this challenge upon myself. I’ll write my memoir in a month. I won’t sign up, because NaNoWriMo wants fiction. And I’m not really into writing fiction.

But I thought I’d just check out the website. So I clicked on the About page. It says there that you have to write a novel of 50,000 words by midnight of November 30, 2009. The quality doesn’t matter. You can revise later. What matters now is the quantity. Okay, so I thought, maybe I can pull this off. I’d turn my story into a novel. I can write about myself in the third person. Or in the first person. I’ve read novels that are written in the first person. I’d just make a few things up, and also change my family members and friends and people I interact with into fictional characters, maybe combine two people in one character and I can make them do things the way I wanted them to. Ha ha. That would be fun. Then I’d actually be writing a novel, right?

Now that I’ve written about it here, maybe it will motivate me to stick with it. I’m already excited. I was telling my 11-year old son about it this morning. I asked him if he thinks I can do it, he said, “I don’t think so, mommy.” And I was like, “I’ll prove to you that I can.” And when I kept going on about it at lunch, he said, “You talk too much mommy.” I said, “So you see, if I just put into writing what I talk about, I think I could do it. After all, that’s only 1,667 words a day.” I think that’s how I should approach it. And maybe in a month’s time, I’d actually have written a draft of a novel. Or a draft of my memoir, which wouldn’t qualify as a novel, but that’s fine. That’s what I want to do in the first place, anyway. Or maybe this will just be one more thing that I started and didn’t finish. We’ll see.

November 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm 4 comments

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Confessions of a Shopaholic - book

My girl friend raved about Confessions of a Shopaholic and the others in the series a few years ago when she first read them. But I wasn’t interested in chick-lit back then so she wasn’t able to convince me to read them. Then they made a movie based on the book and I thought that it must be really good. So I thought I’d give it a try. Also, the book just came out in pocket size and it was on sale at Superstore. Besides, I thought that I could probably relate to the main character. Well, I’m not really a shopaholic, but Rebecca (Becky) Bloomwood was deep in debt, and so was I.

I have had a love-hate relationship with this series.

That’s probably because I sometimes see myself in Becky. First of all, she is a financial journalist. She tells people how to organize their money but there she is, accumulating all these Visa bills, unable to pay them, and she’s always trying to avoid her bank manager who has been constantly trying to get an appointment with her to settle her bank overdraft. How can I relate to that? Well, here I am with an accounting degree. Yes, I do know how to balance my bank accounts. And I’m supposed to be able to analyze my financial status. Well, I’m able to do that, too. I know how to analyze my financial status. And my analysis is that- it was in a bad state. I was deep in debt, I was barely making the minimum monthly payments, I didn’t know how to get out of the hole and I was so stressed out. But that will be another post. Today, we’re talking about the Shopaholic series.

The first book in the series, Confessions of a Shopaholic, introduces us to Rebecca (Becky) Bloomwood. It starts with a letter from Endwich Bank in London (that’s where Becky lives) congratulating her from recently graduating from university and offering her an overdraft account of 2,000 pounds. Now, shouldn’t one be offered such an account only after they get their first job, when they are already earning money? But, sadly to say, this is the reality that faces young people today. They don’t know any better and these bank companies are taking advantage of that. The second letter from Endwich Bank, which is dated two months later, informs Becky that she has exceeded her limit and her balance stands at over 3,000 pounds. In the third letter, we learn that Becky wasn’t able to get to the bank to discuss her financial situation because “she had broken her leg.” The reader will realize that that is just an excuse.

In Confessions of a Shopaholic, we are reading Becky’s thoughts. One thing that I like about it is that her thoughts are candid and honest and a lot of times funny. How many times have I also thought about something or someone that I dare not say out loud for fear of offending the other person or sounding rude? But if you just say it to yourself, it sounds funny. What I don’t like about Becky, and I know she means well, is that when she finds herself in a sticky situation, she tries to pretend she knows what she’s talking about instead of just fessing up. And then there’s also her debt situation. She’s accumulating these huge Visa bills, but she still keeps on shopping. She ignores her bills, hides them in her drawers and even throws out her letters from her bank and credit card companies. But of course, she couldn’t help it. She’s a shopaholic and she even describes what it feels like when she enters a shop. She lusts for things and she experiences a high, an exhilarating feeling, when she goes shopping. As I have mentioned a few times, I also experience some kind of high when I do my grocery shopping. 🙂

And so the reader is transported to Becky’s world as she tries to reason out her spending. Like how she thinks a bottle of wine is essential, or how buying a suit that was on sale – 30% off – is actually saving money. She did try to CB (cut back) and MMM (make more money), but when her efforts fail, she finds comfort in – shopping. And the cycle goes on and on.

Then a big story arises and the break that Becky’s waiting for finally comes. Becky realizes that there are people who think that she’s a joke and now she’s going to try her best to prove them wrong. She feels guilty about giving her neighbours a neglectful advice. She does a journalistic investigation and writes an explosive article.

But just when I thought that she had learned her lesson, there she is at the end of the story ordering sunglasses on TV. I was turned off by that.

I wasn’t so sure if I’d like to continue on reading the Shopaholic series and so I read different book. I really liked A Thousand Splendid Suns, but it has such a serious and heavy theme and I thought that I needed something easy and light to read next. So I went on ahead and read the next Shopaholic book.

shopaholic 2

In Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Becky goes to New York with her now boyfriend Luke Brandon. She had a few mishaps there but in the end, she sort of redeemed herself. So I like how this one ended. And I probably should have stopped with this book.

Shopaholic 3

But I went on reading the next book, Shopaholic Ties the Knot. What can I say? I sort of fell in love with Luke Brandon. Okay he’s a workaholic but I like the way he makes Becky feel. She feels so secured with him. But then again I realized that Becky’s addiction to shopping isn’t being cured by being with Luke. He’s wealthy, you know. He has his own PR company and Becky’s getting away with her shopping addiction because Luke’s got money.

shopaholic 4

I started to get impatient with Becky again but somehow, I just felt that I wanted to know what happens to Becky and Luke next. Now that Becky and Luke are married, I wanted to find out how a joint bank account will work. With Becky’s shopping, how will Luke react to all these expenses that will show up in their bank account? Also, I read in the back cover that in Shopaholic & Sister, Becky has found a long lost sister, but her sister hates shopping. But does having a thifty sister help Becky stop shopping? No need to tell you the answer.

shopaholic 5

Because there is a fifth book called, Shopaholic & Baby. And this is probably not much of a spoiler and a surprise, but Becky still loves shopping. And now, she’s not just shopping for herself, but for the baby as well. This is where I got really disappointed after reading the fifth book. Becky’s shopping addiction hasn’t been resolved. Unless, the author, Sophie Kinsella, is planning to write a final book where Becky will really finally wake up. And then it will be an inspiration to those shopaholics who are deep in debt and don’t have a wealthy spouse who can bail them out. Although, I wouldn’t need that book to inspire me because I have finally got out of debt, well, sort of. Maybe I will write about that to inspire others. Well, anyway, back to the book. The only redeeming part that I found in the fifth book (or final maybe?) is Luke’s answer to Venetia when she asked him why he married Becky, “this mindless consumer little girlie … All she cares about is her shopping, her clothes, and her girlfriends.

Luke said, “The first time I ever saw Becky Bloomwood, she was asking a bank marketing department why they didn’t produce checkbook covers in different colors. The next year, they did produce checkbook covers in different colors. Becky’s instincts match no one else’s…. Her mind goes to places no one else’s does…Yes, she shops. Yes, she does crazy things. But she makes me laugh. She makes me enjoy life. And I love her more than anything else in the world.

And then I realized those are exactly the reasons why I kept reading the Shopaholic books. I got sucked into Becky’s crazy world and she made me laugh. It was a great escape from my own crazy world. 🙂

confessions movie

Now, let’s talk about the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic.

I had a huge problem when I watched the movie the first time. I shook my head a lot. They squished the first two books into one movie. There are a lot of changes and it seems at times like a totally different story that was just loosely based on the Shopaholic Series. First of all, Luke is the only one who’s British in this movie. Then the movie was totally set entirely in America, mostly in New York. For the most part of the movie, Luke is working at a company called Dantay-West and then he hires Rebecca Bloomwood as a journalist. In the book, Luke has owned his own PR company, Brandon Communications, since the beginning and Rebecca is working as a financial journalist in a different company, Successful Savings, not working for him.

I also had a problem with the casting. I think Isla Fisher fits the character of Becky Bloomwood, but other than that . . . Hugh Dancy is of course, British, so that was a plus. But I pictured Luke Brandon to be a much taller guy and someone who exudes confidence, and at the same time, charm. Yeah, there are a few scenes where I found Hugh Dancy charming. Let’s not take that away from him. And then, Becky’s parents – I think both John Goodman and Joan Cusack look much too young to be Becky’s parents. I have pictured them to be a lot older. They are both retired after all.

Elinor Sherman, Luke’s mother, was mentioned but didn’t appear in the movie. And what about Janice and Martin Webster? They are missing in the movie. They are very important characters in the first book. When Becky realized that they were tricked out of their investment, Becky investigated and exposed their bank. I also missed Becky and Luke’s debate on Good Morning Coffee. These are my two favourite parts in the first book and they didn’t make it to the movie.

Some of the changes that appeared in the movie:

Becky joins a Shopaholic Anonymous group. It doesn’t seem realistic. There’s no such thing, is there? But then again, maybe the producers included this in the movie in an attempt to solve Becky’s shopping addiction. But it didn’t work on Becky. Instead, she sort of influenced the people in the group to go shopping again, which was kind of funny, really.

Becky assumes the pseudonym of The Girl in the Green Scarf. I sort of like the idea, but why green scarf? It is some kind of blue in the book, and she fantasizes about herself as the Girl in the Denny & George Scarf, not the Girl in the Green Scarf. Why did they change it? Green doesn’t really go with most of the colors. I think they should have stuck with blue, which would easily match better with the other colors. I think.

Derek Smeath is portrayed as a mean guy. Okay, Becky’s told her parents that he was a stalker, but that was a lie. She actually got to know him personally and found him to be a nice person. She even referred to him as Sweetie Smeathie in the end.

I read the first book, Confessions of a Shopaholic a second time and also rented the movie a second time, because I wanted to write/finish these reviews. I now realize why the series became a bestseller. It’s smartly written and it’s funny and I think everybody, even those who are not shopaholics, can relate to Becky. And after watching the movie a second time, I realize it’s not that bad. But I still think they should have included Janice and Martin’s story there and made Derek Smeath a nicer guy.

I’ve read that the movie received mostly negative reviews. It came out at a time when the economy is down and there’s financial crisis everywhere. Not a good time to release a movie about shopping and wasting money.

October 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm 3 comments

My Minnesota Trip – On The Road

July 7, 2009, Tuesday 12:41 am

Dear Kitty,

I’m going on a trip from Winnipeg to Minnesota to visit Auntie D and Uncle Sparkie with Mama tomorrow, well it’s already tomorrow, so actually, in just a few hours. This is the first time I’m going outside of Canada in a very long time. 18 years to be exact. I would have loved to take a trip with the family. But none of them would want to come with me. Well, that’s mainly because Mama and I are taking the bus. She didn’t want to drive all the way there. I thought I could convince my youngest son, since he hasn’t been apart from me. But he didn’t want to go. I think because his brothers aren’t going.

I have been talking about the trip with them, a lot more recently since I have been reminding them to do their chores, and also mine, while I’m away. And please don’t forget to flush the toilet. I don’t want to come home to a messy and stinking house, I would tell them. 🙂 I’d ask the youngest one if he’d miss me, he’d say that he won’t. Of course, he’s only pretending. I know he’s going to miss me. I will miss them, especially my baby the most.

Tonight, before he went to bed, he gave me the longest hug. I thought he was going to cry. But he didn’t. He’s a big boy now.

I’m excited about the trip. I need to get away from TH, even if just for a few days. Sometimes I feel that it’s sort of a sacrifice for me though to leave the boys behind. I know it’s just four days. But this is the first time I’m going to be away from them. It’s true that the two oldest ones had been away on band trips. But still. This time, I’m the one going away.

It’s 1:02 am now. I better go to bed. I have to get up at 6:00 am.

9:48 am

The bus was supposed to leave at 9:15 am, but we’re just pulling out of the terminal now. And aga pa naman naming dumating sa bus station. Mama wanted to be there at 8:00 am. So ang tagal naming naghintay duon. Just before 9:15 am, the bus driver of Jefferson Lines came inside the waiting area. She was wondering why nobody was getting on her bus. Well, we were waiting for the announcement. We didn’t hear anything.

Last night my youngest one asked me to wake him up before I leave in the morning. Eh masunuring bata ako, so I did. 🙂 I said goodbye to him, hugged him and kissed him on the cheeks three times. Hindi naman tumangi. Because he usually does.

1:25 pm

So we arrived at the Canada/US border at Emerson at around 11:15 am. All the passengers of the bus had to get out including luggage and all and check in with the US Customs. It shouldn’t have taken up more than half an hour, but we learned from the others that one of the passengers was called right away inside the office for questioning. The bus can’t leave while he’s there. At 12:15 pm, we all got on the bus again. The driver drove around a little bit and brought the problem passenger at the Immigration Office. She came with him in there. After about half an hour, they both came back in the bus. Mrs. Driver dropped off Mr. Passenger at a nearby inn. At first, Mr. Passenger wouldn’t get off the bus. You can’t go to the U.S., Mrs. Driver told him. I called my friends and asked them to pick me up there, he said. But they don’t want you hanging out at the Immigration Office, she said. They exchanged some more words. I could feel the tension among the other passengers. We’re already about a couple of hours behind schedule and I know some of them have to catch another bus at the next station and some at another station. Then thankfully, one of the passengers at the back came forward and spoke to Mr. Passenger in his language. I don’t know what Miss Passenger told him, but he finally got off the bus and now we’re on our way to U.S.

4:50 pm

We’re just leaving Fargo. We switched to a different bus. I’m thinking of calling home at the next stop if there’s a phone there. I’m not even sure if I can call long distance from a public phone. It’s been a long trip. Naiiyak ako. 😦 I miss my bunso, the others too, but him most especially.

It’s now July 8, 2009, Wednesday 12:50 am

We’re here now at Auntie D and Uncle Sparkie’s place. Arrived at around 12:30 am. Mama and I are sharing a bed in the basement.

Flashback: It was around past 9:00 pm when Mama asked one of the Filipino passengers in the bus if she could borrow her cell phone. We were supposed to be in Minneapolis at 7:50 pm and we were worried that Auntie D and Uncle Sparkie might have thought that we weren’t coming and have left. How could we go to their place and it’s two and a half hours drive from Minneapolis to McGregor? Luckily, Mama was able to get a hold of her and Auntie D told her that she has been worried and had called Winnipeg a few times already. She had confirmed that we have left that morning and so they hung around at the terminal but of course they were worried.

It was already 9:30 pm when we arrived at the bus station. After a few hugs, I asked Auntie D right away if I could borrow her cell phone so I could phone home. She said that she already called home and had let them know that we had called from the bus and we were delayed. I sort of felt bad that I wasn’t able to talk to the boys, but also nahihiya na rin naman ako dahil nakailang long distance na siya. I know the boys would have understood. I can’t sulk 😦 now because after all, I’m a big girl now.

Yours,
niceheart

Next time: My visit to Mall of America

August 16, 2009 at 1:25 am 7 comments

How I lost 20 pounds and kept it off

First of all, I’m not a health and diet expert. So you won’t see me writing about calorie counting or doing any kind of exercise regimen. I’ve shed off 20 pounds and I have managed to keep it off, for about a year now. And since it’s the start of a new year and I know that there are people who make New Year’s resolutions and I also know that “to lose weight” is most likely to be on that list, I thought I’d share with you how I lost weight. Maybe it will give some hope and inspiration to those who, like me in the past, has been unsuccessful, no matter how I cut my portions at dinner, cut back on softdrinks (soda, pop), and did a half-hour walking.

How did I gain the weight?

In 2001, I started working at home. My three boys were then ages 3, 7 and 11. My youngest son was in daycare and the high fees were putting a big strain on our budget. When the company I work for offered the work-at-home program, I immediately grabbed it. I pulled my son out of daycare and looked after him at home while I worked. This opportunity also gave me a chance to spend more time with my growing kids. We got to sit down together at breakfast before they went to school, and I was also at home when they came back from school. Oh, how I loved working at home. I didn’t have to rush in the morning, or the kids for that matter. Less stress. I also didn’t have to dress up. It was so comfortable. So comfortable that I took my time at breakfast, took long lunches, munched on snacks – potato chips, M&Ms, candies – I have a sweet tooth, you see.

I didn’t gain the weight right away. It happened gradually. I didn’t notice anything until after about three or four years. My usual attire at home was just a plain T-shirt and my elasticized pants. So I didn’t really notice the expanding waistline. What I noticed was that I would sometimes pant when I went up and down the stairs when I did the laundry. Or when I had to walk for more than 10 minutes. Well, once in a while I did have to get dressed up when we were invited to birthday parties, and then I would notice that most of my decent clothes won’t fit me anymore and I’d have to buy a new blouse or new pants. And then I’d see myself in the pictures and I’d see the double chin or the big derriere, or the love handles (flabby mid-section). No wonder my youngest son would ask me if I was gonna have another baby. At first I thought that he wanted a baby sister or a baby brother. And then he would sometimes call me fat and I realized then it was because of my big tummy. I looked pregnant to him. And when I saw that picture where I looked like I have two sets of boobs, that was kind of depressing

Taking action.

So I started to do something about it. First, I stopped drinking softdrinks. There was a time when I’d drink a glass of Coke at lunch, at snack time and then at supper. I remember Dr. Phil saying on his show that in order to stop eating or drinking something that you want to avoid is to stop buying it. Well, I didn’t actually stop buying them. I would buy just one or two 2-liter bottles per week. For the kids, I would say.

softdrinks-x

The famous doctor also showed the viewers how to eat a balanced meal. Imagine that your plate is divided in four parts. You put your starch (rice or potatoes) on one quarter of your plate, your meat on another quarter and your veggies and fruit on the rest of the plate.

balanced-meal

I also heard somewhere that if you want to cut down on your portions, use a smaller plate. So I did that, too. I started using a smaller plate, 8 1/2 inches, instead of the bigger 10 inches. If I still felt hungry after finishing the food on my plate, then I’d just eat another fruit.

I also realized that being cooped up in the house everyday could be a contributing factor to the weight gain. I knew I needed to get more active. Get out there. I thought of going to back to the office so I could get out everyday. But I loved working at home so much. I got to work and stay at home at the same time. And I just loved being there for the kids. I decided to stay at home but resolved to do something to get my butt off my chair for a few minutes or so a day. So I thought I’d walk for half an hour everyday. I did walk, but not everyday. There was work to do and I didn’t always have the extra time. I also volunteered at my son’s school as a school patrol. That did get me out of the house. Patrolling didn’t really give me a chance to do a lot of walking. But getting out of the house did some good. I wasn’t as sluggish as before. And it made me a bit energetic. So even though I didn’t lose weight, I felt better. No more panting or getting out of breath. And I was happy about that. I’ve learned to accept that maybe I’d be stuck at the size that I was.

The turning point.

Late in 2007, I got recalled back to the office. I had a feeling that it was going to happen. But I was still kinda taken aback. I had mixed feelings about it. I knew I was going to miss working at home. Being there most of the time for the kids. But at the same time I was also excited and looked forward to the changes that would happen. Going through all that morning rush, getting dressed up, trying to catch the bus, literally rubbing elbows with people going to work and interacting with people at the office. I also took a second job at around the same time that I went back to the office. All of these changes that were happening – the sudden activity of getting my butt out of the house everyday and also my second job required a lot of standing and walking, I slowly shed off some pounds. Besides I wasn’t munching on my usual snacks of these.

chocraisins-x fuzzy-peach-x potatochips-x

Yes, I realized then that even though I was cutting back on my portions at lunch and dinner, I hadn’t given up on chocolates, candies and potato chips. Lots of sugar and salt and hydrogenated fat. That was the reason I couldn’t lose the weight.

I developed these bad habits when I was working at home. I was mostly alone at home and I didn’t have to worry about anybody seeing me in a bad posture, for instance. I would sometimes have my feet up on my chair while typing on the computer. Watching TV while working. Bet you can’t do that in any other workplace. And of course, having food in front of me, munching all day long. Hence the weight gain. But when I went back to the office, I had to give up all these bad habits. I didn’t want my co-workers to see me with my feet up on my chair, or munching on junk food while I work. I observed proper work behaviour at all times.

Now, I’m not saying that working at home was bad. No, please don’t get me wrong. It had been a really good experience for me. I wouldn’t trade those six years for anything in the world. I had the time of my life. There were just some things that I did not handle right. Looking back, I think I should have given more thought on time management. I guess I was trying too hard to be a super mom, or a super woman. I thought then that since I was at home, I would be able to do everything. Like do my work and also the house chores and still tend to the kids. Or like when I realized that I should be getting out of the house for a few minutes a day, I should have been more disciplined in that matter. Maybe I should have set aside a specific time of the day instead of getting distracted by the TV or the internet (blogging). 🙂

Getting recalled back to the office was the saving grace for me. I guess I was in denial at that time. I think I knew deep inside that I wasn’t happy at home anymore. The kids were getting older and they didn’t need me that much. Also, I was getting bored with the daily routine. I was just scared of the prospect of change. But you know, change is good.

In regards to losing weight, or kicking out any bad habit for that matter, I have to agree with Dr. Phil, that we sometimes have to make significant changes in order to be successful. You have to change your environment or substitute a bad habit with a new one. Like for example, I wanted to stop drinking softdrinks. I replaced it with juice and milk. I have never been a milk drinker, but I realized that I am in my forties now and I need calcium for my aging bones anyway. So why not start drinking milk now? I just hope it’s not too late. I also always have a bottle of water beside my desk.

Last summer, I bumped into friends who I haven’t seen in about six months or so. Some of them noticed my weight right away. “You lost weight!” “You look good!” “Gumanda ka nung pumayat ka” (You look prettier now that you’re thinner.) I’m sure she didn’t mean that I looked ugly when I had some extra weight on me. 🙂 But these comments were all very flattering even if they came from my girl friends.

Some has asked me how I lost the weight. And sometimes I would just give a quick response that it was because I was working out of the house now. It was the mobility.

In conclusion.

So just to summarize, here’s a list of the things that made me lose the pounds and help me keep them off. I hope these simple tips will also help anybody who wants to lose weight.

1. Give up the softdrinks. Please people, if you have to go cold turkey, please do. It doesn’t mean that you have to give it up forever, just at least during the first few months that you are trying to lose the weight. I, myself, have never given it up completely. I still drink Coke but only on special occasions. And when I do, I actually find it quite strong for me.

2. Stop snacking on potato chips, candies or chocolates. Also go cold turkey if you have to. Replace it with fruits or veggies like carrot sticks or celery sticks, or my favourites – grapes or orange slices. Or chew a gum if you feel the urge to munch on something. Like the softdrinks, you don’t have to give it up forever. I would still eat a chocolate bar every now and then, but not every day. 🙂

3. Use a smaller plate for meals. And distribute your food like this:

balanced-meal

4. Use the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

5. Take the bus to work.

6. When you take your car to go shopping, don’t park too close to the entrance. A little walk will do you good.

7. Take a walk at lunch time. If you don’t have time to do a 30-minute walk today, 15 minutes will do. Not only will it re-energize your body, but also your mind, especially if you’re having a bad day at work.

8. Before you go to a party or any handaan, eat a little snack at home. It might not make sense to you. Why eat at home when you’re going to a party where you will eat anyway? Well, it’s just to curb a huge appetite. If you’d had a little something before you left home, you won’t have the urge to fill up your plate with a mountainful of food.

9. If you don’t work, let’s say you’re a stay-at-home mom, and you think that you might also need to lose some weight, but can’t find the time to go to the gym or do some exercise. Maybe you can make arrangements with other stay-at-home moms that you know. Maybe you can take turns looking after each other’s kids and then you can go to the gym, or take a half hour walk. Or maybe find a part-time job or do some volunteer work. Just a few suggestions.

10. Have a specific and realistic goal. Don’t say that you want to lose 20 pounds right away. “I want to lose 10 pounds in two months” is a more realistic goal. Last summer, I was glad that I was able to finally wear this pink blouse that I wore on my 40th birthday. You see, I only wore that pink blouse a couple of times. The following summer, it won’t fit me anymore. And it is one of my favourites because I like the colour and the style. Now that it finally fits me again, I dread gaining weight again. So that’s sort of a motivating factor for me. To stay in this size that I am right now.

Before

Before

After

After

Disclaimer. This account is not intended to substitute or replace any medical or professional advice. Please consult your physician before you try to lose weight especially if you have a medical condition.

January 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm 20 comments

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