Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grad school, travel, and volunteer work....

So another semi-eventful week in M.ovar.

I worked more this week because my boss was away in NYC (I was very jealous that she went stateside and I still have to wait!) so I had the kids. We had an excellent time. I took them shopping, (and it is the cutest thing to see them with their money pricing items to buy!) we bought pizza, and took a few walks!

It was my first time trying Vegetarian pizza! And I must say I didn't miss the meat at all! So I could totally be a vegetarian if only I wasn't an addict for chicken chimichangas!

I spent my free Sunday cycling around M.ovar. Even got a helmet. I've never biked with one and really I think vanity isn't a good reason to stupidly ride around without a helmet. I finally realized this and luckily I did because I would rather be safe then sorry.

My boss picked me up these cool items. She knows me so well! She bought the magazine because it had recipes under 500 calories, she said she even checked to make sure the calories were listed! She bought me the livestrong bracelet because of my mother. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after I moved here, and my boss was basically the one who held my hand through the whole thing.

Trip wise, Munich is a no-go

photo shot by me the first time I was in Prague

and Prague is in!

Basically I planned to go back to Munich to meet with my friend Jane and to visit the family I use to work for. (Jane worked for the family across the street so it would have been perfect). However there was scheduling conflicts so I had to pass on Munich. Jane (a native Liverpool-er) is interning in Hamburg and I am here in Hungary so we picked a place that was in the middle....Prague.

Prague is not my favorite city. I've been there twice. The first time I went with a German friend of mine and we went all out. Air plane rides, fancy hotel, Prague card, etc. The trip was the most I've ever spent in my European travel! The second time I went it cost maybe 50 euro. I went with Jane+2 friends by train, we stayed in a hostel, and it was inexpensive! This time I will be going by bus....

So hopefully this trip to Prague is good! It will only be for the weekend, so I don't expect to get to bored. I will probably arrange more day trips, as both Jane and I have seen what Prague has to offer. (I should probably stop visiting the same countries (and cities!) multiple times when there is so much to see!!)

Also, I have been giving a great deal of thought to volunteering once I leave Hungary in December. I have always been a big supporter of helping people in need and volunteer work. Unfortunately I haven't been much of a volunteer since high school. Ultimately I wanted to do something big, like orphanage work abroad. I've been in contact with some places in Mexico and Bolivia about there independent programs. My only concern is these programs don't go through an agency and I am safety conscious.

There are so many people that need help throughout the world. It is so hard looking at these websites because I wish I could do it all. I wish I had the funds to do it all! To volunteer with an agency it is around $1000-$3000 usd per program. I am a struggling soon to be grad student, so I'm not rolling in extra cash. If anyone has any opinions of volunteer groups or opportunities please let me know! I also plan to do a big project once I am back stateside in the states.

I have officially applied to graduate school!!! I have to wait to hear back, but I'm hopeful.

I applied to the that uni was not my first choice. I've planned to go to Boston University since I picked my major and knew that I wanted to either get my Ph.D. or law degree. BU is very expensive, and as a person who does not want to use student loans the uni I applied to is a more practical financial option. Plus, it isn't a bad school. They are ranked #3 in the program for my major and it doesn't hurt campus is 1.5 hours from my 'rents! Now fingers crossed that I get in!

Wow, so my week was more eventful then I thought! How was yours?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pass me the crystals...it's cleansing time!

I've been doing a lot of cleaning up my life recently. I feel that the only way to be happy in life is to let go of the past and surround myself with positive energy....no no I'm going to go crazy and spend my life savings on crystals ah la Spencer and Heidi! Don't worry dear friends,I have not gone that crazy in my search for a little normalcy!

Instead the first thing I aim to tackle is moving beyond relationships that have ended badly, mainly the ones from my jobs. To be in the childcare field, specifically as a nanny or au pair where you live in the house, you develop strong relationships with the children and families. It is devastating when things end badly because you generally care for them. I have worked for many many families. For the past 4 years that is the only work (besides my year long stint working for IDOC), I have done. I wish I could say that all my experiences ended positively, but I can not. Things generally end two ways with me, really good or really bad. I still speak regularly with some families and other I would avoid like the plague. I have ended all of my experiences in all but one case. I have been fired from a job once (although I had discussed leaving so fired? let go early might be better) and I have harbored such resentment from this family.

I'm not going to sit here and blame them completely for this situation because I know that there are two sides to every story and I like to be open minded and except some of the blame but how things ended really hurt me. They were my second family to nanny for, and actually convinced me to leave my 1st nanny job for them. We had a great relationship that went beyond employer/employee. There were issues, as nothing is ever perfect, but in the end it turned hostile. I was actually visiting home when I got the call that when my flight arrived back in New Jersey that night I was to pack my things and leave. (There was previous discussion of me moving back home or looking for different employment a situation that came about amicably with no hard feelings,but to be kicked out was devastating.) I was young. I was 19, I trusted these people, felt like their family, and to be thrown out and never spoken to again really affected me to this day.

Anyways, last night I decided to address this hurt and accept what happened and move on. So I looked the mother up on facebook and sent her a message. I simply stated my feelings, wished her the best and offered to send her the photo's of our last trip together. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. I could have went about the letter in a way that further provoked the situation or I could have kept on living with my hurt and anger. Instead I took the high road and in all honesty I feel so much better about it. She ended up replying immediately and her response was not one that I expected, she was polite, wished me well, and complimented me on how pretty I was. I feel like I got the closer I have been looking for, and in only took four years!!!

It is easy to hold onto these emotions and let them eat at you. To address them and to take action is hard. Last night when I wrote that letter I wasn't sure if I could send it. I didn't know if I was strong enough to let go of the resentment.It was something as easy as emailing photo's and letting go. For four years I wasn't able to let go! If I've learned anything these last two years with the WL process is that I am strong and I can do what needs to be done.

I am an emotional eater. I have struggled with this my whole life. I am a very emotional person and I take things very personal. I hate letting people down and if I get rejected it is something that I hold onto. By cleaning up my life (letting go and moving on) I hope to use it to tackle these emotional eating issues. I don't want to look back in five years and still be holding onto these feelings and letting them hinder me from making positive choices in my life.

So my big challenge that I am setting for the next month is to do emotional cleaning of my life. During this time I want to work on addressing my emotional eating: identifiying the triggers and finding positive solutions to stop it. Look for weekly posts on progress!

Have you ever done an emotional cleanse of your life? Have you ever had issues that may seem trivial to most stick with you in life? Any suggestions on how to do emotional cleaning?!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

poisonous pancakes and criticism

Okay so I spent all day yesterday battling some type of stomach bug, it was either due to a virus I picked up from the kids or my pancakes. I would love to blame the kids since they are sick at the moment, but I think I'm going to have to go with the real culprit....my pancakes!

I didn't realize one could screw up pancakes when all they had to do was add water, but that is me folks....apparently I lack culinary skills!

I will admit that my cooking ability has greatly improved since the start of my weight loss journey (minus this recent bout of food poisoning!). I use to always do frozen meals, take out, or stopping by my parents house to get leftovers! Since none of those options are very healthy when I made the decision to actively try to lose weight I knew I had to learn to cook. I've learned the basics and no longer will I starve living in a country that lacks fast food, frozen meals, and my mama! However, I am the person who makes soup that tastes like water, can screw up an omelet, and apparently makes poisonous pancakes! I still have a long way to go, but I think I will get there!

I read this article that led me to do some reflecting. I am byfar my worst critic, and I am guilty of being critical of others. I was once told that sarcasm is one of my best traits.....That's not a good thing people!

I worked in a prison (bet you didn't know that!) and I was probably the most hated officer because the offenders thought I looked down on them because of how sarcastic I was. That wasn't the case, in reality I don't think I am better then anyone and I did not feel I was above these people that in the majority had just made a mistake in their lives. But my attitude was not something to be desired. During my life I went from being this carefree young girl, to this guarded adult. I put up walls and developed sarcasm and criticism as defense mechanisms. I wasn't going to be weak and in my mind I had to be this harsh person to avoid being criticized. I think that I have become more open recently and hope that on the outside people can see the changes, I don't want to be critical of others.

I'm often guilty of being my own worst critic. I see weight loss stories and compare them to my own. I wonder why I haven't lost weight as quickly as they did, I wonder why I can't stay on plan 100% of the time, I compare myself to people and then start with the negative self talk. When I go up a few pounds I automatically think that I will be back at 286 overnight. In reality I need to lay off. I wouldn't take this talk from someone else so why do I feel it is okay to talk to myself like that?

After much reflecting this past week and trying to have more positive self talk, I've realized that I need to except myself and realize that I am human (for a type A perfectionist this is hard!). I have come to realize that I am not going to be back up at 286 ever! I am aware when I gain weight and I don't give up, so what if the scale occasionally goes up? I know that it won't be up for long. My weight loss is longer then a lot of peoples, but I've experienced a lot more progress then most. I haven't given up when things get tough, I have changed so much of my bad eating behaviors, I am getting healthy. There are so many good things that I am doing with my life opposed to the bad!

I have managed to lose the weight I previously gained. I am back at 219. It has been a lot less stressful these few days eating without calorie counting. I am more aware of what I'm eating and am not hungry all the time with calorie counting. So I plan to stick with my way because it is all about being on a program you can maintain on!

Are you your own worst critic? How do you stop the negative self talk and embrace your journey?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Voluta festival

So I had an interesting weekend following an uninteresting week. Saturday after working a few hours I decided to go shopping (because I don't need an excuse!), upon coming home I discovered an email from my Hungarian friend Moni wanting to meet up at the festival that was happening in my back yard, (okay so it was two blocks away but still!). I said yes and had to proceed to rapidly get ready! Luckily I had just bought a few things that I couldn't wait to try out!

I decided on this very European outfit of a dress and tights.....
We managed to catch one of the dragon boat races....
They have been practicing for two weeks, and you can hear the beating of the drum from in my apartment! I can't say that I am sad the noise will stop!!

Moni grabbed an "American" hot dog. Not sure I buy into it being American, but that is what the sign said!

And I had my first Hungarian kürtőskalács... I got the traditional vanilla, and I must say it was very good, but had to be worth a bazillion calories so I think I'll stay away!

In WL news I'm struggling. I think that I might be to obsessed with calorie counting and I might be ruining my metabolism by doing it. Don't get me wrong, many people do well with calorie counting and it is a good method for some people but I don't think it will be something I can do and maintain a weight loss for a long term period. So in a fit a rebellion I made a lot of stupid food choices this past week. I have thought it over and for me it feels to stressful to calorie count, especially when it is hard to find products that list the calories! So I am going back to my method of cutting down on portion sizes and will be intuitive eating. I think for me this method will work best. Maybe I won't lose a lot of weight fast, but it is a method I know I can maintain on as I have in the past.

I have decided to get back into running, I started slacking when I started calorie counting. I need to exercise, I want to exercise, so there should be nothing stopping me besides a lack of motivation, but that can easily be fixed! I've decided to go back to running 5 days a week, with strength training on two. It's doable so there is no reason not to get it done!!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010


How was your weekend? Mine started off like any other....Work on Saturday followed immediately by Hungarian lessons. Let me tell you 9 hours of work and then an hour learning the second hardest language in the world.....well needless to say I didn't do much Saturday!

I ordered pizza. Honestly it was the first time I've ever ordered anything on the telephone besides a taxi in Hungarian. Normally I rely on German when ordering, but I ordered in Hungarian and survived. So I walked to pick up my pizza. Made me feel less guilty about ordering it, and since I never eat at restaurants I wasn't racked with guilt the rest of the weekend. Plus what I love about pizza in Europe it tastes more like Italian pizza then American pizza.

Yummy, cheese and tomato pizza with bread sticks.

As soon as I finished my slice of pizza Andris came over bearing this .....It was still warm and delicious. I had a few bites and saved the rest for Sunday.

Sunday was a busy day. After my morning Hungarian lessons I biked out to the shopping center.

I picked up some cute outfits....and groceries....
I was in desperate need of some summer clothes as we were under a heat wave and I was drowning in extra clothing material. One should not be wearing size 24 pants and 2xl tops when they wear an 18 and a L! I was going to wait to buy anything until I was stateside, but it needed to be done.

I ended up walking away with 3 tops, 2 skirts, 1 dress, and two pairs of capris. I had some NSV's because the skirts I bought were a size 14! What?! Now if only I wore a 14 in pants.... and another victory is that I would even buy skirts. I could live in my blue jeans and Duke shirt.....in fact my wardrobe at home is full of college t-shirts and jeans. I never felt comfortable with who I was when I was 286 lbs to dress up. I never felt that I could look nice so honestly I never bothered. Now, I'm gaining confidence and am starting to take better care of my appearance.

After spending hours shopping, I relaxed and watched Sex and the City 2

and ate and chatted on the phone for hours with my mother and then my best friend.

All in all it was a good weekend. I've been fighting with the scale because today it had me back at 219. Honestly I don't think it is possible I gained 3 lbs of real weight in two days. I'm trying not to let it get me down. I mean the scale is saying one thing, but how I feel is another. I finally am at some peace with myself over how I look.

Also only 6 more weeks and then I am back stateside!!!!! I can't wait. My goal is to be into onderland by then, but if it doesn't happen then it doesn't happen. At this point I've come to realize that setting time goals never works for me! I need to learn to be happy with the progress I make and even if I don't hit onderland by then, well I'll have a whole month in America to try and reach my goal!

Did you start taking better care of your appearance after losing weight? Did your style of dress change?

Friday, June 11, 2010


So I wanted to let you all see more about my life and who I really am, I want to be someone that you can relate to not just someone babbling on and on about weight loss (although you will get plenty of that here!)

Anyway the kids and I spent a good portion of the day shifting through my SD card to make room for tomorrow's fashion show (kid hosted), it consisted of me organizing my photo's into categories and I thought I would share with you Mosonmagyaróvár the town I am currently staying in.

So I currently reside here.....Mosonmagyaróvár M.ovar for short because really the name of the town is daunting. Located in Hungary, M.ovar is between Vienna and Bratislava.

My job is towatch these adorable children and teach them English......

The picture perfect town. The area I reside in is very nice and clean. We are located so close to Austria that it is like an Austrian town rather than a Hungarian one.

There is a lot of cycling that goes on here.....I'm pretty sure I never biked past the age of ten in America!
The town also has an awesome thermal pool. (This photo was actually taken in the winter, it was freezing, snowing, and night time all outside, fun times).

So honestly did I ever see myself living here? Nope. I don't think anyone ever really thinks that out of all the places in the world they would end up in Hungary. I'm glad that my path took me here. It has been a wonderful experience, I've learned there is more to Hungary than Goulash! The language is the hardest I've ever had to learn and I wouldn't recommend learning it for fun! This will probably my last foreign residence (my degree really doesn't go well internationally) and unfortunately it will be ending soon.

So there you have it, just a quick introduction into where I currently am. If you have any questions you want to ask feel free to post them, I will be doing a "about me" post in the near future.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


So I might have created my own monster with the Green Monsters! Andris is now a big fan and insists that I make them for him, he wrote a list of his favorite foods and put the GM as number 11, behind the nutella and lasagna of course!

I have a lot of real life stress at the moment.

With deciding upon graduate school.....

planning my trip home for a month....

trying to arrange a last minute trip to Munich...

Now the me of the past (and we are talking as recently as two months ago) would have went on a binge. I don't know when in my life I started the dreaded cycle of turning to food for comfort, but it was a major comfort for me. It was a comfort I didn't even realize I was partaking in. Luckily I haven't reached for the junk. It is scary for me even sitting here that I am aware that I could turn to food at any moment to help me deal. I am having to make a conscious effort not to eat my way to comfort.

What do you do when you are stressed?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two in One...Nice

Wow so my procrastination is on pause so I can deliver you two posts today. Don't get used to it, it's one of those once in a lifetime things!

Anyways I passed over this delicious, homemade Hungarian goodness ......

for these oh so healthy snacks.

I'm starting to scare myself because a month ago I would have dove head first into Evie Mama's delicious desserts. The lady can cook her way into my heart any day! She is Hungarian (the children's grandmother and my Hungarian tutor) and it is a miracle that I did not gain twenty pounds from being here. Three days a week she stops in (she lives in the apartment under mine) with delicious treats, and normally I do not have the will power to resist but today I did!

In keeping up with my trying new things I tried a green monster, I've heard a lot about them through the blogs I read and well I'm being open minded so I picked up the ingredients......
1/2 banana, about 20 grams spinach, 200 ml milk. blended and drank.

I think they are fantastic! They don't taste spinach-y at all! I need a way to get in more veggies and well I found it. I let the kids taste it today and it was given two thumbs up....well actually it was given one of these.....
But I think the results are the same!

Oh and encase you noticed the poster, it's the Colts. I'm from Indiana. Enough said? It made it's way in the first care package I recieved!

Monday, June 7, 2010

overwhealmed in a good way!

I was bed ridden yesterday with a migraine.

I got it within an hour of being at work. I have never had a headache so bad. My hand went numb, no amount of Tylenol or Excedrin seemed to help. Luckily I was only there for about 3 hours, as soon as I got home I pulled the black out blinds, got a cool washcloth and proceeded to sleep for the next 3 hours. When I woke I was still feeling like death but managed to eat some cereal and watch some t.v. before going right back to bed. Still not 100% better today but it's much better than yesterday!

Because of my migraine I didn't eat nearly enough, and it showed on the scale as I barely lost. Today I'm going to have to make an effort to get in the calories!

As I sit here and type I literally have tears in my eyes. I am so impressed by the words of support and encouragement that I have received lately.

I was the biggest loser on the red team for week one! That is a big deal. I can't believe that I stuck with it and followed through. And I have an amazing and supportive team that the results make it feel so worth it. These ladies don't make me feel bad for having "won" the weeks weigh in. They are there with words of congratulations. It's strange for me. I've always had competitive friends, and let's just say winning was dealing with jealousy and an attitude. I feel none of that here.....and it's so motivating.

Sitting here seeing the words of encouragement not only for the BL challenge but also because of my progress pictures it made me sad because I don't have that support in real life from the people I care about most.

My mom is by far my biggest supporter. I talk to her every weekend and I always update her on my WL status. She is my biggest cheerleader and gives me sound advice. When I lived in Maryland and she came to visit she attended my WW meeting, when I stay at her house she takes me shopping for healthy foods, she bought me a pool so when I am home this summer I will not be vegging in front of the television, basically my mom is the best cheerleader you can ask for. I can not begin to describe how lucky I am to have her support even if I am on a different continent!

The support I am lacking is from friends. On my journey I've had to deal with the jealousy bug from friends. I've had the friend who drops over with deep fried garbage, I've had the friend who give's the silent treatment, and I've had the friend that has to make you feel bad about the results. My friends have made me feel bad for losing weight. I have always been the token fat friend in a group of shouldbe model friends. Granted these friends I've had since H.S. and I love them like family but at times I wonder if they accept me. Am I there friend because I make them feel good about themselves? Or are they truly accepting of me?

The short of this story is that kind words of encouragement are appreciated, and not only for me. Taking the time to be supportive goes a long way. After reading the comments that I have gotten over the last two days has filled me with such joy. My challenge for you is to go out there and be supportive of someone. It can be online or in real life. Words of encouragement go a long way for that person and yourself.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

BL + progress pics

I wanted to share some progress pictures for this year!
January 2010 241 lbs June 2010 218 lbs

I'm amazed to see how much my body has changed in these last 20 lbs. I've lost almost 70 lbs total, but it wasn't until recently did I really begin to see a change in myself. I feel thinner now. I can only imagine how this progression will go as I continue on in this process, but now after 70 lbs I'm finally starting to believe that I have lost weight!

Some NSV's. The shirt in my new progress picture is a EU size XL. I bought it when I first came without trying it on because I wore an XL in the States so no biggie right? Wrong! I've waited since September 09 to wear this shirt and now it finally fits! Also I did some shopping yesterday and realized I fit comfortably into a EU size 48! (18 American I believe!) I was a 16 in elementary school and an 18 in early middle school so this is amazing for me. I store the majority of weight in my thighs so to be able to fit into different pairs of 18's is a big deal for me!

Needless to say when I phoned home I told my mom to start shopping because I will be needing some clothes. My mother also is a size 16/18, but she's 5'8! Luckily I can borrow from her while I'm home this summer.

I want to wish everyone on this journey with me good luck. I've struggled for the longest time on this journey because I never believed I lost weight. I saw the scale go down, heard from people how different I looked but I never believed it. I could never see it in my pictures. At times I have thought about stopping because I wasn't seeing results. Luckily I have a great online support system and they beat those thoughts out of my head, and repeated to me that I was smaller I just couldn't see it yet, to keep going and I would see it when my mind had time to process it. I want to encourage you all to keep going even if you do not see results. Your body is changing and soon enough you will see the changes!

And my first official weigh-in for the biggest loser!
I started at 226.
WI-1 218.4!
Total loss of= -7.6

I had about a month from my original starting weight, so those results will not be typical! In all I managed a -1.4 lb loss this week!

I upped my calories from last week and lost weight....so I think I'll stay here for a while. I'm eating between 1600-1750 a day. Normally eating only 1600-1650. Obviously this will have to be re-evaluated over time but for now it is where I will stay.

Have you ever struggled with seeing the changes in your body? How did you keep yourself motivated?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Am I living under a rock?!?!

Okay so you may remember this post in which I found how amazing Greek yogurt, tofu, and veggie burgers are......Well another week another discovery!


After braving the wind and rain (it has been raining for two weeks here) on my bike I found this guy by chance today. You would be surprised how hard it is to find Hummus in this country! I've been looking for weeks and luckily today I found some. I immediately picked it up, although there was no calorie information. Normally I am very apprehensive about buying items without calorie information since I started calorie counting. (Just a note, if the product is produced in Hungary it will not have calorie information 99% of the time. If you purchase a product of the U.K. or Austria chances are you will get calorie information.)

So like any good consumer I opened it up as soon as I got home and had it with a raw carrot.

When I was out I also picked up some ingredients to try Kath's Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars

I substituted soy milk for skim milk, and used 1/4 cups banana, 2/4 cup pineapple/papaya mix.

The finished product.
The recipe makes nine squares, so I wrapped some up and put them in the freezer for later!

My review: I thought they were delish. I do not normally use/eat dried fruit. I prefer my fruit fresh. I also was apprehensive on how easy it was to make these bars and when I saw what my product looked like pre-baking (essentially a mess in a pan and very liquid-y) I was sure that I had managed to mess up the recipe. But after baking they looked just like the example Kath had. They are very good, yet calorie steep. I like my food with less calories because I am a snack-er. I usually eat a lot of food with little calories as opposed to less food with more calories. Each bar has 165 calories. I will probably incorporate them for pre-workouts or for breakfast because they really are good. They will make there way into my recipe box for sure!

Today's shopping trip was a challenge. I had so many internal debates. Chips. Ice cream. Chocolate. While shopping I would see something I wanted but had to control my impulse to buy. See I am not at that stage where I can let something into my house and not go crazy. Right now I do not bring items into the house that are not planned. I sometimes try to bring something in, and that leads to disaster. It is a struggle for me to have these items, especially if they are not portion controlled. I would like to think one day it would be possible to have these items without worrying that I will binge, but for now nope they aren't coming in. So I was proud when I walked out of the store without any chips, chocolate, or ice-cream. (On a side note I can let these things into my house if they aren't for me at all. I bought my sister some chocolate hippos and while I like them I haven't been near them and am not tempted because I know they are not for me.)

I did buy something today I normally don't buy.....
I usually only drink water. I'm a fan of normal water and to be honest I like diet Pepsi over diet Coke and finding diet Pepsi products in this town is like finding Hummus, almost impossible. But today I decided "why not?". I do not plan to make this a habit, and I think there are worse options that I could have decided upon. I am super lucky that in Europe, unless you are in the UK, they do not have diet Dr. Pepper. I stopped cold turkey off diet dr. pepper when I moved here, but diet DP was my drink of choice....I may have even incorporated it into my alcoholic drinks as well. So I can live without these drinks, and hopefully when I return stateside it will continue!

Tonights dinner included eggs, hummus, brussel sprouts, roasted potatoes, and carrot sticks.

*I also wanted to mention that I appreciate those who have commented on my posts. I will reply to comments (usually within 3 days) so if you posted something you should check back for a reply! I like discussion!

**My question for you is there something that you treat yourself to that you know you won't over indulge on? For me it's the diet coke. It is a great treat every once in awhile (6 months in my case!) that I know I won't be binging on or wanting every day.