10 Self-Care Tips for Traveller’s Suffering with Depression

Hola friends,

I’ve been a bit quiet lately. I travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand this month and celebrated the insane festival of Songkran (Thai New Year) and had a blast. But after that, I got hit by a new wave of depression which tends to knock me for six and leaves me in bed for days with zero energy. 

Being able to travel and live my life like this is such a blessing and I am so grateful to be able to do it, but before I left, it was a big decision over wether I could actually do it due to my severe depression and its ability to rear it’s ugly head at any random moment. I knew I wasn’t going to let it get in the way of me living my best life though and so prepared myself the best I could and hit the road. For me that meant, spending 6 months saving up money so that I knew I was financially stable (a huge source of anxiety for me), spending the last 6 months in the UK focusing entirely on my mental health and physical health, two things that often go hand in hand and made sure I had a good three months worth of my anti depressants to keep me going before I had to worry about getting more abroad. 

This doesn’t mean I left the UK thinking I’d be rid of depression, but living life on the road can throw different obstacles at your daily life that living in one place doesn’t, and I knew I was as ready as I could be for the bumpy road that is the digital nomad lifestyle!

All that said and done, I was hit with my first big bout of depression in February, when I was in Cambodia. I don’t particularly know the reason for it but I pretty much spent three weeks in bed, and didn’t see lots of Cambodia that I still want to see! Luckily for me, I was with some amazing friends, who kept an eye on me and made sure I’d be ok! Now, a few months on, I’m hit again, and it’s even landed me in hospital (I’m ok here, promise!) and I’ve been thinking about lots of ways I can help myself through these rough patches. So, this leads me to my self care advice for travelers (be it digital nomads or backpackers!). I know lots of these things help me and hope it can help others too!

1. Have a (guilt free) bed day

So often when I’m traveling, I feel the need to be out of the room by 10am and I must make the most of my time! I rarely give myself downtime and often feel guilty if I do. It’s so important to remember that sometimes, you just need to rest and have a bit of relaxation in bed. If you want to spend the day in bed feeling grumpy and low, then do it and don’t let the guilt get to you! Often a day or two like this is just what I need to get myself running again. 

Sometimes, I book an extra couple of days in places just so I can have a few relaxing bed / chill days instead of rushing around like a mad person and quickly moving onto the next place. Traveling long-term at a slow pace is must more sustainable in my opinion.

2. Get out of the dorms

Dorm room life can be fun and a great way to meet new people, but sometimes you just need some time on your own! When I’m feeling particularly low, I try to get myself out and booked into a private room for a few nights. Even if it’s at the cheapest hostel in town, and just for a few days.

Having your own space as an adult is something that is so important. Somewhere to go and be alone, and do whatever you want, and when it’s necessary, have a cry. These things are much harder to do when in a dorm and when suffering through a depressive period.

3. Get a massage

This one is more Asia specific, but I LOVE massages and it’s one surefire way to help me feel a little more normal again. I like to combine massages with my bed days sometimes if there’s a place around the corner. It can make you feel like you’ve actually got out of the house and done something little with your day. 

I usually go for cheap massages and then once a month or every two months go for something more pricey. I know massages aren’t for everyone, but they sure as hell help me!

There’s tons of options in Asia too, you can have a Thai massage (too strong for me), a foot massage, a head massage, an aromatherapy massage (which is my usual choice!), the options are endless and your bound to feel very zen by the end without spending a ton of money!

4. Get a wash and blow-dry

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I fell in love with these in Cambodia where you can get a wash and blow-dry at many markets for just $1!!! For real, for $1 you can have your hair washed which comes with a delightful head massage included and they will then blow-dry it for you and make you feel a million dollars. Amazing, right? 

In Vietnam, they’re a little more pricey (but still cheaper than a massage) and not only does it come with a head massage, they usually also team it up with a facial. You can find more expensive ones, but I always tended to go to the local places which worked well for me and once again, I always left feeling amazing.

This is my go-to self-care when in Vietnam or Cambodia, you feel like you treated yourself, but have barely spent a penny and on top of that, you don’t need to wash your hair later (which, let’s face it, is a huge effort when you’re feeling low!).

5. Cafe days

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When I’m done wallowing in my bed and it’s time to get out of the house, you’ll usually find me at a cafe. This is a great way to get yourself going if you’re still feeling low on energy. Just being in the presence of other people (but not actually having to talk to them) really seems to help me feel a bit human again. 

Sometimes I’ll go to a cafe to work and sometimes I’ll just treat myself to a coffee and a cake and read a book. Either way, it can tend to be a great low-key pick me up

6. Try to do one thing a day

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When you’re feeling low and a bed day becomes a bed week or month, it’s time to try and get up and moving (trust me, I know how hard that can be!!). I try to get myself to do one special thing a day.

It can be anything from getting a massage to going to a cafe. One day when I was very low in Cambodia, I went to a local cat cafe and was the only person there. I made friends with the cats and the owner and it really turned a low day into a much brighter day.

7. Find your local community

Friends back home can be a huge help and often understand my depression the most as they’ve been through it all with me in the past, but sometimes you just need friends who are closer. When you arrive in town, make sure to try and connect with the community in the area you’re in. There’s often Facebook pages for expats in many places which I often use to see if anyone would like to meet up and show me around. 

I also often stay / work at co-workng spaces which are great places to meet like minded people living a similar lifestyle. My closest travel buddies I met whilst working at In the City in Chiang Mai and we went on to travel to Cambodia together! 

If you tend to feel lonely and need friends around, which is usually true for most people, making connections wherever you are can really help.

8. Eat healthily and exercise when you can

This one is something I try to be consistent with in my life, although on the road, it can be tricky. When I have somewhere I can work out, even if it’s just a small 5 minute workout, I will. This makes me immediately feel great and I know I’m looking after myself.

It’s so easy to live in holiday mode,  but I try to remind myself that this is my life and not a holiday, so it’s still important to make healthy choices where I can. For me being healthy and fit has a huge impact on my mental health so sticking to it when I can is really important.

9. If you really need to, don’t be afraid to visit friends and family

A few months ago, I considered booking flights to London and spending a few weeks with my mum. This is a really hard choice for me as it’s not the ideal thing I’d be doing, and it means admitting that life is still tough even when I’m living a life I absolutely love!

If this is what you need to help you back on your feet again, then that’s what you should do. If there is anyone or anywhere in the world that you know will help you get back on your feet, and life is feeling truly rough, then that’s probably where you should be, even just for a few weeks.

10. Remember your medication

This one is most probably the most important. This is where I royaly f**ked up last time. I was taking anti-represents, ran out and realised they don’t actually sell my meds in Thailand and just stopped taking them. This led to a big dip in my mood.

Moral of the story is to remember to take your meds every day and have plans on when and where you can get more. I know I can get my meds in Malaysia, but not in Thailand, for example, so going back there before running out would have been a smart idea.

If you are not taking meds and think perhaps they would help you, this is also important to. Remember there is no shame in needing medical help, I owe my life to anti-depresants (and a handful of amazing friends / family), and if it’s what you need then you’ve gotta just go and sort it out!

Remember to take care of yourself first and take the down time you need in any way, shape to form that helps you. I hope some of this can be helpful 🙂

Cat

XOXO

 

The 9 Week Slim down – Week 3

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I’m really happy with how last week went, and I’m hoping to keep it going this week. I’ve set clear aims for this week and can’t see too much getting in my way of a good loss. So here it goes.

Day 1 – Friday

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I woke up this morning and headed for the gym, thinking that probably, I was getting a maintain, but was so chuffed to see I had lost 2lbs!!! This really set me up for the day, I felt great!

In true celebratory style, I headed to a cafe for an Americano with milk and picked up a small chocolate tart (that’s ok, right?), back home in the UK, I didn’t tend to have treat days, I would go to KFC after weigh in and get a rice box for 14 syns, that was my all time favourite weigh day treat! But here, I find myself saying no to so many foods constantly, that when I get a loss, I want to treat myself a little. The issue is, that with me and cake…it’s all or nothing, and yes, today was another two cake day. Later in the day, I had some lemon pound cake. But that’s ok, I had a 2lb loss and am feeling amazing!

I spent a few hours by the beach this afternoon, and had heard about a really nice vegan restaurant called Fisherman, and decided to eat there. I was tempted by the burger, but decided to go a little healthier with the ‘Eggplant heaven, which was aubergines and potatoes in a tomato sauce with a side of rice, which was absolutely delicious! I decided this was an off plan day, although I think I had been able to make some good decisions over lunch, so I wasn’t counting (guessing) syns.

For dinner, I cooked up some broccoli, onions and aubergine and ate with rice.  All in all, not a terrible off plan day.

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Day 2 – Saturday

Today was another work day, from 8am – 8.45pm with a two hour break in between. I didn’t feel so hungry in the morning, as I was super busy, but did stop to grab a coffee (long black with some milk) and continued teaching. These days are actually not so terrible and with a two hour break in between, it’s really nice to get out of the house. 

I met up with my friend, Annette, for lunch, and we headed to the vegetarian buffet place we had gone to last week, and I topped my plate with so much speed. I still had some of the greasy options, but also went with much more speedy options than last week. After this, Annette wanted pancakes, so we headed to Rosie’s cafe. I considered ordering pancakes too, but after last weeks loss, I felt more motivated than ever! I spotted some fruit amongst the cakes in the cabinet and asked for some mango and apple cut up. Now, the lady who owns the cafe really wasn’t too pleased about this and was actually quite rude, but she did do it for me and I felt rather smug whilst eating my fruit instead of pancakes. I also felt satisfied rather than watching Annette eat pancakes and wishing I had too, ordered pancakes. Result!

Dinner was  the same as always, fried veg, rice and egg. I spotted ants in the kitchen today and that really put me off my food, so dinner was more disappointing than usual, but hey ho! Desert was the usual fruit salad, which I get excited to make every evening. Isn’t that crazy? A year ago, a fruit salad in the evening wouldn’t have even been an option in my mind, let alone something I crave and look forward to!

Day 3 – Sunday

I’m a little frustrated today as it ended up being a bit of an off plan day. I had a lie in and didn’t really fancy breakfast (I’m not really a huge breakfast person, and will only eat it if I’m up super early / have time). I had a lazy morning and ate lunch at home – just some pasta and veg, really nothing exciting. I met a friend at a cafe and ordered a mango smoothie, which turned out to be a mini smoothie bowl.

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Annette is leaving on Tuesday, so we went for dinner with our landlady, which I thought would be at a local place where I could chose a healthier option of pho, but it turned out we were ordering lots of dishes and sharing. To be fair, the food was amazing, one of the best meals I’ve had in Vietnam, so I’m really not complaining, but I didn’t have any control over what I ate. We had grilled pork and prawns, noodles, mango salad…and so much more!

We decided to go for a drink after, and that ended up in being two cocktails. Once again, no complaints as I love a cocktail. All in all, this day was off plan, but delicious.

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Day 4 – Monday

I was up around 9.30 today and was meeting Annette around 11 to head to the tailor. I had enough time to wizz to the shops and buy some food for the week. I’m feeling quite excited as I’ve decided to make shakshuka this week, which is one of my favorite meals! I went to the shop and picked up some chopped tomatoes, along with some white beans, as I decided that I’d try to have a few SP days this week. Before meeting with Annette, I headed to a cafe for some fruit and a coffee.

I met with Annette and we went to the tailors to order our new clothes and had a little wander around the old town in Hoi An. We stopped for lunch at Rosie’s AGAIN, where I ordered the breakfast salad, swapping the avocado for chicken, and adding an extra egg. This has become my go to SP day meal! After this, we decided to go out on our bikes for a ride around the rice fields, which is so beautiful and I definitely feel like I’m getting (just a little) exercise in.

After work, I was starving and began to cook up my shakshuka, I’ve made it before and today didn’t really follow any recipe, just kind of made it up myself! I served it with butter beans and it was good to go. I made it a little too spicy for my liking but it was still so good. The eggs tasted creamy and delicious. This has to be one of my all time favorite meals. 

As it was an SP day, I opted for and orange and apple for an after dinner sweet.

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I just can’t ever make Shakshuka look beautiful!

Day 5 – Tuesday

beachtime.jpgI had a really long lie in today, and woke up around 11. I decided to stay at mine and get a bit of work done before heading to the beach for a beach afternoon. I filled up on an apple and some porridge to keep me going. At the beach, I ordered a tropical smoothie (strawberry, mango and mint), which was so good, and enjoyed lazing in the sun, reading my book for a few hours – it’s days like this that make me feel so grateful for this life. 

I cycled to the beach and back, which is a good half hour each way, and it felt great to get a little exercise in!!

I quickly knocked up some lunch before work, I had bulk cooked the shakshuka sauce yesterday so that I had plenty for the week. I used the sauce for lunch and added it to pasta and went for an orange after along with a coffee. 

Dinner was shakshuka again, this time with rice today. All in all, a really good day!

Day 6 – Wednesday

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I was up early today to meet a friend for coffee. I had a busy day ahead. I met a friend for coffee at Mia Cafe in Hoi An, they serve really great coffee here. They also have cups of cut up fruit, which they actually use for smoothies, but I often just order it to eat instead of having it made into smoothie which is great. It has banana, mango, dragon fruit and watermelon. This could actually make a really good smoothie which I may have to try one day!

I wanted to have a day in Da Nang after this, getting some work done, checking out the cafe scene and generally getting more of a vibe for the city. I was feeling too lazy to catch the bus, so I got a Grab bike, which is about double the price of the bus, but much faster and still pretty cheap! 

I wanted to make healthy choices for today, but also had a few things I knew I wanted to try! I headed to a cafe called Espresso Station first (there’s also one in Hoi An) where I ordered the ice cube coffee which is (as it sounds), coffee made into ice cubes served with hot steamed milk. Basically, it means you can have an iced coffee without the ice cubes melting and the coffee going all watery. Wow, this is amazing!! I figured this was my HEXa limit for the day, and any other milk in coffee would be synned. I stopped for lunch next, and found a ‘vegetarian’ restaurant called Quan Chay Ngoc Chi. It says it’s vegetarian, but definitely has chicken on the menu, perhaps they are just making sure customers know it serves veggie food. Anyway, I went for the chicken rice (or Com Ga), which was tasty, and felt like a healthier option with minimal oil. This place was cheap, tasty and has options for all different dietary requirements, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a local place in town! 

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I felt STUFFED, but there was one more thing to try in Da Nang, and this was the coconut coffee. This is coconut ice cream saved with an espresso shot. I’m not fooling myself into thinking that this is a syn free option, and I know that today is over my syn allowance, but this is what happens when you travel. If I didn’t allow myself to try to local dishes, I wouldn’t be allowing myself to enjoy the travel, so sometimes this is just the way it is. This was possibly the most amazing coffee / shake (kind of a mix) I’ve ever had!!!!

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I made up for it with dinner by going for shakshuka with rice again (how exciting!), I’m still not bored of it though! I felt stuffed and didn’t have any sweet after dinner snacks.

Day 7 – Thursday

Today was supposed to be an SP day, but to be honest, that was a bit of a fail. I woke up and had porridge with some milk and water for breakfast and met a friend for coffee (should I start doing a weekly coffee count to see how much I drink??). I was picking up my clothes later and brought my friend along to introduce her to my tailor. We decided to have a wander and go for lunch. I had planned on cooking my own SP friendly lunch, but no worries, I suggested Rosie’s, knowing that I can make healthy choices there. I went for the usual breakfast salad, this time with added mushrooms and extra pumpkin (no avocado or chicken), I also ordered a choc shake, which is bananas, chocolate powder and coconut milk, so there goes the SP day down the drain!

I was having a bit of a rough day, personally, and ended up trying to make myself feel better with a slice of cake (it kind of helped!), so, at this point, I knew this day was a bit of a write off, especially as I spent most of the afternoon hanging out in bed,

I wanted to keep dinner SP, regardless of the days earlier fails, so had shakshuka with beans and cabbage and an apple and orange after. I’m not sure if it was for all the beans and cabbage I’ve been eating, but I was feeling really sick and bloated at the end of the day, and really rather heavy, so no huge hopes for tomorrow, although I do think there will be a small loss at least.

Weigh in

I woke up early today to head to the gym for weigh in. The ladies who work at the gym seem to think I’m a bit strange as I never actually workout at the gym, just use the scales, but oh well! I was still feeling a little bloated and heavy, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I stood on the scales and found that I’ve lost half a pound this week. Not ideal, but all in the right direction. That means in three weeks, I’ve lost 2 and a half pounds. Now, that’s not tons, but considering I spent the first week struggling and this week I’m feeling really bloating on weigh in, I’m really happy with that. Hopefully the bloating will go and that’ll make a difference for next week. 

Things I could’ve done better

I want to add this to my weekly notes as I want to be aware of where I went wrong.

I made some goals last week, but I don’t think I took them very seriously (considering I only  did one out of the three!). So, my goals for next week are exactly the same but, this week I will really be taking them seriously and making a daily effort to achieve this goals! 

I didn’t really get any exercise in this week other than cycling, and certainly no formal workouts, so that’s a real big one for this week, even if I’m not feeling the motivation, I want to do it!!

Feeling positive

I wanted to talk about the positives I’ve been feeling this week. It’s so easy to say ‘Oh, I felt a bit crap and then ate crap and this was a crappy week’. But, actually, this week, I started to notice some differences in my body. When I was bigger, I always noticed weight going from my waste and hips first, but now I’m a little smaller, weight always goes from my face and chest, and this week I could really notice this, especially as I noticed my collar bones popping up in lots of photos. I also started to notice my stomach being a little smaller, yes, I’ve only lost 2 and a half lbs, and these are only small changes, but it’s great to see! 

I also feel really great that I was able to lose half a pound. If anything, it shows that I’ve nourished my body, and given it love and healthy food. Even a maintain shows this in my opinion, so I’m chuffed with any kind of loss.

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Thoughts for next week

I’m going away this weekend, so it’s definitely going to be tricky, I decided not to stay at the party hostel (even though a few drinks would be lovely!), so that I avoid drinking and will definitely be getting lots of steps in. I’m going to try my hardest to make healthy choices and only eat fruit as snacks. I return on Monday, when I’ll be sure to be straight back to 100% on plan. 

I’m going to exercise and drink plenty of water. I’d love a 1 and a half lb loss to take me down to 12stone, so wish me luck!

Cat 

 

The 9 Week Slim down – Week Two

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Last week was pretty tough, arriving in Hoi An, wanting to try all the foods and also not know where to find the best things for myself. This week, I feel a little more ready to eat my own food and eat less local (although, won’t be stopping all together!!), I’m also limiting things like Banh Mi and cakes (want to cry a little writing that, but we all know you don’t lose weight by eating a ton of these things….ok, maybe just one cake this week won’t hurt??), I know there are low syn snacks available in the shops, so I will be buying some of them. Let’s get started:

Day 1 – Friday

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Today is weigh day, and as you already know, I gained weight. Not to mention that I am on star week. With all this in mind, this ended up being an off plan day….with not one but TWO pieces of cake. That being said, I wasn’t totally off plan all day, and did fit in some on plan eating. I opted for baked beans on toast with two poached eggs in the morning. I ordered wholemeal toast which came in a huge serving, so fair to say I went over my HEXB choice there. This was followed by two cakes (lemon pound cake and a chocolate tart, for those asking!), and I finished the day off with, yet again, fried veggies, egg and rice. I had some red cabbage in which I LOVE, so was rather excited about dinner tonight. I ended today with another fruit salad, and all in all, feel that although it was obviously off plan, it wasn’t too terrible.

Day two – Saturday

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A much needed lunchtime coffee break

Today was a work day. I was teaching online from 8am – 8:45pm with a two hour break for lunch, so pretty busy and not much time for snacking. I woke up just in time for my first class and no time for breakfast. I eventually got a short break around 10am when a student didn’t come to class, and I made myself some weetabix and milk (accidentally bought sweetened milk – doh! – but only two tiny cartons, thankfully!!) and ate it quickly before my next class.

I was super grateful for a two hour break after 5 hours of teaching! I met up with a friend and we headed to a veggie / vegan place we had heard about that does an amazing buffet. Full of speed and healthy options – so I thought, however, it felt kind of oily and greasy, sadly. I didn’t know how many syns I managed to pack in here, so I decided to call it 15 and call it a day for the syns! We ended lunch off with a coffee (americano and a little milk) and a walk around the maket to get some steps in.

I headed back to work for another 5 hours and at the end of the day, felt so tired. I decided to grab a coffee from a place near by (am I the only person who enjoys an evening coffee? It doesn’t keep me awake at all!), again an americano and a little milk – all in all, the milk I’ve had today comes out as my HEXA.

Dinner time rolled around aaaaaaand guess what?? It’s the same as the other days, so pretty boring! Fear not though, I am cooking up something exciting on Monday, so I should be eating more fun foods.

All in all, a pretty good day which ended with more fruit salad. 

I’m out on a trip to the Marble Mountains tomorrow, but should be back in town for lunch and am really craving a salad I saw on the menu of a cafe nearby, so that’s the only food plan I have for tomorrow so far!

Day three – Sunday

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Today was a busy day. I was up early to meet a friend to visit the Marble Mountains. I started my day with some weetabix, milk and an apple and headed out to meet my friend. We met at a cafe, purely so that I could pick up a coffee, and off we went. We spent two hours or so walking around the huge mountains and got SOAKED in the rain. We were feeling starving, but still a half hour bus journey away from Hoi An, so I picked up an apple to keep the hunger at bay.

Turns out the cafe I wanted to head to for lunch was shut today, so my friend took me to her favorite cafe in Hoi An for lunch, Annen Yoga, which is a vegan cafe. The menu is filled with delicious, healthy sounding meals. I went for the pho as I was feeling soggy and cold and a soup based dish was just what I needed. When it came, it was absolutely delicious, filled with veggies and no (or very little) oil. I counted 3 syns just to be on the safe side, in case some oil was used!

Dinner was fried veggies, rice and an egg, of course! I don’t often buy myself sweet snacks, as I try to keep the unhealthy snacking at a minimum. However, I picked up some panda biscuits today, which you can find all over Asia. I worked out that just over half would take me up to 15 syns for the day and opened the packet and put the extra to the side and enjoyed my little nighttime snack. Great, what a healthy day, right? Wrong…the left over biscuits were sitting there staring at me and I ate them. 5 syns over today!

Day four – Monday

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Back on track today, I’m going to be GOOD! I’ve even decided to have an SP day! Breakfast was the same as yesterday, weetabix and milk. Lunch is where things got interesting. I headed to my favorite cafe for lunch, Rosie’s and ordered their breakfast salad which comes with tomatoes, roasted pumpkin, puffed rice, a poached egg and avocado. I switched the avocado for chicken, and it was topped with a hummus dressing, which I asked to have on the side (but they put it on top…at least I tried!). I added 7 syns in total for any extra oil used and was pretty happy. It only occurred to me after that the puffed rice makes it non SP day friendly, but there was only a little but, so I’m still calling this a win! I ordered a cold brew coffee with milk which came with a cookie on the side and yes, of course I ate it, and counted 5 syns for this, it wasn’t big! (Guessing syns isn’t ideal, but restaurants out here don’t add nutritional value, so guessing is all I can do.) I decided to call it 15 syns and call it a day on the syns to be on the safe side.

For an SP dinner, I fried some carrot and broccoli, and added cucumber, and red cabbage on the side topped with two eggs. Pretty tasty. I was feeling happy with how today went, but, earlier today, I bought some cookies (before I realized lunch would be so synful), and yes, I just ate them all!

I need to accept that I’m struggling a little right now. Snacking in the evening time is the hardest part for me. From now on, I’m going to be a lot more careful and only have sinful food in the house if I plan on eating it. Feeling pretty terrible about this, but onwards and upwards. I will try to keep the next few days as low syn as possible.

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Day five – Tuesday

Today has not been a completely syn free day, but all in all, I don’t think it’s been too bad. 

I bought some oats the other day, which means that I can use water and a little milk to make it up. Using less milk means I can drink more coffee throughout the day! The oats are pretty big and I didn’t love them, but it fills a morning hole at least! 

I’ve decided that the next few days, I will be cooking at home in order to be able to have full control of my syns. Lunch was nothing exciting. I made up some pasta with garlic and tuna and added some red cabbage to the side.

I met a friend for an afternoon coffee and had a little bit of her fudge, so some syns went in there, but I’m not worried as it wasn’t too much (of course there was a coffee and milk in there, too)!

I was really excited for dinner because I had a huge butternut squash left over from my veg order from last week. I decided to cook up a big butternut squash curry. I added chickpeas, broccoli and gralic with the butternut squash and fried a little before adding the seasoning – now, I couldn’t find any curry powder here in Vietnam, but I could find taco seasoning…so this is what I used! I then added vegetable stock and coconut cream and left to simmer for 20 minutes. I had some stock left over, so I decided to cook my rice in there. I had pretty low expectations considering I used the taco seasoning, but wow, this was delicious! I loved this dinner so much, and counted two syns for the coconut cream.

Desert was a mango (there was an orange too, but I peeled it and it was really dry so sadly it had to go in the bin.)

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Day six – Wednesday

Yesterday was fairly successful. But today is going to be even better! I started the day again with oats and a little milk and water and headed to a cafe to get some work done where I ordered an americano with some milk.

After an hour and a half, I headed home to make some lunch, which was the same as yesterday with some tomato added (not fun but it’s what I have in the fridge, and some days are just like that!)

I headed out for another afternoon of work and ordered a cocoa smoothie with banana and milk. I felt pretty chuffed that I had ordered something chocolatey but still syn free, but THEN I checked the syns and it turns out you have to syn cacao powder, so we have another failure. But, not to worry, this will be around 2 syns tops, and the only other syns for my day will be in my dinner, so although not a syn free day, I’m not going over!

 I headed to cafe number three for some more work (cafe hopping is the only way I can stay productive without getting bored) and ordered another americano with milk, got some more work done and headed home for work.

Dinner was the same as yesterday, I really have to admit, that I’m super impressed with this curry. It’s an Indian-mexican fusion, let’s say! Fruit salad to keep the unhealthy snacking at bay later, and that’s it for today. All in all, a rather successful day!

pastalunch

Not every meal can be fun, still tasty though

Day seven – Thursday

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I had a fairly relaxed plan for today. I had a fitting for my dress with I’m having made here by a tailor. This is really popular in Hoi An, and I would really recommend it as I love how my dress turned out! I was the heading out on a trip to Da Nang with a friend for a massage.

No time for breakfast as I overslept, so I stopped off at a cafe for some coffee and picks up a little fruit salad to go. I headed straight to my fitting and was starving after. I didn’t have much time before my friend would pick me up for our trip to Da Nang, so I went home and heated up my curry and some rice. 

The plan was to have a massage in Da Nang and then go to a big super market in Da Nang feeling lots of great fruit, but our bike broke down on the 40minute journey and it took us a long time to get there. By the time we were there, we decided we were in serious need of a massage and went straight to the spa. My massage ended at 3.40pm and I had to hop on a bike straight back to How An, so no time for shopping. 

No worries though, this meant that all I had in the house was my curry, so yes, that was dinner again, as well as lunch. Not the most interesting day, but hey ho! This was the last of the curry, and I’m actually a little sad it’s all gone. Will definitely be making it again.

Exercise

I still haven’t added any formal exercise into my life this week. I wish I had but I just wasn’t feeling the motivation. I did lots of walking and climbing at the Marble Mountains, and definitely got some body magic in there, and have also been cycling slightly longer distances, which feels a lot more like exercise. Next week, I’d like to focus on trying to get my motivation for formal exercises back.

Weigh day

Today is Friday, and I didn’t have many expectations for weigh in today. I didn’t think I had put on weight, but I also wasn’t sure I had lost any. I would have been happy with a maintain. I headed out to the gym first thing and hopped on the scales. To my surprise, I’ve lost 2lb this week!! 2lb!!!!!!! I’m shocked considering I failed to stick to plan most days. 

I definitely thin that last weeks gain was partly due to star week so that could have had something to do with it, but still, I’m feeling really chuffed with that!

Thoughts for next week

I’m feeling really good about the upcoming week. I’m planning on mostly cooking again, and have figured out where I like to eat in town and where I can find healthier options. I will also try for another SP day, if I can. I have three main goals for this week:

  1. Try getting in two workouts. Not for the sake of working out, just to try and kick my mind into gear and feeling prepared to start working out a lot more often. I’m hoping once I start, that will be enough, but we shall see!
  2. No more buying snacks over my syn limit. Clearly I can’t have snacks in the house and not eat them right now, so unless the snack is within my syn limit for the day, I will not be buying them.
  3. Drink more water. This is one thing I haven’t been doing, but I know that there is a correlation between the amount of water I drink and my weight loss, as well as so many other benefits. So this week, I’m going to really make sure to drink 1.5 liters of water a day.

And that’s it for this week. I’m feeling hopeful for another 2lb loss next week.

Thanks for reading,

Cat

A Week and a Half in Saigon

Hola friends,

Recently I spent a good 10 days in Saigon.

Ahh wonderful Saigon. I’ve discussed how I enjoyed eating just a little too much around this city, but it’s not all food, so it seemed time I shine some light on the city as a whole and all there is to do. I spent a good week and a half here (with a cheeky weekend away to the Mekong Delta – more on that later), and I still don’t think I’ve seen everything quite yet, a return trip is definitely in order! 

I arrived here from Phnom Penh, Cambodia by bus, which was a fairly straight forward journey. Six hours on a bus, the bus company sorted out our passports at the border and it was a rather seamless journey, which I was glad about as border crossings always makes me a little nervous. Now, I am a big fan of sleeping on busses and so I didn’t take the time to actually look outside the window until we were fully into the city of Saigon. The first thing I noticed were all the bikes. Bikes everywhere, and the second thing? Everyone was wearing helmets! This is something that makes me really happy as I’m a stickler for a helmet and most countries around South East Asia tend to have quite relaxed rules when it comes to bike safety. So Vietnam and I were off to a good start! 

I didn’t have many plans for my time here, I wanted to get some work done, see the city and take a trip to the Mekong Delta. 10 days is a nice amount of time to spend here as I found there was something to do every day, but I was also able to live life at a relaxed pace. I was lucky enough to book in some housesitting in District two with two beautiful dogs through the site Trusted Housesitters. I love this site, you pay a small yearly fee and apply for housesits, looking after pets whilst their owners are away on holiday. I lucked out on this sit, as it was in a trendy location, in a beautiful apartment with two loving dogs. Win win!

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Whenever I arrive in a city, my first port of call in to search blogs on the city. This time, I went straight to my friend Rose’s blog, as I know that she has done some extensive traveling of Vietnam and has a lot of information on Saigon. Her blogs on sights to see / things to do in Saigon and what to eat in Saigon became my Bible for the city as I set about exploring. With 10 days to spend here, I set about fitting in one or two things to see a day, and these were my favorites.

 

Cafe Apartment Building

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This famous building is so cool. It is a 9 story building filled to the brim with cafes. Seriously, there must be about 50 cafes in there, there’s just so much choice! I went on my first day and headed to Rose’s favorite cafe The Maker and back another day, spending a few hours there hopping around a few different cafes whilst working. My favorite cafe was Saigon Oi, it was pancake day and I ordered an amazing pancake cake in honer of the day. I also went to Poke Saigon and had the the most amazing poke bowl, it’s a must try although very pricy!

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The War Remnants Museum

Of course, I knew about the Vietnamese War, but it isn’t really taught in UK schools as the UK didn’t have much involvement, so it was really interesting for me to learn more about it. The museum is informative and really thought provoking. I spent a good few hours there taking in all the information, and really letting myself feel the emotions.

The Mekong Delta

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You can do the Mekong Delta as a one / two or three day trip. I decided on a two day trip over the weekend whilst I wasn’t working. The trip takes you along the Mekong and stops off at several islands. Personally, I felt that this was really very touristy but there were some beautiful spotss. The highlight of the trip was staying overnight at a homestay with some new friends I had made on the trip and waking up in time for the sunrise the next day before heading to see the floating markets.

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Tân Định Pink Church

Pink Church

This was a highlight for me. I’m Catholic and attend church whenever I can on my travels and also a huge lover of pink. So…this was an all in one for me. It’s a beautiful Catholic church on a busy road, which looks kind of out of place but makes the scenery look beautiful! I wanted to go to mass here but they didn’t have an English mass, and the Cathedral did, so I decided on going there instead. 

District Two

The main sights are in District One, and the best place to stay if you want to make the most of the city, but when I was housesitting, I stayed in District Two. This trendy location is home to lots of expats and many cafes and restaurants. I loved spending my days wandering around and hanging out in the cafes around town here, soaking up the cool vibes. It was perfect for a few relaxed days away from the hustle and bustle of District One.

There’s a ton more to see and do in Saigon, but these were my favs. There’s also lots more that I want to see when I go back. I’m planning a five day trip in May, and will be packing it full of cafes and more sights, just the way I like to travel!

As you can see, my travel post are more about talking about things I did and loved rather than a guide, and that’s the way I tend to keep it, I enjoy keeping things here journal-y. One day, it’ll be a great way for me to look back at this period in my life and reminisce of some great places I’ve seen!

And that’s it for now, chat later,

Cat

xoxo

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The 9 Week Slim Down – Week 1

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Ok, here we are. This where all the over eating, binging and generally enjoying too much cake a little to0 much has led me to. The 9 Week Slim Down. I always said I wanted to maintain for the first few months away and then continue to lose some more weight. It’s been more than a few months and my weight has fluctuated a little in that time (no more than 5lbs over, and I have never been able to go below my original target weight – yet) and I’ve been pretty happy with how I’ve done. My clothes still fit me and friends say I look like I’ve lost weight, which I’m putting down to a (slightly) more active lifestyle. However, the time has come to get back on the wagon and lose a few extra lbs. 

I’ve given myself a target of 11lbs. I weighed in yesterday at 12st 3lbs, so that means I have 17lbs to lose. I am here in Hoi An until the 12th of April and then Chiang Mai until the 19th of May. In both of these cities, I will have access to healthy food AND kitchens, so there’s really no better time to get back on the Slimming World horse! 

So, that gives me 9 weeks in total, which I think is pretty doable. I’m feeling excited and motivated and will give a weekly update on here to how my week went. I have also found a gym in Hoi An where I can weigh myself, and have chosen my weigh days to be Friday. So, let’s get on with week one.

Day one – Monday

Now, I’m not going to say today was a complete fail. I ate pretty healthily, starting with a smoothie bowl at a beautiful cafe in Hoi An called Rosie’s cafe. So, although I don’t count smoothies as syns, this one was topped with granola and I was given a little biscuit with my coffee with I didn’t say no to, so it wasn’t perfect, but not the worst start for my first day! Lunch was a local dish of wontons, which was delicious, and even topped with veggies for some speed, and dinner was pasta with tomatoes, kidney beans and gherkins. I hadn’t had a chance to go to the market and buy fruit and veg yet, so this was just a random concoction of what I had!!

Not too bad considering I hadn’t had a chance to go shopping yet and buy food. That’s the plan for tomorrow.

Aaaaaaand then, it turned 22:30 and nighttime snacker Cat came out to play. What did I have? Weetabix. That was all I had in my room, so yes. I ate a ton of weetabix and ruined a fairly healthy day. I know there are certainly worse ways to do this, but I woke up the next day feeling a bit crappy about it. However, it’s day one and I’ve learnt that getting my snacking habits under control is something I’m going to have to battle all over again, but I did it last time and I can do it again!

pasta

No prizes for presentation, but it was tasty!

Day 2 – Tuesday

I woke up on Tuesday feeling a little frustrated with myself from the night before, but that’s not about to ruin everything. Today is a new day, and I’m going to do better. I had some work I wanted to get done, so set up in a cafe in Hoi An with a coffee and ordered a fruit salad with some yoghurt and strawberry coulis. I’m not sure on the exact syns here, but the yoghurt was sugar / fat free and the coulis was rather tart and I’m thinking very low in sugar. I’ve counted 4 syns in total. This was more of a brunch as I had a lie in and left the house pretty late.

A friend joined me later in the day and I have to admit, I ordered a slice of lemon cake, but hey, I think I’m still doing ok! 

Now the exciting part. I heard about a company in Hoi An who are on Facebook. You can send them your shopping order and they will go to the market and buy all of your fruit and veg groceries for you. I did this and by the end of the day, I had been delivered two huge bags full of fruit and veg. How amazing?? This means I can cook a delicious, healthy dinner. I fried up some aubergine, red pepper and red onion with some taco seasoning I had and chopped tomatoes and added to pasta. I topped this with a fried egg, because life is always better with a fried egg. 

And that was it. I didn’t eat anything else, I think this was a pretty good day if you ask me! I didn’t even snack in the evening so I was feeling pretty proud by the end of the day!! Roll on day three!!!

Day 3 – Wednesday

Here I am, sitting in the same cafe as yesterday, writing about today. I decided to get up earlier today and get some more work done. I haven’t bought any more milk yet, as I clearly can’t be trusted with it when there’s weetabix in the house, perhaps in a few days, I will try again! I ordered the same breakfast as yesterday, with the addiction of some wholemeal bread, counting as my healthy extra B (and milk with coffee for A). 

In search of a local lunch, I went looking for a recommended place serving Bun Thit, a cold noodle dish that comes with salad, meat and peanuts, which I think would have been a healthy choice, but sadly I couldn’t find this restaurant and ended up with a Banh Mi (a Vietnamese sandwich – oops!), so not quite so great! 

On the up side, I finally invested in some rice and dinner was a mix of veggies, rice and an egg – delicious!

I snacked on some gherkins after and all in all, bar the naughty banh mi, I think today has been ok.

Day 4 – Thursday

I’m feeling really great about today. I’ve been completely on plan! I started with a smoothie bowl from Rosie’s and a cold brew with milk. I decided to spend the afternoon wandering around temples, and stopped for an americano with some milk around 3pm. I opted for a late lunch, which I cooked myself. Some fried veggies, with a cucumber, tomato and coriander salad (topped with an egg, of course!). It felt great to be cooking my own lunch, and this was so tasty.

I finished work and was feeling super hungry and cooked up the same as the night before (maybe I will be more imaginative with my cooking next week!), fried veggies with taco seasoning – I added some kidney beans this time, rice and an egg. 

I was craving something sweet, as always, and decided on making a little fruit salad. I cut up an apple, an orange and a mango, and it was so good and really hit the spot. 

Today was really a good food day, and I’m feeling positive at the end of the day. Tomorrow is weigh day, and I’m not sure I’ve lost anything, but I do feel positive I haven’t gained a lot.

lunch

Exercise

So, I haven’t exercise a lot this week. I’ve been focusing on having a relaxed week and didn’t want to force myself into exercising. I did tend to get a lot of steps in every day and the lady at my homestay has given me a bike, which means I’ve been cycling a lot! Cycling, to anyone else may not be a big deal, but, I am dyspraxic and actually only learnt to ride a bike last year, so for me, this is HUGE! It’s felt great getting my confidence on the bike up and being able to take myself places by bike. This has been my favorite part of the week.

I have to admit, I am missing more formal workouts though and next week, will definitely be back on the workouts. Probably with Lucy Wyndam-Read workouts, I think, as I do love her workouts and they always make me feel motivated!

So…only one last thing to discuss…weigh in! It’s Friday and I weighed in first thing this morning. I found that I have put on half a pound. I’m not feeling too terrible about this, I didn’t get that heart sinking ‘I’ve put on weight’ feeling. I know I’ve not been perfect, and it’s my first week on plan in a place that doesn’t cater to Slimming Worlders that easily. To top it off, it’s star week (I’m on my period to those who don’t speak Slimming World), which obviously doesn’t help. 

Going forward, I’m going to do a lot more cooking next week. Stop with eating breakfast out, and buy oats and have porridge in the mornings. 

I have two things that may affect next week, as I have a day trip to Da Nang, meaning I can’t cook my own food and a cookery course. The cookery course is actually a way for me to see what healthy meals I can make with readily available ingredients here. If I can make my own healthy version of pho, I’d be doing it all the time! So, it could be one not amazing day, but all in research for healthier days in the future (that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway!). As for Da Nang, all I can do is reasearch and try to find some healthier options. I’ll probably eat breakfast before I leave, eat a salad in a nice cafe for lunch and go local for dinner.

So, that’s it for week one. Only 5 days as I started on Monday and weigh day is Friday. Today is the start of week 2 and I’m feeling good about it. Wish me luck! 

Cat

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0.5lbs gained but still feeling great!

XOXO

 

 

Saigon – 10 days of synning

Saigon

Hola friends,

I’ve been hanging out in the pretty cool city of Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh as it is also known) for the past 10 days, and I have to say, I just love it here. This is my first time in Vietnam, and I’d heard so much about this country that I thought I might have it too hyped up in my mind, but it’s fair to say, I love it as much as everyone else (at least the one city that I’ve seen so far) 

This city has tons to offer, in the city, as well as outside that I was able to fill up 10 days easily. I could probably come back in the future and find even more new sights to see and activities to do…in fact, that’s exactly what I plan to do! In ten days, I have seen the city, eaten so much amazing food, and fitted in a weekend trip along the Mekong Delta and a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. It’s been a pretty busy 10 days. 

But really, I’m here to chat about how I’ve been doing health wise. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster to be honest. When I arrived, I weighed myself at 12stone 2lbs, 10 days later, I am weighing in at 12stone 5lbs…so, it’s fair to say, it hasn’t been the most healthy ten days with a 3lb gain. Whoops! 

I arrived in Saigon, late in the afternoon on the 27th February, feeling pretty tired and had three hours of classes ahead of me. For my first couple of days, I was housesitting in the trendy district 2 area with two beautiful doggos, Howard and Snowball before moving to a hostel. I arrived, took the dogs for a walk and got straight to work. By the time I finished it was eight pm and I was exhausted, going out to find some local food seemed like a huge mission and Howard and Snowball’s owner had mentioned that Grab delivered food to this area, so what did I do? Yep, it’s my first night in Vietnam and I order in McDonald’s. Good job, Cat! Not the best start! Now, this seemed to be the beginning of a bad relationship with myself and Grab delivery and as I was working late the next night too, this was once again, my dinner of choice.

It is in fact not all that difficult to be healthy in Vietnam, as Pho and several other broth noodle soups are one of the main dishes around the country. They are delicious and come in huge servings. If you ever thought that soup wouldn’t fill you up, you need to come to Vietnam! But I had ten days and LOTS of food to try in this city, so I set about on a food tasting mission, with the help of my friend Rose’s blog (wheregoesrose) in which she has created her own foodie guide to Saigon. How could I not try it all? 

I leave the city tomorrow and have tried almost all of the dishes in her blog post – pretty impressive if you ask me! Unfortunately, the other side of Vietnamese cuisine is lots and lots of fried meat, and bread (Banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich filled with meat and mayo is so good!) probably not the best way to lose weight. Along with the fact that I was treating myself to an ice cream or two every day after a walk in the midday sun, and a few treats in the evening. I guess we can see where those 3lbs came from, hey?

Bunmam

Bún mắm, one of the many delicious dishes I tried in Saigon

Feeling pretty groggy from my 3lb gain, I returned to the doggies to housesit once more. To my surprise, their owner has told me that she has a meal delivery service and hadn’t cancelled it this time. This service is called FitFood and was delivered to her door in the evening with healthy, tasty food. This was my savior, a way to get back on track. 

Inspired to be healthy again, I went to the shops and bought lots of speed fruit and ate the fit food meals for lunch and dinner with fruit for desert. It felt great to be back in control again. I even managed to fit in a workout from the amazing Lucy Wyndham-Read. If you’re not familiar with her, she is amazing! You can find her Youtube channel here. She is the creator of some amazing 7 minute workouts, I’m not great at sticking to them 7 days in a row, but I really feel as if I’ve had a good workout at the end. I’ve also been walking lots. Where I could take a Grab bike, I’ve been walking the 30 minutes instead (not that easy in the midday heat, I tell ya!). I’ve been getting 10,000 steps in most days which always feels like a victory! 

workout

Feeling great post workout with Lucy

So, I may not be perfectly back on plan yet, but I’m definitely on my way, and will not be putting another 5lbs! I’m heading to Da Lat tomorrow where fast food will be harder to come by and I will be eating a lot more local food, especially Pho. Da Lat is a city in the mountains famed for canyoning and it’s beautiful waterfalls. I’m hoping this means I’ll be getting lots of body magic in, along side a few of Lucy’s workouts too. 

I’m looking forward to getting back on track, and being a little healthier. I’m not expecting these 5lbs to drop off straight away, but at least I won’t be gaining any more! Most importantly, I’ve had a lovely 10 days in Saigon and eaten some amazing food. Always remember that we are losing weight to live life, not living life to lose weight!

 

Lufdates (Life Updates)

philippines

Coron in the Philippines was one of my first stop and had some of the most breathtaking scenery.

Hola friends,

Here I am trying again. I wrote my first post over five months ago and due to insecurities, never actually got around to posting it, but the blog is up and running and I’m here to continue it.

I’m well into my travels now, five and a half months, in fact. I have been to the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and am now in Cambodia. My God, it’s a wonderful life. The sights, the smells, the sun, the food…oh yes. The food. That’s the hard part, right? I was officially in holiday mode for a good three months and put on five pounds. I did lose it again last month when I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but now some fast paced traveling through Cambodia has left me losing track again.

Now, the last thing I want to be is a ‘yoyo dieter’ and so here I am trying to think up ways that I can sort this out. 

Let’s start with where I’m going wrong. 

I’ve made some amazing friends on my journey, most of whom are part of the digital nomad community. We are the people living work working our way around the world – I’ve really found my people, and it’s amazing. The downside, is that digital nomads have a penchant for hipster cafes, which not only can be expensive, but serve some really tempting, delicious food. I could make healthier choices, but when I’m somewhere for a short period of time, I tell myself I need to try all the foods I want. So in turn, I end up making bad choices. 

I’ve mostly been living in places with cooking facilities, but my laziness has lead me to eat out most days, especially because it’s so cheap to do so. 

So, basically it comes down to laziness and wanting to be social. Isn’t that the main reason everyone struggles with dieting, even if you’re not traveling? Ok, seems like I have no excuses left. Time to buckle up and start being healthy again!

Where do I go from here?

At the beginning of January, some friends and I started an excel spreadsheet with our daily goals on in order to keep ourselves on track. Most of my goals were health and exercise related, and it was super helpful, and for a good month, I was healthy and active pretty much every day. Since being in Cambodia, this has gone downhill. I let myself slip. So, to start things off, I’m going to get back on the spreadsheet bandwagon. When you find something that helps and motivates you, it’s really important to stick to it. Some days, I haven’t completed all of my goals, but it’s useful to look at and see where I can improve the next day.

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Sharing my daily goals spreadsheet with friends is such a huge motivation for me. As you can see, it is mostly health related.

I’m not going to full on cut out hipster cafes, I love a good hipster cafe and I love spending time there with friends and even getting work done. Mostly, I think I want to stop ordering food from there. I’m going to aim to eat at home before going there and just get a coffee. Of course I will give myself the  odd day off, but it’s become clear to me that eating at these places has become an unhealthy routine.

Finally, I’m going to admit something. I’m lazy. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s hot out here and it makes us all tired and most of the time, I can’t be bothered to cook. Especially with the limited ingredients I can buy out here in Asia. So I’m not going to pressure myself to cook every single meal. I’m not a huge breakfast person, but I do love to start the day with some speed – it’s a great way to start and to show myself it’s going to be a great food day. So, I’m going to start stocking up on loads of speed fruits and have that (and oats if I fancy) in the mornings. I’ll probably cook myself a little lunch and eat out for dinner. Most meals in Asia come with steamed rice, and I find that the only syns inside are from oil used (and occasionally coconut milk). This is going to be my main syn usage.

speedydinner

Lots of Thai food is packed full of speed food and comes with steamed rice, and most importantly, so tasty!

I have one obsession in Asia, and thats fresh fruit shakes. I’ve binned the chocolate and when in need of a sweet treat (at least once a day!), I go for a fruit shake with no sugar. Now, I know that this is technically considered a synned treat, but I am adapting this diet for Asia, and if it stops me from eating all the delicious pastries around and buying chocolate, then I think it’s a pretty good swap.

smoothie

Just a gal and her monster banana smoothie

And, that’s it for now. I’m going to be keeping a food diary, and will probably write up about my next week of eating and probably post separately about my current exercise routine as that’s a whole other battle.

But, for now, wish me luck and let’s hope I can lose a few of those gained pounds in the next week!

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This picture is my currant motivation, I felt amazing after weeks of staying healthy in Thailand!

The Story Behind Cat Slimming Around the World

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

So here it goes. I always thought I would not be the type of person to write a blog…”it’s not for me”, “I’m not good at writing”, “it wouldn’t be very popular”, “everyone writes about travel anyway”..but here I am writing my very first blog post!

Why? Because over the past four or five months, I’ve embarked on a new lifestyle involving eating healthily and exercising. During this time, I’ve managed to lose three and a half stone and it really has been life changing.

Still not a good enough excuse for a blog, I hear you say? Well, on top of that, I am about to leave for South East Asia. I’m going to spend the next year travelling around South East Asia whilst working. (I’m incredibly lucky to be an online teacher meaning I can do my job from anywhere in the world).

I’m determined not to become complacent and pile on the weight whilst I’m away. In fact, after a couple of months trying to maintain my weight, I would like to lose a couple more stone. So, after lots of searching online, I have found only a few blog posts discussing being healthy and losing weight in Asia, and on top of that, absolutely nothing about travelling whilst following the Slimming World plan!

It occurred to me that the only way I will be able to do this is by writing down all of my goals and finding my own way to stay healthy and lose weight whilst travelling. It will most probably be a case of trial and error for a few months.

So here I am, writing my very own travel diet blog. It may help others in the future when travelling, it may interest other travellers or Slimming World followers, however, this is mostly for me as a way for me to keep myself on track over the next year. There’s no way I’m putting that three and a half stone back on!!!

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Slimming doesn’t stop me from eating lots of delicious food. Here I am eating pizza the day I reached target!

About me:
My name is Cat and I’m a 27 year old English teacher from London. I have spent the past few years living in Poland and Italy teaching English to some wonderful students. I decided last year to move back to the UK as all that moving around can be mentally exhausting. It was time for a break!

That’s when I found Dada ABC. A Chinese online English school. I teach for three hours a day on the computer to Chinese children. It can be fun, it can be exhausting, but it really is a wonderful job.

Now it’s definitely time for me to leave again (I’m not one to stay in one place for a long time!). I’ve decided to go to South East Asia. I’ve travelled around there a lot before, so there are countries I want to revisit and also new countries I haven’t been to. The teaching times also work out well, so it is the perfect location…along with the weather, of course!

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Teaching in Italy – these were my wonderful Beginner students.

Why did I start losing weight?

The past three summers, I have travelled to Asia and seen some amazing things, but the one thing holding me back was my weight. I turned down opportunity after opportunity due to the fact that I thought I was too ‘fat’ and wouldn’t be able to do it like everyone else. I decided that was enough. I need to be in control of my weight and next time I go travelling, I will not say no to anything. I joined Slimming World and set myself a target of losing three stone before I left (I’ve managed to smash that and some!!!).

I’m currently loving life over three and a half stone lighter. I’ve even got really into exercising and can’t wait to spend lots of time hiking my way through Asia!

My main goal right now is to climb Mount Batur in Bali, which is my biggest regret saying no to!