Hi, I'm Arden

Introduce yourself. Tell us about your training history, how long you've been vegan, share some of your goals and some of your interests.

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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:26 pm

Hi, I'm Arden

#1 Postby ardent4levi » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:15 am

Hi, guys. I'm joining this forum because, although I've been vegan for almost four years, I'm having a rough patch now in terms of health, body image and body composition. A lot of it has to do with things I can't control, like my job and where I live right now, but in any case I'm passionate about both veganism and exercising, so nice to meet all of you!

My favorite types of exercise are running and yoga, but I also love getting stronger by lifting free weights or doing body weight exercises. I've done a tiny bit of HIIT, and I don't hate it but I hate it. You know? In any case, I use a lot of Fitness Blender routines and really like their website. I also love aerobic dance, especially Bollywood-style.

So here's my current situation and trouble: I live in Japan. That's the main thing. Hahaha. As you might expect, it's not very vegan friendly. Beans and quinoa are really expensive and hard to find, there's no easy foods like vegan chili or microwave dinners, soy yogurt, seitan, nutritional yeast, or even tempeh, it's basically tofu and dreams if you want to buy protein-rich food locally, and raw fruits and veggies if you want grab-and-go food (there's plenty of white rice, but I try to avoid that). I do order protein powder and a few other things from iHerb, but of course that's expensive too because of the shipping cost. I'm a teacher, so half the time I'm stressing and tiring myself out by trying to keep up with elementary school kids, and half the time I'm sitting at a desk for up to eight hours a day. I live in a conservative, anti-foreign prefecture so I hate going outside because I always get stared at, but that's not the biggest problem because I have fibromyalgia so the stress of doing this job means I rarely have any energy for doing anything after work except exercising (which makes me feel better) and doing chores on the weekend. I haven't cooked for real in a looong time, even though I used to love cooking. So these are all the things I can't change.

Here's what I want to change. When I arrived here, I was 130 lbs with a BMI of 20.7, and body fat I think as low as 21% at one point. I gained 20 lbs in my first winter here (winters in this area are really nasty and made my fibromyalgia drastically worse), and if the scale I bought here is to believed, my body fat went up to 31%. I've managed to drop 5 pounds since I started dieting again (I've been exercising obsessively this whole time), but - again, trusting a relatively unreliable form of measurement, a bathroom scale - my body fat percentage won't seem to go down no matter what I do. Whether I lose or gain, whether I exercise more or less, body fat stays stuck at 31%. I have a healthy weight for my height, but that body fat is borderline obese. And more importantly for my self-esteem, I currently live surrounded by waifish stick figures and I look like a ballooned version of a human.

There's one thing that I'm desperately trying to change and could be causing the whole problem, but it's become a sensitive issue for me so I would appreciate that if you offer advice, please keep it kind. I hate my job so much, as a reward for getting through the week, I binge eat on Friday nights. My go-to binge food is peanut butter. It's so much more satisfying than any other vegan option here, but I know how bad it is for me so I only eat it on those days. Unfortunately, that means that, if I don't fill up on healthier things before I start, I can eat up to 340 grams at a time (that's how big a jar is here). On top of that, I usually have a package of dried fruit like pineapple as well, plus a huge salad and baked potato, and sometimes even chips or onigiri (rice balls) as well. I hate myself even talking about, knowing I would never want any of my friends, family or even acquaintances to know that I do this. I want to change, but it's the one thing keeps me going through every week, and taking that away feels like taking away my last hope.

When I arrived, I was working on a dream that I've had for a long time, which is visible abdominal muscles. I got so close, starting to see a clear line straight from the bottom of my ribs down to my belly button, but now I'm carrying so much weight in my belly, under arms and thighs, every part of me is flabby, I feel awful. I once lost a large amount of weight a few years ago (105 lbs), and since then fitness and health have become a big part of my self-esteem. In other words, my self esteem has been shot for the last year or so, and low sunlight and a stressful lifestyle have had me wondering why I even exist. Exercise and knowing I can go home in six months keeps me going.

I know there are many things I can't change right now, like my job and the food that's available to me. But if anyone has any suggestions about what I could be doing wrong or doing better, especially anyone who has experience with binge eating, that would be great. Here's an example of a weekly eating and exercise schedule for me:

Average day meals:
Breakfast - Oatmeal w/berries and spinach, Brazil nuts, chia seeds Grapefruit
Lunch - Natto, raw veggies
Pre- or post-workout snack - Primal Strip, banana
Dinner - big salad w/beans, baked sweet potato, tofu

Friday meals:
Breakfast - Berries and spinach
Lunch - Natto, raw veggies
Dinner - Big salad, baked sweet potato, peanut butter, dried fruit

Monday - 10,000 steps or yoga
Tuesday - usually rest day (I work late on this day, sometimes ten hours or more)
Wednesday - Tempo run
Thursday - Strength training or dance
Friday - Strength training or dance
Saturday - 10,000 steps or yoga
Sunday - 5k+ distance run

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Re: Hi, I'm Arden

#2 Postby mrbear666 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:56 pm

welcome Arden, i just assumed japan would be a good place for a vegan, obviously not! good luck reaching your goals.
"iam the strongest one! iam the viking!" - jon pall sigmarsson
“may all of your dreams and ambitions happen, but most important, may all of your enemies die"

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