Day 5-8

As I thought, I’m too busy to update every day, so I will do a week wrap-up every Sunday. I started out great and I feel that I finished the week great. I haven’t cheated, nor have I been tempted. I’m motivated to get the remainder of this weight off. I’ve exercised every day (except my first day when I only got about 30 minutes in). I actually look forward to riding my bike because I can read my book! I’m reading Dracula now. Thanks to my friend Sakinah, I’m stocked with books until at least May.

So with all my success, why haven’t I lost weight!! More importantly, why have I gained weight!! My downfall and something I need to work on ASAP is not eating when I get home from school. I teach until 8:15 p.m. and not home until about 9, and then I’m starving. Unless you are a teacher, you don’t understand how much energy it sucks out of you. One evening I ate a big plate of vegetables, the next morning I was up 1.76 pounds! Ridiculous! Gaining weight from veggies.

So new goal this week, or rather a new challenge for me is to not eat after 7p.m. I’m going to make that official and put it on my challenge site. ūüôā It seems to be working for me.

Overall loss for the week: 4.18 pounds

Goals:

1st goal: lose 14 pounds. 9.82 pounds to go

2nd goal: lose 20 pounds.: 15.82 pounds to go

3rd goal: lose 30 pounds.: 25.82 pounds to go

4th goal: lose 40 pounds by the end of the challenge: 35.82 pounds to go

I need to figure out how to change my scale from kilos to pounds. These numbers drive me crazy.

ImageMy chair thieves.

mrkitty and simon updated And my yogurt thieves. They know the sound of the yogurt opening. Simon precedes to climb all the way up onto my shoulder and tries to go down my arm to steal it. For his efforts, they usually get

Day 4

Very excited today, I lost 1.76 pounds for a total of 4.62 pounds gone.

I did go to bed last night hungry, and woke up pretty hungry. I’ve gotten so used to a¬†full feeling that I think it is good for me to feel empty and hungry sometimes. At least this is what I’m telling myself.

For breakfast, I had popcorn again.

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My huge bowl of  curry  popcorn. 

We bought some spinach at the store the other day. I was worried it would be bad by tomorrow, so I searched on how to cook it and found a recipe on this website: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/spinach/

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Basically, saute spinach with garlic in olive oil. I, of course added curry. It was delish.

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I ate my leftover soup yesterday with it, 3 bowls of it to be exact.

Dinner is going to be cabbage, the remainder of the spinach and an onion sauteed in olive oil.

I go back to school tomorrow after a week off, so my posts maybe pretty short. I’m using this blog for accountability for myself and maybe motivation for someone else.

Accomplishments:

Exercised 1 hour

Lost 1.76 pounds for a total of 4.62

Goals:

1st goal: lose 14 pounds. I have 9.38 pounds to reach that.

2nd goal: lose 20 pounds.

3rd goal: lose 30 pounds.

4th goal: lose 40 pounds by the end of the challenge

The challenge website: https://giveit100.com/@Aminah/iiegha

Day 3

Day 3

Success! I lost 2.86 pounds from yesterday!

I did go to bed hungry last night and woke up pretty darn hungry. Last year I ate a lot of popcorn on this diet,  which helped keep my full. So I bought a ton of it at the store.

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Well, not a ton, just a little over a kilo.

This morning I decided to pop myself a big, no HUGE bowl of popcorn for breakfast. We only use natural kernels, and I pop it in olive oil. I seasoned it with curry (of course) and drizzled a little more olive oil on top. Yum, Yum, Yum.

For the meals today, I am making a leek soup. It has leeks (of course), a tomato, carrots, cauliflower, a zucchini and a hot pepper.

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d3A huge head of cauliflower.

I’m boiling them for a bit to make them soft to throw in the blender with garlic and seasoning. Then it will go back on the stove to cook.

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For hubs (and I’ll eat some too) I’m making green split peas.

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It will cook down to like a mush, but a delicious mush. It is topped with cumin and olive oil and scooped up with the homemade bread I make. I, however, skipped the bread and ate some with a spoon. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it before lunch, so this is what it looked like after.

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I rode my bike for an hour…so exercise is complete.

First goal: lose 14 pounds to get back where I was

progress: Lost 2.86 ..11.14 more to go

Day 3 success!

The challenge website: https://giveit100.com/@Aminah/iiegha/3

Day 2

Yea, so I ate way too much yesterday. I gained a whole kilo, that means 2.2 pounds. So I am now up 14 pounds. But I won’t let that get me down. I have to keep moving forward.

Here was my breakfast, an onion, green pepper, hot pepper, tomato, and spinach sauteed in olive oil. At the end I threw in a little bit of cheese. I had some pretty weak coffee with milk, I’ll probably regret that later.

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I was planning on having an egg pizza, but the eggs fell on the floor ūüė¶¬†http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2013/06/egg-crust-breakfast-pizza-pepperoni-olives.html¬† I was going to attempt to make this, with different veggies of course.

For lunch and dinner (I don’t like to cook multiple times a day), I was going to make cabbage soup.

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I sauteed cabbage, onion, green pepper, 2 hot peppers, carrots, and turnips with olive oil. When the oil was gone, I threw in tons of seasoning (lots of curry) and added a little water. (I changed my mind about making soup) When that was cooked out, it was lunch time. It was YUMMY.

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Hubs doesn’t eat my food, so this is what I cooked for him.

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Tajine with turkey. The cats made out like bandits on this when hubs accidentally pushed the turkey on the floor. Is it wrong that I was happy he did it and the cats got to eat turkey?

It is 2pm, I just ate my big plate of veggies… and I’m still hungry. I know that it will take a few days to adjust to not eating bread, but this really sucks. Plus, I’ve got a headache. Probably from that weak coffee this morning. I’ve been trying to make up for it by drinking hot tea (Lipton). I don’t remember getting a headache last year. I have to go to the University today to finish up a class I’m teaching, ¬†I hope this¬†headache is gone soon.

Dinner: I ate the same thing as lunch, but added a dollop of natural yogurt, which is very similar to sour cream. The cats got the rest for the carton. I can’t resist their meows. But I was still hungry so I ate a beet that I cooked earlier today. I LOVE beets. However, I’m still HUNGRY!

Anywoo, I just exercised for an hour, and I noticed that I had a lot more energy today. But I still have a headache. C’est la vie.¬†

So, overall today was a success! I’m off to bed.¬†

Day 1

I had to make the bread today, but I am feeling confident. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, but I was missing my normal toasted bread with olive oil. I’m not gonna lie, I was hungry. I was hungry ALL DAY long.

Which is why I ate too much of my yummy lunch. It was tomatoes and a hot pepper sauteed in olive oil, then I added lentils. I found that there were leftover chick peas from yesterday, so I threw those is. I should’ve only ate a small portion, but it was delish and I was HUNGRY.

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Hubs took me to the store and I spent too much money as usual. One of my favorte things to buy is spices! I found some curry seasoning, which is my absolute fav. I think I should’ve been born into an Indian family. When we got home, I had to make myself a new dinner because I ate too much at lunch. I sauteed an onion, green pepper, hot pepper, tomato, and some turkey, with lots of curry seasoning. It was so yummy, and I ate it all.¬†¬†.

So no bread or sugar today. I got on the scale for the first time in almost 2 months. If I don’t weigh every day, I end up gaining weight. I am up 12 pounds from my diet last year. So my first goal is to lose 12 pounds. Because we ended up going to the store, I only exercised about 30 minutes. So that is a fail, but I’m owning up too it.

I’m feeling pretty optimistic about this ūüôā

Here is the link to my challenge site

https://giveit100.com/@Aminah/iiegha

100 day Challenge

Last year, I did a radical weight loss program and lost a total of 68 pounds in a little over 100 days. I stopped eating bread, sugar, vegetable oil, salt and basically anything that someone else cooked. If I didn’t cook it, I didn’t eat it. Last April, I got vertigo really bad and the doctor said it was because I wasn’t eating enough. I knew she was full of crap, because I went to another doctor who said that I had really bad ear infections. But his started my de-railment of my program. I began eating bread, and when Ramadan came, I really fell off the wagon, eating tons of bread, cakes and cookies at night…then going to sleep. Most loose weight during Ramadan, well, I gained. So fast forward til now, I have gained a total of 12 pounds back from that weight loss. My mom tries to reassure me and says its not much, but I still feel horrible. I can feel the weight dragging me down. To add insult to injury, TWO of my Moroccan co-workers felt obligated to tell me that I was putting weight back on. One of them is the same person who used to taunt me with sugary goodies when I was dieting last year. If she is reading this, she will know who she is….but I still love her. I did neglect to tell both of them, that if we were in the USA and they were Americans, there would have been a good chance I would have punched them.

So it is time to get back in the game, but I’ve lacked motivation. The other day I came across this website https://giveit100.com/projects. It is a challenge program. You are to challenge yourself for 100 days and everyday upload a 10 second video. I thought about it over the course of the day, and thought ‚ÄúYou can do this Aminah‚ÄĚ.

So I’m going to challenge myself for 100 days. My challenge is not eating bread or sugar and exercising for at least 1 hour every day. I didn’t exercise last year when I lost all that weight, which I believe is one reason I put back on some weight. I’m going to try to update my blog every day as well about my progress.

Wish me luck and I’d love words of encouragement!!

Neighbors

When I was a child, we knew most of our neighbors. My brother and I had friends up and down the street, so nobody was a stranger. At some point, all this changed. When I moved back in with my mom around the age of 22, the neighborhood seemed to be completely different. With the exception of 2 houses, my mom didn’t really know who her neighbors were. We kept to ourselves and anytime the doorbell rang, we would hide and peek out the curtain to see who it was. Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it’s what we did.

I have unfortunately retained some of this behavior while living in this very communal society. Moroccans love their neighbors and after the late afternoon prayer, women often go to visit each other. Gossip is told, tea is drunk, and goodies are eaten. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I dread that knock on the door. I look at hubs and put my finger to my mouth and say “shhhh”. He looks at me, shakes his head and goes to open the door. However, due to my lack of Darija, and their lack of French, my neighbors stopped coming to my house, and I never went to theirs. With the exception of some family that lives here, I’d never been into anyone’s house, and we have lived here a year and a half!

The lady across the street had a baby last week. (I use the term street loosely, as from door-to-door, it is probably only 6 large strides). The only clues I had that she had had a baby was that there were baby clothes on her terrace and her family had shown up. These are pretty big clues, and we confirmed when her daughter came to our house for something. She had had the baby on Friday, the day we found out was Tuesday. We live so close, I should have known, but due to my love of privacy, I didn’t have a clue. The next day, I was invited over for tea and then dinner. Hubs got me sugar to give (the customary gift of Morocco) and I begrudgingly went over. I really don’t like sitting with a lot of women, especially when we don’t speak the same language, but I wanted to fulfill my neighborly duty. It went well, as it always does, and before the night was ¬†over, I had henna on my hands. Although my Darija is limited, and they know very little French, we were able to communicate by speaking slowly and using a lot of hand signals.

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The next day I was invited back for lunch, but because I was fasting, I couldn’t eat. She said for me to just come sit with them for a little while. Mind you, I had been cleaning and cooking all morning, so I didn’t have the best clothes on. I thought it was just her and her family, and another neighbor, so I went on over in my sweatpants and my stained sweatshirt. I was shocked and horrified and utterly embarrassed when I walked in to find a house full of women, all dressed up. I quickly rolled up my sleeves to hide the stains and sat with one of our cousins. She tried to make me feel better, but I was totally embarrassed. I sat for 15 minutes before I felt I could leave to go home and change my clothes.

Because I couldn’t eat, they invited me back for dinner. There were less ladies and it was less formal. I again had a nice time. It is amazing how well you can communicate when you don’t speak the same language. Both parties just have to be open and be willing to try to understand.

I’ve learned a lot and am still learning a lot from living here in Morocco. I need to get over my need for privacy and be more open to sitting with my neighbors, regardless of language barriers.

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This is how big my street is. Only big enough for one car. 

Mr. Kitty and Simon

Since July, my life has been transformed. This once self-proclaimed dog person, has been claimed by 2 cats. There are hundreds of feral cats and dogs where we live, so isn’t uncommon to see kittens hanging out around our house. We live on a fairly quiet road that has several houses under construction, which the local cats stake claims on. One hot day in July, we noticed a ginger kitten hanging around our house. He was scared of us, but eventually wondered into our open door and directly into my heart. He began coming everyday, and after about a week, he let me pet him. He wouldn’t leave my side at all and allowed me to even give him a bath without biting me. I tried different names on him, but Mr. Kitty was the only one that “felt’ right.¬†

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This was taken a day or two after he started hanging around.

About a month later, we saw another tiny kitten outside.He was so tiny, I thought he was going to die. We did the same routine as we did with Mr. Kitty and within a day, this tiny kitten was hanging out in the house. This sweet kitty soon became my Simon. Initially, he and Mr. Kitty did not get along, well really Mr. Kitty wanted nothing to do with him. Mr. Kitty had claimed me as HIS human, and even preferred my husband not to get too close to me. But Simon persisted, and Mr. Kitty relented. They are the best of buds now and inseparable. 

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Simon in the early days.

Everyone knows how crazy I am about my cats, including my students. I have become THAT lady who shows pictures of her cats, to pretty much anyone. Moroccans in general are not animal lovers, so my craziness of my cats, is well seen as crazy. My neighbors know which cats are mine, and not to mess with them. One day when I was walking around the corner with 2 of my North American gal pals, we witnessed some teenagers (who don’t live on my street) throwing rocks at Simon. This is what I worry about everyday when I send the cats outside, Moroccan children, again in general, have no respect for animals and think it is a game to be cruel and torture them. So when I saw those teenagers, I lost it. I don’t know a lot of the language here, at least not the important words to tell some kids off, and they don’t understand French in my area, so I couldn’t have used that. In hindsight, I could have asked them what they were doing, and why, but instead, I began shouting expletives at them and calling them donkeys (in Arabic). As these were teenagers, I’m pretty sure they understand the 4 letter words I was shouting at them. One of my gal pals,who has also rescued a feral kitten, and I were ready to take down some teenagers. Again this was not my best moment in handling my emotions, and I sure wasn’t acting my age, but when I saw my Simon running scared away from these punks, my filters dropped. On a positive note, I gave the old lady across the street a good show.¬†

As I mentioned before, I send the cats outside. They are not full-time indoor pets. And before I get anyone giving me flack for this, I want them to be indoor cats, but my hubby doesn’t. We don’t have a door going into our bedroom, and I’m allergic to cats, so we can’t have them crawling all over me at night, which is exactly what they would do. So every night, I send them out into the night and say a prayer that they will be safe. Every morning, they wake me up by coming to the door and screaming for me. Yes, I said screaming, because that is what Simon does. I’m not really sure he knows how to meow properly. As long as I am home, they hang out in the house with me. When they have to go potty, they go to the door and tell me to let them out. They have trained me very well.¬†

When Mr. Kitty first came around, I told myself that I would not get attached. We have to go to the States so I can help my mom, and taking a cat would be difficult. Well, that thought went out the window pretty quickly. I’ve decided that I can’t leave them behind. We are too bonded with each other, and I have domesticated them (to a point, they are still street smart). It is a daunting, but not impossible task to take them with us. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost a lot of money and on Royal Air Maroc, they can go in the cabin with me. It will be a long journey, but in the end they will have a better life in my mom’s house back in Kentucky.¬†

A lot of people have told me that these are some lucky cats because they can get out of Morocco and away from a hard life on the streets. But, I think I am the lucky one. These cats have given me so much joy and companionship these last few months, that I am in fact, the lucky one. 

 

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Mr. Kitty and I taking a selife

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Simon hanging out in the window. Image

Mr. Kitty staring lovingly into my eyes. If it were up to him, he would kick the hubs out and marry me himself. 

 

 

 

The Holidays

This year, I’m missing my 3rd holiday season with my family. It really hurts to be away from my family for so long and I pray I won’t miss a 4th holiday season.¬†I used to love the holidays. I looked forward to spending time with my family, opening presents, and of course eating. As a child, Christmas was a magical time. My mom did her best every year to make the day special for me and my brother. After an exciting morning at home, we would repeat it all over again at my grandparents house. I never appreciated how hard they tried to make such a special day for us. I wish I could go back for one Christmas to experience it all over again.

But, wait, I’m Muslim, why would I celebrate Christmas? Well, that is an easy answer, because I can and I do. For my family, (and they hate to hear this) it is a cultural celebration, not a religious event. Not once did we go to church on Christmas nor did we speak about the religious aspect of it. If we did, then I would not celebrate it. When I first converted , I told my mom I wouldn’t celebrate Christmas anymore and she broke down in tears. In Islam we are told to love and honor our parents, especially our mothers. If this would make her happy and not go against any of my beliefs, why not? Many born Muslims don’t understand this, but I bet most converts do.

In Islam we have 2 big holidays, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Ahda. Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. It is a day to go to the Mosque, wear new clothes, and give to charity. Of course, it is a day to go visit friends and family and give candy and money to children. Eid Al-Ahda is the bigger of the two holidays. This is celebrated 70 days after the end of Ramadan. On this day, Muslims slaughter a sheep to commemorate the sacrifice Abraham. Allah (swt) ordered Abraham to kill his only son, and when Abraham was going to submit to Allah’s (swt) will, Allah (swt) told him that his sacrifice was proven and for him to kill a sheep instead. So, if financially able, Muslims slaughter sheep and preferably give some of the meat to poor people. Family and friends go to visit each other on this day and have a celebration.

These holidays are great, but unfortunately, I don’t have the warm and fuzzy feelings that I do with Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is largely because I never celebrated these holidays in the States. Yes, I’ve been Muslim now almost 11 years, but I never had anyone to show me the joy in these holidays. Every Eid since being here, I feel like Scrooge and have a “Bah Hum Bug” attitude. I expect to have my American holiday feelings and when I don’t, I get disappointed.

Just last week, some of my students wrote papers about these holidays, and what makes them so special. An underlying theme of why it is so special, is that the woman of the house gets up early to make a special breakfast. This breakfast sets the mood for the whole day. I started to think about Christmas growing up, and how mom always got up early and made cinnamon rolls. We’d wake up to that sweet smell and eat gooey cinnamon rolls and open presents. So, I’ve had an attitude shift. I need to create the warm and fuzzy feelings for my husband and I. I can’t expect them to just happen. So come the next Eid, I’m going to decorate the house and get up early to make a special breakfast, which will probably be cinnamon rolls.

Happy Holidays!

 

2012-10-24_11-04-22_892He tasted pretty good!

 

Welcome

I’ve had the idea many times to do a blog, but never really took the time to do it. I’ve been told by many people I should do one so friends and family far away can “see” my life here in Morocco. So why not give it a try?

So for my welcome entry, I”ll write about why I’m in Morocco, my adopted country. I came here on August 15, 2011, my 33rd¬†birthday. I wanted to start a new chapter of my life in a new country. I had had some painful experiences and needed a break. My good friend (another American) was here, so she told me to come on over and visit for a few months. I got my passport, bought my ticket, and to my mom’s dismay, I boarded the flight. It was my first time out of the USA.

Well, my few months has now turned into 2 1/2 years. About a week after my arrival, I met an amazing man, who is now my
wonderful hubby. A lot can change in 2 1/2 years. My life has done a total 180 degrees: I used to be a social worker, now I”m an English teacher. I used to live in a high rise apartment just outside of Washington, DC, now I live in a developing (aka poor)
area of the city. I used to have a nice car, now I take horrible public transportation if the weather is not nice for the motorcycle. I used to be scared to ride a motorcycle, now I love it! I used to pay rent, now I own a home. I used to take 15 medicines a day, now I take none. I used to have everything I wanted (material items), but now I have everything I need. My life has gone from over-complicated to pretty simple. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life and realize I what I do and don’t need to be happy.

Welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy the realness of me, as I can only be Simply Me.

 

 

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Me and the hubs on the motorcycle.