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Why is it that...

July 30th, 2006 at 12:15 am

It is so hard for me to be slimmer?

I have done great things. Iíve quit smoking, and quit drinking and using. Iíve paid off debt and built savings. Yet I have never, without noxious drug usage, been at a normal weight.

Iím fairly alternative, I donít wear a lot of make up, I wear boyish casual clothing, Iím not looks oriented, and I have a very accepting My Guy. Iím not trying to be a Skinny Minnie. Iím 5Ē3-1/2Ē and Iíd adore being 150. Shoot, 160 would be fine.

My BMI is now 32.6. Being 150 would put it at 26.2. Thatís still overweight!! This means that I have been unsuccessful at getting to my goal which, by the numbers, should be reachable because itís still overweight.

I have been doing okay with my Credible Threat Challenge, but not good. When I am upset or bored I eat in greater quantity than I should. I should be grateful for slow weight loss, let alone not gaining.

I hate that I canít think myself slim. Itís all about increased activity and decreased calories. Healthy foods and portion size. Getting myself moving. All the answers are out there. Itís really not rocket science. Move more, eat less. Eat less, move more.

Iíve got the healthy foods down pretty well; we eat a lot of high nutrient foods, and few empty calorie foods. I donít have portion size down, and I donít have moving down. I get headaches and every cold or flu out there; I know being slimmer would likely help with that-certainly not hurt-but I let it get in my way. Horrible headache? I eat a cheese sandwich to make me feel better. Yeah, I know.

I plan on using August as a new starting point. A time to develop new habits.

My plan:
Use my exercise bike at least 4 times a week.
Walk to work twice a week.
When I am in a bad mood, treat myself to a homemade sugar free popsicle or to homemade fat free popcorn. (I will train myself over time to not treat bad days with food.)
Make my lunches ahead of time to make sure I am getting good portions for snacks and lunch.

Fogged In

July 18th, 2006 at 02:25 am

My flight was cancelled due to fog; be jealous, all my roasting friends. Though I am wiped out-got up at 4:15, left the house at 5, just now sat down at 7-Iím glad I had a productive day.

I belatedly put together a gift for a work friend.

Thirteen homemade magnets with dolphins and kayaks-her interests. Three used books of ďgoodĒ fiction-another interest. The flower "bow" is a little tin of seeds from a garage sale. Itís a gift from many co-workers. Itís a nice thing that this is the third present for our ďunitĒ in two weeks and everyone has been willing to have the gifts be used or homemade. It seems like the sentiment is shared that it really is the thought that counts.

I have not been biking the last few days and thatís thrown me on my Credible Threat Challenge. Not moving backward, but not moving forward. At first it was legit, not biking: bad headache. But it reinforces for me, yet again, how crucial habits are: since I wasnít yet truly in the habit of biking it was easy to drop off. The same with good eating; the quality of food has been fine, but when I am grumpy I use food sometimes, so the quantity has been inappropriate. So today is a day to gain resolve, forgive the wobble, and move on.

$1 spent out on lunch. I had packed nothing due to flying (it used to be easier when driving) so I did not have my snacks and lunch ready. I used an old gift certificate (from Sept. 2005!) for most of the soup, but I used a regular dollar. That puts me pretty close to my entertainment budget for the month, dag nabbit.

What Should I Do With the Beets?

July 5th, 2006 at 12:49 am

We grilled today, mostly using up what we had at home. Foil wrapped potato chunks, zucchini, sausages, hamburger patties, and some chicken breast. Very good and low cost. It tasted extra good making do with what we had.

I did browse at the 4th of July event in town, but my largest purchase was some beets and zucchini at the adjacent farmerís market. I looked at a lot of jewelry and passed. Not because of The Challenge; all of it was great but nothing knocked my socks off.

I did eat a little bit of fair food, but again being thrifty goes with eating less junk: I had one egg roll, and three of us shared one order of Indian Fry Bread with honey and butter.

So my expenditures equaled $2.20 for my share of groceries, and $3.50 for fair food (including for someone else), for a total of $5.70. I had taken $60 out of the ATM just in case I found great gifts for people or jewelry I loved. I anticipated spending more. Huh. Funny how I stay frugal even when expecting not to.

Sit down meal for $6

June 29th, 2006 at 04:21 am

My Guy was in the mood to go out tonight. We decided on a little local Mexican place; weíve been going to it since it opened, and we quite like the owner. Since Iím trying to eat lighter, I ordered two incredible tacos instead of a meal. One adobada, one carne asada, both on tasty corn tortillas with cilantro and chopped onion. Wonderful. A glass of water, and chips and salsa. $4 plus tax and tip totaled $6. Itís great how my Credible Threat Challenge and Minimum Wage Challenge can come together like that. We had a great time, great service, great food, Iím not over stuffed, and Iím not out big bucks.

A Title is Elusive When the Post Rambles

June 6th, 2006 at 02:42 am

My Guy had a job fall in his lap; what a good day. Itís part time, so he can still be kind of a bum, which he defines as ďbeing incredibly involved in his own pursuits.Ē The job is for a non-profit, small and local, so heíll feel god about working there. A bonus is that itís decent money, so the part time will pay full bills. (He spends like I do, which is nice.) He wasnít even looking for work, which makes it all the better.

I used a huge chunk of this monthís entertainment budget and treated him to a big celebratory burrito, and even got him a SoBe drink he loves-it surely does takes a mighty celebration for me to pay for a beverage at a take out place. With my little burrito, I spent $13 out of entertainment, and I feel good about the expense.

My water aerobics buddy wants to take a ďsemesterĒ off too, so thatís good. I biked five miles today on the recumbent, and may do some more. Iím fitting in to some stuff I couldnít before, so another good thing. Saving on the workout budget will help with the medical bills Iím still working on.

Thereís nothing on TV tonight, and Iím glad. Iíll take a bath and blog and bike and putter. The end of the season has come at an excellent time for me, right when I wanted to cut out some bad TV. That will leave me with 6 regular shows next fall in primetime, many of which I tape (an hour becomes 40 minutes!). I do still watch some syndicated sitcoms and news and Oprah from 5 to 8. Since I have no kids, and my commute is 3 minutes, and my house is pretty clutter free, and Iíve admitted Iím lazy, this should come as no huge shock.

I figure if Iím cleaning house, hanging laundry, biking, washing dishes, etc., I shouldnít feel too guilty about watching. I would like to move more towards music though. When I was younger, boy I had no time for TV, it was music music music.

The coffee is pre-made for tomorrow and the smoothie is in the blender just waiting to be blended for breakfast. Nice.


June 4th, 2006 at 07:15 pm

I think Iíve decided not to do the water aerobics for one session. I have the recumbent bike (24 miles so far), and $3.88 a class is a lot, especially since I miss some due to work travel. Iím bummed at leaving my friend, but maybe I can save in that category and go in August for the next session. Iíll be able to walk to work most days if I skip water aerobics, which is a definite plus.

Iíve spent $504.02 this month. That includes rent, and sadly enough a couple of May expenses. One was on purpose; I had so many medical bills in May post-dated a check and mailed two payments in one envelope. The other was accidental; My Guy bought stuff at Staples that I needed to pay Ĺ of, for $18.76.

Iím in such a cranky mood today; another headache. Iím going to watch movies on the couch.

It Pays to Help. Or Be Patient. Or Be Lazy.

May 29th, 2006 at 07:15 pm

My Guy has been thinking for many months now about getting an exercise bicycle, or a trainer to put a bicycle in, or a recumbent bicycle. We read Consumer Reports, and we price shopped a couple of times. It turns out that recumbents are expensive, and trainers are more expensive than we would have thought. (If itís just something you hook a bike to, shouldnít it be much, much cheaper than an exercise bicycle?) Recumbent exercise bicycles are great, but evidently one needs to spend more to get a quality one- more so than with regular exercise bikes. So we had just kept pondering. We are often that way with big purchases, whether shared or individual. That way when we do finally take the plunge, we are pretty comfortable, and itís definitely not an impulse buy.

We went down to Clearlake this weekend to help out My Folks with their little piece of property. Do some landscaping, learn how to start gas and water, etc., for when we caretake, and spend some time getting to see D before she and my dad take off for other continents. I was the labor; My Guy actually has a background in this type of stuff, so he and D were the Planners. Well, there was a shed of stuff that was gonna get hauled away, and I figured we should really de-clutter and take advantage. I looked in another shed, and there was exercise equipment.

As we dragged a bike to the Garbage shed, I realized it was a recumbent, in great shape. D wouldnít be using it for at least a couple years, if ever. We loaded it into the car, and brought it home. This model seems to be going for $599. (D bought it at a Garage Sale, not sure how much, but definitely not even close to $599.)

My Guy went 6 miles this morning. We are happy with our find. I plan to "earn" TV by biking when watching.

Loss in Double Digits

May 26th, 2006 at 03:30 am

Hit the 10 pound mark, halfway there. The nice part: I haven't made any drastic changes, just bumped up the good habits. Next goal: 176 for my Credible threat challenge. Then I'll aim for 165. Then 150. And that is it, I tell ya.

Funk, Attempting to Treat with Muffins

May 7th, 2006 at 10:11 pm

I have no reason to be in a bad mood. The house is reasonably clean (just a Goodwill pile in the middle of the living room). My Guy is fine. Work is fine. No migraines, no other bodily problems. Both Challenges on track. I am in a mild funk regardless. The flavor of my funk is more tinged with irritability; itís not the Blues, thereís more grouch.

My treatment will consist of a long, hot bath, and some muffins. Peach banana oatmeal cornmeal walnut muffins, with a few dried cranberries even. I have a couple new paperbacks from garage sales. Iím going to avoid speaking, because I can just tell I wonít be nice.

Thrift Good for Waistline

May 6th, 2006 at 11:17 pm

This isnít news, because a lot of people have figured out that being frugal can be a good for the body. Despite my history of thrift, I myself had never embraced the natural fusion of smart spending and healthy living.

Iíve hit eight pounds on my Credible Threat Challenge. Iím eating almost all meals at home (and packing lunches). Iím eating wholesome lower fat, higher nutrition meals. Lots of beans, whole grains, vegetables in all forms, small portions of lean meat and fish. Iím eating less, and certainly not eating the rich, oversized helpings from restaurants. Iím walking more (giving my car a break, and my gas bill).

Start at 196, goal to get to 176 or I face a bikini and a camera. Iím forty percent of the way towards my goal, and it has not been too much effort. Iím just focusing on always eating breakfast, never missing my morning and afternoon snack, eating more of the healthy stuff before I treat myself to rich or gooey or sweet stuff, and making sure I savor any treats instead of scarfing them. Iím working to have my eating habits become just that: habits.

It's an extra incentive that garage sales and thrift stores have a lot of excellent clothing in the smaller sizes.

Lunch Tomorrow Not Scary

May 5th, 2006 at 01:45 am

I've figured out a benefit to eating lighter and going out to eat. Tomorrow a couple of us are going to a Mexican restaurant for Cinco de Mayo. And because of my credible threat challenge, I'll be likely to order a smaller dish, as opposed to a Combination Plate that has tons of food. So, it will cost less. And I know I will savor it, because it's a treat now, not just another ten dollar "oh, well" meal.

Saturday morning I Garage Sale with 2 buddies, and I am darned excited. Sometimes I realize I'm not as social as I'd like, and I can have a good time while doing a worthwhile activity. I'll honestly be Christmas shopping!

There are quite a few blogs on this site that are really inspiring. I can't name's like the Oscar speech, you list everybody and still forget to mention a really important person....

Suffice it to say that I thank all of you for being willing to share your daily lives, money aspects and other. It makes me think, and has actually started taking the place of some nightly TV for me. So many of you write so well, and have an honesty and simplicity I just love.

I watch too much bad TV, and I'm working on it. Most TV is bad, I admit. I'm not tackling it, because I'm not in a tackling headspace for anything other than figuring out Roth IRA stuff, the Minimum Wage Challenge, and the Credible Threat challenge. But, I'm working on it. The blogs help.

Bean Happy

May 4th, 2006 at 02:34 am

I love tortillas and beans. Kinda simple statement, but man, we have been eating a lot of them and they are so tasty. Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, whole wheat tortillas. Refried beans, fat free beans, black bean. Some chicken or onions or veggies or tomato. Open faced or rolled. They make me pretty happy and Iím satisfied.

My car didnít cost as much as I thought. Oil change, general check up, rear brakes fixed up, and a serpentine belt, $125.90. Not bad. My place may not be the cehapest in town, but all the employess have fair benefits, and I know that they are super honest, so I never have to lie awake questioning work I had done.

I walked to work today, because of the car. Iíll try to do the same tomorrow, even though my carís done. Iím doing well on the Credible Threat, and getting below 190 into the 180s is darned close. A lot of folks at work are doing weight watchers; I decided not to, not just because of the cost but because it didnít seem to fit me. Iíve heard wonderful things about it, but donít feel it would suit me right now. The benefit, though, is that now at work there are quite a few of us working to be healthier and slimmer. I now have a regular walking buddy, which makes me take my breaks, too. The camaraderie isnít about food and potlucks and candy, itís about being motivated to make positive change.

Friday weíre invited to a Barbecue and Poker Tournament (followed by live game). I only have $26 left from my 2006 poker winnings, so I need to win or stay even to be able to keep playing. Iím not sure what Iíll bring; potato salad sounds good and easy and cheap. And to grill? Perhaps some eggplant. Iím not vegetarian, but I do have a nice, pretty eggplant. Iím intimidated by cooking meat sometimes, and though I love sausage a lot of it has nitrates which may (or may not) trigger my migraines.

I've had a series of overall good days, and that's helped me feel more energetic.

Friday I train nine people all day. I love training, but I know I'll be wiped at the end. It's good to be energetic going in.

Shaping Up to be a Good day

April 28th, 2006 at 08:00 pm

My Guy got into the purge mood, which usually hits me much more often. So our pile for donations is nice and big, and I like being leaner. Weíve got a bunch of books weíre going to try to get some trade from-most mine. Weíre gonna walk to the bookstore, which will be .7 miles there and back. I know that with my Challenge, I have to think gifts early, and getting trade will help with that. Most folks Iíd get a gift for has at least one type of book theyíd like.

This last week Iíve not missed water aerobics once, I walked to work once, and Iíve been very conscious of eating well, eating right. No migraine, and good energy; a nice rare not too lazy day!

So, after hanging laundry and walking to the bookstore, Iíll feel proud, and maybe even purge some more. The less crud I have, the less I have to clean and dust. I want to only have things I use and love.

Free Food: A Dilemma

April 28th, 2006 at 06:04 am

Iím trying to live on minimum wage: free food is wonderful.
Iím trying to lose 20 pounds by September 13: free food is dangerous.

As a civil servant, I rarely go to meetings with coffee offered, let alone treats. Today I ended up at a meeting with a breakfast spread that included fresh fruit, bagels and lox, and then one with a catered lunch. I did the best I could under the conditions; selected the healthiest items, ate and was happy, and gave thanks that my dilemma today was how to handle free food. Others faced worse difficulties today.

Pump It Up

April 11th, 2006 at 02:17 am

This site pumps me up but good. Great energy. So many people are facing daily and major problems with wit, grace, and humor. Pumpity pumpity pump. Catch that fever.

My (Modified) Minimum Wage Challenge is on track. No spending to report. Not spending is starting to become a habit. Iím also getting used to not eating out much, which may relate to Ö

The Credible Threat Challenge: Iím making progress. I donít want to name a number, because day to day things vary, but Iím in the right direction.

My health is better today, I was at work all day, so some guilt is going away; I have issues with how many health issues I have. It felt like a productive day: putting away hung laundry, eating a healthy meal for the third meal in a row, feeling like if I chip away and keep moving in the right directions that I can achieve any goal.

Iíll pay all the bills in a few days. Our phone bill has a bogus charge from a company for a ďvoice mail box.Ē Itís funny, when I called to say ďHey you nuggets we ordered no such thingĒ I got a ďvoicemail fullĒ response. So the regular phone company is pulling it off the bill and notifying Bogus Company that there was a refusal to pay. I will keep trying to reach them, to give them heck. Some people probably donít notice and pay those thieves. No other bills are due though and I like to pay them all at once.

Goals: New Habits

April 9th, 2006 at 07:21 pm

In other blogs I see people writing down very specific goals. Iíve always heard that writing down goals makes it more likely to achieve them, and I love how concrete they can be, i.e. instead of Save Money or Lose Weight, itís "walk to work 5 times," or "Pay off $300 this month in debt." So Iím going to have some belated April Goals, and see if that acts to help me. Iíll have some ďone timeĒ goals, but I want to use this idea to help me develop new habits, as per 4/7 post.

Donít get me wrong, Iím still doing the Credible Threat, punitive and unrewarding as some perceive it. I am using the ideal of modest achievable goals to motivate me and help me avoid the Credible Threat Punishment.

I have been sick a LOT lately; either stomach crud or migraines or whatever. I always get sick easily, for no good reason: I used to think it was being a smoker and drinker, but I havenít done either in many years, so thereís really no excuse. So my two main set of goals will be money and health related.

*April Health*
Walk to work once a week. (I have drive the nights with water aerobics, and we still have some rain-will ramp this up.)

Eat breakfast daily (6 days a week will count to goal).

In bed every night at 10 with no TV after 10. (Friday and Sturday bed at 11.)

This is a small list, but I want these to become habits. I have a bunch I can stockpile for later. I donít want to be too ambitious.

*April Money*
Make appointment to get pre-qualified on a home loan

Make the Challenge.

*Future Goals:*
Reduce amount of bread/white rice/potatoes eaten: not sure how to quantify this one yet.
Reduce amount of cheese and peanut butter eaten. (Good protein but I eat way too much.)
Reduce bad TV watching. (Possibly make a limit of hours per week, or add no ďnewĒ shows unless I give up an ďoldĒ show?)
Take vitamins and meds daily.
Figure out what investment steps I should take with my money: increase deferred comp, increase my IRA, or what? Not sure how to make these one a discrete concrete goal yet.
Find a place in house to hang a laundry line.

Habits, Habits

April 8th, 2006 at 03:24 am

Some of the thriftiest and healthiest things I do, I do out of habit. Some of my unhealthy and costly activities are also out of habit. I become more and more aware that habits can make or break me.

I realized with my low, low grocery bill that it was the accumulation of many, many habits. I had spent $100 a month last year (not including toiletries and cleaning products) but I went out to eat a lot, so on my (Modified) Minimum Wage Challenge I had budgeted $145 to compensate for fewer meals out, but only spent $85.27, $16 of that on Club Soda. That included two ďBigĒ grocery runs. None of the things I do happened overnight. I did not start buying oatmeal at the same time that I stopped buying pre-made cartons of juice. Powdered milk came into my life at a different time than the concept of having a max price Iíd pay for an item. (For me thatís an In My Head Price Book.) I didnít start putting leftovers in salsa tub Tupperware at the same time I decided to buy generic or store brand for everything. TVP and bulghur and beans entered my life at different times. But all of these thrifty skills and habits accumulated, over the years, to become a low grocery bill. I incorporate a new habit every now and then, and add it to the routine.

When I get up and go about my day, a lot of it will be a habit. Itís not that Iím unconscious, or unaware, but patterns make up the fabric of life. I do a ďpre-makeĒ of the coffee at night, and switch it to brew in the morning. I watch the same morning news, dress in the same place, and eat the same limited variety of breakfasts. I drive the same way to work and I park about the same place. I eat the same types of lunch out of my cottage cheese Tupperware. I come home around the same time. I usually bathe in the evening, in a hot bath. These small habits are comforting.

Some patterns will only last a while; for a while I was getting dressed in the living room every morning. Now itís in the bedroom. It may change again.

My task is to remember that new things can become habits. If I started a routine physical activity, and just kept at it, it would become a habit. Not going out to eat has actually started to be a habit on this challenge: the next time I do go out it will be a treat, to savor. If I always have a glass of water when I think Iím hungry, it will become a habit. Hanging laundry on the line was very awkward and time consuming and frankly mind consuming at first, now itís old hat. The first time I made muffins I was actually very anxious, and now I can whip out a batch. A batch a week is a habit now. I recycle a zillion things, but if I started that way it would have blown my fuses-I got in the habit of recycling some items, then added more and more over time. Itís no work now to recycle a battery or bottle cap: there are specific jars on my fridge for these two items-plop!

The first few days or weeks it can be tough. But I have to remember, have to, that once itís a HABIT, it just happens without extraordinary effort. Iíve gotten there with some frugality and house cleaning habits. I need to get there with some health habits. I have some bad TV habits. I need patience and persistence. I might look back someday and laugh at what seemed a looming task now. I mean, scared of muffins?

Credibly Threatened

April 1st, 2006 at 11:37 pm

I am motivated to lose my extra weight as I have not been before.

I had tried thinking reward before: I had told myself that if I got to 150 pounds (I'm 5"3-1/2" tall) I'd go on a spending spree of up to $500 for all new cloths. Now, that would be an insanse spree for me-I don't spend that much a year or even two years. But no movement forward.

Shame hasn't worked either. I am not necessarily embarassed by the weight- it doesn't matter if I tell you I'm 196 or not, it doesn't change my weight, and if you saw me you'd already know I'm plump. Even though I'm anonymous online, I don't see the need to pretend I'm a tall slim redheadhead. But I do feel a sense of shame that I have not been able to control my weight. I've kicked alcohol and other drugs, I've kicked cigarettes, why can't I just be more physically active and not overeat? But, the little internal shame talks don't work either.

(With quitting drinking and smoking, there is the reward of being successful on day one. You may be a shaking, sweaty, uptight mess that week, but -snap-you are a non-drinker, a non-smoker. With weight issues, I can be physically active and eat right all day, and look and weigh the same. It is frustrating for me. I try to just enjoy the process, but it's a challenge.)

The idea of being in a bikini bathing suit on a beach in Croatia is a mighty deterent. If I make my 20 pound loss, which I expect to do, I can wear my standard one piece and be fine. I carry weight in my belly, so the bikini idea is especially funky. I'd like to be the kind of woman who becomes rubenesque, and becomes curvier everywhere with some extra pounds, but my body does a portly older man thing; weird small butt with a big gut.

Once I've hit a five pound loss, I'll assume that I've gained some new good habits, and I'll look for other ways to utilize the credible threat. A friend who just quit smoking took the idea; she rewards herself regularly, so she didn't know how to use that, but the idea of taking AWAY a reward-no buying of books for 6 months if she smokes-was a motivator she could grab onto.

Has anyone else used the Credible Threat concept? I know for some it can seem too punitive, but for me, since I picked a reasonable goal (essentially a pound a week), it's working so far.

We Made Her Cry!

March 31st, 2006 at 03:15 am

The gifts were perfect. Kim loved the book and magnets. She teared up at the Bono/Kim photoshopped picture; I don't think because she's weird about Bono, but because she was touched at the effort that went into the gift. A resounding success! It'll be a tough trend to continue, the low amount of spending and high return, but the process rocked.

We were in a fast food mood. How did we handle it? First we decided that grilled cheese sandwiches provide that greasy love. Then, I decided not to have my usual two, but to have one, with a big bowl of vegetables. A healthier, cheaper, meal, with little effort. I want to succeed with my Credible Threat challenge and Minimum Wage challenge, but most of all I want to not feel stressed or deprived about it. Today was a good day.

Credible Threat

March 22nd, 2006 at 04:15 am

I had seen a show, maybe Primetime live, where the theme was Game Theory, and they had a piece on Credible Threat. The idea is that fear of something real-a credible threat-is an excellent motivator. They took pictures of people in tiny bathing suits, and said, ďIf you donít lose 15 pounds in two months, will put this picture on TV.Ē And it worked. Four out of the five did it, and the fifth came very close. So I mentioned it to a friend, and her thought is that we should agree to lose 20 pounds by Croatia, or wear a bikini for a day on the beach in Croatia and have pictures taken. So that gives me more than five months to lose 20 pounds. I weighed in a 196-not good, for me-I had been 170-ish last year. Iím 5í3-1/2Ē. So, 176 is very reasonable (Iíd be happy with 150), and 4 pounds a month is doable.