April Check In

I’m a bit late on this check in, so I’ll probably start doing them at the start of the Month to reflect on the previous month, rather than a week before month end. I don’t feel like April was a great month for most of my goals, and I kind of fell off the wagon for a couple weeks there.

Lose 50 pounds
I have been stagnant on this one. I hit my halfway goal on 4/19/2017, gave myself a cheat day on 4/20, and then had a horrific (to me) outbreak of poison oak. In the interest of self-care, I ate too much and didn’t exercise enough. This put me right back at my March check in weight. I know I will be back to halfway by the end of May, because I am recommitting myself to this goal. However, I’m on Prednisone for the Poison Oak outbreak, which has drastically affected my appetite. I want to eat absolutely everything! Only about 2 more weeks until I’m off that med, so I’m not really expecting to see much loss until after I get off of it.

Eat Healthier
See above. I gave myself too many food rewards, and too many cheat meals in this last month. I mostly stopped with my meal planning, and just went with whatever was convenient and available. It makes it hard to stay within a diet/calorie deficiency if I’m just going for the easiest meal. One change that I’ve added recently is an after work snack. I’ve been trying to eat a granola bar or something when I’m on the bus on my way home after work. This helps curtail the immediate need to eat after work, which had been turning into grabbing something at any of the fast food places between work and home (there are dozens), or going straight to dinner time and skipping my runs. This change has been working for me the last week or so, and hopefully will continue to do so.

Stop Drinking Alcohol
Still doing very well here, I have passed 120 alcohol free days! I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to be social, without the lubricant I’ve been so used to for the last 10+ years. I have mixed results. I stated previously, that once I hit my halfway goal (25lbs lost) I will be getting a dessert and wine pairing, which is a 1.5oz pour, so I’m not going to count it. The next thing I’m trying to decide is whether to drink my free beer after I complete the R&R Half Marathon. I want to because I will have earned it, but should I count it and start my alcohol free day count from scratch? That’s something I will need to think about more.

Exercise More
And another goal that I need to recommit myself to. I keep a wall calendar that I record my completed exercises on, and April is looking pretty empty. Out of the whole month I probably exercised out a total of 10 times, and the majority of those were in the last week. My half marathon is 6 weeks away (give or take a couple days), and I need to be ready for it. Even though I didn’t do great at the amount of exercise I did, I’m still feeling really good. I was able to complete a 25 mile bike ride with Cascade Bike Club, having done 0 miles of bike training so far this year. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this if I hadn’t been going out and running. I’m feeling stronger every time I get out there, so even if I missed several training runs, overall I am feeling good about this goal.

Get more serious about my career
Am I serious? How can I get serious about my career, when I don’t know what I want to have a career in? How is my current position going to effect the rest of my career? Do I even want to work in Project Management? Is this something that I want to do with the rest of my life? What if I want to move internationally? (yes I’ve been considering) PM work isn’t a skill set that most countries give work visas for, so should I consider a life course change, and start training for a new skill that I might be able to use to move internationally?

These are the things that have been going through my mind lately in regards to this goal. There is a whole world of opportunities, and I feel like I want to get out there and explore something new. But I also don’t want to jump around on my resume between so many positions and fields. I’m sticking with my plan of 1 year with my current job title, but I’m trying to figure out what my next move will be. It’s looking more and more that I am going to need to go back to school and finish my degree. But what to I finish that degree in? Decisions to be made…

Work on my focus issues
I’m fine-ish. I know that I have a hard time focusing on some things, but for the most part I’m doing a pretty good job. I have to do lists, and I make daily game plans as to what I’m going to get done that day. It’s helping, and I know I’m moving in the right direction.

Get additional training/certification
See above. I don’t know what I want to do, so how can I train? At least I’m thinking about it.

Get my finances together
This is going great. I have one last collections account to get cleared up and closed. Started this process with 5, and now I’m down to just the one. Pretty proud with how far I’ve come. I should have that last one closed out before the end of May, and then I can focus on paying down more of my student loans.

Curb unnecessary spending
This is as good as can be expected. Since I didn’t do a great job with my meal plan in April, I spent for food when I shouldn’t have. Also, I’ve been taking ride shares when I should take the bus. I’m hoping that the weather will finally be clearing up soon, so I’m less tempted to skip waiting for the bus. Also with better weather, I’ll be taking my bike with me more, which will force me to skip the ride share in favor of taking the bus or biking.

Save!
Like last time, I decided that getting my debt under control was more important than building savings. So I’ve kept my savings at the same level. Once I’m able to close out that final collections account, I’m going to be putting extra into my student loan. Once that is paid off, then I will focus on my personal savings more. Retirement savings is still going strong, so long term I’m good for now.

Part of why I’m a little late with this check in, is because I was nervous to put it out there. I felt like I had a bad month, and it made me feel like I was failing at accomplishing my goals. This isn’t going to be an easy process, and I knew it going into it. I’m actually really glad I wrote this out, because reading through all of this makes me feel like I have been staying on track. Yeah I had a bad month for my weight loss goals, but I still have a plan and I want to remain committed. So overall I’m feeling good about myself, and who I’m trying to be.

March Check-in

About a month has gone past since the last time I checked myself. This last month has been a little more tough than the previous two. I have had some struggles maintaining a positive outlook, and keeping on track. Let’s look at them…

Lose 50 pounds
I think I’m doing ok here. I weigh myself many times throughout the day, and it gives me a good idea of what my weight fluctuations are throughout the day. I have a 5 pound range, which is about average. When I first started this, I was maintaining my weight in the 195-200 range, and had been for a good 2 years. My goal is to get to 145-150 range, and the half way will be 170-175. In my last post I was down to 181-186 range, and 181 was the lowest I had seen in years. My range is now down to 179-184, which is pretty fucking exciting! I haven’t seen 17x on a scale in I don’t know how long.  I’ve started buying new workout clothes, since it’s hard to run when your pants are falling off, but I’m going to wait on getting anything else new for now.

Eat Healthier
I’m not doing so great at this one lately. I’ve been falling off the meal planning wagon, and I need to get on it again. Doing the meal plan and calorie tracking has given me a good idea of what I can and can’t eat, but I think I could lose faster if I get better at keeping track, and planning. I will start again today…maybe tomorrow.

Stop Drinking Alcohol
I am not having any issues with this one, currently at 81 alcohol free days, all in a row! I’m feeling a different kind of issue here, which is socialization. Last check in, I wasn’t seeing it yet, but I definitely am now. I am getting more and more socially awkward. I’m first to leave a party, I’m not hanging out with people when the only plan is drinking, and when I am hanging out with anyone, I have no idea what to do or say. I don’t know what to do to fix it, it’s like the further I get away from alcohol, the more of an introvert I become.

Exercise More
Doing pretty well here. I’m at 6 miles on my weekend long runs, and 4 on my weekday runs. This weekend I’m going to tune up my bike, and train for the 30 mile ride I’m doing a week later. Since I haven’t been  bike training at all, I’m nervous for it. My body is stronger from running so I’m hoping that will help me with this.

Get more serious about my career
Medium feelings here. I don’t really want to go into it right now.

Work on my focus issues
I’m doing a good job on focusing on some things, but not others. So I think this goal is going ok, because I am making some effort, even if small.

Get additional training/certification
At my last check in, I said that I wanted to at least have a plan here, and I’m doing even better than that! I have started a few Project Management courses on a website I have access to through work (Lynda). I have also looked into certifications through Project Management Institute (PMI). Their certifications are a little on the pricey side, so I need to work with my HR to find out if they can be covered as part of tuition reimbursement. I don’t really want to pay for these certs, since it’ll take me off budget.

Get my finances together
Definitely feeling good about this one. I have been making edits to my monthly budget regularly, and I’m almost to what is the correct budget. My budget that I had previously was just my monthly recurring charges (rent, cellphone, student loan, etc), it didn’t include any incidentals like groceries, toiletries, transportation costs (Car2go, etc), entertainment, and more. I am now getting those budgets fleshed out, and being more stringent on them.

Additionally, I have almost all old debts paid off, and I’m paying double on my student loan repayment. I will have everything except student loans paid off by July/August, and the student loans paid off in 18-24 months. My credit score is slowly getting better, and that is really satisfying.

Curb unnecessary spending
I feel the same this month as I did last month on this one: I feel like I’ve needed the things I bought. However, I know this is not the case because I stopped paying attention to making my meal plan, so I’ve purchased delivery or eaten out a couple times when I didn’t need to. This is definitely something that I need to moderate more, and sticking to a meal plan will be super helpful.

Save!
I decided that paying off debts is more important than saving much more, and the cell phone I really want (its also out of stock anyway). I’m happy with the savings I have so far, and any OT that I get at work goes straight to savings. Once my debts – excluding student loan – are paid off, I will be making more effort here to get a good amount in that savings account.

This month was a little tougher for me in my eating healthier, but everything else feels on track. Until next time…

I Cried This Morning

First I stepped on the scale, and I’m down 15 pounds! Then I put on my favorite jeans, that are always tight in the waist, and I have inches of room!

When I look in a mirror, I can’t see any changes, although my friends tell me how great I look. Having these reference points just made me feel so good about what I’m doing, it was overwhelming. I always cry when my emotions are overwhelming, positive or negative. It’s been hard work, with constant battles against my willpower, but I’m doing it. I’m exercising more regularly than I ever have, I’m staying on track with my diet (I’ve added 2 cheat meals a week for sanity reasons), and I’m feeling really good while doing it.

I’m so grateful to have such a supportive network of friends. I can’t count the number of people that have told me they’re cheering me on, who’ve offered advice, support, and pride.

I’m getting closer and closer to my halfway goal. I’ve decided when I hit that goal I’m going to go out for dessert and wine pairing somewhere nice. I’m thinking Purple Cafe and Wine Bar. I would love to have friends join me, so let me know if you’re interested. It’ll probably be here soon! (At least, here’s to hoping)

Love you all 💜💗💙😚

 

2017 Changes Check-in

These are the changes I wanted to make for myself in 2017.

  • Lose 50 pounds
    • Eat Healthier
    • Stop Drinking Alcohol
    • Exercise More
  • Get more serious about my career
    • Work on my focus issues
    • Get additional training/certification
  • Get my finances together
    • Curb unnecessary spending
    • Save!

It’s been about a month since I originally wrote about it, so I thought I would check in to see how I’m doing.

Lose 50 pounds
I lost a little more more since last month, down about 10-12 pounds total. I’m not worried about it at this point though, since I can feel myself getting stronger. I knew I would get to a point where muscle growth, and fat loss would even themselves out for a while. It seems that time is now.

Eat Healthier
I was sick a couple times since last month. Those sick days really put a wrench in the healthy eating thing, since I wasn’t able to make my meals. One of the sicknesses was stress induced, and when I’m stressed I stress eat. I am now back on the healthy food bandwagon. Tons of veggies in my salad everyday for lunch, and good healthy proteins with dinner. I love meal prep Sunday’s since I get my salad ingredients all prepped, and my dinners made for the week. It makes my week nights so much easier, and I can spend that time on workout/training. I’m cutting back on the carbs, and it is causing the most ridiculous cravings. I have to keep telling myself I’m stronger than the cravings are!

Stop Drinking Alcohol
Still going strong here. I’m at 55 days so far, and it’s getting easier and easier. I’ve noticed being more clear headed, and having less digestive issues. I’ve started hanging out with hashers more often, and it’s been going pretty well. I’m not feeling the pressure I was worried I might get from that crew. However sometimes I do cut out early and unannounced, because I know that I need to leave in order to not eat or drink the things they are having.

Exercise More
Definitely doing well here. I decided to sign up for my first Half Marathon! I’ll be doing the Rock-n-Roll Half in Seattle on June 18th. I’ve been studying training plans online, and have put together one that I think will work best for me. Adding in a couple 5 & 10k’s in between now and then. I’ve found a loop in my neighborhood that I enjoy, and it’s just over 3 miles. I can add blocks to it as needed to increase the distance that I will be needing for future training runs. I like running in the city, because I can use the blocks for pacing myself. I’m not yet able to run the entire distance, and especially not continuously on the inclines. I force myself to run at least 1 block before I walk again, and at one point last night I was able to run for 6 blocks straight before I had to walk again. Progress, yay!

I’m also focusing on ab workouts. I did a 30 day ab challenge, and now I’m doing an ab program on a workout app I have. My abs are not strong, and this has been causing back issues, so I really want to strengthen my core to help with that. Also, I have a big belly, and I think putting some muscle under it will help burn off the fat stored there.

I haven’t started biking yet, I like to wait until DST starts again to do so. I’m planning to ride my bike the 14.5 miles home on days that I’m not training for the half marathon. Dual training is probably not the greatest idea, and I might change that plan once I get started (apparently rest days are important?). I do have a couple long rides coming up though (30mi, 24mi, & 45mi), so I will need to do some training for those. I have cross training in my half marathon training schedule, so those might become my bike training days.

I was going to add strength training this month, but I decided to hold off on that. Right now I want to focus on running, abs, stretching, and soon biking. After the half marathon, I’ll start doing more upper body strength training. I do have a goal of being able to do an unassisted pull up, but I can wait until I accomplish the current exercise goals I have. I really don’t want to burn myself out.

Get more serious about my career
This is a hard one to measure. I’m working, and making presentations and all sorts of fun things. Yes, maybe?

Work on my focus issues
Not doing great here. I’m still having a hard time focusing on specific tasks. I’ll get there.

Get additional training/certification
I haven’t had much movement here. I’m putting the goal down now that by next month I will at least have an idea of what training/certification I want to get.

Get my finances together
I’m doing pretty good on this one. I met with a financial adviser, and got some recommendations to move me in the right direction. I’ve made my budget more robust, and I’ve been sticking to it. I just got my annual merit increase, and so once I get a regular paycheck with that on it, I will revisit the budget to make sure I’m paying down my debts as fast as I can. I have my first credit card, so I can start working on building up my credit score. It really suffered when I fucked off on my student loans, so I need to do what I can to set it right again. My financial adviser said I’m young enough that I’ll be able to make it right fairly easily.

Curb unnecessary spending
This is also going well. I have purchased a few things that weren’t exactly necessary, but are going to be good to have in the long run. Unfortunately none of those things were a trip out of the country, which is what I wanted to spend my tax return on…

Save!
Going pretty well. This is what I did with my tax return, instead of blowing it on a trip like I wanted to. I have started an emergency fund, with 1 month of expenses in it. Once I pay down my debts, I’ll start working to increase that fund. The goal is to have 6 months of living expenses in it. I also have saved the $$$ to buy the fancy shmancy cell phone I want (Google Pixel 5″ 128GB). Unfortunately, it is out of stock and has been for months, so I will have to wait on getting that. I totally justify buying the fanciest of phones, because I don’t really use personal computers, and do almost everything through my phone.

I think I’m doing pretty good with my 2017 goals so far. I need to do more in the career related goals, but I’m on track with my weight and financial goals. All in all I’m felling good about this.

My 2017 Changes

I know a lot of people make New Years Resolutions, and then fail. I decided to make some lifestyle changes starting at the beginning of the year, because it’s an easy point to measure from. I don’t want to call them resolutions, because that feels like setting myself up to fail. Besides, these are things that I have been starting the ground work for months.

The changes I’m trying to make are as follows:

  • Lose 50 pounds
    • Eat Healthier
    • Stop Drinking Alcohol
    • Exercise More
  • Get more serious about my career
    • Work on my focus issues
    • Get additional training/certification
  • Get my finances together
    • Curb unnecessary spending
    • Save!

Lose 50 Pounds
This is something that I have been wanting to do for years. I love my body, but it’s not at it’s healthiest. For the last few years my weight has been between 190-200, usually sticking around 195. I really hate seeing that 200+ on the scale, so I’ve been doing a pretty good job of maintaining and not gaining for at least the last 3 years. My goal is to get below 150, and hopefully below 140 eventually. 140 is the heaviest I can be at my height (5’3″) and still have a “healthy” BMI. I have set a couple reward milestones. One of which is to stop drinking any alcohol until I reach <150. I have another set for 175, but that is more of a personal reward, so I’m not sharing that one.

Eat Healthier
I don’t have a terrible diet, since I have been able to maintain and not gain, but if I want to lose, I need to change it up. I am cutting back on carbs, dairy, and meat, not cutting them out altogether, but I’m trying to only have them at one meal a day. I’m also eating WAAAYYY more veggies. There’s a Farmers Market only 4 blocks from my house, so I’ve started hitting that up once or twice a week.  I have started making a weekly meal plan in a new notebook that I am carrying in my purse. I use this for shopping lists, as well as to do lists, so I know I will need a new notebook as the months go on. I’m really hoping that as I make more and more meal plans, healthy eating will become more of a habit, and I won’t need to plan out everything. I’m also using the app LoseIt to track all of the calories I intake. This app is great, because it has a huge library of food, and you scan a bar-code as well. This is synced with my Fitbit, so everything I do gets updated between the two.

Stop Drinking Alcohol
This is mostly a diet related decision. I make bad food choices when I’m drinking, and the alcohol itself is high in calories. I’m still intoxicating with weed (I love living in a legal state), but smoking/vaping doesn’t increase calories. It does give me the munchies, but I’m using healthier munchy options: veggies, fruit, nuts, etc.

Exercise More
I walk everyday already. I don’t own a car, so I mostly bus, walk, and bike, with various rideshares thrown in. I use a Fitbit everyday to track my steps, and with a step goal of 10,000, I was averaging 7,000 steps a day. I’m now trying to hit this goal every weekday, and double it on the weekends. I haven’t met this everyday since the change, but I have more than doubled the number of days I hit my goal in the week. I have started a 30 day challenge with a friend (my abs hella need work), and I’m going to be starting some weightlifting programs in Feb.

Get More Serious About My Career
This is something I never really thought about. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I jumped between so many different career paths and never really committed to a single idea. Now here I am, 33 years old, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. BUT, I love the company I work for, and I like the work I’m doing. I recently got a job title change, and I want to be able to do the best I can to live up to the new title I have.

Work on my focus issues
I have a really hard time focusing when I’m supposed to be working. I work in a super dynamic environment, with a lot of change happening. This is great, because I can constantly move from project to project. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes I will prioritize the newest thing, and lose track of the other work I should be doing. After doing some internet research (yea, I know…) I think I might have ADHD. This runs in my family, and would explain a lot of these issues. My next steps here are to see a professional for diagnosis and focusing exercises. I’d like to avoid medication if possible.

Get additional training/certification
My new job title has the words Project Manager in it. This has been a little intimidating, and I feel like I’m not going to be able to live up to that title. Especially with no college on my resume. (I did one year at Community College, but dropped out when my dad was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer) There are a lot of certs out there for PMs, and so I want to get some certifications. Both to bolster my resume, and to make sure I am able to live up to the expectations of my position.

Get my finances together
This is pretty general, but I just need to get better with money. I keep a few spreadsheets for all of my finances, but it’s mostly a digital check book. I’m working on getting a monthly budget together, and sticking to it. I’m finding that budgeting for food is my hardest thing right now. I never know exactly how much I’m going to spend to stick with my meal plan. I’m considering a weekly meal service, and I’m trying one week free next week. I’ll decide if the cost is worth the plan after I’ve tried it for that week. The rest of it is impulse control. Like, I know that I don’t need anymore board games off kickstarter, but I want them!

Curb unnecessary spending
This is my biggest failing, but it’s hard to nail down exactly what is unnecessary, because I feel like I need the things I’m buying (even those KS board games). I started this already before the new year, by stopping subscriptions services I was getting. It was all makeup related, and my makeup drawer is now more than full. My next change is to my eating habits. I used to eat out or get delivery 5-10 times a week, and I’m now allowing myself 3/week. This week, I’ve already eaten out twice, and I have 2 more meals planned as out, but this is way lower than it was before. Besides, I was out of town for the 2 that already happened, so I couldn’t make food at home.

Save!
Pretty self explanatory, I need to save more money. I have an HSA and a 401k that I make contributions to, but none of that is immediately useful if something comes up. There are a few things that I want to save for (“oh crap,” travel, tattoos, etc), and I’m trying to actually save for these things. The plan is that with no drinking, less eating out, and curbing unnecessary spending, that I will be able to squirrel away what I would have spent on those things.

These lifestyle changes are pretty important to me. I hope that with all of this, I’ll be able to level up a few times, and really become the person I want to be.

Decisions decisions…

My father is dying of lung cancer. Unfortunately, I work and live too far away to be able to help him through this time more often than on the weekends. I try to be there for him as often as I can though. Mostly I help him with finances and keeping the apartment clean.

I have a lot of resentment for my father, for a few different reasons. He’s not very good at managing his money, and I can’t be there constantly to police what he spends. He has been bad at communicating with his family about how sick he is, and he has left that all up to me. He never quit smoking all through all the cancer treatments, and he tries to hide it from me, but I’m not fucking stupid. My biggest reason for resentment is: he did this to himself. 

My father has been smoking for longer than I’ve been alive. For most of my life I would pester him to quit smoking, When I would visit him as a child I would get SO sick because of all the cigarette smoke in the house. He eventually started not smoking inside when I would visit. When I was a teenager I gave him a pin that said “Cancer Cures Smoking,” boy did he prove me wrong. I know that he is an addict, and he quit most of his other addictions, but this one was killing him. I have never understood why he wouldn’t just quit.

All the above has been making me think about how I treat myself. Thinking about what I can do to maximize what I get out of life. As a teenager, I never thought I would make it to thirty, not because I live hard or anything, but because it always felt like the world was going to end, like we were running out of time. So I had a lot of fun. I made decisions based on what was best for me right now, not what was best for me in the future. This finally leads me to what I’m going to primarily use this blog for: my path to weight-loss.

I weigh just over 200 pounds. As a female at 5’3″ this gives me a BMI of 36.3, which is in the obese level. My first goal in my road to weight-loss is to get down to 169, because it ends in 69 (heh heh) and because that is the weight I need to be to get out of the realm of obesity. This is going to be hard, we’re talking about almost 40 pounds here, but I think I’m motivated enough to do it. I want to live past 55, and I don’t know if I can do it as a fat chick. 

I have already started increasing my activity level, but it is not enough. I need to change my diet, and get serious. Riding my bike is going to be my primary means of exercise. I really need to get a new seat because it is not very comfortable to ride right now, and that has been keeping me from biking more often. Hopefully I can remedy this soon, and get on it more often. 

Well, I’m going to go ride into work today, my crotch can suffer through it.