I think the last post I published was April maybe? I haven’t gotten any better about being consistent and I doubt that will be changing any time soon so I’m putting that goal on the back burner for now. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and this summer consisted of yet another move (which I’m saying is the final one since we found our forever home), working odd shifts, breaking 3 ribs, a whole lot of new experiences and firsts, and me finally getting my ass in gear for my most prevalent goals.
I’ve fully taken on dieting, both with food and with finances. I’ll ramble on nonsensically about both this post. But I also finally got my computer room (mostly) in order and want to share my happy room with you 🙂 As you could tell from the condo tour, I love fun colours amidst hues of grey. Most of our house was already painted grey when we moved in, but the now computer room was an awful pea soup green colour. I actually hated it on first impression and it didn’t get any better with time. So I’m going to add in the befores and afters now. It makes my heart happy to be sitting here in my periwinkle lair, I tried to call it the “Unicorn Cave” which Geoff thought was ridiculous. He refused to say it out loud LOL, so I’ve stopper referring to it as such, but in my head that’s what it will always be.
I still haven’t gotten around to painting the upper cupboard doors white, they’re sitting in the garage being lonely until I feel like sanding the brutal oil paint off and putting proper paint on. But there is LOADS of storage space throughout our new house. That was the hardest thing for me living in the condo, having to get creative about storage and having no space to live in. Now we have oodles and bunches, we only have enough furniture to fill the top floor and even still our “spare room” is sparse. It’s currently being used as a massive and underused closet for us. I miss my wardrobe though, so one day I may be impulsive and get another one. Or Geoff said he’ll build me one if I make a plan. We’ll see, for now it’s on the want and not need list.
Which brings me to the point of this post; Dieting. It is an ugly word with such negative connotations. But here I am, dieting with money and with food. We’ll start with the money diet…
I used to love watching “Til Debt Do Us Part” and “Princess” on TLC with Gail Vas-Oxlade. She is so knowledgable about finances and budgeting, how to get out of debt, and her website actually provides tons of resources and tools to help you get out of debt and manage your money. A few years ago, I wanted to do her jar thing. For anyone who’s unaware of it, she basically makes her clients go on a “cash diet” and utilizes jars for each area of spending. On her site, there’s an interactive sheet you can plug all your earnings/bills/expenses into and it tells you how much you need to put in each jar a week. I never did bother to use those jars, and the last 2 years has been the worst I’ve ever had financially. When I got laid off from my first gig out west in February of last year, it took me until November to find work. In that time, I moved out west which ate up all of my savings and then some. I worked for about 5 weeks total for that company and was off again in January. To be fair, that job sucked the soul out of me and I would have happily lived off of KD and Ichiban noodles if it meant never going back there. We moved out of Victoria in February after Geoff’s place sold in 24 hours. We decided to stay with his parents for a few months until we could find a place we wanted to buy. We looked around at houses for a couple months and finally fell in love with “the one”. I wound up getting hired on with a great company for a 3 week gig, got called back again for another 3 week gig and was unemployed AGAIN. Took a call for a shutdown for 2 weeks, and back to no job lol. The joys of being in trades when the price of oil hasn’t bothered to recover since it dropped 2 years ago. Anyway, as of June I had worked a whopping total of 11 weeks in 15 months. I am proud of the fact that my bills were always paid, I never went hungry and basically didn’t have to file for bankruptcy. Jokes, it wasn’t that extreme. But all things considered, I did really well keeping barely afloat for all that time and didn’t have to rely on anyone for any funds. I did accrue some debt in the process cause life ain’t cheap and not having consistent pay cheques wreaks havoc on the bank account.
So I decided to dust off those jars I so carefully labelled, sat down to create a budget using Gail’s tools, and started using those jars. I also wound up buying a new vehicle. Now before you scratch your head and wonder why I would take on more debt if my whole goal was to get out of debt, believe me when I say I mulled the option over for a long time. I looked at every angle, and had to weigh out whether it was a want or need, whether I could pay it off in 3 years or less, whether it was worth the extra couple hundred dollars a month in payments, especially considering how shoddy my employment opportunities have been in recent years. After long and careful deliberation I decided that the new whip was well worth the investment, meets and exceeds all my vehicular needs, and will actually save me money. Here’s what my jars look like:
(Why thank you for noticing, that beautiful wooden box was handcrafted by my extremely talented Aunt Rosemary. You can find her and her various wood crafts in Calgary, she and her hubby Gerry do gorgeous work of all sorts. Their company is Wild Rose Wood Arts, check em out on FaceBook for listings of their booths and products ❤ )
So, I mapped out what I need realistically for food for weeks off, gas, savings, personal care which includes my skin care/body washes/shampoo and conditioner/toothpaste/etc, extras and home stuffs. Extras is where any money that’s unused from each jar at the end of my week will go to live. After the next week it will be transferred to my savings or home stuffs depending on what we have planned. The home stuffs will be my jar to put any extra cash for renos/wood stove/new toilets and all those fun adulty things. I like my system, and it has made a HUGE difference on what I spend my money on. When I use debit or credit, I don’t notice what the cost is and I don’t really care. When I use cash for things like groceries or gas, I am much more cognizant of where the pennies are going. I like being in total control of my money now. All my bills come out automatically, and I’ve got an allotted amount for debt repayment in lump sum each month so that I won’t have consumer debt in a couple years including paying the new SUV off. It is also stopping us from eating out so often, as we don’t want to waste large parts of our allowance on one night. Geoff is an angel and has full-heartedly supported my new obsession with both my diets and he’s become much better with his money this past year too. We’re growing up together, and it makes it SO much easier when both parties are involved in life goals and adjustments. Yay us!
My advice to anyone who is looking to get their finances in check, or wants to learn how to manage their income or debt better, Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the best place to start. I also used her “Own Up To Your Debt” chart to see how much extra I would have to pay on my loans each month to have them paid off in 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. Everything looks so much brighter now that I have a plan. So many wicked articles, so many tips and tricks, and the best part is it’s all free. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes for me over the next few months.
Now on to the typical aspect of dieting; the food diet. I love food. LOVE. If you saw me at the river or lake this summer, you know just how much I love food haha. I haven’t been regimented about my eating or exercising since pre breast aug, which is about a year and a half now. I’ve gone to the gym in spurts and sputters. I have been so on-again-off-again with my eating and gym habits for so long that it’s morphed into a routine of its own. I will do SO well, and then slip up a few times and spiral out of control in the abyss that is “fuck it, chubby is the new skinny nom nom nom”. And I’m lucky because I have an SO that legit thinks I look great whether I’m lean and have baby abs or have a wannabe Kardashian butt and no abs due to copious amounts of binge eating pure junk and drinking like a Newfie. But my true slap in the face came when my bridesmaid dress arrived. I had ordered it a size larger than it came, and I decided not to take it out of its packaging until it had been in the closet for weeks. When I went to zip that bad boy up, I realized just how much my shitty eating habits had caught up. I’m the same measurements I was 6 months ago and 6 months before that. But those measurements sure as HELL aren’t fitting into the slim David’s Bridal gown. So I now have to actually watch what I eat and make a conscious effort to stay on track or I will be that bridesmaid walking down the isle with safety pins holding the back together. Not such a good look and I’m sure Steph won’t want those pics for her magical day.
I got a new gig (no idea how long it will last but I’ll take it while it’s there) which is a 1 week on, 1 week off rotation in BC. So for a week at a time I get to eat free food in camp and get up for the gym every morning at 3. The hard part is days off. I have had lots of success in the past by logging my meals. I used to track macros but for me personally, it’s more hassle than it’s worth right now. So I’m back to weighing meats and potatoes, carefully logging each meal, even when I know I’ll be over. And I’m down 5 lbs since I went to work about 2 weeks ago. I took measurements when I got home last Thursday, and I won’t take measurements again until I’m home next Thursday. I’m really excited to see what the difference will be though. This is one of those rare moments in my life that I LOVE where my fat is stored. I am bottom heavy, and my upper body leans out so much faster than my lower. Considering my legs have always been my biggest bone of contention, I am usually unimpressed with my genetics for weight loss. But this time, I need the weight gone in my back and upper body so I’m stoked to watch it start dissolving.
I used to use “bottle bands” which I make myself, my last one I think I gave to my friend Amanda? The bottle bands are basically an elastic band that I slip over my shaker cup, and have cards filled out with the exercises I want to do which slip into a clear plastic holder on the band. I can’t find a pic of them right now, but once I jazz up my new one I’ll post a sample of my workouts and what the little band looks like. When I came up with the idea, I’d been writing out workouts on those paper stickers and putting them on individual bottles. They couldn’t be washed though so I created an interchangeable device for it. Now that my broken ribs are mostly healed, I can get back into proper workouts and my best success has been when I use my bottle bands. I have enjoyed the freestyle approach I’ve taken for the past year and a half, it’s been nice going in with no set routine or plan and just kind of winging it from how I feel. But I haven’t been consistent (shocking) and now I want to get back to a routine so that I have a better chance of sticking with it. So I made a super shitty bottle band last night, and I’ll spend some of my evening writing out new workouts for this week at work. We’re going for dinner with Geoff’s parents, so I’ve already logged my meal and based the rest of my day’s calories around it. We haven’t been to the gym once this week off so I’m also looking forward to getting back to that at work this week.
I could honestly write forever, but I think I got the gist of my dieting out in this. I’ll maybe make another post before the wedding of progress pics/measurements/what is working and what isn’t. I am so hoping to fit into that small dress, send me lots of prayers and willpower if you please. I’ll also do an update on how the cash dieting is going, and whether or not I’m actually reaching my goals of debt annihilation down the road. If you’re doing the same kind of diets as I am, I’m sending you good vibes and a thought that we’re suffering through the growing pains together. Cheers!