21 Day Fix: Day One

July 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer

It’s been two months since I’ve posted at all, including updating my weight loss progress. The truth is, I’ve been going backwards. I was doing well for awhile, and then I started to get lazy about the walking… then my dad came to town, and I spent the week hanging out with him… and eating, and eating, and eating. He left, and I kept eating. I’m in a group on Facebook for dispatchers who are trying to lose weight, and many of the girls there are doing the 21 day fix. I looked at it for awhile, and decided that it was worth trying. What I’ve been doing clearly isn’t working, so perhaps it is time for something more drastic! The trip I impulsively booked to Orlando for October isn’t hurting either. I would certainly like to be lighter by the time that trip rolls around.

My 21 Day Fix kit arrived in the mail on Saturday afternoon. I spent a portion of that afternoon finishing up my tentative meal plans, and then spent Sunday grocery shopping, cooking and prepping foods for the week. I also took some “before” pictures, and got all of my measurements recorded so that I can keep track of my progress.

For some reason, I was kind of nervous about starting the program… I didn’t sleep particularly well because every time I woke up (I’m not a very solid sleeper most nights), I would start thinking about the food I needed to make, when I was going to do my workout, etc. I was also REALLY hungry in the middle of the night because I’d eaten dinner way earlier than normal. I should have eaten a granola bar or something, but I didn’t. Because of the nerves and the empty stomach, I woke up Monday dealing with some nausea. It definitely made for a bit of a rough start, but I managed to get my planned breakfast cooked and consumed.

Then it was time for the first workout. Oh my goodness. I had to modify the modified portion, and I still felt like I was watching them working out at times! I knew I was in trouble right away… by the time the workout was over, my thighs already felt weak. When I went to leave for work, I made it about 3 steps down before my legs started to buckle and I thought I was going to fall down the stairs! The soreness started to set in towards the end of the day.

I also had my first experience with Shakeology yesterday. Uh, yeah… this is the point when I really got nervous. It. Was. NASTY. I managed to get it down, but it took a lot of water between chugs, and it was not pleasant. Hopefully I’ll be able to make some changes to make it more palatable going forward. I’m definitely glad I ordered the sample pack with the different flavors so I could try them all!

In the end, I managed to get in all of my containers except one of the greens. Mainly because I started the day off feeling so sick to my stomach. By the time I got home from work, I finished off the containers I had planned to eat at the end of the day, but I just. could. not. stomach the idea of another green container.

All in all, not a bad start.

Weigh In 5-26-14

May 27th, 2014 by Jennifer

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I haven’t updated my weight loss progress in 3 months. Partially because I just haven’t blogged at all, and partially because I haven’t been very focused. I’ve been taking the same several pounds on and off over and over again.

I’ve been trying to get refocused lately though, so it’s time to post again. About a month ago, I decided to give up soda. Not completely, but mostly. I’d gotten to the point where I was drinking very little other than pop, and I knew it wasn’t very healthy, so when I ran out of Diet Coke at home, I decided not to buy any more. I’ve had pop a handful of times since then, mostly during special events or out with friends, but I’ve done a pretty good job of really getting in more water and low/no calorie beverages (usually Crystal Lite, or water flavored with Dasani flavors) instead.

Then 2 weeks ago, Sarah came over and we were talking about how much we were struggling with our weight, and the fact that we’re just NOT doing anything to change it. Based on that conversation, I immediately set my alarm for the next morning and was determined to get out and get a little bit of exercise, which I did. That’s been my goal for the past 2 weeks, to start getting more activity in. We’ve even been sending each other pictures on Facebook as accountability of having done our walking:

Today's walk took me down to the Riverwalk. It gets HOT down there with little shade, but the breeze off the river is nice at times! #myfitnesspal #fitbit #fatkid #weightloss #walking #sunshine #riverwalk

I’ve been working on running a little bit with my walks, though I can only run for a couple of minutes at a time, and then I spend the next several minutes of my walk convinced that I’m about to die/puke. :) A couple of days, I wasn’t feeling like getting outside and working out, so I talked myself into at least doing a short workout off of youtube in my living room.

The food is still a little bit out of control, but my “account-abili-buddy” and I are trying to focus on small changes in the hopes that it will be easier to stick with this time around! I’m up a couple of pounds from the last time I posted in February, but down 1.4 from last week, and still down almost 17 from September. Keep on keeping on!

Memorial Day with the Family

May 26th, 2014 by Jennifer

I'm pretty fond of these two little brats I got to hang out with today too! #nephews

I had such a good Memorial Day today! I had intended to get up early and walk down to watch the parade this morning, but that just didn’t happen. I had a hard time falling asleep last night, so I decided to shut my alarm off and just see what happened. I woke up briefly 15 minutes after the parade started, and thought about trying to hustle down there (I live closer to the end of the parade route, so I might not have even missed much), but I was just too tired. I ended up sleeping for 2 more hours!

Once I did get up, I spent a good portion of my morning just hanging out on the couch, playing on Facebook and watching Netflix. Around 12:30, I got a phone call from my niece Avi. It’s always hilarious to get phone calls from her. I answered the phone to alot of scuffling and her mom saying, “you wanted to call her!” She finally got on the phone and asked me if I wanted to go swimming when I came over later. Of course I couldn’t tell her no!

Look at this little diva modeling the dress I got her! <3

After I showered and got dressed, I headed over to my brother’s house. I was greeted at the door by Avi who immediately told me that I took too long, and should have gotten there earlier. Oops! :) There was a water gun fight, and lunch, and then it was time to get ready for the pool. I have to say, I need to keep that little red head around more often. I was almost done changing into my swimsuit when she showed up on the other side of the bathroom door and started talking to me. When I opened the door in my swimsuit, she exclaimed, “You look BEAUTIFUL!” Nieces… good for the ego! Hehe

Soon enough, it was time to say goodbye to Killian, and goodnight to Avi and Jonny, and then the grown ups played a game of Munchkins, which was super fun. And not just because I won! ;) Now I’m at home to relax for the rest of my evening, and delete the hundreds of extra pictures that are basically the same as the ones below, plus about 70 of the TV, as many more of the dog, and the ceiling, and and and… after I let Avi have control of the the camera on my phone for about 20 minutes. I always have such a good time hanging out with my brother’s family. I really hope we make it a priority to spend time together in the future too. My work schedule makes it difficult, but family is so important.

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

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March 2014 Financial Update

April 6th, 2014 by Jennifer

As always, numbers first:

Debt February 28, 2014 March 31, 2014 Difference
ER Bill 0.00 0.00 0.00
MyPoints Visa 0.00 0.00 0.00
Perkins Loan 0.00 0.00 0.00
Car Loan 0.00 0.00 0.00
Surgery Center 0.00 0.00 0.00
Chase 0.00 0.00 0.00
Capital One 2974.03 2174.75 -799.28
CU Visa 5945.54 5978.90 +33.36
Nelnet 12290.76 12132.15 -158.61
Total 21210.33 20285.80 -924.53

Not a whole lot to report for March, just steady progress forward. There is a slight blip on my CU Visa card, which is entirely my fault. I made an online purchase, and did not use the credit card I thought I used. So I made the purchase on one card, and the payment to a different card. That one will be right back down as soon as the other credit card company refunds my surplus.

I’m just plugging away trying to get this credit card debt paid off as fast as possible! I also put about $180 into my emergency fund in March as well.

I did sign up for credit score monitoring with Quizzle, so it was fun for me to see that this month, my debt repayments pushed my credit score above 700 for the first time in a long time! Woohoo! Might be a waste of a few bucks to some people, but I find watching that score creep up incredibly motivating! :)

February 2014 Financial Update

February 28th, 2014 by Jennifer

First, the numbers:

Debt December 31, 2013 February 28, 2014 Difference
ER Bill 0.00 0.00 0.00
MyPoints Visa 0.00 0.00 0.00
Perkins Loan 0.00 0.00 0.00
Car Loan 0.00 0.00 0.00
Surgery Center 0.00 0.00 0.00
Chase 1197.15 0.00 -1197.15
Capital One 3520.96 2974.03 -546.93
CU Visa 6129.83 5945.54 -184.29
Nelnet 12289.50 12290.76 +1.26
Total 23137.44 21210.33 -1927.11

A good amount of progress to report for the first 2 months of 2014, thanks largely to my tax refund. January, even with its extra paycheck, ended up being a month of being mostly at a standstill, which is part of why I never updated my financial charts at the end of the month. I have several annual bills due at the beginning of the year that were paid for with January funds, as well as setting aside money for upcoming renter’s insurance and car insurance payments.

February numbers bring the debt repayment boost of my tax refund as well as one paycheck’s worth of normal payments. The second paycheck for February came this morning, so while I’ve scheduled debt payments, they haven’t actually posted yet and those payments will be reflected in March’s numbers. This is part of why the Nelnet student loan is showing a slight increase… I’ve been ahead on payments, so in January I paid just enough to cover the accrued interest and put the rest of the money towards paying off the Chase credit card. My February payment is scheduled to go through today, but my account always shows the accumulated interest, hence the appearance of going the wrong direction.

As you can see, I’ve finally paid off the Chase credit card. Woohoo! I do auto pay several things through this credit card, but that amount is accounted for in the monthly budget. You can also see that I was able to start throwing money at the Capital One account, which is the next one on the list. I’m hoping to get rid of that one as quickly as possible. Just with my budgeted amounts of debt repayment, and without any overtime I get at work, quick and dirty math tells me that this one should be paid off by July. Sooner if more OT becomes available!

Not reflected in my debt chart is the fact that I’ve also added a little over $300 to my savings since the beginning of the year. Not a huge amount, but definitely the most I’ve had in savings for a long time. I know you’re supposed to have an emergency fund in place before paying down debt, but I’ve always had a terrible time sitting on money, especially when I get to the point on a debt where I can wipe it out with the money I have in savings! I’m slowly adding money to savings though, and I’m determined not to touch it unless it’s an emergency! I zero out my checking account every payday, so anything left from the previous paycheck gets transferred over to savings, plus a small amount that I’ve set aside out of every paycheck. It’s not a lot, but I’m hoping it will start to add up over time.

Weigh In 2-24-14

February 24th, 2014 by Jennifer

Official weigh in: Down -0.7 lbs this week for a 19 lb loss overall. It's not coming off fast, but it's coming off and that's all that matters.

This was the best week I’ve had in awhile! Not only did I lose 0.7 lbs, but I came in 35 calories under my weekly goal. Talk about getting it right! It helped that 6 out of the 7 days this week I was at work… I definitely keep it reigned in a little better when I’m working than when I’m home all day! This week is 3 days off and 4 days at work, so hopefully I don’t go too far off course!

Though I do have to admit that when I wasn’t spending my day like this…

I'm sorry, I can't clean the apartment. One of my hands is currently functioning as a kitty pillow. #pudge #catsofinstagram

…I was making lemon brownies. Oops? Haha, but they’re delicious! Everything in moderation, right?

Part of what I’m crediting for last week’s success is a new calorie goal. Previously I’ve been allowing myfitnesspal to set my calorie goal for a 1 lb weight loss a week. It has not been working well, and frankly, has been kind of hard to meet the goals. Reading Runs for Cookies one day recently led me to a Ultimate Weight Loss Calorie Calculator. I plugged all my information in, and set it to a sedentary level since I’m not really exercising right now, and came up with a daily calorie goal that was about 100 calories more than myfitnesspal was giving me. Since I was coming close to the myfitnesspal goal, but was consistently between 30-100 calories above it, I thought I’d give the new goal a shot.

You’d think it would be just the same as what I was doing already, but it actually made a big difference to make the slightly higher number my official goal. Like many people, I fall into the trap of seeing that I’m consistently over my goal and justifying eating a little bit more because I’ve already “failed”. It seems counterintuitive but setting a calorie goal that was a teensy bit higher allowed me to eat less! Hoping for a good week this week too.

Tidy Cats LightWeight Litter Review

February 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer

promo_lightweight

Scooping litterboxes last night reminded me that I have been meaning to post about my experience with Tidy Cats Lightweight litter. Several people who knew I bought it asked what I thought, as did the cashier at the grocery store, so I thought I’d write something up.

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials on TV of people throwing around jugs of this LightWeight litter like nothing. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that? I have 3 litterboxes that take conventional litter and live on the second floor… if I could purchase a litter that wasn’t as heavy, I was all for it! I found a large box of it at Sam’s Club and decided to give it a go. It IS light weight, that’s for sure. I was able to easily carry the club sized box of litter all by myself. But…

That’s about all it had going for it. I knew I was in trouble the first time I went to scoop the boxes after putting it in the boxes… it’s very, VERY dusty. Like cough and hold your breath, turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom dusty. I don’t want to breathe that in while scooping boxes, and I certainly don’t want my kitties breathing it in while digging around doing their business either.

The nail in the coffin for the Tidy Cats LightWeight litter in my house though, was the fact that it immediately turned the urine basically into cement. I practically had to chisel the urine chunks off the edges of the litterbox, no matter how quickly I got to scooping. (I am, admittedly, not the best box cleaner.) This led the clumps to break apart and just become a fine, urine soaked dust in the litter box.

So while the ability to easily carry around containers of the Light Weight litter was pretty fantastic, how it WORKS is what matters to me. So I went back to carrying the heavier Tidy Cats Small Spaces multicat litter version that I always seem to go back to no matter what else I try! Your mileage may vary.

I jinxed myself!

February 13th, 2014 by Jennifer

Just yesterday I wrote that every time I get motivated to step up the exercise, I get sick or something happens. I’ve had a lingering cough that makes cardio difficult since I got sick at the beginning of January. So I started thinking, well, I can do some core work instead. Right on cue, just a few short hours later, I somehow hurt my back! I don’t even know how I did it, although I suspect I did something to it when I bent down to unplug my laptop, but I definitely hurt it somehow as I’m still wincing 24 hours later!

So I guess instead of some crunches and push ups, I’ll be sitting very still on the couch wishing I had some muscle relaxers. Awesome.

Weigh In 2/10/14

February 12th, 2014 by Jennifer

I could have sworn I had updated on the weight loss sometime since December 2nd, but a quick perusal of the blog tells me that is not the case! Whoops! When last I posted, I was at 12.8 lbs down. Let’s go ahead and fast forward to two days ago, as I count my “official” weigh in on Mondays, even though I weigh myself nearly every morning.

Weekly #weighin. New low weight (by .1 lb) lol I've not been doing a good job of staying on track, so I'll just be happy it's not a gain! #myfitnesspal #fitbit #countingcalories #weightloss #fatkid #damnoreos

In the last two months, I’ve managed to lose an additional 4.5 lbs, putting me at 17.3 lbs lost overall. It’s certainly not a HUGE accomplishment, but it’s trending the right direction so I won’t get too upset. I also can’t get that mad when it certainly represents the amount of effort that I’ve put in! This time around I seem to be losing a couple of pounds, and then staying the same for a month or so… lose a couple more, stay the same for awhile. Seems like every time I really get geared up to work harder, I get sick again. The cough from my last illness is still lingering which makes it difficult to (want to) do any kind of exercise to ramp up my efforts. Not to mention, it’s damn cold and all I want to do is hibernate!

2013 Financial Summary

January 8th, 2014 by Jennifer

Wow, am I starting 2014 behind or what? Good thing this wasn’t one of my new year’s resolutions! haha I’ve been busy, and sick, and frankly antisocial so I haven’t gotten around to posting lately, but I don’t want to get too far into the year without posting so here we go.

First, I owe you the numbers from December:

Debt December 1, 2013 December 31, 2013 Difference
ER Bill 0.00 0.00 0.00
MyPoints Visa 0.00 0.00 0.00
Perkins Loan 0.00 0.00 0.00
Car Loan 0.00 0.00 0.00
Surgery Center 0.00 0.00 0.00
Chase 1326.08 1197.15 -128.93
Capital One 3566.64 3520.96 -45.68
CU Visa 6244.23 6129.83 -114.40
Nelnet 12365.18 12289.50 -75.68
Total 23502.13 23137.44 -364.69

As you can see, forward progress in all categories, for more than $350 paid off during the month of December.

And to sum up for the entire year….

Debt January 1, 2013 December 31, 2013 Difference
ER Bill 1110.00 0.00 -1110.00
Capital One 1182.01 3520.96 +2338.95
MyPoints Visa 1326.27 0.00 -1326.27
Perkins Loan 1579.53 0.00 -1579.53
Chase 1619.32 1197.15 -422.17
Surgery Center 2311.25 0.00 -2311.25
Car Loan 2475.48 0.00 -2475.48
CU Visa 6898.58 6129.83 -768.75
Nelnet 12831.59 12289.50 -542.09
Total 31334.03 23137.44 -8196.59

$8196.59 paid off from January 1st to December 31st 2013. By far the most successful I have ever been in paying off debt. Obviously at over 23k, I have a LONG way to go, but I feel like I have a decent amount of traction now and I’m hoping to be able to keep that going in 2014. At this point in time, there is a decent amount of uncertainty about what my employment is going to look like in 2015, so that’s coloring a lot of my financial goals for this year.

My big fat goal is to pay off everything except the Nelnet student loan this year… that’s getting close to 11k, so I’m not sure how feasible that is. Especially since I’d like to get some cash in savings this year too. Either way, I’m shooting to pay off as much of that total as I possibly can, so we’ll see how far I get!

Going forward, I am going to total up my bills as of the last of the month instead of the first of the next month. It’s felt kind of absurd to me to call it a “November update” and provide numbers for December 1st, so I’m going to change it!

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