Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #27

Wow, have I really been at this for 27 weeks?  I guess longer than that, since I took the month of July off from the scale. 

So how am I doing after 27 weeks?  Well...

Last week: 191.0 lb
This week: 190.2 lb

The good news is that it's a loss.  The bad news is that I'm 0.3 lb away from breaking the 190 lb barrier.  ARGH! 

But - BUT - check this out: when I started my weight loss challenge, I weighed in at 200.2 lb.  I've now officially lost 10 lb.  It's only taken me eight months to get this far, but still - 10 lb down! 

Of course it seems daunting to think I can lose 20 lb in the next three months but I'm going to keep at it.  I would love to see the number on the scale drop faster but one important thing I've been learning while trying to lose weight is that I'm only going to be able to maintain my success if I make changes that work with my lifestyle.  And that's the big thing, isn't it?  It's more important for me to be able to maintain my weight and even keep the scale inching down than it is for me to lose huge amounts of weight in a short period of time. 

I'd still like to be at 170 lb on New Year's Eve, but it's okay if I'm not because I'm doing things in my life that I can keep doing, whether it's making the right food choices, fitting in regular exercise, watching my portions or even cutting sugar out of my coffee (which has been a challenge, let me tell you). 

So let's see what the next three months bring!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A little goes a long way

So I've finally managed to get myself set up to pay down my CIBC loan online and, I must say, I took the long, hard, kind of dumb way to get there.

I've never had internet banking set up with CIBC because I've always had direct debit arranged for my loan payments.  Because I've only been paying the minimum amount until very recently, it never mattered that I didn't have internet access.  Now, though, I've got more money to put on the bugger and I wanted immediate access, dammit!  So I decided to do it through CIBC - which led to me having to get a new internet banking password and then a new debit card because I couldn't make my password sync with my debit card and then to log on I needed my account number and transit number (which I should know but don't) and then I lost my debit card and had to get a new one...and THEN I realized I can add my CIBC loan account as a payee in my online account with Royal Bank and suddenly an internetical connection is made.

Sheesh.  Why did it take me so long to figure this out again? that I've got the online connection, I've hatched a new plan to pay that sucker down and not spend on frivolous things.  See, when I get paid every two weeks I figure out what I need to pay from that cheque, make my payments and leave a bit in the bank as buffer, because you never know when something might pop up.  But then, because I had this extra money just sitting there, I'd buy a new shirt here and a pair of earring there and a new book and before long, that extra money was spent on things I wanted but didn't really need.

The new plan?  Whenever I see something I want (but explicitly do NOT need), instead of buying it I'm going to make a note of how much I would have spent and promptly put that amount on my loan. 

It's a good plan.  I earn interest daily on my loan and I have unlimited transactions with my RBC account, so this is really a win-win situation.  Even if it's $10, it still counts and will only benefit me. 

However, like most of my good plans, the theory is strong but the practice is weak.  I hope to turn that around with this one!

Oh, and right now my overall balance owing is $9,661.86 but I just made some payments that I'm still waiting to go through, so that should change the number a bit. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CN Tower Stair Climb for United Way

I've wanted to do the CN Tower stair climb for awhile now but I never have, mostly out of laziness.  So this year, I finally signed up and joined the corporate team at work.  On October 20, I will be climbing the 1,776 stairs of the CN Tower to raise money for United Way. 

If you're interested in sponsoring me, you can go here and donate.  But I know people have to be careful with their money and may already have charities they support, so only donate if you want.  I'm also accepting moral support and any training tips you might have - it's going to be a long climb!

I'm doing my first training session today by climbing the stairwell in my condo a few times.  I'll let you know tomorrow if I can walk.

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #26

Let's get right to it:

Last week: 191.6 lb
This week: 191.0 lb

That's a loss of 0.6 lb, which is the right direction but I'm still not doing what I need to do.  And we're halfway through September, meaning I've got just over three months to lose 21 lb.  It's time to make the hardest decision I think I've ever had to make:

No.  More.  Sweets.

I'm pretty sure that's what's doing me in.  I've got a sweet tooth and a HUGE weakness for chocolate and cookies, particularly together.  (There's a reason I don't make chocolate chip cookies at home anymore.  I eat way too many of them.)

Other than sweets, I know I'm making better choices than I used to and I'm making an effort to really watch my portion sizes. 

I'm also going to try to get used to drinking my coffee without sugar.  This is going to be a challenge, for sure, but I'd like to do this for a week and see what the results are like.  Because I REALLY want to be below 190 lb next week!

Well sugar, it's been nice knowing you...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #25

I'll admit, I was a little nervous to get on the scale this morning, after my ice cream binge on Sunday and some other bad choices this past week.  But I manned up and got on that scale anyways and the results?

Last week: 191.8 lb
This week: 191.6 lb

0.2 lb down.  Makes me wonder what I might have done had it not been for that delicious, delicious rocky road ice cream.  Though I'm now 1.7 lb away from finally breaking the 190 lb barrier and I really want to get past that.  So for the next week, I'm going to really pay attention to what I'm eating and make sure I fit in my workouts. 

I can do this!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: River City

I started the Canadian Book Challenge on a strong note: two book reviews in the first month, and two books that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I foolishly thought I could keep that momentum going, regardless of whichever book I picked up next.

How wrong I was.

The reason I have not yet posted another review is because I chose River City by John Farrow as my next read.  It sounded intriguing: set in Montreal in the 1950s and starting with the Rocket Richard riots, it's about the mysterious Cartier Dagger (Jacques Cartier, that is) and its involvement in a murder during the riots.  Now, I like hockey and I like murder mysteries and I've not read many books set in la belle province so this piqued my interest.  However, I made one huge mistake: I bought the e-book for my Kobo.

Now, I love reading on my Kobo and I've bought many books for it.  The problem is that I don't look at the page count of the books I buy, mostly because it's not listed in the Kobo store but also because it doesn't much matter; one book page does not equal one Kobo page.  This has never tripped me up before but then I've never bought an e-book that is over 700 pages in hard copy.

That's a lotta pages, yo.

I'm not afraid of long books (I have, after all, read The Stand) but if I'm going to read a long book I would like it to be a good book.  And that is where River City falls down - it's not that good.

This is a book that would have benefited greatly from a braver editor, someone who was willing to slash and trash.  My Kobo pages aren't big, but I don't need 100+ page chapters.  There is a great story to tell here, but there's too much meandering.  It reminded me of all the things I dislike about Victorian literature.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the book also switches back and forth between 1950s Montreal and the original settlement of Quebec and Montreal by French explorers, starting with Cartier and going through Champlain, Montmagny and I'm sure others that I just haven't got to.  I think this is part of the
"hook" of the book but I just find it annoying.  I read Susannah Moodie's Roughing It in the Bush in university and never wanted to revisit it again; this book brought me right back there.  Also, I didn't feel like the two story lines from "then" and "now" worked together fluidly; it was like reading two different novels spliced together.

One last irritant in the book: Farrow jumps from one scene/situation to the next too suddenly.  I'm reading along and hit a scene where two people are chatting in a cafe and in the next paragraph, one of those people is down by the docks roughing someone up.  Maybe it's bad digital formatting and not bad writing, but it's still irritating.

So I put the book down and picked up Agatha Christie, who I have decided is like literary amuse bouche.  Once my palate is properly cleansed I'll get back on the Canadian Book Challenge horse, though I'm not sure what I'll read next - any recommendations?

(I'm also not counting this as a full review, so I'm still at 2/13.  Perhaps I'll feel sorry for this book and pick it up again, finish it and properly review it - though that doesn't feel likely.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Money guilt

I've been making great progress on paying off my student loans, but I still get money guilt and it's been growing lately.

Maybe it's because Christmas is coming, maybe it's because the end of the year is coming, maybe it's because I'm lusting after brown knee-high boots, but every time I think about buying something I feel like I should be putting that money towards my loans.  I'm also really close to getting another paid off, with only about $3,800 left on it and I want it gone so badly. 

September is a three-pay month for me, which is always lovely and which will mean more money on my loans.  But I'm also putting a chunk into my savings account (it's a high-interest account but since my interest rate is only 2%, it just feels wrong calling that "high interest") to help offset the expense of the holiday season.  Not only will this cover gifts, but also the baking and traveling and other expenses that pop up.  I've also already started my Christmas shopping and have ideas of what else I need to get.  Some people would say this is early.  (Okay, most people would say this is early.)  But for me and my money, I find it helps to spread the costs across a few months rather than try to afford everything in December.  Plus, it means I'm not rushing at the end so I'm not over-spending. 

See, I've got things in control...only I'm feeling really guilty.  The Beau and I were at Dixie Outlet Mall on the weekend to hit up the Michael's (this girl needed yarn!) and we decided to walk through the mall as well.  Of course I found a bunch of things I want, including lots of nice soft sweaters at the Jacob outlet.  ($17.50!  I'll take one in each colour please!)  However, I did not buy a thing.  I felt guilty.  I don't need any more soft sweaters; my closet is full.  Some of my sweaters need to be defuzzed, sure, but then they'll be good as new for another season. 

But I'm a girl who loves a deal and it's just so tempting

Without spending a dime I still felt guilty.  I guess it's because I have this money sitting in my account "just in case" that I'm not putting on my loans but that is there, encouraging me to spend.  I know I should put it all either in my "high interest" account or just move it to my debt now, but what if I need to [fill in the blank]? 

So I've got a plan.  But I'm not going to share it just yet; I need to do something else first and that won't happen until day-off Wednesday, so I'll fill you in then.  In my head it's a great idea.  It's just making it work in practice that will be the challenge.

I did a bad, bad thing

Last night, I ate an entire container of Haagen Dazs rocky road ice cream.

Only 1,200 calories.  


(But it was so delicious!)

And I don't even like marshmallows that much - but in ice cream, all melty and gooey and cold....SO GOOD.  

The Beau also ate a container on his own: cookie dough.  There is a reason we don't keep a lot of sweets and snacky food in the house and this is it.  But this isn't something we do regularly, so I'm not going to be too hard on myself.  I'm just going to eat lots and LOTS of veggies over the next few days.

But that marshmallow...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #24 and the laziest Wednesday ever

Yesterday was my day off but the Beau was at a sales conference all day and out for dinner with his coworkers, so I didn't have to worry about making dinner.  In fact, I didn't have to worry about anything at all.  I got out of bed at 11:30 (after going to bed at 3 am) and proceeded to sit on the couch and watch Midsomer Murders all day.  We had a backlog of eight episodes recorded on the PVR, so I just watched them all.  And it was glorious.

I did also find time to hop on the scale.  The results?

Last week:  192.4
This week:  191.8

It's only 0.6 lb, but it's a loss.  Woot! 

And it's been a super long week at work so I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  Oh Friday, you are so welcome!

Monday, September 5, 2011

2011 Goal Update #1

Again, I missed updating my goal statuses on Wednesday, but that's okay because I'm going to do it now!  (Only five days late.  Sheesh.)  So, how am I doing?

Goal:Plank - I'm not going to lie: I didn't do a single plank in Halifax.  I wanted to do one every day for the month of August and, at the end of the month, I was about 60% on that.  Also, I have not done a single one yet in September.  But today is only the 5th so I can start today and still do well this month.  Also, I always find it easier to reset and start again after Labour Day; now that summer is over, it's time to get back into a regular routine.  (I think I still feel this way because I'm still at an age where, for more than half my life, Labour Day marked the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, so it still feels like a fresh start.)

Goal:Run - in my quest to be able to run 5km, I wanted to increase my mileage (kilometreage?) to 3.5 km by the end of August.  On my last run, I did hit 3.5 km, but it wasn't consecutive; I had to take some walking breaks in between.  But I'm going to take it!  To stay on track, I need to be at 4 km by the end of September and I'm going to keep at it.  I'm right on track!

Goal:Food - as I've mentioned before, I've switched from my hard copy food journal to an online one.  I was doing really well with logging all my food and I had every intention of logging my food during vacation (thanks to a handy-dandy Blackberry app!) but it was a little too involved to do during vacation.  Because the food items and nutrition value depend on users entering information so it can mean A LOT of searching to find the right food at the right portion size.  So I didn't log a single thing while away.  Oops.  But I'm slowly getting back into it and it has been helping; seeing my calorie allotment for the day and watching it dwindle with each item I put in has really made me realize just how many calories get taken up by "just one" cookie.  I'm going to try to maintain this for at least September and hopefully by that point I'll be ready to make the right choices without having to log everything.

Goal:Weight - I'm 22.4 lb away from my goal of 170 lb.  With four months to go, that's 5.6 lb/month to lose.  How easy is that?!

Goal:Pants - not much change.  I was going to try them on and take another photo, but my stomach has been feeling gurgly and gross all weekend, so I'm avoiding anything too tight.

Goal:Dress - pretty much the same thing as the pants. 

Goal:Debt - I currently owe $9,835.09 and this month, there will be more money put towards that number.  I'm confident that I can hit my $5,000 owing by year-end.

All in all, I'm happy with how I'm doing.  It's a big challenge for me, trying to stick with a plan beyond a few weeks.  I always start out with such good intentions and I always fall off the wagon within a week or two.   And having a consistently-shrinking student loan balance will also help me because at least I'll be making headway towards one goal. 

So, tomorrow marks a big reset button for me.  Briefly I felt nostalgic for school and that back-to-school feeling.  Then I remembered how much I hated high school and how happy I am now with the Beau and the kitty and I'm just fine to have my own kind of back-to to do. 

Back to my goals!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #23

Okay, I'm finally back!

It has been quite the week, that's for sure.  While I love long weekends, it means we lose a day of production on the magazine so I've been pulling longer hours and I'll be working on Monday as well.  BOO.  But I've got other fun things planned for the weekend so that will help make up for it.

One thing I did make time for this week was to weigh in.  It has been two weeks since my last weigh-in and it would have been nice to be down a few pounds, but I did spend one of those weeks in Halifax, eating every bit of seafood I could find, including amazing lobster chowder, a lobster roll and a full lobster dinner (it wasn't all lobster though - I also found time to eat fish & chips, pan-seared haddock and caramelized scallops.  YUM.)

Pre-vacation weight: 192.2 lb
Post-vacation weight: 192.4 lb

You know, a 0.2 lb weight gain is something I can live with.  I wouldn't be surprised if that extra weight was because of him:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Update delayed

There's an update coming, I promise.  It's just I've spent this week being crazy busy at work and super tired at home (except for Wednesday, which I spent being crazy busy at home, then super tired at home).  I think it's post-vacation sluggishness, combined with not drinking six coffees a day, like I did on vacation.

But I'll post tomorrow morning, I promise!  I'd do it now but I'm still at work - and likely will be for a few hours more.