Friday, February 22, 2008

A Fresh Start

Weight: 334.4
Total loss: 15.6 pounds

This blog is all about my journey toward health and happiness as I approach my forties -- and by health I include emotional, physical, and financial. Here I will be writing about my weight loss and my attempt to become debt-free (or at least no longer live paycheck-to-paycheck) and start saving money. It may seem like a weird combination, but let me explain.

All my adult life (and for a good portion of my life before that), I've had two major issues, two major thorns in my side that I would try to deal with in bits and pieces, but never really made any headway and only became increasingly frustrating: my weight and my finances.

I was put on a diet for the first time at age 9. Since then, my weight has been my cross to bear, whether you could tell by looking at me (like now, as a morbidly obese person) or not (like when I was starving myself at age 17 but looked good according to societal standards). At my adult height of 5' 7.5", I have weighed 120 and I have weighed 350, and (obviously) every weight in between. Sadly, as a young person when I was actually thin, I still saw myself as a fat whale. In recent years, I've experienced the opposite phenomena: not having a real concept of how big I've really become. Making excuses to myself. Starting in January this year? No more.

***

On the money side of things, as soon as I was out of the house and into college, I was in trouble. Despite my mom's best discouraging tactics, I got my first credit card at 19 and have been in debt ever since. And even though both my mom and my dad are excellent household budgeters, I somehow became the complete opposite. I've almost never had enough money to pay all the bills or get the things I need all at once. I've always lived paycheck to paycheck and I've had utilities shut off. I've had waves of collectors calling me every hour. I even defaulted on my student loans once. The only thing I haven't experienced, surprisingly, is bankruptcy.

I've always been able to pull myself out of really rough times, sometimes with the help of others (mostly my mom, I admit, and many times my partner, to whom I will refer to as "The Boy"), sometimes on my own. But the last time I found myself in a bind, just last month in fact, I decided that the cycle had to end.

***

For me, it seems that the two things, namely my relationship with money and my relationship with food, are intertwined or stem from the same weird spot in my psyche. Jennette over at Half of Me also talks about this phenomenon, so it must not be just me. It's interesting, though. For me, I feel an almost desperate feeling to use the money I get every paycheck similar to how I often have the absolute need to eat all the food I've prepared for a meal, even if it is enough for several people and even though it would be easy to pack it up in the refrigerator and save the rest for another meal. Or that I have to eat the whole big bag of Smartfood instead of just a few handfuls. It's like I have something against saving things, which totally goes against the part of me that loves to collect things. Go figure. My theory is that the way I deal with both issues is the same, and I figure, if I conquer one I may as well conquer the other, too. As Jennette said, too, both things require you to complete a seemingly huge, insurmountable task by making much smaller, incremental goals that don't seem like much when in you're in the midst of it.

***

So, at the beginning of 2008, I decided I wanted to enter my 40s with a whole new attitude and lifestyle. I'm turning 38 this summer, so I have over two years to get where I'm going, or at least well along the road toward it. I'm going from an all-time high weight of 350 pounds all the way down to 150; and by the time I hit my 40th birthday my goal is to be rid of all my credit card debt and no longer be a slave to money. More details about each will be forthcoming.

Since we're almost to the end of February, you may wonder how I've been doing so far. As of today, I've lost a total of 16 pounds, and for the past two pay periods I've had money carry over in my bank account -- so technically, I've not been living from paycheck to paycheck. So far, so good. For both goals I am taking a sort of learn-as-I-go approach, a more human approach that doesn't require too drastic changes in my life. I firmly believe that gradual change is best when you're looking for a long-term solution, and that's what I am doing. What is it? Slow and steady wins the race? That's me.

I plan to write about each topic every other post, but that may change. I have a lot to say but I will try to spread it out into shorter entries, and keep it focused. I appreciate any constructive comments and hope to hear from someone out there in the ether.

Until next time,

radiosilents

5 comments:

zelda said...

found your blog via Half of me. best of luck!

Amy G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
radiosilents said...

Hi zelda,

Welcome aboard and thanks for showing your support. Best of luck to you, too. :)

r.

Bella said...

I just found your blog via Healthy Writing (I'm on their too), and I love it! I can completely understand what you're attempting, because I'm right there with you.

I'm about to turn 37 in July, and I face both the weight and financial issues you mention. I'm finally at the place where I'm ready to do something about the weight. Financially I still live paycheck to paycheck, but I'm hoping I can figure out some budgeting tricks so that I can save more than I spend. (One can dream).

Good luck to you, and I'll be reading your journey along the way.

radiosilents said...

Hey Bella, welcome aboard, and thanks for reading. I think a lot of people our age are in the same boat... it's nice to see how others deal with similar problems. :)

Good luck to you, too!

r.