Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Broken Record

I have not been hitting my savings goals the past several months.  I am saving, but not as much as I normally do or should.  Part of me wants to buckle down and get serious  and the other part wants me to loosen  my budget.  By allocating more funds into the various monthly categories will have me not save as much every month.  I'm pretty hesitant to do that, but that may be the best.  I spend too much during the month and then I end up charging some stuff (not a lot).  Since I pay off the cards in full every month, I'll not put the allocated funds into my savings so I'll be able pay off my cards. It is a vicious cycle; one that I need to seriously get a hold of.

My numbers still look okay, but not as good as I'd like for them to.  We're having the same problem as usual.  We eat out way too much.  We eat in during the week, but lately starting Friday all the way to Sunday, we eat out.  No bueno.

I mentioned this to B the other day and we both agreed to make a conscious decision not to eat out as much anymore.  Instead of the 3-4 times a week, we'll keep it at once a week.  I think that is totally manageable.

In the meantime, of course, this means I won't hit my savings goals again this month.  Unfortunately, I find myself saying that way too often.  If I am unable to hit my savings goals in May, then I will seriously look into modifying my monthly budget.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Still Hanging In There -- $$ Version

I've updated this blog on my diet issue, now it's time to discuss $$.

I'm still saving, just not hitting my savings goals lately.  I do have a bunch of expenses in the upcoming months and I'm okay with that.  I filed my taxes last week and I was able to max out my IRA again this year.  Yay!!  I'll also be receiving a total refund of a little more than $1800.  Not too bad.  I'm going to buy myself something (not sure what yet) for about $100 and will spend another $100 on B.  The remaining refund will sit in my savings collecting basically no interest.

Currently, I have a little more than $13K in my liquid savings (just transferred $5K into my IRA).  My IRA/Money Market Accounts are currently sitting at around $30K.  I expected to have more in liquid savings by this time, but I'm okay with the balance that I do have. 

I really have to buckle down on my spending.  It's not too outlandish, but a little excessive for me.  The fact that B and I eat out only about twice a week will help.  Since I'm not really cooking much dinners anymore and our food basically consists of salads and fruits, our grocery budget should be decreasing  a bit.  That'll help. 

Also, I currently have a few IRA CD accounts, one Money Market Account, and one Brokerage IRA Account.  I have like $2K invested in my brokerage account, but have about $4K more just sitting there not invested in anything.  This year, I'd like to allocate that money to some stocks.  My Money Market account is literally earning pennies.  I'd like to roll that over to something else (Not sure what yet). I'd also like to do something with my IRA CD's.  They are just sitting there and not doing much.  I also have two separate IRA CD's at two separate banks and I'd like to merge those sometime this year.  The thing is I know absolutely nothing about investing and need to learn the basics so my money can work for me in the long run.

Still Hanging In There

B is still sticking to his diet of salads and fruits during the week.  He is eating light during the week and eats whatever he wants in moderation on the weekends.  I've been following suite more or less.  I also have been eating fruit or a shake for breakfast along with a salad for lunch.  Dinner time is where I struggle.  Although I do not over indulge, I do eat more than I should.  I keep my calorie count fairly low throughout the day and then just basically blow it in the evenings.  The good news is that I do not eat after 8 pm. 

This week, I've been eating my apple salad for breakfast and my lunch consists of either Greek or a caprese salad.  I might have one small piece of chocolate sometime in the afternoon.  When I get home, I'll eat maybe two eggs with toast or the other day I seared three scallops and served it with a small portion of pasta and a "cream" sauce (made with skim milk).  Healthy?  Not really, but better than what I was eating.  Tonight I'll have a portabella mushroom pizza (no crust).  Basically I'll top a portabella cap with a little tomato sauce and a bit of cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly.

B has lost almost 20 pounds and I have just seemingly maintained my past weight loss.  I know I'll have to cut my treats and really watch my portions and food intake to match B's accomplishments.  B says he sees my body changing for the better, but the scale is not moving too much.  I might have to give it an extra push.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Diet Check In

I've been kind of successful in my new diet.  I have not adhered solely to the diet of greens, fruits, low fat dairy, and whole grains.  I am totally better about what I put in my mouth, but I am not perfect.  That's okay.

For the past few days, my breakfast has consisted of a shake made from unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of protein powder, and a bunch of frozen berries.  Does it taste like Jamba Juice?  No, but I'm okay with it.  Lunch has been a small portion of something I made earlier in the week.  This week it is a bit of rigatoni and a few turkey meatballs.  Dinner has been more or less grazing.  This is where I struggle.  I come home from work and although not really hungry, I start snacking.  For example, yesterday I had a small frozen pizza, a handful of corn chips, and then a several spoonfuls of ice cream.  I didn't eat anything for the rest of the evening, but what I did put in my mouth was a bit excessive.

B is living on mostly fruits and salads.  Good for him.  We both eat "regular" food on the weekends.  I made a pot of pasta with meatballs on Saturday.  I've been eating the leftovers for lunch.  Just a tiny portion of what I used to eat, but it is still real food.  Last week, I had mostly salads.  I haven't noticed much in weight loss, so I'm obviously not doing something right, but I'll figure it out.

Tonight I think I'll make an open faced egg sandwich on homemade bread.  One egg, one slice of bread.  That should hold me for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Apple Salad

I have a new obsession!

Since my cleanse, I've been eating apples like no tomorrow.  Seriously, I cannot get enough of them in any form:  apple chips, dried apple, fresh.  I want apples!

My breakfasts the past couple of weeks has been an apple or two chopped up with a dollop of Greek yogurt sprinkled with a little cinnamon.  Totally delicious.  The other day while I was eating my breakfast, I started craving something else.  I wanted this apple salad, but had no idea what I wanted to put in it.  I went to the store and bought a few things and came home and put it all together.

This is what I came up with:

4 small Gala apples -- cored and chopped
1 small can of crushed pineapple with juice
1/4 C of shredded coconut
1/4 C of orange juice

Dump everything in a bowl and stir.  Refrigerate until cold and eat.  You may have to add a little extra OJ to your serving since the apples or coconut soak it all up.   I made a batch of it and it served me for 4 breakfasts this week.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Diet

I've been off my Master Cleanse for a few weeks now.  I've gained back some of the weight I had lost (not all of it).  This was expected and anticipated. 

The cleanse got me thinking of the food I put in my mouth.  I try to make better choices and even though I may fail from time to time, I do try.

Tomorrow, I'm going to start eating mostly salads, lean protein, low fat dairy, fruits, and whole grains.  Basically food I should have been eating all along.  I will allow myself two cheat days a month.

My breakfasts will consist of either a shake of almond milk and frozen berries, fruit with Greek yogurt, or one egg on one slice of toast (weekends only).  Lunches will be salads and dinner will consist of either salad, soup, or a stir fry with a bit of rice.  I really hope this will boost my eating habits in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Master Cleanse -- Final Results

It's been over a week since my Master Cleanse experiment.  I'll be honest, I did not last the full eight days.  I only did 6 days. Under the demands and pressures of work, I caved.  I lost a total of 11 pounds, which as of today I'm still keeping 8 pounds off. 

I am more aware of the food I put in my mouth.  Even though, I do give in to cravings at times, I have started to make better choices in my food.  Sure, I've eaten pizza, ice cream, and burgers since I ended my cleanse.  But I also pay attention to my body and see if I'm really hungry or just greedy.  I"m not perfect and I'll still sometimes feed myself due to greed, I'm at least aware of it. 

My bff is getting married in a few months.  Although, I am not a believer of crash diets for a special occasion, I am going to use her wedding as a deadline to get my ass in gear.  My plan is basically to eat healthy and occasionally allow myself to indulge.

Many many years ago, I lived by the principle that if I ate well from Sunday night to Friday afternoon, I can be less careful Friday evening thru Sunday afternoon.  It worked well for years.  I did not feel deprived because I allowed myself to indulge within reason, but did not splurge the moment the forbidden food entered my mind.  If I remember, by the time I was "allowed" eat it, I didn't even want it anymore.  I have to get myself in that mindset again.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Master Cleanse -- Day Six

For the past few years, I've had this pain in both feet (left foot is worse) that resembles plantar fasciitis pain.  I have never been diagnosed with it, but I'm convinced that is what I have.  I have incredibly high arches in my feet and the years of rocking high heels have caused some tenderness in my heels.  Anyway, every morning the first few steps I take are excruciating.  The pain decreases as my  feet warm up, but it is  still a pain.  The past couple of days, I haven't felt that pain!

I know plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of tissue in your feet.  Is it possible this cleanse started to heal any inflammation I may have had in my body? 

Today I had a meeting with a coworker.  Although the meeting went well, the news I was given in the meeting was not good.  I zapped just about every ounce of energy I had in that meeting.  Now I feel like I'm on E.  I still have one more day to go.  It'd be silly to quit now, right??

I think I may do this cleanse once or twice a year.  Seriously, after you get over the initial hump (mine was day 2 and 3) it is not too bad.  I mean, you still crave and you still want to chew, but it isn't AS difficult as it was in the beginning. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Master Cleanse -- Day Five

Again, I woke up today with bright eyes and no need to sleep for a couple more minutes.  It's amazing how your body feels when it's not busy digesting food.  B wants me to stop because he says that a cleanse should not feel like torture.  It doesn't feel necessarily like that, but it is not a good feeling.  I do feel like I'm depriving myself (I am!) and it does seem a bit of a punishment. 

Yesterday was rough working all day with no food in my belly.  Although I am still having cravings, the thought of putting food in my mouth is pretty unappetizing right now.  Of course this could change by lunchtime!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Master Cleanse -- Day Four

This morning I woke up really weak.  It is a work day, but I truly am not sure if I can continue to work at the pace I am required to without any kind of sustenance.  My job is mentally draining and right now I am moving so slow.  My legs cramp up if I move too fast or walk to much.  It doesn't help that I am wearing heels now.

Today I weighed myself.  I have dropped 7 pounds.  Of course, this is water weight, but it was nice to see the change on my scale.

I had trouble falling asleep last night.  I was wide awake way past midnight.  I also was consistently waking up every few hours throughout the night.  Even with a restless sleep, I woke up bright eyed.

With the way I feel right now, I am not sure how long I can continue this cleanse.  My body is so still and quiet and I feel like I have absolutely no energy or brain power to get through the day.

The evening was much better.  I had this hollow empty feeling in my stomach, yet it felt like it was full of rocks.  I just had a peppermint tea and that is all. 

I don't think I'm drinking as much lemonade as I should.  You're supposed to drink somewhere between 8-12 cups a day.  The first day I think I drank 8, but I've only been drinking 3-5 cups the rest of the days.  I'm not much of a "drinker" and have to remind myself to take a sip of anything.  When I'm hungry, I'll just sit hungry.  Not good.

Master Cleanse -- Day Three

Day 3 started with a new resolution.  I felt good!!  I skipped the salt water flush.  It is just nasty.  I went grocery shopping for more lemons and the ingredients to break my fast whenever I choose to do so.  I tortured myself and browsed through the premade and frozen foods section of Trader Joes.  I read the packages of cookies.  I was okay. 

Today, my legs are wobbly and I don't feel like I have much energy.  I'm so glad I haven't suffered from any headaches while on the cleanse.  It would have been tough to handle at this time.

Again I made breakfast for B and baked a loaf of bread for him during the week.  I tried a new recipe and I was dying to taste it.  Who wouldn't love fresh warm bread????  I refrained and sliced it up and didn't even eat the chunk that fell off the loaf.  I threw that out. 

B had a veggie Subway sandwich and again the smells nearly did me in.  Throughout the weekend, there were many times I was on my way to the kitchen to help myself to a slice of cheese or a few grapes.  I always caught myself, but I realize how often I really do graze.  I don't consider myself a huge snacker, but I guess I still do snack nonetheless. 

Today my mood was a little short.  My patience was running a little thin and I felt it.  I was hungry, but I expected to be much hungrier than I was for someone who had not eating for three days. 

I realized how much energy I go through with food.  I do cook and plan all (most) of my meals.  I did not have to do that for this week.  I have so much more time!  Too bad, I don't have the energy or the drive to do anything else other than sit on the couch and try not to think about pasta.

Master Cleanse -- Day Two

I woke up on Day 2 surprisingly refreshed.  I wasn't hungry, but my belly was definitely empty.  I started the morning with a salt water flush, which was nasty.  About an hour or so after digesting it, it worked!  As the day wore on, I became increasingly forlorn and slightly depressed.  I made B breakfast and cleaned up the dishes.  He opted for just fruit for lunch, which helped but the smell of fresh oranges was unbelievable!  For dinner he had a veggie sandwich and I had another cup of lemonade.  The smell of the peppers in his sandwich almost drove me mad.  And I'm not a big fan of peppers!!

We wanted to go out, but ended up staying home.  Day 2 was definitely worse than Day 1.  B told me that if I break the fast after three days, I still will reap the benefits of the cleanse.  I told him I didn't want to be a failure and he insisted I wouldn't be.  I told him I'll see how I felt the following day.  Secretly, I was happy that I may only have one more day to go!  This is definitely tough!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Master Cleanse -- Day One

Last night, I made a healthy dinner of salmon and grilled asparagus.  The portions were adequate and I was satiated.  Around 8:30, I started looking around the kitchen for a one last hurray snack.  I was at B's place and therefore my options were limited.  B suggested if I wanted to order a pizza.  I knew I shouldn't, but I couldn't resist.  So we ate pizza at 10:30 at night and it was wonderful!  I did not drink the laxative tea that night, but opted for two herbal laxative pills instead. 

This morning I woke up and after a few seconds I remembered that I am no officially off solid foods for at least 8 days.  I don't eat too much in the mornings anyway so I didn't wake up hungry.  Once I arrived at work, I made myself a laxative tea. It tastes good!  It takes like black tea.  I had to double check to make sure the tea didn't have caffeine.

Now it is almost 11:30 in the morning and I already had one cup of my lemonade.  I'm hungry.  I've brought about five servings of my lemonade with me along with peppermint tea.  I think I'll be fine.

I also opted to put only half of the maple syrup than the recipe calls for.  I'm allowed to put as little has half a tablespoon per serving.  I have started with one tablespoon, hopefully I'll decrease that as times go on.  I'm not a huge fan of pure maple syrup.

During busy days, I've gone a day without food.  That is totally different than refraining from eating!  I was fine while at work, but as soon as I got home I was insatiable!  I did not cheat, I was home alone on a Friday night and all I could think about was food.  Although I was hungry, I wasn't famished.  It was the cravings that tore me apart.  I ended Day One with another cup of lemonade (6 cups total) and a laxative tea.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Master Cleanse -- The Day Before

Tomorrow I start The Master Cleanse.  I've been sick for the past five days and still feeling pretty crappy.  I did think about postponing my cleanse, but the timing to start tomorrow is perfect.

I had a lunch of Thai noodles with mushroom and chicken.  Tonight, I'll have salmon with grilled asparagus.  As an aperitif, I'll have a cup of delicious laxative tea.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm supposed to do a saltwater flush every morning.  I think I'll save that for the weekends only when I know I'll be close to a restroom.  As a substitute, the laxative tea will be my "breakfast" along with being my "dessert".

I made a cup of my lemonade concoction yesterday.  It's not bad.  I mean, it's not the same as eating a delicious pizza, but at least the drink doesn't suck.

I am going to start this cleanse with a bit of excitement along with a ton of anxiety.  My goal is to go to the end of the day on February 8, but I'd like to finish it on February 10.  We'll see how the no food thing agrees with my body and mind.

To prepare for the cleanse, I stopped drinking coffee on Saturday.  Sunday was going to be my last coffee day, but I got sick instead and started gulping herbal tea to try to nip my sickness in the bud.  Useless.  So, since I haven't had my daily coffee in almost a week, I'm confident I won't experience any caffeine withdrawal headaches for the next 8-10 days.

I will have a lot of free time since I won't be meal planning, food shopping, or food preparing.  My plan is to read, clean, and rest.  I have always wanted to learn how to knit and I do have a beginner's knitting kid.  I might go through some You Tube videos and see if I can find anything I can follow along with.

I'm praying the next 8-10 days will fly by.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Master Cleanse: Have I Lost My Mind??

I've never really been one for fad diets.  I did the South Beach Diet once a couple of years ago.  I lasted a week.

When I was in my 20's, I developed a bit of an eating disorder.  I was obsessed with food and fat grams and for years I never ate more than 1 fat gram a day.  I was skinny, but not healthy.  There are no plans to repeat that diet, but it does show me that I have do have will power somewhere in my body.  I'm going to have to call it it out again and reintroduce myself to it soon.  My insane plan is to start the Master Cleanse on February 1.

For those who are not familar with it, it is a cleanse where all you drink is this lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper concoction for 10 consecutive days.  The cleanse requires that you do a salt water flush every morning, consuming up to 12 glasses of the lemonade, and ending the day with a laxative tea.  Yummy! During the duration of the cleanse, you do not consume one morsel of solid food.  You do not consume anything else other than water and the occasional cup of herbal tea along with the lemonade.  It is drastic, but I think I'm up for the challenge.

I'm mentally preparing myself for this challenge.  Unfortunately, one of my coworkers pushed back her last day at the job, therefore her celebratory lunch will take place on Day 8 of my cleanse.  I'm hopeful my cravings and hunger pangs will have subsided by then and I can be around people who are eating delicious food while I'm sipping water after not eating for 8 days.

Although you are supposed to do the cleanse for 10 days, my goal will be 8.  After the eighth day, I'll see if I can continue for another two days.

After you break the cleanse, you cannot resume eating your normal foods.  You will remain on a liquid diet for another 2-3 days.  The first day after breaking the cleanse, you will be allowed to drink only watered down orange juice.  The second day you are allowed watered down orange juice along with a bowl or two of fresh vegetable broth (no actual veggies).  If your digestive tract does not protest, you can have a bowl of vegetable soup with the veggies on the third day.  If all goes well, you can resume your normal eating habits starting the fourth day after breaking the cleanse.

What I've read is that you will lose cravings of bad foods and the taste of fruits and vegetables will be euphoric.  My plan is to use that time to change my diet and to limit my sweet and dairy intake.  We'll see how that goes.

I will blog daily during my cleanse.  I really hope I don't have any adverse reactions to it.  I do expect to be hungry, tired, and irritable.  I hope that is all I experience as I would love to do this cleanse 2-3 times a year.

Wish me luck!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

I'm not one for making resolutions.  I've never really made them in the past, but this year is different.  I fell off the spending train in 2012.  I also fell off the weight train. My plan is to get both houses in order.

Whatever money goals I may have had for 2012 are forgotten.  For 2013, I'm starting fresh, baby!!

May this year bring everyone love, happiness, peace, and MONEY! :)