Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Debt Reduction Resolution - In Progress


That was my total revolving debt on January 1, 2011. I made a New Year's resolution (yet again) to lose weight and pay off this debt. But this time, I said my financial resolution out loud and my husband heard me. Dang it! The man can be a machine when he puts his mind to something. Me? I'm more of a "que sera, sera" kinda gal. But after my husband challenged me to pay off this debt and he would in turn save aggresively for a downpayment on our dream vacation home, I knew I couldn't back away.

The problem is that I still have the horrible eating out habit. Seriously, I spend about $300-$400 per month eating out and we spend about $200 per month on groceries that go to waste about 20-30% of the time. To make this challenge work I had to buckle down. I have failed miserably when classes are in session but luckily, I am paying off my bills BEFORE I dine out. Go figure as to why I hadn't thought of this sooner. D'oh! Anyway, by dropping $$$ on my revolving debt as soon as it hits my hand, I have actually reduced my fast food and restaurant consumption by 25%. This means I am spening $75-100 less each month on food and paying my debt faster.

My current revolving debt is $8630. I am teaching summer classes so I anticipate paying off two cards in full by the end of August leaving me with approximately $3000 remainng. I don't know if I can get it all paid by the end of December but already this is a vast improvement. If only I could stop the Jack in the Box runs.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Weight Regain(s) Story

I participate on a Black Hair Care Forum and in the Fitness Area, someone asked about our re-gain(s).  Basically the question is what causes us to regain weight (emotional, psychological, physical reasons), if we have the right type of support and how can we prevent a regain in the future.  I was the only person, thus far, who said I had multiple regains over the years which tells me that (1) I'm capable of losing a significant amount of weight (2) my past mentality toward maintenance has been "consequences be damned" which is counter-productive to an attempt at lasting weight-loss.

Here's the Good, Bad and Ugly

The Re-gain(s)

1. I lost 38 pounds in '95/'96 using Jenny Craig. Once you hit your half-way point, they put you on the 5/2 plan in which you make your own food twice a week. I really struggled with my own meals eating all the foods I missed (mostly fast food). I tried to blame the expense of the program for me quitting but in retrospect it was my unwillingness to change. I barely exercised when I did the program and once I got a full-time job and worked on my master's degree part-time, I gained it all back within a year.

2. After moving to Ohio to work on my Ph.D., I found out my blood pressure was sky high and my cholesterol was off the charts. So I joined WW and quickly lost 25 pounds. But I am a Cali girl and I wasn't accustomed to snow so I abandoned any form of exercise and hibernated like I was a big brown bear instead of a human female in need of movement.  This was in 1999.

3. Moved back home to California in 2002. Despite a crazy commute, being caregiver to my ill grandparents and still working on my dissertation, I did Weight Watchers again and lost 25 pounds again. I kept it off for two years. I ramped up my exercise and faithfully went to meetings.

4. Moved back to Ohio again to finish my degree and take a job that a friend set-up for me. Joined a gym and fell in love with weight training. My weight stabilized but could never lose because my eating habits never really improved. Got engaged and moved back to California in 2006.

5. My grandmother who basically raised me was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I ate to deal with my emotions. Piggy All the while, I taught college full-time, planned a wedding and fought with my dissertation committee. Weight blew up to 225 pounds...Fit into my wedding dress like a fat sausage. My gram died 4 months later and I continued to eat.

6. For the last four years my weight has hovered around 200-210. The weight I have lost is due to my exercise routines: running, The FIRM, Jillian, P90X. I am considerably smaller in size but my eating habits continue to be a struggle and I discovered that when I procrastinate in paying bills or completing work tasks, I get anxious and stressed and I eat for comfort.Although diagnosed with Adult ADD a few years ago, I only made the connection to my weight about a year or so ago.

7. Family support isn't my issue.  Managing my ADD-inattention issues is the source of my emotional eating.  While I've made quite a bit of changes, I still have a ways to go. One thing that has kept me from blowing up to 250 and beyond is having my online journal and friends to support me. I'm realizing how much this emotional/psychological part plays in my success and instead of fighting my ADD, I just need to find the right tools to help me manage my environment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weight Loss Update

...Only a few months late!

After the Win,Lose or Blog competition, I was in the "weight loss wilderness" doing a little bit of everything and nothing including running, Weight Watchers, Belly Fat Cure Diet, FIRM DVDs, Zumba for Wii...You get the point but nothing consistent in terms of exercise and diet.  My husband was on hiatus from P90X from an injury but once he was healed, he was planning to tackle it again. 

He asked me to join him and I hesitated and finally relented and said yes.  WTH was I thinking? The first week was beyond hard and I was so incredibly sore.  Plyo X made me feel like my lungs were going to cave in and hey, isn't yoga supposed to be gentle? Not with P90X.  Nonetheless, I've stuck with it because of my husband pushing and supporting me.  I didn't do it for him but I did it because of him.  I'm wrapping up week 10 today and ashamed as I should be by this pictures, I'm proudly displaying them because of my awesome results.  Keep in mind, I haven't followed the diet AT ALL.  In fact, I haven't followed a diet up until 2 weeks ago and I haven't lost much scale weight. (Ignore the ugly, ill-fitting bathing suit, please!)

Living with ADHD

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD (inattention variety).  My inability to focus at home, procrastinate with work projects, keep my house and office tidy and being late for appointments was causing strain in my marriage and accounts for years of stress eating and inconsistent exercise.  It was important for me to get to the bottom of it and come up with a plan.

My therapist found me to be a unique case because I had off the charts Inattention symptoms but I thrived academically.  Normally people with ADHD, including adults, don't do well with academic work. But I had a doctorate by the time I was diagnosed so my therapist probed further to find out what was my coping strategies.  When I explained how I went about doing my research, he concluded that I was adept at "hyper-focusing" where I could shut out distractions and get my work done when I knew I was accountable to someone else (i.e. a professor).  This realization meant that I could possibly tackle my symptoms without medication (which could have potentially altered my personality, energy levels, etc) by developing strategies that created order in my life.

At home, I created places were I would always place my keys, an area to stack the monthly bills, designated a day to do laundry and a day to clean the house.  My home life and relationship with my husband improved greatly.  My husband also purchased a dry-erase calendar for me so I could write out important dates and appointments.  I still misplace things but not nearly as much as I used to.

The greater challenge has been at work.  I'm a college professor and my routine changes every 16 weeks. Usually the first 2 weeks of the semester are chaotic with new courses, students, and changing obligations. The last week of the semester is nutty as well as I'm usually trying to get my grading done and tie up any loose ends.  Add to this my research, obligations and you'll see how having ADHD is no picnic for a college professor.  In fact, I'd say that I need alot of work on developing a routine for my work environment. 

I don't want ADHD to be a crutch.  Sometimes, I'm just lazy and I need to own that.  Hence the reason, I opted for cognitive therapy as opposed to medication.  Some days are harder than others but I firmly believe that if I keep at it, I'll eventually develop a solid routine that will help me get my work done and alleviate a good majority of stress in my life.