Monday, March 31, 2014

Telling Nasty Nelly to Shove Off...
I am starting week three of T25. If you haven't heard of it yet, it's a Beachbody workout program that takes 25 minutes (really 28 with the cool down). It's not very long but it's also not very easy. And as a woman who has a lot of weight to lose it's almost torture. Fortunately, I have a good husband who sweats his duff off alongside me and kind neighbors who endure a half hour of stampeding overhead.

It's hard. It's short but it's hard. So I should be proud that I've managed to stick it out for two full weeks and I have enough motivation left to keep going into week three. I should be happy that I've lost almost four pounds in the last two weeks without starving myself.

I've made small changes (like actually eating breakfast) and opting for healthier dinners. It really hasn't been nearly has painful as I thought it would be. But instead of being excited after I got through my workout today, I was bummed. I just kept thinking, 'What if I'm not doing enough?" "I'm not working hard enough."

It's like this constant battle in my head. I know I'm making good changes and I know I didn't get fat overnight so I'm not going to get healthy overnight either. I know there are more things I can do to be even healthier, and I am working on it. But, it's still so easy to belittle myself and my efforts. It's really hard to keep that Nasty Nelly voice out of my head.

Maybe I'm not perfect yet but I'm trying. I feel like part of the reason I (and maybe other women too) keep losing this weight battle is because we are setting our expectations too high and we don't give ourselves enough credit for what we can do. It's just so much easier to berate ourselves for not being good enough than to actually be proud of ourselves for doing something so seemingly small.

My mom made a comment about this earlier that stuck with me, she said that our brain learns habits. It retains things we repeat (like tying our shoes and feeding ourselves). When we repeat an action often enough it becomes lodged in our brain. These repetitive processes can actually change our brain. So if I've been telling myself I'm not good enough or not doing enough often enough (and I can assure you I have), my brain actually thinks it's true. I don't know if I can ever fully reverse the damage of lousy self-esteem, but I'm pretty sure I can repair the damage.

I'm making a goal to replace all of my negative thoughts with a positive one. So when I think, "Well, that was a great 25 minute workout, but you should probably be doing something more," I'll replace it with "I got through that 25 minute workout and I am still standing. Hot damn."

Do you have any tricks to staying positive?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

For the Love of Women

Lately I  have been extremely frustrated with this upswing of hating on other women. Everyone knows bullying is wrong, especially when it comes to our kids. We preach tolerance and talk to our kids about being kind and not spreading rumors about other people. And then we pick up a magazine for women and peruse through snarky comments on celebrity clothing and hair styles.

I'll be the first to admit that I've flipped to the worst-dressed list more than once. I've even entertained myself by looking up ugly prom dresses. But, Self Magazine took it to another level when they contacted a woman and asked for a copy of  a photo of her running in a marathon in a tutu. They then used HER photo as an illustration in which they made fun of her. In addition to being dishonest and tacky, they also managed to insult the wrong woman. This brave lady is battling a brain tumor. And if you look at the photo closely you can see that her friend's badge says "Die tumor die." In addition to being nasty, their editors and writers were apparently oblivious.

I stopped reading the gossip rags a long time ago because I simply can't handle the snark and blatant insults tossed around. But, I love Self magazine. The magazine is designed to empower women who are trying to get healthier. And yet, this magazine that promotes self improvement and confidence thinks it's okay to turn around and belittle a woman who is obviously bettering herself by running in a marathon. The commentary was high-school at best. I'm disappointed.

This magazine is not the only place that this type of behavior happens. All over the internet on blogs and on women's/mother social sites (cough cough....Cafe Mom...cough cough) women take precious moments out of their day to slander other women. It's disgusting and it's disheartening.

I firmly believe that we are all entitled to an opinion and we are entitled to express that opinion, but just because we can doesn't mean we should. It's one thing to take a stand against something that ruffles your morals (scantily dressed women, prostitution etc.) it's an entirely different thing bash and insult women because you don't like what they are wearing or how they look or because they don't do things the exact same way you do.

With all the preaching of a modern woman and empowerment it seems we would be better off spending less time pursuing "sexual freedom and empowerment," and more time finding ways to build other women up for the more important qualities (compassion, kindness, brilliance, bravery etc.)

As women we need to stop acting like high school mean girls and set an example for our daughters. It isn't funny or brilliant to insult belittle women. It's degrading to our gender to support this type of nasty behavior.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pinching Pennies

So we're planning a Disney trip for next year and I'm super excited. But as we're planning and finding out how much things are going to cost it's a bit overwhelming. Between trying to pay off debt and keep up with monthly expenses, it can be overwhelming. My hubby finally has a job that pays well and we're getting back on our feet from a rough year. This vacation is going to happen come heck or high water.

I've been doing research, crunching numbers, looking at our bank accounts and trying to figure out ways we can save the cash we need to pay for our vacation. Here are a few ideas I've come up with and PLEASE feel free to share a few more ideas!

Stop Eating Out:
This is pretty obvious but I had a major wake up call earlier today. There are times I like to stop and grab a burger or a treat after I drop my kids off at school. I come home, kick back and catch up on an episode of Grey's Anatomy on demand and snack away without having to share. It's relaxing. Not only is this unhealthy for my waistband, it's not helping my wallet any.

I figured out that if I spent $5 a day (pretty average) on a snack I would spend $20 a week on my extra snacks I'll will have spent $80 a month. When I multiply that by 11 months (the time before our vacay) I will have spent $888. Holy smokes! That's nearly as much as plane tickets to California! Ouch. Goodbye eating out.

Cut Entertainment Expenses:
We like to watch movies. Right now we're paying for cable, Netflix streaming and Netflix DVDs. Not only is that FAR too many options, it's costing us at least $60 per month. If we cut cable and the DVDs we can still watch movies on streaming and save $50 a month.

Cut Cell Phone:
We both had smart phones and we don't really need them. When our contract ends in August we're ditching the smart phones for flip phones and saving about $90 a month!

Turn off the Lights:
One of our biggest bills is electricity. We've started shutting off lights whenever we aren't in the room and unplugging anything we aren't using to cut back on electricity. We flip open the blinds and let the natural light warm our apartment, helping us lower our gas bill too!

Use the Library: We love the library. You can check out movies, CDs and books for free (if you remember to return them on time!) This helps keep us entertained and our budget a little tighter.

Shop Car Insurance:We switched car insurance in February and saved over $60 per month! Yay. You should shop your auto insurance at least every two years to see if you can get a lower rate. It's free and it only takes a few minutes. Consider using a service like Answer Financial that will compare several companies for you and give you a new rate within 10 minutes.

Do you have any more tips on saving money?! A vacation for four isn't cheap, but we're bound to get rid of debt and pay for our vacation out of pocket! What tips do you have to share?