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Operation Booty-Buster: Week 2

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Photo by: Karen Apricot

Here we are: Week 2 of Operation Booty-Buster. I thought week 1 was going to be hardest, but I’ll have to say this week has been worse. Here are this weeks’ highlights and low-lights:

  • Because my back was so bad I couldn’t train with hubby at all. I became so despondent! Every time I get motivated to create a healthier life an old injury makes it’s presence known and it  sends me down into a bad, bad spiral. I wonder why I bother when clearly my body is so broken that I should just accept the extra weight. I know that is not the right attitude, but the logical and emotional parts of my brain have to battle it out. 
  • I fell off the wagon with my no alcohol days. I had book club to attend (glass of wine with the girls), a dinner with a new work colleague (a few glasses of wines with new friends) and a welcome back party with some other friends (more wine with old friends). *Sigh* Since I had three nights with alcohol, why not completely blow it and have a couple more at home. Why do I do this to myself? 
  • I haven’t taken any notice of what I’ve been eating. I don’t think it’s been too bad, but since I don’t know for sure, who knows what I’ve unconsciously been snacking on? *Even bigger sigh*
  • Ok, on a slightly positive note, I’ve been stretching and undertaking some of the exercises that my physical therapist gave me last time my back got really bad. It seems to be helping and the pain is now about a 4/10. (Bearable) If the improvement continues I’ll try to start training again this week.
  • I’ve started riding to work again. Great for my health and excellent for the environment.
  • Today is a new day. Keeping this record on my blog is helping me to get back on track. I was seriously considering not writing anything this week, because I see it as a week of failure. “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.” I’m getting back up. I’ll probably fall again, but so be it. I need to keep trying or my entire life will be defined by this battle.

Because I’m choosing a positive attitude, I’m going to forget about the weight graph this week. Instead, let’s look at my hips. They haven’t grown. What a winner!!!

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Operation Booty-Buster: The beginning

Operation Booty-Buster: Week 1

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Operation Booty-buster

1799067642_df7491a9a6_mYou may have noticed from my January goals posted yesterday that I had quite a few health and fitness related goals. It’s high time I start dedicating some serious effort to this oft-neglected area of my life. Let’s face it, I’m overweight. My holiday indulgences did not help and now in the cold light of day I realise I need to dedicate myself to the goal of getting back into the healthy weight range. As of Wednesday that means I have 21.2 lbs (9.6 kg) to lose. Yikes!

I’m going to do it sensibly and over a long period so I don’t burn myself out (which I have a tendency to do). My sister is getting married in September this year, so that seems like a good timeframe to aim for.

This month I’m simply going to eliminate alcohol from my diet as it’s my biggest nemesis. I’ll also be training with my Hubby three days a week. He’s a personal trainer and although him training me has not worked well in the past, I’m dedicated to making it work this time. I want to cement those two things as habits before I tackle anything else, because I want these lifestyle changes to stick this time.

Is anyone else working on losing weight this year? I’m sure I’m not alone, but it would be great to hear from anyone else facing the same challenges.

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I’ve spent this week at an international conference. During our lunch break I would usually head off of for a quick bite to eat with some colleagues, but yesterday I spent a little time on my own and pondered my thoughts on the whole event.

Personal Finances. I usually get compensated quite nicely by my company for attending such events. Unfortunately, this one happens to be in the city I live so I get nothing. I guess they figure it doesn’t cost any extra to attend the conference than it would for me to go to work. How wrong they are. Attending this conference has cost me an extra $80 on top of what I’d normally spend for the week. Ouch.

  • I have to drive to the conference. I usually ride my bike to work and as we are a one car family, HB has been stuck without transport. The travel from home to the conference is also quite horrendous and last night I spent 45 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I certainly do not miss commuting.
  • I have to buy lunch and it pains me. I hate spending money I don’t need to.
  • I’m expected to attend the conference social and of course partake in a drink or two. At resort prices this gets awfully expensive.

On the plus side, I was talking to someone who’s mother had recently lost her dog to cancer. (Ok, that’s not the plus). The plus is that she is missing her dog terribly and would love to pet-sit my dog during our upcoming vacation. That is going to save us a fortune!

Health. I’m a creature of habit. Attending a conference seems to awaken all those terrible habits in me and I know I’m going to spend the next few weeks battling to be good again. Here are all the unhealthy habits I fall into at conferences:

  • Trying to find a quick bite for lunch is fraught with danger. Greasy burger joints and taco places abound and finding a healthy option is difficult when trying to fit in with other people. 
  • Coffee is consumed in much higher quantities. I usually drink a maximum of a cup a day, often less. This week it’s been more like 4 cups a day.
  • Sitting on my butt all day makes me feel so blah. I have to get up early for the commute and I get home late. Ick. 

Career. This week has highlighted a couple of things for me:

  • This is not something I want to be doing forever. I want to be inspired by my work. I want to feel excited to be attending an international conference and having the opportunity to make a presentation to so many influential people. If only I was passionate about the field I’m in. This week has confirmed my long term plans to move into something I love. Now I just need to find it.
  • Networking is good. Meeting people in face to face meetings always seems to make it easier to deal with them via email and on the phone. When people know who they are communicating with they become more invested in the outcome.  
  • I spent some time with my manager. I see him about twice a year and speak to him on the phone another couple of times. Performance appraisals are always a touchy subject with me. I’m torn between wanting to do the greatest job in the world (and being recognised for it) and knowing this career path isn’t my long term ambition so why should I bother. I work independently so I was wondering how I was going to be assessed, but I can thankfully say my annual report was glowing. I am safe knowing that I can stay in this career path as long as I like, which is comforting in current economic times.

Simple Living. By day four I was feeling a little burnt out. I decided to spend lunch on my own. Since the conference was at a resort I discovered a lovely, sunny cabana beside the pool so I relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I’m trying my best to slow down and enjoy the simple things.

Does anyone else have to attend conferences all the time? If so, how do you cope?

Photo by: shinemy

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  • Travel/Photography. It’s exciting. This month we are heading off on a three week trip around Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. I love photography, so my goal during this trip is to undertake a personal project to document the trip in a unique way. I did this during my trip to India last year, and the photographs I returned with were so much superior to when I travel with no photographic goals.
  • Financial. You guessed it. I need to work out a budget for our three weeks away and then stick to it. I’ve already paid the majority of accommodation and transports costs, so all I need to account for are food, activities and pet boarding.
  • Health. While in Central America I have to stay healthy so I can enjoy every moment. The biggest challenge in countries like these is to drink clean water and eat freshly cooked food – preferably food you’ve watched cooked in front of you. I’ve travelled to all manner of places around the world, and adhering to these two rules has kept the gastro at bay (except for an incident in China, but that’s another story). I also plan to make this a really active trip with plenty of hiking, mountain biking and swimming.
  • Work. I have to complete that assignment and give the presentation that were in last months goals. No excuses this month. Crunch time has arrived. It has to be done before we leave on vacation.

Photo by: Dave Kent

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How did I do on my November goals? Let’s see:

  • Travel. I had planned a six-day roadtrip for four adults through California and wanted to stick to a budget of $1000. Because I’m actually still away I haven’t done the final sums, so I’ll dedicate a post to that next week. STILL IN PROGRESS
  • Financial. I wanted to put together a budget for the next six months which will allow me to add substantially to our emergency fund. We’ve had a few unexpected expenses in the last few months and we have planned some travel for early next year, so I revised our current budget. If we can stick to it, we can add about $28,000 to the emergency fund by the end of June 2009. PASS
  • Health. I needed to reduce my stress, get more sleep, drink more water, eat good foods and exercise. Because I was sick I didn’t exercise as much as I had planned, but I did rest more than I have in a long time. I knew this was going to be a non-specific goal and I’m happy that I did the best for my body at the time. PASS
  • Work. I had planned to complete an assignment for work. Unfortunately I got quite sick for a week which seriously limited my creative inspiration during that time. The assignment was only partially finished and will need to be worked on in December. On the plus side, I was assigned the job to organise a big function for next January. It didn’t leave a lot of time to get organised, but in a few short days I had put together a committee and had everyone working towards a great event. This more than makes up for the other incomplete task. PASS

Photo by: T.MoE

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I’m not sure how I stumbled upon the idea of voluntary simplicity, but it’s only been a recent discovery. In the last few months I have been extremely stressed; unable to sleep at night and sick all the time. I’ve always been a stressful person, but recently I’ve come to the understanding that most of it is caused by the lifestyle I’ve chosen. Having realised that, I’ve started reading some great blogs and books on the topic of Voluntary Simplicity and realised it was the change my life needed.

What is Voluntary Simplicity?

Voluntary simplicity means doing/having/living more with less–more time, meaning, joy, satisfaction, relationships, community; less money, material possessions, stress, competition, isolation. It doesn’t mean depriving yourself; it doesn’t mean buying “cheap” and always pinching pennies; it doesn’t mean poverty. It does mean wanting what you have, and finding joy in having less; and recovering the connection with other people and with the Earth that alone makes life really worthwhile. 

Voluntary simplicity is a growing movement of people who have realized that happiness and fulfillment do not lie in having more money, or new and bigger things, but rather in the time with loved ones and connection with community. They are questioning the consumer society’s insistence that possessions, especially of the newest design and color, are the means of fulfillment, or that any material possession can possibly be “to die for.”

Great River Earth Institute

Why I want to embrace Voluntary Simplicity

  • I want to spend more time with my husband, family and friends. This is the most important thing in my life and it’s very hard to do when I’m working full-time and running a business on the side. 
  • I want to become involved in my community. I want to feel like I’m making a difference.
  • I want to spend less money in the everyday so I have funds to put towards things I truly value.
  • I want less stress from having to perform in a highly paid job and from a daily commute. 
  • I want more satisfaction in learning to do things for myself, such as cooking, gardening and preserving food. In the past I considered this a waste of time, but now I see self-sufficiency as an essential part of living.
  • I want to be able to enjoy the simple things in life and not have to spend money to be entertained. 
  • I want more time to read and be creative.
  • I want to be healthier and to live to a ripe old age.
  • I want to travel the world and experience all the different cultures. I want the freedom, time and money to be able to do this.
  • I want to live in accordance with my values and I want to give back.

Photo by: Generalnoir

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I’ve always owned a bike, but mostly it sat in the garage collecting dust. When we moved to the USA, however, we decided not to get a second car but to rely instead on our bicycles. For the first six months or so, my bike remained in the garage, but on the 4th of July I dusted it off and haven’t looked back since.

Independence Day in our neighbourhood is a big thing. People from all over make the trip to our little city and clog up the streets with cars. If you don’t get a park by about 5am, you aren’t getting one at all. The parade down the main street at 10am makes getting around by car even more difficult. The solution? Peddle power. We rode everywhere that day – to the parade, to the shops, to a friends party on the other side of town. What I hadn’t expected was how much fun it would be. At about midnight as we slowly cruised back home, there were still plenty of people out riding their bikes and enjoying the beautiful night.

Since then, I ride everywhere in my neighbourhood and to work most days. 

Saving Money

I know this is so obvious that I probably don’t even need to mention it, but have you ever done the sums?

Here’s what we pay for our one car on a monthly basis (averaged over three years):

  • $105.00 – insurance
  • $8.00 – roadside assistance
  • $30.00 – registration
  • $55.00 – maintenance 
  • $95.00 – gas

Since we always make a point of buying our cars with cash, we don’t have interest payments to consider. However, if I have $10,000 earning 7% in my mortgage offset account rather than using the money to buy another car, that’s another $2,329 in interest earnings over three years.

I also need to account for depreciation, the most painful aspect of owning a car in my opinion. Using a car depreciation calculator I worked out that a $10,000 car could depreciate between $2,950 and $4,880 in three years.

Over the three years we will be living in the USA, the decision to not have a second car saves us somewhere between $15,800 and $18,000! That’s a darn good holiday!

Health Benefits

My legs are stronger, my heart is fitter, my mind is clearer. These can only be good things. Taking away a passive activity (sitting in a car) and replacing it with a simple everyday activity has been an easy way to increase my movement. I’m usually the type of person who battles exercise, but when I took up riding with its many benefits, I didn’t see it as just exercise. It’s been a clever way to trick my mind.

Better for the environment

For me, this is a big one. Often when I ride home from work I overtake about a hundred (not an exaggeration) cars caught in traffic jams. I casually cruise by while each of their gas guzzlers idle and belch out toxic emissions.

Not only am I saving money, but I’m saving non-renewable raw materials. I’m reducing my carbon footprint. I’m keeping the air cleaner and reducing that nasty smog which seems a permanent fixture in many American cities.

Simplifying Life

Getting out and riding a bike to work and around the neighbourhood truly makes me notice things I wouldn’t have while stuck in a car. I enjoy the breeze in my face, the sun on my back, the exchanging of pleasantries with people I pass. I find it so much more relaxing to ride to the local library than to drive and try to find a park on the main street.

Using the bike has so many benefits that I truly hope that this can be a permanent change in my life. Who else has discovered the joys of using a bike instead of the car?

Photo by wvs.

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