give me one reason…

Give me one reason to not eat junk food NOW!!!

It has been a week (today is the 7th day) that I refrain from eating it, and boy, do I crave?

DO… I… CRAVE..?

I crave like crazy – especially at around noon/afternoon.

I somehow manage it in the evenings (by eating healthier food). But the office cravings are sickening me, and making me want to go to the nearest convenience store and purchase bags and packs of junk food.

Will the cravings ever get better before I quit and start eating it again?

Because I can quit RIGHT NOW!!!!

Argh.

 

why do we need to feel good?

At one point in my life, many years ago, I was feeling really bad. As a result I turned into books to understand these feelings, their causes, and how to better deal with the thoughts and emotions as a result.

One thing that misses usually from my overall look at life is trust; trust that things will turn out just okay. Trust that I will be able to handle things well. I now am somehow better in this area if I can remind myself.

My other big habit is to not let go of things, plans, wishes, or wants easily. I believe that they take quite a time and effort to come up with, organize, and execute. These, if not followed with success, eventually it leads to frustration and self-doubt. That hurts and amplifies the the first trust issue; trusting that I will be able to handle things well. This being said, not being an easy dumper is also good sometime, as many things in life require more than mere luck and rather lots of efforts and patience. I have good examples of relatively big success came by not quitting and constantly working towards the aim.

The third would be to have a sharp focus. This is great when there is a task at hand, but not great while dealing with life issues, which are often more complex and repeating in nature. Seeing the big picture, my own and the issue’s place within everything life offers can be quite illuminating; after all what is the big deal as long as we are safe, sound, alive, and able?

I once was silly enough to complain to one of my friends about my own itsy bitsy issues a few months after she has lost her dad. I apologized when I realized what I was being so selfish and insensitive to my friend. She did something amazing and gave a piece of wisdom; there was no pain little or big enough; pain is pain and it fills us almost immediately; fast and expandable. I love this definition, which is so true. But I still want to get out of the room of the pain and see the other things in life. This change in the perspective is healthy, promotes positivity, and eventually calms me.

if there is another thing that calms me is to surrounder to pain. I was not able to understand the meaning of this for years, but one day it just came; I was struggling to decide on something critical, very, critical, and after a long and painful internal fight, my shoulders just dropped. Decision was made by my body. I had failed to make the decision I so long wanted to make. But I could not take it anymore. Fight was over. Pain was pain, but less than the pain my internal fight created. Failed to make the best decision? Yes. Succeeded in surviving my turmoil? Yes. Life can be this messy sometimes.

We have so many examples of hardship in our lives. So many mistakes and resentful memories, actions, words, and behaviors.

What is the solution?

Keep going?

or

Forget these or forgive ourselves? 

 

complete frugality

Is it possible for me to be frugal 100% of the time?

I have been thinking about this since yesterday. You know I take the cab sometime and then usually (not always – sometimes I like pampering myself) I resent it the rest of the day.

It is one of these activities that works against my frugal and effective budgeting activities; a ride to office costs around 10 buck – considering how much effort I put to save 10 bucks each week, it is understandable that taking the cab is quite counter-intuitive and counter-productive for me. 

I thought about it and I know there are three other areas in my expenses that are against my frugal life-style;

  • social treats to cheap friends/colleagues (these are the ones that would let me pay for everything, rather than putting their hands in their purses!),
  • gifting (new year gifts, kids, house-warmer gifts, etc.), and,
  • social treats/donations that I must do because of my work place seniority. 

Some of these I can handle better I guess.

First thing first, those friends/colleagues who take advantage of my generosity: obviously I am pissed off by them! Next time I can try to be assertive with them!

Gifting: when I bought my sewing machine I thought I could sew gifts, but now I can see that this is not gonna happen anytime soon. So, I better start shopping for the new year gifts while there are sales. There will be other gifts that I will have to get along the way, like a birthday gift I probably will need in two days  – these I guess can be purchased when they are needed. I am afraid I have nothing additional to do about these expenses.

And social treats/donations that I must do at work: This is also an area of expense that I can hardly limit…. We have annual contributions for recognizing some of the employees’ work with us, which is perfectly fine and I am happy to do these (they so well deserve these). I am often asked to donate to causes that we all care, which I am again very happy to contribute to. And I usually take my team out for lunch several times a year, which is also great because we usually do that to celebrate a significant achievement or a life-event such as a wedding. It is also a great team-building activity. So other than choosing affordable places for lunch, I cannot see much of a thing to change here, either.

Alright. And the rest of my expenses seem to okay (not including the trips I pay to visit my family).

When I look for an opportunity to see whether I can further reduce my spending, I see that this may be possible.

But things that I can do are really small; like making my own detergent (which I do not want to), cutting my hair (which I do not want to), stop dyeing my hair (which I do not want to), buying grains and beans in bulk (like 10 kg bulk) and making them my primary staple (which I do not want to – I like grains and beans a lot but I want to eat fresh produce more), reducing the heating really low (which I do not want to), canceling my cable and risking the good price of internet-cable-phone plan (which I do not want to), not buying occasional awards such as a bar of chocolate or a drink/meal/breakfast for myself (which I do not want not to), and occasional waste like a bad apple here and there.

So, looks like for now, I am at a good shape and have a plan to tackle some of the the unnecessary expense areas. And who knows, once I reach the next level of frugality I may come up with new ways to cut my expenses and become more self-sustaining and resourceful 🙂

After all, there is always a chance of surprising ourselves – just like this bird/crow(?) in the gif below! What a smart animal! 🙂

Food GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/closer-level-3O5ihx3odCq76

 

 

 

 

joy journal, Oct 19, 2015

joy 🙂

happiness 🙂

peace 🙂

kindness 🙂

joy 🙂

1. I am grateful for stretching for 10 minutes this afternoon. I have been meaning to do it for quite sometime. I am not new to stretching; I used to do it everyday years ago. I am glad I pulled a muscle at my back last week, which prompted me to make it a priority in my daily life.

2. I am grateful for the rug in my living room – it is now my stretching post! I can dim the lights, put on the relaxing music, and then stretch on the rug. What a practical solution… I feel lucky and happy for this rug.

3. I am grateful for having a decluttered house with minimal furniture. If I had more stuff, perhaps I could not find a suitable place to stretch in my house. I am not only abundant, but also free by not having many stuff around 🙂

4. I am grateful for walking in the morning as well as the evening. Both cases give me a chance to work my body and eventually relax me. The benefits of walking is a lot; health benefits is one; mental benefits is two; helping keeping my transportation expenses is three; and feeling accomplished after each walk is four.

5. I am grateful for talking to a nice colleague and having lots of laughs in 10 minutes. It is always great to be around positive and joyful people.

6.. I am grateful for all the food I have at home; they nourish me and make me feel abundant.

7. I am grateful for working well today, albeit being stressful I have done well with some tasks.

8. I am grateful for the walking shoes I have; they are comfy and good looking. It is very easy to walk, thanks to them. They make my walking possible and a pain-free activity.

9. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, and youtube for making it possible to search for and listen to relaxing music.

10. I am grateful for all the people that created and produced the lovely music that nourish my mind and heart.

11. I am grateful for being healthy, safe, and sound.

12. I am grateful for taking care of some of the aims in my life so that I can move on with other areas that require my attention. Me controlling my stress levels as well as taking better care of my body are priorities.

13. I am grateful for making many aims of mine a habit (e.g. limiting expenses, walking more, and eating better). Sure, these were a struggle at the beginning, but now they are a normal part of my life (which I do without much thinking and mental judo).

14. I am grateful for my morning coffee; it jump starts my mental alertness and helps my day transition into an enjoyable one right away. It is great that I have many little things in my life that I enjoy and like.

15. I am grateful for wearing my rain coat this morning. It was not necessarily raining but it keeps me also warm. today was a chilly day and it just fit me well. I also noticed that it feels a little bit larger than it used to be last year; am I losing weight? 🙂

16. I am grateful for the up coming trips – they will help me refresh my mental focus and give me a good break. It will be tiring, but nevertheless a great opportunity for me to connect, learn, and explore new places and colleagues.

17. I am grateful for my house that not only provides shelter for me but also keeps me warm during this chilly months.

18. I am grateful for being grateful! 🙂

on conscious spending and being “cheap”

I should thank the financial hardship I have had since I bought my house almost two years ago; it did force me to have a hard look at my finances and my spending habits. I should also thank the bloggers who share their stories and their useful tips, and support me with their comments and kindness through this journey.

Like any other endeavor, it was hard to deal with the emotions resulted from the financial constraints and it was also difficult to implement changes required to stabilize my finances and keep my spending lower. After 4 months now, I am happy to see the positive progress in my life, as budgeting did not only helped me to understand myself and save my money for future (whether for retirement or house-maintenance and other unexpected expenses), but it also helped me to limit wasting; from food to books to household items to clothes/shoes.

I have been always interested in keeping a modest life with modest material (such as furniture or attire). I have never been interested in showing up by owning “material”. I have never been interested in having the latest technology at home or the trendy clothes. I do not have a car and I do not plan to have one. I always lived close to my workplace so that the commute would not be an issue. I always shopped and stocked up when items were on sale. I knew my limits and I knew I wanted to save and invest for my retirement, So debt and wasting have never been a big deal in my life.

Yet, it is true what they say; as I started making more money, I started to have more waste. Sometimes it was the fresh produce that stayed in my fridge for long, sometimes it was a jacket that I bought, which I later did not like and did not even return back to the store. It was the cab drive in the morning and the evening that I thought I deserved well. It was the unnecessary generosity with socials. It was the books that I bought every week that made me so joyful.

I have changed now.

I do grocery shopping as required to limit the waste. It is only possible that there is a big grocery store 5 min away from my house.

I have spending-freezes that I started with on books, which I later extended to others. The nicest thing about these freezes are they are temporary and as such they never make one feel deprived. Another positive outcome is that it becomes a habit before you realize it; for example my 2-months shopping-freeze on books was initially planned for 2 months, but later I extended it till the new year. It also simplifies my life; I do not need to think about buying such items regularly.

I started to notice and make use of the coupons, discounts, and loyalty points. I am not an extreme couponist and I do not think I will ever be. But when I see a product with a coupon, I ask for it to be scanned (sometimes the coupons are stuck on the package and they need to be scanned at the cashier to be applied to the sale). The coupons and deals are there for the customers and I am a customer myself; so if I am eligible to get it, I will get it.

I designed my meals around the on-sale produce each week. This substantially reduced my spending.

I explored different stores and identified those that have better prices. I look at their flyers every week (not too many stores; maybe 3-4), which does not take much of a time of mine. I hardly miss a sale that includes a product I will need in future, even though I do not need it now (toilet paper is a good example of a product needed continuously).

I started shopping at thrifty stores for items such as jackets, shirts, and purses. I will probably never buy shoes, underwear, or pants from these stores (I cannot bypass the possible hygiene issue). I am amazed by the affordability and the good quality of the items there. Plus, I am contributing to the recycling of material and helping the ones in need with my purchases. That is a triple-win.

I decluttered my house and I gotta see what I have had. I have had a lot of stuff, which I had forgotten. Especially the food in the pantry and the cleaning products. I felt an extraordinary amount of abundance that is still lasting.

I called my credit card company and got my annual fee to be waived for this year; I will call them next year, too.

I hinted to my cable company that I was not happy with the prices and I could cancel it. They later offered me a much better and cheaper plan, which I gladly accepted. It is for 3 years and I will be saving around $500 each year.

I prepared sandwiches and snacks for my trips to limit both expenses and unhealthy food consumption.

I let a friend of mine paying her portion of the meal cost, rather than me paying for the entire bill.

I have better appreciation for every single item I have now. I was good at being grateful for everything I had, but now I am better. I was good at re-using items (such as using the shopping bags as garbage bags), but i am better now (e.g. using the old clothes as mopping cloths). I was good at not wasting food, but now I am better (e.g. freezing the extra diced onion to be used later).

There is a pleasure coming out of all of these. Knowing that I can do and am doing a lot better to protect my money and limiting wasting of food and other items. This newly found pleasure is the one that makes me keep going. I have some new plans to reduce my spending further, which I will articulate in the coming days. Exciting! 🙂

I still struggle with the idea of “being called cheap”, though. I have a respected profession, I am single and have no kids, and have a decent salary. Hence, people expect me to be doing well and being generous….

I am concerned that if other people knows that I shop at the thrifty store or if I tell people that I am happy because I got my credit card fee waived, for example, then they may look down on me. One of my colleagues did not understand why I called the credit card company and asked for a waiver. I understood her as I was like her in the previous years; why should anyone be concerned about and make a phone call for a $120?. But I should not feel cheap. I rather should feel like if they give these discounts to others, it is my right to get it, too. I feel like we are even now with the credit card company, as for years I stayed with one credit card and I have used it for every purchase.

I like to share what I know or learnt with the people around me. But maybe the lesson I should get out of my conversation with my colleague is to not tell people about my frugal experiences.

There is a difference between being a frugal person and being cheap. I have never let others pay for me at the socials; I never borrowed money that I did not later pay back; I never stole; I never did dirty tricks to confuse or take advantage of people or the systems.

I am not cheap; I am solely a happy frugal who consciously spends and protects her money and gets an enormous hope and pleasure out of it 🙂

back from trip #1

I returned back from trip #1 yesterday night; I have been to Athens for a business meeting. I could not find time to go around the city much due to the 9 am – 8 pm meetings, but the weather was nice (around 25-28 C), which is awesome. When my plane arrived here at night, it was 7 C – ouch! 🙂

I also found a chance to get together with friends the day I arrived there (no meeting day); it was amazing 🙂

The long flight used to make me nervous and uneasy (I need my sleep and I do not like the idea of sitting for long hours); yet I was happy to see that my body handled it very well – I am very grateful for this 🙂

I was worried about how I would do with my budget and healthy life – style plans prior to this trip. I have not done amazingly great, but I did pretty good. While  food choices and exercise during the flights and at the airports are challenging, I must say I still cared about what I eat and even walked around 45 min withing the airport on the way to Athens.

At Athens, I walked around 1 hour everyday in the evenings – I did extremely good with that and I am very proud of myself. I have not eaten much of the snacks (usually cookies and other sweet stuff served at the meetings) during the day (I ate only three small pieces over three days) and except one day, I have eaten really well (one day I have had two pieces of sweets, which made me hungry after a few hours and eat later). During breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I refrained from getting a second plate and filled my plates with lots of greens and raw veggies and meat. For someone who likes to eat and who likes to eat carbs, that was pretty good. I am pleased with this 🙂 My current weight is more than what I had prior to the trip, but I am almost sure that it is the water retained in my body, which I hope will go away in a couple of days.

I have bought souvenirs and little gifts for my loved ones and I had to take the cab once to go to the city center. Other than these, I did not have a major expense. These cost me an extra $180. I am okay with this. Considering that I did not even buy many stuff I liked; like a pair of nice boots. I think it is the economic situation; I found it very affordable and I wish I had more time to shop. Alas, maybe next time.

The airport food is not only ridiculously expensive but also quite limited in variety. I will continue to take the snacks and sandwiches I prepare at home with me for my next trips as well – at least they help me eat well for a while.

In sum, overall both my budget and healthy  life – style plans went okay, although not perfect. I guess it is quite a progress on my side that I did not return to my previous eating or spending habits – that makes me happy and proud 🙂

cheers everyone 🙂

a change is an opportunity to change something else

You know I will have a couple of trips this month, which really excites me.

Mostly because I love traveling, seeing other places, and people. Leaving things behind, even for a short term, is a great freedom and the fact that I will also break my overly-routine daily life, I have extra bonuses that add up to my excitement 🙂

Breaking the routine is a great thing as doing the same things, eating the same food, going to the same places for coffee, like a robot every single day is such a boring thing. Do not get me wrong, it is also very useful as it makes life organized and going on smoothly. Finding a balance between the usefulness and boredom is what the challenge is. I have good efforts to break my routine, which I am determined to continue 🙂

Anyways; there is one or two things I would like to remove from my daily life (unhealthy and unnecessarily expensive habits). I have been thinking about them, planning and putting in effort for some time, yet I was not so far able to fully get rid of them. I have confidence that I am capable of doing these changes, but I always find an excuse not to and it is tiring really.

So, I am trying to make my mind, get really determined to make these changes at the same time with my trips; I believe the change of environment and daily routine will help me forget my routine here (that also contains these habits) when I come back. So, this may be in fact a great opportunity for me to achieve these changes.

While logically I fully agree that this can work and it is for my best interests, I am emotionally still hesitant. I feel like I need to focus more on this, write and think about it so that I can really implement these changes. In other words, I feel the need to convince myself further.

Wish me luck in this journey 🙂

healthy-life style journal – analysis of the eating habits – August 31, 2015

The simple truth is that there are so many details that I need to be thinking all at the same time (work, house, my life-style and relationships) that my mind, whether I like it or not, prioritizes to work on specific issues and targets. And you can also relate, since I have a limited capacity of mental work, depth, or hours to focus on things during the day, these two reasons, as expected, factors in delayed tasks and unfixed issues.

Well, while there is nothing much I can do to increase my mental limits or the hours in a day, there is one thing I am capable of doing (at least time to time): it is to focus on one thing, examine and clarify the issue, reflect on ways to tackle it, design a strategy to take steps, and monitor the outcome after each steps. This “plan” is well implemented if it is clear, set, and remembered (sadly if I fail to remember my plan, it is usually one thing that sends all my efforts in to the garbage).

That is why I like to write, draw, flow-chart, or simply discuss with others my plans; it focuses me, helps me to reflect in more detail, clarifies my mind, and most importantly, makes me remember it.

You are probably aware of all of these based on your experience or education; I simply need to write them so that I focus, design, and remember my plan – so bear with me when I tell you the very well-known story of planning.

Anyways, now that I have the motivation to finally take care of the long-waiting issues, namely healthy-eating and exercise, I need not only a plan, but also something that reminds me about them each day. That is why I am opening the “healthy-life style journal” page, where I will record my daily efforts, accomplishments, weight loss (if ever – grrrr), or struggles and frustrations.

So, what is my plan for healthy eating? I have been thinking about the pattern of my diet that I think is useful in designing my new, healthier diet:

1. Canned food: I noticed that I eat too much canned food (canned beans, chickpeas, lentils, and fish). Too much of a something cannot be good (in this case the exposure and possible contamination of the food with the can chemicals). Second, since they present themselves as affordable and easy meals, I prefer them but that also keeps me away from making an effort to cook and eat a variety of foods. So from today on, I implement a shopping freeze for canned food.

2. Wheat-products: I know what does not agree with my body and makes me gain weight or accumulate water in my body: bread, bagel, or any other wheat products that are conveniently sold in cafes or stores. From today on, I eliminate bagels and others from my diet and limit my bread consumption to one bread/week.

3. Cheese: if consumed in small amounts over time, cheese is very likable. Yet, I happen to eat the entire block in two days if I can. Thus, from today on I limit cheese consumption to 50 grs/a day maximum.

4. White rice and pasta: Nope; they make me bloated and eat more and more. I hardly eat both of these, so I am in good track.

5. Sweets: I do not have a sweet-tooth; thus sweets are not a problem for me (the majority of the time).

6. Candy, chocolate, ice cream, soft drinks, chips etc: I am lucky in the sense that I only occasionally consume these.

7. Meat and chicken: I am not a big meat eater; yet I kind of think that the lack of adequate levels of protein food in my diet may be contributing to my weight gain. So, I decided to eat more of these.

8. Veggies and fruits: I usually consume a limited variety of veggies and more so of the fruits; I think I am malnutritioning and thus need to bring in diversity to the food I am having.

9. Eating pattern: I usually do not have breakfast (except the weekends), light or no lunch, and multiple dinners in the evening. It is not surprising that I am having multiple dinners; one of the dietitians had said long time ago that such an eating style would starve the body during the day and prompt the body to eat a lot later to compensate for all the calories that are missed earlier in the day. So, I gotta start having breakfast like any other person, prepare and pack (or buy) my lunch, and bring snacks to my office. I also need to cook at home nutritious meals.

Now, time to plan.

to be continued

random thoughts

The best time for a change is right after another change. At least I guess..

Those who follow my post may remember I have been trying to make some healthy-life style changes (eating better, losing weight, more exercise etc.) as well as conscious spending activities.

It is not easy; I struggle a lot and am hardly consistent. Take my challenge of taking the bus rather than the cab every morning to save funds. Prior to my vacation last month, I was still having mental judo every single morning and often losing the game and taking the cab. The primary reason was the negative mood in the mornings that prompted me for convenience (of the cab rides).

I am doing alright since I came back from the vacation though – been consistently taking the bus in the mornings. It is not too long of a time to make sure that I really have an established habit right now, but it is at least a great progress. Take this morning when I woke up late to take the bus, so I had to wait at home (which I dislike big time) till the next one. I made it though – browsed on the net, checked my emails, and before I know the extra 20 min had passed. I think the fact that I have light work nowadays has also contributed to that; should I have a lot of things to do, I would rather find a justification to take the cab in order to save time. But, whatever the reasons for this, I am grateful and I sincerely hope that I can continue like this. The confidence coming out of this “I can do it” feeling is enormous.

Now I gotta implement my plans to eat better and walk longer. Wishing myself the best 🙂

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