thanking myself for my life style

Self-appreciation is something we do not even think about, but we all deserve big time.

I have many things to celebrate and appreciate about myself, work, character, life-experiences, and resilience. For this post, I will just focus on my life – style. Specifically, for its being simple and cost-effective.

here are the things I come up that makes me quite satisfied about my life-style:

1. Having no car: True that it may be restricting my mobility, but that does not apply to me. I have other means (walking, taking the bus, or flights) to go to places. I do not have to buy or lease one, I do not have to pay for the insurance, I do not have to apply for a parking permit to the city or pay for a parking spot at work, I do not need to look for and pay for parking space in the city, or I do not have to maintain or pay for repairs/replacements.

I am not arguing against having a car or two. Having a car is a necessity for many people, especially those who commute, or have kids to transport to schools or activities, or those who live away from their work places. I also know that it is a must for many where there is no public transport (like many cities I know in the USA).

My monthly transportation expenses, assuming that I take the bus or walk, are around $25.

Just by looking at that amount I now realize how easy it is for me to save…

2. Brewing my own coffee at the work days: I have been brewing my coffee at my office in the last 7 years. There were occasional buys from the cafeteria, but that is pretty much it. I am not sure how much I am saving by this habit, but considering I drink around 4 cups of (light) coffee per day, it must be quite so. A large can of coffee (~$10), 300 grms of coffee mate (~$3), and 200 grms of sugar (~$1) are enough to brew coffee for two weeks.

Can I guess how much I am saving compared to buying 2 cups of coffee/work day from Tims, for example? I think I can:

$3/per day x 5 work day = $15 per week. $60 per month. $120 per two months. Based on this calculation, I am saving around $50/month only from coffee…

3. Not eating out frequently: Since I started my budget last June, I limit it to maybe one or two times a month. Sounds pretty good to me. I used to eat out at least once or twice a week prior to that.

4. Having simple and low-cost pleasures:

   a) My weekends almost always include a morning coffee and bagels at a cafe. This is my signature pleasure – I must have them! 🙂 Honestly, I do not mind giving $6-10 per weekend to them.

   b) Over 90% of my books are second-hand books, purchased from second-hand book stores or the thrifty sores.

   c) I do not eat dessert or meat regularly, or buy food from convenience stores. The last one is mostly because there are 2 grocery stores within 10 min walking distance to my home – I am lucky.

   d) I live alone and I cook for only myself. And if you follow my blog, you know that I do not like to cook… For myself, I cook simple things and salads are my favorites in addition to soups. At the work days, I do not have breakfast and lunch is usually a canned fish or other snacks like trail mix. I am aware that this is not an healthy eating style. So please go ahead have your own delicious meals regularly as you need them, as you wish them. This is how it has been for me for decades and I guess that is what works for me.

   e) I am not interested in fashion and I often buy clothes and shoes when they are on sale. Holiday sales are my favorites. When I travel to other countries or cities, I shop there too, which are often much less expensive than where I am.

   f) Using internet for both entertainment and learning: I am very happy with my computer and internet connection. every evening and night, these give me a chance to read blogs and articles on the net, and watch TV series/movies. being content with these is something I must truly celebrate.

5. Exploring international stores and other small businesses: I can find many food, diverse food, at a reasonable cost in these stores. There is one close to my home where the spices, oriental sauces, pickles, canned beans, noodles, legumes, and olives are way cheaper than the stores. Many of these items I cannot even find in the big chain grocery stores. Plus, there is a pride and satisfaction coming out of supporting small business owners. Win-win situation in so many different ways.

6. Not hosting dinners at my home: Again, I am not arguing against this.. As a matter of fact, it is sad that I do not do that. Main reason is the fact that cooking for my lovely guests is an incredibly stressful event for me (only because I usually mess one or two dishes each time…). Maybe once a year or so, I will have my good friends over – but that is it. They understand and I am glad they do.

7. Not comparing myself with Jonases and giving up upon peer pressure: i do not do these. I do not need to have the latest computer or the TV, nor the cellular phone. I time to time get talks from friends about how I need to replace my old TV or replace my phone etc, but I do not give in. Give me a break. It is my life. I will replace my stuff when I need or want them. Not when the others suggest. I hope you do not have such toxic people in your life.

8. Vacations: I take one vacation per year and that is to visit my family. I do that every year and I am glad I do that and I am financially capable of doing that. My friends from other cities and countries invite me to their places, for which I am really happy and touched. If I had more vacation time or more funds at my disposal, I would love to do these visits – they are truly lovely and nice people. But I made a decision long time ago that my family had more priority over my friends. And I am glad I have done that, as now that my father passed away, I am glad I have seen him every year in the past decade or so, or before that whenever I could make it.


I am sure I have a longer list of experiences and choices to appreciate. Perhaps at another post.

I am sure you have many thing to appreciate about yourself. I would like to encourage you to find and appreciate those choices you have that enrich your life without breaking your bank account or psychology.

cheers 🙂


healthy life-style journal, Sept 6, 2015

Yesterday – late night snack: yesterday night was another over-eating night. I was hungry so ate 2 hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, 2.5 slices of whole-wheat bread, and 2 table spoons of olive oil….

Yesterday night – eye care: I have reading glasses and since I use them a lot my eyes ache after a while. I remembered that putting wet and warm tea bags (best after brewing your tea) over eyes for 5-10 min would soothe them. I did this three times yesterday. It certainly is very relaxing to eyes.

Today – breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup of coffee with brown sugar and cream. Did I mention I eat a lot of eggs and I should change this? Yep…

Lunch: went out to a cafe with my friends. As a result I have a heartier lunch than I would have if I was by myself. Turkey, cheese, arugula, and cranberry sauce sandwich on baget, 1 cup of coffee with cream and brown sugar. And a little tart – I could not resist the tart, even though I usually do not eat sweets…

Late afternoon snack: 1 apple

Dinner (planned): 2 medium size meatballs, salad with tomato, raw radish, lettuce, onion, coriander, and celery sticks with olive oil.

Exercise: 30 min in the afternoon. I did some house chores this evening and as such did not notice the time. I went out shopping but the store was closed. I wanted to try another one on walking distance. While the second store was also closed, this helped me with walking around 30 min. Yay!

healthy life-style journal – Sept 5, 2015

Doing good in some parts, not so good in others 🙂

Late-night snack: 1 apples, 3 table spoons of sunflower seed (I love seeds and nuts, but I need to remind myself that they are not only healthy but also are packed of calories). Nevertheless, I am glad I did not eat too much yesterday night (not that I was not tempted to).

Today: breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg, 1 cup of coffee with cream and brown sugar. Today was the second time I have been to my favorite cafe but did not eat their delicious bagels! Good, good, very good 🙂

Lunch: None – I was too busy decluttering the house. Gotta have lunch no matter what.

Late-afternoon snack: 1 apple

Dinner: Salad with tomato, lettuce, raw cabbage, cucumber, radish and olive oil. Meatball and cabbage meal with 1 onion, black-bean sauce and olive oil.

Exercise: 10 min in the morning – in addition I have been working at home non-stop for 6 hours. I hope that counts as some calories consumed.

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

challenges – daily progress

I am speaking too much today 🙂 this is my third post. But I gotta write this one, as it keeps me motivated and helps me make these changes in my life.

So here is the list of things I have done today to improve my life: I took the bus in the morning and surprisingly did not mind waiting 10 minutes for it; drank a cup of chamomile tea, which I usually do not like but was fine this time; looked out of the window to enjoy the nature and the surroundings at the office; walked back to home and then to the post-office at a fast pace (yay!); am motivated to walk more in the evenings and weekends; ate healthy meals and limited carbs; listened to the music at the office while working; and did not make any purchases.

I have done well today; maybe I should increase/change the challenges as time goes on. New challenges, new excitements, and new reasons to feel good 🙂

cheers everyone

random thoughts

A beautiful, warm spring day; it has been the warmest day so far – around 13 C. Cannot complain 🙂

I attended a meeting in the morning, where there were all bunch of muffins, pastries, and fruits as snacks. Why did I eat so much of pastry? That I am complaining about. I am going to attend another full-day meeting on wednesday, where I similarly expect to eat unhealthy food. Why I wanna ask myself, why? 🙂

On the other hand, I appreciated the nice pen and notebook that came with the meeting. And the coffee and tea. At least they are not unhealthy.

I am always perplexed with the choice of snacks at meetings and presentations. Is it because they are easy to acquire and cheap that they end up at the tables and then in our mouth and stomach? This last part is nobody else’s fault though, I have no will-power to stop eating these food. Convenience is the key igniter for my unhealthy diet. time to stop this – seriously. Where am I going with this life-style?

I walked back from the office, which made me sweat due to the warm weather. It made me feel good. I had a relatively healthier dinner (potato salad to be exact), if it is considered healthy (too much starch…). Oh well. I really have a lot to fix in my life.

My life is waiting – when am I going to take the steps to change for a better, more fulfilling and healthy-feeling life?

Sometime soon. Yes, soon.

future goals

It is an unremarkable day in the sense that nothing highly positive or highly negative happened. It is an unremarkable, but a nice, pleasant day. I think that is a fair conclusion.

While writing this, I wondered about what I expected from my day? From myself?

I cannot possibly control or influence the climate, what will others do or say, what kind of news or emails I will get. I have nothing to do but accept them as they appear. Ok.

I can however influence my life, my thoughts, actions, and feelings. When I think about this, it is so powerful…

What would I like to do with my life?

For a long time now I have not had long-term goals in life. I am not sure whether this is a good thing or not. I used to have goals (such as better work, better living conditions, better life style, etc.) and thinking about them and working through these goals were exciting, interesting, and fulfilling.

I am not sure whether my lack of future goals, at least in terms of better job or living conditions, are because I attained them. I am happy with my job and would not like to change it unless something extraordinary would happen. I have not been even thinking about applying for jobs for some years. It is true that I had reacted to the city I am living in now for 6-7 years for quite a long time (weather, grey sky, its being a small city and as such can get boring… etc.), but in the last one year or so (since I bought my house), this feeling also left me; I do not care about the weather, the sky, or how boring it can be. Maybe I got used to be bored. Maybe that is the main reason. because realistically, yes I am bored of doing the same thing, eating the same (limited types of food), seeing the same streets, and shopping at the same malls.

I have had goals related to my life-style though, which I somehow could not implement yet.

1. Weight situation: I have been thinking about losing the extra weight that I gained since I moved here. 30 pounds to be exact. It is quite a bit of fat that I need to say good-bye to. And, nothing much has been happening (at least permanently). The recent loss of 5 pounds is well received, but I keep wonder whether it is permanent and continuous.

2. Eating better: I think I am eating less and less healthy. Less fruits, less veggies. This mostly happened after I moved to my house. I am not sure what is prompting it; considering that I have a bigger and more functional kitchen. I have no idea…

3. Exercise: Nope; since I came here, my exercise levels dropped to maybe 5% of what it was used to be. In terms of gym/health club/cardio exercise and walking. I used to walk a lot. Now, if I can walk half an hour (from office to home, for example), I congratulate myself. Will the spring/summer help? I think so. Our winters are quite harsh, that is for sure, where we have a lot of snow. Since the snow is lifted off our streets, I have been more active. I think I will be hopeful about the coming months and take the opportunity to walk more. Even going to the shopping malls, browsing the stores, and walking around are better than sitting on the couch.

4. Being happier and relaxer: When compared to past I am. Interesting and appreciated. So this one goal actually seems to be attained! Awesome 🙂

So, the question I would like to ask to myself is then how I can use my power to direct my life and my life-styles to a form that would please me?

Something, a great opportunity, to think about.

holiday plans – the change is here

Here are my plans for the 12 days off till after the new year;

1. I will have breakfast every single morning – you got it right; every single morning I will go to my favourite cafe and order my favourite breakfast with coffee. That is my dream!

2. The delightful breakfast will be followed by a visit to my favourite book store close by; I can find beautiful books, buy or browse them as I please. Cannot think about a more lovely time spent.

3. I will walk around, maybe check the shops, see whether there is something interesting I may be interested in. Now that I will have spare time, I will take my time going through the stuff and fully engage my mind with whatever is at my hand. A great mental break – lovely.

4. I will call and visit some of my good friends – I am really looking forward to this! Everybody including me is so relaxed during the holidays that it is a perfect time to enjoy each others’ company and laughter.

5. I will go to the malls and check all the sales I can find – now that is one perfect time to find the best items at an affordable price. Since time is not an issue, I can explore in more detail and find and purchase those that I may like. I really would appreciate getting new shirts and trousers for winter.

6. I will visit the thrifty store, too. There are so many stuff that are interesting in such stores. Especially household items, such as old china or kitchen tools and furniture. I have been always fascinated by the fact that if I want to have a sense of the past of the city I am in, the old items, either at houses belonging to the people, or those who are dumped at the thrifty stores, are an excellent way to do so.

7. I would like to knit a nice toque this holiday season – based on my past experience if I can decide of what kind of toque to knit, I can produce it in a single day. I think it will be red and orange yes the colours that give energy during the winter. Great idea.

8. I will clean my house really well – starting the 2nd floor rooms which are much easier to clean. I will clean the floors well – they are in good condition but a little bit of deeper cleaning would be nice to protect them from permanent dust.

9. I will de-clutter the house – yes I will. I can keep things but not those which are not needed any more. That will help my house breathe better; it will refresh it, it will energize it. Together with the unwanted/unneeded items, I will also dump my old scars and painful memories. As I create space for new items at my house, I will also open space for new beginnings and memories. That is the most exciting of all the activities I plan to do during the holidays. This will lift my heart and my mind.

10. I will start implementing better and healthier life style. I am usually okay in terms of eating good and at least walking every single day, but I can do a lot better. I will start daily light weight exercises, I will stop eating refined carbs, and I will start breathing and relaxing with music more.

11. I will call my friends and family members to catch up with people important for me.

12. I will donate the books I am not reading any more.

13. I will clean my email inbox; ever year this is one of the best practices I follow – just delete the unnecessary/temporary emails, organize and store the others that are important. Open space for new emails, new developments, new important communications! Open space! Awesome – so exciting 🙂

14. I will shuffle the furniture around a little bit – I would like see my home a little bit different – just to have a mental stimulation, a fresh look, a statement of “change is here”. You would not believe how useful this kind of changes are in making more profound changes in our lives. Go ahead, change something and find in yourself the courage and wish to change other aspects, whether it is relationship, habit, life-style, or hobbies.

15. I will review my year and note all things that I have been grateful for. That is a great exercise not only to feel grateful, but also to appreciate the year that is ending and to welcome the new one with hope and positivity.

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