Since my last post, progress has been made and I am pretty proud of myself.
I have gone to the gym everyday this week and have started going in the mornings like I had been talking about. I can safely say, I am addicted. Working out in the mornings is sooooo much nicer than dealing with it in the afternoons. In the morning, I am pretty much alone in the gym and the whole process just seems so much more relaxed. The other cool thing about working out in the mornings is it has changed my eating style. If I begin the day with a workout, I am off on the right footing and I don't want to screw it up by eating crappy food or more realistically, huge portions of crappy food. Daily morning workouts have served as a reminder to me as to what I am working out for and that reminder keeps me mindful of my diet throughout the day. I think I am doing something now that I can keep up. Oh yeah, the amount of energy and positive attitude I have through the day is crazy.
Ben, you do not have to pay me to lose weight. Thanks for the offer but for me, the feeling better thing is its own reward. I woke up a couple of weeks ago and it just kind of hit me that I was ready to not be chubby anymore. I have had that mood before but this time it has stuck and this is the most driven I have felt about it. I just don't feel like being overweight anymore so I don't think I will be...at least not willingly. I know this is going to take some time but I feel very committed to being healthier right now and so far, all of the good feelings I have had this week have re-enforced that. Ben, you mentioned weighing myself and I am actually already on a schedule for it. Once a week on Mondays. This may get changed to Friday but right now it is Mondays. I think anymore than that and it will feel like I am beating my head against a wall. Knowing my body, I will probably lose about 10lbs. in the next week or two. It is all water weight and comes off easily. After that, I think I will start grinding away at the actual fat I have let build up for far to long. I know it won't be tremendous gains all the time but knowing that now will keep me from being disappointed later. Oh yeah, I like the smell of two Axe(tm) varieties and have been using them since I have moved back from Japan. :P
Dustin, you mentioned how snacking can be beneficial and for some people I think that is true. For me, I am kind of afraid of it. Historically, I don't trust myself around food. I have known for a long time that I don't eat because I need nourishment, I eat simply because I like the act of eating. I love food. I love the preparation of it, I love the taste of it, I love the look of it, and I love eating with other people and the sense of community it brings. I just like food. Knowing that, snacking is something I try not to do because I think I have a hard time telling what is a snack and what is a meal. When I snack, I purposefully stick to food that I know other people consider snack foods like apples or a pack of M&Ms. I am lucky because I don't care for most candy or sweets. I like them but I am not driven to eat them all of the time. For further explanation, I used to consider a meal at McDonalds a snack. In my heart, I know this is not a snack but I would use it as such. For the past couple of weeks I have been very mindful of what I eat and I make a conscious effort to track my food intake. Right now this is working and so I will stick to it. I know a lot of it is food choices and in the past I have not made the best food choices. That is slowly changing and I feel like how I have eaten over the past week or so has been much more reasonable and I have done it in a way that does not make me feel like I have missed out on anything but I know I have eaten way less.
As for money stuff. I met with my IRA guy and I took out $3200. After fees and whatnot it was closer to $5000 but I still feel like I have made the right decision. I feel like crap for doing this and I know Ben is shaking his head right now, but I know that for me, this was a good choice. Basically, $1700 of it is going to pay my tuition for this semester. Some of it will also go to books. Some will go to pay the few hundred I have on my credit card. A small portion will go to pad my checking account and the rest is being put in a regular savings account. What this means for me is that I am no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Each check I am putting some directly into the savings account and after I am sure I can afford it, I will be putting extra toward my car payment. Lately, even with the small checks I have been getting, I have managed to save money and so I think I am in a position to be able to bank a good sum each paycheck.
Ben, I know you have never liked the idea of me taking stuff out of my IRA and frankly, I haven't either. But we are in different situations financially. You already have a job in a field that you consider your career. You make good money and even better, you make about the same amount each month. You have stability. My job pays way less, my paychecks vary greatly from pay period to pay period, and what I am doing now is not what I will be doing five years from now...hopefully, not even a year from now. What I am trying to say is the road you are on is a little bit clearer than the one I am currently on. While going to Japan was a great experience, it held me back in several ways. Had I stayed here, I would have gone back to school much sooner and would be teaching by now. I would also probably also have a house by now. Though I may be dipping into my IRA now, when I have a teaching job, I will have a killer retirement plan and benefits. My Special Ed certification will also bring me a job security that would make most people weep. I know that once I get that piece of paper, I am set...I just need to get there.
Financially, I am also repairing a lot of stuff that I messed up a long time ago and it takes a bit to get out of the hole I dug for myself. I think I am out now and I don't plan on falling back in. I feel very liberated right now.
Ben and Dustin, thanks for your input. I appreciate the advice and have always valued what you guys have had to say. I know I am not the most money minded person in the world but I think I am finally mastering my finances and your advice has helped me a lot.
Anywho, I need to format my computer now so it is time to shut down my web browser, pop a disc in the drive, and re-install. Joy!