365 Day Blog challenge Day 162 April in Review #365daychallenge

Days without chocolate/sugary treats 120

Days without diet cola/pepsi 116

Footsteps logged 282714 (up 3164 from March)

Total weight lost to date: 19lbs

Only 1lb weight loss this month although former weight loss coaches in the past would be cross at me saying ‘only’. Even though my steps have gone up each month and I’ve still lost weight I feel like I’ve lost track a little bit. Too many biscuits (cookies) have crept in and because my energy has been low with the iron deficiency I’ve craved carbs which always slow my weight loss down.

So tomorrow is 1st of May and a good time to refocus and think about what I really want and how to get it. Then I need to do it!

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365 Day Blog challenge Day 161 Enjoy the Present #365daychallenge

It’s been a do-nothing day where the most exciting thing that happened is that I have a new loo seat. Not every day can be exciting.  To counteract that and to give me a little motivation for the coming months I’ve found this meme:

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365 Day Blog challenge Day 160 Capturing the Energy #365daychallenge

My iron tablets must be kicking in as I can feel my energy is better this weekend. It’s only 10.30 as I write this yet I’ve been up, cleaned the house,  sorted out my finances, booked  a bra fitting after my weight loss body changes, booked the window cleaner and watched a guy deep clean the oven. It looks brand new again 🙂

Seeing as the bank kindly put my wages in over the weekend instead of making me suffer until Monday (official payday) I’m going to spend the afternoon getting the food shopping done. What I expected was going to be a quiet day has now turned into something very productive and there’s a lot more chance I’ll get my 10k steps in.

So whatever you are doing over the weekend I hope it’s a good one for you.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 159 Twitter Birthday #365daychallenge

According to my notification today is my 5th Twitter anniversary. I was a bit surprised although I do remember joining, ignoring it for ages then having another go at using it. I’ve been thinking today though about what’s the point of it.

I’ve 851 followers and following 584 and yet I probably interact with about 10 people. There are loads on there where we mutually follow but yet they never talk/respond to me. I have on occasion answered a tweet and been completely ignored. So why are you following my posts and work. What’s the point? What do you gain from it?

On the other hand what I am gaining from it. Apart from those few I mentioned not a whole lot. There’s a lot of talk about detoxing from social media and that can be a good thing but actually I’m thinking about stripping it all down. I interact with a few people so really why am I following anyone else? If people don’t want to talk with me then they need to be deleted from my internet life. Then maybe I can use social media in a more meaningful way.

Following on from this I’ll probably do the same for facebook. I’ve deleted about 50 people already from there and really I could delete a 100 more who serve no purpose in my life. A social media declutter I think could be a good thing. There’s something cathartic about getting rid. Time to go hit the delete button.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 158 The Wheel of Life #365daychallenge

Yesterday in my development course we had an exercise called the Wheel of Life. In this you have a wheel broken into 8 sections. In each section are 10 dotted lines and you have to rate each section as to where you think you are. The purpose being you can then work out which areas of your life need extra support and attention. I first did this exercise in 2015 just after an anxiety based breakdown. I’d been diagnosed with a sever anxiety disorder.

These days I’m at my happiest and I feel really good. I know I have anxiety but I believed I had it under control for the most part. I do know my social anxiety has got the bets of me a little bit but actually when I compare the two charts I can see I’ve been deluding myself a lot.

One good thing about yesterday was the chance to talk it out with people who challenged me a bit on the subject and really made me thing. This was part of the course as we had to really discuss what changes we wanted to make in our lives and how. Then we had to have honesty discussions with each other as to how likely we will stick to the actions we’d set ourselves.

Looking at my 2 charts my work score has gone up. Understandable as I was in a job that I’d lost the love for and had no support, now after a lot of hiccups along the way I enjoy my job and have a lot of support. My health score went up 5 points! That’s down to the diet and walking I’m doing, the positive results and holding myself accountable in this blog. It makes me hyper aware of what I’m doing.

Money and personal growth are the same. I’d just started the repayment plan and so I think that score will be low until it has finished and I am always looking at new ways to grow in knowledge.

The rest went down and if I look at the categories they are all things influenced by being sociable; relationships, fun, friends and so on. Again in this blog I’ve talked about my social anxiety and how sometimes I think my finances have impacted on it but it’s harsh to see no positive change in 3 years. I trust myself with my physical health now to not dwell on it too much so the mental health side must be something to focus on for the rest of the year. I don’t want to check in 12 months time never mind in 3 years and have the same feelings.

I’ve taken some strides; following on from the flirtology book I’m getting quite used to chats with strangers now. I now need to take this forward more. I finally found a book club I enjoy and feel comfortable with. There is though, so much more to do. I need to sit with pen and paper as I think better that way and come up with some actions. I’m at a point where I refuse to let this take over my life any further and in a place where my will is ready to do battle with my brain and not let it control me. Now all I need is a plan.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 157 A Trouble Shared #365daychallenge

Today was a good day. It was module 2 of my development course and I’ll talk more about it tomorrow as it’s late now. However we had to reflect over the last 3 months since we last saw each other. One woman mentioned that she had been struggling with her anxiety and it was like a flood gate opened inside me.

I talk about anxiety with my parents and my closest friends but rarely at work. I ended up in three separate conversations after this woman’s declaration about my anxiety and how it affects me and how I deal with it along with how it affects them and how they deal with it. It was such a wonderful awakening.

I try to be as honest as I can no matter how stressful and hard it is to say the words out loud (typing in a blog is easy for me personally) but I worry about it at work. Some managers have been really supportive when we’ve spoken and some not so much so I tend to err on the side of caution.

Funny really as we are having a big “I can be me” campaign at work. Trans colleagues, LGBT colleagues, spectrum colleagues, those of different religions and ethnicities are all writing pieces on their world and lifestyles. There’s little about the anxiety and depression sufferers. It’s still a little bit taboo. I’m not sure I’m if ready to stick my head above the wall and declare mine to a potential 250,000 people just yet as much as it needs to be discussed.

This blog is my start. It’s helping me be brave and speak out however small the audience so maybe one day I’ll be able to do this on a grander scale and the subject won’t have as much hold over me.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 156 Financial Challenge #365daychallenge

I’ve been looking at finances this week. I’ve beaten one struggle in that I never believed in myself enough to lose weight and had been hiding my true self behind flab. My last giant issue is money. You guys know I have a debt repayment plan if you’ve read previous blogs. I’ve talked about how that wrecks your self esteem and causes anxiety in itself as you struggle to try and have even the smallest of lives while you clear the debts. And they should be cleared I have no problem with that.

I have a limited budget each month after the debt repayment has gone out and my bills have been paid. That budget is to last me all month and covers treats, hair cuts, dentists, emergency cat bills (thankfully none for a year) and essentials such as bread and milk etc when we run out.

I can never make it last to the end of the month. There’s always some kind of juggling around in the last week and this month is no different. I’ve discovered my willpower and strength with the diet and health so now I need to find it with money. I’ve tried the envelope scheme where you divide the cash into weeks and can only spend that amount per week. I’ve tried leaving the lot in a tub and taking only what I need or think I need. Neither have worked so far, not because they don’t work in general. I know plenty of people who have trued it and succeeded but because I can’t stop my chronic overspending. However! I said the same about chocolate and fizzy drinks and still haven’t had any this year so it is do-able. I just need to break some habits.

I did a bit of research and one of the things I found was to go through your bank statement and see just where your money goes. Then look at how to change these habits. I have still to do this but off the top of my head I can think of 4 issues straight away:

  1. Books: As my budget is tight and I can’t have many treats or nights out books have become the way to spoil myself. I use the library (good), I have my free books to review on netgalley (good) and I decided that I wouldn’t buy new books but get them from charity shops thereby also giving something back to those less fortunate too. Except I’m always in them! I possibly spend between £10-20 per month doing this under the guise of collecting the works from authors I like. It never works like that because you see other things. Now I have, thanks to free or 99p books on Amazon about 1000 books on kindle, I have a good 50 paperbacks that need reading and as I got over excited by the downloads on netgalley about 300 to get through there too. I really don’t need any more books!! I’ve decided then I can have the books of one author only from the charity shops and seeing as her books are not there very often that limits that. I will also set a maximum of £6 (up to £2 per book) for the month. Once that’s gone I have to wait.
  2. Takeaways: We are terrible in our family for takeaways. Some days I am tired and just want comfort food. I’m probably spending £20-25 minimum on this. I don’t think I’m spending once a week (that would be about £40-45 per month) but my bank statement will give me a better picture on that. So when I do the monthly shop I need to stock up on easy foods. Maybe some frozen pizzas and things I can throw in the oven. Then when I want a takeaway I can swap for one of these. Not the greatest food options when you do that but probably still less calories than a pizza or curry
  3. Eating out: This isn’t even eating in fancy restaurants. It’s McDonalds after work when on a late shift and waiting for the bus. It’s having an hour to kill before book club and going to Subway. It’s agreeing to have the pub meal when it turns out all but the organiser said no because you think somebody should do it (last week). And probably more. It’s also having that cake/slice because you ‘deserve it’. What for? Deserving a piece of cake because you’ve gone into town to pick up some train tickets (also like last week) and equally silly reasons. When I started dieting at the beginning of the year the sugary treat was limited to Tuesdays before work (pain au chocolat) as a breakfast and one on a weekend. That seems to have become an anytime treat so back to my limits again in May. I also need to think about whether I really need that meal or whether a hot drink is enough until I get home and my guess is it probably will be. That’s easily another £20+ of my money
  4. Coffee shops: The cake/slice is mentioned above. This one I will keep in some respects but not others. I started having a tea before work when my anxiety was high and I still do it. I find it a really good self care practise as I get to the city centre, I sit with a tea and my book for 20-30 minutes (dependent on the traffic getting there) and then I waltz into work without any negative feelings. What I have done, apart from my Tuesday late, is switch from an expensive coffee shop chain to using McDonalds. The tea tastes the same but is half the price and with the coffee bean stickers every 7th cup is free. That’s the bit I will be keeping. My Fri-Sun routine is where I need to change things up as I seem to be creeping in the chain stores and cake and have no real reason for doing so. This point actually ties in with learning to better manage my free time and do more. This is not a priority. I can read at home and make my own drink. When the weather is nice I can do it in the garden. That saves me £6-12 per week if I did this every day

So without really getting into it (my weekend job) I can see how I can save a minimum of £83 per month. Writing it down is harsh but just with a surface look I can see why I don’t ever have any money.

Going forward then these are all habits and as I’ve proven to myself with diet, habits can be broken. This is my big challenge for May and June. If I can manage that then I can hopefully get to the end of the month without struggle, I can then  start to see what is genuinely left at the end of the month and fingers crossed start saving some of this money for clearing my debts earlier or having a genuine treat like a night out or a trip away.