Searching For Savings & A Lack Of Family Trips

The family trip is off.

Sad faceIt sucks to even write that down…but it’s been off for a couple of weeks now. We had gotten to the point where we thought that we would be able to save up enough money for this awesome family vacation in Florida…Disney & Universal, specifically…but then we were hit with a financial blow a couple of weeks ago that pretty much killed any chance we had of going this year.

So what it boils down to is that we need to be better at saving. I, in particular, have never been great at saving anything other than pennies over the years. That being said, I’m finally at a job that pays me what I’ve always wanted to be paid…yet I’m still having a difficult time saving. I’m not drowning in debt or anything, but I’m not saving the way I thought I would.

As of Sunday, our week-long “family staycation” ended, so in the next few days I think Sunshine and I will be seriously looking at how to manage our finances better. With the money we make and the bills that we have, we should be able to save a lot more than we are at the moment.  We want to be in a position where an unexpected financial hit doesn’t cripple us. We also want to make sure that if we are hit unexpectedly by something, that it doesn’t completely derail our trip plans.

My attempt to get sponsored to write blog posts about Florida went without any offers, so I guess we’re pretty much stuck at home for the foreseeable future (only half kidding, by the way). As bad as I feel for Sunshine and I, the worst part about it all is that I feel really bad for the kids. They never really get to go anywhere and, with the exception of my daughter Rugrat, none of them have ever been on a plane before. 

It’s going to be a long year without going anywhere, though. Maybe Sunshine and I can sneak away for a long weekend drive somewhere like Boston or Montreal. Hmmm…let’s ponder this for a little bit.


Life Is What You Make Of It

Alright…a few weeks into this new lifestyle change and I think I’m on the right track. I’ve been counting my calories every day, drinking my 8 glasses of water, cutting back on my snacking, and going out for runs and walks when I’d normally be happy to sit on the couch at home.

Unfortunately, that didn’t result in much of a change on the scales when I stepped on it last week.

I’d been down this road before, though. I’d seen a lack of movement on the scale and it had ruined my whole day. In fact, there have been times when I’d seen a higher number and then just said, “F*ck it” before going on an eating binge for the next week or two.

Not this time.

Not this timeY’see, I realize that my life isn’t dictated by my weight. I’m not obese, by any stretch. I mean, how many obese people can run a 5K in under 40 minutes? So yes, I totally realize that I’m in a much better place physically today than I was a few short months ago. It just sucked that my body didn’t seem to want to work with me when it came to appearance.

So here I am, eating baby carrots on a Monday afternoon after a vacation week where, as crazy as it sounds, I was actually down three pounds on my weigh-in day! And you know what else? I didn’t go crazy during my vacation week, either. Sure…I had some sweets and some snacks, but I didn’t go crazy like I normally would. I had an active week and it ended up finally showing on the scales to the point that I’m not worried or concerned about my weigh-in on Wednesday.

In addition to that, I’ve got my awesome wife doing whatever she can do to help motivate me and keep me on the right path. Two years ago I might have felt a bit resentful or even upset that she was “pushing this lifestyle” upon me. Today feels like a new day, though, so I am incredibly grateful for her motivation and assistance. She’s not only my best friend, she’s also my inspiration.

My good friend, Random Esquire, is continuing to help motivate me, as well. We send each other pictures of our food…all day, every day…in an effort to keep each other “in check”. Random’s going to the gym now while I’m still out there pounding the pavement in the mornings trying to run off the pounds. We’re hoping to integrate other workout routines and exercises into our daily schedules so we can continue to keep each other “in check”.

And for whatever reason, I’m still motivated to keep making these lifestyle changes. I mean, I know I’ve been here before and have failed multiple times…but it’s not about how many times you fail, it’s about how many times you get back up again. I failed four or five times at quitting smoking before I finally did it…cold turkey…and this year I celebrated 10 years smoke free. If I can conquer that, I can certainly conquer this.

So two weeks ago I only lost a half pound. Who cares? As Sunshine asked me at the time, what if I lost a half pound every week for an entire year? Would I not be happy to have lost 26 pounds? I’d almost be at my ultimate goal weight…so why get upset and throw everything out the window because the initial results aren’t exactly what I’m hoping for? It’s a marathon, not a sprint…and that’s how it felt last week when I saw the results of my hard work pay off.

As long as I keep going on the same path that I’ve been on for the past few weeks, I’ll eventually get to where I want to be.  In fact, I’m thinking about running a 10K in October.

** BLINK **

I shake my head as I write that because just a few months ago, I couldn’t imagine myself even running a 5K event much less a 10K. But here I am in August, two months removed from my first 5K and two months away from a potential 10K. I really think I can do this!

Life is what you make of it and right now, my life is good. And I’m at the point where I really want to make the most of the life I’ve got.

Don't give up


Plantar fasciitis

I’ve been training for my next 5K. I’m running three times per week and I’m taking steps to ensure I’m in better shape for this one than I was during my first run. I’m excited about my progress and I feel like I’m finally taking control because I want to, not just because I have to or because I’ve got a bet going on with somebody or because I feel obligated.

I want to do this!

And I understand that aches and pains are part of the process. My right knee has been a recurring issue since I began running back in April. The good thing, though, is that it seems to be doing a lot better. Running three times a week with breaks in between seems to help a lot, whereas I was running two to three days in a row before. That one or two days really does my knee good.

Which is why I was puzzled by the pain in my foot. It was a weird pain, too. Sometimes I would be sitting at the office for an hour and try to stand up, only to almost fall over because of the pain. I would wake up in the morning and hobble out of bed. Yet when I ran, everything felt fine.

What the heck???

I did a bit of research and found that I’ve probably got plantar fasciitis. Basically, that means that I’ve strained the plantar fascia (i.e. the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes) of my right foot. Thus, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated or inflamed. When I stand or walk, I get an intense pain shooting through my foot.

plantar_fasciitis

 

It’s common in middle-aged people (hellooooo 42nd birthday in September!) and is caused by a number of things that relate directly to me:

  • I walk, stand, or run for long periods of time on hard surfaces (i.e. the sidewalk).
  • I am overweight.
  • I wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out (probably a contributing factor).

plantarMost people have intense pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit idle for a long time. Then, the stiffness and pain goes away after a few steps (or more, in my case).

Unfortunately, there is no single treatment for plantar fasciitis. I have to do stretches of my calf and my toes and with a towel as a first step. If those don’t work, I’ll probably need to get orthotic insoles and/or better shoes.

It just sucks. I’m finally in a good spot and this hits me. The good thing is that I don’t feel the pain very much when I’m running…so it won’t take anything away in that regard. What it’s doing, though, is taking away from my standard of living. The limping and the pain isn’t going away on its own. This is definitely something I need to take care of.

Sigh. I was healthier when I wasn’t doing anything healthy.


Escaping The Rut (part two)

So yesterday I was talking about being stuck in a rut. It was a rut that I’ve been fighting for my entire life, really…but I’m ready to tackle it one more time and see what happens.

The other rut, though, is something that’s relatively new. It’s the rut that my wife and I have found ourselves in after less than a year of marriage.

No…we’re not in trouble. No…we’re not going to split up. We’ve had a few rough weeks and recently realized that we were the cause of our own issues. We were the reason that we were unhappy.

WE were stuck in a rut with our relationship.

It was decided that we had taken our relationship for granted, which was something I never thought we’d do. Sunshine explained it like this:

  • When we were in our long-distance relationship, we always had “our weekend” to look forward to. We did whatever we could to cram in as much fun and as much love as possible.
  • When I moved to Halifax to be with her, we were looking forward to our wedding.
  • Once the wedding ended, we had nothing else to look forward to.

And so thus the rut began.

Our last couple of weekends together, however, have helped to break us out of that rut.  We had our own “Ferris Beuller Day” that was all kinds of awesome and we’ve made it our mission to not simply sit back and let life pass us by. We’re too important to each other to do that. Plus, one of the things that we both love about each other is our ability to make fun out of almost any situation.

It is a lesson learned, and a lesson not soon to be forgotten.


Escaping The Rut (part one)

For whatever reason, I’m the kind of person that flourishes when there is an obstacle or a task placed in front of me. Give me a specific goal with a specific timeline, and I’ll work my ass off to complete it. When I’m just trying to kick my own ass? The results don’t quite end up the same way.

How many times over the course of the past five years have I said that I was going to lose weight or get in better shape or make some “life changes”? I’ve lost track of them all, to be perfectly honest. But here I am…at it again…trying to hold myself accountable by writing it all down.

I’m in a rut and I need to bust out and escape it.

KILLING my morning workout!!A couple of years ago I was training for a race against a co-worker with a $50 stipulation. Heck…I even got up at 6am while on a cruise ship in the Caribbean just to hit the gym and work out. I lost 20 pounds and won the race handily. I then kinda drifted off and gained most of the weight back over the following year. All my hard work was gone.

009Earlier this year, my good friend Random Esquire challenged me to complete the Couch-to-5K app and then have everything culminate with an actual 5K run. Well…I trained and completed that run back in June. Since then, I’ve gone out once or twice a week…but only running 3km or less. I haven’t pushed myself, nor have I felt motivated to push myself.

I became stuck in yet another rut.

So last week my amazing wife threw down the gauntlet. Fed up with the poor eating habits we had been displaying over the past few weeks (and also because she’s in training to run at least a half marathon in the fall), she decided to whip both of our asses into shape.

“Let’s get on track. We can loosen up over family vacation week and then after that, back to the grind, balls to the wall, harder than ever. You’ve been wanting to lose weight and I need to reign it in so my pants keep fitting me. You in?”

I’ll be honest…my initial reaction was “SIGH”. It then took me a second to realize that this was the rut that I was trying to break out of. Sitting on my ass and eating ice cream all summer sounds like a great, relaxing time…but my two short runs per week aren’t quite cutting it in terms of the “weight loss” department, especially if my ice cream intake calories far outnumber my running calories.

I’m here, again, to say that I’m going to try to change my lifestyle habits…again. Eating better, tracking my calories, doing push-ups and planks in the evenings during commercials on television; whatever little things I can do that will hopefully add up to a happy, healthy CBG.

And if my wife is running a marathon in October, the least I can do is run a 5K that weekend, too.

That’s the plan. Even though I can’t run at her pace, Sunshine is determined to help motivate me to want to motivate myself. She’s a pretty awesome wife that way. I’m ready to escape this rut in my life. There is, however, still one more for me to tackle.

004


Half-Assing It

Canadian Bald Guy:

Sunshine pretty much said everything that I was thinking, too. I think we’re both ready to start really living life again.

Originally posted on Sunshine on My Shoulder:

The end of last week wasn’t exactly the most stellar in my world. A single incident between CBG and I triggered a couple of ugly arguments between the two of us. I’ll spare you the details, in the interests of both privacy and the fact that, as is often the case, the things were were arguing about weren’t really the things we were arguing about.

Gotta love how that works, right?

Also — it got ugly.Ugly in that way where you start questioning everything that’s happened in your relationship to lead you up to this particular point. Ugly in the way that pushes you toward something that logically really makes no sense whatsoever, but in desperation you’re just not sure what else to say or do.

Bah.

The good news is that several days of communication, tears, laughter and love means that here, on Monday, we’re in a much…

View original 559 more words


G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix Popcorn Giveaway Contest Winner

GH Cretors logoWhew…that title is a mouthful, right?

Alright…I decided that the quickest and easiest way to choose a winner was to simply take the names of those who were eligible (i.e. who entered a comment AND liked my Facebook page) and put their names into the Random.org. The name that ended up #1 on the list would then be the winner.

Here is the list of eligible participants:

Entrants

And after I hit the “randomize” button, this is what was presented to me:

WINNER

So congratulations, Rachel!! I need you to contact me ASAP and provide me with your mailing details so I can arrange to have some G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix Popcorn sent your way! The easiest way would be via email: canadian.bald.guy@gmail.com

Thanks to everybody who commented and liked my Facebook page. I certainly do appreciate it.

And a huge thanks to G.H. Cretors for helping me with this! You can find them in various places online if you want to check them out yourself:

www.ghcretors.com

https://www.facebook.com/GHCretors

https://twitter.com/GHCretors

http://www.pinterest.com/ghcretors/

http://instagram.com/ghcretors

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