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Stressed about money and weight gain, I just realized how I've been eating my money...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Over the last year, three things have caused me considerable stress:

1. Money
2. Weight gain
3. Work

I don't know why it took until now to realize it, but these things are linked in a big way.
Forgive me if this is obvious for you - feel free to skip the rest of this blog - but I think it's important to acknowledge links and patterns.

Here's the thought process:
1. I have a great job, but it fluctuates from overwhelmingly busy to dead slow, depending on the time of year. In the first and last quarter, it's not unusual for me to work 10-hour days - 9-hour days consistently.
2. At the end of a long day, it's not unusual to dread cooking. It feels a heck of a lot easier to pick up dinner (even if it doesn't save time, because, let's face it, it takes the same amount of time to cook it)
4. I pick up dinner on the way home, and often it's a single serving meal (I.e no leftovers) - depending on whether it's just for me or for me and the man, that ranges from $15-40
5. No leftovers = no lunch to bring to work with me, so I pick something up, hurry back to the office and get back to work. That ranges from $5-15.
6. At the end of a long week, I want to relax all weekend, and, let's face it, there's a good chance I'm working at least a few hours on Sunday. I don't find time to get to the grocery store (and not motivated - I'm not cooking because I don't perceive that I have enough time, so it will just go to waste anyways, right?)
7. I don't have groceries at home, so I don't have breakfast food to make before leaving for work
8. I end up picking up a bagel/muffin on my way to work. That ranges from $1.50-7

What does this mean? 
- I need to work on my work-life balance
- I've been eating my money
- poor nutrition habits and stress on their own can cause weight gain....put them together and your odds are twice as bad
- I need to remember how much I enjoy home cooked meals - doing so will save my wallet AND my waistline

This month, my nutritional goal was to eat my own cooking more than other people's (the man not included). The first two weeks were pretty dismal, I won't lie. This week, however, something clicked.

I haven't bought breakfast this week. I bought a coffee at Tim Hortons on Monday partway through an hour drive en route to an off-site meeting (I needed to use their facilities), and a latte on Wednesday en route to work. I'm not going to lie, it was very tempting to just buy a muffin with the latte, but I overcame it before leaving home and made a smoothie.

I have not bought lunch all week. My meeting on Monday was over lunch, so I had the pizza provided. I stuck to two slices and skipped the wings and garlic bread. Tuesday I had a lunch and learn, but I stuck with half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with salad.

I have eaten home-cooked dinners every night since (and including) Saturday. Not always the healthiest - Monday was tacos, tonight was pulled pork in BBQ sauce - but homemade, which was the goal.

In addition to all of this, I've made at least two brand-new recipes since January 1. A chicken recipe, and waffles.

How's it going? Well, on Thursday last week I saw 164 on the scale (granted, it was following a day that included all-you-can-eat sushi). I've weighed in every day since, not due to obsession, but to motivate myself to stay on track. This morning I saw 157.6. I'd say my waistline's happier. And I can guarantee my wallet is. Work's still stressful, but I'll keep working at it. In the meantime, st least I'm not letting an intense workload keep me from planning, grocery shopping, or cooking.

Funny how things can be related, huh?
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  • no profile photo CD6096849
    I can totally relate. I lost my job this summer and had to work my butt off just to maintain my bills. Although I was working my butt off, the weight was still packing on! I didn't have time in between working two jobs to cook so I ate on the go. It's a hard cycle because you have to work these long hours to make ends meet, and sometimes cooking and packing just ain't in the cards. I'm glad now that I do have the time to eat my cooking, because I do like that the best. Good luck with everything. It sure does help when you see results like you've had!
    3108 days ago
    I went to a counselor about 15 years ago when I felt like I was dealing with a food addiction. He asked if I also struggled with finances. When I confirmed I did, he said that it was very typical that people with overeating issues also have trouble handling their finances properly. Lightbulb!

    I think everyone's bank acct. is happier when they're not eating out a lot, and like you've seen, it makes the body happy too! Keep up the good work and embrace the leftovers. I make enough for the four of us to eat that meal two nights in a row. Makes my homecooking life so much more enjoyable! And if you make some yummy lunches it will make the work day a little more enjoyable too.
    3108 days ago
    So glad you had that epiphany! Sounds like it was a game-changer! Keep at it and your wallet and waistline will continue to thank you. :-)
    3108 days ago
    It is very hard to strike a balance, but it is amazing how much better you feel when you do. I find it hard eating at home and end up eating a lot of single serving light, frozen meals. Not as good as homemade, but make sense for me, and in the end, cheaper than eating out.
    Best of luck to you on finding yourself somewhere in the happy middle. :)
    3109 days ago
    Yes as ANJOYLA said, finding a balance is one of the toughest parts in a healthy lifestyle. It sure is for me. I am trying to study so I can get back to school, being a homemaker for a house of four, one being a 3 month old, one being a 5yr old and hubby. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, studying, working out, shopping, making sure I give enough attention to both children, enough attention to hubby, and trying to find a little me time to maybe log my food after a long day? Very crazy & stressful. This is why they say go through your schooling and have a good job before you have children, lol. But I wouldn't trade it for anything, I love them and had the timing been different, Jacob, would not be Jacob, and Aliviah, would not be Aliviah. So yes, balance is key but I think we also need to allow ourselves a little wiggle room. Sometimes I feel like I am running a marathon, trying to rush, rush, rush, to do dishes, the laundry, and clean the house while Aliviah is sleeping. Then I have to stop and feed her, change her, play with her, then rush again to shower, or cook myself something to eat, maybe even eat it while it's still hot,lol. Then I have to make sure I feed her right before I go to pick up my son or she starts screaming, then he starts trying to shout over her. Life is nuts!!! We just have to go with and learn to grow with it. I sometimes just have to throw my hands up and say the laundry is going to sit in that basket today, Or I don't have time to cook a big meals so I thaw out some cooked shrimp, heat it up, microwave some steamed veggies and make a salad. Done in less then 10 minutes. Sounds like you need more convenient foods around, that seems t be your big stressor, so start there! I already know you can do this and I think you do, you got this Mag's! emoticon
    3113 days ago
    Boy can I relate on the stress! while I do make smoothies or protein shakes ( if I'm super late) for breakfast, I'm not good at bringing my own lunch. For me it's not a wallet issue, because we have this super cheap "healthy" vending machine- usually I'll grab a turkey on wheat etc for $1=$3, but the point is and I oftentimes stop to buy a banana - 50 c but I'm not consistent on bringing fruit etc. Sometimes I do grab a frozen dinner- so I think all my lunch choices aren't horrible, but definitely leave room for improvement. The issue for me is dinner- I don't cook very often - due to "lack of time"- so I oftentimes don't really eat a dinner, but rather snack..... like at 4pm, then when I get home and then maybe at 8pm. So my dinner might consist of bread, ham, egg whites or egg whites, bread, ham-LOL... 2 chips here, 1 tbs spoon of PB there etc. Basically, not a real dinner and where are the veggies?
    I do cook on the week-ends, so that is at least something- but I don't always cook enough for leftover.

    I think what you are doing is great- it's realistic and manageable and being aware is KEY!

    Keep this up - it sure made me think about my own habits :-)
    3113 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12987335
    lessons are always hard to learn...but when we do we learn them well...YOU CAN DO IT!
    3113 days ago
    I think on Spark everyone is dealing with balancing and I think it's great we have blogs and are able to share and encourage and learn from one another. Thank you for posting.
    3113 days ago
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