The two main goals I have for 2011 are to 1) lose the last of my weight and maintain it and 2) rein in our money. So, here I will regale you with a couple of tales:
On Weight Loss...
For years I was impossibly thin. Sickeningly so. From a very young age, I was obsessed with not being fat and I likely had an eating disorder, though one was never formally diagnosed. I was looking at photos of me at 12 years old a while back and saw how thin my legs were. Bones with skin. I cried. Prior to seeing those photos, I had always thought I was just slim. Now I understand why the kids snidely called me "SKINNY" in junior high.
At around that age, I remember that I just wanted to get to 100lbs. 100 POUNDS! I was 5 foot 5 and under 100 lbs. Of course, once I reached that 100, I kept going for a while. By the time I started college, I was around 120-130 and 5 foot 9. Still skinny. And I stayed that way for a few years. Around age 22, I started to have problems. I developed a nasty bad junk food problem. I had become "vegetarian" but I wasn't a good vegetarian. Living on my own, I only had to answer to myself for what I wanted to eat. Potato chips were considered a meal and, sometimes, a chocolate bar was a side dish. For the first time in my life, I was introduced to cellulite.
I was never a sporty-type and didn't really think I had to exercise. Those old-fashioned weight/height charts told me my weight was in a normal range - even if I didn't like how it looked. Add one marriage and a divorce shortly after and my emotions had found a way to add another few pounds. Then, I was in school again and back to making poor choices. I can remember one month where hubby and I ate almost exclusively chinese food from the crappy place across form our house. Slowly but surely the weight packed on and I would try a diet and fail and try another and fail...it's a common story - I'm sure you've heard it a thousand times before. By the time I had our twins, almost 2 years ago, I was starting to feel like it was hopeless.
Then, last year, I flipped a switch in my brain and started being smart about how I THOUGHT about weight loss. I had weighed in at my highest (non-pregnant with twins) weight. Seeing a 2 as the first number terrified me. If I didn't get smart I was destined to follow in the footsteps of my mom and grandmother. I resolved to become a "former fat girl" and to become a healthy role model for my daughters. I started eating better and lighter. I started working out in a way I could stick with. I started setting goals for myself and meeting them. By October, I was down 40lbs and getting complacent. After I ran my first half marathon, I decided I could keep up the carbs for the next one a month later. By the time that half came around, I was 7lbs heavier. I buckled down again and started to work at it again, but the holidays added an extra 3lbs.
Instead of beating myself up, I am striving to keep my brain in "journey mode". This weight loss thing is a journey and I just have to keep at it, recommitting often, so that I will reach my goal. I don't want to be the skinny me I was at 13. I want to be the 34 year old, healthy skinny. Something I can maintain and feel good at. It is starting out as a number, but ultimately, I want it to be a feeling. A happy feeling.
I've never been good with money. Never. From a young age, my dad used to tell me to NEVER get a credit card. I really should have listened. I've been through maxing out cards, consolidation loans, everything. Finally, a few years ago, I announced to hubby that I was paying off my VISA, canceling it, cutting it up and that was that. We ordered me a second card on his account and I am much more responsible about using it BECAUSE IT ISN'T MINE! Funny how that works. Sure, I do not have a card on my own credit record, but I don't really care about that. It is better for me to not have one. Between the two of us, hubby and I don't carry a HUGE debt load. While I was pregnant, we used a lot of our expendable income to pay down any outstanding that we had. We're still not great at money management, though, and we need to get much better at it if we are going to live on one income for a while.
For a while now, we've been drafting up spreadsheets and working out what we need to live on. I have an overwhelming guilt about not working. Even though I know I am working A LOT harder in raising our girlies than I ever did at my desk job - I still feel the void that my missing paycheque leaves in our bank account. It was half of our income back in the day. As it sits, we really only have 3 debt items: Mortgage (necessary to have a roof over our heads), car (necessary because we live 30K out of the city where hubby works) and a low interest line of credit. Our goal for this year is to wipe out the LOC. The other two we can just plug at but getting rid of that LOC would seriously ease things around here.
I also want to find ways to make extra money. I've started taking on small contract projects to supplement us and I have started a household purge. Years of dual-incomes have left us with a TON of stuff (likely literally) that we never use and really don't need. In May, we will have a heck of a yard sale and I am listing the larger items on Kijiji to get rid of them now. When we're done purging, I'd like to see a lightening in that LOC and a lot more space in our living quarters. I did a purge last year, but nowhere near on the scale I plan to do this year. If it isn't being used, there is no sense holding onto it "in case we need it someday".
Supporting these Goals
Ultimately, meeting these goals is just a matter of being smart and being disciplined, but a little extra support never hurt. While it seems a little counterproductive to spend a little money to support these goals, I did just that today. I bought myself a couple of books (I did have a $10 off coupon to knock down the price to around $20 for both). One is a weight loss book that supports the diet app I installed on my iPod this week. I like the way the app talks about a calorie "budget" since that is the way I talk about it myself. The other book I bought is on budget discipline. We got ourselves into this mess (well, it's not really a mess, but we're better off clearing it up before it is one) and we have the power to get ourselves out of it. I can't wait for them to get here so I can start putting both into play to help me achieve these goals. With a little guidance, I can see our family entering 2012 in a much better position!