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The Last Dental Push…Hopefully

Monday was the $200 ladder. Tuesday was the $1300 dental bill. Hopefully that’s the last big push for hubby’s mouth and it’s just maintenance cleanings from here.

Dental Joke

The Visit

Last year, my husband had two main surgery days with this dentist – one that lasted 5 hours and one that lasted 7 hours. Those two visits wrapped up his largest issues like a few crowns, major cavity fillings, and a couple of wisdom teeth were removed. Altogether it ended up costing us about $12,000 since the anesthesiologist for the IV sedation was actually more expensive that the procedures themselves.

This time around, they were going in for the last stuff – 4 fillings plus a deep scaling (cleaning). They found one more cavity as they were doing the filling, so they took care of that too. Five fillings and a cleaning later (only about 2.5 hours this time), they were asking me for $1317! OUCH!

The Cost

The breakdown:

  • 5 cavities – $1017
  • Deep Scaling – $160
  • Exam Fee – $65
  • Xrays – $75

I’m hoping that they are correct and Mr. BFS will be good to go for years with just caring for his teeth and regular periodontal maintenance. Neither one of us likes that we spent more than $13,000 on teeth within the last year. I hope it is all done.

Overall, we were expecting around $1000 but we forgot about the exam costs and the cleaning apparently. $1300 is yet another ouch to the checkbook, but once again, I am concentrating on the happy feeling that we have enough to cover stuff like this when it comes along.

Dealing With It

While I wrote the $1300 check, I had some very angry and spiteful thoughts. I look at all of this money and just got so mad that some of it could have been preventable. Then I vented to a friend or two. Then I reminded myself that Mr. BFS feels like crap for spending that money too. Now I really am just looking for the positive side. For example, we had enough saved that this won’t be a long-term issue.  :-)

Any unexpected expenses for you this week?

Slowly Strolling Down the Weight Loss Trail

Mr. BFS and I joined Weight Watchers Online again on January 12, 2014 as soon as we returned from our most recent cruise. We had a huge first week with both of us losing 5-6 pounds, but then it really slowed down. BUT, I’ve only taken one week off out of the last nine, and I am still losing slowly but surely.

Following the Plan

I’ve continued to stick to the plan (except for the week I was pet sitting at someone else’s home…took that one off).  I’ve continued to make following the plan a weekly goal for my mastermind group.  You can check my buddies out at Fincon to Fincon.  It’s amazing what peer pressure can accomplish.  It helps even more than we now have to make weekly goals, and if we don’t stick to them, we have to pay $5 into a pot for a Fincon dinner.

Fincon2Fincon

My weekly goals nearly always includes having 10 WW points left at the end of each week.  My main goal overall is to never need to put any money into the joint account.  :-D

Exercising Boost

My recent pet sitting gigs have meant walking.  I walked Buster 2-3 times a day all of last week, and now I am walking to a daily gig in my neighborhood.  I also start a 12 day contract today that includes 3 walks a day for a little terrier mix.  This increase in actual exercise has given me a little more energy, but I still need to get more sleep.

Getting Closer!

Overall, I am super happy with my current progress. I’m down to 157.2 pounds from the 167.8 I started at in January.  Woot!  It’s been slow, but consistent, which works great for me.

My new target is to reach 156 specifically by the end of March 2014 since that is 20 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight ever in late 2010.  I am aiming for 149 overall as my maintenance weight, but I don’t mind slowly getting there by the end of August 2014 if it means that I’ll be able to keep it off.

How are you doing on your health goals?

Target

Still Losing Weight – Down to a New Tier

Mr. BFS and I joined Weight Watchers Online again on January 12, 2014 as soon as we returned from our most recent cruise. We had a huge first week with both of us losing 5-6 pounds, but then it just stopped. BUT, I’ve been making progress over these last 3 weeks!  I’m still losing weight!  Yay!

Following the Plan

I’ve continued to stick to the plan.  In fact, I’ve been making sure to have Weight Watcher points leftover thanks to my mastermind group.  You can check my buddies out at Fincon to Fincon.  We met at the Financial Blogger Conference and have hung out during the last two as well.  We decided that we should stay in touch year round and motivate each other to stay on track.  It’s amazing what peer pressure can accomplish.  It helps even more than we now have to make weekly goals, and if we don’t stick to them, we have to pay $5 into a pot for a Fincon dinner.

Fincon2Fincon

My weekly goal includes having 10-15 points left at the end of each week from my weekly extra.  We also set blogging goals like commenting so many times a week.  It’s been a kick in the butt.  We’d all be pretty happy if all we could afford to buy with our money pot was a small fast food outing, hahaha.

Exercising Stall -Out

I lost my exercise motivation when my sleep schedule got all out of whack nearly a month ago.  Now I’m putting energy into growing my pet sitting side hustle.  I’ll get back to my walks this week.  I just need a good night’s sleep after taking care of these two Boxer puppies for 3 days.  I wonder if battling off puppy jumps and throwing tennis balls will count as exercise…I feel like I am exercising.  ;-)

On a side note, we now know that we want a 2-3 year old dog, not a puppy, in a few months.  We apparently are not energetic enough to handle puppy training for the months it would take.  3 days has taught us this, lol.

Reached a New Tier!

Overall, I am super happy with my current progress. I’m down to 159.2 pounds from the 167.8 I started at in January.  Yay for hitting the 150’s!

Target

My new target is to reach 156 specifically since that is 20 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight ever in late 2010.  I think I am aiming for 149 overall as my maintenance weight, but I don’t mind slowly getting there if it means that I’ll be able to keep it off.

How are you doing on your health goals?

Losing Weight – Slow But Optimistic

Mr. BFS and I joined Weight Watchers Online again on January 12 as soon as we returned from our most recent cruise.  We had a huge first week with both of us losing 5-6 pounds, but then it just stopped.  The last two weeks have showed either no progress or 0.2 pound weight gains.  We’re still sticking to the program, but we aren’t used to it just pausing like this when we are behaving ourselves.

Eating Right…Mostly

I’ve been following the plan.  I am sticking to my assigned Weight Watcher points.  Even though I do use most of my weekly points (usually on Saturdays), I haven’t gone over my allowances or cheated at all.  The trick has been smaller portion sizes, which has always been my own problem with food.  I’ve also been using vegetable and fruits as my main snacks, which can be a little pricey during the winter, but yummy.  I’ve rediscovered a love for grapefruit.  They definitely remind me of my grandpa.  My husband and I also have been munching on Tanangelos – a delicious combo of tangerines and mandarin oranges.  Smaller portions and fruit…that’s my ticket to success.  :-)

Fruit

Exercising Again

I am nearly always motivated to exercise when I change my diet for the better.  Luckily, this foray into weight loss hasn’t been any different.  Despite it being cold here (30’s-40’s as opposed to the 80’s-90’s like normal), I’ve been bundling up and walking 20-40 minutes at least two or three times a week.  I’ll pump that up to nearly daily as soon as the temperatures get above 60 degrees in the evening again.  I know that my cold-weather readers are mocking me right now, but there is definitely a reason I never have chosen to live places that is snows regularly.

Exercise

Overall, I am satisfied with my current progress.  I’m at 161.6 pounds instead of 167.8 like when I started a few weeks ago.  I feel like eating healthier and walking regularly is worth it even if I don’t lose another ounce.  But I am hoping to lose many more ounces…specifically, at least 10 more pounds worth, lol.

How are you doing on your health goals?

Back on the Weight Watchers Online Wagon

I like to eat.  And I really like to eat during the holidays.  I go nuts between October and early January – I eat based on what I crave and make sure that every holiday food makes it into my house.  This means that I am generally ready to “diet” by mid-January.  This year is no different, and I am back on Weight Watchers Online.  I guess I should be happy that I am so predictable, lol.

Weight Watchers was My First Success

I tried fad diets like Atkins in my early 20’s, but I didn’t actually make any lasting progress until I joined Weight Watchers Online (WWO) in January 2011.  That was the point in my life that I was truly motivated to be strict on myself, and Weight Watchers Online is flexible enough to fit my lifestyle.

With WWO, every food is assigned a certain number of points.  Some “power foods”, like fruits and vegetables, are worth 0 points.  That encourages me to eat way more of them when I want snacks.  I get assigned 26 points a day of food along with 49 extra weekly points.  I then keep up with what I eat every day and input it into the program.  I also earn more eating points through exercise, which motivates me to get out more since I like food.  In the end, being able to eat anything I want as long as it’s in small quantities is what keeps me happy with Weight Watchers.

For any of you that have been reading forever (love you!), you may remember that I started at around 176 pounds in January 2011 and stopped following the program at 146 pounds in early July 2011.  You all also probably have noticed me rejoin the program on and off for the last 2 years and my weight has generally fluctuated between 150-165 pounds depending on the month.

Back on the Wagon

No surprises here, I rejoined WWO this past Sunday.  I went extra crazy this past Thanksgiving, Christmas, and during the cruise last week.  It’s time to pay the piper again and get back to my happy weight for this year.

I weighed in at 168 on January 12, 2014 and will be working towards 155 pounds by February 28, 2014.

Before anybody groans about weekly updates again, please take a deep breath.  I will try to make any updates quick, and I will probably not write about it every week unless that’s my only way to stay motivated.  If weight loss posts aren’t your thing, feel free to simply skip them.  :-)

I know I am on-again, off-again about worrying about my weight.  It may be annoying, but I doubt I’m the only one out there with fluctuating priorities.  I simply don’t care about my weight all of the time.  When I do, I change it.  When I don’t, I get caught up in other stuff and eat the world.  It’s good to admit that you’re human once in a while.

Why Weight Watchers Online is My Program

You may wonder why I always mention Weight Watchers as opposed to other programs.  It worked for me.  I’m sure it’s not the only thing that could work for me, but that’s not the point, right?  We all need to find what works for us.

If I would simply make the lifestyle changes to eat smaller portions forever and walk every day no matter what, I would probably never need to pay for any sort of dieting thing ever.  But I am self-motivated in small bursts.  And I am the most motivated by money.

If I am paying for a program, I either use it religiously or cancel it when I don’t feel like doing it anymore.  In the end, $19 a month is a cheap price to pay to force myself to pay attention.

Healthy Weight Loss

For anyone just tuning in, you should know that I only promote healthy weight loss.  For me, that is defined by losing weight through diet changes and exercise.  It also means generally losing 2 pounds or less per week.  I understand that most people lose large lump sums when they first start a diet (I love that part of the first step), but the ongoing amount lost shouldn’t be so large as to put a strain on your heart and other organs.

I avoid weight-loss supplements, pills, and medicines.  They are not all unhealthy, but I know my personal system.  I don’t need chemical help, I need to eat less and exercise more.  I get chubby because of personal choices, not because my chemistry is messed up.  If you need more than diet changes and exercise, I am not judging.  It’s just not necessary or healthy for me.

Would you like to use 2014 to get back to your happy weight?  Feel free to join in on all of these weight loss comment sections so that we can keep each other accountable!

Beating Sexism One Chin-Up at a Time

Backstory

In 2012, a couple of male bloggers had an unofficial chin-up competition at the Financial Blogger Conference 2012 (FinCon12).  At FinCon13 last week, this became an official FinCon competition, and around 10 male bloggers jumped up in front of the crowd and showed their chin-up stuff.  Women were welcome to participate too, but the few of us who could do any chin-ups at all were all sick or recovering, so no women participated.

I was totally fine with this…until one guy decided to get up and say something like, “That wraps up this contest.  Don’t worry ladies, the beauty competition is later this afternoon.”

Yeah, he probably didn’t mean anything by it, but for anybody who doesn’t understand why that was a temporarily idiotic thing to say, let’s boil it down really quickly:

Men = Grrrr, manly, physical prowess
Women = Pretty, wussy, boobs

At least, that is what every female in the room heard.  Heck, most of the men in relationships heard that too.  I swear, there was a group cringe.

Side note, later that day, four of us women had an impromptu push-up competition.  I know that at 26-27 push-ups, we were showing some grrr too.  I don’t mind admitting that men are built stronger than women overall.  I also don’t mind saying that I think women are generally better looking than males.  What I minded was some random dude deciding that all women could do was be pretty (or at least saying something that sounded that way to all of us).

Men have more going on for themselves than just muscles.  And women have more going on than just their looks.  I would have been absolutely fine with the whole situation if that one guy hadn’t said anything.  Heck, even his comment didn’t take away from the fun for me, but it did lead to a challenge.

The Gauntlet was Thrown Down and Picked Up

That said, Kathleen from Frugal Portland, immediately Tweeted her outrage and many started Tweeting back with similar reactions.  I made the comment that instead of being angry about, we should just get even.  The gauntlet was thrown, and Kathleen and I challenged ourselves to our own chin-up competition at FinCon14.

There are two rules:

1.  No steroids.  ;-)
2.  We each need to be able to achieve at least 10 chin-ups by this time next year in order to compete.  We want to represent properly.  :-)

My First Step in Training

So far, my first main step to training is to find a solid place to practice chin-ups.  There is no little bar to practice on in my house, and I don’t have a gym membership.

My husband suggested monkey bars, which seemed genius to me.  I scoped out the kiddie parks around our house – NO MONKEY BARS!!!  Those poor children!!!  That seems wrong.  Just slides, a playhouse, and swings.  What’s a play park without monkey bars and a see-saw?!  Anyway, moving on…

For now, I will be using the top bar of the sideways ladder leading into the kids playhouse area.  If I pull myself up all of the way, I still have a few inches of clearance before my head hits the bottom of the playhouse floor.

Wish us both luck!  Have you ever had a similar reaction to sexism/racism/etc.?  Just want to prove them sooooo wrong?

How I lost 40 lbs And Improved My Finances

Hi!  I am out of town for the Financial Blogger Conference this week, but I have some excellent guest posts lined up for you thanks to some amazing readers and bloggers!!!  The following is a guest post from Stuart Laing of Daily Money Bucket, where he aims to help you fill up your money bucket and reduce the leaks. Check it out if you want to take control of your personal finances and move towards financial independence.

Choosing to Lose Weight

By the time I left university, I was overweight.  Height – 5 Foot 10 Inches.  Weight – 195 lbs.  Body mass index – 28.  Overweight, if not obese.

So instead of following the latest fashionable diet, I decided to use the power of habit to alter my life and lose weight.  Using information that I found online I set about building a series of fitness and nutritional habits into my life.  Every month I installed a new habit.  And the result?

The Results

After two years my weight eased down to 154 lbs.  That’s a body mass index of 22.1, the lower side of the 20-25 normal range.  And, as an added bonus, I discovered that my new lifestyle didn’t cost as much.

So here are three of the most important changes that I made to my life and the habits that glued them in place.

1. Hydration

First, I sorted out my hydration.  This arose from my research into productivity.  Turns out that it’s much easier to manage your physical and mental energy when your body is properly hydrated.

That meant an end to soft drinks and alcohol.  These days all I drink is water (1.5 liters a day) and occasionally fruit juice or green tea.  In addition to feeling much better, I’ve also saved a lot of money on alcohol.  My hydration habits include drinking half a liter of water when I wake up in the morning, sipping water throughout the day and avoiding both alcohol and soft drinks.

ANNUAL SAVING: Around £600

2. Food

The next step was to improve my eating habits, so I began by cutting junk food from my diet.  Prior to that, I had been eating fast food at least twice a week.  This removed fries, deep fried food and much saturated fat from my diet.

I also learnt how to cook. Oh yes, I can cook.  So I developed the habit of cooking a healthy, nutritious meal every evening.

As a result, I now eat a much healthier diet for about a third of the cost of takeaway food.

ANNUAL SAVING: Around £600

3. Exercise

The final piece of the puzzle involved adding exercise to my daily activity.  But rather than joining a gym, which (a) involves monthly expense and (b) is often not used, I developed my own exercise regime and then made it habitual.

Thanks to a combination of old dumbbells, pushups and squats, my general strength and stamina have improved considerably.  In recent days I’ve also accepted the 100 pushups challenge which I’ll mention in a future post.

ANNUAL SPENDING AVOIDED: At Least £360

In total, I reckon these simple changes have saved me at least £100 per month and improved both my health and fitness.

However, one final habit that I developed was to avoid stepping onto the scales every day. Instead, I weighed myself every 6 months.  This was done on purpose to remove the focus from my weight. My main aim was to enjoy my new, sustainable lifestyle.

Ten years on, I still maintain the same habits and my weight remains in the 154-160 lbs range.

Three cheers for the power of habit.

Woot, woot, hooray!