Uber Frugal Month, Days 1-6

Firstly, Happy New Year!

Now on to the main reason I am here- Day 1 is about reviewing the homework, or completing it if needed which I have already done, well done me!

Day 2 is to focus on your long term goals, therefore you can ask yourself, ‘Do I want to buy the new Sims game, or do I want to achieve my goal’. As we know I am flaky about long term goals and am still working on this, but having no debt and knocking the mortgage right down are definate goals! I mean, I haven’t spent the money on my op yet so that is nice, but as soon as it is paid I think it will ignite me to be more specific on spending/saving.

Day 3 focuses on managing impulse spending by waiting 72hours between wanting something and actually buying it, giving us time to evaluate if we really want something. So far this month, I have paid £18.80 in customs for dresses I bought last year, spent £30 on presents for my best friend and her new baby, and £70 on new fencing as my dogs are at war with the new dogs across the way which is just so annoying and anxiety provoking. Oh and we have had to pay £106 for gas bottles as we have ran out. Already an expensive month, oops! Hubby paid for food shop and it was £60 which is about £15 less than normal. My plan is to wait 72hours before all purchases- I do have my eye on a cheap treadmill at the moment so will see how it goes! I have wanted a treadmill for many months now as I love walking, but sometimes I just want to stay in with the dogs (they are arthritic so minimal walking these days), I will step out in my lounge but it isn’t the same! So a treadmill won’t be an impulse buy at least, and I am waiting for a good deal. Mrs Frugalwoods points out that when waiting the 72hours, consider if you really need it, calculate what else you could do with the money, can you alter something you already own, can you get it cheaper- ah facebook market place!- and finally could you borrow it from a friend. So many good points, it is pay day tomorrow so I will be using this as a good start point to practice this. I have also tried to be careful up until now but as I just proved I have still been spending :0

Day 4 looks at food shopping, Mrs Frugalwoods asks, do you eat everything you buy? I won’t lie, I am not always the best at this side of things, but we did a meal plan and food shop so this week we have been doing well so far. We do food shop weekly, and use Aldi unless we need something we cannot get from there- Vimto is a need when on offer! I have also decided to not drink alcohol as my surgery means I cannot anyway. We are not very good at bulk cooking, but try to plan easy quick meals when I am working as I get home late, and I don’t mind a tiny bit more complex on my days off and more complex again when we are both off if we want! Though cooking isn’t really our thing. We won’t be buying take out, I won’t be allowed/able after surgery and in these weeks working towards surgery I have to follow a strict plan. Freezing food isn’t something we do often, but I have been advised that before the op I should freeze food as I wont have the energy or inclination initially. Also, we normally eat all our food on our plates so left over food is rare! I do need to have a very good look at the Liver Reduction Diet that I start on Saturday for two weeks to make sure that I meal plan correctly.

Day 5 looks at our discretionary spends, Mrs Frugalwoods says that we should times monthly discretionary costs by 12 to work out yearly costs, and see how much you might earn if you invested it instead. I am not very with it when it comes to investing, I don’t really understand the process and have looked several times but not taken the first step. I probably should! I think this time round I will focus more on this area, and try to make some effort! This is a good article that I am reading to help with this from Mrs Fruglawoods.

So today, day 6, is about organising your finances. Tracking monthly spending, knowing your monthly net income (mine does vary due to length of the month some are 4 weeks some are 5 weeks), you need to know what you owe and you need to know what you own. As suggested by money saving expert and Mrs Frugalwoods, always try to pay your highest debts down first, focus on the interest rather than monthly cost. So, as it stands I have a £5k loan with a set cost, therefore nothing to be saved from paying it off quickly as such, I will have about £4k on a 0% credit card for 18months, it probably makes sense to try and pay this off first as after 18months (though I plan to tart the card to not pay any fees) the APR is 18%. The loan is set to take 5 years to pay off and I have already had it since August 2020. I have about £2.5k saved but as I have said before, I don’t know how long I will be off work so want the cash to cover any unforeseen time off so I can pay my bills. Whatever is left when I get back to work I will pay off. I also will be able to save a chunk of my wage tomorrow as it was a 5 week month, and I get some extra moolah for bank holidays. The next step is to create an Emergency Fund- we have £1k left in our emergency fund now as we paid off some debts last year. Mrs Frugalwoods talks about saving for retirement- my work pension is a basic one and the outlook is poor, when I tried to increase payments, both my work and the pension people were totally unhelpful so I pay the usual amount in. Not really sure what else I can do here? And finally she talks about investing, it is on my to-do list I promise!

I am expecting a call from the dietician to discuss my pre op diet later today, she just called to see if I am free, exciting but nerve wracking. Need to re read the plan so I can make sure I have all my questions ready. I will also have a good look at my personal savings after pay day and money dance on my next day off, look at how much I still owe on the loan and work out when I need to pay for the surgery! I still need to book and pay for the dentist too, bah!

Uber Frugal Month Challenge 2021 More Homework…

Step 3: Categorize your expenses and Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?

So Mrs Frugalwoods says that our spending all fits in to two catagories: Fixed Mandatory and Discretionary. She is very clear that we do not include groceries here, so my mandatory expenses are: mortgage, electric, gas, water, car insurance, house insurance. Not much there really!

My Discretionary spends are: everything we spend on the dogs and chickens, technically a fixed spend as we buy good quality foods in the cheapest way possible. Dogs medications, we get them as cheap as possible but one medication Red has is £120 for 6months not including vet app and prescription. We have to buy it from human pharmacies as our vets no longer supply it and it is actually cheaper than from the vets! The dogs also have supplements, inflamation and pain meds which are not expensive. I spend £16.40 on being with the RCN and they are my protection if anything bad happens when I am nursing. Fuel costs for the car, these are variable and I am unsure how far a full tank goes on the new car so will monitor this. Food shopping- this is normally £70-90 a week, never seems a lot of food but always costs, I will be stopping drinking alcohol for at least 6 months after my op and hubby doesn’t drink so that will be a saving, also my food intake will be a lot smaller and we won’t be buying takeaways at all initially/forever. I will be meal planning before my food shop on Sat, where I will be starting my Liver Reduction Diet- low cal, low carb and low amazing food I love!- for three weeks leading up to the operation.

We don’t pay monthly for the car insurance, it is paid in full as is the road tax for both cars. We don’t pay monthly for the house insurance that is paid in full. So that is good. Last year we stopped a few payments and I am still moving the £80 saved into the savings monthly. I got hubby to cancel my lonely planet subscription as it has changed to another mag during covid which is not as good, I have spent money on a rubbish game on my phone as I get sucked into it, massive waste of money on reflection and this will stop. I have bought a new book by Dr Chatterjee which has just been released about managing weight and how multilayered this is a thing so should be good reading. I will need to pay a large amount of money to have work done on one of my teeth as I am no longer under the NHS and no where local is taking on, I managed to chip the tooth so need the work doing sooner rather than later. I will need new work trainers soon, but will wait until after my op as only have 4 shifts left in work. So need to spend should be minimal until all my clothes are too big :0 and then I should be able to find clothes in second hand shops :0 exciting! I will continue buying hair dye at about £5 a bottle, does vary as can be on offer and I do have preferred shampoo and conditioner that I buy on offer. I can’t think of anything else except for joint spends, and we have done a good job of wearing these down last time and haven’t added anything else since then so I will look at this but am hopeful it is all good!

Step 5: Embrace the art of substitution, Step 6: Reduce spending on discretionary expenses, Step 7: Empower yourself to insource! Step 8: Examine your habits, Step 9: Plan ahead, Step 10: If you do buy stuff, get it used (or cheap!), Step 11: Banish excuses.

I felt I would put all these steps in one heading as I can cover them all within the next section rather than under each heading. Within substitution, I already dye my own hair rather than pay a hairdresser, but I do have my haircut by a hairdresser once every 6months or so at a cost of £15. I love walking and spending time in the garden and could easily do more of this if I plan my time better. Mrs Frugalwoods does a whole section on how to frugalise your groceries, and many other articles on food and money management that it will be worth reading over. I need to read more about my pre op diet requirements and expectations of food after to start to change the way I buy food. We don’t really pay for any outsourcing, except for specialist services like the gas boiler. We have been able to do most things between us- mostly hubby he is the doer and we have become more adept at insourcing. But time is always a constraint as we both work full time so we have to judge this all together if something needs urgently fixing. We recently removed the downstairs shower and plan to put storage in its space, but there is no rush so we have time to think and plan before we have a go ourselves. On the other hand the concrete floor in our lounge is cracking in places, this won’t be a job we can do and do well, so will be outsourced at some point!

I think I will start making a note of habits I have, I rarely buy drinks on the go, I tend to make my own drinks and take juice to work, but I could do better with my work food which links in with better planning really. It is a habit to always buy snacks and biscuits, this is something we can stop- hubby can have biscuits in his car if he wants! I think I also need to work on distracting myself from having my day revolve around food going forward. Work on making my days more focused and structured. Meal planning is a greatly under used tool in this house and will be focused on more, including making meals and freezing them. I will keep an eye open for gifts throughout the year rather than waiting until we need to buy things. I love marketplace on facebook and keep an eye out for anything I want on there to try and make it more cost effective. I have found a lady on youtube who is ‘fabulous 50’s’- I am not 50 for another 17years- but her workouts are free and set at a level I can follow and feel I have exercised. I need to work out if my teenhood bicycle can be fixed or if I should look out for another one as I would like to get into cycling. Whenever an excuse pops up as to why I can’t do something, I need to really think about it and what the excuse is and what it means, is there a real issue or just complacency and fear of change?

So, in conclusion, I feel terrified of surgery, but feel it is my only option now, it is worth the fear to have a more fulfilling life. Therefore all of this other stuff should fade in contrast with the fear of surgery and not being able to eat even solid food for over a month! I feel that I have tried to do small changes for so long, that this year I am going to be dramatic and do big, bad changes that will hopefully be genuinely life changing!

Ending this with genuine trepidation!!

Uber Frugal Month 2021 Homework continued…

So I have read the article I mentioned in my last post, it is interesting as I feel conflicted, having not completed the suggested work of writing out a dream bio, but thinking about it instead. I kinda wanna carry on with Dementia nursing, I don’t hate my job, it doesn’t make me stressed (well, it does because looking after humans does that), I actually, genuinely, love my residents and I have a great staff team who are all such hardworking, lovely people. But in a dream world, I want my own doggy hotel, a lovely posh place for a small amount of doggies, especially Staffies who are super dear to my heart as a misunderstood breed, where we can offer stress free homes to dogs whilst their owners are on a lovely vacay somewhere. It feels like a complete pipe dream to be honest, plus I trained for three years and have worked for triple that as a nurse (plus a few), so surely carrying on makes sense? Who knows! Anyways….homework!

Step 2: Review last month’s spending

I don’t want to….I was really silly in December, I spent silly money on things…I dont want to be held accountable! Ok, I will work backwards- £8.97 to the dogs trust, thats ok, I am happy to pay that! £17.49, that was for the latest sims 4 expansion, half price and definately fun so far, so maybe not frugal but I am not ashamed! £7.19 at subway, this is a weird, after surgery I wont be able to eat this any more moment, so totally a waste! £5.27 on costa, a specialty hot choc and orange choc muffin…yes, wasteful. £4.79 on hair dye, totally worth it, I am not ready for these grays yet! £23.30 takeaway pizza- no judgements!! £6.99 on a stupid phone game- yes I am embarassed…£6.25 on wine in Sainsbobs…£100.50 on Christmas shop in Aldi including a lovely tablecloth! Worth it sorry! £20 cash for nephews birthday. £7.36 for lunch for work and snacks, covered two lunches. £46.10 on Christmas bits from Asda, not really worth it! £20 animal angels- worth it, locking a lovely dog sitter in too look after the dogs in Sept covid allowing, a large expenditure in reality, but so worth the peace of mind from someone looking after the house, dogs and chickens (£500 for two weeks, most already paid for two cancelled hols). £90.63 for two items of clothing from Blackmilk in a size 16 for after op…clothes were on offer and amazing looking, wont be the only charge from this shop, £2.49 charge because it is from Australia. Oops. £43.24 for fuel, 14th Dec- still have two bars left on my car! £46 Amazon- gifts. £25 paid for a chance to win a house, whilst raising money for the BHF. £23.40 another takeaway… £43.20 on buying two lots of completely recyclable toothbrushes, whilst donating the same amount of toothbrushes and planting trees. £10.40 amazon- maybe a gift? £59.90 and £1.64 for another item from Blackmilk and fee as from Australia… £59.86 food shop. £12 Sainsbobs, wine. £11.25 two butties from the butty shop. £25.80 pizza takeaway…£15 oxfam- present and small donation. £17.27 vodafone bill. £30.57 brownies delivery- very very tasty, maybe supporting a small business? Or a total waste of money? This doesn’t include joint spending as this is separate and we just send ourselves the money so not always clear what has been spent on what. Total spend: £ 791.86

Wows, I mean this isnt’t a totally normal month thank god but still insanely spendy and would have totally helped my surgery payment if I had held on and been more careful, and November is probs worse as I bought most of Christmas then!

Oush, thanks UFM for making me do this, it was particulary painful!

Uber Frugal Month 2021 Homework

I completed the Uber Frugal Month Challenge (UFM) in 2020 with some really positive behaviours which have slipped during this crazy year, and due to deciding to have bariatric surgery, I will be entering February 2021 with personal debt of nearly £10k which I have never had before in my life! Though mine and hubby’s personal debt is now only the mortgage- we have paid off the car loan, bought a new second car outright (for a bargain) and paid off our credit card this year. Hubby has changed jobs and this one is much less money than his previous job, though he is so much happier which is the most important thing, meaning we have a little less money to play with than previous years. We have adapted to the reduction- we lowered the mortgage OP to £50 from £250 and paid off the car loan ‘saving’ £200, meaning we haven’t had to miss the larger wage too much!

One problem I have is that I do love things, hence the title of the blog being aiming for the good life, as I am not quite sure what that actually looks like, but I am trying to head in the right direction. Also, holidays, man I love holidays! I am working on creating a frugal lifestyle which incorporates holidays! Right, homework!

Step 1: Establish your goals

  1. Why are you participating in this challenge? This is quite simple, I am entering this year with the largest personal debt I have ever personally had and it is scary! We made some great headway this year in reducing our joint debt and starting to rebuild our savings, the mortgage OP’s have taken a hit, but for hubby’s sanity that is worth it. Anyway, back to this challenge, I want to set myself up to start to repay this loan- £5k loan and credit card on 0%- £3.7k plus some tooth work at £720 (freaking ouch in more ways than one). I do have about £2.5k in savings but want to keep this until I am healthy and back at work as I am unsure how long I will need off and will be on sick pay for. I am using just under 3 weeks of annual leave so that is very helpful. I did some great work last challenge, and want to get back into it!
  2. What do you hope to achieve? I want to feel back in control of my money, and I don’t want to use spending as a replacement to eating after my operation which could easily happen! At the end of Jan I would like to be able to save extra money, to feel reasured that I can smash my personal debt as quick as possible! To add all this together into making a Jodie who is more focused on looking ater herself in a variety of ways.
  3. What are your longterm life goals? I won’t lie, I am not great at long term planning as such, I am not good at future thinking and planning apart from holidays! I mean my goals could be broken down, professionally- get my NVQ level 5 in management, my manager has requested this for me and hopefully it will be agreed. I would like to do a Masters in Dementia but this is quite costly and wouldn’t really benefit work, but it is a personal interest. I would like to consider perhaps looking at becoming a Deputy Manager, maybe, but also am not sure I want to go into management either! Personally- To have my bariatric op and use this tool to become more comfortable in my own skin and to be able to enjoy the adventurous things I want to do but am too heavy for. To fit comfortably in my car without the steering wheel touching my tummy, to be able to bend and touch my feet without difficulty, to be able to walk distances- which I can already do- with ease comparatively. To aim to walk a few half marathons, I have done one previously and it was so hard, would like to manage this with much less difficulty. To carry on loving my hubby and pups and having great friends and family. Mostly vague!haha.
  4. Where do you want to be in 5 years? In 10 years? This is like the above goals again! Ummmm, debt free would be good, in 10years getting close to mortgage free would be great, a healthy weight, active and doing lots of fun stuff, hiking, paddleboarding and zip lining to start! Maybe be in management in nursing, maybe having a small business on the side, still rescuing animals and travelling. Building up great savings, living a frugal life.
  5. What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from happening and what can you do about it? My weight will get in the way, but hopefully with bariatric surgery this will help this goal. Debt free boils down to me being more money savvy and frugal, so that boils down to me again! So really me and my lifestyle could all get in the way, plus my uncertainty about what I actually want and in what kind of timeline I want to achieve it.

And on that note Mrs Frugalwoods has written an article about the very areas I struggle with so off I go for a read!

Weight Part 4

A couple of months ago, I had a zoom meeting with a surgeon to discuss bariatric surgery. I have spent many years thinking about doing it, then hoping I could make the life changes needed to lose weight myself, failing and gaining more weight, whilst simultaneously eroding my self belief and self worth. By making everything about my weight, by tying all my self worth to the scales, I made my relationship with food and eating volatile and unpleasant, going from eating whatever I want, gaining weight, to trying to restrict, struggling to do so and then ‘failing’ continuing the cycle. Leading me to this person today, who is relatively happy with her life, who is actually quite successful in many areas, but feels her weight is the most defining thing. I have been working on this area, my brain, with some positive progress recently, but I am uncomfortable in my body, I do feel shame and guilt for being morbidly obese, I do feel less worthy, I am not someone who can love my weight as it is.

I started an online DBT group, which has definately helped me to start making some good progress brain wise, and the lady who created this group had a gastric sleeve, making her relateable in a way many others aren’t. One of the things she says, is that having surgery is not a cop out, it is not the easy option, it is a life chagning tool which just boosts those of us that struggle in this area. She said that when she decided to have the surgery, she felt a weight was lifted, and that it made sense. I felt the same after talking to the surgeon. This is a relatively low risk, minimally invasive- comparative to other surgeries-tool which could, no, will, assist me to change my life. It it not about my size as such, I just want to feel more comfortable, when I drive the steering wheel doesnt touch my tummy, when I reach to put socks on I can breathe, when I want to put clothes on I am not restricted in any way, if a resident falls, getting on the floor with them doesn’t make me want to fall into the ground because I am so awkward when getting on and off the floor. I cannot remember a time when I was a slim person, I have no comparison on how it feels to not be big, I am excited to move as a smaller person, to see how it feels, if life is less awkward and cumbersome. I mean, it would be easier if I could just love me and be happy, but this is not feasible at my current size. I have no interest in being tiny, I feel a size 16 would be tiny enough as a goal!

So, here I am, booked in for surgery on 23/01/2021, I have had my preop assessment, and am now very nervous when I think about surgery, but I have tried so many different things and I am ready for a big change. I am planning on changing many things in the next few weeks, not for ‘new year new me’, but for new year and more adventurous me!

Weight Part 3

I think it is really important for me to explore some information, thoughts and opinions about weight. I really like Iweigh– Jameela Jamil, this is an amazing community about learning and self love, knowledge and learning to be better- not physically but within ourselves. The body positivity ideology kicked off in the 1960’s, focused around the end of fat shaming and discrimination that comes with it, but it didn’t become a full fledged movement until 2012. Body positivity is meant to be about loving a body, regardless of its shape or size, whether it is deemed ‘acceptable’ by media outlets or not. This movement highlighted how much the industry profits off telling women (and men) that they are not good enough if they don’t have x, y or z. It is a multimillion dollar/pound industry. With body positivity, whilst the concept in itself is great, not everyone has the capacity to love their bodies for whatever reason, or the desire too.

Stephanie Yeboah was part of that movement, she is an inspirational woman and quite amazing! She was quoted in an artical written by the Guardian, where she explained that she felt the movement had been co-opted: “It has become a buzzword, it has alienated the very people who created it. Now, in order to be body positive, you have to be acceptably fat – size 16 and under, or white or very pretty. It’s not a movement that I feel represents me any more.” Within the same article, Rebekah Taussig, made this valuable comment: “The body positive movement doesn’t put people with disabilities and other marginalised bodies into the foreground. Body neutrality, I think, has the power to be really useful in particular to people with disabilities, especially those with chronic pain or people with diagnoses that are progressive. Those people are pretty frustrated with the demand to love their bodies when they feel betrayed by them. Being neutral could feel like a relief.” The Female Lead wrote an article about body neutrality and I felt this sentence summed it up nicely: ‘Our bodies keep us alive and we are destroying them to look a specific way’.

Stephanie Yeboah looks at one of the biggest criticisms when it comes to the movement of ‘fat acceptance’ which she moves towards, which is peoples concern around the health of a fat person. She feels this ‘concern’ is just a tool for fat phobia and is not a genuine concern at all. She speaks about the fact that the one and only time she has been admitted to hospital for being fat, it is because she was beaten up because she was fat. How shocking and awful is that? Why does anyone see a fat person and feel such hatred? I truely could have cried when I read that, I am not a bad person because I carry extra adipose tissue, I am not a threat to anyone. Our physcial beings are just a house for our insides, for our hearts and brains to be protected, the outside doesn’t say anything about the inside. I have perfect blood results, I am healthy internally, my body is incredible, I am sure there are plenty of thin people who are worse internally than I am. Stephanie Yeboah rounds off the comments about fat acceptance by clarifying: “We’re not promoting obesity, or telling people to be fat, we’re just saying, if you’re fat you don’t have to hate yourself.”

If we look at the This Girl Can campaign, it is amazing in its simplicity and inclusivity. This campaign was born due to many women not wanting to be active or get active, due to a fear of judgement. The campaign points out that the judgements can be from many different areas in life, fear of judgement over size, looks, taking time out for self, not being with children or family and a general feeling of not being good enough. I think this campaign and its use of real women, and by that I mean women of every shape, size, colour, religeon and fitness level, is inspiring. It doesn’t judge anyone, thin or fat, fit to unfit, althete to complete beginner. It is a celebration of how wonderful our bodies are and how enjoyable being active can be if we find our own thing.

So, even though I am looking at reducing my body size, it is not because I despise fat people, I follow many amazing fat women on instagram and do not judge them. If anything I am envious that they can feel so comfortable in their own skin, what a wonderful way to feel. My personal journey is to seek that, I asked the Dietician I see why I can’t be a happy, comfortable fat person. She answered, all the things that make you uncomfortable are daily experiences and that is why. That is valid and it is my personal experience, but I do not judge plus sized people, I envy them as I might envy slim people. I don’t want the steering wheel to dig into my tummy when I drive, which will happen soon if I carry on growing, plus I feel my eating is out of control. Rather than a thing I do for pure pleasure, it is a coping mechanism.

I think that this piece is valuable at this time as there are lots of derogatory and judgemental comments about weight gain during the pandemic, and of course because Christmas is coming, wouldn’t it be nice to just enjoy ourselves without judgement and the anxieties that this can bring?

October 2020 Mortgage Round Up

We roll into autumn/halloween/October 2020 with local lockdowns and more crappy news. One thing that isn’t crappy, is the mortgage is still reducing, woohoo!

As of the 1st October my mortgage is: £146,387

Last month saw us at: £146,846

That is a reduction in capital: £459

This is with the OP of £50, so fingers crossed we will be in the £145’s in November!

Take care out there!

Weight Part 2

So after looking around at different options, including a life coach, psychologist, counsellor etc, I decided to join the Bariatric Mind Mastery Course. I had a life coach a few years ago and whilst it was good, the work didn’t manage to get my mind on board with itself, and I didn’t lose weight. I have had a virtual gastric band via hypnotherapy, which at first was great but then I put all the weight and more back on again. I have tried all the fad diets, I have tried weight watchers so many times and slimming world slightly less, all work initially but I felt deprived and that meant it wasn’t sustainable and as soon as I got fed up/disheartened all the weight and more piled back on. I was tempted to go private to a counsellor/psychologist but it is very hard to know online who is actually going to be any good. I am under the NHS weight loss service, that pretty much shut down with Covid, except for the lovely exercise lady, Steph, she has been fantastic throughout. If I am honest, I feel very let down by the service, if it wasn’t for Steph I would have given up. I was referred to have a Psychology assessment and the Psychologist felt I needed to do some psychological work in order to move forward with my journey- this was in May 2019. This year in June they finally started virtual group sessions, on a Thursday which I have to work every week as other nurses are already off. So I was not able to attend. To say I was disheartened would be an understatement especially as I had been told they would more likely be on a Friday, which I could have worked around. I got dispondant, Covid was smashing through, stuff was going on with hubby’s job, I couldn’t see loved ones and I put on weight getting to my highest ever weight. Cue crying and self hatred going through the roof, which led to overeating to smoosh down such horrid emotions.

I got in touch with a company which specialises in gastric balloons, they offer one for a year and it has an 18month support program after which I felt would be beneficial and necessary. I clearly could not get into the right headspace, I was frustrated with people who said they had gotten fat during lock down, maybe putting on a stone or two. That added to my self loathing, if they hated two stone they must think I am disgusting and awful. My head wasn’t a nice place to be.

I am a member of two bariatric support pages on facebook, and have been for a while, these are for people who have bariatric surgery which I have been toying with for a couple of years now. One of my biggest fears, was getting surgery, it being life altering, yet I put all the weight back on because it is a tool and won’t fix my brain. The NHS weightloss group are clear that I wouldn’t be a candidate until I could prove I could lose weight on my own- ironic as the reason I was part of the group is because that is my problem! Emotional me finds that upsetting and frustrating, rationale me understands that to make this tool work I have to think differently. There is very clear evidence that says that people who are morbidly obese will find it extraordinarily difficult to lose more than a stone or two without drastic steps, such as surgery. There are many reasons for this, including that our bodies will have stopped producing the I’m full hormone, so even if we eat less we won’t get that full signal, our gut bacteria is often full of unhelpful bacteria which craves sugary food, and because we are used to huge portions etc it is just so hard to manage. There is more about this that I will waffle about at some other time!

So anyway, one of the facebook groups I am in, is ran by Debbie- The Shrink on Your Couch. I have seen her advertise her Bariatric Mind Mastery courses several times and toyed with it. She uses DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) as a cornerstone to the course, DBT focuses on emotional regulation and understanding behaviours. I have used it in my professional role on a small scale with people who self harm and suffer with suicidal impulses, and it has worked well when implemented as it taught them how to understand themselves and work on other ways to cope. So I decided, fuck it, its £473 (500$), I am worth that small investment and worst case it won’t bankrupt me if it doesn’t work- I am so optimistic!

I love this course, I love it. Debbie had a gastric sleeve, she was obese, she struggled with her mind like I am, she gets it. Other’s think they get it, but they don’t. I said to my dad, I know you think everyone is the same, but they can’t be, or else they would all be morbidly obese like me! It felt so validating to read someone else felt similar, and the first week of the course was eye opening. A new chapter is released weekly over eight weeks and I have just worked though week 3. I don’t feel like I am dieting, I feel like I am just thinking it through, if I want cake or chocolate, that is fine, if I want wine, that is fine. But think about it, examine any feelings and emotions that are showing up, do I want it, or am I suppressing a feeling? Its a wonderful, complex topic and I would like to share some of the things I have learnt going forward, I feel this could be it, whether I will still need the assistance of a balloon or surgery in the future or if I can do it alone, I don’t mind.

Debt busting!

Last night we paid off our credit card! £3800.88 of debt, poof, gone!

We decided to use the money we had saved for New York to do this, as we have no idea when we will be going, but also, I don’t think we will be doing a big road trip if we do go next year. We have no idea if the Wedding we were due to attend out there will be squeezed in next year or not, but I know the bride to be doesn’t like the cold so it would likely be in/after June 21 if it were to happen. We should be able to save £2k by then and we have a voucher for the previous flights so will only need a hotel and spends.

So in a couple of months, we have managed to pay off our car- approx £2700 and our credit card! I still have the 5k loan (untouched) and hubby has a long lasting 0% credit card for his truck. So those two and the house are now the only debt we have. Probably equating to £8.5k.

It feels good to know that what we have saved so far this year enabled us to have paid off two debts. Due to hubby’s job change we aren’t able to roll the saved payments into any other debts, the £100 I spent on the card can go over to the house, but the car is part of the loss if income from the new lower wage. I am interested to see what his first wage will look like and how it will affect our savings/outgoings. We have money set aside for the cars MOT and Service in Oct, I have paid the house insurance in full and we are doing ok.

We have our holiday booked in Jan to Florida- everything crossed that this will go ahead, we have fully refundable car hire paid, hotel paid, transferable flights and disney tickets so worst case we should be able to rearrange. Would be sad though! No holidays planned this year, just some pottering out as we are still being very careful with Covid.

Stay safe!

This fat girl can:

I thought I would do a little post about some of the misconceptions of being fat people have. I am fully aware that as a morbidly obese person I am much more at risk of many horrible diseases and illnesses, I am aware that I could in theory be a big drain on the NHS- this isn’t a given, lots of fat people have minimal contact with health services, though we are aware we are more at risk. I also think that we are judged harshly by ourselves and others, there are many people who are disgusted by the fact I take up more space than others, and I myself can also feel disgusted and try and fold myself up into the tiniest space I can. So here are some things that this fat girl can do!

  1. I can walk really far, before lock down I walked 12.5miles with my dad, made good time and though I was tired the next day I could get up and walk again if I wanted. Some thin people would find that hard.
  2. Last year I walked 15miles for charity, it was a 20mile walk, but despite training I ended up with blisters and still managed 15miles
  3. My blood test results are perfect-I am not borderline Diabetic, my cholesterol is great, the GP has no concerns about internal health, and neither should anyone else
  4. I can work 12hour shifts as a nurse, carrying out personal care and doing general duties as expected, my weight may make this more difficult on a personal level, I assume, as I have never been slim so have nothing to compare it to. But I am a damn good worker and do not slack off because of my weight
  5. I am a good nurse who is compassionate and caring, I am a good team leader and share mutual respect with my wonderful care team. My weight has no bearing on this
  6. I can be a lot crueler to myself than any other person can be, I don’t need trolls to tell me awful things about myself, I have probably said worse- and am working on this!
  7. I am not restricted, I can dress myself fully, cut my toe nails, clean the house, etc etc
  8. I can spend hours thinking about my mortgage and overpayments, checking we have good deals and working out where I want to go on holiday!
  9. I am trying to know my worth, I am more valuable than my weight alone, my weight is one part of me and in fact, not very important in the grand scheme of me!

This was a small exercise in reminding myself of how much more I am than my weight, that my skills and value as a person are not encompassed in my looks. I follow Iweigh which was started by Jameela Jamil on instagram, she started it as fat people are more likely to be undiagnosed with serious illnesses/diseases, as it will be put down to being fat and not explored. The world can be a cruel place, and so can my brain, so I am working hard on not being ashamed as I take up more space, as what I have to offer is much more than my weight. Within that, I am on a journey to feel more comfortable in my skin, which for me would include being physically smaller, but shouldn’t be defined by weight itself. 🙂