Coffee heat rising

Health and Dollars: A challenge

Over at A Gai Shan Life, proprietor Revanche notes that Fabulous Financials‘ Single Ma is ramping up her dieting and exercise program in honor of National Fitness Month. In addition to all her other health and wealth strategies (she’s already lost 32 pounds!), she’s signing up for the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure, her first marathon. Revanche announces that she will “pace” Single Ma, but in dollars rather than kilometers: she’s set herself a challenge to save $5,000 between May 2 and June 5.

Holy mackerel, what ambitious women!

Well, not in honor of much but because I see I now officially look like a potato sack tied in the middle, I’m willing to join the challenge, but in a much lower-key way.

About a week or ten days ago I decided I need to lose about ten to fifteen pounds. And more to the point, I need to get enough exercise to tone up the belly, which is beginning to look pretty paunchy. A little earlier than this, I’d decided to get off all forms of caffeine, since the episodes of heart palpitations and light-headedness had come back in a busy swarm. The taste for high-test coffee does get out of control every now and again. 😉

Since I was kicking caffeine (it worked, BTW: the anxiety attack-like episodes immediately disappeared), I considered going back on the Atkins Diet, which worked effectively five years ago, when I lost 20 pounds or so in under three months. The weight stayed off for about a year, until I started drinking beer and wine again and, about the same time, succumbed to my lifelong love for pasta. As soon as the job pressures drove me back to indulging my favorite sins, I quickly bloated right back up to where I was before. {sigh}

This time I’d like to drop a more reasonable 10 pounds, which would take me down to a weight I consider more normal for a woman my age, who after all will never be her sylph-like self again. On reflection, Atkins is pretty extreme—reviewing the chapters on gearing up reminded me that I really don’t want to be gulping vitamins or, for that matter, weighing the amount of lettuce I eat every day.

So instead I decided to revert to a kind of ur-Atkins that my father used to invoke, way back in the 1950s and 60s, when he wanted to lose a few pounds: cut out all the alcohol, avoid sugar, and never touch any bread, rice, potatoes, or pasta.

This experiment started on the 24th; ten days later I’ve already lost three or four pounds (depending on the time of day). This weekend I wore a black J. Jill skirt purchased in the recent spending spree. In the store it fit just all right, but it tended to ride up on the paunch, climbing toward the rib cage. Saturday evening it actually fit around my waist properly—and stayed there! It looks a lot better.

Three of the new dresses have empire lines or fall unshaped from the shoulder. While they look a lot better than anything else I tried on, it’s pretty easy to guess I bought them to cover the bulk, not because I so love outfits that drop loosely from the bra line. Those will look a great deal better when they’re less generously filled out.

So. My challenge is to lose 10 pounds by the end of May, and also to firm up the flab.

What’s your challenge?

8 thoughts on “Health and Dollars: A challenge”

  1. Winter has just hit here, and I feel like an old, achey lady (I’m 26). My challenge is to get back to my level of fitness of about a year ago, get my tension shoulders and wire-tight hamstrings all stretched out, and to be more active in general. I want to feel fit and able and active, and to be able to do things I want to get done like gardening and heavy housework without groaning about it.

    If I lose weight, I’ll be a bit happy, since some of my clothes fit the me that bought them – a dress size down – and I don’t want to go buy new things. But weight loss certainly isn’t my goal. Body shape change is a minor goal. But feeling like I fit properly into my body again, whatever shape or size that body happens to be? Definitely my goal.

    My challenge is to sign up to a yoga class and to go once a week for at least two months, and to start riding my bike to work again!

  2. Oh the caffeine. I had to stop absolutely cold turkey when my husband went into the hospital because every time I drank it, I started shaking and lurching—really. Heart palpitations and all. I think sticking with someone in the hospital as you’ve just done is like being naturally caffeinated and is a very good time to lay off the juice. I’ve recently pulled back form 6 cups daily to one-2 cups every few days (yep, I started up again once the stress went down!). I think I’ll try to stop altogether, but something about coffee just settles my stomach–weird I know. And the thought of drinking decaf scares me.

    My challenge: get my financial house in order. Oh, it is such a mess. I don’t have debt, but am frightfully unorganized–emergency funds in checking account with 0 interest, retirement still in California State funds when I should roll it over etc. I think I’ll give myself a financial makeover.

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