Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck- Working Towards Financial Security

Living paycheck to paycheck: For many, this act of using most or all of your monthly income to cover your monthly expenses — with no money left over and none for savings — is a fact of life.” – Read more here

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I used to have huge problems with my personal finances. Especially after my divorce. I spiraled down into this black place of borrowed money and panic over paying rent. 
I once had a washing machine dysfunction and my entire flat was covered in water, leaking down to my neighbors. I ran to the janitor in the building complex to fix it. He had to turn off water in the building and to turn it on, I needed to repair the connection with my washer. It cost 200 Bolivianos, 30 dollars or 25 euros. 
I did not have it. 
This was not the last time something like that happened, but at one point in life I was exhausted by this. Exhausted by living one small accident from chaos. One tiny incident away from eviction. I had to do something. 

How to Not to Budget and Failing to Keep On Track

This is my first-ever budget. It is not a fancy program that you connect to an app that is connected to your bank account. I had KISS in mind.

Keep It Short and Simple. 

There was no point in adding fancy things and complicating it. I needed it as simple as possible, to actually do it and be successful. I have more categories now, and few more tabs now. Tracking all kinds of different things.  
And truth to be told, even this was too boring and complicated and the first 2 months I did not really know what the heck I was doing and mostly did I not do it.
I added some arbitrary number ideas to my excel sheet, expecting it all to come together. Deciding I would spends this and that amount on this and that category.I had really no idea what I had previously spent, but it sounded great to spend 100 euro on food. That is about right, right? 
It was all just a mess and I felt many times I would be better off just stopping. I kept on though and practice become the master.  At this point it was Youtube and blogs I watched and read to understand what I needed to do. 

 And with this structures and processes happened. It helped me understand how I can budget, with my type of income, better. I am a freelancer and I get paid a bit all over the month, so it is hard to think about my paycheck as my monthly income. I want the money to work for me, not me for my money. I need to create the life I want with my money. If I do not want to spend 100 Euro on money, why should I put this arbitrary number into my budget? 

Realizing that a budget is not one thing fits all was the big thing that helped me. I can make it do and work for me, how I need to to work.

One Effective Way to Budget to Make the Money Work For You.

Instead of budget for future money, and adding in some random numbers into random categories I decided to budget with the current money I have. I decided to go from 15-15 each month, and everything that was leftover would be treated as extra money and be added to savings and anything that came into my account after the cut-off date would be counted as the new month’s money. I also decided to only budget the money I actually had received and not money that would come in. 
I also sat down and looked where I wanted to go in life. What were my life and financial priorities.  When these were defined I looked if they were actually in my budget and what amount did I assign to this priority. 

I wanted health and active activities, but I, in my budget had 0 allocated for this. So I always felt short of money doing just this. On the other hand, did I have a HUGE category which was for entertainment and drinks.
Where were my real priorities?  All this is crucial to define. This can obviously change over the course of time, and I look at this every month. What do I want to do? What is my focus this month?
Having these defined I set up the plan on how to allocate the money received and nothing else. 

 

  • I have only received two payments this month and it is only these two I will budget out
  • The most crucial expenses are listed out and how much I need to pay for these. If these are paid first, I know that my obligations are fulfilled and I can sleep better at night.
  • You budget clothes and no food? I have a full fridge for another week and I know there is coming in more money for this, in one week. And I have to get snow protective clothes for my kid! This is what I mean by having the money work for me. Why put money in a food category if I do not need it now?
  •  After paying them, tracking them just by adding them to the right category.
  • When I get a new payment I will add this into the budget and give the money a job in the categories I feel and know needs to be contributed to. 

This way I have a clear view of what I can actually afford and not and at what time. 

Will This Make You Reach Financial Freedom?

Absolutely not. 
This is the first change and decision I made to create a better financial life and stop the vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Creating wealth and financial freedom is a lot of work, but one has to start with the first step.  It was far easier and better than I could ever have excepted.
It is now clear and obvious what I have to pay, what I want to cover, and how to get the money create the life I want. 
This has resulted in far less stress and anxiety which has left me with a feeling of relief that I did not for many years. This order in my finances created the space how to add new levels to my money and make them work even
It is sometimes strange not to stress over my finances and the disorder it used to be in. Strange but amazing more for me. 
Overeating and stuffing myself due to poor financial control is no longer my problem.
This is why it is so important to have a holistic view of weight loss, as it is all connected. NO machinery works well without all its bolts and gears. 

Fat to Skinny and Back- Body Dysmorphia- Is This What I am Suffering From?

I have been an extreme weight pendulum for almost as long as I know.
The first time I shed a substantial amount of weight was in my teens. I think I was 13 almost pushing 100 kilos and over the course of one summer got myself down to the higher 70s.
That was all regained in few years.

The next time I was around 18, leaving high school and again I started around 100 kilos and got myself down to a really low number in the higher 60s. I am 174 so for me, that was a really low number.
All regained in few years.

Now I had had a baby and for the first time had I crossed the 100 kilo mark, and beyond. I vividly remember standing on the scale showing 105 kilos thinking it must just be something inherently wrong with the scale. It went most probably even higher because after that I did not stand on a scale again for a long time and I know for sure I gained some. Before losing it and I shed quite a bit.
Same story again- regained it all.

My Incapability to See Me and Myself In a Body

And now I am here again. 116 Kilos and pushing for a weight loss. I desperately need a different outcome.
The weight gain has to stop.
30-40 kilos up and down cannot be healthy in any sort of way. The fluctuation and stress it causes the body cannot be good in any way.
On no scale can I claim that I have a healthy relationship with myself, nor my body.
Why is that?
I am trying to understand my issue, and fix it. I deeply believe that this is more than just an issue with eating too much. Which obviously is an issue, but this fluctuation is due to something more.
I need to fix something, for this to work this time. Understanding what is wrong and how to heal or deal with it is the key to my success.
I am not calling it a holistic view out from nothing. I have to transform into a being that is more in line with herself.
I really enjoy analyzing myself, and I constantly do it. I have discovered one thing.
I cannot see myself.

Do not get me wrong. Of course, I can see myself, I do not think I am some sort of vampire who does not have a reflection in the mirror.

What I mean is- I cannot see how small or big I am. I just cannot.

I vividly remember how I used to ask, my now ex-husband about people and their bodies, to get a reference point.
Am I as big as her? What about this woman? Is this the size I am, what about that?

He would, understandably, get annoyed and thinking that I was just trying to tell that I was I was fishing a bit too often and much for compliments and wanting remarks about my incredible weight loss.
I was not; I honestly could not see my own body and how small it was. I just saw myself as fat and big.

This would shift though. At one point, I would realize that I had actually lost the weight, I was not pushing 100 kilos anymore. The notion had finally sunken in. Then when I started gaining weight came the same issue but opposite way.
I could not see my body again. Now my body was small. Now my body was skinny.
10 kilos extra on scale was an incorrect scale. I was still skinny. 20+ still skinny. 30+?
Yes you are right still- ok not skinny anymore, I had realized there had been some gain but not how much. I would look myself in the mirror and see a skinnier person.



I vividly remember the moment I realized I was not the smaller size me anymore. Like really realized it.
I was in an intimate situation with a man where I proudly proclaimed my victory over weight gain and how I had lost 30+ kilos.
I clearly remembering his surprised and really unbelieved eyes and the doubt in his voice.
– Aha OK, right.

That was it. The words and the doubt threw me off my pretend cloud and dropped me down in reality. I was fat again, and boy was I really fat. The scale had pendulum to 116 kilos and the gain was a true horrible fact.

This is not the first time though. Looking back, all my gains and losses has been like this. Me not realizing that I am losing or gaining. I cannot see my body for what it is. It is the same now. I know I have lost 20 kilos, but I cannot see it. Because I cannot see it, I dismiss all evidence that this is the truth.
And as happened in the past it will hit me, and from that moment I will identify as a smaller person, and I will not see the gain, that will creep up. And the never ending cycle is a fact.

Body Dysmorphia and What It is

” Body Dysmorphia Definition- Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others. People of any age can have BDD, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults.”

I have been reading about Body Dysmorphia- read more here– and leaning towards this. I do not think it fits me really, as I do not obsess about it. Neither is it only about flaws. When I am smaller- I am really loving it!

So what can it be, that make me not able to see what I actually look like? I do not know. I will need to look more into this though as I really think this is what needs to be healed in order to be successful for the long run.

If you have suffered or are suffering from the same. Let me know what you did or are doing to heal from this.

What Will You Do; 2021?

Soon the year is over. Really soon. In many ways this has been such a strange and weird year.
– The year of Corona.
I would lie though, if I said it has been a bad year for me. On a personal level this has been the best year in, like forever.
This year I started so many important changes and I have started a Journey I am pretty proud of. And I want to continue like that. One thing that has really helped me this year, has been lists. Amazingly helped me. Amazed me how small lists has helped me so much. The order it has made in my head has helped me to bring order in my life and with that reduced stress and with that made me make better choices and with that helping me to lose weight.
So I will continue with this, and bring you along with it.

  • Reading used to be a big part of me. It was basically all I wanted to do. The last 12 years it has been really little of this and 2020 I was able to mange 10. I will up it 50% and make it 15. I want to have “Self-improvement” “Financial” and the rest just “Novels”. I am quite excited about it!
  • In line with the type of books I want to read, I really need to work on my self love and acceptance. I am not perfect. I have certainty not been perfect and I will not be. I can work on accepting it and doing my best and striving to improve my best. But be happy and fine with anything. Love myself as I am, with flaws and everything.
  • I need to continue this trajectory of moving and working out. I am starting to see and feel real difference. Energy level, mental health level and physical level. I am happy I started this year, and I will continue no matter what. I want to particularly learn how to make a hand stand. I want to be able to run 5K in 30 min and 10K in just over the hour. I do not think that any of these are impossibilities. I want to keep the moving to about 5-6 times a week.
  • Life is about balance, it is so important. Life is about learning and continuing to improve ourselves as humans. I want to take this into account and work with it. To be able to grow I need to push myself and that is what I will do. I want to take on new hobbies and skills. Adding 30 min a week for new learning is a doable idea I think.
  • 2021 is the year I will start to invest, as in money. Money might not buy you happiness, but after my divorce and living in Bolivia without anything, I also know that not having money is not happiness either. I Need to have some cushion, if 2020 have taught us anything I think is this. Nothing is forever and everything can change in a blink of a moment. Financially I need to be prepared for this.

These are my goals and intentions for 2021. What do you have planned for 2021?

Unexpected Changes

So, after 20 Kilos down, I have noticed some changes in my body and soul. Some changes I have expected, as this is not the first time I lose weight.  I am aiming though that this is the last time I fluctuate 30+ kilos!
Some of the things I have noticed has been rather unexpected as I had forgotten how it was not having all that weight on me. As the weight comes creeping up, I did not think about all the things changing until now, when they are reversing again.
So here will come a list of some unexpected changes!

1. Not waking up as one swollen ball. I used to wake up every single day, with this puffy huge face, with eyes small and swollen like nothing else. I just thought of it as something that happens when you get older. Makeup was a necessity!  A Few weeks ago though, I realized that my face no longer looked like this. Eyelids were not hanging over the eyes and forehead and cheeks was not doubled in size.
I am not sure why, but I would expect that the snoring has something to do with it. The fact that I am not suffering from a shortage of air, is probably one reason. Water retention is probably as well. Permanent inflammation, which you have when obese is decreasing as well, and that probably helps out too! 

2. Changing all my facemasks! This is a bit funny one, and it has been quite unexpected. The other day, I was so annoyed on my facemask as it kept falling off my nose, or slipping down on my chin. I realized it was because my face has slimmed down and the mask has not as much meat to rest on 😀 

3. Better personal hygiene. This is quite personal, but I think it is important to look at. When you are really big, there are some leakages in private areas happening. I did not realize it was due to extra pressure on the bladder. I have had really easy for infections and irritations in this area, as it has been really squeezed together and just not airy enough. The other day, I realize that no itching, smelling, or irritation has been happening for a long time. I also learned that blood circulation, helps the area to keep healthy. So has been such a positive change. No need feeling uncomfortable about BO or things like this. 

4. Less need for medication! This is so amazing, I did know that medication for physical issues, could be reduced once losing weight. I am suffering from some mental impairment and taking medication for that. I have really drastically lowered my levels though. I really take the minimum doses right now. This I did not expect at all. Why is it like this? I really do not know.

I will probably find out more, interesting and surprising changes, as I am still not done with this part of my life.

7 Months and 20 Kilos!

I need to figure out how WordPress work, as I have mentioned, this is not my first time having a blog, but it was really long time ago and the layout and how WordPress works are all new.
Ok truth to be told, I probably did not really understand how it worked in the past either. I have not been really interested in learning things, but still expecting to get top results as IF I knew what I was doing.
Of topic! 😀

Today marks the 7th month in my health/weight/life Journey. 7 months of grinding and working to get to my goal.
I do not think people understand how hard it can be at times. I have never had a good regimen with anything. The notion that fat people are lazy and over eat has been true in my case.
You want that second plate, or third… HAVE IT!
You had a cake yesterday, well it is OK, have another one!
You do not want to go for a walk, or move, then do not! Why should you do anything that is against what you want? It is not healthy!

Well, at least for me, this mindset has not been healthy. I gained weight over the years, like no ones business and I have never been as heavy before. This is NOT health. To overindulge and stuff myself with anything that came along.
I vividly remember a birthday party, February this year, and I ate for 2 hours straight. Ate, ate and ate.
Finger food mind me, but 2 hours of finger food is a lot. So from practically not doing anything, I decided that this was enough.
I was scared I would not wake up, the sore and swollen uvula, told me about a sleeping regimen that was not good. My dark eyes around my eye told on me as well.

7 months ago, more or less today, I started this. In my mind, I would have 10 sessions with a PT and that would be it. I am laughing about my own stupidity. Years of mistreat and bad habits, would be overwritten by 10 sessions with a PT? It is a bit gullible.

I tried a girl at first, but she just did not do it for me, she probably saw the size I was in, and thought it would be better not to go hard on me. But not going hard on me, is what I have done forever, so I really needed the opposite. My second one I stayed with, at times I was so angry that he did not understand how heavy I was, as some of the things I just physically could not do, it felt like the joints or muscles would tare. But he kicked me, and that is what I needed.
I got a nutritionist as well, that helped me to get reminded about what food is for. I have since astrayed from this way of eating, only clean and 5 ingredients, and excluding food groups, as I think this is not healthy either. It did help me, to regain some control of myself though.

Slowly but surely, have I lost the kilos. I remember my second weigh in, where I was just so angry and disappointed. I started at 113.9 kilos, with my second trainer I had already lost 2 kilos so heaviest was 116, and on my second weigh in I was 111, such a failure! I thought then, not anymore.
I had expected to lose 10 kilos, and be half done with what I was set up to do, this is 1 month into my life journey. It is interesting how we expect so unrealistic results.
Many times did I not want to continue, mostly as the scale went down so slow. I am so proud of myself though, that I never did! Really few times, have I not done what goal I set myself, which being queen of procrastination and giving up, I am so freaking proud!

Having gone to the gym, pool, running, home workouts, yoga, hiking, I have made more than a dent in the numbers by now. Everyday is a new commitment to the Manka I want to be, and almost everyday have I completed it.
Before I started to write this post, I felt a bit disappointed at me, for not having lost more faster, but as I am writing is I realize how good it is! How amazing I have done!
I have worked on my relationship with food and activities, on my relationship with myself and how I react to things, as I do not want this to happen again. Regaining and then plus some.
I am not done with the work, and I still got a long way to go, but I am on the bloody road at least, and I am walking it. It is pretty amazing!

20 Kilos is not, nothing! It is something!!

Let Us Try Some Non-Procrastination!

First of all- What does procrastination really mean?

  1. Be realistic! Have I not been doing all I should have done until now, a list with 10 items will most probably just stress me out. I work and have a child. What can actually really be done. 
  2. Time management- How long does a task really take? The enire task from start to finish.  Going and posting one letter might sound like a 10 min job, but geting dressed, walking there, standing in line, paying, walking back, will take more than the short 10 minutes I initially thought it would take. 
  3. Create a routine with when I should have them done by. It is nice to say I shall do this and that, but if I have no guidelines of by what time they need to be finished it is hard to see them done.
  4. Need to structure up the plan nicely. Make the plan nice looking. If I create a nicer look, I tend to work better. Not just some scribbled down words. Think Bullet journal!

These four things have I seen so far. I have only been in it for about one week, but could feel that this morning that these changes for success  needs to be done.  Let’s see if doing these changes can make the sick pit in my stomach going away.
I just know I need to get out of procrastination and into doing the stuff I want. A life without a plan is just a wandering around.
I do not want to just exist, Iwant to love and planning makes it happen.

I Hope One Day We Will Feel Happy

A friends told me this last week when we met, after a long time not seeing each other. I told him why, what and how I am changing my life. I told him I am pushing and working hard because I need to get somewhere in life.
I needed to start being the parent who sets up a plan for its child and then just work after it. I read that in Jordan Peterson’s book ” 12 Rules of Life”
Be someone you are responsible for helping. I needed to listen to the future me, not just satisfy the present me.
And I just want to put it straight.

Never ever have I felt as happy as I do now. And it hit me, listening to him, that maybe it does not seem so.
I know I force myself to keep moving. I push myself every single day. I do not feel like it every day, for sure not. I do skip things that the present Manka would want, as I know that the future Manka will be happier from it.
Treating myself like this, I have found out the the present me is changing too. That the destructive, immediate wants are not so interesting anymore.

I push myself every day but it makes me happy. I have never felt this good, mentally, ever. I know I write- on my Instagram -check it out- MankasLifeDiet about the struggles I have and that it is hard and that motivation might be missing sometimes.
But I feel happy in the struggle, and pushing myself, and feeling unmotivated and doing it anyway and feeling the feelings of hard. In struggles and hardship and how we overcome it, we grow.

I have quite some plans of what I will do in the future and where I am moving towards. It will be hard and I will do the same. Push myself, I will feel unmotivated, and ,probably, bored as well by it. But I truly believe I will feel as happy, if not happier, as now. – I will let you know if I do not 😉
|One day is already here for me.

Weight Loss Journey- Transform My Life

Here I am again. This is not my first rodeo. Neither with blogging nor weight losing. I do not know how many times I have been on a weight-loss journey, for sure more than one. This shall be the last though. I have also been on and of the blogging journey capturing different parts of life. Never done it together. I need an accountability coach, I cannot afford one so I have to become my own. This blog will be just that.

Transformation of My Weight loss Journey

I am Maria AKA Manka. I desperately need to transform my life. I have started 6 months ago, but I find it really hard to keep it going. It started in May with a normal idea of losing weight and not caring too much more about this journey. During these 6 months, have I the feeling that I am morphing into something new though. This is not the first attempt, but I truly want and need it to be the last. I need to change my life for the better. I need something new.  The strangest thing is that I do not feel I need to force this transformation but the change has happened slowly and organically during the course of the months. The interesting part is that I do not have the notion that this is only about weight but a whole new life that is emerging. It is quite exciting and also bit uncomfortable.

Goals for Weight loss Transformation

There are many things I need to change with myself and my goals are many. I desperately need to lose weight. I also need to change my life in regards to my finances. They stress me out which results in weight gain. I need to drastically change my life as my body is falling apart. My vitals are no good, with high everything you can have high. I have reduced blood pressure quite a lot, and I do give that to my weight loss. Shedding kilos has helped shedding pressure. I need a holistic and mindful weight loss. I need to incorporate all aspects and parts of my life. Not only tackle my amounting number of kilos as a separate part of this transformation. All aspects of life, which stress me, or bores me which results in weight gain need to be addressed. I will win this weight loss transformation! I need to get down to an overweight number, as I am technically obese at the moment with a BMI of 38. Starting weight from the very start was 116 Kilos. First Goal 90 kilos Eng Goal 70-80 Kilos

How Will I Do This Weight loss Plan?

I do not really know. I am no expert in this. I just know I need the change. Take control of my life and win this thing. Join me in the quest for happiness, stability, financial independence and everything else that is needed for a holistic and mindful weight loss, where all parts of the puzzle need to be in order for a sustainable change.