I have written about my start in improving my financial situation. You can read about it here. However it was not an easy and straightforward transformation to actually care about my financial life, my budget, tracking it and actually sticking to it. It took me a long time to see the value in it and see how it is holistically connected with other parts of my life. I felt it did not matter to budget, track or save. Every cent I had was needed somewhere. The money I got was the exact amount that I needed to cover my life. Budgeting and tracking made no sense, so why do it? It would make sense though, once I started to earn more money. If I would have 1000 more that would do it. Then I could save. Oddly enough, even when I got that 1000 extra it did not help. I found something I needed to spend that on so 1000 was not enough to save. But probably 5000 would be enough. If I would have 5000 more, I would for sure be able to save. It was never enough. So I had to look for more students to teach, more translations to do, and just more ways how to get those extra 5000 which I needed which left me working 12+ hours a day, as the rule and not an exception. Thinking back at it, I feel sad about it and how little time with my daughter I had. Spending it working and working. Each hour I increase, my stress and anxiety also increased. Never having time to fully recharge. I could not see how it was all hanging together. How one part of life, influences the other. Only thing I was wondering was how come did I never have any money? I had those 5000 extra but I felt that I had less money than ever.
Never Having Enough Money- Lifestyle Inflation
Many live their life like this. First time it hit me was when a friend of mine had her credit card declined. I could not understand it as I knew that her salary was in the 6 figures. How could she have no money?
How I Started to Say No and the Path to Financial Stability
This was exactly what also I did. I had a decent salary but still a deep pit in my belly every time I needed to buy groceries. Would there be enough money in my bank account? I very often felt that it did not matter how much money I received as it all only disappeared. How was I still struggling paying rent when I had more money coming in than in the past? It was obviously a rigged game and I was the loser. This was my excuse. I did not want to look myself in the mirror and see what I did wrong. What made it change I do not really know. Somewhere the transformation towards a healthier mindset commenced. Maybe had I had the feeling of being sick and tired of too long? A life revolved around anxiety and stress and pushing it away with, mostly, food. The humiliation, stress, worry, and sickening feelings had grown enough big. Something just had to change.
3 Moths has come and gone already. 2021 is shooting forward, and time could not be flying slower and faster at the same time. So many things I want to do and there is no time for it, yet as there is nothing open the time runs extremely slow. An oxymoron I know. As you can see, that looking at my weight and body I have not changed for the positive. But it is OK, I love to look in the rearview mirror and evaluate my life. If we do not look back at what has been, reflect and ponder upon what was, we cannot move forward. Or as you would refer to it in Agile and Scrum, to hold a retrospective. What to ask oneself in a retrospective is:
What went well in the Sprint?
What went wrong in the Sprint?
What We had Learn in the Sprint?
What should we do differently in the next sprint?
Why on earth am I speaking about Agile and Sprints, well funny fact I am a certified Scrum Master, hence the reference. I do think that they are really good questions and if we want to succeed in life we have to ask these things. My Sprint refers to the 3 first months in 2021.
What Went Well In My Weight Loss and Life Transformation?
Due to the lockdown we went into in October, being harder than what we experienced April through July, I had to quite my PT. I was really scared going into new year, with keeping my consistency in working out. I know working out is not that much related to weight loss, but I want to transform life and keep a healthier life. What I am really proud about is that I have kept the consistency and I went running 3 times a week on average and 2 times of homework outs.
I started journaling and list making and it has been imperative for me. It has structured down and visualized the issues I am dealing with. Seeing it on paper has been great for me. In conjunction to this I have made a list to do of the day, and it really has kept me pushing myself forward. So many things were finally taken care of and I have felt that I was not stagnated in one spot.
Writing down my feelings and reactions to things, really have made me realized what I want and directing my life towards that life. Not just saying it, but actually working towards it. Being more intentional with my feelings and writing them down, has helped me healing in my eating disorder.
The plan in finding a hobby has been quite successful and I have been drawing, practicing my handwriting, and working on my math skills has all been so awarding. These are all things I want to put more time into. It feels like my life took a big leap these three months.
What Went Wrong in My Weight loss and Life Transformation?
Nothing everything went perfect. Has no one honest ever said.
My eating habits went a bit off these three months. I did give myself a bit more free room than I actually needed. It has been great, tp start healing from my unhealthy eating habits but in doing so I gave myself a little bit too much wiggle room for eating things which is not beneficial for me. It is good to let yourself rest a bit, but I should still keep my eyes on the ball and not feel like I have crossed the finished line. I still have 15 kilos which is considered over weight. I understand that scale is not all. But You can see in the photos that I am in no mean average weight still.
I could for sure have added more daily activity into my life. There has been cold and dark and March is hell month for me. Come on winter, go away already! The panic I feel every single year. Will winter ever end? Will spring and warmer weather come? Maybe this is the year when eternal winter will prevail. This breaks me down and keeps me paralyzed. Keeping myself active is really helpful for me, dealing with this. And I have not done that. I have not done all the walk I should have done, just to keep myself not just sitting. As sitting makes me feel this hell, which March is.
Consistency in general has been a weak point, except me working out. It has been hard trying to keep the schedule I wanted to do. It seemed I forgot I have a kid that wants to see me, and me who want to see her too. I think that I did a lot of work, feeling exhausted afterwards, feeling I needed to get out from home, being alone was all I could deal with. So that was really not positive at all.
What Have I Learned in My Weight Loss and Life Transformation?
I have learned, OK not learned but I have realized what are my goals. What do I really want out of life. This is amazing! Journaling and working with myself and learning how to deal with feelings has cleared my head and I am realizing what I want. I am seeing what is standing in my way, and I am learning not to be apologetic for it. I have not always put myself nor my small family first, and this is absolutely shit. I have let people pressure me into doing things, which has not been beneficial for me nor my kid. I have done this, as I am so scared of being left alone and done anything just for people to like me. I started this change already last year, but these last 3 months has been really great for this. I will no longer be pushed into something I do not think is beneficial for me or my daughter. I have several goals and only to stay on track will they come true, and if someone can not deal with my change, I cannot do anything about it. I am finding my voice again and it is amazing.
I am so capable of doing so much. I have survived moves from country to country. Continent to continent. Divorce, poverty, lonelytude, depression, alienation, singlehood, parenthood, obesity, mental illness, death. My adversity is my strength. If I can manage to drag myself up from all, anyone can. And I want to right there helping doing just that. I have gone though this fairly alone but I have had some amazing support as well of course. I want to be that sort of support.
Searching for hobbies and interest has opened the door to a world that I feel has been lost for such a long time. I am interested in so many things again. I am so much more than what I have let myself be, for long time.
What Should I Do Differently These Following 3 Months in My Weight loss and Transformation?
To keep my good habits, which I felt were sliding a bit. I know they are really positive for me. I have gotten a trainer, so I can work on some fitness goals I have had in mind and I need help hitting. I need to do positive affirmations to keep myself on track for a transformed life. I want to voice my voice more. If I do not feel something is positive for me, I need to do something about it. Pragmatism. That is my lead word. I know it can be tough on friends and family, but I have just one life. I want it to be awesome the rest I have. It will happen with progression, not perfection.
As some might have understood by now, I think finances are a really important part of life. I believe it is imperative to have my finances in order to be able to keep my emotions in check and therefore not do the emotional eating things I have going on. I have struggled a great deal with my finances, and about 1.5 years ago I decided that enough was enough and decided to make changes for me to get some financial stability, stop living paycheck to paycheck and ultimately reach financial freedom. You can read more about it there. Today I am celebrating a big milestone for myself.
My fully funded emergency fund!
What Is a Emergency Fund?
It seems like the word emergency fund has a different meaning for different people. I will tell you what is my meaning for it.
At first, I thought of an emergency fund as monthly income and I just could not understand how I was going to save up to 4-6 months of monthly take-home pay, that would take me year to save up monthly take-home pays. I have really left that notion and put different definition to the word.
Emergency means just that, it is an emergency. What do we do when in an emergency. We need to make sure that our basic needs are covered for. Not the extra charcuteries or nicer coffee. For me I decided that these four things would be my base of my fund:
I went thought my budget tracking for the past 6 months and looked what my cost had been for these categories were. This amount is what I needed to save up to create my emergency fund.
Why Do You Need a Emergency Fund?
For me, emergency fund will not be used for leaving for vacation; buying clothes; getting a bike or whatever things you can imagine. These are saved for in my sinking funds. Read about my sinking funds here. Emergency fund is exactly for what is sounds like.
Emergencies will come. That is the only thing I really know. Flatmate moving out; job getting canceled; health problems or something else unexpected happening. These are the reasons I was so focused on getting the fund, funded. I have had quite a lot of emergencies happening to me and I have felt like one step from total disaster. Money can not bring you happiness they say, but I am for sure more calm and happy with the knowledge that I have this money on my bank account. I have gained such a calm knowing that I have what I need to live OK for 6 months without any other extra income.
6 Months. No other money coming in.
I struggled to live from one day to next, in the past. I am so relieved now. Such a weight lifted from my shoulders. It also gives me a freedom to say NO. I do not need to say say anymore to everything that comes my way, workwise. I can pick in a different way, as I do not need it to survive today. I am surviving already. I wish for everyone to have this feeling. I wish for everyone to have this security and the best thing is: if I can do it, anyone can.
Am I Done with My Financial Journey Now?
Not even a little bit.
I am a freelancer and that comes with benefits but as with everything also some drawbacks. One of them is my pension. I will basically not have any, unless I work for it myself. No state coming to rescue me. I will need to work to get it myself and I am not planning to be a poor pensioner. I am not. I have done poor, and I am planning a different future. As I am single, I will also need to have a look in the mirror regarding housing. I know I will not be able to rent, once I am a pensioner and I know I need to do something regarding that. For that I need money.
I am not only thinking about my future though. I really want other people to have it good, and I want to be able to give more than I am able to do now. I want to work improving other single parents lives. I need to have enough to be able to give and share so that others who are not in the same situation can seek help somewhere.
I have plans and these includes money, so my financial journey has just begun.
This is me. In so many aspects of my life and it really frustrates me. I do not understand where it comes from and why I have it. It is not procrastination, as I do have issue with that as well. So what am I talking about?
I am on a roll. It can be whatever. Exercise, writing, reading, learning. Now lately it was this- writing. I said to myself that I want to have a plan of creating a post every 3 days. I think it is the track I can follow. I think that making more post a week will water down the blog. I will not try to make nice writing, make some sense in my writing, and I will be just stressed by it. I do this for fun and love of writing and not because I want fame or money. I do want people to read, as I honestly think people can benefit from my words. But that is the point.
So every 3 days, to keep some track and so readers feels that it is enough of post coming and knowing that there is something new coming up. It makes sense.
What happened to the plan?
Nothing. And this is what happened. It was not procrastination. The definition of it is this: Trouble persuading yourself to do the things you should do or would like to do.When you procrastinate, instead of working on important, meaningful tasks, you find yourself performing trivial activities.
So came the day of posting my blog. I had it planned. I had a topic, I had photos I had the text done in my head. It was just to write it. It was not that I did something else instead. It was just a busy busy day. I am single mom, in a lockdown pandemic and I do have a lot to do. So Tuesday last week came and it went. And that is the problem. I did not do it due to procrastination, I did it due to life. Life came in the way and I had no time.
The Voice in my head then goes like
You will not have time tomorrow either. It will be really busy and you have too much to do anyhow. The day after that as well. And then Friday comes and you have a plan already then and you will not fit this blogpost in. There is no time. And then it has already been 6 days since the last post, and then you have ruined your plan of blogging every 3rd day. People will not be interested in someone who is wishy washy with their publications. So then it makes no sense writing one and it is better to just skip it all together.
This is not just about blogging.
It is about everything.
I skip my language learning for 1 day and I feel it is pointless to even do it the next day, as I have failed myself once and now it is all ruined.
I do not do my exercise for 1 day and the same story again.
Not eating right, guess what? I do not need to do it again as I ruined it for ONE FING day.
this is not working anymore
In the past I have maybe been comforted by this. So this has might been helpful for me in the past, as I felt overwhelmed by life and I was trying so many things and struggling to get anything of the table so it was a helpful habit. Negative but actually still helpful. I did not really want to grow. That is the only idea I have about it. – Why else?
The things is though. I really want to grow now. I have a urge and ambition to go somewhere in life. Not professionally but personally. I want to become better and evolve. I have this feeling of being stuck as the same persona and I need to move on. This habit is really not working for me anymore. It is so engraved in me though, that it is extremely hard to change. As I do not know what it is. It destroys so much in its way. It leaves me so unproductive and almost lethargic. It frustrates the hell out of me. I want to go somewhere in life. I have plan in action and retrospectives and reviewing what I am doing. Daily planning etc etc. So why do I feel that if I ship it once, I should just keep skipping it?
Why do I reinforce this? What do I keep on feeding myself this stupid stupid idea?
I do not know. I am happy I did write this post, as in my head I had abandoned this blog and it was a story of the past. As so many times before. As I mentioned before, this is not my first blog rodeo and the mentioned reason has been the only reason why I have stopped in the past. Nothing else. Failing my language learning has only been due to this. I have been over it for ages already but I just do not seem to change it on a profound level and I do not know what to do.
I know everyone claims that the personal blog is D E A D and all we want to read is blog articles about one subject over and over again. From 500 different angles and then do it all from the start again, when all the angles have been covered. Unless you are rich and famous and we want to indulge and envy their life.
You know what? I do not C A R E.
I enjoy writing, have always done, and guess I always will. I have also always had this feeling of wanting to be heard and tell a story. So- Voila! Here we are. So here are photos from my lovely day today. Just me, Manka , a random non-famous or rich person who just wants to share life.
07.30 AM– I do not eat until lunchtime, so for me my morning coffee is so special. I love coffee but I try to only have this one. My sleep really get compromised if I drink more. So this one cup is quite holy for me.
8.05 Am– As we are in lockdown, my daughter has basically not been in school since March, I need to find things to keep her and my life as “normal” as possible. I try to take her out 3 times for proper training and then the rest of the days just to be outside. I need her to have great routines from small already. I bought a basketball yesterday and we tried it out today. It was a hit.
02.30 PM– I live in Czech Republic, but I am not from here. I did move here 2008 but never got around to learn the language. 2014 I moved with my then husband and daughter to Bolivia which went straight to hell and I came back 2018 with my daughter. I made a promise to learn how to speak it. It has not really happened so much. Making it happen I made the decision to study 4 times a week for about 30 min. Today was one of those day!
04.00 PM – Before daylight is over for today, I went outside. I try to walk for a minimum of 1 hour a day. I think it is reallyimportant right now especially as it is dark already at 5 PM and as we have to be home from 9 PM. I try to head out with someone so I can keep up with them. I do not enjoy speaking with them over chats or messages.
And now it is 07.10 PM and I am finishing this off. I have obviously worked too but took no picture of that. Will have to be for next time. And yes there will be a next time. I do not care about the idea that blogging is dead, or that no one wants to read my personal journey. Well I do this for the few who do wants to read. And for me! And I do believe that somewhere there are people missing this equally as much as I. I am so tired of reading the blogs from the rich and famous. I cannot relate. I do not want to read blogs only talking and writing 500 articles about how to do keto.
“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
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.
This is me now. There has been a change for sure, from the first photo taken in May. I can see this when I see the photo. You can read more about it in my first blog post here.
Sadly, can I not see this in real life. I just do not. I can sometimes feel it, as I do not struggle as much as I used to do. I have for sure lost a significant amount of weight. I can logically understand that, but visually do I have not under any circumstances see it. I am looking into different reasons why I do not see it, not understand it and what it can be.
What Are My Current Stats?
I am now at 97 Kilos, and at my heaviest weight I weighed in at 116, If I just get down one kilo more and I am down 20! I find it amazing that I have been able to do this. When you hear it, it sounds a lot. Like really a lot. But I am somehow not aware of it. It is a struggle I have and something I need to look into. For me to live long-term with my weight loss I need to be aware of it. It is kind of imperative for the whole shebang.
The stats are not so great, but truth to be told not as bad as they use to be. And for this I am happy. Not only this but I also have had:
high blood pressure,
pain in joints, back, knees,
This was just to mention some. I do have more and have had more issues than these. Being obese for long periods of life is not healthy, whatever people claim to say. This time around, I do not care that much how I look, of course, I care I am not going to pretend otherwise, but I want to really focus on how I feel. I need to transform my thinking from looks to needs. I am tired of feeling all the above. I am 35 and should not feel like I am about to die. I do not want anymore anxiety induced by food not having the health benefits for my body as I would want.
Since I have begun losing weight, I have improved my blood pressure, and it is down to normal readings. I no longer snore so I wake up my daughter, nor do I wake up with phlegm in my lungs, on a regular basis. I am on a really good trajectory! I just need to keep it up and going. These weight loss changes are more than welcomed. It is not easy to lose weight and it is very often a shitty road but I do think it is worth it. These are things I try to focus on when I cannot see the change. These are stats so much more important than looks. I am on a journey to health and balance. I want to continue this journey, a bit different than I have done until now. I need to look into a holistic view and to be good in all parts and not just a number on the scale.
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.