One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

I buy in bulk but I am not a hoarder. Nonetheless, I’ve accumulated things over the last 15 years that I’m not proud of.  These are things that I bought spur of the moment and regretted immediately after paying.  Too bad we don’t have return policy here in the Philippines.  Some are old clothes that don’t fit anymore or just excess things.  I discovered that I had five sunglasses and realized I didn’t need that money.  So I kept two, and sold three.

With the advent of Ebay, OLX, Carousell and FB groups, I started selling my old items last year.  It felt good to be able to purge the unwanted and unused items in my place instead of being reminded of my past weaknesses.  I looked through my drawers, cabinets and desks.  I evaluated which items I would use or keep and went on from there.  It was a mighty task to undertake and I knew I had to take it slow or else I may just give up entirely.

I looked at areas of my room by sections and evaluated what I wanted to declutter and whether I would give it away or sell it.  I did that everyday, a section at a time, and a few items at a time. Every day, I take picture of a few items and post them online during my downtime.  I’ve sold clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, old electronics and even extra hair curlers.   I’ve even sold my old and used makeup products. You name it, I’ve sold it.   So far, I’ve sold about USD4,000 worth of crap in my room.  It felt really really good!

I feel like it’s such an achievement to dispose of my old unwanted things and make money to boot.  But that just means that I need to be more circumspect with what I buy in the future.  It will be less work for me if I don’t have to sell it because I didn’t buy it in the first place.  I’m not yet done and I still have things that I want to sell.   But one day at a time.  And if something doesn’t sell right away, I just re-post the item until someone takes the bait.

This is also one way of recycling and repurposing items.  I feel that it is such a consumerist society and I didn’t want to add on to the wastage being produced especially with products that are made super fast and super cheap.  Everything is disposable.  We don’t need to dispose.  We can pass it on.  For a small fee.  It’s like I bought the item, paid rental for using it, and selling it for residual value.  Everyone wins.  Who am I kidding? I just want to sell it.  If I don’t sell my old crap, I don’t have space to buy my new crap.

I’m super grateful to the internet and how it was helped facilitate all this.  Who would’ve thought I’d be able to sell all my unwanted clutter.  Back then, the only recourse was to have a garage sale.  Now, I can do both.  I recently signed up for a group neighborhood garage sale.  I get a table to put all the stuff I want to sell for the day.  Seems like a good idea to work both strategies.

Adios Retail Therapy

Adios Retail Therapy

I have come a long way to be able to say this.  Adios shopping! Who I am now is a complete turnaround from how I was ten years ago. Back then, I was in my banker job.  I was paid well with no financial responsibilities.  All the money went to my own expenses.  I shopped, I dined, I partied.  Whenever I was stressed or unhappy, I would go shopping to make myself feel better.  The relief lasted only for a short while, and the misery set in again.

I used retail therapy to comfort myself.  I was stressed at work and it felt like I was mad at the money I was getting paid with so I spent a lot of it.  I still saved a substantial amount, mind you.  But I bought a lot of crap.  Clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, bags and jewelry.  You name it, I bought it.  Looking back now, the thrill of the hunt of what to buy was what made me happy.  After I bought the item, the elated feeling goes away. And you’re left with that empty feeling of what to buy next.

At work, we dressed up well and bought designer shoes and bags. I graduated to expensive watches.  It felt like we were trying to keep up with the Joneses, the clients.  Who were kidding?  They were the clients, they had millions of dollars in their savings account.  We were the bankers, it will never be the same.

I kept on buying until I stopped myself around five years ago.   I was on a trip and bought five designer handbags.  My tax refund alone was enough to buy another handbag.  I realized that this wasn’t me.  What was I doing?  I was ashamed of how I had become.  In the last five years I made a conscious effort to curb my inner consumer and buy only what I needed to.  I became more discriminating with where I spent my money on.   There was a time when I felt ashamed to be seen wearing designer items.  I tried to be as low-key as possible.  It was a far cry from how I was before.  But that was an extreme reaction too.

Would my life be better if I used a Chanel bag compared to a no-name bag?  Would I walk better and look better wearing a Christian Louboutin heels compared to heels I bought at Payless Shoe Source.  I have to admit, I do have both which I don’t use as much now.  They’re reminders for me of how I was in the past.  It also helps that I don’t buy as much now since I am dropping sizes in clothes so I didn’t want to buy something that will be too big for me in a month’s time.

I still shop but only for essentials and gifts.  I’m more discerning now of what I buy.  Do I want it or do I need it?  And I don’t do impulse purchases as much.   Maybe it’s age.  I find that I’d rather keep my money rather then buy something that I know I will lose interest in a few days later.

Adios retail therapy! You’ve helped me through my twenties and thirties.  It’s been good knowing you.  We’ve had some fun times together but it’s time to move on.  I am a mature, responsible adult now and I choose to make myself happy in other ways.

Support Groups

Support Groups

Last month, I signed up to this forum called 3 Fat Chicks.  I came across this website when I was massively researching about weight loss tips and tricks.  I’ve started, succeeded and failed at many diets or weight loss regimens my whole life. At many points in my life, I have put fitness and weight loss at varied degrees of importance.  The last time was 12 years ago when I wanted to prove to myself I could.  Back then I was only overweight 20 pounds.  Now, I still have 25 pounds to go before reaching normal weight.

The group has many separate subgroups where you can read what others wrote or you can post yourself.  I’ve introduced myself in the Introductions page, I’ve posted on the Weight Loss Support  page as well as other pages.  Being a part of this group helped me realized that I was not alone in need help with losing weight.  Yes, I know that there is a problem with obesity now. That doesn’t mean that everyone is trying to cut down and drop weight.  Reading about other people’s experiences made me realize that it is hard, and everyone is having a hard time trying to get to their goal weight.  You read about what other people are doing that are helping them on their journey and those that aren’t helpful.  You get to see how long it takes to lose X amount of weight.

Oftentimes, I get easily discouraged when it feels like the number on the scale isn’t dropping.  That’s most likely the time, I give up and start going back to bad eating habits.  What’s the point?  I put in all this work, but the weight isn’t coming off.  On this forum, you read about other people experiencing the same thing.  Other members encourage and give support and you end up doing the same because you can relate to how they feel and what they are going through.

Sometimes, the hardest is being honest with those closest to us.  I couldn’t tell my weight to my friends for the longest time since I was deathly embarrassed that I had allowed myself to go completely.  In the forum, I wasn’t afraid of being judged about my highest weight.  I could freely write how I felt about the whole weight loss process, how I felt, and how I just hate to work out but I just have to push myself.  The group is there for us to share our good days and bad days.

I end up checking the forum every few days to read about new joiners and new topics.  I update other members my weight loss progress and encourage others to power through.   I join challenges, set goals and mini goals, try new recipes to help make the whole journey more interesting. In the same way we seek support from our family and friends for many things,  a weight loss support group will make it easier to achieve our goal of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Fitbit Challenge Accepted!

I first got my Fitbit Charge HR in February 2015 from Amazon but it was a lemon so I decided to get a refund instead.  While on a trip to Singapore the same year, I got a Fitbit Charge HR (orange this time) and started to use it since I figured it will help me with my fitness goals.  I wore it on and off for the rest of the year becasue I didn’t feel like I was maximizing it.  All-day desk job and being lazy to work out contributed to really low step count so I just left it on my desk.  What’s the point of wearing it everyday if I’m only going to get around 3,000 steps?

It was only around mid-2016 that I started using it more.  We would have Fitbit challenges with my colleagues and we would actually go up and down 20 flights of stairs during our lunch break.  (Hint:  Stairs are useless to add steps.  It’s good workout but you get sooo tired with each step compared to just walking.)  We also learned that it’s not good to go down 20 flights of stairs and go back up the same number.  Our muscles were like totally wonky from flexing for so long and then stretching for so long.  But we did get our workout, which was the important thing.

After a year, my Charge HR died on me.  The rubber part opened up and it wouldn’t turn on anymore so I upgraded to the Charge 2 which I like so much better and has more functionality.  More of my friends started using Fitbit and we would have weekly challenges and weekend challenges.  Since we all had desk jobs, we didn’t have a lot of steps and the one who won didn’t really have that huge number of steps.  But if we were traveling, our step count went up astronomically and we’d win for that week. Whoever was traveling, always won the challenge. It became a habit and we started having our own Fitbit chat group and we’d meet up on the weekends to hang out.  Not to workout, but to eat. Lol!

Recently though, I’ve started to use more of the Fitbit app aside from just counting steps. I launched into my health and wellness campaign about a month and a half ago.  I’ve been logging in my workouts, monitoring my calories expended, and my heart rate.  Aside from that, I’ve also concluded that I need to eat 1,000 less calories per day to lose weight.  The only thing I haven’t really used is the is the daily food log.  I just feel it’s such a hassle to log down every little thing I eat.  Maybe I’ll get there. Maybe not.

So far, it’s been working out. I feel healthier, stronger and fitter.  I’ve lost weight and continue to do so. I can see the change in my resting heart rate and my working out heart rate.  I try to do more than 10,000 steps a day and I get super happy when I get new badges, especially lifetime badges.  I’ve already peeked ahead into the next few badges and computed how long it will take me to get the next one.  Who else is excited about the Fitbit badges? The next one I’m aiming for is the Great Barrier Reef.  Can’t wait to get it by August this year.

 

You Have To Get Good With Yourself

You Have To Get Good With Yourself

I’ve heard this line many times from well-meaning friends but it was only recently that I fully understood it. People always said that you need to live the life you want to live or that you need to be the person you want to attract.  Yes. All of it is true.

All these years, I thought I was all good. I mean I was normal, well-adjusted and sociable. I mean everyone had some sort of baggage right? Mine was me seeking approval from my parents, in trying to be the daughter they wanted me to be as against how I really am. Growing up, my sister was always the symbol of a good daughter. Feminine, docile and quiet. Whereas, I was headstrong, stubborn, loud and somewhat of a tomboy. I always wanted to change to the way they wanted me to be. The intent was there but it rarely lasted over an hour because it’s just too darn hard to be someone I’m not.

And that is me being a seeker. Seeking approval, love, and attention because I wasn’t good with myself. And plus, parents always knew better right? They always said that nobody would like me if I was chubby, loud, not feminine and not subservient. Growing up, I always felt that I wasn’t good enough.  So I compensated by getting good grades.  That was my salvation. At least I was good for something.  With that in mind, I just worked at being the “smarter” daughter to distinguish myself for not being girly enough.

The vicious cycle continued and spilled to other areas in my life. I always needed external validation.  I often felt restless and incomplete because I was always seeking something. With relationships, I felt unattractive because I was overweight  and had residual feelings of not being girly enough to attract anyone.  I needed validation from men to feel attractive.  I always felt the least attractive amongst my friends and saw myself as the duff.  At work, I sought to prove myself capable and move up the ranks in order to feel that I was good.  This way, I could still show that I was good for something.

Taking the time off made me realize this destructive behavior I’ve been doing my whole life was my biggest enemy.  How could I be happy when I couldn’t accept myself as I am now? How could I be happy when I placed my happiness in the hands of others? I needed to take back the power I had given to others and keep it for myself.  I needed to love myself as I am now instead of asking others to love me or approve of me.

Granted, it’s not easy completely letting go of decades of practiced behavior.  I know that whenever I think of what my parents, friends, or whoever else think, I just need to remind myself that what matters most is what I think.  And with that, everything else becomes easier because I accept and love myself as I am now. Accepting myself doesn’t mean staying stagnant and being complacent with how I am. I still want to improve and be the best person I can be but on my own terms and not dictated by other people.

I will build a life I love and be happy while I am single instead of waiting for my prince to show up.  I will accept myself and appreciate all the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I will work to heal myself for any issues I may have and not blame others.  I will also not condemn myself for mistakes and know that I’ve learned from them. I will appreciate my inner and outer beauty, compliment myself and accept compliments graciously. I will love and accept myself even if I may sometimes fail at doing all these.

 

Keep Calm and Ride On

Keep Calm and Ride On

I first tried spinning back in 2015. That time, I hadn’t had much sleep, a bit dehydrated since I was out for drinks the night before and not in the best physical condition. Nonetheless, I thought I could do it. How hard can it be? Uhm. Hard. Very hard. And painful.

Without even stretching before class, I pedaled hard and fast and increased the resistance thinking I was invincible. Halfway through the class, my thighs were pretty much gone so I got off the bike to rest outside. As soon as I unclipped my cleats, I fell like a lump of clay on the floor. My leg muscles hurt so much that I was close to tears. Oh and one of my calves was cramping. I drank water and ate a banana to help me feel better. I soldiered on and was able to get home. The next day, I had a hard time getting out of bed and my pee was brownish in color. I was worried so I kept on drinking water to flush it out. My reasoning was that I didn’t hydrate enough and that was why it was dark. I was already on my way to the doctor when I decided to check again to see if there was any improvement. It was like that for another day until it turned normal. I breathed a huge sigh of relief but my leg muscles still hurt and I kept on stretching and stretching. Due to the pain, I fell so many times while on the stairs or whenever my knee was bent because it would sometimes lock. It was close to a month before the muscle pain disappeared. I found solace in other riders who also got “injured” while on their first ride.

Since then, I avoided spinning like the plague.  I was deathly afraid of getting “injured” again.  It was only recently that I learned about rhabdomyolysis. It could’ve been that but we’ll never know for sure. At least I knew it wasn’t just me.

Recently, another friend has been super into spinning and invited me to join her. I figured I had time now and I will just take it easy and not push myself too hard like the first time. For the first three classes, I didn’t force myself to stand cycle (or whatever it’s called). After a while, I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to be able to do what the other riders could and started pushing myself more. After a few more classes, it became easier for me to keep up. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would take to spinning class. Part of the allure was the motivational pep talk from the instructors and the upbeat music. Most of all, it was because I could feel myself improve with every consecutive class I attended. From not being able to do double time sprints or stand cycle, I can do all those now. There’s also that satisfaction of sweat dripping off you to motivate you to do more. Not glistening sweat, but outright drops of sweat all over the machine and on the floor.

I’m now into my second month of spinning and I’m hooked. My friend “recruited” me and I found another “recruit” and we all go and spin together. It’s always good to have workout buddies since you encourage each other to attend class and not skip.  You feel stronger, healthier and look better. What I like most about spinning is you get to build mental strength. You push through the difficult climbs and develop endurance. You have this CAN DO attitude to power through which is beneficial in many areas in life. You just need to KEEP CALM AND RIDE ON.

Keep Your Eye On the Prize

Keep Your Eye On the Prize

Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t turn back.

-William J. Clinton

This whole switching to a healthier lifestyle is progressing smoothly but I know I’m very impatient. Everyday, I weigh myself to see if there’s any movement down the scale. And to think I only started a week ago. I want the numbers to go down already. But then it’s only been a week. I seriously would need to starve myself in order to see any significant change that quick. Which I haven’t been doing. I know I should just hide out at home  but I really need to be around people or else I will go nuts.

The good thing is that my endurance has improved significantly. I’m now able to run 5km without stopping but my speed is still not fast enough. Getting there. My friend suggested doing a triathlon and my jaw just dropped at the idea. Even at my sort of crappy physical condition, I finished a half marathon and a 60km bike ride separately. I guess I could do a shortened version of triathlon but that would mean I have to start training for it now. I can swim but swimming on open waters is hard. I was once swimming against the tide and it felt like an exercise in futility.    I need to check on when the next triathlon or Iron Man event is so I can decide whether I want to push through with this lofty ambition. It would indeed be very fulfilling and satisfying if I’m able to do it.

I’ve been running 5km in the mornings and doing spinning classes 2-3x a week. I try to do hand weights for my flubby arms but I still need to work on my inner thighs so that means I have to work with machines. I found this account on Instragram by Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guide. Sounds interesting since it’s only 30 minutes long. Anything longer and my mind wanders. You’re supposed to do it 3x a week and alternate with cardio workout on days you don’t do it. I shall try it next week. Looking forward to having a before and after picture. Not that I will post it on social media or anything. It’s more for personal satisfaction.

I know I just need to keep on doing this. I may stumble from time to time. Nobody’s perfect. And think long term. We are so used to instant gratification that if I don’t see a pound lost the next day, I get so disheartened. I need to keep my eye on the prize, watch what I eat, lessen what I eat and work out everyday. And I know I will get there.