October 6, 2010

Dollars and sense

In my family, my father is definitely the more frugal parent. My mom always makes sure we have the things we need, but my dad is behind the scenes making sure spending stays within reason. When I moved out on my own, some of the best advice my dad gave me about budgeting was to "take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves." It works in a lot of areas of life, to be honest. When you focus on taking small steps and working on projects or issues one at a time, the bigger picture tends to fall into place and regulate itself - or at least it becomes a more manageable task.

Ever since I came back to Chicago after visiting my parents in Connecticut this summer, even before I started this blog, I've been nervous about returning. I knew I wanted to get active, eat better, and lose weight, and leaving Chicago would mean leaving my daily patterns. It would mean food temptations and considerably less exercise - or at least, it always had in the past, so I had every reason to expect the same this time. And it would mean spending time with my family, whose love and verbal support I have, but who can always justify unhealthy meals and taking just one night off of exercising ... and then another. I love them so much, and getting healthy myself makes my heart ache for them, their sedentary lifestyle, and their unbelievably unhealthy eating choices.

As it turns out, though, and without my even realizing, my taking care of my own pennies (getting myself healthier) has started to regulate my dollars (alleviating the stress of going home):

e-mail from mom
I got an equally emotional phone call from both my parents - plus e-mails from both my sisters and my cousin Sarah.

Finding that picture on the left has been ... revolutionary. My dad was telling me how amazing I look and how well I am doing, and he stressed making sure that they don't get me off track at Christmastime because he doesn't want to see my successes fall apart. I told them that the best way to do that is to eat healthy alongside me and to try and be more active, and they responded really well to that. I'm feeling incredibly hopeful - and considerably less anxious - about December now! I am still working on a plan to make sure I keep myself in check, but these conversations have been incredibly reassuring.


Ann (-50 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

What an awesome response from you family! I'm not surprised, because of course they love you and want you to succeed, but how cool that your mother is taking inspiration from YOU!!

This was a neat post!

Amy said...

That's great! I know you don't watch a lot of TV, but with The Biggest Loser this season they're doing the whole "Pay it Forward" thing with the show, it's about sharing and showing others how to be successful in their weight loss. Your amazing success has clearly struck a chord with your family, and hopefully when you go home at Christmas and show them how simple it is to be successful (although something I still struggle with!) they might work towards a goal with you.

I think you'll be fine over Christmas, because you're prepared for how difficult it will be. I think it's a great idea to make December a scaleless month for yourself, because that way if you don't lose or gain a little during that specific week of Christmas with the yummy dinner and cookies...the weight you've lost earlier in the month will likely trump that! Most people gain over Christmas, and being prepared for it, is the best thing we can do!

Good luck!!