Write it down

It's a curious thing that on paper I earn more than enough to pay all my bills, make payments to decrease my credit card debt (yay for four years of being a student) and buy the occasional treat... yet at the end of every month I seem to be penniless and in more debt, with no new possessions to show for it.  Similarly, I'm often heavier at the end of the month even though I have no recollection of eating that bucket of lard.  Clearly, I am either suffering major memory loss every month or I'm simply not paying attention.  My money, if I had any, would be on the latter - although of course one of my grandmothers did suffer from Alzheimer's disease so I may be wrong.  Hang on.... what were we talking about again?

In an effort to keep things from dribbling out of my head and sliding into the gutter I have made February "write it down" month. I am writing down everything I eat (even the little bits that slip in while cooking) and everything I spend.  This came about from two separate events. One was from chatting with my counsellor about trying to lose weight and she told me this truly horrifying statistic - 95% of people who decide to start a diet actually put on weight.  This bears repeating - ninety-five percent of people who decide to start a diet put on weight.  (Actually I may not have those details exactly right because I fixated on the 95%, but it was something like that.)  Of course this is largely related to use of the word 'diet' and to food restriction. She was trying to illustrate that merely restricting food intake is woefully inadequate if there isn't a change in the way we think about food and ourselves.  She also said that people who spend a period of time writing down everything they eat - and doing it 100% honestly - often end up losing weight because they become more aware of 'thoughtless' eating (and are sometimes shocked to realise how much they've really been eating) and more aware of what triggers will cause them to eat the wrong things or comfort-eat.  They can then start addressing those issues rather than trying to restrict their food intake and failing miserably next time they have a bad day.

The second event was when I went to a local shopping centre with some friends after church on Sunday. It's a bit of a ritual; we head down there most Sundays for lunch.  I bought a sandwich, then a little later I bought a coffee, then after we'd gone our separate ways I did some grocery shopping and bought a bottle of water to drink while I was shopping.  Right there was about $12 spent. It's not a huge amount but the problem is it's too easy to add a coffee and a bottle of water to lunch and not even factor it in. Half the time I don't even remember it.  Those annoying little coins in my purse are FAR too easy to spend, and with $2 coins being so tiny, it's easy to be carrying quite a bit of money in coins... and just as easy to spend it without realising how much was there in the first place.  (In a similar vein, I once bought a smallish money box and filled it with every $2 coin I received as change from shopping. A few months later I had saved four hundred dollars, just by clearing my purse of change every now and then.)

So I hereby launch Write It Down month. I have a notebook especially for the purpose. I did consider going to Officeworks to buy a new notebook but realised the irony of that action. In any case, I received this notebook (in the 'cups' design) for my birthday last year.  It's perfect for the job.

Three days down, twenty five to go. Wish me luck!


Hippomanic Jen said...

I salute you for your ability to decide NOT to go to Officeworks. For me its likely that the 10c writing pad turns into 3 pens, some fluro post-its, 100 sheets of fancy computer paper, a pretty notebook to jot all that stuff down in. Oh, and a lovely set of pen holder, rubbish bin, stapler and letter holder that costs a fortune.

Well done, I say!

And good luck for the writing it down thing. We'll see how it goes for Skinny Cow and budgetary purposes.

Louisa said...

Great idea, I think I might join you...It will certainly help me get back on the WW bandwagon! Also, cute notebook!!

Givinya De Elba said...

That sounds like a great idea. Chances I'll have the wherewithall to do the same myself? ~0?

Femina said...

Lou, feel free to join me! You could buy a funky notebook and you wouldn't have to write down what it cost because technically the 'writing' down part doesn't happen until AFTER you have the notebook. "So, now I have a nice notebook and I'm going to write down everything I spend and eat from now on."

Yes, it's this kind of thinking that led me to have three 'farewell' KFC meals the week before I started Weight Watchers...

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