I want to tell you a story about my last year. Last March, I wrote about my weight loss experience. As of May, I had lost 25 pounds, but by March this year, it was all back. So what the hell happened?!
At the beginning of 2018, my boyfriend and I were following a mostly vegetarian diet. We allowed two meat days a month, usually reserved for infrequent out-of-town trips. Things were going pretty good. We were both working and getting out frequently to see friends. The company we both worked for had recently changed owners, but we both still had jobs with them. After a blow up with management, one of my coworkers was let go, and let slip that the company had no intention of keeping my boyfriend on after our remodels were complete. At that point, remodels were slated to continue into early November.
We were still fairly secure and active, and still dedicated to our diet. Summer rolled around and remodels were in full swing, but despite my being more physically active than ever, my weight loss stopped. I chalked it up to muscles at the time, but I had also picked up a significant Starbucks habit. For quite a while preceding this, I was staying away from caffeine with the exception of unsweet tea. The caffeine may have been the first step to my downfall, but it had help.
Summer ended, and at the end of August with only one night’s warning, my boyfriend was laid off. Construction wasn’t finished, but they had physically mounted cameras on the buildings (which weren’t being recorded or monitored yet), so it was good enough to end the security contract. Thankfully, he had saved up his severance package from the previous owners, so between that and unemployment, we were still fairly secure while he looked for work.
Except that everything was different. We used to sleep different shifts, but now being in bed at the same time was problematic. He’s a very light sleeper and I snore. I could sleep through almost anything except being shaken awake, which I was so frequently that I voluntarily removed myself to the couch many nights. I was waking up tired and giving myself only enough time in the morning for a few basic makeup details.
We were going out of town more often, because we might as well enjoy some quality time together before he’s back on a work schedule. While that was lots of fun, we were cramming even more food into our monthly meat days, and blowing through more money than we should. Additionally, I would be worn out from our Saturday adventures and do less of my chores on Sunday. Queue the vicious cycle of fast food because the kitchen is a mess.
By the holidays, I was no longer sticking to a vegetarian diet. I made the excuse that it was too expensive to be that picky about my food, and that’s true if you don’t cook. Our options were slim and pricey for meals out. We had some serious talk about money and expectations for the future, and while the relationship was stronger than ever, I had permanently moved to the couch to sleep. It was great in the beginning, but the cats soon discovered that this gave them access to me whenever they wanted food in the early morning. By now, I had stopped buying Starbucks and started getting a $1 black coffee and McDonalds every morning, plus the occasional Monster in the afternoon. My weight was climbing, and I really didn’t care.
I tried to go pescatarian and balance it with reduced carbs. Sometimes I would have for dinner what many people would eat as a snack just because I was tired of the restaurants and too tired to get in the kitchen to cook. I was not getting the energy boost I needed from the protein, and instead crashing when the caffeine wore off. I would be woken up numerous times in the morning, but continue to attempt to snooze until there was just enough time to get dressed and hit the drive-thru.
My boyfriend is still looking for work and totally out of unemployment. We’re still momentarily stable, but I’m looking pretty awful for someone not on drugs. My final picture in this series is Friday when I called in. I still have 60+ hours of PTO to use, but I’m afraid to use it. I can’t afford to go on a vacation, and I can’t afford to use it up in case I get sick at any point before my boyfriend has a job. By the time I’ve taken this picture, I’m not even trying to be pescatarian. I’m eating whatever and drinking caffeine just to avoid the withdrawal headache.
But this isn’t a sad story. I know we’ll be okay. I know there are some changes I can make to bring myself back to life. I haven’t had any caffeine today. After this picture, I launched into spring cleaning so we can make dinner at home again, and I plan to renew my meatless diet. I took a look at my budget tracker and found many ways to limit unnecessary expenses so that we’re not in a bind if limited to a single income for a while. It’s all doable, and you’re going to see it happen if you stick around.