Lets talk numbers

All over the various blogs I follow and forums I read there is chat about end-of-month numbers. As I just finished my self-employment invoicing, I have my own set of significant numbers to share

Work. At my part-time job, I logged 116 hours for the month and billed 152 hours for my self-employment gig, bringing my total hours for the month to 268. Spread out over 31 days, I averaged 8.65 paid hours per day. Obviously it was a very busy month! Thankfully this is not every month, and I already know September will be significantly lighter with vacation and time spent on G and K’s wedding. Still, I have the very best private clients and am employed by a wonderful firm. The rewards and compensation I receive from my jobs goes well beyond the money exchange. I am very fortunate and do not take it for granted.

Money. My income for August is the highest thus far this year, and our expenses kept admirable pace with that as well. Fortunately for us, my monthly budgeting process includes savings for periodic spending – wedding expenses, trainer J renewal, adding/deleting a vehicle from our car insurance, plus smogging/registrations/transfer fees for the various vehicles in the fleet – all were well within the budget line items. The rest of our spending was pretty normal and boring. Thankfully nothing unusual or unexpected happened to make an impact worthy of discussing.

Weight. I am down 3.1 lbs. for the month. One thing I have learned jumping on the scale every day and writing the number down, it desensitizes me to the experience. I am glad it’s moving in a downward direction, but other than that, I really do not care much at all what it says in terms of how much or how little. After more than a year of working at this exercise gig, I am remarkably improved and some measurements do not show on the scale or the tape.

Blood sugar. My average blood sugar reading the last 30 days was 103. High was 271 and low was a random 42, and I remember both incidents very well. Chinese food with all the sauces and starchy noodles is always bad, and there was one ultra low calorie intake day that resulted in a crashing 42 in the middle of the night. Both are unusual occurrences for me anymore.

Calories. I do the most superficial and generalized food tracking possible and call it good. Since I eat the same meals and same foods over and over and over again, I mix-and-match meals and preplan a week of menus in My Fitness Pal on Saturday or Sunday and then tweak if I have fallen far away from my preplanned day of eating. Mostly I do this for Dr. Spencer (who likes to see my percentages) and RD (who is a foodie and already knows I’m hugely boring in my eating habits). In August I averaged about 1527 calories per day, with my highest day being 2278 and my lowest being 1049. I have my baseline set at 1200 calories per day, and 40% protein, 25% carbohydrates, and 35% fat. Looking over the month, I was pretty closed to flip-flopped on protein and carbs – 48% carbohydrates, 35% protein, and 17% fat. There is part of me that is distressed by these numbers, but my current focus is mostly unmoved by my perceived failure in this regard. Eating is hard for me, period. Having these guidelines adds awareness of an objective yet I cannot seem to bring enough discipline to the forefront to make bolder or more drastic changes.

Exercise. I am not even sure how to state my numbers with regard to exercise. There are a few basic things where I moved up into a 5 lb. heavier dumbbell, and possibly to and fro on the cable machines. There are some exercises where I graduated from a green stretchy band to a red one, or where I lightened up to a yellow band but doubled it up instead of a single green. I added a second miniband on at least one – so I am using a heavy and an etra heavy – and I now use the extra heavy instead of the heavy band in general. These are just the numbers and changes I can recall right this minute. What I know is that I have not regressed or fallen down without bouncing right back up. For the amount of time spent in the gym, it averages about 100 minutes daily, with my lowest day being 85 minutes and my high being 260. In August I had 5 yoga and 7 pilates classes. For 26 days throughout the month I did at least 30 minutes of dedicated cardio for my August challenge, although my tracker says I averaged 42 minutes of cardio daily over the course of the month.

We are so dreadfully predictable and routine in our habits it is no wonder that I rarely have a numbers post.

A lot has changed for me since I began writing this blog, and most of the time it does not seem that big, dramatic, or even very splashy. Some of it has been difficult – letting go of long-time friends has probably been the worst. Most of it has been hugely gratifying, to the point that I marvel at the me beaming back at me from the mirror. I still have moments of feeling morbidly obese or just plain icky. But they are rare enough now that I do not have to make myself pause and reflect on why I feel that way, because I am literally stopped in my tracks wondering what has happened to me and why.

My friend J sent me a really, REALLY nice note earlier; it made me cry in is kind and sweet sentiment. It’s unlike him, really unlike him. I mean, 4 paragraphs and not a single f-bomb? For a good 20 minutes I was having a private, melt-down freak out, like something was terribly wrong, like terminal illness diagnosis kind of wrong.

But I think everything is fine. I think I am not the only one whose perspective has changed over the course of time. Makes me recognize how much I value those I am closest to, how their thoughts mature and evolve as life continues.

So much of my time is spent running numbers. Profitability. Expense ratios. Paying bills, paying salaries, budgeting. The weights, the scale, the tape measure, the glucose meter. Things change, every month, every year, sometimes every week or even every day. Numbers do matter in life, as all of the above illustrate. Yet the people and things I value and that matter most to me are not governed strictly by numbers.

Somehow, sometimes I get lost in this stuff. The numbers. The budgets. I am relieved to know I am still not an especially frugal person, that while numbers and budgets matter, I still value other things, frequently to a greater degree than money and numbers.

Family. Friends. Experiences. Feelings. Life.

Living my life feels particularly good and sweet these days. Because I am healthier, happier, and my outlook and self-esteem so much more stable. To have no real complaints and to be this level of satisfied is amazing. I am glad to finally find this sweet spot and revel in it.

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