Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Focusing on my health in 2017

Every year I make a goal to focus on my health. Every year I have mixed results. Why mixed? Well, I’m healthy. Nothing majorly wrong with me. All my levels are in green status.  But I know I’m not at the top of my health performance. Why do I say this? I’m always complaining I’m tired. Actually this is the main challenge in my life – combating exhaustion.  I’m only 26.

Here is a breakdown of my day without the gym:

  • 6 am. 1st Alarm rings. I’m usually awake by now just don’t want to get up.
  • 6:30 am – Get up, shower, get ready
  • 7 am – Walking into office, start the work day
  • 11:30-12:30 – At some point eat lunch
  • 5:30-630 pm – Leave office
  • 7 -10 pm – Home time (dinner, spouse time, chores, relax etc.)
  • 10 pm – In bed, sleep time

Incorporating gym time – which I need. I used to workout 3-5 times a week after work. When I changed jobs this fell off the map. 2017, the new, old routine begins again. So the schedule looks like this

  • 6 am. 1st Alarm rings. I’m usually awake by now just don’t want to get up.
  • 6:30 am – Get up, shower, get ready
  • 7 am – Walking into office, start the work day
  • 11:30-12:30 – At some point eat lunch
  • 5:30-630 pm – Leave office. It’s rare when I leave before 530. On average I’m walking out at 6 pm. But if I want to fit in gym time, I need to leave at 530.
  • Head to gym
  • 7 -10 pm – Home time (dinner, spouse, chores, etc.)
  • 10 pm – In bed, sleep time

Notice I don’t have a commute in there because we live five minutes from my office. Going back to no commute is awesome. I don’t want to drive to work ever again if I can help it. As you can see I get my sleep in (approximately 6-7 hours of sleep). I can’t really change my work schedule at this point in my career. So I need to focus on my health. Health is very important because diabetes (Type 2) and heart attacks are very common in my familial history.  Also, I have dietary restrictions. Read next paragraph.

My kidneys don’t process things very well. I don’t drink caffeinated products. Actually the only liquid I drink is water, with the occasional hot chocolate. A few times a year, I splurge and drink juice. I don’t drink alcohol at all. A couple years ago I let my urologist know I felt extreme fatigue. Fatigue is another level from exhaustion. I would come home sometimes and just pass out. After talking about my health and fitness, we figured out it had to be due to diet. After changing up my diet, mostly refraining from red meat and eating less protein, I started to feel better. Still exhausted but not fatigued.  I can only eat 5-6 ounces of protein (animal + non-animal) and need to stay away from red meat. I also have restrictions on a long list of vegetables, other items that I need to eat in moderation due to certain nutrients that make my kidneys work harder. Chocolate is actually one of the items (sucks). I need to have a low fat, low sodium diet too.

So with all that being said. My big problem is I rely on a high amount of carbs for food. Which is bad (see I don’t want to get diabetes). I think it helps I don’t drink soda. I need to incorporate more vegetables and fruits to my diet. And start the 3-5 times a week exercise routine again. 

My goal over the next few months is to feel healthier and energized. I think it has to do a lot with what I put into my body and my level of activity. So here it goes 2017!

The Search for the Perfect Curls

This post was inspired by Bridget’s “Frugal Beauty: Apple Cider for Shiny Hair.” I really love her posts on frugal beauty. I really wish my hair was long and straight like Bridget’s, so I could follow some of her tips. But it’s not. I have really curly, brunette hair. Did I mention I have a lot of hair? It’s not the thin, curly brunette hair. I have LOTS OF thick, curly brunette hair.

Here’s my attempt to photograph my curly hair.

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I couldn’t figure out how to get a good picture of my hair. I tried to take a picture upside down, sideways, and from another weird angle. My photography skills definitely need some work. Do you like the cascading waves of curly hair? LOL

20130504_16260820130504_162639I like to say I’m frugal. I actually pride myself in being frugal. But the older I get, the more I realize it’s hard to be frugal with curly hair.

When I was younger, I remember my hair being so difficult. I hated it. It was always tangled and frizzy. In middle school, my hair was waist length, and I always wore it in a braid because it was the easiest thing I could do with so much hair. One of my friends jokingly called it wolf hair. I didn’t really get it, but I guess it was just so crazy?

Some of the mistakes my mom made during my childhood included:

  1. Not getting it cut or trimmed often enough. Funds were limited, so nice haircuts probably only happened twice a year. My parents, also, believed my hair was beautiful and hated it cutting it. I think it’s a Hispanic thing to worship long, beautiful hair. I always wanted to get it cut shorter, so I didn’t have to deal with it.  Now that I have a job, I try to get it trimmed every two months. I only started this practice this year though. My haircut is $45.
  2. Shampoo and conditioner matter! My mom did not splurge on shampoo and conditioner. VO5 shampoo and conditioner is not good enough for curly hair. I won’t blame her because she’s not super into beauty products, and she has straight hair.
    I, have, also tried Tresseme, and Herbal Essences. All products failed to keep up with my curly hair. Recently, I started using Matrix Redken for Curly hair. It left my hair dry; probably due to the sulfate.
  3. Leave in Conditioner is really good for your hair. It keeps it soft. Something I didn’t realize until my 20s.
  4. Styling products are extremely important. I remember using gel from dollar general once. Sigh…epic mistake. I hate looking at myself in those pictures. I, also, used Herbal Essence mousse for curly hair. It costs about $4 at a grocery store, but it’s really not good enough.
  5. Curly hair is smarter thank you think. it adopts to the environment, and it will always figure out how to outsmart all hair products. Hence, the ever lasting search fort he perfect curls.
  6. Maybe being frugal hair with curly hair is not such a good idea? 

Mom’s if your girls have curly hair, and you do not, pay close attention to the hair regimen below. Girls with curly hair, every hair regimen is unique. You will have to find out what works for you. Your hair is probably not like mine or the girl next to you. Hopefully, this will give you some guidance.

4 Golden Rules for Curly Hair

  1. Trims are a must. I recommend getting a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. I often forget when my last haircut was, so I end up going after 8 weeks.
  2. Conditioner is heaven. I recently started using Deva Curl One Condition. I love it, and I’m probably going to add their products to my hair regimen.
  3. Leave-In-Conditioner is necessary. I use Rusk Multi 12 In 1 Miracle Treatment. Just spray a little bit on your hair and comb through it your fingers. It smells great.
  4. Mousse. I am using Biolage mouse but I’m probably going to switch it to a Deva Curl product. I’m trying to get away from products with a bunch of chemicals.

It has taken me a long time to start loving my hair. 22 years to be exact. But as soon as I started spending some money on maintaining my hair, I realized curly hair is amazing. I mean who else can go to the office with wet hair, and an hour later have dry, and wavy hair?

Do you have any tips for curly hair? What is your favorite hair regimen?

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How’s Your Health and Fitness Plan Progressing?

My latest guilty pleasure: Mad Men

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This scene is in season 5 when Don’s 3rd wife, Megan, throws him a surprise birthday party. Elizabeth Moss (Peggy) is dancing it out. Makes me snicker! LOL

I set out to eat healthier and get in shape at the beginning of the year. Now, almost five months later I feel like I have accomplished it.

At first, it was really hard. We were eating out a lot, and badly. Chipotle, Chick Fil A, Jersey Mike’s, Pei Wei, were amongst our favorites. I am ashamed to show you how much we were spending on eating out.

Then, I started noticing I had health problems. I have kidney problems and thus, have to watch my diet. No alcohol, coffee, soda, or tea for me. Only water and juice. Welp…I went to the doctor to get some tests. I was really, really scared something serious was going on. Two visits later, cat scan, and urine test, my kidneys are good! But the doctor told me I needed to lower my protein and sodium intake. So there went chipotle every night! Steak? No more. I can only have 6-8 ounces of chicken, fish, or beef a day. I need to limit my red meats, drink lots more water, and increase my intake citric juices.

I started implementing a cleaner diet immediately, and started feeling the effects. First of all, I was less tired! Woot! My body felt normal again.

I have been working out 5 times a week consistently. I mix in a combination of bootcamp, pilates, yoga, cardio kickboxing, and running. I have noticed quite a difference. I have lost a couple of pounds and toned quite a bit! I am also way stronger!!!

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The hard part comes next. Maintaining my healthy habits and consistent workouts. So far, I am doing pretty well. But it’s not an easy task. It never is.

How’s your health and fitness plan progressing? 

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Fitness Recap Week 1

On my way to 10…

This year I decided to lose 10 pounds. The past couple of years I have noticed slight gains in weight, and a slight increase in my waist and hip size. Ever since I started college, I stopped eating healthy, and I started eating more and more unhealthy. Unfortunately, the older I get the easier it’s getting to gain weight, and the harder it’s getting to lose weight. I’m softer, less muscular, and less lean. I’m sure many of you relate with me. So I have made it my whole to start eating healthier and to lose my chubba chubba. I even bought my summer swimsuit already (and it was little too tight)!

I even motivated my team at work to start a fitness challenge. We are going to have a board on our bay to keep track of our weekly goals. If we each accomplish our weekly goal we get a star! I’m thinking of suggesting of putting money down, and if you don’t keep up, you lose your money and it gets split among the members who accomplished their goals. Maybe like $5-$10 a person?

I’m also going to be posting my weekly progress on my blog. I think this will keep me accountable, and I hope I can motivate some of my readers to get fit and healthy!

So here’s my progress so far:

Week 1: 120 lbs., 6 workouts (1 hour each).

Are your ready to get fit and healthy???

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Fitness Recap Week 1

On my way to 10…

This year I decided to lose 10 pounds. The past couple of years I have noticed slight gains in weight, and a slight increase in my waist and hip size. Ever since I started college, I stopped eating healthy, and I started eating more and more unhealthy. Unfortunately, the older I get the easier it’s getting to gain weight, and the harder it’s getting to lose weight. I’m softer, less muscular, and less lean. I’m sure many of you relate with me. So I have made it my whole to start eating healthier and to lose my chubba chubba. I even bought my summer swimsuit already (and it was little too tight)!

I even motivated my team at work to start a fitness challenge. We are going to have a board on our bay to keep track of our weekly goals. If we each accomplish our weekly goal we get a star! I’m thinking of suggesting of putting money down, and if you don’t keep up, you lose your money and it gets split among the members who accomplished their goals. Maybe like $5-$10 a person?

I’m also going to be posting my weekly progress on my blog. I think this will keep me accountable, and I hope I can motivate some of my readers to get fit and healthy!

So here’s my progress so far:

Week 1: 120 lbs., 6 workouts (1 hour each).

Are your ready to get fit and healthy???

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Getting Back In Shape

It’s a new year and out come the fitness goals. I gained a couple of pounds during the holidays, and I did not maintain my 4x a week workouts. But now that’s it 2013 I feel reenergized, ready to tackle the world, and dominate it!

So how do I stay motivated?? Hmmm…I would love to say I’m always motivated, but there are times when I don’t feel like doing anything. I’m sure you’ve felt that way???

Here are some tips I use to keep going:

  • Set a weekly goal of minimum trips to the gym. My goal this month is 4 time a week! So far, this week I have made it to classes twice! I’m going to be making a weekly post keeping track of my fitness and weight. I think this should motivate me to keep working out. 
  • Do fun workouts. I think the biggest road block for staying in shape is getting bored with your workouts. You end up not wanting to them because you can’t even get through them. I tend to vary my workouts by switching them up. I go to cardio kickboxing, pilates, bootcamp, among others. I’m going to start integrating some running into my week. Plan is to do 4 fitness classes, and go out for a run. It’s not great, but it’s a start.
  • Eating healthier. Now this is the hardest for me. Since I don’t cook very often, it’s hard to find healthy foods while you are eating out. My in-laws got us a kitchen aid panini grill and we will be grilling some food on it! I already did two steaks, and they were amazing! I, also, realized when you are working out a lot, your body doesn’t like junk food. I automatically eat less bad food because I will feel it during my workout later in the day.
  • Wear nice workout clothes. I know I’m a bad pf blogger for suggesting to go out and spend money on new workout clothes. But I recently did that, and it’s helped improve my self image, which motivates me to workout more. I, also, just bought a new swim suit on sale at Victoria’s Secret. :) I can’t wait to get it and try it on. This will motivate me to get ready for the summer!

And if all this fails, there is always pinterest. I have a fitness board where I pin inspirational pictures. Follow me and check out my board! :)

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$400 Bi Weekly In Medical Insurance

This week I elected my 2013 health benefits contributions.

Maybe I should have worked for a medical insurance company because it sure seems like they make lots of money off of me! I pay $400 bi weekly in medical insurance. That’s $10,400 approximately over 26 pay periods. This is for 2 adults ( my husband and I). Technically, I don’t pay for it our of my pocket. My company provides this benefit. So it’s a benefit on top of my salary. However, I still consider it part of my total compensation.

Sigh, I never knew how much medical insurance was exactly. Do I get sick that often?  Umm…not really, other than my kidneys. My kidneys don’t filter minerals correctly, and kidney stones form. It’s a hereditary disease. I had my first kidney stone when I was 6.

Up until I was 22 years old and started working (umm..about four months ago?), I did NOT have medical insurance. Any visits to the doctor would be paid out of pocket. Even more reason to stay healthy!

I still balk at the cost! Imagine, if we had to pay for it! $400 out of every paycheck. Sigh….another adult responsibility item!

How much do you pay in medical insurance? If you don’t pay for it, how much does your company?

 

Decisions: Choosing an Orthodontist

I have a huge dilemma….

I want to get braces to straighten my teeth and align my bite. I went to two consultations. Here is the feedback:

  1. Orthodontist A: He has almost two decades of experience. Seemed very knowledgeable during consultation, put me at ease immediately, and I felt really comfortable with him. He told me invasalign was not a good option, and he recommended traditional braces. His treatment plan is a total cost of $5516. Insurance covers $2000. My out of pocket cost will be $3516 over a two year period. This covers treatment, retainers, and a 2 year follow-up.
  2. Orthodontist B: He was really nice and they took x-rays and pictures during my first consultation. He went into detail as to how he would align my teeth, and explained any questions I had. He, also, said I was a candidate for invasalign. Although, I was comfortable, I didn’t feel as ease as with the other doctor. His treatment plan costs $5100. Insurance covers $2000, and due to an insurance association, I get an additional discount of $500. My out of pocket cost will be about $2200 over a two year period. this covers treatment, retainers, and a 1 year follow up.

The difference is $1500! Crazy, I didn’t think there would be such a price difference in braces.

Orthodontist B is an in network provider but they do a lot of marketing on TV. Seriously, I see at least one commercial a day. I don’t really want to go with an orthodontist that does flashy marketing.

Sigh…I’m leaning towards Ortho A, but I don’t know if the $1500 is worth it. My hubby says it’s my teeth and I should go with who I’m comfortable regardless of price.

Does anybody have any advice or questions I can ask so I can make a decision?

April Fitness Goals

I’m an avid runner. I started running when I was in 7th grade and continued competing until  11th grade. After junior year of high school, I burned myself out. Running was no longer fun. It had become too much about improving my time and beating other girls in my team. I was even recruited to join the cross country team at my university, but I turned it down. I decided to take break for a couple years from competitive running. I only worked out at the gym and attended fitness classes.

Until last Spring, when I found my running buddy. She and I trained in 100 degree weather during the summer, and ran The Hottest Half in August. I made it under 2hr27min. I’m going to run another half marathon in six weeks. So far, I have lost 7 of the 12 pounds, I set out to lose. I have five more to go, and I am in ultra training mode this month. My meals consist of: yogurt for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, protein bar for a snack, and some type of dinner. I am also cross training five days a week. My sessions consist of running, elliptical, HILT training, swimming, pilates, and cardio kickboxing.

Running on the road helps me deal with anxiety and stress. It has been a great way to escape from the real world. It also helps with my health! If you want to avoid illnesses or decrease your doctor’s bills, I definitely recommend working out regularly.I’m having a lot of fun and staying healthy!

My goal for this half marathon is to run a better time! As close to 2h as possible :)

Are you working out to stay healthy? Is there anything your training for? 

SavvyFinancialLatina

Rising Costs of Healthcare

I came across this great article regarding jumps in healthcare premiums. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/business/health-insurance-costs-rise-sharply-this-year-study-shows.html?pagewanted=all)

This year an average annual premium for family coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year.

Workers are also paying more of the bill…

We all know healthcare costs are increasing every year. I see it on my bill every time I go to the doctor! The healthcare business environment is also changing, putting an even bigger emphasis on costs and optimization and transforming the experience.

A retired army doctor once told me that he hated going to the doctor. He felt like he was just one more item on the doctor’s to do list. When he started in medicine, doctors would be your family friends, they would come to your house to see you, etc. The relationship between the doctor and the patient was very important. If only it was this way now!

How much do you spend on healthcare on annual basis?What portion does your insurance cover for your healthcare costs? Are you satisfied with your healthcare? Do you avoid going to the doctor until you really cannot stand the pain?

SavvyFinancialLatina