I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I've been doing a new diet this week and I just had to share!
I was on vacation last week in Mexico. It was absolutely amazing. All-inclusive, so all our meals at the resort. The fact that I had traveler's diarrhea the whole time I think really prepped me for the diet I am writing this entry about.
Anyway. Owning a small business, my finances aren't as awesome as they once were. C'est la vie - I do what I can to succeed - it's what you HAVE to do the first few years as a small business owner. I have a health care subsidy through the new Affordable Care Act and pay the state of Washington (Washington Health Plan Finder - www.wahealthplanfinder.com) $107 each month to cover a plan with Premera.
Unfortunately, I've been late on my payments before. Oops. So, at the beginning of March I called to make sure I was all caught up, then set up auto pay so I would be on time from now on. I felt bad being behind and decided that auto-pay would make things easier and save me time.
The trip to Mexico is something I got on a barter system called Itex (itexinseattle.tumblr.com) and was really nice. On the night of Monday, March 23rd I checked my bank account balance. The next day I was hoping to go shopping in the downtown area of Ixtapa, where we were staying.
Horrified, I checked my bank account and was greeted with this:
Very strange. I was all paid up. Even if they were taking it out for April (which wasn't authorized until the 23rd of April), they should have only taken out around $93, which is my premium.
Luckily, I had an awesome broker. I called him. He said he would take care of it. He called the next day and sorted it out.
What he sorted out was that not only did they take money that I did NOT owe them - they owed ME for extra money that I overpaid in 2014. Nice, guys. Nice.
So, okay, cool. They can put it back in, I'm good.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to spend any money in Mexico at that point since I was overdrawn. Dave took me out to dinner that night, which was nice and we were able to drink and eat at the resort the rest of the time. Good deal. Dave gave me some pesos to go shopping with, but I felt bad so I didn't buy much, but that was okay, because I didn't need much.
We left Mexico on the 28th, which was a Saturday. My money still hadn't been refunded.
So began my awesome diet. I will go through it for you day by day, just in case you want to replicate it.
WASHINGTON HEALTH EXCHANGE INSPIRED DIET: DAY ONE - MARCH 28TH
This was our travel day. We had breakfast at the resort and left around noon to go to the airport. Dave, of course, had to pay for the cab - I was very grateful. He also bought me some drinks at the airport. Airport didn't have a lot of food, but we didn't have a lot of money, so it was fine. Dave gave me some pesos for a snack, so I got some cheddar potato chips and these weird Mexican "Asian" peanuts.
Now, this is the beginning of the diet. When you don't have a lot of money to spend, you buy less food and start to lose weight. No meals were really available anyway, so it was fine. Saved a lot of calories just eating snacks.
Took the plane from Ixtapa to Los Angeles. SO HUNGRYYYY. But again, was depending on Dave to buy me food and he wasn't really wanting to buy a super expensive airport meal. I totally would've splurged on the $9 airport sandwich, but making him buy that for me would be pretty inconsiderate, so we stuck to water and an everything bagel with cream cheese. Again, lots of calories saved.
Got home LATE. We had cheese and tortilla left in the fridge. Made a quesadilla on the stove with butter. Fridge was pretty bare because we were going out of town, so bonus points on the diet/weight loss - I was still overdrawn, so didn't have any money to buy groceries (EXTRA CALORIE SAVINGS Y'ALL)
Sunday I was exhausted. Slept a lot of the day. Super hungry. Dave had me go to the corner store to get some half and half to go with our coffee, which he gave me $3 in cash for. Half and half cost $3.59 - the clerk at the corner store let me have it for $3. I thanked him endlessly.
This is what makes it all worth it: you're hungry. Your blood sugar is low. The government stole your money - and the kindness of a small business owner brings you back to life, letting you know that there is decency out there. Thank you, man at the corner store - I promise I will make it up to you, someday.
That night we made some rice with chicken bouillion cubes for seasoning. Yum. But some black beans and salsa with it. Nom. Not bad!
DAY TWO - MARCH 30th
Starting to panic a little bit. Dave was home from work, thank goodness, so he was available for moral support.
Called WA Health Plan Finder at 11:17am. I've talked to them so many times in the past few days I can't even remember what was said, besides the fact that I stressed I was still overdrawn, and (despite the awesome diet that I am thankful for) I was worried about being able to pay my mortgage on the 1st of the month, so could they please get my money to me right away? They said they would escalate the ticket. Cool. I requested a call back by the afternoon.
My car was in the body shop up in Northgate - it got hit about a month ago and wasn't quite done before we left for vacation, so Dave's wonderful friend Carl took me to pick it up in his sweet convertible.
Ate a Kind Bar - just 200 calories - had a bunch of them from a big Amazon order.
Drove my car back home from Northgate. It wouldn't accelerate, was acting weird, starting smoking. Darn it. Ate some rice and called Wa Health Plan Finder again to see what was up. Wish I didn't have to call so much, but was really concerned about paying bills on the 1st, so I was trying to be proactive. Didn't get a lot of information. I think I started crying at this point. Was on the phone for 13 minutes at this point. According to this article, crying burns 1.3 calories a minute - can't remember if I cried throughout the whole call, but if I did, my calorie burn count would be around 16.9 - not bad!
Took my car into the shop after it cooled down. Was alerted that it needs an entirely new engine. Cried and walked around the block while I waited for the shop's loaner car to come in so I could drive it for a day or so while they looked at my car.
Now, this isn't DIRECTLY related, but this walk would not have happened if it wasn't for WA Health Plan Finder. How so? Well, the place I take my car is Village Auto Care in University Village. University Village is full of shopping and tasty food, and I was starving thanks to the diet, However, being overdrawn still, I had no money for tasty food, so I walked (extra exercise, yay!) and cried (1.3 calories per minute, yay!) and that, my friends, is a WAHPFD (WA Health Plan Finder Diet) success!!!!
Got home and decided to call my friends (if I could call them that - they're kind of that friend that you don't invite over any more because they steal your money and then you can't trust them anymore - or, more indirectly, that friend who comes over and eats your food, causing you to lose weight, am I right?!) at WA Health Plan Finder to check in. The man I talk to has no clue what I'm talking about. We review my entire payment history, starting from when I first signed up, in January 2014. (It took a bit - but good news - talking on the phone burns 51 calories per hour for someone of my age, height and weight! (Check out this Fit Day Calculator to find out what you would burn if you had to spend an hour on the phone talking to WA Health Plan Finder.)
There's the call log for the 30th - I spent a total of 89 minutes, 20 seconds (I think - sorry, blood sugar is low - still going on the diet as I write this, lol - and I'm not good at math anyway) on the phone.
Now, if you want to accelerate your weight loss, I would suggest additional crying (I think I only cried through the first phone call - not sure how much I did on the 57 minute call) and walking while you talk for maximum calorie burning.
Anyway, dude I talked to who I revealed my entire payment history with said that he would take care of it and call me back the next day. Cool.
Dave made me some rice and lentils, so that was good - a bit carby, but did the job. He also made me a vodka soda.
Now, I know alcohol is a huge calorie source, but if you decide to do this diet, I would STRONGLY recommend that you buy alcohol BEFORE WA Health Plan Finder takes your money. You will need it. Totally not a waste of calories - I could've used three more drinks!
DAY 3 - MARCH 31ST
Had my networking meeting at 7am. I had cried a lot the night before and not slept well, so I was exhausted.
(Crying was partly because of the heartbreakers over at WA Health Plan Finder, but also partly because I figured out that I would need a new car that I just don't have the money for. So I can't contribute ALL the calorie burn to them. Sorry guys : )
At my networking meeting I had a protein shake and two cups of coffee. I made some old oatmeal that I had found in the cupboard and put it in a thermos, but I really hate oatmeal, so I didn't eat it.
Met with a new client after my netoworking meeting. They paid me right at the appointment. Score! More money to avoid overdrafting.
Guy from the night before never called the next day, (thought that only happened when I was single and dating, LOL!) but I was really tired and hungry and didn't have the energy to call WA Health Plan Finder, so I decided to scrounge for as much money as I could find to deposit into my account and hope for the best. Paid myself from my businesses, borrowed some money from Dave, picked up a couple of hours at my nanny job. I was exhausted from not sleeping, but I missed the kid I nanny for, plus they have a lot of food so I had a salad with goddess dressing while I was there, along with some really good popcorn that the dad of my nanny family buys from Vermont or something (that's how good it is - he has it shipped from Vermont!)
Found some money in my super off-limits online savings account and transfered it. It was a transfer that took a couple of days, but said it would arrive by April 1st in time for bills.
Even with all the money I scrounged, I was still short what WA Health Plan Finder took out. I deposited $200 that I got as a "cosmetic allowance" for when my car got hit, but that only covered the amount that was overdrawn. On top of that I had money for the mortgage (yay!) and enough for the auto-withdraws that were coming for my car and home insurance, dental insurance, retirement savings and a couple of other things, but not quite enough to pay the credit card bills due on the 1st or cover the two checks I sent out to pay bills. Welp, better just hope those people wait to cash them!
The funny part is that I don't have a lot of money, and my credit aint what it used to be. But, God gives us these circumstances to test our patience, right? So, on top of the being hungry/worried/etc my credit card bills were now going to be late, which would ding my credit.
So, back to the diet. Anyway, credit card payments will be late. Will affect my credit. Total bummer. Does worrying burn calories? Feel sick, don't really feel like eating, so it's fine.
Found some chicken in the freezer to make food for the next day. More rice - turned the burner on too high and messed it up, so it wasn't that good and I didn't want to eat it. More calories saved.
Drank some tea and tried to calm my raging headache. Tea = zero calories, but is damn tasty!
DAY 4 - APRIL 1ST
Yay! Bills are due!
Mortgage went through (double yay! If that one bounces it's a $25 fee) as well as my insurance. People who I have sent checks to haven't cashed them yet. I have a protein shake to celebrate, but don't want to get too excited.
Called WA Health Plan Finder. Blood sugar is REALLY low. I am REALLY frustrated. Really worried about being overdrawn. An F-Bomb slips out. I feel horrible. Person on the phone gets really upset with me, as she should. Does shame burn calories? I feel really bad, cry more. The F-Bomb didn't help my situation. woman and her supervisor wouldn't help me because of my behavior. I don't blame them - however - I wouldn't have been so frustrated if I hadn't had to go through it several times.
Found out that my refund was coming, but for the wrong amount - only $225ish. WTF?
Call WA Health Plan Finder to cancel future auto-payments. Trust is gone. Cry on the phone with that woman, Try to be nice to make up for saying the F-Word earlier. Still feel horrible, still crying, so more calories burned, I guess, to look on the bright side.
Not feeling super well, but head up to my nanny job for a couple of hours. Had a snack with the kid - hummus and carrots. Don't want to freeload too much, however, the kid decided not to finish her snack, so I finished it for her - crackers, string cheese and carrots.
My nanny mom pays me in cash, and I absolutely have to use it - can't deposit it - feel shitty, but I need things.
Drive the loaner car to the car shop to drop it off.
T car shop doesn't know what to do with my car - probably needs a new engine, which is way too expensive for me to fix. Decided to take it home. The owner is an ABSOLUTE gem and didn't charge me for taking a look at it - however I used so much gas in the loaner car that I gave him $10 cash. Drove my car home. It was scary as shit - didn't accelerate well and starting smoking from under the hood. Damn it. Parked it on the street and slapped a "FOR SALE - NEEDS WORK" sign into the window.
|Like my sign? Hehe.|
Had a protein shake. Thank god for all that protein powder that I bought - like the biggest cannister ever!
Had around $25 of cash. A wonderful friend said he would let me borrow his car for a week or so while I try to figure out what to do. His car is in Sodo. I decide to take the bus down there. Normally would take an Uber or something, but, you know, overdrawn. That's okay. Good exercise.
Leave the house, realize I only have a twenty dollar bill and a five dollar bill. Go to Starbucks and buy an 8oz drip, the cheapest thing I can think of that will keep my hands warm on my walk down. Ask for small bills and change for the bus for change. Barista complies. I thank her many times. These are the people that make my world worth it.
Walk down to the bus stop - it's raining and then does some thunder and lighting, but I ain't scared.
Hop on the bus. It's a bus that goes to Tacoma but stops in Sodo. While on the bus I start to get SUPER nauseous and clammy and sweaty. WTF. Hopefully burning calories? Anyway, I take off my coat and sweater and scarf to try to cool down. Girl next to me asks if I'm getting off - tells me it's the last stop before the freeway anyway. I get off the bus.
Turns out it was way too early to get off - the place I'm going is still 2 miles away. Boo - good exercise, though. Sodo isn't a super good place for a woman to walk alone at night, but it could be worse (plus if I get chased down by some weirdo the calorie burn is better, right?) Still super nauseous - probably the not eating and then drinking coffee. Walk by a McDonalds, buy a double cheeseburger. The most protein I've had in a few days. HEAVEN.
Walk to pick up my friends car, it is super sweet. He is the best.
Drive to pick Dave up. Thank goodness he has money and he takes us to buy groceries. I feel bad that I can't contribute, but that's okay.
I will prepare some food from the groceries now that I'm done writing, PLUS we have alcohol! Woot woot! Still, the diet will have to continue the next couple of days - or for a bit until my business brings in a little more money (clients pay me on the 1st of the month usually and it take a couple of days to come in - however, I do have to pay my employee and pay some business bills.)
DAY 5 - April 2nd
Diet is still in full force.
Woke up to a phone call this morning from the local office (a 360 area code rather than a toll free number.) Message went like this:
Yes, good morning Stacy, this is __________________ from the finance dept at HPF, we do have the documentation to refund payment to you, it has been approved and is pending signature by the higher ups, and most likely will be issued back ACH to your bank tonight, most likely by 4:30 tonight most likely, okay, have a nice day, thank you."
Okay, okay. I can't laugh too hard - she did say by 4:30 tonight, which could have easily meant 4:30pm or 4:30am in the morning (you never know.) but if it was the afternoon, it is not here yet.
I'm also not holding my breath that it's the right amount, since there have been a lot of mistakes with that, too.
(The most recent mistake: they said they were refunding me $225. I said the refund should be for $323 plus whatever is owed me from 2014. She said she would send an additional refund of $323. I said I would be MORE than happy to take both, but amount from 2014 was under $100, so $323+225 would put me over. I mean, they stole my money, so you'd think I'd be more secure in stealing theirs, but that's just wrong.)
So here's the current status:
Turns out I have $39 to spare! Yay! I could buy something awesome, I think but should probably save it for gas. Also, my brother loaned me money for a new car, so will probably need to fill it up if I end up buying it. If nothing else, I am borrowing my friends truck and should fill that up with gas.
Today I skipped breakfast (breakfast is for suckers! Go WHPF-Inspired Diet 2015!) and had coffee. Went to a client meeting - social media for a restaurant. Super cool, but then I had to look at delicious food pictures all afternoon while writing their posts, which was horrid.
Wanted to go to my coworking space directly after my client meeting, but hadn't made lunch, so came home and baked some freezer burnt chicken. Double bonus on this - I couldn't go down to my coworking space for food and also cause I couldn't afford to park for more than three hours.
Turns out doing this (and my Google Calendar syncing incorrectly - fuck!) made me miss my 1pm meeting. Oops. Felt horrible.
Went into the coworking space at 2pm and parking in 1 hour free parking across the street. After my 2pm meeting I went and moved my car (had to run across the street - almost got hit by a truck - bonus exercise points!) to a 2 hour free spot and then worked for a couple of hours there. Had a lukewarm protein shake while I was there and (free!) coffee.
Drove home at 5 (tried not to accelerate too much so I wouldn't use too much gas, LOL) and came home and had a romaine salad with peas, chicken and salad dressing. (I know, right?! Salad with vegetables AND protein?! GET OUT OF FUCKING TOWN! Thank god for rich boyfriends who buy groceries, amiright?)
I decided to drive up to Lake City to look at cars, found one I really like, money borrowed from my bro will allow me to buy it, negotiated a deal on it, YES! Brought a Kind Bar and some water but was feeling nauseous and heache-y so didn't want to eat.
Came home, did some work and ate eggs that we had with newly purchased cheese to make them more flavorful. Nom, protein!
I then broke down and decided that I couldn't take it anymore. I had $12 in cash and I NEEDED a drink! My refund is coming soon anyway, right? So I went and had a vodka soda at the bar, it was amazing.
Came home to spend time with my love, who bought me some juice, which I just had a glass of. JUICE IS SUCH A LUXURY but really good.
Good news, too - a person texted me wanting to buy my barely running Lexus! Life may be looking up after all! Of course, if I sell the Lexus, I will need to use the money to pay my brother back, not eat food (wishful thinking, right?!) but that's okay! I am grateful for all the good that is coming into my life.
Hopeful that the refund will come tomorrow, but understand if it doesn't. The people at WA HealthPlanFinder are BUSY - maybe they're eating lunch. Maybe they're having handcrafted coffee drinks from Starbucks. Or maybe they feel empathy for me and want to start this diet as well to show support.
I used to work for the government. It was not easy. I had to be an oppressor - tell people "no" when I knew the answer should be yes. While I think providing kind-of affordable health care is great, I just wish they could get their shit together so that participants in the program could have money to eat on a consistent basis and not have to have their vacations ruined by accidental money withdrawing. That's all.
On the edge of your seat? Stay tuned! I will edit this entry until my money gets refunded, which could be up to 30 days away! Wow!
Haven't weighed myself, but am down at LEAST 5 pounds. They don't call it "HEALTH PLAN" Finder for nothing :)