Long Term Consequences of Obesity & Making A Change

Being overweight isn’t all that bad sometimes. When you’ve gone from being rather obese to less obese or just overweight, you sometimes feel like you’re almost skinny! You forget that you still have quite a few pounds on you that aren’t supposed to be there. I find this happening to myself a lot. I feel so much better than I used to that I forget there is a whole different level to reach that would feel even better. This week I’ve thought about this concept a lot.

The Long Term Consequences of Obesity

My mom’s husband was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance Monday night because of chest pains. It was a scary experience for both of them, but luckily he is okay and was released last night. However, the experience has given me a sort of scared-straight feeling. He recently has gained a lot of weight and has always dealt with being overweight. Recently the extra weight has been causing lot of health problems and complications. While I’ve been scared for him and praying for his recovery, it’s also made me think a lot about the consequences of carrying extra weight.

At first being overweight doesn’t have a lot of health consequences. We can be obese as teens and young adults without it affecting us too much other than socially. But when we get older the health consequences come calling. Your joints start to hurt, you develop diseases like diabetes, and you have complications. The older you are, the bigger you are… the worse it is. It seems to make everything you have worse than it has to be.

The long term consequences of obesity aren’t something I think about often because I’m young. I’m decades away from that! I don’t need to consider it! But really? I’m not getting younger. The affects are cumulative. Sure, I’ve lost a nice chunk of weight and improved my health drastically over the last few years. But will that last bit of weight cause me problems? Will I suffer when I have kids? Will I end up with a metabolic disease I don’t want? Will I have problems later in life because of this extra weight? It doesn’t cause me problems right now but it’s definitely something that could come back to bite me in the butt.

Making A Change

Thinking about this all week has inspired me to DO SOMETHING.

I’ve felt really crappy this week because of eating out too much thanks to avoiding my kitchen. I am feeling puffy and generally have a blah feeling. I know that this feeling and the extra weight I haven’t take of yet aren’t a big deal right now…. but they will be. If this hangs around for a couple decades I’ll suffer long term consequences of obesity. I’ll admit that is really, really scary to think about.

When I remember the last time I felt really good it was after I did the Advocare 10 day cleanse. Sure there were some yucky parts of that experience (fiber drink!), but it was the last time I felt so good I felt amazing and unstoppable.
So with that memory in mind and reading some of the success stories from fellow bloggers (Shoutout to Janetha at Meals and Moves and Ashley at Coffee Cake and Cardio!), I decided to join Advocare as a wholesale member and get a discount on the 24 day challenge (and Spark, cause that stuff is my favorite and I ran out weeks ago).

24 day advocare challenge

If anyone wants to join me, feel free! You can get the 24 day challenge pack here. I’ve already talked some friends into doing it with me so I can have a big support group while doing it. If you just want to set yourself a goal without doing the Advocare part and join us for 24 days that would be good too. Anything to make a positive change in your life right NOW. Even with the discount it’s admittedly really expensive for a couple weeks of product and the frugal part of me cringed when I ordered. However, I’m investing in my health in the long run. It’s the final push. Thanks to everyone that reminded me recently that investing in your health is something worth doing. It will pay off years from now and that’s worth doing!

Financially Fit: Use Personal Capital to Track Spending & Grow Your Net Worth

track your spending and grow your net worth with personal capitalPaying off debt and losing weight are very similar processes. With each you have to delay pleasure in order to achieve a long term goal. Both can be hard and involve sacrifice over time even when you don’t want to do it. I’ve struggle with both being in debt and being overweight but have happily made progress in both areas, which is why I like to share things that work to keep me physically and financially fit. Anything to make these processes easier is great and it’s even better when it’s a FREE resource.

Today I’m talking about Personal Capital, the free software I use to track my spending, savings, net worth and investments. Being financially fit and independent has been a goal of mine for several years. Along the way I’ve read magazines, books, and blogs about money and how to be better with it. I’ve tried several different software options and ultimately have settled on Personal Capital as my weapon of choice in staying on top of my finances and managing my money.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links but Personal Capital is completely free to use! Using the links will cost you nothing extra.)

personal capital review

Free Financial Management Software

I check Personal Capital every day. When you login to PersonalCapital.com you get to see an instant view of your finances – your net worth for the last 90 days, your monthly income, and your monthly expenses. It’s a free way to instantly see where you stand for the month and organize all your financial information.

personal capital cash flow.png
This has numbers when you login, I just removed them for sharing. The main goal is to get a positive cash flow… aka earn more each month than you spend!

This large scale picture of where you’re at gives you a lot of useful information. It’s kind of like using a calorie tracker to see what you’ve been doing with your food all month… and seeing where things add up. You can immediately see if you have a spending problem or income problem or if everything is going well (let me know if that happens for you, heheh). I love this view of the software since it gives me a lot of information at once and is impossible to ignore.

Track Your Net Worth

While I’m not exactly a high net worth individual, tracking my net worth has become a fun thing for me. I started with a negative net worth by many tens of thousands of dollars. Now? I’m in the opposite direction in the positive! While it’s not a lot I’m excited that I can track this number while still toward the beginning of my career and see it rise over time to even higher numbers. It’s very motivating to see the graph of your net worth and how it goes up over time with rises in savings accounts, retirement accounts and the reduction of loans. If you are paying off debt, seeing this big picture number can be really motivating as it goes down.

person capital net worth growth

Tracking your net worth can also clue into problems you might be having financially and areas where you can improve. Are you not seeing a steady increase over time? Something is wrong and needs to change. Maybe you need to save more. Maybe your investments are not performing. Seeing this info can help you correct your path and get back to increasing your net worth.

Expense Tracking

Using Personal Capital to track my spending has been a life saver. I’m not a huge spender but I’m prone to make impulse choices when shopping after years sometimes. Knowing how much I’ve spent for the month already is hugely helpful in mitigating these impulse buys. If I know I’ve already used my shopping budget for the month it’s a lot easier to talk myself out of a purchase. You can also see how much you spent on a certain category that is important to you like health.

personal capital spending on health
I also use this section to cut down on FOOD spending. I looooove eating out at restaurants and my city has a ton of good ones (just discovered a new Thai restaurant last night and it was delish!). My food spending can get way out of control when I’m enjoying life so keeping tabs on this area of spending is very important to my bottom line. That’s part of why I personally check my account every day. Knowledge is power and logging in gives me all the knowledge I need in one place.

Income Tracking

You also can track your income in Personal Capital. This can be either motivating or devastating, depending on how well you are doing in this area. I admit that it’s been both for me. I’ve been using Personal Capital for a while and in the last two years I’ve gone up and down in income (getting laid off is the pits y’all) depending on my situation. Overall it’s definitely encouraged me to work harder and take on more freelance work and keep pushing to get those numbers as high as possible. It’s also made me much more of an investor because seeing your money earn money without you doing anything is really, really fun.

Investing Help & Tools

Personal Capital also gives you a lot of info about your investments. While mines are not substantial yet, it’s awesome to see how they are allocated and where I can do better as I buy more investments. I haven’t fully dived into this section of the site because it doesn’t apply to me that much yet, but I definitely plan to in the future. I know it’s been helpful to a lot of people older than me who have larger portfolios and care more about the asset allocation and such.

personal capital portofolio allocation

There is also an investment fee tool that shows you how much you pay in fees each year for managing your money. This will show you how much you are paying and how much you will lose in fees over the next two decades. That number definitely adds up quickly!

How is Personal Capital Free?

It’s really easy and quick to sign up for Personal Capital and honestly I kept expecting a catch like they would start charging to use the software. I’ve used other free software online that changed to a paid model after I got hooked on using it for a couple years.

Luckily, this won’t be happening with Personal Capital. All of their online tools are free and plan to stay that way. They make their money by offering low-priced financial advice and management services. These are totally optional and offered to those with over $100K in investments. You can use it or not, but those fees keep the amazing software free for everyone to use!

What are the downsides?

There is a downside to almost everything in life, and there are a few with this software.

You have to look through the transactions to make sure they are correct in categories. I’ve found they aren’t as good at this as Mint was (free software I previously used for this) at categorizing. I’ve had to change and categorize several transactions.

Cash transactions are hard to enter. You can’t just add a cash transaction so you have to categorize the ATM withdrawals to get around this. I’m hoping they decide to add some type of cash transaction feature.

They will call you if you have a lot of money. This hasn’t happened to me, obviously, but I’ve been told by people that use it with considerable portfolios that you will get a phone call about managing your money if you have over a certain amount. You might like this or you might not. If you don’t want their services then just tell them that – they do listen.

How do you sign up?

I know this is probably sounding salesy, but I really do love this software. When you sign up for Personal Capital it will take about 10 to 20 minutes to set up. You’ll have to link all your accounts to get the most out of it and make sure everything is accurate. I have several accounts attached from 2 banks, 2 brokerages, 1 investment account, and 1 credit card account (that gets my monthly set spending sent to it). You will have to find a code in your account for some banks but this doesn’t take long at all. You will also add any liabilities or loans you have like a house and mortgage or car loans.

personal capital financial management software

The reason why this software is so brilliant is because you don’t have to log into those 5-20 accounts separately anymore! If I want to know how much is in my retirement accounts I go to Personal Capital to check instead of logging into other sites separately. It’s pretty much my favorite free software I use right now and if you want to be financially fit it’s worth trying out!

You can learn more about all of this here: Personal Capital

And if you’re ready to sign up for free, do it here: Personal Capital

Kale & Mozzarella Chicken Burgers (Burgers by AmyLu) Review

I looooove shopping at Costco. I’d never been there before last year and it’s currently one of my favorite places to go. Who doesn’t like buying toilet paper only once every couple months?

Every time I go I like to pick a new item to try. This can be risky at Costco since you are buying in bulk an item you might not love. However, I found a great one in these kale and mozzarella chicken burgers.

kale mozzarella chicken burger by amylu review sandwich

Kale & Mozzarella Chicken Burgers Info

As the Burgers By AmyLu site describes their burgers:

We use only fresh, never frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breast & thigh meat combined with the perfect balance of ingredients & spices in our all-natural chicken burgers.

Our Burgers  by Amylu gourmet chicken burgers are:

  • 100% natural – no nitrites, no nitrates, no added MSG, no preservatives or artificial ingredients
  • 100% fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast and thigh meat
  • 100% pork free
  • Gluten free
  • Low in fat – high in protein – low in carbs
  • Fully cooked- just heat and serve

All natural, low in fat, high in protein, and easy to make? Sounds like music to my ears. I worry about some of the meat products I purchase in stores at times so this makes me feel better.

Kale & Mozzarella Chicken Burgers Review

Downsides:

The burgers come with 10 in a package. Two burgers are wrapped together in packaging within packaging. This is probably my least favorite aspect because a couple times I’ve gone to cook one from frozen and found myself wrestling with the fact that there are two burgers frozen together.

kale mozzarella chicken burger by amylu review

I find the packaging frustrating! But maybe it’s just me? It seems to take me a lot of work to separate these when they are frozen together like this:

kale mozzarella chicken burger by amylu review frozen

How I cook these burgers:

These are pre-cooked so you can either microwave it or pan sear it. I’ve done both and admit to usually microwaving the burger since it’s faster. If I’m eating by myself I don’t put a lot of effort into the meal. Here’s what they look like after being microwaved:

kale mozzarella chicken burger by amylu review cooked

If I’m cooking multiple for dinner for a group I have used the grill and pan seared. Since they are already cooked really you are just reheating them so the method isn’t as important as it would be if you were cooking from scratch.

How I eat these burgers:

My favorite way to eat these chicken burgers is as an actual burger! I add some lettuce, tomato, and condiments to round out the sandwich on whole wheat bread or buns if I have them.

kale mozzarella chicken burger by amylu review chicken sandwich

I’ve also diced up the chicken burger, added lots of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and ranch dressing in a tortilla wrap. That was pretty delicious!

You can also slice and dice them up and add them into a salad with other toppings of your choosing.

Kale & Mozzarella Chicken Burgers (Burgers by AmyLu) Review:

Ultimately I really love these chicken burgers. I have rebought them twice now and always have a box in my freezer for those days when I just don’t want to cook. Since they are microwaveable you can take them to the office and they are also quick to make at home when you get done with work and just don’t feel like cooking. They pair well with additional veggies and condiments, making them versatile enough to be the meat base of lots of different meals.

If you’re a Costco shopper, these are definitely worth a try!

Is Joining Two Gyms Overkill?

Thanks to the ice and the potential for ice this week, my gym hasn’t been open. It’s a gym at a church so it’s understandable that the church is closed due to weather. However, this hasn’t been my best week on record because of it.

I like exercising. It’s my medicine and keeps me sane and happy. I love 30 minutes on an elliptical machine and need it multiple times a week. Or a class. Or SOMETHING. I know that I need to exercise 30 minutes a day and without it I get cranky.

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I’ve been trying to workout at home, but it’s not been going well. I don’t have a lot of space in my small house with a roommate, dog, and furniture. There isn’t much room to do anything other than jog in place, so my options are to go outside. Ice and freezing temps have kept me inside (yes I know it’s nothing compared to other parts of the country but I’m completely unprepared for it).

Now I’m considering joining a second gym.

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Reasons why I’m considering a second gym:

  • My church gym is not open with great hours and it closes at the drop of a hat (or ice).
  • Joining a second gym would give me more options to workout without driving across town.
  • I’d get the ability to utilize more equipment that my church gym doesn’t have.
  • A regular gym has better and longer hours so I could have more time to workout.
  • It would only cost $10-$20 more per month depending on the gym I choose.

Is this crazy? Is joining a second gym overkill? Does anyone need two gym memberships, even if they like and utilize them?

It might be overkill, but I’m going to do it! There are multiple pros for me with few cons other than cost. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that paying for things that matter to you and improve your life is totally worth it. I’ll soon be the proud member of multiple gyms!

Memphis Eats: Farm 2 Cart

Last week I attended a local coworking day to work at the same place as colleagues I don’t see very often. I previously worked at a coworking space so highly value the concept and getting to spend time with people who work in related fields. It’s a great environment for productivity and creativity.

For lunch there was a local food cart called Farm 2 Cart set up outside the coworking space. Since I like to try new things I decided to try it out!

farm 2 cart food cart in memphis

Farm 2 Cart is a a little food cart that offers sausages (Italian, Andouille, or Bratwurst) on a couple different bun options. It is often set up at several farmers markets around town and makes lunch day stops at different places like the coworking space.

I was excited to try it out because I’ve got a strange obsession with food trucks and food carts. It’s something I never had when growing up so it still feels fun and new to me! I’ve eaten at so many over the years as an adult and it is still awesome!

farm 2 cart set up at farmers market
Photos by Farm 2 Cart

I chose to get an italian sausage topped with sauerkraut and pepper relish. You can imagine my delight when I learned that pepper relish was a topping option – I love that stuff!

I also added some spicy brown mustard to finish it off.

brat from farm 2 cart in memphis

Overall the taste of the sausage was more subtle than I expected and it ended up being a slightly sweeter than I expected. I thought the pepper relish would be more flavorful and spicy than it was, but after the initial confusion I found it to compliment the sausage well. The toppings helped make it more complex and added taste to every bite. This was the perfect lunch for a freezing cold day, even if I had to wait outside to get it!

The sausage is locally-sourced from Renaissance Farms Tennessee and the bun is from La Baguette French Bread and Pastry Shop, another local shop. It’s always nice to eat local so I was happy to support three local businesses in one with this meal! It’s more expensive to support local than if I was buying a cheap hot dog at a big box store, and the cost for a meal was $7.

I fell in love with the bread so I’ll be visiting La Baguette soon. It’s SO GOOD.

Overall I’m a big fan of Farm 2 Cart and their mission to use and promote local food that is of a higher quality than what you might find in a standard hot dog cart. As someone who is trying to eat locally more often, I appreciate this effort.

If you’d like to learn more about Food 2 Cart or track them down in Memphis for a meal, follow them on Facebook!