A Year of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

A year ago I wrote about my Year to a Healthier Lifestyle.

The quick recap is to avoid my blood sugar levels of crossing into diabetes territory, I had to make lifestyle changes to bring my weight down.

Fear is a great motivator for weight loss!

I began tracking my weight on July 29, 2018 and it was high for a petite frame at 148.2 pounds. My hope was on July 29, 2019 I’d weigh 107 pounds. I didn’t quite get there, instead logging 112 pounds on that date. My mindset shifted and I knew I’d be content if I could keep my weight within three pounds one way or the other of 110.

Check it out. A couple of times in this past year I’ve flirted briefly seeing 107 and change on my scale. Here’s a shot I took in early July.

A Year to Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

And that’s a biggie maintaining my weight.

80% of people who lose 10% of their body weight, regain it. And more!

My strategy became how to maintain my weight loss. I worked hard to lose the weight, so I don’t want to gain it back. The problem is our bodies betray us. They want to pack the pounds back on. Our bodies don’t like intaking less calories, and our bodies tease us by plateauing or making us crave more food.

What’s happening on my scale is only a tiny spot in my life. A lot of things have happened in the last year. I’ve gone through some bad times. Today’s post will be about maintaining a healthier lifestyle and some significant changes to my life.

Maybe I’ll make these updates an annual thing.

Portion control and willpower

I work real hard at not overeating and cutting back on sweets.

It’s not all about food. For me it’s all about my fear of getting diabetes if I can’t control my blood sugar levels.

A Year of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

This weight loss and year to a healthier lifestyle was something I did alone. There were no diet buddies, Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig clinics involved. Though I did take part in more walks and activities with a MeetUp group I belong to so I could get more exercise. Due to Covid-19 that’s on hold right now. I do talk more about what I’m eating and how I’m exercising in my post Motivated by Fear: my Weight Loss Plan where I share helpful websites.

Stepping on the scale daily

There are diet and exercise professionals who say don’t weigh yourself every day because your weight fluctuates.

Others say don’t weigh yourself at all. Let your inches and smaller clothes sizes be your guide.

I don’t buy into that one! An exercise studio that invited people to come in and smash their scales. I suppose the theme being don’t be a slave to your scale.

However, I side with the people whose strategy is to weigh themselves every day as a tool to maintain the weight loss. If I see the numbers starting to climb, I can take immediate action to get my weight under control. I do not log my weight any more on an Excel spreadsheet. That stopped after one year.

Falling off the wagon

Sure, vacations happen and I treat myself, or life’s stresses make me eat half a carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, or just those moments of mindless eating or pigging out.

That’s OK.

It’s getting back on track, and trying not to beat myself up about it.

How to look like a cowgirl with pink Ariat Fatbaby boots.
The running shoes cowgirl

Cowgirl strong! I just keep climbing back up on that wagon (horse)!

Appointment with a surgeon

I have osteoarthritis in my hands and it’s worsening over the past ten years. My pinkies on both hands are in instant pain if I brush up against something.

All my fingers are getting knobby knuckles and some days there’s pain where I have to take a Tylenol with codeine, other days my fingers aren’t so painful.

Handwriting a letter to someone? Pretty much impossible. Even signing my name looks sloppy.

The thumb on my right hand has become more and more painful over the past two years. It’s like someone is sawing at my thumb with a knife. Actually that’s how the arthritis feels in all my fingers. Knife slicing. Last year I went in for x-rays again. I get my hands x-rayed every couple of years so the deterioration can be tracked. This last time only my right hand was x-rayed. A little unusual, because in the past both hands were x-rayed at the same time. Maybe only the one hand because I’d gone to the clinic specifically talking about pain in my right thumb.

The deterioration was bad enough that the clinic made an appointment for me to see an orthopedic surgeon, which I did in the first week of January. The surgeon explained the surgery to me. Basically day surgery and I’m out of it, under anesthesia. A pin is put in the thumb joint which means I’ll lose ability to bend it, which I can’t really do anymore anyway. So no range of motion but the pain will go away a couple of months after the surgery.

The surgeon did say most of the patients try to live with the pain as long as possible using various pain killer treatments to manage the pain. So that’s my plan right now.

Good thing too because Covid-19 pretty much cancelled all non-emergency surgeries in British Columbia!

Some days I barely feel any pain and then It’ll be quite painful for days on end.

I’ve been taking joint supplements and occasionally I use a thumb splint that I bought on eBay. I’d been taking two Naproxen daily but was worried about the long term effects and stopped.

Anyway the prospect of surgery is frightening. Just kind of being all alone in the world. Who is going to take me to the hospital and pick me up? What about animal care? What about shopping?

Oh, the orthopedic surgeon said there’s nothing that can be done for the pinky. Just keep living with the pain.

Times of great sadness

Tragedy struck me twice in the past year.

On September 1, 2019 my beloved Appaloosa gelding, Whistler, passed away, age 29.

Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs Favorite Things 2018

He was my heart horse. He was just the best horse a girl could ever ask for. I found him in 2002, about 300 miles upcountry. He wasn’t what I was looking for, because I wanted a filly or mare – female horse.

Greenhawk Guilty of False and Misleading Advertising - Again!

When you find that right horse, you just know. Whistler had personality plus and was a social butterfly. He left his hoofprints on my heart and his loss is felt every day. I miss him so much.

A Year of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

On May 13, 2020 my darling little Chica, 14 year old Black Lab, passed away. It’s so hard to let them go. My faithful companion. Wherever I went, there she was. Sitting beside me on the couch. Sleeping on the bed with me.

Again, she left her pawprints on my heart and I miss her constant presence.

Trees of Mystery and Crescent City, California

The day Chica passed was Survivor finale night. An evening I really look forward to, but it was just a difficult night for me. A few weeks earlier I bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Netflix & Chilled ice cream when I noticed it on sale, planning to enjoy it on Survivor finale night. Before I knew it I’d eaten half the tub. Emotional eating coping with Chica’s passing. I finally put it in the freezer and it took me about two more months to finish the rest of it off.

Fun Work

I found on call work driving pick up trucks that are being imported from Canada into the United States. There’s about a 15 mile drive between the company’s lot in BC to their lot in Washington.

The job is just a great fit for me. There’s not work every day, but if I get the opportunity, I’ll drive.

I started work in March, and we all know what happened. The coronavirus shut down the border between the United States and Canada on March 20. Well, the commercial crossing was still open. That’s the one we drive through when importing the pick up trucks. However, the person driving the chase vehicle goes through the regular traveler crossing at the US border (right next door) and we all return at Canada’s border for travelers, not commercial. The problem wasn’t so much driving into the United States, it was crossing back into Canada. The Canadian government put a two week quarantine on everyone entering the country and Canadians returning home..

There’s not much point in driving a truck into Washington, getting paid for a couple of hours, and then being put on a two week quarantine. That’s not sustainable. Not to mention highly inconvenient. Fortunately, after a couple of months exemptions came into place, specifically workers returning to Canada within 24 hours would not be quarantined. So we finally got back to driving trucks again.

A Year of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

Most of the trucks are Fords. F150s are popular, but I’ve driven quite a few F350s and some F450s. Yeah ha ha. Let the smallest woman drive the biggest trucks. I tell you those duallys feel every bump on the road! Every now and then I get lucky and drive a Ford pick up truck that has massaging seats, so that’s fun to activate when I’m waiting in the border line up.

I get to drive some really cool trucks that I’ll never be able to afford. Just for a little while – they’re mine! Like that Shelby truck. Very luxurious. Very powerful engine. At some point I became very aware I was driving a $115,000 truck and then I became a little nervous. Protect the Shelby! How about the Hellcat Challenger I drove to the port that was being shipped overseas. No big deal to me, but that might have been the opportunity of a lifetime for someone else to drive.

I work with a great group of people and I’m really enjoying it. After so many years of working inside an office, this seems to be a good way to end my working years. And yes, I hope it works out into years.


When the coronavirus pretty much shut down all of Canada, the government came through with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for people who became suddenly unemployed due to Covid-19.

The benefit paid $2000 a month for out of work Canadians.

That really helped me out.

How to Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) if you’re Contract Worker or Self Employed

Employees are allowed to earn up to $1000 a month and also collect the CERB, but once over that amount, even if its $1,001, you’re out of luck on the CERB.

So once I started working in June when the border restrictions relaxed for returning Canadians, I was making too much money to continue collecting the CERB. I’d rather work than collect the CERB anyway.

This program has put a lot of people into a unique position where they can make more money collecting CERB than they can at their job, so many employees have been unwilling to return to work. I get it if someone is at high risk to catch the virus or if they’re a caretaker to elderly parents. Stay home and stay safe. No sense risking your life or the lives of the people around you. But the people who want to collect the money and just take the summer off and see how it goes, that’s another story. The Canadian government does say that the CERB is just like employment insurance in that recipients must keep looking for work or return to work if they’re recalled.


Like many others my stocks and mutual funds took a nosedive over a few weeks. Some have come back to where they were, others are still down.

My biggest losses came from REITs – Real Estate Investment Trusts. A lot of people and businesses have been unable to pay their rent due to Covid-19.

The biggest REIT loss is my H&R REIT. Not only did it lose over 50% of its stock price, but they cut the dividend by 50%. Now that’s a hit because I depend on dividends as part of my income.

I’d spent $2,000 of my emergency fund on vet bills. Last year when Whistler passed away and in February when Cajun came up very lame. My emergency fund is in EQ Bank because of the higher interest rates, and they have a goal setter. I put in to save $2,000 by May 31, 2021. I thought that was a manageable goal.

New EQ Bank Customers get $20 Sign Up Bonus!

I decided to become what Dave Ramsey calls “gazelle intense” and accelerate building the emergency fund back up. One Covid-19 benefit I received from the province of British Columbia was $1,000. I earmarked $800 of it for my emergency fund.

Another benefit I received was for renters affected by Covid-19 to receive $300/month to rent, paid directly to the landlord. That left me with extra cash in my bank account that I could send to the emergency fund instead of the landlord. I’m happy to report I’ve nearly met my $2000 goal several months early! I have about $20 to go. Yay me!

With a little income coming in, I’ve managed to put more money into my TFSA savings for next year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to save $6,000, the maximum amount we can contribute each year, but at least I have some money set aside for it.

First Podcast!

I did my first podcast this year on Next Bite of Life. Click the photo below to hear about life in Canada during the Covid-19 crisis.

A Year to Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

The Next Bite of Life is a really fun travel and lifestyle blog written by Kemkem, who left America to live in Spain with her husband and two dogs. The coronavirus has temporarily grounded their travel plans, and she’s been keeping us updated on life in Valencia and entertaining podcasts with guests from all over the world. There’s a wealth of destination information – sightseeing, food, where to stay, and how to get there. If you’re thinking about an ex-pat or nomad lifestyle, you’ll find plenty of advice.

When I was younger I dreamed of making Spain my home, and here’s Kemkem living my dream! Ha ha!

Canadian Au Pair in Spain

Cajun turns 16!

Cajun is the only horse I’ve ever owned from birth, Here he is a few hours old on May 21, 2004.

Cajun is Sweet 16!

16 years later.

Cajun is Sweet 16!

He’s coping really well at being the last horse standing. I wasn’t sure how he’d be when Whistler passed because he’s never been alone before.

I’ve had other horses who’ve been the only horse on the property and they were fine. Cajun always used to cry and run around whenever I was riding Whistler and he couldn’t find him, so that was what worried me. He cried the first couple of days, but no running or freaking out. I was impressed with how sensible he was.

Cajun must think his herd sucks. Me and a dog.

Oregon Coast road trip with my dogs

There are some cows on the other side of the creek to keep him company, but no nearby horses.

It’s certainly been in my mind that I’d like to find a place to board him with other horses. The problem being that horse boarding is pretty expensive, and most barns are further away than where Cajun currently lives. It’s self board, a rustic set up, but perfect for keeping a horse on a budget. The farm owners are getting up in years and not interested in having any more horses on their property, even though they get inquiries all the time. Cajun won’t be getting a companion.


Like everyone else, my travel plans are pretty much grounded due to the coronavirus. I’m  cautious, so I’m probably not going anywhere until Covid-19 is under control and a vaccine is widely available.

I’m thinking I might like to get away for a couple of days in the fall. Harrison Hot Springs? Whistler? Somewhere I can take Shadow. Nothing is really jumping out at me for a getaway.

I might just take a day off and try the zipline at Grouse Mountain, about an hour’s drive from here. Years ago I was on a zipline at Whistler that was a lot of fun. Maybe it’s time to get zipping again.

And how has your year been?

More reading:

Cajun is Sweet 16!

A year to a healthier lifestyle

Motivated by Fear: my Weight Loss Plan

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