It is year four of maintaining a healthier lifestyle!

On July 29, 2019 I wrote a post called A Year to a Healthier Lifestyle. That was the one year mark of working towards a healthier lifestyle and tracking my weight.

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A year later I wrote, A Year of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle.

Followed on July 29, 2021 with Year Two of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle.

And then … what can I say? A two year hiatus. How did that happen? Well, you know, life happens, and by the time I thought about writing Year Three in 2022, it was probably well into August or September.

Now that 2023 is here, I can see I missed my July 29 anniversary date. But it’s still July so I’m not going to skip another year!

I’m going to try to concentrate on only the last year. No sense in making an epic long post even longer! But I will provide a little background on how my journey began.

Portion control and willpower

Five years ago a doctor read off the results of my blood work and noticed my blood sugar levels were getting towards the high end of the normal range. She cautioned that I don’t want to cross into diabetes territory and suggested losing weight would help keep the blood sugar in check. Portion control and willpower was her advice.

Yeah, right. Easier said than done. Willpower and portion control is a daily battle for me, that I don’t feel like I’m winning.

It’s not easy. I’m a compulsive over eater. I would keep shoveling food in if I could get away with it. I keep reminding myself I’ve got keep my blood sugar levels down because I don’t want diabetes. This is something I can control. Especially since fear is a great motivator for losing weight.

For the most part that works.

My ideal weight is 110 pounds and I managed to get there and below a couple of times over the past two years. Once there, I decided staying within 3 pounds one way or the other would be realistic. And ideally, staying on the lower side of those 3 pounds would be the way to go.

And tough as hell to maintain!

Losing weight is not easy. Keeping the weight off is not easy. About 80% to 90% of people who lose weight gain it back.


Metabolism, genetics, and behavior play a huge role.

Only 20% of people are able to maintain their weight loss after one year. Within two years people will regain 70% of their lost weight. Yikes!

It was really hard work for me to lose weight. I couldn’t let that go to waste now, could I?

It’s not easy…

Daily scale stepping

Some people say forget the scale, and others say to weigh yourself daily.

Year Two of Maintaining a Healthier Lifestyle

Maybe I’m a slave to my scale, but I check my weight daily and that gives me a chance to make any corrections to my eating for the next couple of days. In theory, that is. Reality doesn’t always work out as planned.

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.

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.

RIP Shadow

My beloved dog, Shadow, passed away in January.

Her actual age was unknown. The dogcatcher in Yakima, Washington caught her in October, 2010 and I adopted her a month later. She was full grown. When my vet spayed her a couple of months ago, he estimated her age to be 5 or 6.

She was about 16 years old, give or take two years.

Shadow was so much more than just a dog or a fur baby. She was also my emotional support animal and went everywhere with me, including the office. Her presence is tremendously missed.

Appointment with a rheumatologist

I have osteoarthritis in my hands and the mobility in my fingers is getting worse.

After my doctor had me go for blood work on rheumatoid arthritis, I was booked for an appointment with a specialist with only a five month wait. In British Columbia patients wait months, maybe over a year, to see a doctor. Yup our phenomenal Canadian health care. Now, I’m not complaining about the quality of the care once you get seen by medical staff. Its just that people die on waiting lists.

This is the second time I’ve seen a rheumatologist because my bloodwork shows high levels of the rheumatoid athrititis antibody. Bloodwork is only part of the determination whether a person has rheumatoid arthritis, but there can be false readings. After my first appointment I did a bunch of other bloodwork to rule out other diseases such as malaria. All came back clean.

The last appointment I had was in the same office, but a different doctor. Following my exam, the very good news is I still don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. And probably not going to happen in my future. I just continue to live with the osteoarthritis in my fingers, which seems to worsen with the weather. The rheumatologist said that’s because of barometric changes. I need to find a climate with a year round steady temperature to help ease the pain.


As I drove home from the appointment, I celebrated that I still don’t have rheumatoid arthritis and stopped at Booster Juice for a Pomegranate Passion smoothie.

Seeing as how I’d booked a couple of days off work, I made a last minute decision to drive down to Anacortes, Washington for two nights.

Planning to leave Canada

After Shadow passed, I began making my plans to depart Canada.

The first thing I had to do was find a retirement home for my horse, Cajun.

What a goofball!

Wednesday Thoughts: 6 Things on my Mind Today!

Yes, horse care is going to be one of my biggest expenses in retirement, just as it was in my working years.

I’m happy to say that Cajun is living the retirement dream on a ranch with other retired horses. He has his a little herd of about 8 horses and seems to be doing well. I visited him once after I transported him to his new home, in British Columbia’s southern interior. Basically he just ignored me. He’s happy where he is.

Unfortunately, due to the wildfire situation in British Columbia, he and all the other horses on the ranch were evacuated. The horses are all safe, being cared for by their usual helpers, and a vet has checked them out. Evacuation is a stressful time for animals as well. Hopefully they’ll be returning soon to their retirement home.

And stressful for me. It’s a darned good thing I didn’t open up my laptop at the Vancouver International Airport prior to my flight to check my email. When I arrived in England I opened my email to read how the horses had been evacuated and were all safe. This was done as a precaution in case the evacuation alert became an evacuation order, which it did a few days later.


When it comes to the stock market – things are up, things are down.

Overall, I haven’t had too much volatility when it comes to my money situation.

Though now that I’m retired that might drastically change!

My biggest losses happened during the market downturn for Covid and the Ukraine war, and those stocks still haven’t recovered. They’re hanging in and providing me with dividend income.

I ended up paying for Cajun’s board a year in advance, so that took a big chunk out of my savings. The ranch where Cajun lives specializes in retired horses and absentee owners. I didn’t want to come across as a flake who was planning to dump my horse on them, pay for a month, and then disappear.

I’m a responsible horseowner!

I applied for my CPP – Canadian Pension Plan. The monthly amount is based on your income during your working years. As a low income earner, my CPP is also low income! Apparently the average CPP amount is $750. Ha ha! I wish. I’m way below average. This monthly income goes directly into a savings account and next summer it will pay for another year’s board for Cajun.

Even if I’m not rich, handling my finances responsibly is all part of living a healthier lifestyle. Living debt-free contributes greatly to this.


I took one more road trip to Oregon in May. It was sad, the first time I’d stayed at the Ester Lee Motel in Lincoln City without a dog with me.

I’d taken two weeks vacation, and it was during this time that I turned in my resignation at work. I really liked that job, but with Shadow’s passing and my strong desire to leave Canada and figure out where I’m meant to be, it was time. I want to be a cowgirl who lives my best possible life! Or at least a wannabe cowgirl living a full life!

Travel is in my future. I’ll be heading to Spain for three months. About half that time I’ll be walking the Camino de Santiago. I’ve heard phrases like “the camino will provide” and the “camino will give you answers”. I’ve also heard others say the camino was just a really long walk. Nothing came to them!

Hopefully by this time next year I will have more travel destinations to share with you. For me, a healthier lifestyle includes travel.

International housesitter

As I write this blog post, I’m at my first housesit in London, England taking care of a wonderful little dog! Yay!

These owners will be back mid-August. From here, I have a housesit in Bristol for a week, and then another housesit for just over two weeks in the south.

Then I go to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago!

I’ll be back in England mid-December housesitting in Folkestone, a coastal town, until late January.

After that, I have no housesits lined up, but we’re still months out. I’d love to find a housesit in Australia for two to three months.


My goals in 2021 were very simple:

  1. Find a good paying job close to home.
  2. Find a new stable to keep Cajun.
  3. Increase my savings/investments.

Mostly my goals surrounded making enough money to board my horse.

OK, #1 and #2 from the above list can be wiped out. #3 is always a good one to keep on my list.

Two years later my goals are still pretty simple.

Here goes:

  1. Find long term housesits
  2. See more of the world
  3. Downsize my worldly possessions
  4. Increase my savings/investments

Keeping my life simple is all part of living a healthier lifestyle.

When it comes to keeping my body healthy, I continue the course when it comes to portion control and eating healthy at least 80% of the time. These days most of my exercise is walking. 5 miles or so a day, depending on the weather. For sure when I’m in Spain I’ll be doing a lot of walking. There will be a 800 km or 500 mile walk ahead of me.

What about stepping on the scale daily to check my weight? I would if I could. You probably already figured out I didn’t pack my bathroom scale in my suitcase. I haven’t spotted a scale in the house where I’m currently living. I think my weight might be up a bit, but my clothes still fit, so all is good.

What a year!

As you can see, maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes with ups and downs. And I’ve had a lot of changes this past year.

The most significant life changing event that affected me the most, was Shadow passing.

Followed by saying goodbye to Cajun as he begins his retirement. I never thought I’d get so emotional about that mischievous little guy. I’ll see him again because I’m keeping my eyes open to find a housesit in the area.

I’m glad for my health. Staying healthy – body, mind, and financials – is my goal for another year of maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

And now I’m off to begin my journey and a new chapter in my life as an international housesitter.

I am a citizen of the world.

Until next year’s update – stay well everyone. And thank you for reading The Lifestyle Digs!

Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on July 30, 2023.

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