Archive for July, 2007

I was reading the local paper online and came across this interesting story. Of about 21 foreign students (18 from Germany, and 3 from France) visiting the U.S. the one idea they all seemed to hold about Americans, was, well, I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“There are fat people in Germany…but not so many, and not so fat as here.”

And

“There are a lot of fat people in America[.]”

So, the one idea they seemed to all share was that we Americans are quite fat. But to illuminate and illustrate the quality of their assumptions and preconceptions, they also thought Americans:

  1. Own lots of pets (guilty as charged, I own four pets not counting fish).
  2. Live in “huge” houses (well does 1,300 square feet count as big?).
  3. Southerners were more open-minded than Northerners.
  4. Less stressed out.

So judge for yourself.

For my part, I think they have hit the nail on the head. They are observers with a fresh perspective, observers that- with child like candor- have shed light on our peculiar problem as a nation- obesity. What are we going to do about it?

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Well I wanted to post on money saving investments today, and all I could come up with was one idea.  So I will share my one idea and in return I hope you guys share some ideas on investments that will save money in the long term.

Buy a Freezer:  Who hasn’t been frustrated by the inability of their freezer to adequately contain the fruits of a trip to the grocery store?  And when meat goes on sale, a rare occurrence, it is a great idea to scoop up as much as possible (and reasonable).    For example, our local grocery store occasionally puts 3 lb bags of chicken breast on sale for $3.50 each.  The usual price is 7.99-8.99 per bag.

Now, if you owned an individual freezer unit you would have somewhere to put that discount meat- not to mention pastries, frozen veggies, and frozen fruits.

How much can you save with this idea?  Well let’s just take the chicken example.   My family goes through three bags a month (sometimes four).  At $8.50 per bag the cost over the year is $306, while the the cost at $3.50 per bag is less than $130 per year.  A savings of  $176 dollars over the year.  And that is JUST the chicken.

Now I know there are some costs associated with this.  For example electricity to run the unit.   But, to the best of my knowledge, once the unit is full it is relatively inexpensive to run- as the frozen goods in a packed refrigerator allow the unit to use less electricity than an empty freezer.

So what are your ideas?

As we near out first pay check in over two months (times have been tough but God provided) we are set to implement some money saving procedures and a much improved budget.   What have we done?  Well I will share with you three tips today to shrink your expenses and saved lots of money

First, perhaps the biggest change for us, we are limiting our grocery/all things Wal-Mart budget (excluding dog food) to $250 per month.  We are going to enforce this budget limit by taking out $250 cash at the beginning of the month and placing said cash in an envelope to be used each time we shop.  When the money runs out, no more groceries.  As an incentive to save more, 50% of the money left over at the end of the month can be used for ANYTHING we want.

Estimated Savings: $200-400/month

Second, we are going automatic.  We are signing up as many bills as possible for automatic bill pay.  We have been paying anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars in late fees each month.  The main offender is our water bill.  It is the only bill that comes without a return envelope and is therefore easy to forget about.  To make matters worse the local water department are known in our house as the water Nazi’s- if you are two weeks late with your bill they shut off the water and charge $20 bucks (plus late fee) to reconnect.  As if they weren’t selling the most abundant resource that only cost about $30 a month, and we were somehow going to run off without paying that hefty $35 dollar water bill….geesh.

Estimated Savings: $5-$25 dollars

Third, we will be paying down our lowest balance credit card in a month or two and using that card for gasoline- NOTHING else!  Well okay, emergencies, but only real emergencies.  The card will be paid off before the end of each month.  It will help us budget our gas money and allow for quick and easy gas purchases.  Tried buying gas without a credit card lately?  It isn’t fun.

Estimated Savings$10-$25/month on interest

OVERALL estimated servings:  $215-$450 dollars

Well today was the start of my (insert large number here) Two Week Total Transformation Challenge  [I really should trademark that].  So last night I sat and thought about how to make this two weeks different from the more than a dozen challenges that preceded it.  The answer…

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Taking a trip through your Askimet spam folder is like taking a jaunt through the red light district of freakiness. I certainly don’t recommend it for the faint of heart or strict of morals. But if you do cruise your Askimet folder, you will never fail to find something shocking or disgusting. The world apparently has no shortage of nasty fetishes and weirdos willing to spam my (and your blog) with links.

These strange comments range from the mundane celebrity nudity claims [Beyonce’s Breasts, Lohan’s Crotch, etc.] to the especially freaky and downright contemptible and disgusting [pre-teen girls, pee drinking] and other things that send shivers of revulsion down your spine.

But one particular comment stands out. I received this comment about a month ago. [I have removed the offensive material]

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Long before there was the Total Transformation Test blog there was “Musing, Rants, and Monologues.” It was my first blog and it ran from June 2005 through August of 2006. M.R.M. represents a different phase in my life, and a very different writing style. My writing was a bit less polished, my humor and criticism much more caustic, and my topics much more political.

On this blog I try my best (often without success) to avoid political topics- as this is primarily a weight loss blog. I don’t want my radical right wing libertarian politics to drive away those interested in losing weight and beginning a healthy lifestyle.

However, after going over some blog posts from the old blog (for some unknown reason) I can’t resist introducing a new kind of blog post entitled “Classic Posts.” These Classic Posts will highlight posts from the old blog that I consider hidden gems- in an otherwise poorly maintained and inconsistent (not to mention poorly read) blog.

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As I have a very full day before me- mostly involving me, my wife, my daughter and various forms of gymnastics- I will leave you with this short post.  Take time and enjoy these top ten posts.

How Many Push-Ups Does it Take to get to the Center of an Awesome Body?

I wrote this post in May, and ever since it has been one of my most viewed posts on a daily basis.  I thought it was a throw-away post at the time, guess I was wrong.

Stop the Bleeding

Need some inspiration to escape credit card debt? Start here.

Also see Starting Your Total Financial Transformation.

A Question for Christians- Is the World Comfortable with You?

What’s your answer?

Training for Ninja Warrior

Yup, I really am.

My Unconventional Workout Tools

I can’t forget the boys that brung me, eh?  My wonderful and wacky workout tools.

How to Break Pateaus.

A few suggestions to help make all that hard work productive.

Living the Deliberate Life

A somewhat complete guide to beginning to live a thoughtful and purposeful life.

Also see this rough outline.  I will get around to finish this sooner or later.  Promise.

My Most Recent Before and After Pictures 

The proof is in the pudding..I mean…the pictures.  But Pudding does sound good right about now.

A Fireside Chat with the Adversary

He is actually quite amiable in person.  A little too amiable.

Sexerise

Wonder why everyone loves this post?  I just can’t figure it out.