One of my favorite things about blogging has become engaging with my readers. I love the comments and emails I get, and do my best to respond to them timely. I’m not always successful but I am trying, as I realize my success as a blogger is due greatly to you wonderful readers.
Today’s post is just a little update about the 609 Credit Verification Method. I’ve gotten several emails from people with loads of questions. It’s become clear to me that my posts need some clarification. I am working on sitting down and cleaning those posts up, making the information easier to read and understand. In the meantime, let me address the main question or line of questioning I’ve been getting from my readers.
Just about every single question on those posts pertains to specific credit scenarios and if the credit verification letters will work for them. I’d like to take this moment to reiterate that when you write the 609 credit verification letters, it doesn’t matter who incurred the debt on your record or how it was incurred. It doesn’t matter how much debt was incurred. All that matters is that information that is on your credit report is being reported unlawfully unless the credit agency has in their file a hard copy of the contract between you and the credit with your signature. They likely do not have that because these companies are just uploading the information in batches and sending it over electronically to the credit agencies. It’s must faster and cheaper than faxing over the actual contract.
What you are doing is taking advantage of that fact and calling their bluff. You’re not disputing that you owe the money; you’re disputing their right to report it without providing proof that you owe it. The letters are demanding that they send you a copy of the signed contract with your name. The law provides that you are entitled to that. If they can’t produce it, they are legally obligated to delete the item from your record.
I have an update for you regarding my own personal experiment with the verification letters. All three agencies deleted negative items from my records, but I did still have a lien in the “Public Records” section of my reports. It was a huge tax lien that I’ve been negotiating with the IRS after years of trying to fight it. In a nutshell, I did contract work for a large company and paid a third party a huge finder’s fee. The third party didn’t want to pay taxes on the finder’s fee I paid them and manipulated things to make it look like they didn’t get the money. I was naïve at the time and didn’t know much about taxes, and didn’t take the proper steps to document the transaction. Lesson learned. But the outcome was that I ended up fighting a losing battle with the IRS. I decided to give up and am currently in negotiations to settle the lien. In the meantime, it was reported as public record on my credit and looks just as bad as a bankruptcy to prospective lenders.
Well, just for kicks, I included the lien on my 609 credit verification letters, never expecting that it would be removed. To my amazement, I got letters from the credit agencies stating that they did remove the lien! It impacted my score but not by much. But it feels so good to have that removed. I know I still owe it and like I said, I’m currently working on it, but the feeling of freedom from seeing that deleted is incredible.
If you are working on improving your credit score, in addition to making better choices and being more organized, please give these letters a try. I can’t guarantee you that you will have my results, but you will know that you’ve done everything in your power to take control of your own score profile. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?
It’s a rainy, chilly fall day here in NC, and while I am fully aware that this will become old really quick, for now I am enjoying it. I’ve been missing the autumns I enjoyed when I lived in the North, but the trees lately in NC have been glorious!
On the weight loss progress front, I have not much to report, so I will hold off numbers and photo until next Tuesday. My no-sugar streak lasted 16 days. I had a party to attend on Saturday that included cake and alcohol and while I never had any cravings or intense desire for any sugar, I did modestly partake. I was handed a couple drinks containing vodka and juice and I drink them. Also, I had a little cake. I was surprised that I stopped myself at a little, because it is commonly known to my friends and family that I LOVE cake.
What was even more surprising to me, however, was the effect that the sugar had on me. I came home and had the most difficult time sleeping. My body was buzzing and my heart was racing until about 7:00 Sunday morning, when I finally managed to fall asleep. I woke up at about 11:00 a.m. Sunday with some crazy heartburn that lasted most of the day. I am happy to say that I am now back on track and off the sugar, ready to aim for a full 21 days at least.
Before I go, I want to share a picture of the little squirrel my husband put on one of the cakes for the party last minute. He modeled it (and the acorns) in minutes out of homemade modeling chocolate and it was a real hit!
Have a wonderful day!
Good morning! It’s time again for an update on my weight loss progress. I’ve posted a photo wearing my traditional Transformation Tuesday uniform of my denim shorts and Guinness shirt (Oh my, what am I going to do when it gets really cold?).
Since my last weigh-in and since I’ve cut sugar and sweeteners from my diet completely (13 days ago), the scale has recorded a 4 pound loss. At first glance that can be disappointing, and quite honestly, the scale has been up and down the past two weeks. That means that my weight has been recorded between 316 and 320, a total of 14 pounds lost since the beginning of this journey (which has been side tracked quite a bit). I’m not doing any formal exercise (something I intend to remedy), but since eating like this, I’ve had a lot more energy and so I am on my feet and busy much more than I had been.
The telling aspect for me is how my clothes are fitting, in particular, my pants. I have one pair of jeans that I normally have to wiggle my way into and then lie on the bed, suck in my breath and push down my fat stomach in order to zip up. This week, however, it was just a matter of sucking in my stomach and pulling the zipper up (while standing!). The denim shorts I’m wearing in the photo above can now just be pulled up over my hips and belly without even undoing the button or zipper.
I’m not seeing much of a change in my liver roll, that fatty roll that started right beneath my boobs and is migrating downward. But the roll beneath that, my stomach roll, is definitely disappearing, and when I compare this photo to the last photo, it’s much less perceptible in the new one.
Over all, I feel better than I look, and so I will not discredit my progress. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, I have no more regular sugar/carb cravings and I’m getting a lot more nutrients in my body with the raw greens and veggies and moderate protein and organic grass-fed dairy.
On occasion I make cakes for different events and I’ve got two coming up this weekend. I started this week on some aspects of the cakes, such as the modeling chocolate decorations, and I was surprised to find how easy it was to avoid consuming any of it. The desire is just gone and the smell of the sugary sweets is a little sickening to me.
I feel like any time now, things will start moving faster as I maintain consistency. As lame as it sounds, 13 days of anything is quite rare for me. They say it only takes 21 days to form a habit. I really want to see this out.
Thanks for checking in and I hope you have a wonderful week and achieve all your goals!
As a general rule, I don’t watch documentaries. I break that rule from time to time, but rarely. It’s not that I don’t like a good documentary, but there are certain topics I feel that I am pretty knowledgeable about, and when a documentary comes along that supports my conclusions on a given topic or exposes the selfish agenda of agencies or individuals who are supposed to be helping individuals, raging righteous indignation sets in, and I don’t often handle my feelings in the most appropriate way. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that I sometimes possess a kindred understanding of people who say and do bat-shit crazy things seemingly out of the blue to get a point across.
My husband, by contrast, is a documentary junkie. Working from home enables him to indulge in this obsession pretty much day and night. Of the two monitors set up on his desk in his home office, one is always, without fail, running a documentary of some sort. And also without fail, after each film, my husband will give me an account of what he’s just watched and try to persuade me to watch as well. I always tell him no thanks. Until last week, that is.
About a week ago, I gave in and sat down on the couch with my husband and watched a documentary called “That Sugar Film.” The documentary was made by an Australian man, Damon Gameau, who decided to embark on a 60‑day experiment wherein he would consume Australia’s national average of 40 teaspoons of sugar per day and record the changes to his otherwise healthy body and mind. This was remarkable for him, as he had been sugar-free (including no processed foods) for 3 years. The aim of this rather light-hearted documentary with a serious message is to educate about the real toxic effects of sugar on our bodies in the quantities that Western nations consume it. As far as health documentaries go, it was mild, as well as entertaining. I highly recommend taking some time to watch it.
A couple nights later, serious PMS and a nasty cold took me down, and as I could find nothing worthwhile on the television, and Gameau’s sugar documentary was still on my mind, I decided to Netflix Katie Couric’s documentary, “Fed Up”, another documentary my husband has been talking incessantly about and trying to get me to watch with him. It highlights the pervasiveness of sugars in our diet and our government’s long-time complicity with the food manufacturers in keeping the population in the dark about nutrition, while continually pushing the garbage products. The film features families with obese children who are struggling to lose weight, and dumbfounded that cutting calories, consuming goods labeled as “heart healthy” or “fat free” and incorporating exercise don’t seem to work as far as promoting healthy minds and bodies.
My takeaway from this documentary is 1.) Processed sugar is killing us – Literally. It’s toxic, it’s addictive and not one of its many forms is better than another. Learn the various names for processed sugar and read labels. Better yet, stop eating processed foods. Buy healthy wholesome ingredients and cook for yourself; and 2.) Take the time to educate yourself on nutrition. Don’t look to the government recommendations to lead you in the right direction. There are so many different approaches to health, some more insane than others, but be objective. Ask questions. Find out what’s in the food you’re eating and find out why and how foods affect your body in the way that they do. Better yet, stop eating processed foods! Buy healthy wholesome ingredients and cook for yourself!
Where have I heard that before?
Happy Tuesday, everyone. How goes it?
So I returned later from my trip than I had anticipated. I miss my family. That is a strange thing for me to say, as when I did live in the same state as my extended family, we hardly saw each other. We’re all married, have our own responsibilities and struggles and finding time to get together has always been difficult. I’ve had to keep reminding myself this since I’ve returned to North Carolina. We were there for a wedding and while it was a great experience convening with my fam, it’s just not typical.
As expected, I did drink wine and eat cake. I had allowed myself that, but it was not nearly as much as I had assumed I would. Maybe it was the fact that I had gone entirely wine and sugar free the week prior, but the sweetness of the cake was overwhelming to an unpleasant degree and the wine just didn’t do it for me. So I mostly imbibed water. Lots of it.
Returning last week, I immediately spiraled into a bit of depression. As mentioned before, I was just missing the loud laughter and chaos of my family and coping with the cloudy gloom that had settled here in NC – quite a contrast from the gorgeous weather offered in Ohio for the weekend of the wedding and following days (again, not typical). I’m slowly coming out of it.
I’m not going to post a picture today, as I’m carrying an extra 5 pounds of water and so I’ve nothing to celebrate. Every time I take that 7 hour drive to Ohio from North Carolina, my body swells up. My legs take on a tree-trunk-like appearance and my feet feel like they’re going to burst out of my shoes. This was likely another reason why I didn’t indulge in the sugar and alcohol I had been looking forward to. It only lasted a couple days, but then there was the drive back home to contend with, and for some reason it seemed worse and has lasted longer than the drive up.
I do have an interesting anecdote from my trip. In one of my first blog posts I think I mentioned how my family views obesity. My mother mentioned to me the other day that had she helped Charles Manson himself dispose of his murder victims, her father (my grandfather) would forgive her if only she was trim and fit while doing it. It sounds silly, but in my family everyone has been ingrained that being overweight is the ultimate sin. Unfortunately for my mother, only myself and one of my sisters have the curse of being overweight.
I had not seen my grandfather in a little over a year. I was shocked at his appearance at the wedding. He is tiny and frail and his dementia has progressed to the point where he barely remembers anyone anymore. I approached him to say hello and give him a hug. His lip curled up in his signature sneer and he said to me, “You’ve gained a little weight haven’t you?” With my ears and face burning from the humiliation of about six of my cousins witnessing the encounter, I acknowledged that I had.
A couple days later I stopped by my grandparents’ home to visit. I literally fielded 2 ½ hours of questions from my grandfather about my weight. “Have you always been so heavy?” “Is your mother that heavy?” “Do you have plans to slim down?” and so on. In his earlier years before the dementia settled in, he never would have voiced his concerns. Not to me anyway. They would usually come by way of my grandmother, to my mother, to myself. But he can’t help it, I know. He’s just a shell of who he once was: The man who used to make me crisp waffles topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup; who always kept a stash of his favorite treat – maple cream sticks – to feed us grandchildren when we would visit; the same man who ran up to the store every time a grandchild visited, to pick up popsicles or soda. I often wonder how my cousins managed to maintain slim figures despite these terrible eating habits, but I digress.
I came home more determined to lose this damned weight, and now that the fog of the post-vacation blues is wearing off, I will get to it. I should mention that I’ve been eating clean since my return. The water weight is just a temporary issue that should resolve itself soon, I’m sure. I haven’t exercised since I’ve been back and I know once I jump back on that, I will get the scale moving again.
And with that, I leave you all until next week. Have a great one!
It is with agonizing humility that I return here to pick up where I left off. I realize it’s almost 2 months since my last post, and every tortuous Tuesday that has passed by with my own radio silence has rung out as silent defeat to my ears. I’ve had on and off (mostly off) days/weeks. Sugar-fueled weekends turned into weeks, and the internal rally to get up and move! went largely ignored by my senses, dulled by idleness, wine, chocolate, and angst over the minutia of life.
But I’m nothing if not persistent. I’ve not given up. I’ve renewed my renouncement of my drug and have managed to conquer 3 whole days with no sugar, with Day 4 just hours away from being ass-whooped.
And so it was, with little enthusiasm but a hopeful heart, that this morning I donned my Guinness T-shirt and jean shorts, took a jaunt to the scale and then outside for my Transformation Tuesday photo.
Surprisingly, I’m 10 pounds lighter than when I first started this journey. I’m currently at 320. So that means that I must have managed to rid myself of 3 pounds during the past couple months. My initial reaction to this photo was incredible disappointment, but then I took a moment to compare all of my progress photos thus far, and I observed something: My fat rolls are definitely creeping south, drastically so. So there is either less fat or less water retention buoying those puppies up. It’s a snail’s pace but beyond my expectations, so I’ll take it!
I started my weight training regime again two days ago (a maneuver that instantaneously improved my sleep quality), and the intention is to continue building muscle whilst managing my eating.
Can I just tell you that I’m headed out of town for a beloved cousin’s wedding this weekend and I’m terrified? I know it’s going to be a wine-and-cake kind of weekend and I will let you know up front that I will be partaking. It’s how we celebrate everything and it’s been so long since I’ve seen my family. And I want to. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?
Do I have a plan? Yes. Well, sort of. Just jump back on track Monday. I’ve already recruited my husband as my accountability partner, a task he seems to be all too eager to take on (I suppose I’ll forgive him), as well as committed to updating you the following day, Tuesday, August 25, 2015.
So until then, thank you for sticking with me and have an incredible week!
Did you know that a healthy liver is very, very crucial to fat burning? I might have heard that at some point but never really paid attention until I started watching Dr. Eric Berg’s videos on YouTube. Of all the weight loss experts I’ve paid attention to, he makes the most sense to me.
I’ve discovered that I am the “T-type” or Thyroid Body Type, which is indicated by the way I gain weight – all over! An underlying cause of the T-type’s difficulty in burning fat is the thyroid gland. This corroborates my doctor’s finding more than 10 years ago that my thyroid was not working as it should; however, I was frustrated over the migraines caused by synthetic thyroid hormone medication and never followed through with the treatment. I have since learned that hypothyroidism is almost always a secondary condition (unless one has been exposed to radiation), and because conventional thyroid treatment does not treat the underlying cause of hypothyroidism, patients on synthetic thyroid rarely lose weight, so I don’t feel much regret over foregoing the medication.
80% of our thyroid function occurs in the liver. One of the liver’s 500-plus functions is to convert T4 hormone into active T3 hormone. A congested or sluggish liver will affect the thyroid’s ability to perform its primary function – metabolism!
High levels of estrogen will also negatively impact the thyroid gland. Estrogen competes with thyroid hormone and blocks the receptors in the gland to inhibit the uptake of thyroid hormone, causing hypothyroidism. As I’m also estrogen dominant, this no doubt has contributed to my weight gain.
After a lot of research, my takeaway from all of this is that I need to get my body healthy in order to lose the weight, not the other way around. And that mindset has been working for me!
I can report a 4-pound weight loss this week! I am pretty psyched about it. This morning after my husband took this week’s Transformation Tuesday photo, I compared it with last week’s (I chose the same shirt for consistency) and noticed a very subtle change in the way I am carrying my stomach fat now. It’s much droopier and hangs quite a bit lower than last week. It’s awkward and uncomfortable but I’m really trying to be positive about it.
So what have I been doing? Well, I’m still abstaining from sugar and starches, but still giving myself some leeway on the weekend. This past weekend I had a bonfire to go to and I had a piece of cake and one cocktail. A Bombay Sapphire and tonic with lime. I nursed that drink the entire evening, along with several glasses of water. Sunday I didn’t even feel like having anything unhealthy. In the interests of cleansing my liver, I have been juicing a grapefruit or two in the morning, and eating a lot of greens throughout the day. I’m actually starting to crave them now. I hadn’t planned on so much kale and spinach salad, but I’ve reached the point where if I have a choice between cooked veggies or raw greens, I choose the greens. My salads also have a lot of healthy fats in them in the form of extra virgin olive oil, olives or avocados. I have a little fish or shrimp with my greens and if I get really hungry in the afternoons during my really sluggish time, I will have a few nuts, an egg or I will break out the kale chips. I have not had cravings at all, which is a victory in itself.
Cooler still, this has all been without exercise! I know I need to exercise, but it just didn’t happen much this week at all due to crummy weather and my lack of enthusiasm.
Finally, I’m really trying to improve my sleeping habits. All fat loss happens when we sleep and if we aren’t getting sufficient quality sleep, we aren’t burning fat. It’s that simple. This is a really difficult thing for me to do. I really don’t sleep well at night and so getting to bed earlier and putting my phone and tablet outside the bedroom on a table in the hallway is really difficult for me, but I’m doing it. Last night I fell asleep rather early, but kept waking up every hour until 5:00 a.m. Perhaps tonight will be an improvement.
All in all, a good productive week! The weight loss gives me a little more motivation. I can do this. Until next time, have a great week!
Today is Wednesday, so I’m a day late with my Transformation Tuesday post. I apologize for the delay, but crummy weather and irritating circumstances prevented this post from going up yesterday.
Do we know what the link is between extreme humidity and water retention? I couldn’t find anything concrete on the Internet. Despite the past five days of very clean eating, I’m retaining so much water. My rings don’t fit my fingers and buttoning a pair of jeans this morning was more torture than usual. I haven’t been drinking as much water as I really need to, so I can’t really cry foul yet. But I’m not drinking soda or alcohol and aside from the occasional sip of black coffee – no sweetener of any sort either – I just can’t seem to release the water. So I will up my intake of H2o and see what comes of it.
The scale is showing no change. At all. I’m trying not to be too disappointed as 1) Numbers aren’t everything; and 2) The aforementioned water retention. The past five days have been kale and spinach salads with cashews, olive oil, and lots of fresh veggies; grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed by yours truly; and roasted salmon and green beans. Sunday night I had a setback of three Oreo cookies and a bag of microwave popcorn; and Monday afternoon while babysitting my nephews, I had a mini pack of peanut butter crackers, so I’ve not been strictly clean.
I’ve noticed that the challenge with food comes between late afternoon and evening before I go to bed. I tried to combat this yesterday by making a batch of kale chips, for the first time. I got the dinosaur kale variety from my mom’s garden, washed and dried the leaves, tossed with olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning and laid the leaves out onto the racks of my dehydrator. I actually forgot all about the kale until this morning. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The “chips” have the texture of seaweed or nori wraps, but a much better taste. I think I can happily eat these when I get the munchies.
Exercise has been light to moderate. No heavy weight training like I had intended. The walking has been sparse as well. The weather has been extremely hot and humid, and we’ve gotten a lot of storms and rain as well, which keeps me indoors.
Here is the result:
The shirt I’m wearing in this photo shows my fat rolls in all their glory, much more so than the black shirt in the previous photo. But until I do something about it, it is what it is. I have noticed that the subcutaneous fat in my belly and hip region has gotten a lot mushier and sags more. From what I’ve read, this is a good thing because it means that toxins are being moved out of the fat cells. If anyone knows any differently, please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for reading and until next time, have a great day!
Well, it’s Tuesday, that time again. The results are not impressive, let me be honest.
It’s been an insane past week and weekend, as I knew it would be. I had two big cake projects to complete for Saturday and it was stressful. I say this every time I make a cake, but I’m going to say it again. I don’t care if I never see cake again! Of course that will only last a few weeks. We all know I love cake.
Surprisingly, I didn’t eat much cake at all. For the wedding I made a three-tiered cake that included a 12-inch white cake with fresh strawberry butter cream filling and then 9 and 6-inch tiers of dark chocolate cake with hazelnut mocha butter cream filling. The entire thing was covered in vanilla Swiss butter cream. Once we delivered and cut the cake, I tasted a very fine sliver of the vanilla cake.
That same evening, we then delivered a two-tiered white/vanilla cake with the strawberry butter cream filling and then came home and collapsed into bed, but not before I downed an entire bottle of Cab Sav. Ugh. When I woke up the next morning, my legs looked like tree trunks. Also, while I truly didn’t think much about eating all weekend due to the cake mess in my kitchen and stressful deadline, I did grab a veggie pizza one night for convenience and had three slices.
So here it is, Transformation Tuesday and you’re looking for results! So, drum roll please…. No change. None. Not one pound more; not one pound less. I’m relieved. I did manage to get three workouts in last week so the week was not a total loss.
However nonchalant I may seem, I am committed. Yesterday I ate a lot of steamed broccoli and some chicken and finished the evening off with salmon and a nice kale and spinach salad. No wine, and lots of water. I went to the store yesterday and filled my fridge with greens and vegetables and made sure there was no wine in the house to tempt me.
I’m about to go do my workout for the day (obviously the early morning workouts aren’t happening for me) and I have a plate of chicken and steamed veggies waiting for me when I’m finished.
In other news, business for my husband and me has been… busy. We’ve gotten into whiteboard animations through our joint company and I’ve decided to start incorporating the whiteboards into my blog for a more entertaining and engaging feel. I hope you will feel free to give me honest feedback. Until then, my friends, have a wonderful day!
It’s a small accomplishment and a surprise considering the fact that I didn’t keep my eating clean this week (after a rough few days I uncorked a bottle of red wine last night, drank a glass and also had some tortilla chips with my guacamole. The salt, sugar and alcohol has me so bloated today, my fingers look like sausages!). I believe the exercise was the real hero and I intend to keep that up.
Sugar is and has always been my crack. In fact, it’s been stated by researchers that a sugar addiction is more difficult to overcome than a drug addiction. It’s little wonder then that sugar has been given so many deceptive names, and continues to confuse even savvy consumers. I’m not sure I would necessarily categorize myself as savvy, but I know when I’m eating sugar. It’s a somewhat conscious overthrow of my will when I break down and eat it. Figuring out why is proving a challenge, as I already suspected it would. How can I overcome something I haven’t yet established?
Honestly, I think I do have clues as to why I’m in this situation. Old traumas and ensuing deep psychological issues have ensured a nice fatty cocoon of protection from having to deal with the stresses of a “normal” everyday life. The problem is, this kind of life brings on its own set of stresses. I tell myself that I would gladly trade one set for the other. So what gives?
While I’m figuring that out, I will keep struggling on this journey. Three pounds is only a start, so I won’t let myself be discouraged over it. As I’ve got a crazy week and weekend ahead of me, I will simply do the best I can until the chaos is over and on Monday I will really dig in my heels and be strict with my eating habits. In the meantime, I will continue to exercise, drink a lot of water and maintain a positive attitude!