Money and Calories: How I Have Both under Control
Why having a healthy attitude toward your finances can help you ace other areas of your life.
I can’t blame giving birth to my son for my weight gain. In fact, after his arrival, I was still an average size for my height.
Months later, in 2012, it started happening, and in the three years since, I have gained 35 pounds.
Deep down, I knew it was a result of poor eating choices and inactivity. Like millions of other women, I’ve fallen for fad diets, supplements and exercise programs that promised to slim me down with little effort from me.
First on my list was a 30-day supply of green-bean coffee extract that I stopped taking halfway through the month. They were advertised as free aside from $4.95 for shipping, but in reality, the company charged me $100 once the one-week trial was over.
Next were raspberry ketone chews that were supposed to suppress my appetite. They never worked, but at least, I didn’t have to spend any money on them because I got a free bag after working as a product demonstrator one weekend. Normally, they would retail anywhere between $20 and $30 for a bag of 90.
I found an online fitness group that promised to keep me motivated and fitter. I spent about $79 to register and never logged in once. My $20/month gym membership was another no-show by me.
Most recently, I signed on for a three-week fitness and diet program that involved drinking a meal replacement shake and exercising every day. The workout DVDs and a 30-day supply of the shake ran $140. Again, I fell off the wagon in the middle of the program. My excuse: Not enough time in the morning and too tired after work!
Not a Lack of Time, But a Lack of Motivation
At first, I believed that fiction myself.
The simple fact was that I had no motivation to lose weight while with my finances I wake up every day with a laser-like focus to kill it in terms of paying off debt and saving.
Then it struck me like a heavy bag of potato chips: trying to lose weight is the same as managing your money well.
Portion Control vs. Budgeting
Portion control is to weight loss what budgeting is to financial success. Gorging on food and a lazy lifestyle can add those pounds as quickly as you can lose your savings if you give in to lifestyle inflation, or the lure of the credit cards.
You have to set limits for yourself and know when enough is enough. For me, that meant sitting down and taking 10 extra minutes to plan out my grocery list and meal prep for the week.
Exercise vs. Hustling
While I was unmotivated to do anything about my weight, when it came to earning an extra income, I was full of energy and stamina. I’m a bit of a hustler actually. I never let go of an opportunity to make a little more money. I just needed to apply this attitude to my exercise program.
Instead of trying to force myself to commit to workout programs that were created as a one-size-fits-all solution, I started running on nice days. I started with a 10 minute jog and walk session. Then I got up to running a half-mile and later graduated to running a full mile.
And the results are beginning to show. I am happy – as happy as someone watching her bank balance grow.
Delaying your Gratification
Yes, saying no to going to a burger joint with friends can be just as painful as saying no to an impulse purchase. It takes self-discipline to walk away from temptations. You can start by surrounding yourself with people who share your values. Having an accountability partner can be very helpful.
I am now 10 pounds lighter and counting. In my case, I applied my financial philosophy to help me manage my weight. It works even if the situation is reversed. Some may have a great exercise regimen, but a very anemic financial situation! Either way, follow these steps and both your diet and your finances will be healthier.