Congratulations to Me!

by Mr. Cheap

Two years ago today I was reading Kevin Smith’s “Silent Bob Speaks” and in one passage he wrote about always feeling like his weight was something “he’d deal with later when it got really serious”. This startled me a little, as I felt exactly the same way (although I didn’t see myself as being quite as big as Mr. Smith).

I decided it might be time to get an objective measure, so I weighed myself, looked up the weight categories for my height and age, and found out I had passed through the “overweight” category and was now considered “obese”.

Being obese shocked me enough that I figured it was time to stop fooling around and to start dealing with my weight. I was visiting a friend at the time, and she was quite knowledgable about nutrition and weight loss, and was very helpful in figuring out the changes I had to make to start living a healthier life (thanks quietrose, you rock!!!). I read John Walker’s “The Hacker’s Diet“, followed his advice of weighing myself daily (and using a 10 day moving average to remove the jitter), then constantly made adjustments whenever my weight loss started to plateau.

Initially I cut out fast-food and non-diet soft drinks and that was enough to lose 2.5 pounds / week. As this rate of loss slowed down, I started measuring the caloric content of what I was eating and making healthier choices. I kept cutting things out until what I was eating was all quite healthy. At this point when my weight started plateauing again I started forcing myself to drink more water and eat smaller portions.

Over 7 months, I slimmed down to the point where I’m at the lower end of my recommended weight, and I basically bouncing around withing a 5 lbs range (when I start getting towards the upper end of the range I eat less, when I get close to the lower end I eat more). 1.5 years later (2 years since I started losing weight) I’m still maintaining my new weight. Its gotten so easy (especially since I’ve moved in with my girlfriend and am eating healthier food) that I don’t even really think about it anymore (or I think about it every time I eat, but its such a habit it doesn’t take any work).

Weight loss may not seem like it has a lot to do with personal finance, but I think there’s actually similarities here that people don’t notice: Things like the value to knowing as much as possible about your weight (or networth) and the true quality of the food you’re eating (or your investments). There are different ways to make changes, such as exercise (or earning more income) and diet (spending less money). If you only make one type of change, its very easy to sabotage yourself by the other (e.g. exercising and eating more or getting a raise and increasing your lifestyle spending). Both processes benefit from measuring your on-going process and making improvements as you see the opportunity to do so. Both are also hardest when you first start them (the first 3 days of a diet or a budget are going to be the hardest, they both get easier as you go).

I hope to post further about the value of measurement, which I really feel is key to enacting changes. But for today, give me a virtual pat on the back – I’ve earned it! 🙂

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Congrats!

That’s interesting about changing the diet as the weight plateaus. I’ve been losing some weight over the last year but the effort has certainly stalled. I went from 201 to 185 where I’ve been for a while but would like to get down to 175lb.

I think the psychology of investment and being overweight has some close similarities – there are a lot of people who are 25-30 pounds overweight and either don’t think there is anything wrong with it (ie future health risks) and also own mutual funds in their rrsps which charge 2.5 to 3% and they don’t think there is anything wrong with that either. Or maybe they do know and plan to “deal with it later”?

Mike

2

Congrats on losing and keeping the weight off!

3

Mr. Cheap– As always, congratulations on maintaining your weight loss! You are the one who totally rocks! It is easy to help a friend and give advice, but sometimes it is harder to follow one’s own advice. 🙂 I am very proud of you and wish you all the best, always.

And I think that it is true that keeping oneself physically healthy and financially healthy have a lot in common. The challenges and struggles of losing weight, getting and keeping an active lifestyle, being good to your body and soul, and dealing with your financial house and future are one in the same!

4

Weight loss and personal finance are excellent analogies to each other. They’re each about objectively assessing yuor situtation, establishing where you’d like to be, setting a plan to get there, and sticking to it.

I’m 27 and I’m discovering as I get old what that crazy term “metabolism” really means. In University, I wouldn’t think twice about, say a six-pack of beer and a huge helping of pizza with the guys at the end of the night. My stomach told me it was hungry, so I fed it. I’d wake up, shake it off and look and feel no worse for wear the next day.

Now? I have to get my heart rate up and sweat a few times a week just to maintain the same pace.

In my case, I’ve decided that I find gyms painfully boring. (Whenever I stop working out it was never because I was tired, I just couldn’t distract my brain from the monotony anymore) So my solution has been to join team sports. Tons of fun. It’s amazing — 45 minutes on a treadmill woudl bore me to tears, but put a ball in front of me and I’ll chase it around a field for hours. I’m like a dog!

Congrats on your weight loss. The health and financial benefits are measurable. But the boost in confidence and energy are immeasurable.

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