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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