We live by rules in every part of our life – finances, marriage, work and government, to name of few. But, we expect NOT to live by rules when it comes to food. For some reason we think those kind of rules are bad, unhealthy, limiting, no fun, unfair, damaging and inconvenient. Why would it be any different than the rules we have with our finances? We fully understand that we are expected to work for our paycheck, and we are expected to pay our bills – and, if we don’t, there are serious repercussions.
Since we are expected to not spend more than we make, most of us live on some type of budget. Well, in the same way you must budget your money, you should also budget your food. If you eat more than you can “afford” to eat, you will have repercussions to your actions. Those repercussions come in the form of weight gain and health issues.
Think of how someone manages a business. It doesn’t matter how much they profit, if they don’t also consider their loss. It’s the balance that matters. In the same way, it doesn’t matter how much you “work” (exercise) if you are still eating more than you can afford. Every extra pound of fat “over the limit” is a sign that you have been irresponsible with your body account – your loss is greater than your profit. You are, essentially, living “in the red”.
The only difference between overeating and overspending is no one repos your car or takes your house. Your “punishment” is the extra baggage you have to lug around and the evidence you see of your past actions in the mirror every day. So that’s the bad news. The good news is, you can erase the debt! You can literally work off the hole you got yourself into just like we work off financial debt – by working hard, going on a budget, and sticking to it until the debt is gone.
Will you have to make sacrifices? Of course. Will you be able to live the way you have been used to living? No. So go ahead and get your whining out of your system and get over it. I’ll be honest with you, a lot of things have to change. But that is a good thing. The way you have been living got you where you are now. And, if you are overweight, I bet you are not happy where you are now. So why would you want to continue doing things that always give you the same bad result?
When I look at my credit card balance, I forget what I even bought. I wonder how in the world I ever spent that much money. The fine dining and the clothes (I already given away to Goodwill) are gone. It all comes with a price. Now I’m paying it off – and, quite honestly, it’s not fun. BUT I know the reward once I do pay it off. I understand I am paying the price now for what I couldn’t afford earlier – and in many ways, that is exactly what we are doing with our weight. The extra work we have to do in the gym, and the sacrifices we have to make out of the gym are all part of the process to reach our goal.
How do you stick to this new budget and not give up or give in? The key to success is to constantly remind yourself of the big picture. Instead of thinking about what you are missing out on right NOW, you must think about what you would miss out on LATER if you don’t stick to your plan.
If you have a weight issue, I challenge you to rethink the way you treat food. Like your spending, indulging in the extras should be an occasional treat – not a daily habit. Rules are not evil, they are there to protect you and they are healthy. It’s living without rules that is the most damaging. If you are overweight, you are experiencing the damage firsthand. So,every time you are tempted, remember the repercussions for doing what is wrong and remember the reward for doing what is right. Focus on what you are working toward – and don’t you dare let anything get in your way!
Have you ever wondered why your best buddy loved the Adkins diet, but you hated it. Or maybe a friend lost lost 20lbs on weight watchers but the scale didn’t budge for you? Well, here’s my very unscientific, but completely logical, approach to why certain diets work for some people, and they bomb for others.
Here are 5 popular diet methods, and why each of them can produce results or regret.
1. Meat Lovers: Paleo and Adkins diets are high-protein meat lover diets, so people who love meat do well. People, like me, who could go without it and not miss it struggle. Steve loves meat – I mean LOVES IT! So, he’s thoroughly enjoying the Paleo Diet. It’s harder for me, so I am beefing up my veggies so I can enjoy my meals, where Steve is totally fine putting a big clump of meat on his plate and calling it a “meal”. I have to be more creative with my meals to stay content.
2. Sugar Busters: This diet works well for people who have an issue with sweets. If I cut sweets out of my diet, I wouldn’t make a lot of changes. I just don’t crave sweets. So, if I went on this diet I would not lose that much weight because I wouldn’t be cutting that many calories out of my diet. All mainstream diets, no matter what “gimmick” or set of guidelines is given, works because it is based on a set number of calories by industry standards. Reduce sugar, reduce calories.
3. Carb Cutters: Low carb, or no-carb, diets get huge results for the people who love their bread and potatoes. If I completely cut carbs out of my diet, I’d drop weight too because I love me some carbs (lots of carbs means lots of calories). However, not everyone likes carbs like I do. So different strokes for different folks.
4. Weight Watchers: Someone can even goof up weight watchers if they aren’t careful. I’ve known people to overeat items that are low in points (or have “zero points”) and they don’t understand why they don’t get results. If you are an overeater, this diet may not work for you because you will find some way to cheat the system. However, if you are unhealthy eater, weight watchers is a great way to get your food in balance and learn how to eat better, which will naturally reduce your caloric intake.
5. Calorie Counters: Counting calories works – unless you are lazy, unorganized, forgetful or don’t have the tools you need to track calories properly. So, someone can even mess this up too. They may say “counting calories doesn’t’ work for me”. What they most likely mean is “I know counting calories works, but I don’t want to do it”.
If you are trying to lose weight and you’ve tried various diets that have failed, don’t give up. Think of the reasons you loved them, and the reasons you hated them. Learn more about yourself and the reason each diet works for others. Try new things and reattempt things you might have gone about all wrong in the past. You must continue to explore new and improved ways to eat and live healthy. You WILL succeed as long as you never give up.
We have all complained about our credit card bills. Everyone has bought stuff they couldn’t afford at the time – and now it’s time to pay it off. It’s not fun, and many times we aren’t even enjoying the purchase by the time we are paying it off, which stinks even more!
We do the same thing with food. We eat it, whether we can afford it or not, and when it comes time to pay it off we gripe, complain and act like we are the victim. Like being in debt to our eyeballs, we did it to ourselves and it’s time we start manning up, paying it off, and becoming more disciplines.
1. Pay it off (completely). Don’t just pay it down and then rack up the calories again the first chance you get. Pay it off completely. Get to the size you know you should be before you start your “spending” again. Then, if you increase your spending, remember to keep paying it down while the amount is small – never letting your fat account get that high again.
2. Practice more discipline. If you can’t afford it, you really shouldn’t eat it – especially if you know you aren’t willing to pay it off fast. Be honest with yourself. Are you REALLY going to wake up in the morning and run an extra 3 miles to erase the ice cream you’re eating tonight? Remember, when you are losing weight, you are already paying off past mistakes, so any more calories you eat will require ADDITIONAL work to erase.
3. Eat like American Express. The wonderful thing about American Express is you pay it off each month. We should treat eating that way. We should only eat what we are willing to pay off that month. Unfortunately, most people eat like a Visa card – they eat what they want and just do the bare minimum to get by – resulting in carrying a large balance that never gets paid down.
Subscribe to my pFITblog for more tips and encouragement.
People walk around carrying enormous caloric debt, storing previously borrowed calories on their backside, and there’s no bailout coming. Unlike financial debt, you can’t file bankruptcy to make it all go away. The only answer is, dare I say, a budget.
Just like money, when we get really behind, recovering from our mistakes calls for drastic measures. Strict budgets and number crunching is what we have to do to get us back on track. Unfortunately, many people ignore the pink elephant. Pretending like everything is fine, they continue to get more and more in the rears – pun intended!
As you know, spending can easily get out of hand if you aren’t tracking every dollar. The same goes for calories. It’s nearly impossible to manage calories without keeping a close watch on them like you would your bank account.
Pay It Off
Another way to reduce our so-called debt is with exercise. However, just because we work a little more in the gym doesn’t mean we can spend calories frivolously either. We have to allow enough time to significantly reduce the debt before we can loosen the reigns. Easier said than done.
When we work hard, it’s natural to want a reward. We fool ourselves into thinking we can now afford the extra calories because we workout. We treat our finances the same way. As soon as we get a raise, a new job, or a bonus – typically, our first response is not saving that money. We think about how we can spend it – the bigger car payment we could afford, the clothes we could buy and the vacation we’ve been wanting.
Just like credit cards, you should eat only what you can pay off over a short period of time. Once you reach your goal, you can splurge here and there without gaining weight, as long as you are willing to pay it off quickly.
“Eat only what you are willing to burn off.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if every food item came with a label on it? If only we knew how many calories were each home-cooked meal, baked good and menu item, many of us would make much better decisions. The hardest part about dieting is trying to guess how many calories are in these types of foods. We tend to underestimate calories when we leave it up to our own guess work. We want to believe certain foods are OK to eat. Then after we talk our self in to believing we’ve made the right choice we expect to lose weight as if our guess was always accurate.
I did something the other day that enlightened me on this very subject. I picked up a low-calorie snack on a recent road trip. I noticed the snack was a little over 200 calories. I wasn’t too thrilled about this since I try to keep my snacks to 150 calories or less but I thought I should bring it in case I got hungry. I found myself picking up the snack while I was driving along, re-reading the package over and over – contemplating whether it was worth it or not. I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it and would prefer to eat something better later. Read the rest of this entry