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I watched an interesting documentary this past week about our diets here in the US, and as I watched I kept thinking about how closely matched eating right and exercising are with managing money effectively, and I wanted to share some of these thoughts and tips with you!
I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty lax in my exercise and eating habits the past few years. Between moving around so much, and then starting my business, and generally trying to enjoy life a bit, I’ve gained about 10 pounds in just a few years. Uh yikes!
And when I hopped on the scale last month, I was pretty disappointed - but not shocked. It did get me up off my duff though and I’ve re-focused on my health this year, and so far, I’m doing pretty good, but definitely not perfect.
I took it for granted that because I was a corporate wellness consultant for so many years, that I innately knew how to eat right.
And I thought I was eating in moderation... but come to realize, I definitely have not, otherwise I wouldn’t have gained all this weight!
And exercise alone doesn't help you lose weight... your weight is almost entirely based on how many calories you put in your mouth - and the type of food you consume. So, this year, on top of restarting an exercise routine, I’ve also gone back to tracking what I eat. And while I had an inkling that I was way off track on the number of calories I was inhaling, I didn’t realize by just how much! Now I know why I’ve gained all this weight, and what I need to do to lose it, which let me tell ya, it ain’t easy!
The fact is, you can’t out-exercise eating too many calories... otherwise, all you'd be doing all day is working out! So it’s really important to know just how many calories you’re putting into your body to know if you’re expending more than that in order to maintain or lose weight, and if you’re just guessing, you’re more than likely going to underestimate, or just plain be wrong most of the time.
Yesterday I was teaching a class on budgeting, and I correlated this with tracking spending. Tracking calories is the same concept as tracking your income and expenses. If you don't know what's coming in and going out, then how do you really know what's coming in and going out?
You can assume you're being good with your money, yet by not tracking it, you really have no real way of understanding whether you could be doing better. As with diet and exercise, you simply can't out-earn bad spending habits because you inevitably end up spending more than you make, which leads to debt.
So let’s look at it from a different angle. If you want to be able to retire at a point in the future, there's no way you can be completely irresponsible with your money for years and then magically be able to retire and live comfortably the rest of your life. It's just not mathematically possible unless of course you win the lottery and I’m guessing you probably haven’t done that yet and chances are you won’t win enough to really retire on the winnings.
It's the same as with eating an unhealthy diet... there's no way you can eat high-calorie foods and eat more than the calories you're expending and expect to stay at a healthy weight.
If you spend more than you make, or eat more than you expend, you'll be broke or overweight - or both.
And a calorie is not the same calorie across all foods - your body recognizes calories differently depending on whether they're coming from a naturally grown food or one that’s highly processed. Your brain may register that it's eaten 500 calories, but your stomach still growls because it hasn't received the fiber, protein, and water it's needing to fuel your body, so it screams for more food. Your brain and stomach are going to be in a constant battle, and your body wants nutrients so it's going to win most of the time, causing you to overeat in an attempt to satiate itself.
But when you're continuously feeding it food that has no nutritional value, you're consuming more and more calories that do absolutely nothing for the body.
It's the same with how you spend money... you can spend money based on feeling anxious, stressed, bored or unhappy, but that kind of spending will leave you wanting more because the underlying reason for the spending hasn't been addressed. That then creates a very different feeling than if you were to spend money on a gift for someone you love, or as a donation to a favorite charity, or putting savings in the bank for your future. In this way, when your spending is out of alignment with what your mind craves, which is safety, security, and prosperity, then your mental money decisions are negatively impacted.
There is a correlation between your mind and your money, and there is no shortcut... spending less and eating less require consistent attention.
You can't estimate and also be on target 100% of the time.
Real health is not a pill in a bottle, and real wealth is not a get rich quick scheme. Real health is eating real foods and moving your body more than what's required to burn off the calories. Real wealth is making money and then saving more than you spend.
Eating disorders (like overeating, under-eating or bingeing and purging) stem from psychological disorders (body dysmorphia, unhappiness, stress, lack of self-esteem, or comparisonitis), just as money disorders (overspending, underspending like hoarding or extreme frugality, or giving it all away) stem from psychological issues as well, such as the messages you received as a child and young adult about money and its value, or sudden loss or gain of wealth by your parents, or experiences you had that caused you to veer in a specific direction with using money – like a bankruptcy or divorce or loss of a job, or on the flip side, suddenly coming into a lot of money and then spending it all because you’re so uncomfortable with having it because you never had enough to begin with.
This is why I always stress how important it is to first understand the psychological reasons for money problems before trying to attack the tactical issues of money management. If you don’t know and understand why you spend the way you do and make the money decisions you do, then no matter how hard you try to do the right things with your money, you’ll continue to struggle. It’s the same as with using strict dieting as a way to lose weight in a short timeframe – eventually your lifestyle won’t be able to keep up and you’ll fall off the wagon.
Managing money effectively requires a lifestyle adjustment – sometimes it needs to be extreme in order to get on track, but that isn’t sustainable over time. You have to determine what your values and goals are - and address your money mindset - in order to create a healthy relationship with money – giving you the opportunity to create lasting financial wellbeing.
Remember, I'm here to help you build financial resiliency through one-on-one money coaching and mentoring! If you feel like you want or need some help in getting your financial life on track, just book a clarity call!
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