Slow and Steady: More Thoughts on Physical and Financial Fitness

Last week, Robert Brokamp lamented about his not-ready-for-prime-time bikini body, asking GRS readers “whether it might make sense occasionally to engage in some extreme fiscal or physical fitness in order to see bigger results sooner, which could serve as encouragement to keep going.”

Brokamp's post was highly entertaining to be sure, but I immediately fired off an e-mail to J.D. asking if I could answer his question in a follow-up post. At GRS, we recognize the importance of getting rich slowly, doing the boring stuff day-in and day-out to achieve financial success. I believe weight loss is no different.

Crash diets don't work
Research published by UCLA in 2007 concluded that diets don't work. Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study, writes:

You can initially lose 5 to 10% of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back. We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.

We really want to believe there's a magic bullet, but sadly, weight loss is as unsexy as loading up on veggies and getting some exercise everyday.

When I hear people talking about the latest fad diet, it reminds me of the people that talk about what they'd do if they won the lottery — it's easier to daydream than to hunker down and do the work. That's why people are quick to defend their 500-calorie-per-day diets and hCG injections or to pass around studies about how get-slim-quick strategies can yield lasting results. But you lose weight on the nutty hCG diet because you are consuming too few calories, and a little digging into the linked study that seems to champion rapid weight loss shows that the term “rapid” is used to describe participants who lost an average of 1.5 pounds per week, which isn't fast at all. It's a realistic and healthy goal for the average person to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

With weight loss, as with personal finance, don't believe the hype. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Where personal finance and dieting differ
Brokamp wrote, “I tried this once before with my diet, cutting out everything except vegetables and lean proteins. That included no more caffeine or any kind of sugar. After a few days, I didn't feel so great — kinda like I had the flu.”

Where diet and personal finance differ is that depriving your body directly affects your health. The Weight-control Information Network reports that “many patients on a [very low calorie diet] for 4 to 16 weeks report minor side effects such as fatigue, constipation, nausea, or diarrhea.” While those conditions usually improve, CNN reports some more serious side effects that make some nutritionists dread bikini season. According to the article, studies show that crash diets (under 1,200 calories per day) can lead to the following:

  • Slower metabolism (meaning future weight gain)
  • Nutrient deprivation
  • Weakened immune system
  • Dehydration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cardiac stress

Maybe doing it just once won't harm you, but since studies show that crash diets won't work, chances are that next summer you'll be looking for another quick fix to lose 20 pounds (or more) again.

Psychological Boost: Fact or Fiction?
Do quick results give you the motivation to stay on course? Or as Brokamp asks, “Wouldn't I see more results by severely limiting the calories and increasing the exercise, which would inspire me to keep going and stick with it?”

It does make sense. If you look great, you'd be crazy not to maintain that, right? But it's statistically proven that you'll regain the weight, and maybe even some extra, so that seems unlikely to be sufficient motivation. And some experts believe that losing and regaining is bad for your psychological health, making you feel like, well, a hopeless failure. Studies on the psychological effects are inconclusive, however, with some linking weight cycling to increased psychological distress and dissatisfaction, and others showing no relationship.

A Life Plan that Works
I'm pretty passionate about weight loss and personal finance. I gained weight during college (on a barely 5'2″ frame) that I finally lost for good five years ago. I was in credit card debt from my freshman year until two years ago. Before that, both the scale and the credit card balance yo-yoed for years. I finally stopped looking for quick fixes, and that's when I found success. So, my advice to Brokamp is to consider J.D.'s original twelve core beliefs about money (he just keeps making that list bigger, doesn't he?), with a weight loss twist:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight is more about mind than it is about math. The math is simple — calories in, calories burned. But that's obviously not enough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a common trait among people who lose weight and keep it off is that they seek support from family members and friends. When your negative thoughts get in the way of your goal, turn to your support group for encouragement.
  2. Goals are important. Be realistic, and think about process goals. For instance, instead of focusing on losing 20 pounds, make it your goal to eat five servings of vegetables and workout for 45 minutes a day.
  3. Eat less than you burn. In other words, track what you eat, even if only for a few weeks. You'll learn about your habits and triggers, which is instrumental for long-term weight maintenance.
  4. Eat your proteins and veggies first. Before you reach for the bread basket or down 16 ounces of soda, fill up on something nutritious.
  5. Small amounts matter. If you can't fit in a two-hour run, don't get frustrated and give up. Do you have 30 minutes? Consistency is what is important. Likewise, swapping a frappucino for a latte might seem insignificant, until you calculate the calorie difference.
  6. Large amounts matter, too. It's just not reasonable to eat a pint of ice cream and expect to make it up at the gym the next day. Learn about portion control.
  7. Do what works for you. As with personal finance, there is no one answer. I can tell you my secret was eating kale, but maybe you hate kale. You can tell me that running was the key to your success, and just hearing about it will make my knee hurt. There are a lot of healthy foods and calorie-torching activities out there — experiment until you figure out what you like.
  8. Slow and steady wins the race. To quote J.D. when he wrote about this in a personal finance context, “Recognize that you're in this for the long haul. You're making a lifestyle change, not looking for a quick fix.”
  9. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Don't bother looking for the “best” weight loss plan — there's not one. Get started and tweak your plan as you go.
  10. Failure is okay. Maintaining your weight is something you'll do for the rest of your life. There will be vacations, birthdays, and holiday seasons that throw you off track. That's okay. Get back into your good habits, and make a plan to have healthy foods on hand and fit in some exercise the next time your routine changes.
  11. It's more important to be happy than it is to be skinny. Don't become obsessed with celebrities diets and models who walk the Victoria's Secret runway a week after giving birth. As with money, if you're happy, your weight can be easier to manage, especially if you eat ice cream when you're sad or reach for potato chips when you're bored.
  12. Do it now. It's easy to put off weight loss until bikini season hits and you can't hide under a sweater, but the sooner your start moving toward your goals, the easier they are to reach.

Finally, when it comes to paying off debt, it might make sense to cut back for some big wins. But you probably didn't get to where you are now right out of the gate.

When my husband and I got serious about debt, he sold his motorcycle, I quit buying clothes for sport, and we started to pack our lunch everyday. That seemed drastic to us, but since then we've found many more ways to save, implemented over time. Crash dieting isn't akin to selling some Stuff and building your online savings account or starting an emergency fund; it's more like trying to go from compulsive spender to Frugal Babe overnight. Not even Frugal Babe did that!

Sadly, successful weight loss, like good personal finance habits, is quite boring. But the payoffs are huge.

More about...Health & Fitness

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KathyinMN
KathyinMN
10 years ago

Thanks for quoting the UCLA study. I have a coworker who just went to have gastric bypass. When he went to the bypass clinic they actually told him if his BMI was over 30 that “diets won’t work”. No kidding-because ITS NOT A DIET-its a lifestyle change. Spending until your credit card is maxed out doesn’t work either…slow and steady wins the race every time.

Meghan
Meghan
10 years ago

“The math is simple…” Actually it’s not. As you change your eating and exercise habits, even on a long-term lifestyle scale, your individual metabolism (aka biochemistry) will change. Different proportions of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins utilize different or modified metabolic pathways. For example, if for a long time you were gaining weight (fat), your body is metabolizing differently than if you are losing weight (fat). Fat storage and fat burning pathways are very different. Age, genetics, body type, overall health, etc. all contribute as well). In a purely mathematical sense you are correct, but our bodies are not like the… Read more »

Doug Warshauer
Doug Warshauer
10 years ago

Here is one more way that personal finance and dieting differ: if you follow your personal finance plan, it will work for certain! You may follow your diet and exercise program without fail, but to know how you did, you need to get on the scale, and sometimes the results can be disappointing. That is never the case in personal finance. If you make a plan to cut spending and pay off your debt, you can project your results on a spreadsheet, and if you follow your plan precisely that spreadsheet will exactly match the results in your bank accounts… Read more »

John
John
10 years ago

Weight loss is 90% a mentality thing and 10% a technique. I lost 186 pounds in 2 years and I’m at a stable weight for over a year now, so I can agree with the article.

SF_UK
SF_UK
10 years ago

I really empathise with this. I struggled to lose weight for a long time because I was wary of “get slim quick” diets and, while I thought I was doing the right thing, the scales stayed stubbornly pointing at the same number. I eventually succeeded using a points-based system (slimming world in my case, but I’m not particularly advocating it over the many other similar schemes). Being a frugal kind of gal, I didn’t pay for the support groups, but obtained a second-hand copy of the book that explained the system. The idea of this was that you were encouraged… Read more »

Jason
Jason
10 years ago

I lost 35 lbs by counting calories and tracking food intake. What I found most amazing along the way was how exercise played a secondary role to dietary choices. To put it in perspective, a decent run that burns something like 500-800 calories is pretty much offset by one donut. It might take 45 minutes to burn the calories off, but you can get them right back very quickly! Doug, I don’t know about you, but my fitness plan certainly has faced challenges in the same manner my personal finance plan has. For the fitness plan, there have been days… Read more »

Dink
Dink
10 years ago

I’ve recently gotten into running and I really think it’s changing my life. I’ve never been overweight, always skinny, but as I’ve aged I’ve developed a little bit of a gut… I know it’s from alcohol. The way alcohol metabolizes and the amount you can drink in one sitting is a recipe for a gut, especially in men. That’s why you see so many older men who look otherwise skinny, but still rock that protruding gut. My goal with running is to not only achieve a mental enlightenment, which it most surely is helping with, but to lose the gut… Read more »

heaps!
heaps!
10 years ago

What I can say about dieting is to cut off the unnecessary junk food first. That is perhaps the first and most important step towards maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. All the sugary drinks such as soda as well as all the chips, cookies, brownies, etc. is what is most harmful because you don’t keep track of how much you eat and they add up quickly. Financial planning is similar in this sense. You must first cut off all the unnecessary items that you buy. This of course would go back to dieting, cutting off on sugary drinks, junk… Read more »

Jason
Jason
10 years ago

@Dink — I agree, but not just for beer (and other alcohols). Full calorie sodas, juices, milk, certain flavored waters and many coffee beverages can pack astounding numbers of calories into your diet. If you are trying to lose weight, it’s one of the first places to look for some easy reductions in caloric intake. Portion control is another key. If you take a week and learn what a “correct” portion of something is, you may be surprised … or horrified. I had my “portion enlightenment” when I realized I was eating at least two servings of cereal … sometimes… Read more »

Dink
Dink
10 years ago

@Jason — Yep, I loved “Born to Run” and that book has definitely been a motivator for me. If you haven’t read Haruki Murakami’s memoir “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” I suggest you do! If you’re unfamiliar with Murakami, he’s a successful author who also runs marathons. The book is part “here’s how I became a writer!” and part “here’s how I became a runner!” It definitely focuses on the writing side of his life a lot, so if you’re not into that you may not enjoy every part of the book. But it’s short and… Read more »

everyday tips
everyday tips
10 years ago

When I started to drastic new exercise program that also had a ‘healthy eating plan’, I turned into a crab. Not to mention my body was sore as heck. It is important to find a plan you can live with, and others around you can live with. 🙂 A weight loss plan is so personal, but I do agree that gradual is the best way to go long-term. You do have to consider your age. For instance, more and more studies show that middle aged people must add resistance training to their program to boost their metabolism. When you hit… Read more »

Van
Van
10 years ago

Smart post. I’m the type that takes on too many projects at once and ends up with a giant mess. This reminds me to go one step at a time, one task at a time, one goal at a time. Thanks for the inspiration.

Island Dave
Island Dave
10 years ago

Sustained and simple weight loss and improved health – I found it reading and following The Primal Blueprint. Common sense and it works long term. Highly recommended!

Barb
Barb
10 years ago

As an obses woman who has lost a great deal of wieght after losing nothing for years…While there is no “perfect” diet, the truth of the matter is this: You need to count calories, and eat less than you burn. Whether you use points, jenny craig, or anything esle, if this doesnt happen you wont lose weight. Also, as far as the math, depending on your weight, those calorie amounts may in fact change. What I needed to eat to lose weight at three hundred and what I need to eat at two hundred are not the same thing. I… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

With diet, also don’t be afraid to see a doctor and/or nutritionist.

Some folks actually have undiagnosed physical problems that hinder their ability to lose weight (thyroid problems, insulin resistence etc.). A special diet or specific medication can do wonders when the usual measures don’t work in those circumstances. It isn’t always just about calorie counting. As a previous poster said, bodies are much more complicated than budgets.

Tom G.
Tom G.
10 years ago

I often see citations to the studies followed by the “diets don’t work” conclusion. There’s one problem, the studies don’t support that conclusion. If you look into the studies, the diets are usually quite successful at taking the pounds off. Its what people do after the diet that fails. Post diet success requires continuous monitoring of weight, eating habits and exercise, and fine tuning of habits based on the data collected. People fail to maintain weight loss because they feel their job is done after reaching the desired weight. You can hardly blame the diet for their lack of post… Read more »

Peggy
Peggy
10 years ago

Calories in/calories out is a myth. Your body is not a calculator. Reduce calories and your metabolism slows down. Reduce them too much and you will gain weight, as I did, on as little as 800 calories a day.

“Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes is a very important read for anyone wanting to gain, lose or maintain weight.

Laan
Laan
10 years ago

Peggy – if a body was a calculator – then would there be calculators with huge and small figures :-).

elisabeth
elisabeth
10 years ago

Asking others for help — first your doctor, then a nutritionist, and then also those you eat with! is important. Every month I have dinner with a group of friends — everyone knows that I can’t have a drink because of various drugs I have to take, and so no one says “come on have some wine…” Similarly, one friend is trying to lose weight, and we need to remember not to encourage her to have some of whatever desserts we order. Which is harder than I thought, it just seems so instinctive to pass the bread and say “you’ve… Read more »

Emmy
Emmy
10 years ago

thank you thank you THANK YOU, April, for this piece! I think what irked and worried me about Robert’s post was the implication that a dramatic change could “jump start” a fitness/diet plan. One pound a week sounds perfect to me! Considering how long it took to put that weight on, to expect the fat to just melt off by cutting calories for two weeks is unrealistic and kind of unhealthy. I, too, am trying to live a healthier life, but more for my cardiovascular health than for a bikini body. I’m still working at it, but step one was… Read more »

Rob Bennett
Rob Bennett
10 years ago

I remember losing weight in my first year of law school without trying. I just noticed one day that I had lost about 20 pounds.

One reason is that I was too busy to sit around and eat. Another was that I had no refrigerator at my dorm and so I didn’t eat outside of meals.

Habits are the thing. You need to find the weak spot and then change that habit. For example, if you eat while watching television, the secret to losing weight for you is giving up television.

Rob

KC
KC
10 years ago

One thing that frustrates me is it seems women lose weight differently from men. I’m about 15 lbs overweight. I’d like to lose 5lbs, 10 lbs, 15 if I’m lucky. I play tennis 3X’s a week (I’m an advanced player, this isn’t old lady tennis here). I walk 30-40 minutes 2Xs a week. I’m not the most disciplined eater, but I know the difference between carbs and protein and how your body reacts to each. I avoid sugar since diabetes runs in the family Yet I’m still 15 lbs overweight. In late April I got a stomach bug – I… Read more »

Erica Douglass
Erica Douglass
10 years ago

“Brokamp wrote, “I tried this once before with my diet, cutting out everything except vegetables and lean proteins. That included no more caffeine or any kind of sugar. After a few days, I didn’t feel so great – kinda like I had the flu.” Where diet and personal finance differ is that depriving your body directly affects your health.” Okay, this bugged me the first time it was written, and now, with the added statement, it bugs me even more. When you switch diets, especially if you’re trying to stop caffeine at the same time, you’re absolutely going to feel… Read more »

Impulse Magazine
Impulse Magazine
10 years ago

I think fitness is often overlooked especially to people who don’t workout consistently

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
10 years ago

I’m bored with this analogy. Sure, there are some parallels, especially if you’re already fat and you’re already in debt — then you get to compare the two things and emphasize the “self-restraint is hard” aspect of both, which is essentially the whole analogy. it doesn’t hold up to “health” and “personal finance” in general very well, it’s just weight loss and debt reduction. Regardless of the applicability being narrow, it just doesn’t offer any interesting understanding of either subject. Normally you use an analogy to explain something you don’t already know. For example, “a diesel engine is essentially the… Read more »

TosaJen
TosaJen
10 years ago

At 5’3″, I’m there with you April. I’ll never be skinny, and I hover at the high end of the healthy range, but I’m solid, and can jump into any activity I want. I’ve been at roughly the same weight (except during pregnancies) for the past 10 years. (About the same amount of time that DH and I have really focused on our finances in a disciplined way.) As a side note, I do better with my weight focusing on adding new stuff to my life, rather than taking stuff away. I spend most of my mental energy figuring out… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

KC– Go to your doctor. Ask to be checked for thyroid problems and for insulin problems including PCOS. You may be one of those folks who needs hormones or an insulin sensitizing medication. It’s not just women are different then men, but also women are more likely to have specific problems that hinder weight-loss. You may also have an undiagnosed food allergy such as gluten intolerance, but that kind of thing is much harder to diagnose.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

Personally I think that becoming more healthy (stronger, thinner, more active, etc.) when a person is not already living that way is all about what motivates you. It’s also about what keeps you strong. These things change over time, so it’s important to keep evaluating them. But I think that the hardest part for me has been figuring out how to keep motivated when nothing is happening. Losing weight is awesome…but maintaining weight is boring. I really think the lack of motivation and boredom is what causes people to gain all the weight back. So the key is figuring out,… Read more »

SandyFS
SandyFS
10 years ago

KC, I feel your pain! I began a modified life-style diet and exercise plan this year for my husband and me, because I’m 20 lbs overweight and he has high cholesterol. After a few weeks people started commenting to my husband about how he looked good, like he had lost weight, and he had! Me, nada. In fact I gained 2 lbs (probably muscle from the exercise). Agh!
So I guess everyone is different in that respect, but I still like the adaptation of the 12 core beliefs, April!

Money Reasons
Money Reasons
10 years ago

After having success in the past with popular diets, I’m not back to the weight I was 5 years ago before I started dieting.

While I don’t regret doing any of those popular diets of the past, I’m finding that I’m going to have to figure out a plan on my own. One that I would like, the goal being to create one that would maximize my enjoyment of it. Make it a win-win so to speak 🙂

chacha1
chacha1
10 years ago

Tom G. – right on. Clearly the diets DO work. People lose weight. Then they stop following the diet, and the weight comes back on, and they conclude the diet didn’t work. It’s defeatism, and a refusal to face the reality that you have to permanently reduce your calorie consumption or you will go straight back up to a higher weight. KC: Nicole’s advice is good. There are a lot of metabolic disorders that affect your hormones, and hormones affect your body’s calorie use. There are also a lot of medications that affect hormones and “cause” weight gain (or failure… Read more »

Nina
Nina
10 years ago

Some good points being made here. I would add: The parallel between finances and weight management is behavior modification. For behavior mods to stick you have to change both the behavior and how you think about the behavior. If someone gets a windfall of money and pays off their debts but doesn’t go through the process of building and sticking to a budget then the credit cards will be maxed again and the behavior was only temporarily changed. If someone goes on a crash diet but doesn’t address underlying physical and emotional issues, then the weight will come back. Some… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
10 years ago

I’m with Tom G. and chacha1. Diets do work. I’ve done diet and exercise plans a couple of times in my life, and every time they’ve worked like a charm. During my senior year of college, I became vegetarian for 3-4 months, and tried to get daily exercise. I lost 20 pounds. In 1997, I restricted my calorie intake (but didn’t place any requirements on my food sources, so junk food was okay) while exercising a ton. I lost 40 pounds in six months. A couple of years ago, I lost 20 pounds in six months through a combination of… Read more »

Ashley
Ashley
10 years ago

I think you knocked it out of the park with this one April. Clean and focused writing, linked references for your statements, and nice analogies. Congrats!

brooklyn money
brooklyn money
10 years ago

I think if you are working out at a pretty high level of intensity about 5x a week (weights and cardio) and also walking and standing as much as you can, that can really make a difference. I eat pretty much whatever I want (i realize not everyone has the same metabolism), but I have to work out hard core to maintain a healthy body. My advice would be throw out the scale and get moving. You’ll know you are succeeding when your clothes fit better. No need to obsess about the number.

Andrea
Andrea
10 years ago

I think it is perfectly fine to indulge once in awhile. I recently went to Mexico and gained 6 pounds. I came home and ate lean protien, veggies and laid off the carbs and lost all that weight plus a pound more that week.

I’ve noticed that if I gain weight quickly I can lose it just as quickly. It’s the weight you slowly gain that you will slowly lose.

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

It depends on what you are defining “work” by. A lot of the nutritionist articles I’ve read on the subject don’t think a diet that a person can not stick to after leaving the laboratory “works.” Does Atkins work? Yes, in the lab it works great. But compared to weight watchers, it does terribly once subjects leave the lab. In metrics, we would say that the diet studies on Atkins are internally valid but not externally valid. Atkins works great in the lab but is much harder to stick to than other diets in the field. The question is whether… Read more »

Ted
Ted
10 years ago

Diets do work. It just depends upon what you call a diet, and whether you’re willing to stick to it long term, maybe forever. I am a 42 year old male. I’ve been working out my entire life. Always ate whatever I wanted since I worked out hard. Always had an extra 20-30 pounds (I’m 6’6″, very athletic and 235. I do triathlons, swim a lot, MMA, etc.) Recently had full blood work done. Triglycerides were 450. Crazy high for those that don’t know. I gave up alcohol, fried foods, dairy, eggs, sugar, all oil except olive oil, white starches,… Read more »

A smaller version of me
A smaller version of me
10 years ago

I was exercising app. 5 times a week for two years ago and I didn’t loose weight. I was eating fairly healthy so I realised something was wrong. I started counting calories. Wow! I realised that I was eating twice as much as I should. My food portions were way to big. After weighting my food and counting calories for a couple of weeks I figured out how big my normal food portions were. I started loosing weight and in ten weeks I lost 12 kilos (26 pounds) and three sizes. Today I am eating healthier and much less. I… Read more »

Carla | Green and Chic
Carla | Green and Chic
10 years ago

What really made the biggest difference for me is really knowing what I can and absolutely cannot eat. There are certain foods for that that “moderation” just wont work. Sugars (even certain high GI fruits) any kind of grains and starches are my downfall. Lots of veggies, proteins, fats, some low GI fruit, nuts, seeds, etc is what has kept me lean for a number of years now. Regular exercise is also key for me. Unfortunately a nice “brisk walk” doesn’t cut it. Heavy cardio (HIIT), Yoga and weight training is key. I wasn’t blessed with a high metabolism or… Read more »

Romeo
Romeo
10 years ago

To loose weight (debt), you gotta want it.

Something has to tell you, “man, I really shouldn’t drink (purchase) this soda, eat (spend) more than I should and, take control of my weight (finances).

I need to change my physical (fiscal) lifestyle or face the consequences of being and staying fat (broke)!

Diane
Diane
10 years ago

Losing weight and debt reduction, do have similarities. Even though, both have mathematical formulas – they can vary greatly. Dieting and the number of calories required to lose even one pound/week will be different for men and women, depending upon your age, depending upon how much and how intense you exercise, etc. These are all variables. Managing money also has many variables. It’s not only how much you earn but where you live in the country, if you rent or own a home, if you have a car, if you have children, etc… What it really boils down to is… Read more »

H Lee D
H Lee D
10 years ago

Bodies are not one-size-fits-all. What works really well for me might not work for you because of differences in our age, history, body composition, blood chemistry, hormone levels (not just sex hormones), how much sleep you get, etc. So some people need more or less of certain nutrients, some do well without meat and others don’t, etc., etc.

But what *does* work for everyone is taking out the stuff that is processed. If it has an ingredients list, pass it by.

(What doesn’t work for everyone is actually *doing* it.)

Cortney
Cortney
10 years ago

I’d be interested to know people’s thoughts on the Fat Acceptance Movement- Marianne Kirby and Kate Harding wrote a book on the “fatosphere”, the web presence of a group of fat acceptance websites. Basically, they follow the Health at Every Size ideas. They state that a person can be perfectly healthy at 400+ pounds, just as someone at 130 pounds can be unhealthy. They maintain that for some people, they can diet, exercise, eat well, and still be considered “morbidly obese”. Many of them view studies linking obesity to ill-health as flawed or manipulated by the diet industry- they call… Read more »

Avistew
Avistew
10 years ago

“Where diet and personal finance differ is that depriving your body directly affects your health.”

It might not be as direct, but depriving yourself financially affects your health too 😉

About diets and finances, I think what’s important is not to think about it in terms of “I do this, then I go back to before”. Any plan that involves going back to the same mistakes is going to put you back in your old situation again. It’s pretty straightforward, really.

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

@#43 – Courtney – I have rarely (maybe never) seen a obese elderly person. I think the FA movement is great for those who feel the need, but I think they should also make the necessary changes to live a long, healthy life. Burying your head in the sand is not going to make the probably go away.

Todd @ Personal Finance Playbook
Todd @ Personal Finance Playbook
10 years ago

Excellent post. Just like the name of this site is get rich slowly, getting in shape takes time. Staying in shape takes will power. Like others have said, being in shape isn’t a one time decision, like whether to have cake or an apple, it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s living an active, healthy lifestyle.

Single Mom Rich Mom
Single Mom Rich Mom
10 years ago

What’s the definition of diet – IIRC it just means “way of eating.” Some people like Erica or Ted above need to eat a certain way for health reasons so they have to make it into a lifestyle. I think most of us do to some extent. What’s worked for me in maintaining weight loss is simply mindfulness. Am I hungry? If the answer is no, then why am I eating? If it’s boredom, then DO something. If it’s anxiety, then address what’s bugging you. Am I full? If the answer is yes, then why am I continuing to eat?… Read more »

John F
John F
10 years ago

Good post all around. I may have disagreements with the specifics of your approach to fitness and diet (can’t help it, I make fun of vegetarians when I can :-P), but on the big stuff, you’re spot on. To get anything meaningful accomplished requires a solid vision of your goals and a steady pace to achieve them. I’ve been competing for 2.5 years and now coach in Olympic-style weightlifting, after a year of CrossFit before that and generally zero activity the rest of my life before that. My highest level goal has been a 300kg total (snatch plus clean and… Read more »

John F
John F
10 years ago

My apologies, I just realized J.D. himself didn’t write this article – still getting used to the staff writer thing.

April, I hope the commentary on diet isn’t taken to heart – it was meant in good fun. The broad brush point of my comment was that the amount of heart and effort you put into something often matters as much as your day to day methods.

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