Contain Your Wallet…and Your Belt

Today I have the pleasure of intro­ducing my friend Mike. He’s a deep thinker and a local sports writer (with regular posts on Yahoo! Sports and Nolan Writin). I always enjoy hearing his thoughts, and the topic of this one will certainly get you thinking! This is the first in a two-part series s0, come back Tuesday for part two!

Obesity is a serious problem in this country. Countless Americans are over­weight and many assume that they can’t do anything about it. They say that dieting doesn’t work for them, either because it’s too hard or they don’t have time or a hundred other reasons excuses.

But what if you started looking at it differ­ently? What if you applied the prin­ci­ples of personal finance to your eating habits? Would that change the way that you thought about dieting and losing weight?

The Numbers Game

Budgeting is simple, right?

You figure out how much money you make and then you spend less than that amount. There is more that goes into it, obviously, but that is the essence of budgeting. That is it at its core.

So, what exactly is dieting? It’s the same thing!

Everybody takes in calories when they eat, but they also burn calories. If you eat better food you can control caloric intake. If you exercise, you can increase burn.

To lose weight, all you have to do is burn more than you consume.

Math! That’s it!

My First Budget

I’ve heard Alex’s story of the first time that he tried to budget. If you’re a regular reader of Entre­pre­life, you’ve probably heard it too.

He sat down one night and guessti­mated all of his monthly expenses. He made a lot of assump­tions and, as it turned out, he was way off in some areas.

I decided to do the same thing a couple of weeks ago, but with my stomach instead of my bank account.

For 6 days I ate the way that I normally do and at the end of each day I added up the calories using myfitnesspal.com. I decided that 1600 calories per day was a good place to set my “budget.”

This is how it broke down:

  • Monday +305
  • Tuesday +104
  • Wednesday +481
  • Thursday –120
  • Friday –73
  • Saturday +392

All of these numbers are approx­i­ma­tions, mind you, but it was an inter­esting exper­i­ment nonetheless.

Just like Alex, when he reviewed his first budget, I started to see where I was going wrong. Things like pancakes (800 calories including the syrup) can dras­ti­cally affect your totals, though most of us wouldn’t think about it when we’re ordering a short stack at IHOP.

That’s really what this is about. If you stop and look at your finances, you’ll start to see that you’re not as good with your money as you thought you were.

Your diet is no different. Even if you’re pretty good, I’ll bet that you still have your trouble areas. I’ll bet that you can do better.

For instance, I drink too much sweet tea. It isn’t that I dislike unsweet tea. I actually really like it! I just like sweet tea better, even though I know it isn’t good for me.

Think about yourself for a moment. Are there parts of your diet that could be just a little bit better without much effort? Let me know in the comments!

3 Responses to “Contain Your Wallet…and Your Belt”

  1. Seth Caddell April 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM #

    I gave up every­thing except water a month or so ago. I’m planning on diving back into coffee before too much longer, but I’ll probably drop the soda habit, and along with it several hundred calories a day. Seems like a small thing, but those Dr Peppers add up.

    • Mike Luna April 5, 2012 at 8:49 PM #

      My mother and I were talking about this yesterday. A large Dr. Pepper (32 oz) at McDonald’s is over 300 calories. A large is the same price as a small, so how many people do you think opt for less soda for the same price?

      Probably not very many.

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  1. Losing Weight Is More Than Math | Entreprelife - April 10, 2012

    […] and the topic of this one will certainly get you thinking! This is the second in a two-part series click here to check out part one. This is why I don’t eat […]

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