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!