So with our Fat as Debt series, the ultimate diet questions becomes – “How do I Budget my Daily Calories?”
Followed by the quintessential diet question of “how many calories should I eat in a day?”.
Basically this isn’t that much different than figuring out your daily money budget. I’m not saying it’s easy by any means but it’s along the same lines.
The bottom line is that you you need to do everything possible to payback your debt (whether economic or fat debt) while still living an enjoyable life.
You need a rough idea of how many calories you burn in a day (Then you need to round down), you need a rough idea of the calories in your food (and you need to round up) you need a rough idea of what you need to have an enjoyable life (probably the hardest of the three) then you need to do what you can to create a little slush that you use to pay back your debt (ie, eat less so you burn some fat)….But this is where budgeting is difficult, because quite frankly – s#%t happens.
Basements Leak, cars get smashed, kids need glasses – unbudgeted expenses happen and you have to roll with it.
Birthdays, Weddings, Corporate luncheons – Unbudgeted eating happens and you just have to roll with it.
And at least with finance budgets you know how much money you make down to a dime, and you have at least a decent idea of where your money goes… with calories we are completely guessing.
Imagine if finances were as hard as managing fat-debt.
How much do you make per day?
“Oh roughly between 1,700 and 2,600 per day”
Oh wow…well, how much does it cost you for gas?
“well the pump says 90 cents, but really, they charge me anywhere from 80 cents to a dollar twenty”
Wait, so you have no idea how much you really make in a day, and you don’t really know how much you spend either?
“well…I have a rough idea”
(No wonder fat loss is hard!)
Luckily, all is not lost. There are things you can do to prepare and make sure you succeed.
Firstly, You can live a little below your means..both food wise and money wise. Most of our Adonis and Venus transformation winners took a very similar approach to getting lean: They assumed that their daily calorie burn was on the low end – only a little above BMR, and they assumed that the calories in their foods was always a little higher then what it said on the label. This allows for a more realistic budget. They also tracked their metrics – At the very least they knew their weights, their waist circumference, their shoulder circumferences.
They also knew that things don’t improve in a linear fashion – there are going to be stalls, some numbers are even going to trend up occasionally, but long term, if you are doing things right they should all be heading in the right direction.
The same goes with finances – your line of credit may have no choice but to jump up occasionally…which is fine as long as the overall trend is down down down.
Secondly, You also need to fight against the ‘short-term-gain, long-term-pain trap’. This trap is what happens when you ignore the “still enjoy life” part of the equation.
We’ve probably all done this to some degree – tried our best not to spend a single dime for weeks on end, or even tried to fast for weeks on end. You’ll see results, but the long term pain is that you burn out and rebound out of this mindset pretty quickly. You have to remember to keep life enjoyably…otherwise burnout will happen.
Lastly, it helps to realize that the main threat to your fat debt and your economic debt, are NOT the big curve balls… it’s something else entirely.
It’s the fact that the major industries in the world are continually trying to persuade you to BORROW AGAINST YOUR FUTURE. And, they’re asking you to do it for things you don’t need.
They are playing on your emotions, they are marketing to all of your hopes and dreams, and all of your insecurities.
They’ve convinced you that what you need for that wedding shower is a NEW dress. They’ve convinced you that certain foods will drastically change you (for the better). They’ve also convinced you that some things just don’t count…little snacks here or there..a couple beers after work (in truth both of these things affect your fat debt and your finance debt)
Eating more than you need to – especially of foods you don’t really enjoy is a perfect example of borrowing against your future.
It’s these little things that add up, that prevent us from getting rid of our debt. And in both cases, one bad indiscretion can erase a month of living on below budget.
So you end up spending months trying to live on a budget, with no results!
To fight against this high level of persuasion you need to think like a hard core accountant: A hard core accountant is always on the lookout for how people are trying to steal their money. They pay attention to hidden fees, to interest levels….they read the fine print.
You need to do the same with your diet – Fight against things that are asking you to borrow against your future, unless it is something very important to you.
So here’s what I want you to do:
Create a food budget based on estimations…do the best you can but remember this is all rough estimates (As an easy estimate take your ideal body weight x 10) .
Next – look at your day and see areas you can cut without drastically ruining your days (cutting a Latte out of your day will save you 300 calories and upwards of 3 dollars a day).
Next – realize that there are lots of things you are eating for the wrong reasons. You need to identify those foods and realize why you are eating them.
Finally – When you overeating and borrow against your future pay it back as quickly as possible while maintaining a certain level of enjoyment.
This is a rough plan on how to budget your fat debt and your money debt. As soon as you start looking a little closer at what you eat and what you do for exercise you’ll find plenty of areas where you can make savings, and still live an enjoyable life.
PS- Counting on your exercise to take care of your weight loss is like counting on your big raise – It may happen, but for peace of mind, never work on ‘futures’.