Give Skinny a Chance
November 18, 2015
Who doesn’t want to be skinny? On January 1st you or someone in your family is probably going to make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Your goal may to lose a certain number of pounds but what you’re picturing is a “skinny you”, right?
Sorry to say but I’d be willing to bet that you’re going to weigh more on January 1 than you do right now in the middle of November.
So let me give you a head start on your New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Rather than waiting until January 1st when it’s dark and cold outside and you have a whole holidays worth of meals and desserts pushing against your belt…
Why not Give Skinny a Chance?
Don’t set yourself up to fail on those dreams of a skinny you. Get a head start on all those other suckers who are going to have to roll out of bed early on a cold dark January morning. Picture them 10 or 15 pounds in “fat debt” and trying to make a dent in their weight while recovering from a holiday bingeing hangover.
We know there are going to be thousands of calories shoved at us between now and the end of the year. You also know that at the start of next year you’re going to want to lose weight.
The logical thing to do is to eat fewer calories over the holidays. But just like personal finance, our diet is often driven by emotion rather then logic. So don’t think about it logically. Think about how much it will suck to feel fat and tired at the time of the year when you want to focus on new beginnings. Think how motivated and invigorated you will feel to be slim and trim January 1!
The Cost of Being Unhealthy
What does this have to do with personal finance? Quite a lot actually.
For the last several years the companies I’ve worked for have been taking proactive steps to help their employees improve their health and lower their own health care costs.
It’s to the point now where we can save over $1000 on our insurance premiums if we follow a simple wellness plan.
A big part of the process is a biometric screening whose results reveal whether or not you have metabolic syndrome. If you don’t know what metabolic syndrome is (I didn’t) it’s a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, being overweight, and high cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
What’s one thing all those nasty conditions have in common? They’re expensive to treat!
You don’t just wake up one morning with metabolic syndrome. It’s a gradual process of eating too much of the wrong kind of foods & not exercising that gets us into that situation. What it boils down to is that there are things you can do today to avoid the unpleasantness of things like diabetes and heart problems.
Not only will it help you feel better it can potentially lower your insurance premiums and should also lower healthcare costs down the road.
This all started last week while I was out for a run. I was thinking about how much of my kids Halloween candy I’d eaten the night before & the week before that. I felt like I had gained 5 pounds in just two weeks and I knew it wasn’t going to get any better. The days are getting shorter, darker, and colder so its going to be increasingly difficult to get outside to exercise. Plus the holidays are on the way and we all know what that means for waistlines.
So on my run I resolved to get back to something I did two years ago. I didn’t have a name for it back then but now I’ve decided to call it the “give skinny a chance challenge”.
It’s pretty simple. From now through the middle of January I’m not eating any sweets. This means no cake, candy, cookies, ice cream, pie, etc.
It does sounds kind of like a bummer so let me share my personal experience. I did this two years ago and when January rolled around I felt great and had actually lost weight over the holidays. The longer I did it the easier it got. In fact when I hit January I was on such a roll that I just kept going and avoided treats all together for a long time. For whatever reason once I just decided I wasn’t going to eat sweets it was so much easier to say no when they are offered.
Self Control Problems
Then the following winter I decided I was going to enjoy the delicious delectables of December. Almost anytime a sweet was offered I accepted. I remember knowing that I shouldn’t eat so many sweets but going ahead and eating them anyway. More often than not I ate more sweets than I should, like the famous potato chips I couldn’t eat just one.
Maybe you have better self-control than I do but simply swearing off sweets for the holidays was much easier than constantly battling over what I should and shouldn’t eat.
Another cool side effect is that my kids get really into this challenge as well. They love being the “treat police” & reminding me constantly that I can’t have sweets. I don’t by any measure expect them to skip sweets as kids over the holidays. I know I wouldn’t have at their age. However, I am pretty sure they’ll remember what I’m doing and when they get older and have better self-control (and a slower metabolism) I’m hoping they will remember my example. In a way I am doing it for them so I can be healthy and live longer to see them grow up and have their own families.
So if you have kids, a spouse, or even a friend recruit them to be your challenge police and help you stay honest.
Challenge Rule Adjustment
I am making one small adjustment to the rules this year. One thing I ran into last time around is that people work hard to make you holiday desserts and can be pretty disappointed when you turn them down.
Therefore I’m giving myself one free pass each month to eat a treat. So when we’re with our family on Thanksgiving and Christmas and they pull out the pie or dessert they worked so hard to make I can say thank you and try a piece of it. Of course it’s not just to be polite, after my fast from sweets I’m sure I will be happy to enjoy a slice of holiday delight.
Get Out of “Fat Debt”
I challenge you to join me in this “Give Skinny a Chance” challenge. I can almost promise you that if you follow along that you will feel much better about yourself mid January than if you don’t.
Just to let you know this is not something that comes easily for me. I love desserts, especially chocolate ones. I’m also an ice cream fanatic. I wish I could eat ice cream for lunch and dinner every day. Even though it might sound hard I can tell you that this will work. I mentioned how last time I was doing so well that I kept going through January and far into the next year. By cutting out sweets and exercising regularly I was able to lose 50 pounds, so it definitely works.
It’s a slow and steady approach. There are times when you really really want a sweet but you are much more likely to lose weight and be healthy if you resolve to do it now rather than waiting until New Year’s resolution time.
So join me and give skinny a chance! If you want to follow along enter your email address below and we can share updates. Put down that candy, cookie, or cake and sign up!
All posts by Ben Edwards