What?! We spend more time making excuses and taking care of our cars and houses than we do our own bodies. It’s a trend likely to snowball if we allow it.
Your health is your most important asset! Not your home. Not your car. Not your job. Not your retirement account. These are secondary. When it comes to your most important asset, the words that come out of your mouth are I can’t afford it. You can’t afford not to.
According to the Economic Research Service/USDA, the lifetime medical costs related to diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension and stroke among the obese are $10,000 higher than among the non-obese. Among the overweight, lifetime medical costs can be reduced by up to $5,300 following a 10-percent reduction in body weight.
Let’s talk about the excess “fat” that you are spending each week, month and year. The average American throws away nearly $600 each year of wasted food. Twenty-nine million tons of food is wasted in the U.S. each year – enough to fill the Rose Bowl every three days – with a cost equivalent of more than $100 billion annually.
Now let’s talk about “fast food.” But they have the $1 menu, people say. That is so much more affordable. Really?
Let’s suppose you eat fast food once a day for lunch, five days a week, and you always order a combo meal consisting of a burger, French fries and a drink. Depending on where you order your fast food, this is going to cost you $4 to $5 a meal. Multiply that times five days a week and you get $20 to $25 a week or $100 to $125 a month – just on fast food, just on one meal. If you order fast food for lunch and dinner five days a week, this turns into $200 to $250 a month – for just two meals.
For starters, compare the cost of beverages at fast food establishments to the cost of beverages at the grocery store. It costs about $1 (and in many cases more) for a medium-sized fountain beverage, about a third of which is ice. Yet, if you go to the grocery, you can usually get a 12-pack of the same beverage for under $4. So, that same 12-pack of soda at the grocery store is going to cost you $12 at the fast food establishment. Really, you shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway, but even ice tea would be cheaper at home.
Then what about those other so-called “necessities” we can’t live without? For some of us, we can’t function without our Cup o’ Joe each morning. I’m guilty!
The average person spends $3 to $5 a day at a coffee shop. Although this may sound a bit expensive, it is what you can expect to pay at places such as Starbucks. Let’s say you spend the smaller amount – $3 a day – on a cup of coffee. This means that over the course of a five-day work week, you spend $15 a week – $60 a month – on coffee. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, that’s $720 a year. If you buy two cups of coffee a day, you could be looking at $1,440 a year.
Now let’s say that you indulge in coffee on the weekends also. That increases the amount of money that you spend on coffee to $21 a week, $84 a month and $1,008 a year. If you buy two cups seven days a week, that’s more than $2,000 a year. While coffee may seem necessary for you to have at the time, is it really worth the money you’re spending on it?
I could keep on going, but I won’t. It’s time to get serious. Are you truly serious about looking better, feeling better, having more energy and losing weight? If you are, this is what you need to do:
First, make the commitment to follow through this time. If you have tried to lose weight, get healthy and get control of your finances before, write down how this time is going to be different and commit to it.
Next, you are going to journal. Journal every penny you spend for at least two weeks and see where your money is going. Then, sit down and write out what it cost you to live each month. I’m talking your bare minimum to live – house, car (transportation), gas, electric bill, insurance and food. These are things that you need to live safely and make an income. Now, write down how much you earn each month. What do you have left over?
You need to start writing down all the “fat” you are spending each month. This is foolish spending, such as Starbucks, wasted food, fast food, happy hour, cable TV (with 900 channels), manicures, mindless shopping trips, $2 here and $5 there on gadgets and widgets that you use once and forget about or they break.
You know what you are doing. Now tell me you don’t have the money. Is it that you can’t afford living a healthier lifestyle, or you don’t want to? How do you move forward?
Now that you know what you are wasting each month, start a new budget. Out of your monthly income, you need to take a percentage of that income to go towards living expenses, another percentage toward paying extra into savings or paying down debt. With the rest, you can spend or save however you wish.
How do you cut down the wasted food? First, eat at home. Second, pack your lunch for work. Third, plan ahead by making a menu for the week. You may even need to cook some of the meals for the week on your free day; create the grocery list needed for that menu. When you go to the grocery store, only buy what is on the list.
Also, DO NOT go to the store hungry. That is where many of us mess up, even me. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you’re starving. Another thing that can help you with your menu planning is to look at the local papers and plan your weekly meals based on the sales. See what’s available in the produce and fresh meats, fish and poultry sections.
It really comes down to this: Is it that you can’t or you don’t want to? By identifying your spending habits each month, you will be able to make mindful decisions about what you want for your life and not make excuses. No doubt, getting your money straight, getting fit and trimming the fat will take effort. But don’t you agree you are worth it?!
Start Trimming the Fat with Transitions Lifestyle System!
Lydia (Coach L)