Applying Personal Finance Discipline to Weight Loss


Applying Personal Finance Discipline to Weight Loss _

Last week was my birthday, and as we all know yesterday was Thanksgiving. Between the two (!!) cakes I received as part of my birthday celebrations and the four (!!!!) pies we had at Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, you could say that I have a bit of a food hangover. A lasting food baby, if you will.

Needless to say, I need to get rid of said food baby ASAP. I’m lucky enough to be spending Christmas in Brazil with BF and his family, so it’s time to get my bikini body back. I’ve always been pretty lucky with my weight and in the past have been able to eat pretty much what I want, not exercise as much as I should, and maintain a healthy weight. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that eating junk/not exercising has a bit more of an impact on my waistline. Oh the joys of aging.

Parallels between weight loss and personal finance

Weight loss, like many things in life, is all about self-control and delayed gratification. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve never been great at either of these things when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. But, as I was thinking through how to go about losing weight this time around, I realized that I am GREAT at self-control and delayed gratification in another area of my life: personal finance.

I routinely stick to my budget and meet or exceed my savings goals. I forgo certain luxuries today in an effort to reach my larger life goals well into the future. I give thought to each and every purchase, making sure that I truly need and value what I’m buying.

Sticking with my weight loss “budget”

So here is what I’m thinking: I need to create a weight loss “budget” of sorts, with a goal that I’m working towards and concrete steps I can take to work towards said goal. I know what my goal weight is and, as of today, have established my starting weight. I have created a spreadsheet where I can input my weight each day to track my progress and make sure I’m on track to achieve my goal. This will allow me to tweak my behavior if I see that I’m not on track to meet my goal.

Each day, I will allow myself a sort of food budget and I’ll have to make tradeoffs based on what is most important to me. If I want to eat a bit of ice cream after dinner, I can’t have a cookie in my afternoon meeting. As with personal finance, the key is not to deprive myself or go to extremes, but instead to be mindful of all that I am eating. With each thing I eat, I need to consider if I truly need it; if I’m actually hungry or if I’m just bored. I need to determine which foods and activities are best suited to help me meet my goal and focus on that.

This may be one of those easy-to-say-but-hard-to-do things, so we’ll see how this personal-finance-discipline-as-weight-loss-strategy thing goes. Wish me luck!!

What are your tips for losing weight? Do you see parallels between personal finance and healthy living?

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7 thoughts on “Applying Personal Finance Discipline to Weight Loss

  1. There is definitely a parallel. I think it’s all about delayed gratification. I also think for some people there needs to be some kind of all or nothing option. Let me explain. I really can’t have sugary treats in moderation. I need to go cold turkey. If I don’t have the sugar in my system, it’s easier not to crave it. But if I “treat myself” every once in awhile, then I go back to wanting more. The same can be said for people with shopping addictions or triggers stores. You can’t just go in to browse, you need to totally stay away from those stores. Good luck with your goals!


    • I think you’re absolutely right. I find that if I try to do things in “moderation” I usually just end up going all out and eating all the junk or whatever it is. I think it is partially because “moderation” is sort of hard to define. I can easily quantify no junk food, but a little is a bit harder – what is an appropriate amount?


  2. I love this. I am like you. Great at saving and budgeting but have a much harder time with regulating and monitoring what I eat. I just love treats 🙂
    I am 7 months pregnant, so know that in a couple of months, I will have to really look at what I`m doing to get myself back into shape. I like your idea of approaching it like personal finance.
    Good luck! I hope you give updates – would love to know if your spreadsheet idea keeps you motivated.


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