While diet may not seem to be relevant to personal finances at first glance, it actually has quite a bit of the impact on your money. The healthier that you feel, the more productive you will be and the less health issues that you will have.
When it comes to diet, I find that most of the writing doesn’t apply to me. I’m not in need of losing a lot of weight, but I notice that I had gained about 10 pounds that I wanted to get rid of. The main problem is that if I have to substitute the foods that I’m eating or spend a set amount of time exercising, the diet isn’t going to work. I like the food I eat and for the most part, I eat healthily. That’s not to say that I don’t partake in desert and other snacks now and then, but most of the meals that I eat are fairly well balanced. I also am not lazy and do get in some exercise each day – I just needed to find a way to get in a bit more.
So I needed to figure out a way to lose 10 pounds without making major lifestyle changes. The weight had come on over a period of months, so I knew that I wasn’t in need of major changes. I needed to change just enough to tip the balance from gaining a bit to losing a bit. I decided upfront that I didn’t need to lose the pounds in a short period of time, but was willing to lose them slowly.
I’ve been using my plan for the past six weeks and have dropped 5 pounds without changing my diet at all. I figure that I will be back to my ideal weight within the next two moths. All I did was make five simple rules to live by – four to do with exercise and one to do with eating:
1. I Must Park Farther Away: When we go to the store or any other place by car and we need to park in the parking lot, I always choose a space that is at least halfway or farther from the store. This means that I need to take an extra couple minutes to walk across the parking lot, but I have found that it actually saves time. Most of the time when I try to get us a parking spot near the store, I end up having to wait or drive around a bit to get it. This is no longer the case so I get exercise and it really doesn’t take me any longer.
2. I Must Use Stairs: When faced with a situation of using an elevator, an escalator or stairs, I always choose stairs. Since there’s no way that I’m going to walk up 15 flights of stairs, I made the rule that if it’s two flights of stairs or less I have to walk. Since most of the stores in my area are multi-level this means that I walked stairs instead of using the escalators.
3. I must Do Something While Watching TV: When I watch TV, I have to be doing something else while I watch. This is far less difficult than I thought it would be at first. There is always some type of easy task that needs to be done which I can do while watching TV. I tend to do a lot of sorting of collectible items during this time. What this means is that instead of lying on the couch perfectly still, I am moving about (at least a small amount) during this time. While it wouldn’t seem to make a big difference, it surprisingly does…or
4. I Have To Get Up At Commercials: If it is a TV program that I want to devote my entire attention to so I don’t want to do something else while watching, then I must get up during the commercials. I thought this would be distracting, but it’s is amazing the amount of 3 – 4 minute taskes that you can get done if you simply get up. Dishes get done, preparations for the next day don’t wait until after the program is over and the house becomes a lot cleaner. My wife absolutely loves that I implemented this rule.
5. I Can’t Eat At My Computer: Since I spend virtually the entire day in front of a computer, I found that I was snacking quite a bit while working. The biggest problem was that when I was snacking, it became a habit and I wouldn’t stop even though I wasn’t hungry. I implemented the rule that I was not allowed to eat anything while I sat in front of the computer. This doesn’t mean that I can’t eat snacks, but just that I need to get up from my computer and eat them in another area. What I found was that this greatly decrease the amount of snacks that I was eating without any feeling that I was going without since I could still eat whenever I wanted. Since many people probably don’t spend near as many hours in front of a computer as I do, you may want to substitute this for watching TV or some other activity where you find that you snack a lot.
Those were the only steps that I took and it has been enough to tip the balance. Even better, the rules have made me a lot more productive so it turned out to be a double bonus. All the steps are very easy to implement and I would be surprised if you would even notice after the first week of doing them. For someone to doesn’t need to lose a lot of weight, but would like to shed a few pounds so that they felt a little bit healthier, I would highly recommend putting the steps into effect.