How Debt Reduction And Weight Loss Differ And How They Are Similar

Over at No Credit Needed, I’ve been writing about debt reduction for more than three years.  I’ve been debt free for more than two.  Here at No. Calories Needed, I’ve been writing about (attempted) weight loss, for a long time, but I’ve really struggled to make much progress.  Why?  What is the difference between debt reduction and weight loss and why have I succeeded at one and struggled with the other?  Some thoughts…

Math is constant, metabolism is variable.  If I send $2000 to a creditor, my balance will be reduced by $2000.  This works, every, single, time.  But, if I eat 2000 calories, my weight (on the scale) might go up, it might go down, or it might stay the same.  Why?  Because weight loss isn’t just about calories consumed, it’s also about calories burned, hydration, heart rate, exercise, heredity… The list it endless.  With debt reduction, I can factor in interest rates, terms of the loan, and payments, and I can pinpoint, to the exact day, when I’ll be debt free.  With weight loss, I can run all of the calculations that I want, but I can never ensure exactness.  This frustrates a math nerd like me!!!

Finance is private, fatness is public.  Let’s face it, when you see someone who is overweight, you notice.  But, how do you know if your neighbor is broke?  For all you know, he’s living off of a ten million dollar inheritance.  Or, he’s so deep in debt that he’s thinking about running away to Panama.  Not so with the fat guy.  There aren’t enough black shirts and black slacks in the world to cover up the fact that a fat dude is a fat dude.  And, as a fat dude, this is discouraging.  With my finances, I can share as much or as little as I want.  I’m in control.  But, with my weight, no matter how hard I’m working, there will still be people who see me and make judgments based on appearance.

Debt reduction is mental, exercise if physical.  Let’s face it.  It is much easier to hit the ‘send’ button and make a credit card payment than it is to hit the gym and walk 2 miles.  For a dude like me, who loves reading and writing, it’s much easier to spend my time dealing with cerebral pursuits.  I don’t particularly enjoy exercising, it takes time for results, and I get frustrated being surrounded (at the gym) by people who are in far better shape.  If I know that making a payment, today, will save $15, I’m very motivated to make that payment.  But, if I’m only ‘pretty sure’ that going to the gym will make the scale move, I’m just not that motivated.  It all goes back to the fact that debt reduction is exact while weight loss is inexact.

Debt reduction requires a plan, weight loss requires a plan.  When getting out of debt, I created a plan and I followed it.  When losing weight, I have failed to stick to a plan… I’ve created several plans, but I have not coupled planning AND determination.  Until I do, I won’t make much (if any) progress.  Note to self:  Create a plan you will follow AND then follow it!!!

I don’t pretend to be a weight loss expert.  In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite of an expert.  But, I do know a thing or two about debt reduction.  I have to learn to focus on weight loss, just like I did with debt reduction.  Hopefully, this post will be the first of many where I begin to put the pieces together.

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3 comments to How Debt Reduction And Weight Loss Differ And How They Are Similar

  • A good comparison, and a hard answer as to why losing weight is more difficult. Wish I knew the answer! Maybe there is more variables to measure. You are either in debt or out of debt and there is only two answers – spend less or earn more. Weight loss way more complicated even though the ultimate measure seems straight forward.

  • LOL, what a great comparison! I have to show this post to my financially savvy, thin hubby. He just does not get why I struggle with weight loss even though technically I’m doing all the right things.

  • Good to hear that you are forging ahead with your fitness goals despite the difficulties. I am curious, though – if you dislike going to the gym and get discouraged by having fit gym monkies working out around you, and you prefer cerebral pursuits to physical pursuits, how about doing away with the gym and blending some cognative activities while you work out? You might enjoy your workouts if you did at-home strength training and outdoor walking/jogging while listening to audiobooks or something else you find mentally stimulating. The proviso is that you have to sort of train your brain to pay attention to your form, heartrate, and physical performance; if you can find an audiobook on a topic or story you already know quite well, you can devote the larger chunk of your brain to making the most of your workout, while the smaller bit can enjoy whatever it is you are listening to. Again, just make sure that you check in with yourself to ensure that your form and exertion level are correct.