Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fat and Debt

Being fat and being in debt are two of the biggest challenges people face, this is especially true in the United States. Are they the same thing? Yes and no but it is safe to say that in many ways they are related. Just as people are eating to much we are spending to much and this is representative of our societies model of mass consumption. This pattern of consuming in large quantities and thus typically consuming more than what we need is the main issue and in turn leads to major challenges.

Both of these issues can be resolved with a more conscious and active approach to living. What do I mean? If we actually took the time to consciously enjoy what we consume, think about what we, ask if we 'really' need what we think we need, thereby taking an active role in our daily actions we would increase our awareness of what we are doing and possibly change some of our behaviors.

We are taught at a young age in today's modern society that more is better i.e. if you work more, you make more which means you can have a bigger house, a fancier car, wear higher quality, more expensive clothes, buy a bigger ring with more carats, etc. We see at the grocery stores and other stores that sell various merchandise and goods a multitude of choices, options, brands, and types (i.e. low fat, non fat, low carb, high protein), of food and other items.

The fundamental challenge with all these choices and the mass consumption approach is that people (and the reasons are many but lets just leave it be for now) are getting more of the type of things that lead to more fat and great health risks as well as more in debt. A small price to pay right? Heck no in my opinion.

Some ways to beat fat and debt

*eat only what you need
*eat less by getting more out of high quality food sources like veggies, fruits, healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc.) and clean/lean protein sources (white fishes like halibut, swordfish and tuna; salmon; chicken; lean beef)
*Do not stock up, place a minimal amount of food and limited condiments in the refrigerator and cupboards, again only what you need.
*drink water
*exercise and move your body in other ways (walk to the store, clean the house, garden, etc.)

*determine what you owe
*make a plan to pay off what you already owe
*determine what bills are required for basic living (rent; car; gas; food; health insurance; phone; etc.)
*make paying those bills a first priority
*save and invest a part or portion of your income (do so every paycheck)
*set aside a small portion of money to enjoy yourself (after paying the bills and savings/investment)
*only buy what you need
*reevaluate how you spend
*make it a point to pay off the 'other' bills
*if you have bills accruing interest pay off well above the minimum, at least double and make sure you pay off the highest interest cards first.
*Call your credit companies and renegotiate your interest rates.
*read the fine print on your bills and look for those hidden charges...analyze your bills
*Make a budget and make a plan

Keep in mind that prices are increasing for many things and it is obvious at the pump, it is happening at the grocery store (4% increase last year and another 4% increase expected this year), basic services are increasing. On the flip side incomes and salaries are not increasing at the same rate as costs of living. Just look around and you can see that this phenomenon is real and if you are not aware and not conscious of how, what and where you are spending and putting your money you could end up spending more than you planned and therefore placing yourself into debt or even deeper in debt and thus have a negative effect on your 'retirement', etc.

On a personal note this is of interest to me for a number of reasons. One I am in the field of fitness and helping people lose fat is part of my business. On the finance side I am proud to say that I took myself out of major debt and I cannot emphasis how GREAT and what a sense of PEACE it brings.

Therefore I have learned through being in debt and now debt free (other than a car payment which is a choice and it serves my life and business so it is dual purpose and mainly used for business so it acts as a substitute for having a office) that more debt due to the desire to own more material possessions like clothes, fancy cars, bigger TV's, etc. does not serve me as well as other things. What are those things?

For me the 'things' that bring me the greatest return on my life investment include
*family time
*personal time to do Yoga, Kettlebells, Mountain Bike, Run, Hike, read, write, cultivate relationships, etc.
*the ability to travel and experience the world and people
*the opportunity to learn new and improve upon existing skills, etc by attending certifications and seminars
*the opportunity to DONATE my time and help people, giving back to the world that has and does give me so much
*taking care of myself (some of the above and things like massage)
*taking care and guiding/helping others

and the list can go on.

My point is that being healthy and debt free and not being part of the mass consumption but only truly taking what I need and of course sometimes I do spoil myself as I work to earn the right are and is the most rewarding life. I feel more peaceful and calm as I do not feel the need to compete with others and instead focus on my being and challenging myself to enjoy the flow of life and in turn give back to my community and the community at large. The Karma I receive back is 10 fold and the stress I feel is minimal to ZERO.

For me it is about QUALITY and not quantity in all aspects of my life. For me how I care for my body, mind, spirit and those around me and the principles that guide me are intertwined with how I carry myself on the whole in every action I take. I am perfect by no means but I work with the flow of live striving to improve, evolve daily and be conscious, aware, kind, peaceful, compassionate, non judgmental, loving and so on

My way not be for you but I wanted to share this bit as I look around and see what is going on outside of me I think of you all and I hope to share my philosophy to inspire you to develop and share yours all while helping yourself to be the best you can be.

with gratitude,


spadamchrist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Todd Gilchrist said...


As you stated, these are two very common, yet extremely dangerous “self imposed diseases” that people burden themselves with. And it’s not as much about being in a hole, whether it be regarding finances or personal health. It is about recognizing the hole that one is in and to stop digging! At the very least, stop digging because it leads us in the wrong direction; down! On a personal level, I am grateful that I have learned to replace the shovel with a ladder. The goal is to add a rung to the ladder each day. This keeps me moving in the right direction.

As Darwin pointed out in The Origin of Species, "The Quickest to Adapt Survive". This is an important time for everyone, the baby boomers, our generation, and the generations to come, to make a change. You laid out some excellent tips that will be very helpful to many!

As usual, always a pleasure! Take care, bro.

- Todd

Joe Sarti said...

thank you Todd for sharing your wisdom. I love climbing upward, always doing so. Your analogy of the shovel and ladder is brilliant.

Best to you my friend