August 3rd, 2016
We're in August which means a few things:
A) How are we already in August?!
b) We're back to dumping debt!
I took a debt snowball hiatus this summer as I was building my emergency fund back up, and now we're back in business, baby. I am pumped. Nothing is more rewarding than throwing massive amounts of money at my debt (until you think about it too hard and it gets depressing, but I digress...we made this bed so let's lay in it!).
As a gal that's doing her best to maintain a healthy spending lifestyle, and one that is also attempting to maintain a healthy HEALTH lifestyle (read: not gain 500 lbs because I love ice cream so much), I've noticed something.
Dumping debt and dumping weight are practically the same dang thing.
1. It is a daily battle. I'll be honest - every single day that goes by where I don't spend money on something that wasn't budgeted and where I don't eat something really horrible for me are both counted as great victories in my book. I have to intentionally think about both of these things as I walk through life and remember what my goals are. I wander around the grocery store with, "No, you don't NEED to spend money on that, just like you don't NEED to consume that," in my mind all the time. (Also - don't freak out...I'm mostly strict but I know how a thing or two about balance. Don't need no lectures here!)
These choices are tied very tightly together in my mind. And they both happen to be choices about the lifestyle I'm choosing to live.
2. It is not an overnight change...it is a lifestyle change. I'm at the point in my life where I am working toward making leaps and bounds toward a healthier eating lifestyle. This girl, that used to eat poptarts for breakfast and hot pockets for lunch, is now an 80% Paleo kind of girl. (Really shocking, I know). When I started teaching BodyPump regularly (along with Zumba), I felt myself getting stronger but noticed that little change was actually happening in the appearance of my body. I remember thinking - if I'm going to be working this hard multiple times a week to build strength, I'd better be seeing it. And that's when I started making S L O W changes to my diet, because it really is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I figured I needed to my fuel my body well in order to get the results I wanted to see. The fact of the matter, too, is that as I am getting older (we're in plain sight of 30, people) I'm more in tune with my body, how it reacts to certain foods, and how I feel internally. (And also how my metabolism is slowing down...) Over time, this mindset has nestled itself into my brain and I do my best to eat clean, whole foods (I fail quite a bit, but I'm working on it). It's taken almost a year and a half to get to 80% Paleo and I've got more work to do. But lifestyle changes don't happen overnight.
Living the Dave Ramsey way is also a lifestyle change. It doesn't happen overnight and it takes quite some time to get the hang of. Just like weight management, it is an 80/20 formula. 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. Anyone can understand that living within the guidelines of a budget is a smart thing to do, but so many people don't actually practice it. Just like most people know that eating pint of ice cream in one sitting is not good for your health, but so many people still do it. Lifestyle changes take a lot of time, patience, practice, and perseverance.
3. It is not the same for everyone. This little lesson has probably been one of the hardest for me to learn and I believe it applies equally to dumping debt and dumping weight. We are all made and shaped differently, with a unique gene pool and different metabolisms. I tend to look at what other people are doing and imagine I can live my life the exact same way. "Oh, well so-and-so eats pasta every day for lunch and is still as thin as a rail. I can eat pasta every day, too!" Sometimes, I'm an idiot. Over the years I've had to be really careful about comparing myself to others when it comes to food and exercise. It's been a long journey of figuring out what works best for ME and MY BODY. I carry weight differently than others. I react to carbs in a different way than others, etc. And the same exact lesson applies to money.
I have to continually remind myself that my budget does not look like everyone else's. Not everyone is carrying around hundreds of dollars of debt that they are paying off monthly. Just because my best friend can order 5 things from Ann Taylor Loft (y'all know I still love this store) doesn't mean that I can. (Well I COULD, but I'd have to budget for it...budgets are beautiful). Finances can produce the same theft of comparison as body image (and then some) if you allow them to. I say, keep your head down, stay in your lane, and figure out what works for YOU.
Living in a healthy eating lifestyle and a smart spending lifestyle are one-in-the-same in my mind. They both take discipline and hard work. They take practice. They take breaking bad habits. And sometimes it's no fun and all you want to do is spend 70 bucks on 5 pizzas (but then you've just screwed everything up, so don't do that). But the hard work and discipline will pay off and beautiful benefits will be had.
Regardless of what lifestyle changes you are making - figure out what benefits you want and go make them happen.