Can we treat our approaches to FOOD and MONEY similarly?
This idea gets a lot of pushback from some, but hear me out...
There are many similarities between approaches to food and money:
If you don’t have a plan for your approach to food or money, results may be less-than-ideal.
We need to decide how to prioritize our spending/intake to get the results we’re looking for. We can’t just expect our savings to appear if we don’t have a savings plan in place.
All of our incomes/caloric intakes are different for any number of reasons. Figuring out how we’re going to “spend it” is specific to each of us.
Some of us might prioritize different spending/eating plans based on our specific goals.
Understanding your goals for performance/body composition/spending/savings are all specific to you and need to be created around what is actually important to YOU. What you are saving for or spending your money on should not necessarily be the same as someone else’s, or be dictated by anyone else’s wants either. Comparing likely doesn’t help either.
Understand that at different times in our lives we have different financial and nutrition goals and our approaches need to adjust accordingly.
Food and money can both be super emotional topics!
I imagine this list could go on, but you get it…
This comparison gets pushback from some because the food connotations can seem restrictive… ie: restrictive calorie counting, perpetually trying to eat less to “save more,” etc. And I can absolutely see how these connections can be troublesome and not helpful for some.
And, at the same time, there are a lot of connections that I really appreciate and see as potentially helpful for some. Here are some of those ideas explored a bit further. You decide if any of these feel appropriate for you to consider in your own life. And, with that being said, you know I don’t believe in restricting any one food or food group, or drastically restricting calories, so if any of these ideas push you to consider that option… back away slowly ; )
Idea #1: Thinking about your food intake as a budget
We can create both nutrition/body composition goals as well as financial goals. From there, we can create plans, checkpoints, mini-goals, data points, etc. to help us hit those goals.
I’m currently in the process of buying a house. I’ve been saving for that goal for years now. If I hadn’t been, there’s no way that a lender would give me a loan, not easily at least. (Unless someone wants to gift me large amounts of money, in which case, let’s definitely talk!)
To reach this savings goal, I’ve been moving money into an investment account monthly for years. I’ve been monitoring it’s growth, moving it if needed, adjusting my investment amount as needed, etc.
I don’t see this kind of approach as being much different than if someone had a nutrition or body composition goal.
Over the past 6-7 months I’ve been trying to lean out just a little from my pandemic weight gain. Nothing drastic, but I’ve been monitoring my intake to make sure I hit my water goals daily, I eat my protein goal daily (okay, at least 6 days a week!), that I manage my treat intake, that I get at least 3 servings of fruits or veggies daily, and that I move 5 times a week.
Similarly, when I used to teach 7th grade, I used to pack all of my food for the day in my huge lunchbox and just knew that that’s what I was eating that day. It hit all my bases, it was appropriate for my goals, etc. Almost like a mini budget for the day!
Is that exact plan right for everyone who’s goal is to lean out a bit? Nope. Similarly, is my savings/investment plan right for everyone trying to buy a house?! Nope! But, the point is that I have a plan for both with metrics to check in on and hold me accountable.
Just like I can’t decide to buy a house one day out of the blue (well, I can’t at least… power to you if you have this kind of liquidity!), I can’t just magically decide to lose a few pounds and not actually do anything to make that happen!
Idea #2: Ramit Sethi’s idea of a Rich Life in connection to your food
Okay, so there’s this finance guy named Ramit Sethi. He wrote the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Which is cleverly titled, in the sense that it discusses strategies and actual approaches to creating what it means to be rich FOR YOU. For what it’s worth, it’s pretty much the only book I’ve read on finances that I was able to comprehend all of. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking to improve your relationship with money and your financial goals.
Anyway, he preaches this concept of creating your Rich Life. He urges readers to decide on the things that are important for you to spend your money on, your lifestyle, your savings, etc. He hates on everyone who says “just stop going to Starbucks” and magically all of your financial problems will be solved. Alternatively, he would argue that if you love your daily Starbucks coffee, then you should absolutely keep that in your financial plan, and make sure your income, savings, CC payments, etc. support that desire.
I think we can think about food similarly. If there are certain foods that you LOVE you absolutely should include them in your food plan. And adjust the rest of your food plan to suit that love.
For example, I love treats. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT I will sit on the couch, watching my shows, and enjoy a few cookies, or some ice cream, or some popcorn, or something like that. That’s part of my Rich Nutrition! So, I make sure that the rest of my intake during the day allows for that intake at night. I’ve already taken care of my protein. I know that I can “afford” to eat those more calorically dense items at night because I understand my overall intake.
If I didn’t understand the bigger picture or plan for those items, then I might experience some results I wasn’t looking for. The same is true for spending… if you have a plan or an awareness of where your money goes, you can (and, debatably, should) afford to include the things you love.
Idea #3: Goals
Mentioned above. Deciding what’s important to YOU and what YOU want to accomplish is super important. No one’s financial or nutrition/body composition goals are the same, nor do we need to compare them exactly. Figure out what values you have in these categories and create a plan to reach it.
To this point, Financial Advisors and Nutrition Coaches also can play a similar role in helping you achieve your goals. Get help if you need it. I know a food girl if you need one ; )
Idea #4: Tracking progress over time
Deciding on relevant data points to your journey is super important. How else will you know you’re on the right track or not??
Once you have your goal, decide on 1-3 metrics that you will look at periodically to gauge your progress towards your goal. Make sure these things are ones you’re comfortable tracking, and that they’re relevant to your goal. Decide how frequently you’ll check them, and set reminders to help you do so.
Based on what your data is telling you, make adjustments to your food/finances as needed.
Idea #5: Investing
Okay, this might be a stretch, but here me out.
When we invest our money, we hope it grows for us over time. It pays us dividends that we could not have earned without making those investments over time.
There are also elements of nutrition and movement that are very similar to financial investments because they pay dividends for us over time, if not immediately.
Lifting weights is a perfect example. Will you see results on Day 1 of a new strength program? Likely not. But, completed consistently over time you will likely: Increase your lean body mass, decrease body fat, increase metabolic rate, support your movement/mobility as you age, process calories differently, etc.
In both nutrition/fitness and finances, there are moves we can make now that will pay off for us big time in the future. Understanding the big picture, and growth over time is key!
Okay, that’s what I have.
What do you think of some of these ideas and connections?! I’d love to know!
And if you have other ideas, or totally disagree, I’m open to hearing those too! Please share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Did you like this post and want to see more like it?!
Know someone who might appreciate it?!
As always, thank you for reading!