I talk about how our culture leads people to focus unnecessarily on weight loss, instead of their own financial wellness.
There are countless analogies between money wellness and health wellness.
There’s a financial coaching outfit called The Financial Gym, which allows you to work with “personal financial trainers”.
And of course, there’s the famous Dave Ramsey book, “The Total Money Makeover”, which not only threads fitness analogies throughout the book, but also takes its name from the “Total Body Makeover”-type products that were popular at the time.
Because this analogy is so prevalent, it’s worth taking a look at how it holds up, and more importantly, what it means for where you should be putting your energy.
Table of Contents
Let’s start at the first, most important point: if you don’t have your health, nothing else is as important. I don’t care how much money you have. I don’t care how many friends you have. I don’t care how many Instagram followers you have.
Something many of us have learned during the pandemic is that our relationship to health is a little more tenuous than we thought. Story after story about healthy people with “no underlying conditions” literally dying within weeks after contracting COVID-19.
If you’ve ever been sick to the point of being bedridden, you know how much that tops every other concern.
So let me state that I want you to be healthy first and foremost.
Health vs. weight loss
But “health” isn’t a binary.
And I’ll admit that this is me going into controversial territory here, and I make no claim to have anything more than a rudimentary understanding of this world.
But let’s talk about weight.
You’ve all seen the statistics. According to the CDC, 31.1% of adults are overweight, and an addition 42.5% are considered obese.
A lot of statistics are based on BMI, or Body Mass Index, which is defined as your body mass divided by the square of your body height.
But there are some serious issues with the BMI. According to the International Journal of Obesity, BMI doesn’t “take age, sex, bone structure, fat distribution or muscle mass into consideration.“
Those considerations seem rather important, don’t you think?
My point is, I believe people worry way too much about their weight.
We have a massive health industrial complex that seeks to profit off your feeling bad about yourself. And weight is one of the easiest ways to prey on you.
The weight loss monster always changes its identity. First it was Atkins, then it was keto. South Beach Diet. Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. “Fat is bad!” “No, carbs are bad!“
(Interestingly, back in the days of John Harvey Kellogg, it was protein that was “bad” for you. How many years until this comes back in fashion? Everything is cyclical.)
People of all different shapes and size can be healthy. There is no linear connection between your size and your health.
Also, everyone’s natural size is different. Take someone like Lizzo. By our culture’s standards, she is considered “large”. But have you seen her rock a stage? Does she look like anyone’s idea of “unhealthy”? (Could you do this??)
What everyone needs
While most of us don’t need to focus on our weight, everyone needs financial wellness in their lives. Everyone deals with money. Everyone has to pay their bills.
If you’re focusing on weight loss (without a health-professional-approved reason for it), and you’re not focusing on your money, you’re putting your energy in the wrong place.
Your body is just fine just the way it is. You are beautiful, and I don’t care if you don’t look like the Photoshopped people on Instagram. They don’t really look like that either.
Hiring a personal trainer
I know most of us probably aren’t going to the gym these days, but back in the Before Times, many of us did.
And I bet many of you hired a personal trainer at some point, or maybe wanted to.
It makes sense. You hire someone for accountability and guidance, and inspiration too. You’re more willing to do work knowing that you will have to answer to your trainer.
I think personal trainers are a great idea for those reasons.
If you agree, then: why aren’t you doing the same thing for your money?
I bet you have money goals, just like you have health goals. You want to pay down your debt, or save for a house, or your kid’s college, or retirement, or whatever it is.
Are you trying to do this on your own? Why?
If you would work harder with a personal trainer, then it follows that you’d work harder with a money coach, who is, after all, a personal trainer for financial fitness.
It seems crazy to me that someone would hire a personal trainer to “lose 15 pounds” or whatever your goal is, and not hire a financial trainer who can help you “pay off $15,000”.
I say a financial trainer is much more important.
And, as a bonus, when you pay off your debts, you’ll have even more money to pay your personal trainer.
When you think fitness, think of money
We have our priorities all wrong when it comes to fitness.
We get down on ourselves for looking like we do, and then we frantically try to diet or workout to “fix” it.
We also get down on ourselves for not being more in control of our financial lives, and then we do…nothing.
Anyone see anything wrong with this?
If you’ve got to work on getting truly healthy (not what our culture says is healthy), then that takes priority.
But after that, you need to work on your money.