Bonnie standing above a glacier in Washington State

Being Overweight is like Having Debt

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To be financially independent one must first get out of debt. It’s a lot like physical health, one must first get rid of the extra fat. Personally, I find the steps to financial health easy, but the steps to losing extra pounds extremely difficult.

Putting our retirement and nomadic travel on pause for six months is the perfect time for me to set some routines and get this issue under control.

My weight is something I have always been ashamed of. It is time to do something about it.

dumbbell sitting on $20 dollar bills

Losing Weight is like Paying Down Debt

The more I listen to Financial Independence podcasts or read other personal finance blogs the more I see the correlation of physical health to financial health. The steps and advice all have the same core ideas.

Those of us with a slow metabolism and addiction to sugar HATE it when people say, “Oh, it’s easy, just count calories.” We know it’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s something that those with healthy metabolisms will never understand and it is annoying when they think they do. I imagine that those under debt often feel the same way when financially independent people or people with great jobs say, “Just save x percentage, it’s easy.” I’m sure they want to say something with a few asterisks and pounds signs in it.

We are all different, with different circumstances and mindsets. During this series, I’m going to come clean about my struggle and goals with losing weight. I’m going to use the advice that I would give to others about getting out of debt and see if it works on my weight loss struggle.

There are many who just seem to know how and what to eat, exercise regularly, but struggle with finances. I’m the opposite, maybe by correlating the two we can port over our knowledge and help each other out.

Why lose weight?

Financial health and physical health can both hold us back. There can be many underlying reasons why debt or extra pounds happen: health, circumstances, all that. They may need to be addressed, but for this series, I’m starting today forward. I want to lose weight to be healthier. Health provides more physical freedom.

Phase 1: Get out of debt / Lose the weight

I have 45 lbs to lose and I’m going to treat it like I would debt. I’m in the get out of debt phase. In this phase, I need to sacrifice just like I did when I was in debt.

Mr. Money Mustache and many other personal finance writers talk about the urgency of getting out of debt. Most doctors would say the same about extra weight – get rid of it!

Losing weight is like losing debt

In the personal finance world, there is a never-ending debate about paying off a mortgage vs. investing. Physically, I’m going to lean towards building strength. My goal is to lose weight, but my purpose is to be healthy. In the long run, strength training will help keep off the weight.

Since health is the ultimate purpose for losing this weight I want to focus on healthy foods and exercise. My strategy and even my goal may change on this journey but the purpose will remain the same.

Progress (or lack thereof):


I arrived in Phoenix on Sept 13th. The next day I purchased high-protein foods and downloaded the MyFitness App to track my calories. From the 14th to the end of the month I was under the calorie count every day but one. That one day I was over by 50 calories.

On Sept 17th I began going to the gym at least five times a week. Alternating between swimming laps for an hour on some days and joining a cycle class on others.

By the end of the month, I gained one pound.

October so far:

Purchased a heart rate monitor to keep track of effort. This will help me train harder, but not overtrain. Stayed within or under the calorie count all but two days, going over by 100 calories on one day and 150 on another.

Results as of October 10th: Zero change in weight

Plan going forward:

The path to getting out of debt can be just as frustrating. When doing all the right things yet not seeing progress makes it hard to stay motivated. However, I know that scientifically if I keep eating right and exercising I will lose weight. I’m going to trust that and keep going. I may consult a nutritionist and I’m also getting a full panel blood work done. Based on expert advice I will modify my routine if needed, but for now, I have to keep working on it.

In finances, the numbers show that the more saved and the less debt one has the easier it will become. Sometimes it’s a “just hang in there and keep doing the right thing” game. I will need to course-correct along the way as any journey requires. Let’s see what the next six months bring!

If you are on a journey toward fixing something in your life, debt, weight, or something else comment below. I would love to take this journey together.

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19 thoughts on “Being Overweight is like Having Debt”

  1. Remember, if you are exercising, you may be losing weight and gaining muscle – which is heavier per square inch. At least I think I read that somewhere. I am right with you. For real! Wearing my fitbit, doing my steps, trying to watch my calorie intake, but making some poor choices. I keep hovering over the same five pounds, a barrier to the serious last ten pounds I want to lose. I recognize that I will never hit the weight of my teens and early twenties. and I would not want to wear the wrinkly extra skin that would be mine if I lost all of the stuff holding it smooth right now. But I do believe that this last fifteen needs to go. (Having lost 30 pounds already this year, the same 30 I have lost a few times.) Perhaps with your company, we might do it. Low carb worked for me before. Hugs

    1. Thank you, Carol. The low carb, high protein is the only one that has ever worked for me. I do know that muscle weighs more, but it would sure be nice to see the dial move just a little! lol Let’s do this πŸ™‚

  2. Great job making your goal public. At our physicals 2 weeks ago, we learned we both gained 15 lbs since January. Ugh. No wonder my clothes are so tight! We started back on Intermittent Fasting but it’s definitely tricky in our nomadic lives. I’m cheering you on your journey!

    1. Thank you Amy! It does feel more difficult without the routine, hopefully, I can get at least close to where I should be so that I can be on maintenance once we hit the road again. Maybe getting back to slow travel will help your routine too.

  3. So proud of you for doing this and writing this. Three years ago I lost 34 pounds and I’ve kept 25 of it off because of the new habits I created in my weight loss period. One thing I had to do to lose the weight was use a professional. I had been a “professional” dieter my whole life and it hadn’t worked. When I hired someone and admitted I didn’t know how to do it by myself (when I swore that I did I know), the weight came off. In your FIRE movement, you had a professional help you: Mr Money Moustache. Would it make sense to hire a professional for this new journey?

    I want to get off this 9 pounds plus 5 more. Right now my movement is limited due to injuries. I’m exploring different avenues to my happiness via a Creativity course and a Body image course. When I’m happy and fulfilled, it’s much easier to manage calorie consumption. No boredom, no overeating, etc. I want to reengineer my brain and body connection. I will never diet again.

    1. Thank you, Chris. It is a journey and I do want to learn new habits along the way to keep this weight off.

      I actually never heard of MMM till about two years after we retired. I hadn’t even heard the term FIRE till a year after we did it. But yes, I had good advice about saving when I was young. I think a nutritionist would be a good idea for me.

      The top two reasons for taking this job are 1) I wanted to help this organization 2) We won’t be traveling this winter and I wanted to stay busy. Yes, staying busy helps me not eat as much too.

  4. I can relate to this, Bonnie! I lost 30 pounds following a low carb, moderate protein keto diet. Unfortunately, my cholesterol escalated, but if I eat beans instead of meat, I gain weight. I’ve regained some of what I lost, which is frustrating. But I’m determined to get back down to my goal weight because I think it will help reduce my cholesterol and improve my health.

    Now I’m focusing on following a lower carb, moderate protein but high fiber diet. I’ve cut out almost all meat & dairy (had fish & some parmesan cheese a half dozen times in the past few months). I did see a nutritionist through my medical provider’s office. I also took an online low carb vegan keto coaching program for women so I could learn some new low carb vegan recipes. I’ve started hiking more. I hope it works. Here’s to crushing our goals!

    1. Thank you for your comment sharing your experience. I’ve had a number of friends also PM me that the low carb/Keto diets are the only ones that work for them. Seeing a nutritionist is probably a good idea for me too. Yes, let’s crush this goal!

  5. Firstly, remember to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. We each have our struggles. So, boy can I relate. My struggle is to make healthy food choices and achieve proper exercise levels in general let alone while traveling. I like the way you laid out your plan and the way you aligned this with financial fitness goals. I think I will try to track these things just like I do our finances. Thanks 😊
    You are a marathoner at heart.

    1. Thank you, JP. Great reminder to be compassionate. I’m hoping to learn some more good habits while we are in one place that I can take with us when we get back on the road. I’m open to suggestions you have learned along the way too. Thanks again.

  6. How brave of you to share! that’s a great step in putting “it out there”. I love your dedication despite lack of success, if nothing else, your lungs and muscles are getting stronger and creating the habits that you are, are super important. I joined Noom earlier this year and it’s psychology based which works for me. It’s all on an app, I have a coach that checks in 1x a week and a group that can help as well.
    Best of luck on your journey, and remember, one day or hour at a time.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. Telling my plan to people around me makes it harder to cheat too! If they see me eating one of the free cookies from the kitchen then they know that I lost my willpower! I looked into Noom a while back. I think I will try a nutritionist. Thanks for the reminder to take it one day at a time.

  7. Losing weight is very hard for me too. I am diabetic, so if I don’t eat, my blood sugars crash and I feel very shaky.
    I am tickled if I lose even a pound.

    1. Hi Diana, That would make it incredibly difficult. I’m not diabetic but I do start crashing and stop being able to process much when I’m hungry. It makes that balance so important. I need to eat, the question is how much. I’m sure it’s all the more difficult with diabetes.

  8. I’m not an expert, my weight has always been about where I wanted it to be. But I do have experience with extreme running and exercise and I would caution you to not do too much too hard too soon. There are a couple of reasons, exercise works best when it is fun or at least not awful and if you overdo it, awful happens. The second is injuries almost always happen if you push too fast too soon. And then you can’t do anything until you heal. I think you will hit your target because you are focused and committed, but those great traits can get you in trouble if you don’t start slow and be gradual about this. You’ve got all the time in the world. Plus, the weight is much less a health worry for fit people. And you are getting fit doing what you are doing. I know some great female athletes who are stocky but they are solid and beasts on the tennis court and in very good health. Fitness matters, weight not nearly as much. That’s a cosmetic thing and in our society its an unfair burden piled on the backs of women mostly.

    1. Thank you, Steve. I truly appreciate your insight. Overdoing it is something I do need to be cautious of. Thanks for the reminder. The actual number of lbs I lose is a goal I’m willing to change along the way, after I get rid of the unhealthy gut. πŸ™‚

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