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How I lost 40 lbs And Improved My Finances

Hi!  I am out of town for the Financial Blogger Conference this week, but I have some excellent guest posts lined up for you thanks to some amazing readers and bloggers!!!  The following is a guest post from Stuart Laing of Daily Money Bucket, where he aims to help you fill up your money bucket and reduce the leaks. Check it out if you want to take control of your personal finances and move towards financial independence.

Choosing to Lose Weight

By the time I left university, I was overweight.  Height - 5 Foot 10 Inches.  Weight – 195 lbs.  Body mass index – 28.  Overweight, if not obese.

So instead of following the latest fashionable diet, I decided to use the power of habit to alter my life and lose weight.  Using information that I found online I set about building a series of fitness and nutritional habits into my life.  Every month I installed a new habit.  And the result?

The Results

After two years my weight eased down to 154 lbs.  That’s a body mass index of 22.1, the lower side of the 20-25 normal range.  And, as an added bonus, I discovered that my new lifestyle didn’t cost as much.

So here are three of the most important changes that I made to my life and the habits that glued them in place.

1. Hydration

First, I sorted out my hydration.  This arose from my research into productivity.  Turns out that it’s much easier to manage your physical and mental energy when your body is properly hydrated.

That meant an end to soft drinks and alcohol.  These days all I drink is water (1.5 liters a day) and occasionally fruit juice or green tea.  In addition to feeling much better, I’ve also saved a lot of money on alcohol.  My hydration habits include drinking half a liter of water when I wake up in the morning, sipping water throughout the day and avoiding both alcohol and soft drinks.

ANNUAL SAVING: Around £600

2. Food

The next step was to improve my eating habits, so I began by cutting junk food from my diet.  Prior to that, I had been eating fast food at least twice a week.  This removed fries, deep fried food and much saturated fat from my diet.

I also learnt how to cook. Oh yes, I can cook.  So I developed the habit of cooking a healthy, nutritious meal every evening.

As a result, I now eat a much healthier diet for about a third of the cost of takeaway food.

ANNUAL SAVING: Around £600

3. Exercise

The final piece of the puzzle involved adding exercise to my daily activity.  But rather than joining a gym, which (a) involves monthly expense and (b) is often not used, I developed my own exercise regime and then made it habitual.

Thanks to a combination of old dumbbells, pushups and squats, my general strength and stamina have improved considerably.  In recent days I’ve also accepted the 100 pushups challenge which I’ll mention in a future post.

ANNUAL SPENDING AVOIDED: At Least £360

In total, I reckon these simple changes have saved me at least £100 per month and improved both my health and fitness.

However, one final habit that I developed was to avoid stepping onto the scales every day. Instead, I weighed myself every 6 months.  This was done on purpose to remove the focus from my weight. My main aim was to enjoy my new, sustainable lifestyle.

Ten years on, I still maintain the same habits and my weight remains in the 154-160 lbs range.

Three cheers for the power of habit.

Woot, woot, hooray!

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11 comments to How I lost 40 lbs And Improved My Finances

  • Thanks for allowing me to guest post Crystal.

    If anyone has any questions about habits or my new, healthier lifestyle, I’ll do my best to answer them.

  • I’m really bad about the hydration one! I drink far too much coffee and Diet Coke. Though I’ve not been feeling well lately and I’m curious what would happen if I cut out all the diet soda. I guess there’s no time like the present!

  • Wonderful job. Not only you were able to drop the weight, but your finances got more fit. Really inspiring.

  • Congratulations, Crystal! I know exactly where you’re coming from: I’ve lost about 75 pounds myself and have kept the majority of it off for over seven years. I even put my before and after pictures in “My Weight Loss Story” blog post.

    One thing that I find is key is drinking water and ditching coke–soft drinks–in Texas, every soft drink is coke!

    Keep up the great work! I know how hard it is because it’s an endless battle!

  • Opps, I just realized this was a guest post…I had a blonde moment :) Anyway, congratulations, Stuart! Keep up your success in maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

  • You bring up an excellent point about drinking water. Water is so important for functionality and I feel much better when I’m properly hydrated. Congrats to you!!

  • I don’t have a problem with weighing yourself regularly, but if you weigh in any more than once per week, you should weigh yourself at the same point in the day, and you should also average your numbers to level out any of the standard ups and downs that come into play.

  • Love reading about people learning the many benefits of drinking enough water. It’s such an energy boost. Also, the connection between physical fitness and financial fitness is pretty strong!

  • @Christine

    Hydration is so important, but like so many things it can be difficult to introduce a new routine into your life.

    That’s why it’s crucial to use the power of habit. Once something becomes habitual, it’s much easier to maintain because you don’t have to think about it actively.

    @Dojo

    Thanks Dojo. It’s amazing how often unhealthy habits cost more than beneficial habits.

    @Lindsey

    Congratulations to you Lindsey.

    I’ve just been reading your weight loss story and it’s really inspiring. Losing 75 pounds and maintaining it for 7 years is even better than my story.

    And I agree with you that high fructose corn syrup is really bad news.

    Unfortunately, it appears in so many processed foods these days (still, it’s another reason to avoid processed food as much as possible).

    @Monica

    Hydration is such an important part of a healthy body.

    In fact I’d put hydration at number one on the list of life improvement activities. I’m not a doctor, but I read recently that an estimated 80% of headaches are caused by insufficient hydration.

    @Money Beagle

    Good point about weighing yourself at the same time and taking an average.

    I find that my weight can fluctuate by several pounds throughout the day.

    That’s one of the reasons why I made a conscious decision not to weigh myself on a frequent basis.

  • @FI Pilgrim

    Yes, there’s a strong connection between managing your health and managing your money.

    Recent research has discovered that there are certain keystone habits (such as exercise or stopping smoking) which act as a springboard for people to turn their life around. The confidence and self-belief gained from one area can than be used in other areas such as getting out of debt, improving relationships etc.

    Little changes might not seem like much, but over time they can snowball into major life improvements.

  • Great job on losing the weight! There are a lot of similarities to losing weight and managing your money wisely. Great job and thanks for sharing how you did it!