How powerful is a "lifestyle change?"

Thursday, January 02, 2014

A common mantra here at Spark People, and wherever else common-sense weight loss advice is dispensed. That is "it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change." I think I took that to heart after being here a few months, but only as it related to diet and exercise. Now, after almost three years, I see that it goes so much farther than that. Changing your health can seep into other areas of your lifestyle in so many powerful, and positive ways if you let it. Maybe it stems from being mindful of our bodies' needs, or maybe it creates more optimism to look forward to the future. Or maybe creating new, healthy habits just frees us up to emotionally deal with other baggage. It's probably a combination of all of this, but I think the most powerful lesson, is that change comes from within.

I am feeling pretty good at this point about my diet and exercise routine, after having experimented with a few different approaches. I can now do all of my workouts either outside or at home, and they fit easily into my schedule. I'm also close to where I need to be with my paleo/primal diet approach, so it is getting easier to implement, too. Now I have some bandwidth freed up to improve other areas of my life!

This past week, I've been focused on money. Getting fit has made me much more aware of how I want to look and feel as I age. In the past, I was focused more on a 5-year future timeframe, and it was really hard to visualize 30, 40 or 50 years down the line. I feel like I'm physically on a good track to enjoy an active and healthy retirement, but not so sure that I'm on track with the financial piece of the puzzle. Suddenly, I've got a fire under me to really improve this area of my life, where I've previously stuck my head in the sand. I've identified areas where I can simplify my life, which I think always leads to saving money (with more complications and less free time, it's harder to cook at home, take time to really consider purchases, or look for that missing "thing" instead of going out and buying a new one), and I've also found some places where I can save some money on my insurance, and cell phone. I bought a squat rack off Craigslist and will be quitting my gym membership, too. My credit cards will be paid off by summer, and then I will open an investment account, something I've been thinking about for years. By the end of the year I plan to be aggressively paying down my car loan. I also did the math and discovered that my husband and I could have our house paid off within 9 years, which would allow him to retire from his current job when he hits the magic 20 year mark, and pursue something more satisfying. That is powerful stuff!

How has your lifestyle change affected other areas of your life? What do you want to work on next?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Awesome blog! I think financial fitness is just as important as physical fitness. I have been exercising frugal muscles for years and I can say that if I had not been doing so, my past 5 years would have been even tougher to get through. One of my favorite sayings in this area that I try to keep in mind when spending is "Every dollar that you spend has consequences elsewhere in your life". How can I put this dollar to better use?
    2583 days ago
    I couldn't agree with you more!! Very well said :)

    Another benefit that I've noticed over the past year as I've reached my fitness/wellness goals is that I'm feeling more confident. It could be just an age thing, but I feel a lot more confident these days to express myself and stand up for my beliefs.

    I've often thought that counting calories is very similar to managing money - there's only so much coming in, so it's important to track what's going out... If only I could keep the "going out" part of the equation better managed...

    Good luck reaching your financial goals this year - I'm excited for you and your husband!

    2618 days ago
  • AKA639
    Woo Hoo!

    I also had a similar outcome to becoming more fit. I wanted other areas of my life to be improved too. I changed jobs last year, and I started focusing on finances. I'm making a lot of progress too!
    2619 days ago
    Great insight. Good for you for getting financially on track. This year I am sticking to what I start with. Changing my eating habits to lose weight, more exercise, cleaning my house of the clutter and junk that has collected and needs to go.
    2619 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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