I was the fat kid in my house growing up, and later on into elementary and middle school. The picture that other people had of me didn’t match the picture I had of myself.
I think we do the world a disservice when we teach women and girls
- that they will always be valued, first and foremost, by their bodies,
- that it’s appropriate and socially acceptable to evaluate others’ bodies at all,
- that being fat is worthy of chastisement and ridicule,
- that weight and size actually reveal insights into a person’s true character.
For these reasons (and a host of others), I hate the word fat.
I’m appreciative and in awe of the growing body positivity movement. But for the sake of this post, I’m using the word intentionally to think through the ways that gaining unwanted weight and gaining unwanted debt are the same.
1. You take care of other people before you take care of yourself.
A few years ago, I had an administrative role in a theological seminary back in Chicago. There was a little writing, a little event planning, and a whole lot of coordinating. While arranging lunch for a particular workshop, I overheard the pastor discuss the role of “self-care” within ministry.
I held back a smile. Self-what? What in the world was that?
If you work, live with someone, have children, or financially support someone, you’ve most likely found yourself putting someone else’s needs above yours. Perhaps you have children and want them to live their best life. Perhaps you take care of an aging parent or spouse and want them to have the best care.
Perhaps your partner is idealistic and you’re heavily invested in helping him reach his goal.
2. You haven’t figured out why the problem exists or where it came from.
NerdWallet’s 2018 report claims that the average American family with credit card debt has a balance of more than $15,000. Indebted households pay hundreds in interest each year, and many families even use credit cards to cover the costs of medical expenses. Arguably, excessive debt is a distinctly American problem.
But is history trapped in us, or are we trapped in history?
In the case of your money, what is the root cause? Do you not earn enough, or do you consistently spend more than you earn?
In the case of weight, what is the root? Do you eat too much, or eat the wrong things, or do you remain sedentary despite your best efforts?
Why are you broke? And why are you fat?
3. You haven’t figured out what you need to do to fix the problem.
Creating a budget is easy. Using a budget is hard. Arguably, it’s even harder if your budget is tight because you feel like you spend all your time working for someone else, and at the end of the day you can’t even afford the things that would make you happy.
You overspend because what difference does it make? You’re barely scraping by anyway.
I have a friend who makes slightly more money than her husband, but she’s able to save 20% more per check than he is. They’re not able to travel because he can’t afford it, but SHE could. They’re technically broke, but she could help solve the problem if she used her savings to help manage his debt.
Since they’re married, she believes that his debt is hers and her debt is his.
He feels emasculated by her incessant desires to pay things for him.
How can they fix the problem?
4. The solutions you’ve tried just aren’t working.
I’m pescetarian. Save for this weekend, I don’t drink alcohol, soda, or juice. I eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and fish. I walk for almost an hour at least 5 times a week. I jog on the treadmill regularly, but the pounds won’t come off.
I know that I’d fare better with high intensity interval training, but I’ve heard so much about weight loss being diet-related that I get frustrated. I’ve already given up so much! I eat so much better than I ever did, and so much less, but for all my efforts, I see no results.
Can you relate?
5. You need to be fat and broke for this particular season so you can learn, grow, change, fail, or aspire. Yes, fail.
It’s a common statistic that many people gain weight during the first year of college and on into graduate school. Perhaps it’s due to age. Perhaps it’s due to an increased workload and increased stress.
Is being fat and broke just a temporary step in your journey?
6. You aren’t willing to make the lifestyle changes to reach your goal. You lack time, resources or both.
Here’s the truth. I want to lose 30-40 pounds.
But do you know what I want even more? To finally write and publish a children’s book series.
Since I’m not disciplined and my attention span is short, writing is laborious. When I get home from work, I need at least three hours to stare blankly out the window. This is an important step in my writing process. LOL.
I can’t exercise, cook, wash the dishes, walk the dog, AND have all my window time when I’m home by 6pm but my bedtime is 8:30pm!
7. It’s easier and more comfortable to stay where you are.
As you know quite well, losing weight, eliminating debt, and saving money require sacrifice. We have to be willing and able to give something up.
Sometimes we’re not in a space, emotionally, where we feel we can give up one more thing.
We work too hard, we do too much, and we want what we want. We don’t want to be defined by our weight or our salary. There’s so much more to life than that.
8. You’re trapped in a life you don’t want and can’t escape (or someone is standing in your way).
This weekend the life that I’ve known for the past four years suddenly, unexpectedly, and dramatically blew up.
In the aftermath, I’ve spent days trying to work through my anger, fear, and shame. What happened? I couldn’t have loved anyone more than I loved him.
But the truth is that slowly and surely I felt the unraveling months before this. I saw the end before it happened and started grieving in advance. I wanted out, but couldn’t say it. I wanted someone else’s life.
If you find that you’re struggling to save money or lose weight, have you asked yourself if you’re happy where you are, truly?
No one wants to be broke and fat, but, statistically speaking, most of us (in the states) are. We work too much for much too long and don’t devote enough time for connection and self-care.
This blog exists because I’m determined to become debt-free and determined to make sure that my niece and nephew don’t get into debt when they’re older.
If you don’t want to be broke and fat like me, answer these questions for yourself.