General chatter - Impact of debt on other goals

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01-11-2009, 05:00 PM
A question came up about the economy and the psychological effects of debt, how maybe it can factor into the rest of your life and make you more prone to giving up on other goals, such as weight loss. What do you think?

01-11-2009, 05:46 PM
I think it depends.

It would be very easy, if I were not determined to lose weight to say that I just cannot afford healthy food. I have heard it many times. I think it a simple excuse that is true enough if you don't look into it further. We COULD eat top ramen and PB&J for much less than I spend on groceries. It is possible to be a healthy, thrifty shopper but maybe the entire process takes more time and mental energy than some are willing or able to give. Some people also site the cost of smaller clothes as an issue to why they can not lose weight.

The flip side of course is that what I do with my body, and what I put into it is something I can control. I know that it gives me a renewed sense of optimism as I discover the things I CAN do. Every time I run a longer distance for the first time I am surprised to find that I did not, in fact, die from exhaustion. :) -Maybe we can't buy a house right now, afford a vacation, or a million other things I could think of that we don't actually NEED but I am happy and on my way to a healthy body and life.

01-12-2009, 01:41 PM
One of the points the person was making is that people feel overwhelmed by debt, like they'll never pay it off, and that just makes them feel overwhelmed by life in general, so when they think about losing weight, they're already conditioned to believe they can't succeed at long-term goals that require slow and steady effort.

I'm not sure what I think about that theory, but I think it's interesting.

01-12-2009, 02:03 PM
I think it is very likely that debt and weight loss/other goals are related. I think about it like this. Sometimes at work I get hung up on one project. It may be big, or just something I've never done before, so I procrastinate on getting it done. I finally sit down to figure it out, and once it's done I have this huge weight off my chest and feel like I can accomplish anything. Instead of procrastinating, I could have been just doing the project, or I could have been tackling smaller projects. But I didn't, I just had this huge roadblock to accomplishing anything.

So if you look at getting out of debt as a big project, then yes, I can see that as a major roadblock to accomplishing other goals. I think debt can also add to feeling like you have no control over your situation in life, and so feeling like your debt is out of control can also make you feel like your weight is out of control, and you can feel powerless.

And yet another way to think about it is this (at this point I'm writing for my own sake so you can ignore me if you need to!)...the one time I managed to lose weight and keep it off for a long time was after a breakup. Breaking up with the guy I was living with made me change my whole lifestyle, it made me rethink my priorities, my eating habits, everything. I think when you want to lose weight and make it stick, you really do need to look at your life as a whole and restructure things. So rather than isolating the need to lose weight and the need to get out of debt, consider how you can change your life around to make those both happen.

01-12-2009, 03:15 PM
i can see how both losing weight and dealing with debt have a lot in common. it's easy to say- okay find i give up! on both of them. and there are a ton of ways people are bombarded with quick fixes for both of them - diet pills, credit consumer counseling, fad diets, etc. In the end both are very overwhelming tasks and both can only be done in small increments at a time- one pound or one dollar at a time.
I can see how having a lot of debt can put you in a failure mindset- like ugh it's too hard i can't do it, even if i'm paying it down it just doesn't seem to go anywhere. it's easy to apply that same mindset to losing weight.
i also think both have a lot to do with depression to a certain degree. if i'm in over my head on anything, i'm not feeling good about my situation, my station in life- that leads to depression. depression makes it harder to stay motivated, to do what you need to do be it pay off debt or get on the exercise bike.
in the end for both i think the only real way to success is perseverance and one lb/$ at a time.

01-12-2009, 04:12 PM
I think getting rid of debt and extra pounds have some things in common. In both cases, you lose a lot (in total) by losing a little bit at a time. Just like saying you have 100 pounds to lose, it works just as well to say you have $5000 dollars of debt to lose. Just like saying you lost 2 pounds this week, you can lose $5 of debt this week. Certainly, the analogy of monetary budgets has been used many times on these boards, as compared to calorie budgets. On the other hand, you can make payments on debt, but if it's not the fully amortized payment, your debt will still go up. :(