The TRUTH is - Your health is your most important asset!
Not your house. Not your car. Not your job. Not your retirement account. These are secondary. If you don't have your health, you (and your family) have nothing. Take the focus off of yourself. You have people in your life who care about you, need you, and love you. You don't do them any good dead and buried. It may not be the one McDonalds Big Mac, chicken wings and beer, or day without exercise that kills you. But rather it's the consistent unhealthy choices you make day-to-day that will kill you over time. When it comes to your number one asset the words that SHOULD come out of your mouth is, "I CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO EAT WELL AND EXERCISE!
I could keep going on how Americans waste a lot of food, money and time on a daily basis, BUT I’m not going to...Here is a simple basic start to get you thinking about changing your habits:
First: Make the commitment to follow through this time…if you have tried to lose weight, get healthy and get control of your finances before, write down how this time is going to be different and how you WILL commit to it this time. Write down your goals...they will be your GPS to health and happiness! Don't short-change yourself - you can have and do anything you set your mind to.
Second: You are going to journal; journal every penny that you spend for at least 2 weeks and see where your money is going. Then sit down and on a piece of paper write out what it costs you to live each month. I’m talking your bare minimum to live; house, car (transportation), gas, electric bill, insurance, and food. These are things that you have to maintain to continue to live safely and make an income. Now write down what is the income that you bring in each month. What do you have left over? Now you need to start writing down all the “fat” you are spending each month. This is foolish spending such as Starbucks, wasted food, fast food, happy hour, soda and other empty calorie foods, beer/wine, cable TV (with 900 channels), getting your nails done, trip to Wal-Mart because they have a sale, $2 here and $5 there on gadgets and widgets that you use once and forget about or they break. You know what you are doing….Now, tell me you don’t have the money. Is it that you can’t afford it, or you don’t want to?
Third: How do you cut down the wasted food? First step - start by eating at home; step two - packing your lunch for work; and step three - plan ahead. Planning ahead means packing your lunch the night before so you're prepared for your day ahead. You can try making a menu for the week. You may even need to cook some of the meals for the week on your free day or make the time - your health is your priority! Create the food/ingredient list that is needed for that menu. When you go to the grocery store only buy what is on the list and DO NOT go grocery shopping hungry. This is where many of us mess up, even me. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you’re starving. Don't set yourself up for failure. One thing that can help you with your menu planning is to look at the local papers and see what is on sale in the produce and fresh meats, fish and poultry sections.
It really comes down to this: Is it that you can’t or you don’t want to? By identifying your (fat- foolish) spending each month you are able to make mindful decisions about what you want for your life and not make excuses. No doubt, getting your money straight, getting fit and taking control of your life takes work. But don’t you agree - YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE WORTH IT?!
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD