Last night I snacked on celery & carrot sticks with salsa because I had no points left for the day. Earlier I had an English Muffin (four points) and two tablespoons of cream cheese (five points), which was the bulk of my supper. I had a peach for dessert (zero points). If you haven’t already figured out, I joined Weight Watchers three days ago, and I am now counting my Smart Points. Everything I eat has a points value, and yes, some things have a point value of zero which is great when you have no more points left in your “points bank”.
Dieting and budgeting are very similar, in that both have “banks”. What do I mean by “banks”? When you budget you put aside a certain amount of money to cover different categories for your expenses, not just your monthly bills, but also living expenses such as “gifts”, “eating out”, “entertainment”, “beauty” and “clothing”. If you go over your budget, then you are probably dipping into your savings, if you don’t have a savings, then you are probably dipping into your credit card, overdraft or line of credit. None of the “dippings” are a good idea. Especially the ones which charge you interest unless you pay the line of credit or credit card off before the end of the month, otherwise you will be dinged with interest, which means you are paying more than the value of what you purchased. Not a great feeling to be donating money to the big bad banks.
Similar to interest rates, with dieting when you go over your budget of calories or in my case Smart Points (and the buffer points they give you per week – that could be your savings), you are going to gain weight which is undesirable because paying for a diet plan is expensive. Also similar, the nicer an item is the higher the price it is, same as food, an ooey gooey dessert could be more than half of your allotted points for the day. A cashmere sweater from JCrew could cost you two months of budgeting for clothing.
Both dieting and budgeting require discipline and planning ahead. Allocating funds to what you know you need to spend, and setting aside reasonable amounts of money for the things you will spend money on such as going out for dinner with friends, going to the movies, getting a haircut, or buying a sweater for the cooler weather which will be here come autumn. You want your goals to be realistic so you don’t set yourself up for failure.
I thought I could budget $50 a week for groceries, so $200 a month, but with the influx of prices in the grocery store, I would have to be living off of Mr. Noodle, KD, Wonder Bread and peanut butter. Forget about fresh produce, meats and cheeses. I kept going over budget and then I would run out of funds, as I took what I saved from my $50 a week grocery budget and put it towards my “entertainment” budget (which was completely depleted). It is a slippery slope towards using credit, which I don’t want to do. You may have to play around with your budget before you figure out how much you can realistically spend on groceries. I find when I go outside the lines, then I throw caution to the wind and say “whatever”… Not a good attitude.
Same with dieting, you have to be realistic with your goals which should include short term goals (lose 10 pounds in two months) and long term goals (lose 40 pounds by spring 2017). If you go into a diet believing you can drop 20 in two months, it may be possible, but it is going to be extreme and likely you will gain it back. Better to set up a routine which you can live with and lose the weight slowly, yet steadily. Although it does feel like you just woke up one day and the pants which fit you yesterday no longer fit you today, it did take some time before you got to this point.
Not only am I denying myself of shopping now, but I am also denying myself of eating all the yummy unhealthy foods I so enjoy. Anyone who says Weight Watchers is not dieting is full of it. Yes, it is a lifestyle change, but you are also denying yourself things you normally wouldn’t deny yourself. It is a diet. I will keep you posted on my weight loss and continue to budget and pay down debt. My life is grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!
Peace & Love – Rachel