The Relationship Between
Weight and Money
By Vivien Schapera and Drew Logan
Have you ever noticed how, when you go on vacation, you bust both your diet and your budget? Is it a coincidence that we are simultaneously seeing a rise in our average weight and a rise in our average personal debt? It is probably no coincidence at all, because our weight and money issues are “tip of the iceberg” symptoms of deeper psychological, social and genetic programming that is dominating our current group consciousness. The good news is that once you become aware of how weight and money are linked, you, as an individual, can change both with the same amount of effort!
Instead of trying to force yourself to go on a diet or a budget, step back and see the bigger patterns of behavior underlying overspending and overeating. Changing these patterns will not only change your weight and finances, but will generate lasting lifestyle changes that positively touch every aspect of your life.
Let’s take a look at these patterns common to gaining weight and losing money.
Here are seven elements of the behavioral bridge:
1. Excessive Consumption
2. Imbalance between What’s Coming In and What’s Going Out
3. Loss of Control (including disrupted energy and lack of self-discipline)
4. Comfort Seeking (including addictions, bingeing and self-medication)
5. Genetics and Family Patterns
6. Environmental Influences (including peer pressure, fashion and trends)
7. Faulty equations in which Money = Love and Food = Love
Identifying Your Individual Weight/Money Relationship
Does this mean that if you are thin, then you’re rich and if you are poor then you’re fat? Not quite! Yet, there is bound to be an observable relationship between weight and money.
Some people express consistency in their weight and money behaviors. For example, Marge is careful with her finances and diet, following a budget to the penny and counting calories before she puts anything in her mouth. On the other hand, Joe does not follow any conscious plan with regard to either, but limits himself by eating what is on his plate and spending what is in his pocket.
Marge and Joe have found a way to set limits. Others have patterns which create growing deficits. For example, Annabelle borrows against next month’s paycheck, promising to catch up next month, and eats a big dessert, vowing to exercise more tomorrow. At least Annabelle is aware, Jack doesn’t even know that he has put on another 10 pounds in the last year and the balance he owes on his credit cards is rising every month.
Others express their internal conflicts by being opposite when it comes to weight and money. Mary defied her father when she became an accountant. Yet, she gained her father’s admiration by eating big second helpings. She was able to retire young — but with a weight and diabetes problem. Mary is highly informed about money and not at all informed about nutrition and food.
John practices a life of self-denial in financial matters. He compensates
himself with food instead — indulging himself in quantity, whereas Veronica is
so busy working out and calculating her fat intake that she hasn’t had time to
pay the bills and think about saving for retirement.
Successful change requires only three components: clarity of intention, a plan for overcoming natural resistance to change, and understanding why you are the way you are.
The Importance of Intention
Part of the process of supporting change is gaining that clarity of intention and part of the process is removing the interference.
Intention systematically organizes the data of your life to yield the particular result you desire. Intention works because systems organize themselves around goals, using everything they know consciously and unconsciously.
Resistance is the reluctance or refusal to take action, even and sometimes especially, when the action we are resisting is the very action that will make a difference. Three ways to deal with resistance:
• Schedule the action you are resisting for the time of day when your energy is highest
• Make an appointment with someone else who will help you face your resistance (for example, working out under the beady eye of a personal trainer)
• Make yourself accountable to someone else
If going on a diet or a budget did not help in the past, why should it help this time? Take another look at your situation, and ask yourself:
Why haven’t I been able to adhere to my diet, exercise routine or budget in the past?
If these past reasons aren’t addressed, what are your chances of sticking to
your resolutions in the future?
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
• Do I seek comfort by eating or spending?
• Can I exercise more self-control when I’m alone or when I’m with others?
• Do I yo-yo between strict control and loss of control, with regard to diet, exercise or spending habits?
• How are my eating, exercising and spending habits similar to and different from my
• Do I equate money with love and food with love?
• Under what circumstances do
I find myself overeating and/or overspending?
How Are You Programmed?
To successfully change, we need to recognize that we have been programmed to behave in certain ways before we were conscious beings, able to exercise choice. For example, the associations between food and love, and money and love, begin from birth, when our parents provide us with food, shelter, material goods and love.
What’s Your Story?
To discover your programming, you can do a fast write of your weight and/or money story. Just spend five minutes doing the following:
Without lifting your pen or pencil from the paper, write whatever comes to mind, without censoring, about your early experiences with regard to:
Weight: Food, family meal times, body awareness, role models
Money: finances, abundance, shortage, home atmosphere with regard to money, role models.
Because it is so hard to overcome our resistance on our own, and because we didn’t become the way we are on our own, it is important to get assistance when we want to change. In any case, it is so much more pleasant to get support than to try and go it alone. Remember to share your specific intentions with an appropriate practitioner who will know exactly how to direct you. These are just some of many choices:
The Alexander Technique
Psychotherapy and Counseling
There is still no reason not to get started now:
Unclutter your home. Donate unwanted clothes and furniture. Throw away what’s
broken and unusable. File your papers. Clean out your purse.
Add in what is missing from your diet — drinking enough water? Taking your vitamins? Needing more fruit and veggies?
Go to the library, bookstore and internet and read up on the methods that interest you.
In a time of excess you don’t have to join the masses and lose control. Will you really be more satisfied if you “supersize” it? Will your life be significantly better after you purchase the plasma TV? Do you really need that big steak, a bag of chips, a chocolate bar? Once you have your sports cars, then what? How will you feel later, if you indulge? And how will you feel later if you maintain self-control? As an individual, you can determine for yourself when enough is enough.
To a certain extent, our behavior patterns (past and present) define us. They help define the relationship we have with our food and our finances. However, these patterns can be changed in the future — for the better. If you want to change your relationship with weight and/or money, examine your patterns, create a clear intention for change, account for some resistance, get some support and, most important of all, GET STARTED!
For more information on the relationship between weight and money and the Lose
Weight, Gain Money® Program, you can visit
www.loseweightgainmoney.com. How to Lose Weight and Gain Money, A Program
for Putting Your Life in Order, by retired banker and financial consultant, Drew
Logan, and teacher and healer, Vivien Schapera, is available online and at your
favorite book store.
What’s Your Profile?
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