I Want It All, I Want It Now: Curbing The ‘Gimmies’

by Kelly · 16 comments

in Thoughts On Frugality

lettuceI’m on a diet. I tend to eat more (and less healthily) when I’m tired and stressed, and there’s been a fair share of that over the past few months. I’m also trying to spend less money, as I tend to spend more money when I’m tired and stressed (see above).

Eating and spending money can be quite similar behaviors. Both are somewhat inherited, somewhat learned from family, friends and environment. Both can be emotional or rational  behaviors. And both can be controlled by diets. Dieting, and learning to control your eating, is a lot like budgeting, and learning to control your spending.

Just in the same way that I set up financial restrictions on my behavior, like days when I don’t spend any money, or an automatic savings plan, I have now started to set up artificial restrictions on my eating patterns. So (unfortunately) the days of toast and nutella as a late-night snack are gone, as are all the other bad eating behaviors that I’ve learned over the years.

But one thing that I have learned about myself through these many years of financial and food regimes (in French, the word for ‘diet’ and ‘spending plan’ are interchangeable), is that the quickest way to fail is through feeling that I’ll never be able to buy a cute shirt on impulse or eat another slice of chocolate cake. Every time I’ve blown a diet or a budget it’s because I’ve felt that there is no way I’d be able to live the rest of my life like this.

So how do I control the ‘I want it all, I want it now gimmies?’

I write things down. I’ve kept track of my spending for a long time now (although I have to admit that I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit). I’ve started keeping track of everything I put into my mouth. Doing so keeps me more accountable.

I ask myself if I really want it. I’ve been trying to identify why I eat (and spend money). Am I hungry? Tired? Bored? Stressed? And so on. Many of the triggers that make me overspend are the same that make me overeat, and I’m trying to really identify when I’m hungry, and when it’s something else.

I remind myself of why I’m doing this. I’m on a journey to frugality because I want to have my bills paid off and a comfortable financial situation for myself and my family- not because I want to be rich. Likewise, I’m on a journey towards losing weight because I want to look better, feel better and be stronger and more healthy- not because I want to be skinny.

That’s why, this time around, I feel a bit more confident in my chances of success. I’m taking things slowly, both food and finances wise, and giving myself lots of leeway. If I fail, I’m not going to give it all up and chuck it all in. Instead, I’ll stand up, wipe myself off, and remind myself that I can start again, right now.

What are your best tips on learning to control your eating (and spending)?


1 Sharon June 15, 2009

I love this post. I was going to blog about something similar as I’m trying out a No Spend month. After two weeks of monitoring my spending, I’ve let my healthy eating habits wane…(I just lost 25 lbs on weight watchers). And when I was following my ‘diet’, I spent with abandon. It seems that I cannot do both at the same time with full success. I wonder why that is? I LOVE your reasons for why you are doing it, and giving yourself a break if you are not perfect. I think I’ll do the same.
.-= Sharon´s last blog ..Menu for third week of No Spend Challenge =-.

2 Kelly June 15, 2009

Good for you Sharon!

3 Nancy June 15, 2009

Since January I’ve been paying attention to what I eat. I’ve found that the one change I’ve made that has helped the most is watching my portion size. It’s easy to overeat when you can ‘supersize’ or ‘biggie size’ meal w/out a 2nd thought. That’s easy to do at home too by eating a 2nd helping. I’ve eliminated 2nds and don’t eat after 7pm. Also eating a high protein breakfast has made a difference. I’m not starving by lunch when I eat a good breakfast. My favorite little indlgence? Eating a Yok Peppermint pattie when I need a bit of chocolate or something sweet. At just 45 calories it cures my craving.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..Cook Once, Eat Twice =-.

4 Kelly June 15, 2009

I’m finding that eating protein really helps my cravings- every time I’ve dieted before I’ve eaten a ton of fruit and veggies. While that’s good, I’m always starving, and looking for the next thing to eat!

On the other hand, I’ll leave the peppermint patties to you Nancy- I can’t stand them!

5 Lisa June 15, 2009

I track everything I put in my mouth too! I use caloriecount.about.com which not only keeps track of calories, it also keeps track of fat, fiber, sugar, cholesterol, and sodium intake. I highly reccomend the site because it has so many useful tools to keep you on track with your health goals.

6 Kelly June 15, 2009

Thanks for the link Lisa- I'll have to check that out! I'm all about useful online tools 😉

7 Kika June 15, 2009

I do not do well with an all-or-nothing approach so I try to build planned “treats” into my budget or eating regime. For instance, I can allow myself one night/wk to have junk food with a movie and put aside $ for some clothing (or whatever) so I know I have something to look forward to. This helps me stay motivated without the deprivation that pushes me to splurge or binge.

8 Kelly June 15, 2009

I agree Kika- all or nothing just ends up being 'all' for me! That's why I like what I'm doing now- as long as I stay within the limits I can do whatever I want.

9 Amber June 15, 2009

I just started reading this site and I just started this program as well – a little over a week ago. I found that tracking every penny I spent gave me a great amount of control over my financial situation. Surely if I feel so good about tracking every penny, I'll feel that good about tracking every calorie. I've never felt like losing weight was so attainable. If it's all a numbers game, you just play by the rules and you should come out ahead, right?

It's a lot more difficult to track calories than pennies but I think it's really going to work. Good luck to you!
.-= Amber´s last blog ..3/4 + 1/4 = 1 =-.

10 Kelly June 15, 2009

Welcome Amber! good luck to you too.

11 Craig June 15, 2009

Impulse buys and impulse eats need to be thought out. There are so many times I want to eat something but then think about it for a second. "Am I really hungry." And then it's easier to pass up on things.
.-= Craig´s last blog ..The Ways to Combat Whooping Interest Rates =-.

12 Kelly June 15, 2009

I’m new to asking myself that question Craig, but so far I’m really happy with the answers!

13 Denise C. June 16, 2009

So (unfortunately) the days of toast and nutella as a late-night snack are gone, as are all the other bad eating behaviors that I’ve learned over the years.

My weakness at night was peanut butter and honey toast. To me it was the perfect combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. Unfortunately it was not the perfect combination for my tummy, thighs and derrière!

I have a goal to shed 30 lbs this year (originally it was supposed to be before my sister's wedding, but that is right around the corner…) so now I am setting it for the end of this year. My husband and I purchased an elliptical and well, whenever I am motivated to workout- something *always* comes up. =(

Kelly, you are absolutely right about food and money. The two go hand-in-hand. In addition to the "need to lose weight goal", I am putting "spending restrictions" on myself as well. I love the idea of no spend days/months. 🙂

14 Denise C. June 16, 2009

One thing I wanted to add, I read somewhere that if you *feel* hungry, drink a glass of water. Most of the time you are just dehydrated. The water will make you feel "full."

15 Kristy @ Master Your June 16, 2009

This is an excellent post! I know the biggest reasons I blow either my budget or my diet is because I'm tired, stressed, bored, or feeling particularly lazy that day. This is really bad with my dieting more than my budgeting, but like you, I've found that applying the same principles to both finances and dieting help. I concur wholeheartedly on the writing things down bit. Writing it down commits it to memory and the subconscious and is a form of holding yourself accountable.
.-= Kristy @ Master Your Card´s last blog ..An Overview: Prepaid Debit and Gift Cards =-.

16 LJ June 23, 2009

A great take on two very similar issues that require restriction. I love the way you paralleled them!
.-= LJ´s last blog ..Open Loops 6/23/2009: Articles I Think Worth Passing Along =-.

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