I’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)?