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One year after having Baby FAF, I decided to make a drastic change to my life by dropping 40 lbs over 7.5 months.
I went from 156 lbs to roughly 116 lbs (I’m 5’4″). That process took more than half a year and left me with five positive unintended results of the weight loss.
Although my body doesn’t look the same as it used to due to pregnancy and aging, I’m still happy with the outcome.
I feel healthier and don’t have to take well-intentioned yet sometimes hurtful comments from my family such as “You’re too heavy” or “You don’t look as good as before.”
It is normal for someone to comment on your weight and body any time they feel like it in Asia, especially when it comes to close family members.
They think they’re just trying to help you with their honest remarks.
The original motivation for my weight loss was me seeing a female colleague dressed in a form-fitting dress at work.
She reminded me of what I used to look like before I had Baby FAF.
40 lbs is not a big number, but it’s not small either.
After achieving the outcome that I long yearned for, I have been thinking about the five similarities between debt payoff and weight loss.
1. It takes time.
The moment I decided to lose weight, I wanted to drop the pounds as fast as I could. And I’m sure many people feel the same way. What we are hesitant to do, however, is to change our diet and give up on the delicious food we enjoy every day.
However, after days of not seeing results, I realized my old diet would have to go out the window if I wanted to reach my goal.
I switched from not being able to function without meat to living on an almost vegetarian diet. It was extremely difficult during the first week since I felt like I was going to pass out any time. But I didn’t.
I felt hungry and dizzy from the moment I walked out of the house in the morning to when I went to bed. However, I got used to the new lifestyle after a month. I was happy just being able to eat something whether it was tofu, rice, or boiled eggs.
Once I had some food in my system, I no longer felt hungry and nauseated. My body realized that it could live on a small portion and had to make the most out of the energy it got. You may not realize it, but you can also stretch a dollar really far if you want to.
I obsessively weighed myself six times a day, hoping one day a magic would happen and rescue me from this long journey. But there was no magic. I continued to drop 1-2 lbs every couple of days. Sometimes I gained back the weight or didn’t lose any for days. It was a gradual process.
If you’re in a huge debt and decide to pay it off, your first instinct is to want to get rid of it fast. However, you might not be ready to part with your brand-name car and the nice restaurants you frequent.
Then you might get frustrated to see that not much has changed since the day you decided to pay off your debt. The truth is nothing will change dramatically unless you change yourself and your lifestyle first.
Many people can’t endure the thought of a totally changed diet and lifestyle and turn to surgery or pills to achieve their desired outcome. It’s the same as how some people want to consolidate their debt or win a lottery, which they think will eliminate all of their problems.
What they don’t realize is that those quick fixes usually do little to help them get out of their predicaments. In some cases, such methods can deal a blow to their health and finances.
People try every means to lose the weight fast but keep the same lifestyle, so they gain back the pounds after a while. Those who don’t change their spending habits see themselves creeping into debt again.
2. You will hear naysayers.
Ironically, my family was the ones who told me to lose weight and then not to do it later on. They themselves were conflicted. I think they missed seeing the old skinny me but didn’t want me to starve myself and become ill.
I would hear them saying things such as “You don’t look as good as before” and “It’s ok because you’re a mother now. You don’t need to be so skinny anymore.” At the end of the day, I set a goal for myself and followed it until the end.
My colleagues also noticed the big difference in my appearance and told me I looked fine just the way I was. They told me I didn’t need to lose weight. Even Mr. FAF, who encouraged me to drop the pounds, kept commenting on how skinny I was.
I stopped trying to lose weight when I reached 114 lbs. I felt weak and hungry all the time. I listened to my body and tried to eat more. Now at 124 lbs, I won’t take any more unsolicited feedback on my weight. I am done with the weight loss process.
When you are paying off debt, you will hear all sorts of things from other people. Some will tell you that you’re being too stingy, and that you should enjoy life a little bit. Some will say you’re not being aggressive enough, and that you should be eating just beans and rice instead of pizza and chicken.
At the end of the day, you will need to assess the situation and decide for yourself how aggressive you want to be to pay off your debt. When you feel like the sacrifices you are making are harming your health and relationships, maybe it’s time to take a step back and re-consider the plan.
It should ultimately be about you and what you’re comfortable with, not what other people say you have to do.
Sunshine at the end of the journey
3. You will want to give up early.
At many points in the process, I wanted to give up. I was tired of eating the same food every day. I wanted French fries, fried chicken, mango mousse, and all the good stuff I was missing out on because of this silly weight loss plan.
And I did give up. Many times. However, every time after I indulged in a cookie or sushi, I started to feel guilty and wished I hadn’t done that. I was on the right track to achieve my goal and felt bad for getting the impulses get in the way. The overwhelming sense of guilt put me back in the right direction.
It is totally normal for us to feel frustrated with the slow progress of our debt payoff and want to get out of the grind. But what’s important is whether you can find your way back to the right path that has led you this far.
Paying off debt can get tiring and tedious. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. It’s ok to treat yourself with a small reward every once in a while. After you receive such rewards, however, don’t forget why you got them in the first place.
4. You will win big financially.
I have heard of so many people spending a huge amount of money on nuts, organic food, and protein powder to lose weight. For me, my food expenses dropped substantially after I went on an almost vegetarian diet. I spent $87.52 in March and $80.39 in April this year.
I didn’t see a nutritionist about my new diet. I just made sure I had protein, carbs, veggies, fruit, and dairy products every day. Those are the main food groups for a normal healthy adult. I was able to save a lot of money and also got five unexpected results from the weight loss.
When you cut costs and have a plan to pay off debt, you will realize how much money you can save in the process. You can choose to work with a financial advisor who might charge hundreds an hour or purchase expensive financial tools to keep you on track.
Or you can look up free resources online and design a plan that best meets your needs. In order to pay off debt, you can choose to do it expensively or frugally.
5. You will be happy for years to come.
After losing 40 lbs, I have been happy with how I look and feel inside. This is the biggest reward for my effort, and I was the one who made it happen. If I maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, I won’t have to worry about being overweight or having illnesses associated with it (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure) in the future.
When your debt is finally paid off, you will realize just how much you can do with your money and your life. You can look ahead into the future with a smile, knowing that there is nothing holding you back.
Whether you choose to invest in your retirement or your kids’ education, you know you have done it with your own efforts. You deserve the outcome that you have long worked extremely hard for.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or pay off debt, I hope this post has offered you some useful insights into my own weight loss journey. Nothing great in life comes easily. That’s the lesson I’ve drawn after living for 30 years in this world.
I hope it’s not always true, and that people, including myself, can find success fast. But before that happens, you can start to implement your plan and try to be patient with your slow progress. The big win is in the horizon.
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