The Commonalities of Calories & Credit Cards

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The relationship between your food and your bank account goes further than how many days a week you can afford to eat out. Little known fact: there are numerous parallels between making wise financial decisions and making wise dietary decisions. Budgeting is critical when it comes to both cash and calories.

After tracking my food intake, I calculated that in order to maintain my weight (based on my average daily activity level), I can eat roughly 1900 calories. Now, let’s turn those calories into dollars. For the sake of simple example, let’s pretend 1900 calories is equivalent to $19.00. I have $19.00 to spend on food each day. If I’m going to feel satiated all day, I need to spend my money (i.e. calories) equally throughout the day. I simply can’t spend $15 at breakfast, and rationally conclude that $4 will be enough to fill me up at dinner time! Now, say I do live a bit too large during the day; I can chose to make more rational decisions in the evening. Sometimes (like birthdays, holidays and other celebrations) you will want to live outside of your means. When you want to splurge, more often that not, your go-to is just to charge it on your credit card. Just as we can chose to spend more money than we have earned by swiping a credit card, we can chose to spend more calories than we have earned – which leads to excess intake – which leads to inevitable weight gain if maintained over a period of time. When you have proven to yourself that you have created healthy dietary habits, you can indulge with a cheat treat but trust yourself to return to your healthy lifestyle afterwards.

It isn’t always just how much you spend, but what you spend it on. Just as food, water, clothing and shelter are necessities of life; protein, carbs and fats are necessities of nutrition. You need to take care of the basics before you can “spend” on the luxuries of life or food. For example, if you don’t budget well enough to pay your rent, you shouldn’t be buying a new car and if you don’t give your body enough calories from macronutrients, you shouldn’t be loading up on sugary sweet treats.

Transferrable quotes from the money minded for the healthy hopefuls:


1. A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went (Dave Ramsey)
Take a look at where you are currently spending your calories. Were the extra treats your coworker brought in for everyone worth it or did you already forget about wasting those calories?


2. When you create a basic budget and stick to it, it will suddenly seem like you have more money (Dave Ramsey)
When you track your calories and chose healthy options, you may be surprised how much you can consume in a day and how full you will be. Specifically, increasing your protein intake may help you to feel like you are eating more and staying full between meals.


3. It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it is your spending habits (Charles A Jaffe)… When you change your eating habits to reduce empty calories and increase nutritional value, you may find you struggle to have enough room left in your tummy to eat enough food despite that you have lowered your total calorie intake.


4. A budget isn’t about restricting what you can spend. It gives you permission to spend without guilt or regret (Dave Ramsey)
When you have planned out your macros to give your body the nutrients you need within your caloric plan, you can order dessert without guilt knowing that it fits into your caloric budget for the day.


5. A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it (William Feather)
That slice of birthday cake may not have been a part of your plan, but every once in a while it’s okay to splurge.


6. The cold harsh reality is that we have to balance the budget (Michael Bloomberg)
The government isn’t the only one who has to allocate spending. Nutritionally, you need to balance your protein, carb and fat ratios.


7. When you are dressing on a budget, simplicity is key (Ne-Yo)
When you are eating on a calorie budget, simplicity is also key. Get that frozen yogurt you are craving, but cut the candy and chocolate syrup toppings.


8. Most of the time, you find that the smaller the budget, the more the project is about something substantive (Robert Carlyle)
When you are trying to lose weight, you must make your calories count. Use them for healthy fuel so your body can still perform despite your caloric deficit.

Laura Killian

Grand Prix dressage rider who has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. She operates her business, Laura Ashey Dressage, in Wellington Florida year-round. In addition to riding, Laura enjoys staying active lifting weights, running, training judo and jiu-jitsu, dancing, twirling baton and trying new and adventurous outdoor activities.

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