Financial Fitness and Weight Gain

A Harvard Medical School study of obese women fount that those who reported having the most difficulty paying their bills- gained an average of 17 lbs. more then the women who had less financial stress.

“It is a vicious cycle”, says Bobbie McDonald PsyD, an expert in compulsive behaviors and self-esteem issues. “People feed a shopping addiction and start to feel bad, so they turn to the food. You do one behavior and feel horrible about yourself, so you turn to the other. The rationalization driving binge eating and spending is the same. “You think, Oh, that’ll make me happy.”

While buying shoes or binging on chips may appear to be different problems, the root cause tends to be the same: low self-esteem says Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a wealth psychology expert in Easton, Massachusetts with experience in both fields.

Denial is easy in this era of the more you have the better you’ll feel. In her book Happy for No Reason, Marci Shimoff writes that “billions of dollars are spent every year to convince you that you’re not okay the way you are and that you need things-lot and lots of them”. In an experiment she counted sixty-eight commercials while watching television in just three hours.” The messages we see and hear repeatedly, she says go into our brain on a subconscious level and become beliefs.”

The first step to financial management is  taking an honest look at our habits. It is very important to understand why you spend in order to change your behavior and take control of your finances. Kingsbury suggests you focus on your feelings and intentions when you are making a buying decision. Ask yourself “Why do I want this blouse that I don’t really need? What is that all about?” Ask yourself the same question about food: Why do I want this doughnut? Am I really hungry or is there some other need I’m trying to fulfill?”

Understanding why your overspend/overeat will help you find healthier ways to alleviate the behavior. It may be as simple as deciding to take ten minutes and go for a walk before you decide whether you want to eat that doughnut. You may decide you don’t need that blouse after thinking about it for a few days.

Exercise is top of the list for a way to meet the needs that food and shopping were fulfilling. It all begins with one simple step!

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