|20 pounds ago. Vamping on Red Carpet.|
There is a reason Oprah called it a Debt Diet. After all, we know Oprah is familiar with diets of all types. But while I appreciate the sentiment (and the alliteration) I was kinda disappointed in Oprah. As a fellow member of the “I have six different size pants in my wardrobe because of my yo-yo weight lifestyle” Club, Oprah should have known diets are for dummies and that includes diets for debt.
Sure food diets can lead to weight loss. I am living proof of that. If you plan and journal and count and focus, of course you’ll see results. But when you get weary of all the counting and journaling and focusing, the weight creeps (or crashes) right back on. The same holds true for finances. I have shed debt almost as many times as I have shed pounds. I plan and focus and work toward a goal for my checkbook just like my waistline. Seemingly, just as soon as I achieve that goal, the debt comes sneaking (or crashing) right back in.
|Holy Ass Batman! We see where the 20lbs went!|
Diets are dumb. For a real change, for real, long lasting results, you can’t just commit to short term action. You can’t just steam a big basket of veggies or vow to stop buying new clothes or cancel the premier cable for six months and expect long term fitness or financial freedom for life.
You must, I mean must, plan beyond the digging out phase for weight and money. Look far. What will you DO when your jeans are a size six? How will you CONTINUE to live after the weight is lost and the goal is met? Who will you donate all those pants to?
What will you DO when the bills are paid off? How will you live when you are not in the hole. How will you budget, not just to recover, but to really live and save?
How will you ensure you don’t get fat or broke again?
That is where I am now. I am 50 pounds over weight and 20 of those pounds came on AFTER I spent months losing them. For six months I was diet and exercise machine, then I was so focused on working our finances out that I forgot everything else and sure enough-18 lost, 20 back.
I can not do this any longer. My closet is not big enough for six sizes of pants.Also, this will eventually kill me.
I must change long term. I must.
As for money, if you’ve been here before, you know the deal. The Great Dig Out of 2010 was productive and successful. We are not completely debt free, but we are much farther this year than we were last. And, man am I proud. I worked hard. The Husband worked hard. We made substantial life changes and sweat through more than a few days and lay awake paralyzed with fear more than a few nights. It was the longest and toughest 18 months of my life and while it is not totally over, we are through the fire.
|That mom is B.R.O.K.E. She’s smiling because she’s working it out!|
Unless we screw it all up.
We have been here before. Never rock bottom like this, but newly out of debt with more cash in our pockets.
We have been here before and I have shared how it ended last time.
We must change long term. We must.
So it’s back to the black notebook again. This time, not just to figure out how to survive. No, this time we must figure out how to thrive.
|Please don’t let us snowball.|
We must plan to continue paying down while also saving for the future. We no longer own a house in Maryland (yay!) but that means some day we’ll need to buy a house in New Jersey (ugh!). We no longer have Catholic School tuition (yay!) but we still have three kids who want to join and see and do more and more every day (ugh!). I have a new business (yay!). I have a new business (ugh!).
We’ve been here before. At the top of the mountain looking down at the sea of possibilities at our feet.
We did not ski down so smoothly last time. It was more of a snowball/avalanche situation.
This time, we need a plan to dodge the moguls and maintain a healthy speed. This time, we need to stay upright or at least adjust quickly after a fall so we can keep on track toward that sea. (Look, I know there are few ski slopes that end in an ocean but just imagine for a minute.)
We need long term change if we want to be thin and rich.
Diets are for dummies. I need a Life Overhaul.
Maybe I’ll Suggest Weight/Debt Life Overhaul next time Oprah and I go for drinks.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.