Why Weight Loss Belongs on a Personal Finance Blog

This blog chronicles my journey to financial independence and provides a place to discuss personal finance topics that interest me. When I decided to set the goal of losing 52 pounds in 52 weeks, I knew it would be a big undertaking. It would require me to stick to a healthy plan for a long-period of time. Dieting for a couple of weeks is no fun, and it actually has a low track record for providing sustainable weight loss. I knew it was something I wanted to do. However, I wasn’t sure if I would post about it on this blog.

I’ve always thought that there was a correlation between being healthy and wealthy. It makes complete sense. Someone who is able to take control of their personal finances is likely able to control their food intake and activity levels. Someone who consciously makes the right decisions when it Weight Loss and Personal Financecomes to food and exercise, is also more likely to make the right decisions when it comes to finances. The main ingredient, in both instances, is having a goal and being conscious about how your actions will impact your ability to reach that goal. Nearly everyone knows how to lose weight: consume fewer calories then you expend. Nearly Everybody also knows how to increase their net worth: spend less than you earn. But just because we KNOW how to do it, doesn’t mean we’ll do it. If it was just a matter of knowing what to do, we’d all be healthy and wealthy.

A study from Ohio State University in 2005 found that Americans tend to build wealth as they lose weight. This makes complete sense to me because they both rely on the same two characteristics I listed above. The study was conducted using BMI to determine the health of respondents, and was based on 12 surveys conducted between 1985 and 2000. In the study, people who lost a small amount of weight didn’t show a significant difference in wealth, but those who lost larger amounts of weight had more dramatic changes in wealth. “For example, when a typical young person decreased his or her BMI by one point, wealth increased by only $234. But when a person lost enough weight to go from the middle of the overweight category (BMI 27.5) to the middle of the normal category (BMI 21.7), wealth increased by an average of $4,085.”

Clearly, the data isn’t telling us that if we lose 10 pounds we’re going to get wealthier. However, the two go hand in hand. I think in large part, it’s simply due to the behaviors established with losing weight are easily used to increase wealth. I would also bet that there is discrimination against overweight people in the workplace, even if it’s not prevalent in all areas of work. As you become healthier, you’re also going to have fewer medical bills on average. The savings on medical bills or life insurance could be enough to set you ahead of the pack over time.

It is for these reasons that I’ve decided to include my goal of 52 pounds on this blog and report on my success or failure. I won’t be posting weight loss articles, healthy recipes, or any of that stuff. I’ll simply be reporting my progress each month. Plus, most importantly, this just helps keep myself accountable.