Have you ever been on a bootcamp or been to a personal trainer in a quest to lose weight, signed up and been told to do a Food Diary? To write down a brutally honest account of every single item you put in your mouth over a two-week period (sometimes longer). Yes, the super healthy quinoa salad you throw together on Day #1 counts – YES! The virtuous double decaf macchiato rather than the latte – totally counts. BOOM! The brownie you turned down and didn’t eat even though you wanted it on Day #2? You get to NOT write that down – awesome!
The thing is, as the days creep on we find that…yes, the leftover fishfinger you scoffed on your kid’s plate, that counts. The morning-tea-for-someone’s-birthday-oh-I-shouldn’t-but-as-it’s-your-birthday-slice-of-cake-just-a-small-one-go-on-then. That counts. The 3rd glass of, but-it’s-a-special-occasion-I-don’t-usually-do-this-vino. That counts too.
And so…brutal honesty…starts to feel seriously overrated – and it’s very tempting to cheat on the ole food diary! If we don’t write it down it doesn’t count – right? Thing is…even if we do cheat on the food diary…IT TOTALLY DOESN’T MATTER.
It doesn’t miss a thing. It doesn’t forget a single item consumed. Our body is a completely unavoidably 100% accurate reflection of our true relationship and choices with food. Our body literally IS a food diary.
In order to have a healthier relationship with food and stop the endless yoyo dieting and live in our healthiest and happiest body, there is no point on cheating the food diary. It’s actually a pretty useful tool as a short-term way of shining a light on the reality of our food habits. What we do consistently is what counts, and being able to see the usually unconscious patterns that sabotage our health and weight goals is both illuminating and empowering if we are brave enough to look.
When we know what those habitual slip-ups are we can do something about them and make different choices. To keep healthy snacks in the car, or commit to booze-free nights Monday to Thursday or whatever it might be. We cannot fool our body, our body knows every single thing we ingest – including the inadvertently self-sabotaging stuff we haven’t realised we are doing. Getting a handle on that is a smart way to take back power and move confidently towards the body, weight and fitness level we want.
The same principle applies to our money situation. It’s another area of life where we are really, really adept at fooling ourselves about the reality of our habits. Our spending patterns can often be wildly different to what we imagine them to be – and so it comes as a real shock when there is too much month left at the end of our money…again. How can that be?!
The thing is – our bank account is like our body. It counts everything, whether it’s a purchase we are making with clarity and intention, or if it’s a self sabotaging habit we haven’t yet kicked to the curb.
It counts the mortgage. The WOF payment. The school uniforms. The vet bills. It also counts our 32nd latte of the month. The it’s-an-investment-piece-seriously-it’s-a-classic-little-black-dress. The premium grade olives direct from Tuscany. And the online bikini shopping habit. And that stationery that was just too cute to leave behind.
And to get the financial outcome we want (like getting the body as fit and healthy as we want), seeing the patterns of our spending is as useful and illuminating as seeing the patterns of our eating. Seeing which are supporting our aspirations (saving for a house or holiday perhaps) and which might be self-sabotaging (the treat-myself-on-Fridays-because-I-hate-my-job-so-much-new-shoes, and the huge pile of craft supplies that get bought but not used).
This is why I like the new Westpac #CashNav app – it is like a food diary for your money. I love that it breaks down my spending by category – utilities, entertainment, shopping and so on – so I can uncover my money habits really easily. The ones that I know about, and the ones that I prefer to ignore!
It’s good to see so many money habits that are really supportive of the money goals I have – pay the mortgage on time for example! Pay the insurance, Kiwisaver and so on. It’s also been great to find a few self sabotaging habits that are a little like the sneaky chocolate brownie when no one is watching – that needed a little bit of a clean up.
So simple to do when it’s all laid out on my phone in #CashNav. That miss-nothing clarity and accuracy is incredibly enlightening.
Here’s the other thing I want to say on the parallel between money and food habits. Food is meant to be enjoyed. Money is also meant to be enjoyed! Diets should never be taken to an extreme or obsessive level, and neither should money. Money is there to enable our lives, to make them secure, fun and expansive. All work and no play makes Jack a dull buy and Jill a dull girl.
Same with food, all quinoa and chia and never a beautiful fush and chups on the beach would not be living. The same for relishing a beautiful Pinot Noir. The key to that is consciously chosen and cherished e
njoyment, not mindless, unconscious eating in front of the TV when you don’t even taste it. It’s consciously eating and extracting all the pleasure!
The same with money. It can’t all be rules and long term plans – leave a little in the budget for some short-term fun and enjoyment. Sometimes those shoes just have to be had! And that coffee with a friend is the best way you could ever spend ten bucks. Just uncover your patterns first so you can take the empowered route to embrace them from a place of conscious choice not unconscious sabotage.
This 4-part “All About The Money, Honey” series is brought to you courtesy of my friends at Westpac (check out their new #CashNav app) – all views, opinions, tools, tricks and tips are, as always, 100% my own.
If you are interested in working on the emotional, mental and physical blocks that sabotage you from having the health and body you want – get on the waitlist for my group coaching programme ~Wellbeing Warriors~ right here.
You can read the other articles in the series right here.
Week 1 – “All About The Money, Honey!” Money Series
Week 2 – Looking Money In The Eye. Getting honest about your REAL money habits.
Week 3 – Why your Diet is like your Money Habits – and how to overcome self-sabotage
Week 4 – If you think you can’t afford it, how to get what you want without breaking the bank