A month ago I shared with you my one-month water project. The goal would be to drink nothing but water for one month. I failed…miserably! Along the way I did learn a few lessons and I’ll share them here. Of course anything I report is merely anecdotal evidence, and beverages consumed may not affect everyone in the same way. However, I do believe the results yielded some good information about how the things we drink may affect everything from our mood to our weight. And of course there are financial implications of drinking too much soda.
I figured out very quickly that I love few things in life more than a cold glass of milk. I also figured out that it isn’t that bad if consumed in moderation (it does have some sugar content). Milk is a great source of protein and other essential vitamins. I mentioned in my original article that drinking milk elicits a sweet-tooth craving, and one of the benefits of this month-long exercise is that I seemed to have broken that habit. Now I can simply enjoy milk alone, or have ice water with a sweet snack.
Stress and Soft Drinks
The last two weeks at my full time job have been the busiest of the year. I worked on Sunday afternoons just to keep my head above water, and often resorted to grabbing something fast to eat because I didn’t have time to prepare a lunch. Not only was June a busy month, it was stressful. I discovered that when I’m stressed I like to grab a cold Coca Cola – it is my alcohol! I’m actually quite annoyed with myself that this is the case. I am proud of the fact that I don’t drink alcohol, and don’t have to have a morning cup of coffee to function, but I still have intense cravings for soft drinks. I guess everyone has a weakness!
For the first week or so in June I did only consume water, and occasionally added some flavoring such as Crystal Light. Without changing much else about my diet I dropped a couple pounds. I suspected some of this was water weight because I had probably been retaining water from the high-sodium drinks I had been consuming. However, I lost another couple pounds the next week. The reduced calorie intake from skipping sugary soft drinks was probably paying off. Unfortunately, I gained back those few pounds by the end of the month to wind up with a net loss of only a half-pound or so.
The main lesson learned from this experience is that I am much more disciplined with my dollars than I am with my calories. This hasn’t always been true. In fact, I used to be in great shape, physically, but in terrible shape, financially. It appears the pendulum has swung to far in the opposite direction, which brings me back to a question I asked here a few months ago: Is it harder to lose weight or payoff debt? I think they are equally difficult, and nearly impossible to do at the same time. While there is a correlation between weight gain and the accumulation of debt, it is difficult to produce results in the opposite direction. Not sure why that is.
In my case I just don’t seem to have the mental energy to devote to both plans – at least not enough to be successful at both. Does this mean I should try to lose weight and tread water financially, or payoff debt and continue being out of shape? Neither, it means I need to work on my self-discipline. I need to dig deep and find the will power to work on both aspects of improving my life.
Have you also struggled with getting your finances in order while trying to get into better shape? Any nuggets of wisdom to share that would help me?