I actually have a theory that if you have done something incredible or contrarian in one area of your life, you are much better placed to achieve something that most people think is impossible in other aspects of your life.
If you’re an ironman who clocks >100km a week, an early quarter retirement might not seem that daunting. Vice versa. And if you’re a vegetarian, training you to wake up at 5am everyday is probably easier compared to the rest of the population.
When you overcome an obstacle that intimidates the majority of the people, you can replicate that process elsewhere. Therefore, I am not surprised to find out that Glanies from thehabitengineer.com believes that a successful investor already has all the necessary fundamentals to permanently lose weight!
In my previous post, we established that you can have both health and wealth! In this post, you’d learn that your chances of enjoying both health and wealth are much higher than others if you are an investor! That is, investors make the best weight losers!
If you are an investor, you have already developed habits and skills that can help you get in the best shape of your life.
What do I mean?
Think about it. As an investor, you have gone through a few experiences that the vast majority of your peers have not.
Experience 1: You know the importance of starting small
You understand that no matter how little you currently have, the opportunity costs for not investing is too high for you to bear. Because of inflation, you are convinced that $10,000 left under your pillow will be worth only $6,648.33 in 10 years’ time (assuming an inflation rate of 4%) but $10,000 invested will grow to become $14,983.62 (assuming a conservative growth rate of 4%). Therefore, regardless of how small your capital is currently, you are convinced that you need to get started.
One of the reasons the majority of people don’t invest is that they feel like they don’t have enough money to invest.
You, on the other hand, know that with just less than $50, they can get started investing in a single share of a company or in an exchange traded fund (ETF). If you told them that, guess what they’d do? They will still not invest because unlike you, they do not understand the importance of starting small. Hence, they are comfortable letting their hard-earned savings get eroded by inflation.
Let’s apply this to your health and fitness.
Starting small in your health and fitness is as powerful and important as it is in the investment realm. By ingesting just an extra 100 calories a day (2 chocolate cookies), you can expect to put on up to 5kg by the end of the year (assuming no change in physical activity and metabolic rate). On the contrary, by ingesting just 100 calories less each day, you can expect to lose up to 5kg by the end of the year.
This is why making small changes to your current lifestyle has a huge effect on your health and fitness. By just making water your default first drink before you contemplate drinking anything sugary, you significantly reduce your sugar intake, and subsequently shrink that waistline. With just 10-15 minutes, you can do exercises that can effectively boost your metabolism and burn fat.
These are facts, just like inflation and compound interest.
Yet, many of us think that if we can’t complete a 30 minutes jog, then it’s not worth even doing a 5 minute jog. We may also think that if we have eaten one sugary donut in the morning, then it is worthless trying to watch what we eat for the rest of the day since the diet has already been tainted.
The opportunity costs for not eating well and moving well is equal to or worse than the opportunity costs of not investing. The latter involves financial security while the former involves your health, and your ability to enjoy your wealth in your later years.
Given that you have experienced the power of starting small, you can make use of that understanding and apply it to your health and fitness. If all the time you can afford to set aside for exercise is 10 minutes a day, then just do a 10 minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. If you can’t even set aside 10 minutes a day, then do 5. If you can’t do any workouts, then choose to use the stairs instead of the lift. If you can’t say no to chocolates now, eat half the bar instead of the whole bar.
And, just like how you only invest more when you have greater capacity to do so, make further changes to your exercise regime and diet only when you have greater capacity!
Experience 2: You know how to avoid making investment decisions based on your emotions.
Many investors are victims of their emotions. There is a strong tendency to react to media hype or fear, and buy or sell investments at the peaks and valleys of the market cycle. I’m sure you were introduced to this phenomenon when you got started on your investment journey, were forewarned about how it would affect you and probably experienced the gut-wrenching feeling when you realised your investments have dropped in value.
Heck, you could have also been a victim of your emotions and learnt an expensive lesson or a few expensive lessons too.
I had my first taste of this dreaded situation last year. I invested rather heavily in a stock and soon after, watched the price drop and drop. When I saw the price go into a continual decline, my heart sank to my stomach and these thoughts flooded my mind for a couple of days/weeks:
“Oh crap! Why didn’t I buy it later?”
“Ahh! I have lost money! Ahhhhh!!!!”
“I know I shouldn’t sell when prices drop, but erm, HOWWW!!?”
Well, I am still holding on to it, and am in fact buying more because I am clear that I am invested for the long haul. It’d be stupid of me to sell it at this point just because things don’t seem to be going well now.
When we make changes to our diet and when we exercise, there are times when we are discouraged because perhaps we see no change, or perhaps we see that we have gained instead of lost weight.
Does it mean that we should give up?
Just like how it’d be foolish of me to sell my investments because prices have dropped for a while, it would be equally foolish of us to give up on our health and fitness goals just because things don’t seem to be going well for a while.
With health and fitness, we are in it for the long haul as well. That’s why starting small is important and that’s why the ability to avoid making decisions based on emotions is important.
If you are trying to lose weight, there will be days or weeks when your weight will stagnate. You may feel frustrated and possibly undergo deep emotional turmoil. There will also be days when it’s impossible to stick to your plan because of festive seasons, sudden illnesses, sudden family commitments or a super tight project deadline.
People without the ability to be objective during these times of emotional turbulence will throw in the towel and give up.
Not you though!
You have been well trained by fluctuating, gut-wrenching market forces. You will be able to accept the fact that your weight will stagnate for a while (just like how you can accept the fact that stock prices will fall for a while) and that all you have to do is to remain invested in your weight-loss plan.
Experience 3: You know how important it is to track the performance of your portfolio meaningfully.
If you want to track how your portfolio has been performing, you calculate your Year-To-Date (YTD) return. You know how much you started with ($50,000), and you look at how much your assets are currently worth ($60,000).
If you were to calculate the YTD return on a stock that paid dividends/interest, you would add in the total dividends/interest ($500) to determine how much you currently have ($60,500). Your YTD return in percentage would then be [($60,500 – $50,000) / $50,000] *100 = 21%.
If for some reason, the price of this stock stayed the same and at the end of the year, it is still worth what you invested ($50,000) but it continued to pay you dividends throughout the year, would you throw your hands up in the air and say, “Drats! My investment made no money!” ?
No. You know that if you take into account your dividends, you have actually made money.
The point is, you know the importance of using the right measures to ascertain the performance of your portfolio.
You wouldn’t just look at the stock price and compare it to the price that you bought it at.
You also wouldn’t go by feeling – “Hmm… I don’t know how much my investments are worth now but I FEEL like it has made money. YAYYY!!”
Apply this to your health and fitness. There is this obsession with weight for people who want to lose fat. Weight is like stock prices. It does not give you an accurate picture of what’s been happening, just like how stock prices don’t reveal how much dividends you have received throughout the year.
Muscles weigh more than fat. So a person with 30% body fat and 70% muscle mass can have the same weight as a person with 10% body fat and 90% muscle mass, yet look very different. Check out the picture below. Both bodies weigh the same, but one is indeed more desirable than the other.
When I got into the best shape of my life by shedding fat and building muscles, I maintained my weight at 49kg. It went up and down in the process, but ultimately, it stabilized at 49kg. If I had been obsessed with my weight and saw that it did not change, I would have been so discouraged with my fat-loss efforts and would have given up.
I knew that I could not depend solely on weight to track my performance, just like how you know that you cannot look only at stock prices to determine the performance of your portfolio.
Instead of just monitoring my weight, I regularly took girth measurements and pictures to track how my body was changing. I also took skinfold measurements to determine the amount of fat I was losing. By tracking results accurately, I could make necessary adjustments to my regime and get the results I wanted.
You CAN get into the best shape of your life. You already have the necessary aptitude and experience to take on this challenge. Choose one of the following to jumpstart your fat-loss journey!
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day before contemplating drinking sugary drinks.
- Substitute chips/biscuits/snacks for fruits or nuts
- Eat half a muffin instead of the whole thing
- Take the stairs
- Do a 15 minute HIIT workout once a week
Track your performance to help you be objective:
- Record girth measurements every month
- Take photos of your front, back and sides every month
- Record your weight every month