Losing Weight, Gaining Money


We all have different reasons for wanting to be healthy. Johnny and I have had a long-standing goal to exercise regularly. And at different times in our marriage, we’ve both met that goal. But since I had our baby in January, we’ve been working to get our groove back in pretty much every aspect of our lives — including our health. The desire to be healthy is there, but our 10-week-old roommate zaps a lot of our time and energy that we would use to concentrate on eating right and exercising.

Johnny and I think that when people take control of their health, it can also help them take control of their money. Why? Well, like money, a person’s health is all about choices he/she makes. The same characteristics that help a person be healthy (e.g., self-discipline, goal setting) also help a person control his/her money. And so we’ll probably be talking about some of those topics in the future. If we’ve learned one thing while running this blog, it’s that writing about a topic makes us a lot more accountable (which we always need).

I’ve needed an extra kick in the pants to kickstart a post-baby health kick. (You can kick me for that sentence.) And lo-and-behold I found something that incorporates health and money! Four weeks ago Roo from NeonFresh introduced a DietBet challenge on her blog. What’s DietBet (which we’re not affiliated with, by the way)? Well, to put it simply, it’s a website that lets you place a bet on losing weight. For Roo’s challenge, all participants put in $20 bucks in the hopes of losing 4% of their weight in 4 weeks’ time. After 4 weeks, the pot of money is split between the weight losers (aka the winners). Here’s a video that explains it much better than I can:

As you all know, I had a baby 10 weeks ago, and I’ve been working to get back to my pre-pregnancy size ever since. And, as you may have guessed from this blog, not losing money is a pretty big motivator for me (and Johnny). So I joined the bet and won the challenge (along with 40% of the other participants)! The thought of paying $20 for a bunch of other people to lose weight was just not okay with this girl, and it was just the motivation I needed to keep me going. In the end, I made back my $20, as well as another $19, for a total of $39!

So what motivates you? Is money a big motivator, or do you find other ways to get stuff done? I’ll be doubling down on another DietBet challenge hosted by NiceGirlNotes, which starts Tuesday. Care to join me? 🙂

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  • Reply Johnny Moneyseed March 18, 2013 at 8:16 am

    If you really want to make a change you should watch “Hungry for Change” and “Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead”. They’re both available on Netflix. They make you realize that what you might think is a “healthy diet” could actually be equivalent to eating bowls of sugar. It’s pretty crazy.

    • Reply Chris March 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      Those documentaries literally changed everything about my life.

    • Reply Emily March 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I haven’t seen these ones, but I have read many books – including Born With a Junk Food Deficiency and Master Your Metabolism. Scared us straight. Real food (mostly) only for this family. Life changing. Fastest weight loss ever for both of us, and we weren’t even trying. We were trying to avoid chemicals for our new mouth to feed that have been linked to ADHD, Autism, infertility, autoimmune disease, the list is endless and worst part: all of these ingredients are FDA approved. Bonus: we spend far less $ on doctor visits – no sick visits b/c we stay healthy, meds – no antibiotics here, grocery bill – processed food is expensive!
      Good job on getting back in shape and losing some of that baby weight! It’s not easy with those new love bugs! They’re far more fun than working out!

      • Reply Johnny Moneyseed March 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        What really kills me is that you are supposed to give kids milk, and the milk that you buy in the grocery store is TERRIBLE for children. It’s exactly like you’re feeding them sugar and chemicals. We don’t have any local organic farms in our area and it pains me that I am hurting my kids by being regular.

        • Reply Emily March 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm

          I just started reading Everything I Want to Do is Illegal by Joel Salatin. Lots of info on local food, raw milk, antibiotic free meat. Scary! I heard something about possible raw milk sales being legalized. Love! But probably a long shot b/c then someone at the FDA isn’t going to get his pockets lined by someone in the pharm ag world. Sickening what people will do for wealth.

      • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 12:45 am

        As soon as we find a moment to get back into reading (like everything else right now), we’ll definitely take a look at those. We haven’t had our organic/natural coming to Jesus moment, but I sense we’ll probably have it after reading some of these books and watching some of these documentaries.

        Thanks for the recommends, Emily!

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 12:42 am

      All queued up and ready to change our lives. 🙂 Thanks for the recommend, Johnny.

  • Reply Rob March 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

    So what motivates me? That’s a very interesting question, Joanna. It’s kind of interesting to think back on. When I was just starting out, going to university, just passing my exams was all the motivation that I needed. After graduation, it was the hope to find a good job – not necessarily high paying but a job that I found interesting and challenging, working for a good employer. As time went on and I got into my career, it’s funny but I never considered money to be a high priority, although over the years I did read many financial books – mostly out of interest and for education. That said, though, I never worried unduly about being in debt as I knew that gradually progress was being made on my long term debt and my short term debt was regularly being serviced. Actually my main motivation over my working years was to try to find balance in my life, between work demands and personal home life. At times that was extremely difficult and led to some tough employment decisions, none of which I ever regretted. These days my main motivation is to try and stay healthy and have some fun. Being retired, and now on a fixed income, money does enter more into the picture – living within one’s means, preserving one’s capital, monitoring and managing one’s investment growth, all that boring stuff (which I still find interesting – which is why, I guess, that I follow your blog, along with about 100 other PF blogs, since I now have the time.)

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 12:49 am

      The “B” word: balance. That’s my greatest struggle right now. I think we’re actually doing pretty good with it right now, but I know we’ll be hitting a crossroads in the next few years when my career starts interfering more and more with family time.

      I’m glad to hear your retrospective take on finding that balance and not regretting the decisions you made. Though I was expecting you to say that you wish you had spent more time in the office… kidding. 🙂

  • Reply Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I resolved to get in to shape, both physically and financially, in 2013. So far I am not failing on the financial goals but I have failed miserably at the healthy living part.

    I started again today. How many of us have started another plan on a Monday morning after a weekend of indulgence because we knew we were going to start all over again on a Monday morning?

    I have a new set of challenges for myself. Everything in moderation, try and eat healthy foods, no eating after supper (my big weakness), sticking to my fast food budget of about $8.00 per week (1 meal) and the biggest one for me -mandatory exercise 5 days each week.

    My sons are in their early twenties and I have lost the baby weight many times and it has all come back. I need to become healthy and carry less weight around so I can continue to work for years to come. I am in health care. I stand all day and heavy or unhealthy people have to quit work when their bodies can’t do the job anymore. The knees are the first thing to go.

    I have a closet full of clothes but I can only fit in to 2 pair of pants and about 5 tops. I can lose weight and have a great wardrobe or stay on this unhealthy path and make my first trip to the large ladies area at Walmart. That is just too depressing to think about.

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:05 am

      Mondays are like mini-New Years Days. But thinking about it like, a “year” would only represent a week, which is a lot more manageable than trying to keep goals for 365 days. It might benefit us to just take things one week at a time and if things go well, continue with the next week. Otherwise, you can pick yourself up and start over again come Monday.

      Your goals sound great, Jane. And it sounds like you’ve got all the motivation to git ‘er done. Now it’s just time to start doing. I work in advertising, so I’m a sucker for a well-written ad, but this one sends a message everyone needs to hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsXRj89cWa0

      Best of luck, Jane! We’re rooting for ya.

  • Reply Budget and the Beach March 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

    To me I’ve gotten to a point with exercise that if I don’t do it, it’s like not taking some kind of happy/calm medication. So the motivation comes from not wanting to feel like crap. Hey whatever works right? I have exercise down, but I need to cut back though on a few of my favorite items that aren’t horrible, but I just eat too much of (like olive oil and avocados). So I need motivation for that.

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:08 am

      I’ve heard about the exercise and endorphin link, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a consistent enough schedule of exercise where I’ve felt that noticeable change. I prefer organized sports as opposed to “working out,” so I think most of my joy from those activities were fueled by good ol’ fashioned competitiveness.

      Happiness and stress-relief is an awesome motivation, though. Kudos to you for being at a point where exercise is a permanent fixture in your life. That’s awesome.

  • Reply My Financial Independence Journey March 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

    My motivation for keeping my weight down is simply wanting to look and feel better. I’m one of the few people who can say that they look better in their 30s than they did in high school or college.

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:11 am

      I’m coming up on my 10-year high school reunion and I’m interested to see which classmates went through a similar change as you.

      Congrats on making those changes stick.

  • Reply Melinda Gonzalez March 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Ha, cool idea. It reminds me of this application I saw called “gym pact” where you deposit so much money in your account, and every time you miss the gym it takes money out of your account (which you don’t get back). The app has a GPS to tell if you have been to the gym, so there is no lying! LOL, you would think people would laugh at the absurdity, but apparently the app has taken off pretty well.

    I think all areas of our lives intertwined. By straightening out one area of our lives, we tend to change our thinking, and end up changing other areas too.

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:41 am

      That’s another really cool idea! I probably need to start using that one. And I’ll probably get crap from people for complaining about this, but I don’t need to lose weight — I need to gain it. So an app that encourages you to workout by dangling a financial carrot sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Reply Chris March 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I love this post because PF and fitness are two of my passions. I stay motivated by my immune system. I’ve always had such a crappy immune system that I’d get bronchitis every 3 months or so. When I started working out more, eating better, and all-around treating my body better I stopped getting sick.

    A fringe benefit to healthier living is your lack of interest in most restaurant foods. So I save a ton of money in eating out. Glad you’re hitting you’re goals!

    • Reply Chris March 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      your* #petpeeve

      • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:45 am

        I always typo there, their, and they’re.

        But this actually reminded me that I need to add edit functionality to comments. Cause that’s annoying to not be able to edit typos.

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:43 am

      That’s crazy that you’d get bronchitis so often. I had it once and that was the worst. I remember I had to use one of those breathing machines and it would make me super jittery. That’s amazing that fitness has helped your immune system overcome that. I mean, it makes sense, but for whatever reason, it still kinda seems unrealistic. But you’re living proof that it’s not all mumbo jumbo.

  • Reply sandra March 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    so, I follow pretty providence and I came over here from them and I have spent, gosh! probably 3 hours reading through your blog (no pintrest tabs even open!) We married young as well, I was barely 20 and he was on the verge of 21 (high school sweethearts) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had graduated cosmetology school and was doing that whole thing and he was working a good job as head bike mechanic (like ding, ding! , not vrooomm) which led to a now office job at a corporate office selling the bikes aka the manufacturer and we have been married going on 5 years this year. We both know we want to be parents and that there is a lot involved. we have gone to the Dave Ramsey conventions and picked up some off the basic principals. I can now say we have an emergency fund and will finish paying off the last credit card this year. “cash only” and the envelope system is hard, just because I really hate having cash on me (maybe because I live in southern California and I’m paranoid?) . so we have started using apps to watch our budgeting (your post on which apps to use for this is downloading as we speak). We have a room mate which allows us a bigger space and is actually cheaper(at a time when so many moved home we thought this a smart “adult” option) and don’t worry, he works nights so it doesn’t effect much. both of our cars are our first cars-so you know those are paid off. couponing and meal planning became more prevalent too. I feel like we can start from “flat” this year, it feels so nice to be at this spot and you feel like the sky’s the limit but I now sell how the world “sells” debt and as we face this next chapter in our life as to what big decisions need to be next like taking on “huge” student loan debt and personal loan to cover expenses since living in so cal on one income would make us vulnerable to barely paying all expenses and living pay check to pay check, I find comfort having found your blog and mostly just wanted to say thank you for creating and sharing this at a time when I find my self saying ” If only somebody would tell us the REAL truth” it makes me want to bite my nails less knowing there are more people like us out there too! cheers! from your newest follower!

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:52 am

      Welcome, Sandra! And thanks for joining the fun over here.

      Your “ding, ding!, no vrooomm” was helpful, because my head went to vrooomm first. 🙂 Congrats on all of your progress. You guys are totally rocking it. And you’re definitely not alone! But that’s a big reason why we started this blog… we didn’t really have any friends or family to talk to about this stuff. Now we’ve got this little community of people we can discuss money stuff with and bounce ideas off. So we’re stoked that you stopped by and found us!

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies March 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I hate losing money, too – but I think for a lot of people, dietBet isn’t a healthy way to lose weight. 4% in 4 weeks is hard to do in a way that’s healthy and sustainable. But if you want an additional incentive (and have a smartphone), give Gympact a try. I’ve been using it for a while now and it’s awesome. It helps me stay on track and making sure I’m getting the most out of my gym membership, which is even better than the ~$60 I’ve earned so far using it.
    Pardon the shameless link sharing, but here’s a review I wrote last year – some readers posted referral codes for a free $5 if you join in the comments, too!

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 1:55 am

      Joanna mentioned the same thing about sustainability. It’s probably a nice initial motivator once or twice when you’re getting back into shape, but that’s probably the extent of it.

      I vaguely remember you mentioning Gympact a few months ago, but now that we’re revving up to get back in shape, I’m definitely going to check it out. I love the idea of making money and not losing money by actually using your gym membership. That’s great.

      Thanks for posting the review, too! Super helpful to get started.

  • Reply JW_Umbrella Treasury March 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I completely agree with these statements: “Well, like money, a person’s health is all about choices he/she makes. The same characteristics that help a person be healthy (e.g., self-discipline, goal setting) also help a person control his/her money.”

    A few days ago, I actually wrote a post comparing budgeting and dieting. Great minds think alike! Just like you’ve said, both activities require a level of restraint and motivation that doesn’t come naturally (to most of us, anyway), but the benefits are well worth the effort.

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 2:19 am

      I just read through your budgeting/dieting post and it’s spot on. I definitely have the hardest time with your last point: making room for fun. For me, having fun has less to do with my diet and more to do with working out since I find it boring. So if I can find more ways to make it fun and engaging, I think I’ll have a much easier time sticking with my goals this go around.

  • Reply Sarah March 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    You go girl!!!
    Money can be a motivator–but I feel like budgeting (and dieting!) often ends up being about all the things you can’t buy (or have). You’ve really got to focus on the future and the big picture–how much better you’re going to feel, for example, or how much you’ll have in savings after you’ve made the tough decisions!

    • Reply Johnny March 19, 2013 at 2:22 am

      Amen. It has been so hard seeing 5%-10% of our paychecks poof into thin air every month to go toward our 401k’s. We know it’s important, but it’s hard when you can’t actually see how it will pay off in the long road. And you’re right that that’s the way we should approach health and fitness, too.

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