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Tom’s Fitness and Paris Martial Arts

BIGGEST LOSER “4” — WEEK 6

Posted: May 28, 2008

So we’re at the halfway point for Biggest Loser “4.” It always amazes me how fast these things go. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. My cutie-pie is 7 ½, I just turned 46—life seems to be moving faster than ever.

Remember when we were younger and things seemed to take forever? Sometimes weight loss is like that, but you have to realize that things didn’t get this way overnight.

What if it takes six months or even a year? Time is going to pass anyway—you might as well spend it doing something that helps you get what you want.

I was wearing my singing and speaking hat this morning at a church up in Chrisman. One of the things I believe is how we’re here for a purpose. It’s not supposed to be all about us.

But if we’re not healthy, it can become all about us. Diabetes and heart disease will make sure of that. But how can you spend your time helping others when you don’t feel good enough to help yourself?

There’s another area we need to take responsibility for, though it may not seem related: our “financial health.” Just like learning how to eat right and exercise smart, fixing your finances takes great discipline. And just like overeating and not exercising, the consequences of not addressing our spending and saving habits can have grave consequences.

We’re a fast food society, and that mindset permeates our entire culture. We want things now, and we want them fast. We’re encouraged to buy now and pay later, but boy do we pay later! One little credit card charge here, a car payment we can’t afford there, and “all of a sudden” when things get bad, we’re in too deep to get out.

Just making the minimum payments can be tough and it can take years to pay down something that has long since lost its value. Soon, we’re trapped in a cycle that holds us prisoner—just like when we’re overweight, out of shape and our health is declining.

If we can learn to live on less than we earn, though, and save a little for a rainy day, we can be prepared for when times get tough. Just like eating right and exercising smart, it takes a total transformation of how we think, and how we live.

We have to learn to say “no” to things we don’t really need. We’ve got to learn to make tough choices, and think long term, instead of in the “right now.” Like Dave Ramsey says on his radio show and in his book “The Total Money Makeover”… “You’ve got to live like no one else, so someday you can live like no one else.”

For full details, I totally recommend his book, but here’s how it works. First, you’ve got to create an emergency fund of $1,000 that you keep on hand for—emergencies. That’s what Dave calls Baby Step #1.

The second thing Dave teaches is the Debt Snowball (Baby Step #2). Here’s how it works:

Arrange all your debts from smallest to largest.
Make minimum payments on everything except the smallest one. That one you’re going to attack with all your energy and extra resources.
If you don’t have any extra in the budget to attack the debt, sell something. Sell lots of things. Get an extra job if necessary.
When you pay it off, you move on to the next one and so on.

Cut up all your credit cards—Dave calls it a “plasectomy.” Learn to live on a debit card—if you don’t have it, you can’t spend it.

Make a commitment to incur no new debt. Nothing. This is going to catch a lot of people, but it’s the key to everything. A diet only works if you stick to it. An exercise program only works if you show up. No new debt. Period.

If you can’t afford things, sell them. Quit making payments. Monthly payments are “death by a thousand cuts” and they’ll suck the life out of you.

I have to tell you, that this can be incredibly liberating if you’ll do it. It may seem impossible—just like losing 80 or 100 lbs. But it is possible. I’ve seen people do both, and I’m working to lose the financial weight, myself.

It’s tough, if not impossible, helping someone when you’re worried about paying your own light bill. Once you start getting rid of some of those payments, you’ll have the ability to do more for the people you care about. You’ll be able to respond when you see a need, and that’s very cool.

Dave’s Baby Step #3 is a little tougher. After you’ve eliminated all debt (except the house), fully fund your emergency fund with 3-6 months expenses. Then, if something really comes along to rock your world, you’ll have the capacity to deal with it.

Did you know that people in good health have a much greater chance to survive serious, traumatic injuries? Their bodies apparently have a reserve and strength that get them through it.

It’s the same thing with our financial health. Just like our bodies, we’ve got to get our house in order. Then, when the storm comes, we might be shaken, but we’ll survive.

Back to Biggest Loser “4.” This week’s winner was Shawn Bowers who lost 3.2% of his body weight and an incredible 9.6 lbs! Shawn had been losing a lot of weight early in the contest, but had just gone on vacation, and put some of those pounds back on.

We’ll be watching closely to see how he does next week. My prediction is that he’ll continue his losing ways, and probably come in around 4-5 lbs lighter. Shawn won a $20 Walmart gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance. He earned it!

For those of you who already are in good health—whether it’s physically, or financially, I want to encourage you to use your gift. Get out and do something. Help someone, cause remember, it’s not all about us.

Those of you that aren’t quite there (me too), that’s O.K. It might need to be about you for a little while so you can get some things fixed. But let’s do it. Let’s get moving!