2004. I needed something to wear to a friend’s wedding. When every 28 I tried on didn’t fit, I tried 32. I walked out to the 3-way mirror, looked at myself, and thought, “This is nuts. I can’t do this anymore.”

Three years later, I was a size 6.

2009: I opened a letter from one of my credit card companies. They said, cryptically, that even though I was a “valued customer,” they were raising my interest rate to 32 percent. I thought, “This is nuts. I can’t do this anymore.”

As of yesterday, I’m paying 6 percent.

32 might be bigger, but 6 offers a lot more breathing space.

For me, being morbidly obese is a lot like being in debt:

  • Size 32: I had no idea how many calories I consumed every day.
  • 32 percent: I had no idea how much money I spent every month.
  • Size 32: I masked emotional issues with overconsumption of food.
  • 32 percent: I masked emotional issues with overconsumption of goods.

Just like five years ago when I confronted my weight, confronting my financial situation wasn’t as scary as I’d imagined. The process also feels familiar because debt reduction takes the same kind of commitment and persistence as weight reduction. I have to get all mom on myself, use tough love, and find alternative rewards for goals, but the freedom that comes from being on a cash-only budget is like knowing I can fit in an airplane seat or won’t be winded climbing stairs. It forces me to be more creative and a better planner. Mostly it’s helping me to better appreciate what I have as opposed to mourning what I don’t.

But familiar doesn’t mean easy. Nothing life-changing is ever easy. Becoming debt free doesn’t happen overnight and it’s taken me into the path of some degrading people. Explaining my personal finances to someone who doesn’t give a ratsass and only wants me to pay my *bleepin* bill feels a lot like being called a fat name when I was 300 pounds. I guess just as people have a million excuses not to lose weight, they have a million excuses to not pay their bills and it’s not easy to know who is sincere. Still, to assume everyone’s lying isn’t fair either. But I digress…

Remember how you felt the first time someone noticed you lost weight? I do and it felt really good. I had the same feeling last week when my change in attitude from “I have no idea how much I spend a month” to hard-core financial diva caught my husband’s attention.

“You’ve embraced this whole financial thing like you did your weight.”

Why, yes. Yes I have. *smile* Thank you for noticing.

15 thoughts on “32:6

  1. I think this post was right on!

    And I think there are other parallels – clutter, taking care of medical needs, paperwork/legal things, household/yard maintenance, etc. The fat is the one that is more readily seen. But I think there are other issues/areas too.

  2. Well, I found your blog, Lynn. Great meeting you yesterday at Nate's and Brent's!

    I actually did lose about 25 lbs (during the past academic year, roughly) through following the Weight Watchers program religiously. I also walk four miles a day, which I realized is the only kind of exercise that I can maintain effectively. I'd like to spice it up a bit, but have not really found the solution yet.

    I have a history of bad credit card debt, which is now resolved and, like you, I have vouched never to let this happen to me again.

    Hope that we can have more “live” conversations, at Michelle's Cafe or elsewhere in Clarion!

    Note: the Word verification if “Heroe,” and I think that you have become mine!

  3. You are to be commended to taking charge of your credit issues…it's a hard, hard thing to face (speaking from painful experience here). And how sweet that Larry noticed the parallel!

  4. This was perfect. I'm so glad to see you're doing the right thing, both physically and emotionally. Being in debt is a lot of emotional stress, just like being overweight, huh? As long as you stay honest with yourself, everyone will begin to notice.

  5. You do have a way of making those connections with the way we run our lives with the way we eat. As we always say in my Trevose group, WHEN YOUR EATING IS UNDER CONTROL, SO IS YOUR LIFE. I truly believe this!

  6. Great post! Thanks. I like your comparisons. I am at the same place as you were in the beginning. My number is 24/26 (depending on the clothes & the CC company!). Actually, we filed Ch 13 last year. So the credit stuff is kind of taking care of itself (no credit, no problem! lol). Thanks for your inspirational blog!


  7. I stopped the smoking 1st- Succeeded.
    Now I'm losing the weight- 50 pounds gone as of today. My next goal is to conquer the finances just like you! Hope I'll be as successful!!!!!!

  8. I can't remember if you have talked about the national weight control registry. I just filled out my annual maintenance survey and wondered if you were a part of it too – ?

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