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How I lost 6 lbs!

lost 6 lbs

Lose 6 lbs in one year is not going to be a big seller.

No, this is not an infomercial and I’m not trying to sell anything today. πŸ™‚

Last week, I went in for my annual physical and guess what. I lost 6 lbs and I weigh 130 lbs now. Yes, it took a year for me to lose 6 lbs, but I’m pretty sure this is sustainable and I should be able to maintain this weight. The 6 lb drop was quite surprising because I didn’t plan to lose weight. I’m actually very happy at 135 lbs (5’4.) How did I lose 6 lbs without planning to?

The big change this past year was the addition of our baby. We didn’t get as much sleep as in previous years, but I don’t think that really affected the weight loss. Does it? I believe it’s the routine that I’ve been following that helped me lose those 6 lbs. This is a pretty easy routine that works for me.

  1. Eat 5 small meals per day. I was having dizziness a couple of years ago and the nutritionist suggested 5-6 smaller meals per day to keep my sodium level stable. I have breakfast at 7am, oatmeal with blueberries at 10am, half my lunch at 1pm, the rest of lunch at 3pm, then dinner around 7pm. It’s a routine now and I’m used to it. This helps reduce the amount of food intake overall.
  2. Avoid empty calories. Minimize soda pops and other sugary drinks. I chew gum instead of eating junk food and I drink unsweetened ice tea, hot green tea, and other low calories beverages. This is cheaper too. πŸ˜‰
  3. Go to the gym at lunch on the weekdays. I schedule going to the gym in my calendar every weekday at lunch. Fortunately, my workplace has a small gym on site. I usually do 30 minutes of cardio, a few sets of free weights, and then some light stretches. I also take Yoga and Boot camp classes when I can. I try to go every day even on days that I don’t have much energy. If I don’t feel up to it, I’ll try to do half of the usual workout or even just some stretching.

That’s pretty much it. We also cook at home, avoid prepackaged food and limit eating out to once a week or so.

Having an automated routine helps tremendously and I lost weight without even knowing it. The same can be done for finance. You can set up automatic routines for your finance and before you know it, your net worth will grow by $25,000/year without much effort.

Here are some steps you can take to automate your saving:

  1. Contribute to your 401k every paycheck (max out if possible.)
  2. Contribute to Roth IRA.
  3. Make extra payments on your mortgage.
  4. Invest in dividend stocks and choose to DRIP.
  5. Auto-deposit funds into your stock account.
  6. Avoid the latest and greatest gadgets.
  7. ?

What else do you do to automate your finance? Do you think it’s better to be hands-on and invest manually or automate your investments as much as possible? Which one do you think is more difficult – losing weight or increasing your net worth?


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{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Michelle February 27, 2012, 6:23 am

    Wow good job!

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 2:17 pm

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog February 27, 2012, 1:20 pm

    That is awesome that you were able to lose some weight – it’s nice when you lose it with out trying ( though people trying may be angry at you). For my finances, I automate most bill pay – I forgot too many times (no late fees, but felt bad) to keep paying it every month.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 4:28 pm

      Maybe that’s why this post is not very popular so far. πŸ™‚

  • Hunter - Financially Consumed February 27, 2012, 1:29 pm

    I’m about 100 lbs heavier than you! Congratulations of the healthy balance you have found. This is incredible considering the addition of a young one to your household. I think I started to gain weight when our first child arrived. Thanks for the tips.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 4:29 pm

      Really? You must be a lot taller too, right?
      I can see how people gain weight by being a stay at home parent. He is starting to eat solid food now and we’re eating his left over and sharing his snacks. Not a good move…

      • Hunter - Financially Consumed February 28, 2012, 5:05 pm

        5’10” – still a little too heavy.

        BTW, I’m 40 today (ten leap years) and still a long way from retirement.

        • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:08 am

          Happy 40th Birthday!

  • Jon Rhodes February 27, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Good post. Rather than go on some wierd fad diet you made a few simple but permanent lifestyle changes. Thats the real secret to permanent weight loss. Not all these unsustainable diets that are being peddled about. I lost some weight just stopping drinkning tea and coffee. I was drinking about 5 a day, each with 2 teaspoons of sugar in. Thats 10 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is 50 grams in total.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 4:30 pm

      That’s a lot of hidden sugar. Permanent changes are the way to go to lose weight. It might take a lot longer, but it is sustainable. Yo yo diet doesn’t work.

  • krantcents February 27, 2012, 3:08 pm

    Exercise will add weight! Muscle weighs more than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher the metabolism. BTW, I do your 6 points and then some.

    • Jon Rhodes February 27, 2012, 3:15 pm

      Very true, muscle is living tissue that burns energy to function – more muscle, more calorie burning.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 4:32 pm

      I was already doing those exercises so I didn’t add much muscle. I probably lost some muscle in that 6 lbs too. It’s more difficult to work out when you are sleep deprived.
      I think moderation is still key. When you have more muscle, you have to work to maintain them. Those body builders spend a lot of time to look like that and they can’t keep it up forever.

  • Aloysa February 27, 2012, 3:57 pm

    Jealous! But I need to stop being lazy and go back to the gym. This time I will not do deadlifts and squats but run for my life. lol Great job, Joe! I wish I could say the same about myself.

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 12:24 pm

      Yes, you need to go with a routine that you can stick with.
      Keep it interesting by running for 20 minutes and then 20 minutes of weight lifting.
      Don’t do things that you hate. πŸ™‚

  • frugalportland February 27, 2012, 5:03 pm

    I think this analogy is spot on: make healthy decisions, period. If you need to automate your savings and your bills, then do it. If you need to buy a bunch of vegetables and chop them up and put them into all kinds of Tupperware (like me!) then do it. All that matters is health, financial, and body.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 9:13 pm

      That’s right, no excuses!

  • Wayne @ Young Family Finance February 27, 2012, 7:46 pm

    I’ve been making small steps towards healthier living. Every year I try to improve my diet. For example, one year I gave up eating deep fried foods. My weight has been pretty stable and I credit the small adjustments that I make on a regular basis.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 9:21 pm

      We haven’t given up deep fried food completely yet. We don’t do any frying at home, but we do get fries once in a while when we get a burger. πŸ™‚

  • My University Money February 27, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Sounds like you have a very healthy lifestyle RB40! I figure that if we work so hard to build up financial independence, we should work equally hard to make sure we live long enough to enjoy it to the full extent right?

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 10:08 pm

      That’s right! We need to be healthy enough to enjoy the fruit of our labor. That’s one reason I want to leave the corporation. I don’t want to croak at my desk!

  • YFS February 27, 2012, 9:10 pm

    I automate everything via bill payment via my credit card (if possible) or my bank account. I schedule 1 bill per month and that is to pay my credit card off in full. Life is easy when you only have to pay 1 bill.

    • retirebyforty February 27, 2012, 10:09 pm

      That’s a great way to go.

  • Geoff February 28, 2012, 2:12 am

    Making sure the credit card is paid off in full each month, otherwise the interest on any balance can be horrific. As for losing weight, my battle is almost lost.

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 12:26 pm

      You can’t call it quit yet. Start with something small like cut out sodas and make a permanent change to your diet.

  • First Gen American February 28, 2012, 3:04 am

    For me, its definitely easier to increase my net worth because I have an excess of income vs my expenses. After paying off our mortgages, we saved a ton of money in a year without even really trying.

    If I exercised more than I do now, it would be the same with losing weight, I’d use more calories than I consumed, but with our long winters here, there are often months when I get in a funk and don’t exercise. I love the outdoors and gyms are just not fun for me. When my brother in law quit working and became a contractor full time, he lost 20 pounds without changing anything else in his life because his day job suddenly became a lot more physically demanding. It’s all just a mass balance.

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 9:33 am

      I’ve been pretty lucky that I can go to the gym at lunch. Once I leave my full time gig, it will be much more difficult in the winter. I’ll have to come up with some kind of routine that I can do with the little dude.
      Great job on the finance side. πŸ™‚

  • Niki February 28, 2012, 3:47 am

    Congratulations on the weight loss.

    To what you wrote to Hunter about eating the leftovers on the plate, I used to do that too, but it is a really bad move. I have a very hard time throwing away food, probably because I was raised by depression era grandparents, but that is a surefire way to gain weight. But I also have three kids so it might be different. πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 9:35 am

      Thanks! It’s difficult for me to throw away food too. It’s just as hard to not snack on cheerios, cheddar, and other things the little guy eat. I’ll have to figure out something. Three kids = 3x more snacks. πŸ™‚

  • SB @ One Cent At A Time February 28, 2012, 4:40 am

    Are you sure your BMI is in healthy zone? In last one year I gained weight. Though I automate finance, I fail to do it for health.

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 9:36 am

      Yes, my BMI is good. I’m not that skinny. Watch that weight, it has the tendency to creep up on you.

  • Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple February 28, 2012, 7:48 am

    Congrats on your success!
    Between loosing weight and increasing networth… I’d say the networth is easier. It takes no effort to put money away. You can do it with the click of a button and the money is gone before you can even see it. You can’t do the same thing with the food on your plate!

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 9:37 am

      Thanks for your perspective. I guess net worth is easier if you make enough money. It is still quite difficult for many people.

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 28, 2012, 11:56 am

    Congrats on the weight lost. For many people, it is quite the opposite. I definitely try not to let my weight get out of control, but after being overweight for years (long ago), it is definitely a reasonable concern. I still haven’t managed to get up to 5-6 meals a day though. I guess I’m at 4 meals (if you include a light afternoon snack). Overall, I don’t know if doing so decreases my overall intake though, but it certainly makes things more even.

    • retirebyforty February 28, 2012, 12:27 pm

      I think I gained a pound every year in my first 10 years out of college. Some of that is probably muscle because I was lifting weight more. I like 130-135 lbs. That’s the perfect range for me. Great job on staying healthy!

  • Julie @ Freedom 48 February 28, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Good job on the weight loss! I think our finances and our bodies are connected. If we have the discipline to master one – we’ll likely have the discipline to master them both.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:08 am

      I don’t know. It’s really difficult to master both. Many people can do one and not the other.

  • Tie the Money Knot February 28, 2012, 9:22 pm

    That’s great! Sometimes just making a few minor adjustments to one’s diet can make an impact over a long stretch of time. Incremental changes can be easier to incorporate, thus making them sustainable. Just like making a few incremental money spending adjustments, like drinking water instead of soda/juice/coffee, packing one extra lunch per week vs. eating lunch out, etc.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:10 am

      Incremental changes are the changes that we can stick with in the long run. Atkins diet and other fast weight loss diet doesn’t work because we can’t stick with them.

  • youngandthrifty February 28, 2012, 11:52 pm

    Good job! Wow, sounds like you get some good health care down there- annual physicals and access to nutritionists πŸ™‚

    Definitely a no no is the soda! Avoid anything with fructose in it/ high fructose corn syrup. That sh*T does havoc to the system.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:10 am

      It’s the company health care. πŸ™‚

  • 101 Centavos February 29, 2012, 3:11 am

    Little Man is keeping you hopping and running about, that’s why you lost all that weight.

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:11 am

      Yes, he is the energizer bunny. He never sit still unless he is totally exhausted.

  • Epicfinances February 29, 2012, 6:36 am

    Congrats on the loss – I need to start going to the gym at lunch as well πŸ˜›

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 9:15 am

      Thanks. I made it a habit to go to the gym at lunch. It’s a great way to unwind in the middle of the day.

  • Jen @ Master the Art of Saving February 29, 2012, 1:07 pm

    Great job losing 6 pounds without even trying. πŸ™‚ I always notice that the days when I don’t feel like working out, I feel more energized after forcing myself to do it. It also makes the rest of my day better.

    I like a nice balance of manually and automating our savings and investments. It’s nice because I know it’s going to happen for sure and anything extra I do makes it even better.

    We don’t max out our contributions for anything, but we’re contributing what we can. It all adds up! Doing something is always better than nothing. πŸ™‚

    • retirebyforty February 29, 2012, 1:25 pm

      I gained back a couple of lbs. That last weighting was with an overnight fast. πŸ™‚
      Contributing what you can is great! As long as you keep working at it, you’ll get there.

  • Christa March 1, 2012, 12:02 pm

    I like the balance of 5 smaller meals per day. I thought I’d hate it, but it’s actually a very good way to avoid hunger.

    I love how you connected all of this to finance! I think you can also connect the going to the gym and working out a tiny bit even when you don’t feel like it: saving just a tiny bit will still make a difference, even if it’s just in motivation.

    • retirebyforty March 1, 2012, 11:20 pm

      I like 5 smaller meals too. It’s quite natural once you get used to it.

  • Don March 1, 2012, 10:06 pm

    I need to lose about ten times that number πŸ™‚

    Great tips though, it doesn’t really take a X90 workout to be in decent shape. I’ve been meaning to start a program, perhaps this is the month that I will start!

    • retirebyforty March 1, 2012, 11:23 pm

      Don, you have to get on it! You have to keep healthy so you can enjoy your wealth and family.
      A little at a time is the way to go. Good luck!

  • Well Heeled Blog March 2, 2012, 3:30 pm

    Congrats! I’m short too (barely 5’1″), and I’ve lost 5 pounds in the past 1.5 months. I’m back to my fighting, er, high school, weight. I actually have a post going up on Monday on what losing weight has taught me about saving money. There are many similarities between two of America’s favorite pasttimes. πŸ˜‰

    • retirebyforty March 2, 2012, 10:13 pm

      Great job! I’ll have to lose another 15 lbs to get back to my high school weight. πŸ™‚
      I was very scrawny back then.

  • YFS March 6, 2012, 2:05 pm

    5’4 135.. yikes I’m huge compared to you.. I’m 6’1 185 lol.. I was 195 but I wanted to lean out so I started to run 20 minutes every morning in addition to my weight training. Easiest way to lose weight, cardio and eating right.

    • retirebyforty March 6, 2012, 3:28 pm

      I’m a short guy. πŸ™‚ Your weight is really good for your height. nice going!

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