Weight Loss and Long-Term Investing

I am ashamed to say that although I teach and research for a living, I hate giving analogies. Even if I think of a potentially good analogy, one that can drive home the point better, I get uncomfortable and think it is deliberate and artificial and don’t use it. Someone like Ashal Jauhari is so very good at it.

So when I thought about the title, one part of me said, go ahead and write it. Another part said it is a bad idea. So I came to a consensus and decided to write about the weight loss aspects alone. I will leave it to you to decide if a weight-loss regimen has similarities with long term investing and in general taking control of your financial life.

Before I begin, let me clarify why I think I am reasonably competent to talk about weight loss. I went from 95 Kg to 72 Kg over a period of 2.5 years without dieting and exercising. I have held onto this weight for the last two years.

Take stock of YOUR situation: If you want to lose weight, first you need to understand the reasons for your current weight, and second you need to recognise nothing will work without discipline.

There are many over-weight people on the planet. However the reasons behind each person’s excess weight can be different.  So first ask yourself why are you overweight? Is because of your eating habits? Is it genetic? Is it related to a medical condition? If it is related to a medical condition or it your parents, grandparents are also obese then you should discuss with your doctor about the best weight management strategy for you. The following is generic. It works for those who are overweight because of eating the wrong things at wrong times and may or may not work for those with weight related to medical issues.

Do not mix exercise and weight loss! Before you begin, it is essential to understand the lack of connection between exercise and weight loss. If you want to lose weight, eat right. If you want to keep fit, exercise. Losing weight and keeping fit are very different goals.  So if you want to lose weight, don’t bother joining a gym or buying walking/jogging shoes. Studies have shown* that if you start a weight loss program with exercise you are likely to eat more because the extra activity will leave you hungry. (* free subscription required. This Time magazine study (cover below) resulted in a huge controversy. I however agree with it).

Here is the pdf version of the full article.

Weight loss is a life-long commitment. The key to weight loss is to train your body to eat less. This will take several months to accomplish. Once you accomplish it, you will need to eat right for the rest of your life! So unless you stay the course with discipline nothing will work.

Understand and embrace volatility!  Weight loss is all about eating right. However, recognise that eating right everyday is not possible. There will be parties, weddings, festivals, moms great cooking etc. etc. Enjoying ‘rich’ food occasionally is great. It prevents mistakes and actually helps you stay on course. The occasional indulgence is crucial for success.

weight loss tracker week 10
weight loss volatility (not mine!)

Take one step at a time The key idea behind weight loss is to train your mind and body to function with less food. If you want to do this right, it will take months to years. If you go overboard and do too many things at the same time, you are bound to fail.

  • List all your bad eating habits.
  • Choose just one bad habit and live without it for a month or two. Then move over to the next bad habit.
  • Step 1: Drink a lot of water. It is the only weight loss medication you need. (I will write more about others steps in a separate post).

Recognise the power of compounding After you start a weight-loss regimen, within a week or so, you can see your weight drop. It will typically drop a couple of kilos and then stay the same! Most people think they are doing something wrong at this point and give up. Such a pity because

  • If your weight has lowered a bit and then stays the same, you have achieved your first victory!
  • Your mind and metabolism have accepted your new lifestyle. It is time for you to get rid of your second bad eating habit. (after a month your third and so on)
  • This is the power of compounding with respect to weight loss. It may sound wrong to call it compounding, however I am convinced that it is. It is crucial to get used to small but permanent changes to your lifestyle. Your ‘final’ weight is the compounded effect of these steps.
  • When you progress to your 3rd or 4th bad eating habit, the drop in weight will be noticeable to your friends and family. Never ever advertise about your regimen. Don’t even tell your spouse or parents. Let them notice it. It will give you a boost.
  • Getting rid of some bad eating habits may not influence your weight. Do not worry. You body takes note of every step you take (positive and negative!).

Do not monitor your portfolio constantly!  There is no need to check your weight every day. Losing weight is like falling in love. You will know when it happens.

Okay I think the analogy is wearing thin now.  So let me stop here and ask, what do you think ? Do you agree?

Install Financial Freedom App! (Google Play Store)

Install Freefincal Retirement Planner App! (Google Play Store)

book-footer

Buy our New Book!

You Can Be Rich With Goal-based Investing A book by  P V Subramanyam (subramoney.com) & M Pattabiraman. Hard bound. Price: Rs. 399/- and Kindle Rs. 349/-. Read more about the book and pre-order now!
Practical advice + calculators for you to develop personalised investment solutions

Thank you for reading. You may also like

About Freefincal

Freefincal has open-source, comprehensive Excel spreadsheets, tools, analysis and unbiased, conflict of interest-free commentary on different aspects of personal finance and investing. If you find the content useful, please consider supporting us by (1) sharing our articles and (2) disabling ad-blockers for our site if you are using one. We do not accept sponsored posts, links or guest posts request from content writers and agencies.

Blog Comment Policy

Your thoughts are vital to the health of this blog and are the driving force behind the analysis and calculators that you see here. We welcome criticism and differing opinions. I will do my very best to respond to all comments asap. Please do not include hyperlinks or email ids in the comment body. Such comments will be moderated and I reserve the right to delete  the entire comment or remove the links before approving them.

42 thoughts on “Weight Loss and Long-Term Investing

  1. ashalanshu

    Dear Pattu, you drive the point home superbly. Many a times people are too much worried for short term pain & can not visualize the long term gain.

    Thanks

    Ashal

    Reply
  2. ashalanshu

    Dear Pattu, you drive the point home superbly. Many a times people are too much worried for short term pain & can not visualize the long term gain.

    Thanks

    Ashal

    Reply
  3. A.Sundaram

    Dear Pattu,

    Brilliant insights into weight-loss techniques-eagerly await your further inputs.Have already forwarded the article to my teenaged daughter-am sure she'll benefit immensely.Thank you so much.

    One request-not able to register in "Time"(an error page comes up). I understand that the write-up would be very useful.Is it possible for you to send that article to my e-mail ID?Most obliged if you can.

    Reply
  4. A.Sundaram

    Dear Pattu,

    Brilliant insights into weight-loss techniques-eagerly await your further inputs.Have already forwarded the article to my teenaged daughter-am sure she'll benefit immensely.Thank you so much.

    One request-not able to register in "Time"(an error page comes up). I understand that the write-up would be very useful.Is it possible for you to send that article to my e-mail ID?Most obliged if you can.

    Reply
  5. Riyaz

    In my opinion,sharing personal experience directly helps readers to remember it easily then an article, say, when i've decided to reduce weight i started listing my good habits and found I'm eating too much of snacks, and stopped that for 1 month and reduced 1 kg ... something like this ...

    this way users can relate their life with your experience and follow it... and maybe in conclusion we can point the steps or bullet points ...

    Reply
    1. pattu

      Yes I see what you mean. However, my intention in this post is not to share how I did it. I will write this up separately. Thanks for your view.

      Reply
  6. nikhil

    pattu sir very good article...........i have lost 20 kg twice.......and i am on same stage again......needed the motivation badly.........i think food is like instant gratification.....and we need to delay it to for weight loss...

    Reply
  7. nikhil

    pattu sir very good article...........i have lost 20 kg twice.......and i am on same stage again......needed the motivation badly.........i think food is like instant gratification.....and we need to delay it to for weight loss...

    Reply
      1. bharat shah

        i like to share more '.I went from 95 Kg to 72 Kg over a period of 2.5 years without dieting and exercising. I have held onto this weight for the last two years'. it is really fantastic particularly without dieting and exercising , and supposedly on your own and without medication. i am saying this after my experience .it will be immense help to your readers like me if you write more on the topic. thank you,

        Reply
          1. bharat shah

            i read again between the lines and found your mention of 'wrong habits'. i hope you will write more about it in next post.: what could be wrong habits

  8. Redunovin

    I've been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It's pretty worth enough for me.
    Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet
    will be much more useful than ever before.

    Reply
  9. Redunovin

    I've been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It's pretty worth enough for me.
    Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet
    will be much more useful than ever before.

    Reply
  10. Naman Jain

    Dear ...I am reading this today but I started on the same line and I got the result . I was too feeling the same when I started exercising I started gaining weight as my intake increased . But I am doing nothing now and I am on track now. Losing a bit everyday . It is the best article on weight loss. kudos ...

    Reply
  11. Sivakumar

    This is my favourite topic and certainly health and wealth should go together...
    1. Weight loss program - Its not dependant on what you eat or how much you eat.. it depends on how to eat and when to eat.. if you understand how your body functions...(People can argue what you eat is important because what if you eat is junk.. then the whole point is not just about weight loss and you can term it as how to keep yourself healthy)..
    2. Investing - 1. What you are investing.. 2. how much you are investing.. 3. how to invest.. 4. when to invest... In case of investing to me all 4 are important, though 2 looks like its not in our hands but still if i am not investing enough i will find to earn more and save more and invest more...

    So to me anology of both looks irrelevant, but the only common grounds which i see is discipline which is needed for both...

    Reply

Do let us know what you think about the article