Why Dieting Is A Lot Like a Financial Crisis
By Nick Nilsson
Learn the parallels between dieting and the biggest financial crisis of our time. And no, it's not because both are painful and leave you hungry!
Now, let me be clear right off the bat…if you think I'm going to make a joke here about how your Freddie Mac and Cheese ends up on your Fannie Mae, you're wrong…I would never do such a thing.
What I AM going to do is draw some parallels about how the financial mess the United States is in can actually help you understand how dieting affects your body, and in turn, can help you get better results in your fat-loss efforts and, of course, make you millions of dollars richer in the process.
I'm going to drift around in between finance and nutrition here - I know, they're two almost identical subjects but, try to bear with me.
And keep in mind when you read this, I'm no financial expert. If something isn't 100% right, the SEC isn't interested in small fish like me so I wouldn't bother mentioning this article to them...
1 - The Boom Years
Your body is designed to store fat. Its how we've survived as a species over the millennia. When famine hit, it was always the individuals who could best store and use fat who survived. Evolution wasn't concerned about the potential for muffin-top when it loaded our bodies with easy-to-fill fat cells.
So when times were good (like in the U.S. housing market a few years back), those fat cells were getting filled up like crazy! Everybody was seeing their house values (i.e. waistlines) expand.
Now, greed operates not only in the financial markets but at the buffet table as well. The less regulation there is, i.e. portion and food quality control, the more things start to get unbalanced and the more potential there is for gluttony.
Some people were buying houses they really couldn't afford which is a parallel to some people eating the crappy food (i.e. pretty much anything that comes directly to you through a window). It compromises your health in the long run.
Heck, you can think of eating at McDonald's sorta like getting an adjustable rate loan…you're fine for the first little while but suddenly BAM. Your rate adjusts and it's time to bust out the fat pants.
But hey, while you're still in those first few years of your Adjustable Rate Mortgage, life is good. You may not look like you're gaining a lot of fat (it's all settling into those spaces between your internal organs) or setting up your financial markets for a crash until the moment of truth hits.
Then the balloon payment comes due, your mortgage doubles and you start blowing out the seams on your fat pants.
The internal workings of your system have been so corrupted by deregulation (and coagulation) that your markets can barely function. Your blood pressure is going up faster than a CEO's retirement bonus because your body is carrying too much debt around your waistline.
2 - The Crash
So it's time to diet. And you want to lose that fat FAST. So you immediately drop your calories to near starvation level. Of course, in the stock market, a strict diet looks a lot like a crash. Your body views it the same way.
Panic sets in. Just as brokers start selling off stock, your body starts getting rid of things it doesn't want to carry around.
And, of course, the greater the panic, the stupider the brokers (and your body) get. When you crash diet, your body tends to burn MUSCLE more than fat. Just like a broker selling off the good stocks that can help him recover from a crash.
It's the FAT you want to sell off, not the muscle.
But a big crash [diet], which was set up by the previous gluttony [the result of excess deregulation, akin to asking a 4 year old to guard the birthday cake], you're now attempting to accomplish very quickly what should normally happen over a longer period of time.
If you were to experience a slow economic downturn, your ability to get rid of the fat is much better, allowing you to streamline your portfolio smartly rather than just trying to get rid of everything all at once. You cut your calories, increase your activity and gradually lose the fat.
3 - Market Instability
If you've got a retirement savings plan and you've looked at it recently, you've probably seen a graph that does up and down just like the numbers on the scale of a yo-yo dieter.
The crash is followed by a binge of people buying cheap stocks (because the price is so low and because that Kentucky-fried birthday cake just looks so good), followed by another crash, followed by another binge. And so on.
This constant cycle of crashing and rebounding does nothing to stabilize the economy. It only makes you want to eat more and makes you fatter.
4 - The Great Depression
Now you're really feeling bad about yourself. You've gained back all the weight you lost when you crash dieted only you lost muscle and gained back fat.
You're in the middle of a great depression. What's it going to take to snap out of it?
5 - The Two Magic Words
I'm talking BAIL OUT, right! Government to the rescue, right! WRONG.
Look at how well the bail-out worked. The stock market keeps tanking and keeps yo-yo dieting. Until the government takes high fructose corn syrup out of the food-lobby pyramid, you can be pretty sure the government isn't going to solve your weight problems.
Now come the REAL two little magic words that will make everything okay…Personal Responsibility.
I am VERY sure there are predatory lenders out there who convinced people that they could afford homes that they really couldn't just as I'm sure there are food manufacturers trying to convince you that Lucky Charms are healthy because they suddenly contain calcium…
When you get down to it, nobody is holding a gun to your head to eat that last chunk of Texas Toast with extra cheese, butter and frosting. Just because something is available doesn't mean you HAVE to insert it into your face (or sign the paperwork that says you're fine with 5% APR jump on your mortgage when it resets).
When you put Personal Responsibility into practice, you take CONTROL over your finances and your nutrition. You realize that the world does not owe you a lean body…it's something you have to work for and make an effort for, just like it takes work and effort to pay your mortgage every month.
If it sounds too good to be true…well, you know how the rest of THAT goes…
In this case, it's a lesson Wall Street should learn from Sesame Street. Like Cookie Monster says, cookies are a "sometimes" food - meaning if you're greedy all the time, it's going to eventually catch up to you and you'll have to pay for it (unless you're AIG, apparently, in which case you've got a license to keep on partying without any hint of accountability - I guess the parallel to that would be liposuction!).