In the stock market, it’s said there are investors and speculators, with the major difference being the amount of risk assumed. I think the same can be said for those seeking a healthy lifestyle, and those looking for a quick fix diet. Want a low risk way to better health? Be a nutrition investor. It’s week 10 of my MoJo experiment.
Investor or Speculator?
Let’s say you have $200,000 to invest for retirement, and you can pick one of two choices. The first option is a 1/2% return every month for 12 months (earning $1,000/month). The second option is the possibility of earning $20,000 in the first month, but there’s a 65% chance you’ll lose all of your gain and some of your initial investment by the end of the year. The low risk investor, looking for a “guaranteed” return, would select making $1,000/mo.
What if you weighed 200 pounds and you had the option to lose a pound a month for the next 12 months (and possibly beyond), or lose 20 pounds the first month, but have a 65% chance you’ll gain it all back. You might even weigh over 200 pounds in the years that follow.
I guess it’s easier to speculate than to invest when it comes to our own health.
- More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity.
- According to the Boston Medical Center, approximately 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products in their pursuit of a trimmer, fitter body.
- Rebound dieting: “Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The statistics for dieters who lose weight rapidly, according to Wellsphere, a website sponsored by Stanford University, is worse. Only 5 percent of people who lose weight on a crash diet will keep the weight off. Crash diets include any unhealthy diet, from severe calorie-restriction diets to diets that consist of only a few kinds of foods.”
- How healthy would you consider your eating habits to be? About 75 percent of respondents ranked their diets as good, very good or excellent according to a poll NPR conducted with Truven Health Analytics, which surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,000 U.S. adults last May.
- Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States. Currently, estimates for these costs range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year. In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism, costing approximately $4.3 billion annually and with lower productivity while at work, costing employers $506 per obese worker per year.
Two-thirds of US adults are overweight or obese. We think we have good eating habits, but we don’t. We turn to high risk diets only to find they are a short term fix and not a long term solution. We pay as individuals, as businesses, as a country. Our “health investment” philosophy is not making us richer, or healthier.
Investing in a Lifestyle
A year ago this month, I unknowingly started investing in a health lifestyle. I didn’t use the above facts as motivation. I thought I had a pretty healthy diet, just like 75% of you. I had stopped drinking diet sodas a few years ago, and I started drinking green smoothies for breakfast. I continued to exercise a few times each week. I was feeling better than I had in years, but didn’t know how far I was from feeling great. I’d been waffling around 20-25 pounds overweight for years and thought that was how it was going to be…forever. Little did I know that a lifestyle change, not a diet, could help me to higher performance and feeling great.
A Diet vs. Nutrition Lifestyle
As the term “diet” has beet taken over by the weight loss industry, it’s important to understand the difference between a diet, and a nutrition lifestyle. I think the easiest way to think about the differences is to consider their duration. People go on and off diets, and may only go on a diet for a month or so. But they return to their nutrition lifestyle, their longer term way of eating. An easy way to think about the difference might be to ask, “Are you on a diet? or choosing to eat this way for a the foreseeable future?” Disclaimer. Diets can be good if properly managed and result in changing poor eating habits.
My Investment Experiment
As Thérèse detailed in her post, “My Vegas Tell All; A Three Week Re-Boot” I was a willing participant in her health coaching debut. I trusted my gut and ate whatever she made. After all, she had a plan, I didn’t. Sometimes you need to know when to follow. So, I invested in her health knowledge and expertise. I started gradually losing weight, feeling better, running faster, thinking clearer; the list goes on. Using this as a starting point, I’ve now found a lifestyle formula, my MoJo Tracker, that works for me, and I’m continuing to believe in and invest in my health.
The Tough Part
Commitment. It’s that simple. The tough part about investing for the long term is being determined to stay the course while you hear on an almost daily basis about the 5 pounds lost in a week using this diet or that diet. You don’t hear about the person who lost only a pound, or gained everything back they spent the last 30 days losing.
Face it, the long term investor is not interesting. So you have to have patience through the “market’s” ups and downs and stay committed. It helps to bring in an investment professional or coach to keep you on track.
Even when progress towards my weight goal seems glacial, I’m receiving healthy dividends along the way. Exercise is easier and more enjoyable, my thinking is clearer, my skin is clearer. I’m not as stressed. Bottom line, my investment strategy is paying off even during a off week or two.
MoJo Update (week 10)
Over two months into my experiment and the formula continues to forecast accurately. This past week I ate 19 out of 21 meals using real/whole ingredients, basically 90%. I exercised 3 times, which offset the 3 times I indulged in a treat. The result? I continue to slowly lose weight. I also earned a few other dividends. I’m sleeping better and running faster.
Monday Journal (MoJo) Background
I’m on a path of gradual weight loss, a continuation from a surprising 2017 realization about my relationship with food it’s impact on exercise, physical and emotional well-being. If my theory holds, I’ll see positive improvements in all categories and an overall improvement in my work performance.
I’m testing out a simple formula to confirm my body’s response to eating meals made with real/whole food ingredients, and to understand the impact of balancing exercise with the consumption of “unhealthy” snacks and drink.
Each week I report my success or failure. I don’t count calories, read labels or have a maniacal exercise plan. I’m hoping to prove that a simple lifestyle change can bring about a healthier life with higher performance, even as we age.