D is for Diet.
The dreadful D-word. Die with a T!
But seriously....a diet is just a plan. It's like a budget. Another dreadful word to some people.
I learned long ago that a budget is not a straitjacket, it's a tool. With good planning, I can make my dollars stretch to cover a lot more somehow.
For the last two years, we have been "doing the Dave Ramsey thing." We took his Financial Peace University classes and started using the Envelope System for the spending part of our budget. We take the money out in cash each month for food, clothing, gasoline, and other things you can buy with cash. Though I rarely had clothing money before, I do now. It's not a lot, but it gets us by. I can keep my husband in dress shirts and slacks without wondering what I am going to have to skimp on to do so. This is because the clothing part of the budget sits there in its little envelope, and can only be spent on clothing. Run out of gas money? park one car. Run out of food money? Eat out of the pantry for a few days. But don't touch the other categories!
For over ten years I've been wearing an old green down jacket that belonged to my mother. It's warm, but it's ugly and totally out of style. Somehow, the cost of a brand-new coat, though I longed for one, was still out of the budget. They're pretty expensive, so every year I thought "Maybe next year." I really wanted a pretty, long coat to wear over dresses to church and other places when I want to look a little nicer. I think maybe I felt like I didn't quite deserve it.
I was at JC Penney one day, and they had all their coats on clearance for $24. I went in and tried some on, and then narrowed it down to two. One was a stylish casual coat, and the other was a gorgeous maroon dressy coat with a brown fake fur collar. I wanted both! It's been over ten years since I had a new coat of any sort, and suddenly I wanted two. But do I deserve two coats? Well, it's been over ten years...but still...two coats...Then I had an epiphany! I had enough money in my little clothing envelope to buy both, and had no pressing clothing needs coming up. If my husband wanted two shirts, I would have bought them. So I am now the happy owner of two coats. (Neither J C Penney nor Dave Ramsey paid for my opinions. I just post about things I like.)
|My New Dressy Coat|
The collar is removable if I want to tone it down a little.
My husband plans the budget a month at a time. Am I willing to put out that kind of effort for my health? I used to plan meals for my family--I had to if I was going to feed 4 growing boys on one income! I planned at least two weeks at a time, did major shopping every two weeks, and filled in with fresh foods as needed. Now I tend to be lazier than that, and just stock up on food so there's always something to eat. The problem is that it's not always a balanced diet. If I would budget my portions, at least a day at a time, I would not find myself "spending" more carbs than I should, or more fats, or even more fruits. I usually end up with extras in my "vegetable" envelope, while using up every single bite and extra in my "fruit" envelope.
Another thing about budgeting is that there is a set amount. Eating can be the same way--buy or cook the amount I need and measure it out as I "spend" it. When it's gone, it's gone. Can't have more until the next day rolls around.
In our budget, there is a little "blow fund" in there in case we goof up, or the electric bill is a bit higher than usual, that sort of thing. However, it's not to be spent willy-nilly. It's not like we say, "Oh, let's go out to eat. We can use the blow fund!" In a diet, the blow fund could be the times I eat at a friend's, and I can't control the amount of salad dressing, the cut of beef she uses, or whatever might mess me up a little bit. It's not just for eating out. "I feel like a hamburger tonight, so I'll use my blow fund portions!" If I do that, I will start to blow up like a balloon.
Well, looks like I have some planning to do! It's time to stop blowing the portion budget! Maybe in the process I can also lower the food money budget--and slip a little more over into the Stylish New Clothing Envelope.