Belinda White, Fierce Girl Finance
My friends and I were recently discussing the pros and cons of packaged fitness meals. One of them explained that the value is in someone else working out the protein and calories, then doing all the cooking and cleaning up. I reflected on the fact that when I was a gym junkie, I devoted hours of my weekend to planning, shopping and cooking meals, and in the end was really only ‘”10% hotter” than I am now. For the mental and physical labour of stressing over macros, I wonder if it was worth it.
My (male) friend suggested if I wanted to claw back that 10% of hotness I could just be funnier. Which kind of blew my mind, because:
a) I realised it was a lazy mental model to equate being leaner with being hotter (whatever that really means), and
b) I love how guys so easily include non-physical traits in their idea of what makes them attractive. I am here for it!
Not sweating the small stuff
But that’s not really what this story is about. What I began reflecting on was years of obsessing over my weight and the food I put in my mouth. I can look back and say my dalliances with everything from paleo to low-fat diets was a low-key form of disordered eating, and it inhabited an overly large space in my head, rent-free.
While I wouldn’t say I’m free of that thinking completely, the real estate I given it is about the equivalent of an inner-city studio. I eat mindfully, but I don’t automatically say no to office birthday cakes or beat myself up for eating the fries that came with a burger.
It means I am a little more squishy than I would like to be, but also much less burdened. Yeah, killer abs are great, but have you ever tried not hating your body on a daily basis?
It turns out is my body’s preferred size is somewhere around 72kg, not 67kg. I could spend a lot of time and stress trying to reach some ideal version, or I could focus my energy on having a body that is fit, pain-free and ready to carry me beyond middle age. THAT is the big win: a body that’s set up for a long life of pleasure, joy and love – THAT is the point of it all.
It seems like many of us spend a lot of time focused on achieving the 10% of whatever (weight, hotness, career). Aiming for ‘perfect’ instead of ‘good enough’. And yet sometimes the value of that goal is just a big old myth. The big picture stuff matters more than the last 10%.
The big money wins
Your money is part of this concept. So many articles about money, aimed at women, will urge you to cut spending to get ahead. My own blog has plenty of these, so I’m not here to throw shade on the joys of buying marked-down meat on a Saturday arvo.
But saving 10% on your grocery shopping isn’t where the big gains are to be had. You know what really moves the needle on your financial health? Things like:
- Pushing hard for a salary increase that you deserve, and finding a new job if your employer won’t come to the party
- Putting aside a little bit of your pay every month, over a long period, and investing it sensibly for the magical effects of compounding
- Being mindful about your financial goals and priorities so you can say yes to things that matter and no to things that don’t
- Paying attention to one of the biggest assets you’ll ever have – your super – and making sure the fees, insurance and investment options are right for you (hello, Super Fierce!).
You can find all the AfterPay Day specials you want; you can take a bus instead of an Uber; you can get free delivery on your Iconic purchases – but if you are earning less than your value, paying more than you need to on super, or getting bugger-all returns on your savings account, then the small wins will stay … small.
For your big life, and your big wins, focus on the stuff that really matters in the long term.