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Chelsea talks about all the wasteful ways she spent money when she wanted to lose weight. Want to know more about the connection between finances and weight? Check out this video:

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Chelsea on Intermittent Fasting:

Working out doesn’t help lose weight:

The Financial Diet site:

Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is brought to you by Dashlane. And this week, to start off the new year right, I thought I would talk about something very personal to me in the genre of self-improvement, which I know a lot of us have on our minds right now, and that's really everything to do with my body, and how I feel in it, and how I spend money as a result of that. About three years ago, I lost between 20 and 30 pounds in about a half year period. And I'm using kind of generalities for that because weight can fluctuate a ton on any given day, and also, since then, I've put on muscle, which I definitely didn't have at that time. So that ups your weight, and it's a little bit hard to tell exactly. But it's probably more accurate to say that I dropped about four dress sizes. Now, my personal story to losing that weight should be put with several asterisks. First of all, this is by no means a statement that everyone should lose weight or that weight loss automatically correlates with feeling better in one's body or being healthier. And I should state that there are many people who live healthy and happy lives at my highest weight. But I can only speak from my perspective. And when I lost that weight, it was because I knew, if I was being honest with myself, that I was not healthy in that body. Growing up, I was always twig thin. In fact, my biggest insecurities in middle and high school were around the fact that I was way underdeveloped compared to all the girls around me. I had essentially what felt, at the time, like a little boy's body. And honestly, if I could have put on weight up into the age of 21, I probably would have. I was also pretty active, and I had a lot of hobbies and interests that required a lot of moving around. I was very, very active in theater, musical theater, dance, et cetera. Without really trying, I lived a very active life. But by the age of about 25, the combination of my sedentary office lifestyle, and the fact that we got free lunch on Seamless every single day at my office, and the fact that I no longer worked out basically at all, including my commute which was literally walking two blocks, I had very rapidly packed on a good amount of weight. And of course, it happened kind of slowly in the four years between those two periods. But really, in my 25th year, I started to notice how different my body was and how I didn't feel good in it. And I knew, if I was being honest, that it was mostly because I was really inactive and not eating stuff that was great for me. So I decided to lose weight, which I did almost entirely through intermittent fasting, which I have written about extensively on the TFD website. I'll link you guys to that in the description. And it's also something I still practice to this day. It's basically just how I live. I don't look at it as any kind of diet. It's just how I eat food. Now, many people, of course, are keen to leap on the idea of intermittent fasting as some kind of eating disorder. And if that is your MO, please have fun in the comments. I will not be reading them. I should also be clear about the fact that when I was in a true weight loss period, I was not really working out. In fact, studies have shown that working out can sometimes impede weight loss goals because of many reasons. A, it makes you hungrier. B, you put on muscle which weighs more than fat. C, it's just hard to stay on a restricted eating schedule or caloric needs if you are constantly burning calories. And D, and this isn't scientific but I feel it's true generally, it's easier to focus on one small goal at a time. And it's much easier to not do something, i.e. eating all the time, than it is to do something, i.e. starting a workout plan. But now I workout quite regularly. And I can wholeheartedly say that it's largely possible because I made these changes before. So all in all, I feel much, much happier in my body today than I did those three years ago. And while no one's personal situation can automatically work for other people, it should be said that I've been able to maintain this body, more or less, for three years without really having to try for it. So I can say that a lot of the lessons I learned are things you may want to read about yourself, again, at the articles I link to in the description. But one of the most important things that I've learned in all of this, which is something I think does not get discussed enough when it comes to bodies and health, is how much the money you spend is so tied up to the health that you're currently living. Not feeling good in your body, not treating it right, not doing the things you need for it can very often literally show up in your bank statements. I have noticed that I spent in a very different way when I did not feel good in my body. And it might be interesting to consider in your life the spending habits that you have, or that you don't have, because you're also not feeling good about it. These are just my truths, but you may find some insight in them. So without further ado, seven things I wasted money on when I wasn't happy with my body.

Number one is diet foods. So like most people who have experienced either a size or a general feeling in their body that they don't feel great about, I was someone who frequently bought a bunch of those diet foods, either the bars, or the shakes, or the meal replacements to try and do sort of like a crash reset on the way I ate and replace all of my normal meals with the diet meals. Now, first of all, nutritionally speaking, a lot of these bars, and shakes, and supplements are about as good for you as your average candy bar. It should also be said that so many of these meal replacements or diet foods are extremely expensive. So the more you're substituting these items in, the more you're likely to overspend on your food budget. But also, they're often extremely processed. There's nothing whole or natural about them. There is very little evidence that shows that these diet foods are actually helpful in long-term weight loss. And in fact, there's quite a lot of information that suggests the opposite. But more importantly, I learned once I found a routine that was healthy and sustainable for me that you can make a great daily food life out of real food. For example, simply upping the quantity of vegetables that proportionally went into every meal I ate, as opposed to things like meats, cheeses, starches, et cetera, did all of the work that I hoped diet foods would, and I wasn't filling my body with expensive sugary chemicals. The point is when I felt badly about my body and was looking for a quick fix to make it better, I was often lured in by these processed, expensive diet foods as a quick solution to my problems, as many of us have been. And now that I feel good, I never ever do that.

Number two is gym memberships. Now, as I'm sure anyone who's ever felt not great in their body can relate to, I have signed up for, and proceeded to not use, many, many gym memberships in my life. And one thing that I have learned is unequivocally true about me is that if I get a gym membership to just a general gym with a bunch of machines, and lockers, and whatever, I will not use it. But similarly to those easy diet foods, it feels like you're taking a step in the right direction by throwing money at the problem, even if it doesn't actually help you. I know myself now. And getting a large amount of steps each day, combined with going to a studio that offers the kind of classes that I will actually take, is a much, much more effective use of my fitness resources than signing up for a gym membership that makes me feel good in the moment and very quickly makes me feel guilty because I know I don't use it. Especially around this time of year, gyms prey on people's insecurities, and frustrations, and disappointments and lure you in with the idea that simply paying that gym membership fee is somehow taking a meaningful step toward health. It's not. It's just taking a meaningful amount of money out of your bank account unless you actually use it. So if you do not feel that you will really benefit from that gym membership and will not actually use it, don't sign up for it. You're better off getting a class pass so you can try a bunch of different classes at different places and find one you like before signing up for that. Or hell, even just trying to meet a minimum amount of steps each day as a way to get some basic physical activity. If you don't use it, a gym membership is not a solution, it's just another problem.

Number three is body magazines and books. Now, this is more than a little embarrassing, but during the time when I felt most frustrated with myself, I bought more than a few of those how to totally change your life queen kind of books and magazines with really ripped women in bikinis on the cover because, again, similarly to the gym memberships and diet foods, I felt like just owning these items, just spending the money on them was somehow a meaningful step in the right direction. And aside from the fact that I never once felt meaningfully inspired to do anything that I read in these books or magazines, several of them were actually quite dangerous. In fact, one diet book that's rather popular, but whose name I shall not mention for fear of getting sued, essentially just advocates that you take on an eating disorder as a way to manage your weight. And this is a New York Times best-selling book with a very famous author. And I think on some level, especially with the magazines, buying these items were a way to sort of punish myself by looking at these images and saying, wow, look how gross you are compared to these women, don't you feel badly, as if somehow chastising myself and destroying myself with insecure thoughts would build me up and motivate me to do better. It's just the opposite. You just feel really bad and then eat pizza. And since finding a healthy routine that works for me, I have not spent a single dollar on these items.

Number four is fast fashion. Another huge part of the cycle of not feeling good in my body was feeling like I constantly had to buy clothing items because what I had didn't make me feel good, or fit me awkwardly, or didn't "flatter" me enough, and that meant, because I couldn't afford to be buying high-quality clothes at that rate of speed, that I was constantly getting fast fashion items that would never last very long. And aside from the ethical implications of buying a bunch of fast fashion, there's also the fact that not feeling great in clothes to begin with is only compounded by having those clothes be made out of shitty, ill-fitting materials. I would cycle through different cuts, and fabrics, and styles, hoping to land on something that miraculously changed the way I felt about myself, only to catch myself in a store window or a really unflattering photo I was tagged in and throw the whole thing out. I can't say that I never shop at fast fashion stores anymore, because I occasionally do. But I can certainly say that it is nowhere near a part of my life the way it used to be when I never felt good in what I was wearing.

Number five was emergency outfit changes. Now, this is a very similar one to the previous point, but I should add that it was not just a layer of extra spending, but of real inconvenience in my life. On more occasions than I'd like to admit, I felt so awful in an outfit I was wearing at that time, because I realized when I left the house that it didn't fit me well or it didn't hide what I wanted to hide, that I would duck into a fast fashion store and buy a whole new outfit so that I could feel halfway decent for the rest of the day. And yes, that occasionally meant having to pretend that I spilled something on my original outfit in order to justify the change when I, for example, went back to the office after. And look, I'm certainly not perfect by any means. There are definitely days when I don't like what I'm wearing and wish I could change. But I don't feel that profound level of discomfort that I used to feel, because I realize now that that discomfort came from knowing that I wasn't taking care of myself, and I no longer feel that way. So even when the outfit I'm wearing isn't necessarily what I would pick if I could go home and do it over again, it doesn't carry the same implications that I used to feel when I would feel that sensation.

Number six is breakfast. So I used to force myself to buy, and subsequently eat, breakfast basically every day when I worked in an office and wasn't taking care of myself, because I believed that completely concocted from a cereal ad campaign mantra about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but also because I just kind of wanted something to graze on while I was sitting at my desk every morning. Making a stop by the coffee shop and picking up a muffin or a croissant and a latte became a daily routine. And the truth was, I was never a breakfast person, even as a kid. I was just buying this food out of force of habit. And yes, I love bagels as much as the next person. But let me tell you, when you start off more days than not with an everything bagel and scallion cream cheese at 9:00 in the morning, not only do you feel really bloated and lethargic all day, but you also smell like onions. Part of intermittent fasting was realizing that it's OK not to eat breakfast, and it's OK to not eat when you're not hungry. I haven't eaten regular breakfast in years. And although sometimes I'll have it if something delicious happens to be there or I'm traveling and want to have something, but I never feel like it's an obligation to have breakfast. And most days, I'll just have my coffee and water until sometime between noon and 2:00 in the afternoon. I don't feel deprived. I feel much lighter and more clearheaded. And most importantly, I'm eating according to the way I want to eat, not the way I think you should eat. And I can't even tell you the amount of money I've saved compared to when I used to get myself breakfast every morning on the way to the office.

Number seven is excessive makeup and hair products. Now, one thing that I think is quite common when one doesn't feel great in their own body is to try and overcompensate with the styling from the neck up. I used to have really, really long hair that went down to my butt. And I realized, looking back, that that was kind of a defense mechanism. It felt like it was my thing. And it felt like it kind of covered me up somehow. I felt really reliant on it, and, as a result, spent a ton of money on hair products, and makeup, and things to make me feel like I was really putting myself together or taking care of myself when I knew that everywhere from the neck down was kind of being neglected. In fact, losing weight was one of the things that really gave me the confidence I needed to chop all my hair off, which is something that, looking back, I can't believe I didn't do sooner. I've had shoulder length or above hair now for over three years. This is actually probably the longest it's been in a long time, and I'm going to get it cut again soon. And I can say that I only have the confidence to do that now because I feel great in my skin. Do I still have acne? Sure. Do I still sometimes feel like I just want to hide from the world? Who doesn't? But it's not a day-to-day battle where I feel like the neck up is compensating, or I feel like I have to wear some kind of armor to shield me from the regular world. I'm not overspending on those things anymore because I don't need them. And no matter what taking care of yourself means to you or feeling good in your body means to you, remember that only you will know when you're doing the work or not. It's not about a number on a scale, or on the tag in a pair of jeans, or even what other people think about you. It's about how you feel in your body when you get up in the morning, what you're capable of, the energy you have, the power with which you can go through the day, and how much you feel that you can conquer because you're riding in a great machine instead of something that's dragging you down. For me, that's what self-improvement looked like. And I can sincerely say that my wallet has benefited as a result, in addition to my body and mental health. And if you've been thinking about self-improvement in the new year, one easy way to make sure you're doing things better is to protect yourself online with Dashlane.

And as someone who is constantly forgetting her, honestly kind of crappy, passwords, I wish I'd heard of it sooner. Basically, Dashlane is a password manager app that will make your life infinitely easier and safer. Dashlane generates secure passwords for you so you don't have to worry about remembering every password that has a number, symbol, or capitalized letter. It'll create the safest password possible and remember it for you. It has patented security architecture which encrypts everything so that no one but you can see your information. And if a breach ever does happen, you'll be immediately alerted and notified if you reuse the breached password anywhere else. Go to the link in our description,, to get a 30-day free trial of Dashlane. And you can use the coupon code TFD to upgrade to premium, if you like it, with a 10% discount. And premium's great, because it allows you to sync your passwords across all your devices, meaning if you get a new phone or laptop, you can just install Dashlane and have all your passwords ready to go for your digital life. As always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to comeback every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for new and awesome videos. Bye.