If you’ve actually met me, I think you’d be hard-pressed to call me fat. I’ve never weighed more than 165 pounds, and at 5′ 10″ even that’s kept me pretty lean. With the wedding coming up this weekend, Kristin and I decided to go on a more strict wedding diet and be a bit healthier. Admittedly we had both let ourselves get a little lazy in that department, and we want to look amazing for our wedding photos, obviously. The idea of me having “fat pants” is laughable. But it’s extremely real, and caught us off guard.
Up In The Gym
In early February Kristin had a fitness/weight loss competition at her gym; one that netted her some prize money too, for her incredibly hard work. We started our wedding diet then, and have been following it pretty consistently since. Four months of healthy eating has dropped our weight by a combined 35-ish pounds!
While we both feel and look great, shedding pounds has had an unintended consequence on our budget that neither of us really considered. We now have what most people refer to as “fat pants” – that is, pants (and other clothes) that once fit us well, but now are too loose and baggy. We hadn’t anticipated on really needing to change our clothing; after all, we’d not been fat, and our clothes fit just fine. But Kristin dropped a size, and I lost two inches on my waist.
Introduce the Fat Pants
With summer coming up, it was time a few weeks back to pull out our summer clothes and, a bit to our surprise we realized that the clothes we used to wear just no longer fit us well. Shirts hung oddly on us, and at least one pair of shorts literally fell off of me.
It was official: I now owned fat pants.
It’s a funny feeling to not fit in clothes you used to, especially being of my physique I have to imagine, but it brought with it a bit of disappointment. We knew what was going to happen. We’d eat healthier and lose a little bit of weight. Unfortunately, I don’t think either Kristin or I had fully realized that we’d actually be forced to go out and spend money on new clothes just so that we could actually go outside. It was a huge oversight on our part and it didn’t really feel good.
I’m the kind of guy who can wear just a few select clothing items essentially forever. Last month I finally donated a white sweatshirt that didn’t fit well anymore. I got that sweatshirt in high school – over ten years ago now. I still have (and consistently wear) another sweatshirt that I got in middle school. When you don’t spend money on clothes almost ever, having to suddenly buy several new items at once is not a good feeling.
Food and Alcohol Budget
The good thing about it? Our food budget as of late has been relatively low. Since we’re eating healthier, we’re buying fewer processed foods. Most of the time they are more expensive and less nutritious anyway. In general, too, we’re eating slightly less and throwing away almost no food that has gone bad. Our food budget has decreased relatively significantly.
It’s even more pronounced when you factor in other byproducts of the healthier four month stretch. We have gone out to eat less frequently. We don’t drink as much, and have eliminated drinking during the week. When we lived in California it wasn’t uncommon for us to have a bottle of wine a week, plus another on the weekends. Plus some bubbly on Sunday to power through cleaning. Cutting back our alcohol consumption alone has been the most significant positive impact on our health and our budget.
Moral of the Story
The moral of the story here isn’t something explicitly about weight loss or anything like that. It’s not to recommend everybody quit drinking (we still drink).
It’s to point out that whenever you make a lifestyle change, it’s important to take a look at how that lifestyle change is going to impact other areas of your life. As it pertains to money, see how those changes may impact your budget. For us, this change ended up not being a huge concern. We felt comfortable spending some money on clothes we hadn’t really planned on. We were only comfortable with it, though, because our other expenses had been more meager than previously.
Not every lifestyle change will be as smooth as this one was for us. Some will likely be downright disastrous. Every change will come with its own set of challenges. Things like moving a bit farther away from work may bring decreased living expenses, but you may find things like commuting expenses (gas or public transportation for example) go up. Maybe you’d anticipated that, but neglected to consider the extra costs incurred at the nearest grocery store, or expense in traveling to a comparably-priced one.
Lifestyle changes often have unintended consequences on many areas of our life. Make sure you review your budget frequently and can flex up and down in areas as needed. Nailing the basics will let you take changes like this in stride. It is what helped us deal with an unexpected expense, even if we hadn’t exactly planned for it.
Guess I’ll take notes for next time…
What lifestyle choice have you made in the past that lead to something unexpected – good or bad?