Would You Rather Be Fat or In Debt?



Which would you rather?…  How about both? *raises hand*

Yes, I know it depends on how fat and how much in debt.  Stop being so damn analytical.  Just think about this question macro-style if you have to.

We all know there are direct expenses to being fat:

  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Cost of health care related items
  • Food (most of the time)
  • Lot’s a misc. crap like clothes, traveling, etc…

But that doesn’t even cover the most costly detriment of all:  lack of confidence.

To most of you, I probably seem fairly confident.  I’m not embarrassed of my lifestyle or my choices.  I’m confident enough in my finances and possessions to share them publicly.  And, by now, you certainly know I’m not afraid to give you my honest opinion on things.

But, I’m terribly self-conscious about my fat. I’ve been able to ignore the long-term (and more important) effects of being fat for years.  But now it’s starting to get in the way of crap going on right now in my life.

I lead a fairly active lifestyle in terms of mobility and travel.  Even so, we’d actually like to increase this.  I’d like to do more hiking, camping, rock climbing, surfing, scuba diving, and other kick-ass stuff.  While I can do most of this stuff, it’s way less fun when your fat.  Ultimately, I like to dominate stuff.  If I’m going to do it and want to f’ing do it.  For this to happen, I have to get in better shape.

If I’m being honest, my success with this blog is a strong motivator, too.  I’ve realized that I really, really love this stuff.  I’d love to do some killer videos, meet up with people at conferences, or even do some speaking or live presentations.  And being fat, makes me nervous. It distract me and it’s probably the main reason I haven’t done more video here.

Would I love to sit here and tell you that I’m motivated by the important crap like living longer, feeling better, and avoiding obesity-related medical issues?  Yeah, that would be neat.  But it would also be a lie.

Truth is, I’m pissed because this has gotten in the immediate way of a lifestyle I’m trying to lead and a business I’m trying to build.  Either way, it’s over.  I’ve flipped the switch.  I’m going to win.

I’m asking for your help.

I’ve recently launched Man Vs. Fat using the blogging platform Posterous.  The principle is very simple.  I’m taking a picture of every piece of food and non-water beverage I consume.  Every one, no exceptions.

I’ll also briefly mention my work-out if any and different techniques I’m trying.  This will be lean and simple (hey, that’s what I’m going for).  Just a few sentences of text and one slideshow a day of what I consume.  It takes like 5 minutes to e-mail Posterous, which helps because I wanted to ensure I had NO excuses.

And, yes, I intentionally picked the worst picture I had to put up.  I’m motivated just to hopefully get another leaner picture up asap.

I’ve posted a video that I filmed just a few hours ago (at 1 a.m. here) when I made the split-second decision to share this with you today.  The video explains a little about what I’m asking from you and my goals for the project.  I shot it in one-take just a couple hours ago!  Yikes!

Which would YOU rather?

I’ve sounded off on my insecurities and what I think of this issue.  I can’t really give a straight answer, because I’m both!  However, I want to hear your honest opinion.  I can kind of see a case for both sides.


Would you rather be fat or in debt? Let everyone know below!

164 thoughts on “Would You Rather Be Fat or In Debt?”

  1. If given the choice, I’d rather take debt. If for no other reason, most of the fun things to do that are free involve being outside and physical activity, which I couldn’t do if I was overweight.

    For the record, I dropped 70 lbs in 2007, when my wife got pregnant. I’ve managed to keep it off without a whole lot of effort, so you can certainly do it. Simple stuff: cut out soda, no food after 8 pm, and as little processed foods as possible.
    .-= Norcross´s last blog ..Even Someone At Fox News Knows =-.

  2. That is a tough question! I guess what I’d like to know is how long would you be either? Obviously I would want to change my situation if either was the case. Currently, I am not overweight, however I am in debt. Would I want to switch right now?

    Yes. If I could know that I would be losing the weight soon, I would definitely give up my debt for an extra 40 lbs.

    No. If I will be overweight indefinitely. I would rather be in debt, since right now I am paying it down and know that there is an end in sight.

    But I love all the discussion in the PF blogging world relating to this discussion. It has been enlightening and thought-provoking for me!

  3. Like anything else… goals are much easier to reach once you decide to make the change. Not think about making the change… but deciding too.

    You said you flipped the switch, so in my estimation… it’s just a matter of time.

    Here’s some good news. I just recently lost 40 pounds and have reached, what I call, my “normal weight.” My wife just lost 25 and has also reached her normal weight. The biggest help to us was avoiding processed food especially anything with corn syrup in it. Corn syrup sucks. Say it with me now… “C O R N S Y R U P S U C K S.”

    Eat only foods with ingredients you can pronounce and know the source thereof. Period.
    .-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..Credit Cards – Close ‘em Shred ‘em & Forget ‘em! =-.

    1. But I DO know what goes into HFCS 😉 Glucose and fructose!

      The equation is simple: Intake – Usage = Calories burned or gained. Work off more than you eat and you will lose weight.

      Cutting out snack food is not necessary if that is something you enjoy. Don’t hurt your efforts by making dieting a punishment to you. Make it something you can live with and balance that equation in the direction you want to go (maintain, lose weight, or gain weight).

      But with all of that being said, congrats Matt! I stopped seeing all of the PF weight loss challenge updates. Who won?
      .-= MLR´s last blog ..Existing Home Sales – August Update 🙁 =-.

    2. It is just a matter of time at this point…

      I’d love to share your passion for natural foods. We just aren’t there quite yet. I’d like to make the excuse that our travel and mobility makes this a little harder, but it’s just that. An excuse!

  4. I’d rather be in debt.
    Being overweight is so bad for your health and mobility, and ends up costing way more in the long run.

    Debt I can pay down, but fat is harder to get rid of and keep off.

    But for now I am both. I’m working on getting fit too (Baker and I are doing the same thing on posterous), and getting out of debt. I kept trying to tell myself I needed to be laser focused, but I feel like I need to do it ALL at once, I’m just too old (33) to be either.

    I’ll be following ManVsFat. It serves as a good motivator for me. 🙂
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..parents, going out of town? keep in touch =-.

  5. Hi there, Baker. I started to read you about a week ago, but I’m really liking your blog.

    So, I’m also losing wheight. Actually, I’m not fat, but there’s this flabby abs I need to lose, so I for a long time have read lots of stuff about exercise and nutrition.

    Some facts that I have learned that are hugely important:
    – Exercise does not make you thin (I’m pretty active, I work out real hard and like to grow muscles, but it alone can’t make you fit. It helps a little and is very important for other reasons, though).
    – Focus on the diet
    – Focus on calories (our body can process about any kind of food, the nutritional values are important for your wellness and for feeling stuffed or not, but at the end of the day what makes you lose wheight is calorie deficit, and that only happens with great calorie control.
    – Learn how much calories your body burns daily just for being alive (base metabolism rate) and then just eat less than that. Each pound of fat accounts for ~3500 calories, so plan a deficit of 500 calories a day and you’ll lose 1 pound a week.
    – Plan ahead what you’ll eat (taking decisions moment by moment are a huge source of stress and you end up demotivated)
    – Get tools for measurement, and measure how much food you take. QUANTITIES ARE IMPORTANT. I’ve been eating healthy stuff for over a year now, but the difference between eating all you want and wating the right amount (even healthy food) can make you fat or fit
    – Have a goal. Find out how much you need to lose and when you plan doing it. Make the calculations if that is possible or not (a daily deficit of 500 calories is fairly easy to have, although a deficit of 1000 calories is not for everyone, but can be done (I’ve done it).

    The best tools I’ve used so far:
    A great book that was written by John Walker in 1992, he’s the founder of Autodesk Inc (inventor of AutoCAD) and the book is free on his website in different formats. MAKE SURE TO READ IT. That’s the first thing you should do. Great book.

    Second, for calorie control, the easiest tool I’ve ever used is DietPower, it has a 15-days trial and you can purchase it for 30 bucks or something. Great tool that measures how much calories you’re eating.

    Please keep us updated. And please don’t hear the complicators. Lots of people complicate wheight loss because they make so much money on it. Keep it as simple as you can and you’ll find a great thing. If you’d like, please email me if you need help on the tweaking of the software or the strategy. i’m not a professional in the area or anything, I’m just a Brazilian bussinessguy that likes it so much and would love to help a fellow blogger. Take care

    1. Thanks for your awesome comment! I really love this wide variety of advice and tools.

      For me, I’m not worried about being ‘thin’. I’d just rather feel ‘healthy’. I’d also REALLY like to avoid counting calories if at all possible. I don’t want to ignore them totally, I’d just rather be conscious of them without the actual counting.

      We’ll see if that works!

  6. Daniel Alcantara

    I’ve got both to deal with and I’d much rather deal with the fat. My wife and I have some debt that we’re working on paying off and we’d be able to survive off of just my income if we didn’t have the debt. It’d be really tight, but not constricting and it would save me a bunch of stress.

  7. Hey Baker – Love the motivation. I too started to set sail to lose some lbs. I seen the then and now photos and it really gets me depressed. I get on good spurts and then lose focus. Essentially it’s all excuses and setting up a time to get shit done and break bad habits is essential.

    In my opinion it starts with diet, but the exercise makes me feel awesome afterwords. I have the most productive days after a morning run.

    Time to put up or shut up (although rehabbing my broken shoulder is first, although I am cleared to start running and doing light weights).

    Good luck bro.

    BTW – iPhone peeps, I am using the Tim Ferriss investment Daily Burn to track workouts, diet, calories and weight. They also have a site that does the same.


    I also like RK Free for the iPhone to grab my distance, time and all that good stuff.
    .-= Greg Rollett´s last blog ..Lifestyle Design – Telling Your Story =-.

    1. Thanks, Greg. I’ve looked into DailyBurn and am still considering it as a possibility. Ultimately, if MvFat works, I’ll have the accountability I need!

  8. I would much rather be in debt, as much as I hate debt. But there are some major similarities between the two. People who resolve to “lose weight” and to “pay off debt” almost always end up back where they started.

    Why? Because they have a short-term goal, and once they reach it the motivation is gone. They get fat again. They go back into debt.

    The solution? Change your life.

    I am not going to lose weight; I am going to live a healthy life and I won’t do things that are unhealthy.

    I am not going to pay off debt; I am going to live within my means and I won’t spend money I don’t have.

    I know, I know. Everybody can find a million objections to that and at least as many excuses. Object if you wish, but that is a choice people make to stay fat and to stay in debt.

    Is there a difference between the two? Yes, if you are married it is much easier to control the personal fat than to control the shared debt. 🙂

    1. Great advice, David.

      This is ultimately what I desire… a lifestyle switch. This is why I’m not focusing on a radical diet or workout plan. I just want to increase consciousness and build some DAILY habits that can last for years.

  9. Heya Adam!

    Personally I’d say fat is much easier to get rid of than debt, but for you it seems to be easier to get rid of debt 🙂

    I’m sure you can get rid of it really easily if you wanted to, I guess you just don’t have enough of a reason or motivation to really do it.

    One easy effortless way is to go on a sporty vacation with a lot of hiking, swimming, cycling and being active all day, without having an oppertunity to load up on junk food.

    You can do it man, no doubt about it! Show the readers 🙂

    .-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old). =-.

  10. I think I’d rather be in debt than fat.

    For one thing, you can actually DIE from being fat, due to the health risks. That’s kind of scary. (True, worrying about debt can cause health problems, but you can worry about weight, too, so that seems to be a bit of a wash).

    Strangers aren’t going to laugh at you because you’re in debt. I’m taking this as a positive (although I guess it can also be used as motivation). If you’re a million dollars in debt and walk through a mall, kids won’t notice. If you’re 400 pounds and walk through the mall, kids will notice (and probably make some comments).

    Also, there is debt that many would consider “good” debt such as mortgage and student loans. On the flip side, there’s really not such a thing as “good” fat, unless you count pregnancy weight gain as “fat” (which I don’t).

    Good question.
    .-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Eight Burning Questions About the Playoff Teams =-.

    1. While I’m not too worried about people laughing at me in everyday life (I’m not at that point), I completely understand your point here.

      On one hand though, maybe the fact that fat is public would actually make it more motivating to attack. In other words, the ability to hide your debt probably contributes to lack of motivation in that area.

  11. I think I’d opt for being fat, and here’s why. If I’m overweight, it’s a problem I have with myself, and myself only. But if I’m in debt, then I’ve got all kinds of obligations to other people. And that always makes things more complicated. Plus, there are all kinds of rules and regulations governing debt, and we all know what happens when government gets involved.
    .-= Jeffrey Tang´s last blog ..What’s the Point of Education? =-.

    1. That’s an interesting point. Either one, restricts freedom in a certain way. But debt does bring in other parties directly. I haven’t thought of it that way. Thanks!

    1. Yeah, he sent this too me directly too. I’ve checked it out and it seems really interesting. I’m not 100%, but I’m going to look into it more!

      1. It’s so weird we would both start up our weight loss goals at almost the exact same time…I weigh 234 (5′ 11″) down from 245 about 2 months ago and my goal is around 200 as well.

        I have done some of the diet fads (isagenix, south beach, etc), super strict workouts, and they have all worked for me, once..but won’t work a second time, and the weight just comes back. This time around I plan on going a more conventional route, regular exercise, better diet but not cutting out everything entirely because thats no way to live 😉 and see if I can stick with it..at least long enough to cash in on the $1000 😉

        I’d rather be in debt and fit, but getting out of debt has been easier than losing the weight.

        PS thanks for the link Retirement Savior!
        .-= Jesse´s last blog ..How I Will Earn $1000 by Losing Weight =-.

  12. My first split-second reaction is that I’d rather have debt than be fat. For a girl, it affects every moment of your life being heavier than you would like. Unfortunately, I have lots of both right now..debt + fat. I think the two go hand in hand actually.

    When I started my business I pull ALL my focus into that for the past three years and let everything else slide. Lesson learned……anyway…

    I’m working really hard to pay off my debt (yea!!) but since I’m sitting at the computer and not outside enjoying this beautiful day….I’m obviously not committed to the exercise yet 🙂 I like to call it “computer-ass” 🙂

    I tend to have a one track mind…so totally focusing on both things at one time will be a challenge. Thanks for posting this and for your honesty. I better go get my “computer-ass” movin’….

    Best of luck to you!

  13. I’ve always heard it said, “Health is wealth” so my decision would be easy if I assume that to be true.

    I’m a bit overweight… and the real surprise came the first time that belly (not very big really) pressed on my diaphragm and made it difficult to breath when tying my shoes.

    Fortunes will be made and lost… but our bodies are our temples. =)

  14. I’d rather be fat, ’cause I know how to fix that, and nobody has to know about my debt load but me. Also, I have learned to not stress the debt so much. I kind of feel like, I owe some people money, and I pay them money. No point in paying them anything else, though, like my quality of life or my sense of humor or my good night’s sleep. My weight, on the other hand, does stress me out…I have type II diabetes, both my parents have had multiple heart attacks early in life, and I want cuter jeans, lol.

    1. Interesting that you can detach yourself from the debt, but not the health. Looks like I’ve tricked myself into doing the opposite. I can’t stand owing someone else money, but have been o.k. for years with my weight.

      Neither, though, is the real answer! 😉

  15. What a fabulous idea with your new blog! I will check it out— very creative and hopefully accountable for you!

    I’ve been both overweight and in debt and I’d rather choose the latter to go back to. Maybe this is superficial of me to say, but when you’re in debt, no one necessarily knows, it’s not obvious, it’s not “out there for everyone to see.” When you’re overweight, you’re treated differently whether you feel good about yourself or not. It’s crappy that our culture values skinny people more than fat people but some people are just stupid like that.

    Good luck! I’m excited for your new blog.

  16. Neither.

    It is impossible to eat a healthy vegetarian diet and be overweight. Eliminate white flour and processed sugar, and the weight will fall off without effort. The problem is that like spending money you don’t have white flour and processed sugar are addictive. You really have no control until you break the addiction.

    1. It’s impossible to eat a healthy non-vegetarian diet and be overweight. I don’t get this point.

      However, I think the second part of your comment is genius. I know these foods are addicting (which obviously leads you to eat more even if your hungry) and am committed to breaking this!

  17. Unconsciously I chose to be debt free first. I am currently living with both debt and fat. We just got tired of feeling out of control so we started our debt busting first. I realized a month ago that I don’t have to choose one or the other I can do both. Being fat’s easier when you’re 6’4” it spreads out better, but I know what I can be. In 2004-2005 I lost 65 pounds and ran the Vancouver Marathon. It’s 2009 and I gained almost all of that weight back and I can barely run a mile. I’m done with debt and fat. I’m down about 8 pounds in 4 weeks which is a good level for me and getting a fair amount of exercise. We’ve also paid down $42,235 in debt so we’re busting that. If all goes to plan about February I’ll be debt and fat free. Looks like you are on the same plan Baker, keep it up, and I look forward to your next picture. I have a similar one that I’m not going to post on my website anytime soon 🙂
    .-= Paul @ FiscalGeek´s last blog ..Principal vs. Prepaying, Our Debt Snowball and How Wachovia Stole $8.03 =-.

    1. POST IT, PAUL! Seriously, it seems like we have a lot in common. I’ll hope you’ll help push me along and maybe even gleam a hint of motivation back for yourself!

  18. To be honest, although I’m in decent (emphasis decent) shape, I’m pretty self-conscious about my extra weight too. Especially in a country where the locals will point or poke at you and remind you that you’re “fat” on a normal basis (you should be warned in advance; although they don’t see that as a rude thing to say like we do, apparently). Anyway, you’re no lesser a guy for it. It’s great to have the goals to get to a healthier weight, but dude, Baker you’re one cool mutha! I wanna see more video!
    .-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..In Your Face Tim Ferriss: The Secret to a No-Hour Workweek =-.

    1. I’m going to try to do more video for sure! Also, we are seriously coming for 2 or 3 months to Thailand. Thanks for the warning… even MORE motivation. 😉

    2. Very briefly poking in my head to nod to Cody, laugh and say yeah…it is absolutely disconcerting how pointed Asians are about telling someone they’re fat. I nearly fell off my chair once when I was told it point blank on the phone. I find it funny, Cody, that it happens in a country where ‘face’ is an issue. Isn’t calling someone fat forcing them to lose face? Oh well 🙂

  19. Maybe you missed this tweet from the other day (or maybe it inspired this post?), but I was thinking about the same topic. I still have some debt, a car loan and a student loan, but they’re both well under control and being paid off ahead of schedule. I get much more satisfaction now from being physically active and in shape. I’ve never been as heavy as you are — at my worst I was 205lbs (I’m 5’11”). I lost a bunch of weight a few years ago, but then slowly crept back up. A few months ago I was back up to 190 and realized I needed to focus again, and I currently weigh 165 and I feel fantastic, I think I look great too, and I feel awesome about my body (how vain would it be to post a photo?).

    They’re both good goals, and you can do both at the same time. It’s nice not to have to make a choice.
    .-= Tyler Karaszewski´s last blog ..Summer Update =-.

    1. Haha, yeah ultimately I won’t be choosing. I’m doing both. But I HAVE been choosing for the last couple of years.

      Even though I’m only 6’0″, I’m positive it would be impossible for me to get to 165. However, at 180 or so I think I would be freakish. 200 is my goal right now. We’ll see!

  20. I have to second the white flour comment. After reading an article about celiac disease, I realized that I suffer from many of the symptoms, so I decided to try out a gluten-free lifestyle. I’ve been doing it for about 3 weeks now, and haven’t noticed any major changes in terms of how good I feel, but I did notice that I’ve dropped a noticeable amount of weight. The only difference in my eating habits was that I just stopped eating gluten-containing products, which primarily includes wheat and flour based products. I did not change the amounts of food, nor did I increase the amount of veggies/healthy stuff that I consume. I still have wine, bacon, chocolate, and all sorts of other things that are not considered good for dieting. What I find most impressive about this is that I’m not someone who would be considered overweight to begin with–I’m within the “normal” guidelines for my height. I just got a tiny bit thicker after pregnancy. So I find it pretty amazing that I can visually see that I’ve lost weight around my hips and stomach.

    As to your question, personally, I’d rather be in debt. There’s a lot of societal prejudice against overweight people. If you are in debt, it is not something that most people know about unless you choose to share it. If you are overweight, people judge you immediately. Both situations can usually be solved by dedication and resolve, but it also seems to me that getting out of debt is a lot easier for more people than losing weight.

  21. I think the reasons I have debt and the reasons I’m fatter than I’d like are one and the same – laziness, lack of confidence, fear.

    The funny thing is, I started out addressing the debt – much like you – and now that I’m well down that road, I realized that the fat has been slowly addressing itself; to speed that along, I’ve started sticking to the good program (Weight Watchers, in my case) that I lost 50 pounds on before. Now, it’s only about 15 that I want to get rid of, but I am going to attack that issue the same way I am the debt and hope for the best.

    PS – If I had to pick one, it’d actually be the weight. Because you know what? If I were debt-free, I’d have a lot of time to devote to the weight-loss effort. Right now, the only reason my husband and I both work full-time is to use my income to pay down debt. Our “regular” bills could be covered by his income.
    .-= Joan´s last blog ..Fun new reading material =-.

    1. Thanks for sharing your own story! I’m actually wondering, though, do you think not working will actually benefit your pursuit of health? For me, working from home, sometimes make sit harder to pursue. It’s easier to be inactive, I guess. Not sure.

      1. My office job is VERY sedentary – often 18+ hours with only minimal getting up and moving around. And the hours are rough – some days, some nights. That makes it hard to get into a routine for exercise, etc.

        So I think, if nothing else, I’d gain the freedom – by being debt-free – to change to a job with regular hours and fewer of them, which would allow me to better plan meals (we eat out and eat prepared foods WAY too much) and better set up a gym routine. I go, but it’s haphazard at best.

        (And, I’m very much a “boredom” eater – so I find myself, during those long days at work, hitting the vending machine way too often, just to break up the day. At home, if there’s only fairly healthy food around, I’m in much better shape even if I do eat constantly!)
        .-= Joan´s last blog ..Fun new reading material =-.

  22. A little perspective here… At least you’re not a drunk-assed alcoholic. No one ever got arrested for fat driving. 😉

    1. Haha. Honestly, though, I’m glad to have avoiding drugs, tobacco, and alcohol almost completely. There are certain worse thing sin life than being fat or in debt!

  23. I am not in debt…..but I am overweight. I think about it all the time. I hate it. I feel good about the financial situation but the weight thingy is a source of constant struggle and shame.

    I am however on your team Adam and support your effort as always. You break all the rules and you are a sexy beast….keep it up.

    Everyone should subscribe to the new blog!
    .-= Neal@Wealth Pilgrim´s last blog ..Want to Get Out of Debt? Become A Master at Instant Gratification =-.

  24. If I may rephrase the question (as I have never been either and believe that if I suddenly found myself in the situation, it would quickly be eliminated), but I would rather have money problems than obesity problems. Such problems typically originate in having a different definition of “normal” or “acceptable”. I know a few obese people who would be happy simply if they could lose enough weight to simply be “overweight”. Given this goal, I do not believe it will ever happen. If they had a goal like getting on the regional tennis team or even just simply running a marathon, the outlook would be much better. The same with debt. Simply paying it off is no good. The goal should be much higher than that. Think of a goal as a rubber band, they tauter it is, the harder it pulls. Don’t do set baby goals. Set extreme goals (and then divide them into steps, but don’t think of these intermediates as mini-goals—it exposes you to dangerous “good enough” thinking). Even if you don’t meet them, you will get much further.
    .-= Early Retirement Extreme´s last blog ..Real skills and character =-.

  25. Hi Baker,

    Health is a pretty touchy issue for me since I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. I’d definitely rather be in debt because I feel I have good control over my money and a good momentum there; being overweight is more difficult.

    I know from experience that once you open up about your health, everyone will give you advice. I went low-carb and then gluten-free and lost 13 pounds. This was after cutting out sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

    My only counsel is to note that heath problems aren’t always a simple matter of eating fewer calories and exercising more. There could be something deeper there.

    As to the person above who’s never met any overweight vegetarians, I have many folks to introduce you to. Erin Pavlina is a long-term vegan who has been very open on her blog about her weight issues, and I am sure she speaks for many others.

    .-= Erica Douglass´s last blog ..How Do All Those “Idiots” Make So Much Money? =-.

    1. Yeah, there might be something deeper. But before I go that route, I’m going to attack it myself. If things seem out of place during this journey, I’m more than willing to ensure that nothing more serious is going on.

      For now, I think it’s just me. Mental. Although, I most likely needed this advice.

  26. I think that I would rather be In debt, although the decision is difficult. Both positions, you find yourself trying to blame someone else (I needed to go to so-and-so’s wedding, I had to buy this for some purpose) or (the fast food is just to tasty, or I needed something quick because I had to get back to work). A lot of these things boil down to a lapse of responsibility for oneself. Not many people say “im in debt because i spent more than I earned on foolish things like eating out and having a good time with my friends (Its the reason i’m in debt), or I’m fat because I dont get much exercise and my eating habits are terrible.
    This is a hard one for me because I have never, ever even come close to being overweight (the closest I came was due to high muscle mass while in grad school) and find it hard to put on weight. I still think though, that because of the problems heaped on by carrying excess weight around, I’d rather be in debt. They are both difficult, dont get me wrong, and i’d choose neither if I could.
    Bottom line: No one should put themselves in a position to even ask the question. It’s like playing the game “Would you rather” with options both ending in future disaster. Neither are sustainable for your life or good for your health. Why choose one bad option over another?

    1. Ultimately, I don’t *want* to choose. The questions was just theoretical. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to deal with either. Right now in my world, I’m dealing with both! 😉

  27. I forgot to mention, in terms of weight loss blogs (it seems that every pf blogger has one these days 😀 ) I think the best execution was and is done by Antishay on http://antishayweightloss.com/ it has weekly video updates and it ongoing and very systematic. It is very easy to see the results of a persistent approach.

    Another thing. I do not think about how much I weigh at all. The number is not important to me. It would only be important insofar I was a boxer or competed in something by weight class. What I do think about is how much I can lift, how fast I can lift, how fast I can run/ride and how far. So how “fit” I am. Conversely, it really does seem that most overweight people focus mainly on the weight. Focus on the other stuff, the level of fitness, and the weight will automatically adjust to whatever is right.
    .-= Early Retirement Extreme´s last blog ..Real skills and character =-.

    1. I hear you on this one. While I might want to do more BJJ stuff (205 is the first mark there), I don’t care about the weigh outside of that. It’s the ‘easy’ way to track progress, but I’m much more concerned with my ability to climb walls, ride bikes, balance on a surfboard, run at a consistent pace…

      I’ll be sure to check out that resource, as well! Looks interesting.

  28. I may be the only person to choose being fat over being in debt. Maybe it is because I am in good health and pretty lean, but have a massive amount of debt.

    Yes, people may poke fun at you, but who gives a crap. Embrace who you are, even if you have a few extra pounds. Also, if you are debt free then you may be able to spare no expense on getting lean (i.e., getting a personal trainer for a short time to assist in the beginning.).

    Some people already mentioned helpful tips on losing the weight. I am fortunate to never have been “fat”, but my eating habits used to be lousy. In the last few years that has changed, and continues to change.

    You ask a challenging question and it was hard to choose. You will lose it if you think you will. However, make sure you are doing for yourself and not for society.

    Way to be accountable!

    1. There are a couple more above, Steve, that have agreed with you. Yeah, I’m doing this 100% for myself, which is why I chose an easy blogging method, non-monetized, and are trying to use MvD people. 😉

      I just want results for me!

  29. Baker –

    Thought I would offer some unsolicited advice. You made an important point in your post about wanting to increase your activity level for sports and recreation, “I’d like to do more hiking, camping, rock climbing, surfing, scuba diving, and other kick-ass stuff. ”

    In my opinion, I think you should focus more on your performance in these activities than a less defined goal of “being less fat.” For me, and I would say for most people, aesthetics is difficult to stay motivated for in the long-run. You will not see day to day progress as you lose fractions of ounces. Rather, by focusing on your performance in things that are important to you, you will be able to stay motivated, and the whole “losing weight, gaining strength, increasing coordination” thing will come as a bonus.

    I would immediately start DOING more of these kick-ass activities, and just struggle with them at first if you must.

    Best of luck.


    1. This might be the best advice I’ve heard all day. It’s actually where I’m coming from…

      Unfortunately ManVsLowFitnessLevelsInStuffIWantToDo.com was taken. 😉

      Seriously, though, the fat is just something to leverage to drive me. What I really want is everything you’ve laid out above. Not focused on weight or image.

  30. I am AWED by one thing – the fact that you pasted your FAT picture.

    I am FAT myself – atleast as fat as you are, and I imagined myself pasting my picture on my blog – and I realized how uch courage THAT required. It required you to accept your being fat and NOT deny it, and then work towards being fitter.

    Thank you for your inspirational step. Of course best wishes and all.
    .-= Meghashyam Chirravoori´s last blog ..Oct 4, Why Find Out Your Fears and Why Face them if Life is Good? =-.

  31. I’d rather be in debt. Health and aesthetics are so important to me, and as you said, one’s confidence can really suffer as a result of being overweight.

    Kudos to you, my friend, for extending your track record of transparency even to something that makes you uncomfortable! I think this will be helpful for a lot of people, and you just recruited thousands of gym-buddies who’ve got your back if you need any help or pick-me-ups!
    .-= Colin Wright´s last blog ..I’m Writing This to Get Laid =-.

  32. I’d rather be in debt. I think it’s because I believe it’ll be harder for me to lose the weight then shed the debt. I’m also afraid of some health risks of being overweight that I’ve seen with relatives.

    Thanks for posting the question and introducing your new project. I now have another wonderful blog to follow!

  33. I’d rather be in debt!

    Actually, for me, they’ve gone hand in hand. As I’ve cut out debt and begun building my savings, I’ve begun making stronger other areas of my life including food and exercise.

    But enough about me. I’ve got Man vs Fat bookmarked and will be following you off and on there as well.

    Good job and good luck!!

  34. Its not PC, but i’d rather be in debt. I’ve been in debt most of my life and I’ve been skinny most of my life, so maybe its just my norm. I have an unhealthy view of weight–well my weight, i don’t much care about other people’s, but being fat would make me a lot more suicidal than being in debt has. Crazy, but there it is.

  35. I suppose I’d rather be fat than in debt, because without debt, it would be easier to make healthier choices, like spending more money on food, joining a gym, paying a personal trainer, and making work choices that allowed me more free time to be active.

    In other words, without debt, I certainly wouldn’t be fat for long!

    Being debt-free except the house has allowed me to join a gym that I like, not just the cheapest one around. It’s allowed me to take up a fitness hobby that requires regular training sessions (kettlebells). It’s also allowed me the freedom to spend a higher percentage of our household income buying wild alaskan salmon, grass-fed beef, and local or organic fruits and vegetables. I can buy more expensive foods that are produced without cheap chemical additives that replace natural flavor with someone else.

    On the other hand, deciding to get healthy has saved me money on all the sodas I don’t drink anymore, the take-out I rarely eat, and the processed quick freezer meals that are much more expensive per serving than homemade healthy meals.

    I think it’s fantastic that you are trying to make a change for the better, and as a health and fitness blogger, I’d love to help in any way I can. Feel free to give me a shout.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Five Reasons Why Strong Women Are Sexy =-.

    1. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences! I’d love to have your help. I’m not sure what the best way to go about it is, but just following me and pushing me would be nice. 🙂

  36. I’d rather be in debt. You can make “living in debt” a lifestyle, there are ways to go around that, and at the end of day, the things that matter are still there. On the contrary, being fat, gets in the way of any lifestyle.

    Schopenhauer said that our happiness ultimately depends on our health. If you think about it, makes sense. How many money would Stephen Hawkins give to be normal again? How much fat would you gain to pay off your debt?

    Mind and body health first.
    .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Content Philosophy =-.

  37. I was at Disneyland yesterday. It was depressing. We have become one fat society. Looking at a picture of you there, you certainly are fat, if not obese. At Disneyland, you’d be one of the skinny ones. I’m not trying to be mean, I think you do want honesty. Please forgive me if my words appear harsh.

    Our country is not going to weigh less any time soon. Sure we may lose some pounds, but they’ll come right back and then some.

    Go on a temporary diet, get temporary results.

    A major change needs to be taken, and I guarantee you it will not happen. So don’t even bother, or if you do bother to lose some weight, don’t feel guilty that you weren’t able to keep it off.

    Forget about how much it costs you. You one day will get older and that’s when you really get to reap the benefits of your decisions today. Things like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, just to name a few maladies. Most all our illnesses are self-inflicted.

    If you’re interested, here’s a post of a fast I did in real time.


  38. Personally, both scare the shit out of me. At least if you are in debt, people don’t have to know about it because they don’t see it on you… but yeah, neither is a good choice. Right now I have some debt (not counting my mortgage) and some extra fat that I’d love to trim – and both of those already make me crazy.

    Good luck – you are super confident to put yourself out there like this! I’m sure that’s the first step to seeing results!
    .-= Monica O’Brien´s last blog ..Gen Y Blog I Love: Insightfull by Valerie Mondesir =-.

  39. Best thing you can do to begin with is

    1) Avoid sugary drinks or anything that isn’t skim milk, water, green tea. If you drink coffee don’t use a creamer or anything like that. Either skim milk or black.
    2) Avoid processed food. They have chemicals such as MSG that makes you crave more food.
    3)Eat balanced meals consisting of healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado), LEAN proteins (chicken breast, turkey) nothing fried and no chicken wings… they’ve got too much fat.
    4) An apple a day…. meaning if you’re gonna snack, be mindful. Nuts and berries are your best friends during snack times.
    5) Exercise. But don’t over do it, otherwise you’ll be too sore and unmotivated to keep up. Alternate workouts so that you don’t just use a particular group of muscles.
    6) Too much sodium = FAT AND BLOATING… limit sodium intake as much as you can.

    Well those are my fast easy tips. Enjoy and good luck!!

  40. Hi there- I found this through J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy….

    I wanted to share my story- I am 25 and have been overweight my entire life. My bf and I were debt free except for our (giant) mortgage until June 30th, when I CHOSE to go into debt in order to have Weight Loss Surgery. At the time of surgery, I had 150lbs to lose and my health was just getting worse with every day I stayed morbidly obese. My surgery cost me 17k, and we currently have about 14k left of that debt, at 0% interest.

    I didn’t come here to share in order for folks to remark on my CHOICE to have WLS. It is not the easy way out, it is not cheating…. It was simply a life or death matter for me, and I chose Debt and Life. And I have lost 50lbs in 3 months! I know that by working and saving I will be able to pay off my surgery before 1 year has passed. Hopefully much more quickly than that. Compare that to living another 25 years (if I lived that long) being morbidly obese and the choice was easy. I’m looking forward to not only being debt free again, but being healthy enough to enjoy my life and really live it too! Thanks for a great post- I wish you all the very best on your journey!

    1. thanks for sharing your story! wish you the best in your new journey. and if I can say imagine the return you will be geeting on the 17K you spent! what a wonderful investment in your future!

    2. Wow, thanks for adding this! When anything gets this serious, debt becomes a non-issue. If I or someone in my family were in a dire health situation, I would take on any amount of debt to remedy it. As much as I hate debt! 🙂

    1. Oh, c’mon Craig. They both require a mental fix. Saying debt requires money is like saying fitness requires diet or exercise. In both cases, there is the actual process and the mental shift behind it!

  41. I can’t pick one option over the other because I choose neither. In fact, I can’t comprehend why I’d want to pick one because “neither” is a realistic answer.

    I’m stumbling over WHY you feel you need to pick one to be more important over the other, Baker. I think it’s okay to want to be fit AND debt-free. Maybe I missed something between the lines of your post.

    May I suggest that rather than waiting until after you lose weight to do the kick ass things you want to do, do them now. Live your life as though you are thin, fit and healthy and your body will catch up.

    This is very important: Don’t look at this as a weight-loss diet. Look at this as your forever lifestyle choice. Otherwise you will bounce back and forth between fat and not, fat and not. AND THE SAME GOES WITH YOUR DEBT ISSUES!

    Sorry to shout that last sentence.

    You are courageous, open and honest and this is a huge start to something great. Many sweep these issues under the rug… and they stay there, festering. Keep your eye on how you want to live your life and you will live it!

    1. Jen,

      I’m not saying that you can’t have both. The question is just theoretical. Obviously, I believe both is possible or I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.

      And, yeah, I’m trying to approach this as a lifestyle shift. That is why, at least at first, I’m not just diving into a crazy diet. I’m working on consciousness for what I eat and making my daily habits consistent (with pictures, etc…). Also, the accountability will lead to consistent results and not just some fad.

      Or at least that is the design. Glad to know your behind me and think this is heading to be ‘great’. Appreciate it!

      1. I thought more about your post this evening, Baker, and posted more of my thoughts on this issue on my blog: Being in Debt Doubles Your Risk of Being Overweight: http://millionairemommynextdoor.com/2009/10/being-in-debt-doubles-your-risk-of-being-overweight/.

        I know you want both and that you are working on having both. And I believe you will achieve both. In my first comment here, I was questioning your choice to frame it as an either-or question. I’m a stickler on being clear on thoughts and intention, ya know…
        .-= Millionaire Mommy Next Door (Jen)´s last blog ..Being in Debt Doubles Your Risk of Being Overweight =-.

  42. Hey Baker – Thnx for sharing your thoughts. I have similar thoughts, and yet, I’m considered average weight.

    My outlook really changed when I saw episodes of The Biggest Loser. I used to think weight was heriditary, but after seeing 10 contenstants lose on average 30% of their body weight each, I knew it was not. It was clear the contestants chose to be fat, and now were choosing to be fit again.

    Eat right Baker, and you’ll be ok. You won’t even have to excercise if you eat right.

    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Dear Wall St. Journal, Have You Never Heard of San Francisco? =-.

    1. It’s true that you can lose weight without exercise, but people who exercise while eating right are MUCH less likely to regain the weight. Exercise also helps change your appearance so instead of becoming a thinner version of your fat self, you develop a healthy and attractive shape.

  43. Well currently I am fat and in debt! I would choose in debt at my first reaction. But I know weight DOES NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY! Yes everyone says this but I really mean it. I was unhappy with my weight in my late teens and early 20’s, and was sure if I could get thin I would be happy. At that times I was not even over weight. Now I am 50 pounds overweight and 27 years old Nov. 1st. I also have $12000 in credit card debt. But I have paid my debt down by $4600 in the past 2 months. My weight has been the same for 3 years. I try to lose the weight but never 100%. Now I am 100% sure of my two goal 1)lose weight, and 2) get out of debt.

    Good luck to you and everyone else!

    1. Yep, I know that just weighing less won’t change happiness. But I also know feeling better, being able to be more active and productive WILL! Looking forward to it!

  44. Baker,

    This is my first comment, as I am a new reader, but I must say I find myself in the same boat as you.

    I need to lose weight or I could lose my job (the Army is strict about that, you know?) and I would LOVE to get out of debt (my wife has $20,000 in school loans alone…add in my small, stupid child like debt and her credit card debt, none no longer active, thank god, and I am sitting at around a total of $30,000 or so).

    I would say that I would rather be in debt. I have been in both the fat shoes and the in debt shoes, and the fat shoes easily suck more. I know of all the health factors (higher blood pressure, high chance of heart disease, not as able to get physical in athletic endeavors), but the worst part of it are the looks and comments from people.

    At least not everyone will see my debt bulging out from under my shirts or my waist size.

    I will admit though, I am so close to my weight goal, it is time for me to ride my debt goal hard now.

    Good luck on the weight loss (and continued debt reduction). I plan on following you the whole way!!

    1. Anthony, you rock man. I appreciate the in-depth comment. My brother is currently in Afghanistan and I appreciate your service! Honored to have you following my progress.

      1. Baker,

        Give your brother my best. I know I will be heading over there next summer (my 2nd deployment).

        I must admit I like the fact you are posting pictures of what you are eating. Gives an opportunity for us to see the different foods from a culture some of us may know little about.

        Keep it up.

  45. Wonderful honesty!

    I’m both also – i’m overweight and we have a mortgage. if I could get rid of one overnight I would choose to loose the weight. I’m 100% certain we will loose the mortgage – it will just take time.

    On the other hand i’m not 100% certain i could loose the weight? I want to …and i’m trying to make changes to my lifestyle – but saving money is easier 🙂

    Good luck!
    .-= Tricia´s last blog ..Modern Cloth Nappy giveaways… =-.

  46. Feels like this post was written just for me. I’m 130kg (290+ Lbs). And now that my blog is starting to take off I also want to do more videos. Only this week did I switch to a recent photo on my blog showing my bloated face. Before that I was using one from four years ago when I was a lot slimmer. I am planning to do a series on my blog and post about diet and exercise and my progress once per week.

    I hope it goes well with you Baker.
    .-= Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..How To Stay Motivated. =-.

    1. Gordie, I encourage you to undertake a similar project out in the open. The support has been overwhelming and I’m really feeling the accountability! If you have a way to leverage your momentum, do it. It looks like people really like it. 🙂

  47. That’s awesome that you are doing this. I think it will help you in a tremendous way experience life excursions (hidden plug..ha). I think being fat is in some ways just as costly as credit cards with the cost of health and life insurance. Plus don’t we all want to experience the best that is out there. I know I do.

    Great new site Adam!!!

    Will be checking up on you daily

    LifeExcursion & The Minimalist Path
    .-= Dave – LifeExcursion´s last blog ..Organizing Without Being Neurotic =-.

    1. Dave, glad to have you on board. Your comments to me on twitter were one of the factors that lead me to go public early!

      I appreciate your support!

  48. Oh wow…. you really stumped me with this question. I think I’m ready to answer though. Ok, well maybe I’m not. Ok, well…. well… I’m going to answer, but I’m adding a disclaimer. I reserve the right to change my mind repeatedly.

    To make it easier to answer the question, I’m looking at the most drastic case. Would I rather be extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemely fat or extremeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeely in debt. At this moment, I’m thinking that debt is the answer. Weight issues and financial issues can both be horrible, but I think losing a lot of weight can be harder than getting out of debt. With debt, a big part of the problem is someone else’s (credit card company, bank, etc…). I’d pay the debt down slowly and I don’t think I’d be tempted to get back into debt. Food, on the other hand, is a constant temptation that you can’t ever completely do away with. If I get too fat and I have to always walk away from red velvet cake, I might not be able to make it.
    I’d be bothered by owing too much money to too many people, but it wouldn’t make me feel stressed every time I looked in the mirror or sat down for a meal.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..50 Regrets and the Life Lessons to Learn From Them =-.

  49. Good on you, Adam!

    And for what it’s worth, I would rather be in debt (which I am – a smallish mortgage) than fat. I have lost about 16 kilograms (35 pounds in your currency) in the last year or so and I can say unequivocally that I feel soooo much better for it. Healthier, more limber and, yes, more confident. It will become one of the best things you have ever done.

    Then, of course, comes the challenge of keeping the weight off…..

  50. Pingback: Weekly Personal Finance Roundup | BudgetPulse

  51. Having struggled with weight since I was in elementary school, my appearance is something I think about every day. Since I don’t have a lot of experience with debt, it’s hard for me to sympathize…but I don’t think I would dwell on it every day. It’s intangible; plastic credit cards and numbers on a bank statement. Being fat is something you see, touch, and feel bad about.

    If someone told me I could lose and keep off 30 pounds for the rest of my life, I would gladly go into debt for that.

  52. I’d rather be in debt…wait…I’d rather be fat. Hell man! I don’t want to be either! I’ve never been overweight, and for the reasons you mentioned above why you want to lose weight, I don’t want to become overweight. I have to hand it to you, you have a huge set of nuts to post a picture of yourself for the world to critique. At the same time, I think we are all insecure about something. For you, it is your weight. For me, it is not having muscle definition, a chisled chest and 6-pack abs, for girls, their boobs are too small, too big, too round, too wide…we ALL have something we don’t like about ourselves.

    But you’re right. If you are insecure about something and you feel like it is holding you back, then it is time to fix the problem. Kick some ass Baker! Now that it is in your mind, I have no doubt that you’re going to dominate!
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..A Deadline Approaches =-.

    1. Thanks, Steve. I have to admit I hesitated, but in the end knew that putting it all out there (including picture) would drive me even more to change it. This way, when I post the after photos, noone can question what happened, hehe. 🙂

  53. I have to say, though, that being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not self-conscious either…

    In fact, I don’t like posting a lot of pictures of myself either. I don’t like thinking that people are looking at me and making snap judgements of me based solely on my size. It’s not fun when you get nasty looks, whispers and all that jazz for being small. (And small due to a back brace that I wore back in high school for scoliosis. Which is still present, it just made me lose 30 lbs or so when I was only 130 to begin with.)

    I’m also extremely paranoid about gaining weight. I’m not too careful about what I eat, but I try to not make a ton of bad decisions. It’s a struggle, but I’m working on not being so bad. Lucky for me I love sushi, and that’s good for you. 🙂

    Not trying to be mean or anything, I just like pointing stuff like that out. Being skinny doesn’t make you have a different mindset, it’s a whole other set of problems you’re dealing with. Maybe easier, I’m not sure…. I’ve always been smaller than average.
    .-= Foxie | CarsxGirl´s last blog ..Evening Drive & Dinner = Fun! =-.

  54. Pingback: Being in Debt Doubles Your Risk of Being Overweight

  55. If I have a choice of what kind of debt, I would rather owe my mom like $5. You are saying overall net worth, I would say the same if the money I owed was to my mom or something. I hate the idea of some corporation making tons of money off my suffering, but I also hate the discomfort that fat brings me as well. I would choose debt over fat, but I hate both. Right now, I am neither; It’s kind of hard to say which burden I would rather put myself under.

  56. It took me four years to get out of debt. If the evil fat-fairy appeared and gave me a choice of fat vs debt, I’d choose fat!

  57. Pingback: What’s in a Number? « Evolution of Wealth

  58. Does one lead to the other? I guess I would argue that being overweight is more likely to lead to being in debt. There are definitely added costs and expenses to being fat, the things you touched upon in the post. Being in debt is probably a lot less likely to lead to being overweight it might even lead to being underweight depending on how bad the money situation is. So I guess I choose debt.
    Thank you Baker for a great post that really got me and a lot of other people thinking. It inspired a post of my own. People really get caught up in weight just as they do rate of return. I don’t believe either means anything.
    .-= Evolution of Wealth´s last blog ..What’s in a Number? =-.

  59. I would choose neither, obviously, but I guess debt would be slightly preferred. It pains me to even write that.

    Good luck to you. If I may offer one word of advice from someone who dropped from 285 to 160 a few years back and that is….persistence. You’re going to fall off the wagon. You’re going to have week’s where you have gained and not lost. Continue on. Don’t give up. You’ll get there. It will take a very long time.

    One thing that did help me, though, was getting a piece of graph paper and plotting my weigh-ins which I did every Friday. I put that on the refrigerator for everyone to see. It is quite the motivator.

  60. I can’t help thinking that if you can make credit card companies the enemy why can’t you make unhealthy food the enemy as well? It is essentially the same except the debt is a store of fat

  61. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first comment. I think it’s really awesome that you’ve decided to lose the weight. I lost 50 lbs in a year a couple years ago, and it has made all the difference in how I feel about myself, both physically and mentally.

    Everyone is throwing out their advice, so I thought I’d include mine too. If you’re looking for tips, here’s what I did, and it worked really well for me.

    1. Read the ingredients on everything you eat. If any of the following are listed in the first five ingredients, don’t eat it: sugar, corn syrup, anything with the words “partially hydrogenated” and anything with the word “enriched”. Do deviate from this for a small amount of the one thing you can’t give up completely. For me it was ice cream, for you it might be those mochas. Let yourself have a little bit of that one treat, otherwise you may want to give up completely.

    2. Eat five small meals a day instead of three big ones, which means eating about every 3 or 3 1/2 hours. Eat just enough at each meal so that you start to get hungry again about 10-20 mins before it’s time to eat again. This will make the portions VERY small, and it’ll probably take some trial and error to figure out what the right amount of food is for you.

    3. Each meal should consist of carbs, protein, and fat in roughly equal amounts. If the carbs end up being a little more or the fat ends up being a little less than the other two, that’s okay. Every meal should also include fiber as part of the carbs. I was kinda loose about this one, as long as my meals included all four of those things; I didn’t actually count the calories or grams of anything.

    4. Exercise at least a half hour every day. I walked every morning, and then when I got to a plateau I added running intervals and started going for an hour everyday. Exercise was the hardest part for me to be consistent about, but I noticed a HUGE difference in how much I lost based on how much I excersized, so it’s really important.

    You can eat most of the stuff you’re used to eating; you just have to adjust the portions and what ingredients you use to make it. Switch to bread and pasta with whole wheat instead of enriched flour. Buy peanut butter that’s made without sugar. Sometimes these things are hard to find, but they are out there. At first I felt silly standing in the grocery store and reading the ingredients on things, but now it’s just second nature for me to check before I buy something. 🙂

    I know first hand that losing weight is crazy hard, but it’s SO worth it in the end. I’ll be reading about your progress and wishing you the best of luck. You can do it!

    1. Wow, thanks for such an awesome comment. There is a lot of meat to all your suggestions. I’ve saved them and will be revisiting regularly!

      Hope you’ll stick around for the ride!

  62. Hey Baker, congrats on the continued compelling radical transparency. You’re obviously on a roll with it and inspiring lots of people along the way. I’ve been busy responding to a bunch of really in-depth comments on my own blog about a post that was inspired by your transparency. By laying everything on the line, you are going to help countless other people reach their goals. Thanks for that!
    .-= Corbett Barr´s last blog ..Radical Lifestyle Transparency =-.

  63. Great idea–good luck with your challenge. I’d rather fat than in debt, though as posters have noted up-thread, they can be two sides of the same coin.

  64. I’m in debt. Not very long ago I was fat. Between the two, I’d rather be in debt.

    Three years ago I was 30 lbs. overweight. I lost 30 lbs. mostly by getting up early and running 4 or 5 days a week, but also with good eating. Once I reached my goal weight I stopped my plan. My weight shot back up to the way it was. Since February I got back on the horse and lost those same 30 lbs.

    Now I’m a lot more careful to keep it off. I don’t want to work that hard again only to see everything I’ve accomplished go out the window (once more). I weigh myself regularly. If I go over my base weight I work really hard to get those few lbs off – more running, more healthy foods, etc. Otherwise, I’m taking it easier with maintenance and focusing more on working out with weights than running (and the winter is coming).

    I’m applying what I learned from improving my health towards improving my financial situation. Both are long-term goals that can get derailed easily. Keeping progress journals, making realistic goals, reading blogs like these, talking about my success, etc., are all helpful.

    One of the main things that keeps me on track in both regards (health and finances) is to remember I’m not alone. Many people try to lose weight and many succeed. Many people gain back what they lost, so it is really important to be on guard. Many people are in debt and manage to get out.

  65. While I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that being specifically *in debt* leads to obesity, being impoverished surely does, in so many ways. I’ve spent years working in homeless shelters, as an advocate for young, disadvantaged mothers, and as a volunteer at soup kitchens and community gardens. In a lot of poor neighborhoods, healthful food just isn’t available. What is available: McDonalds, liquor stores and convenience market delis. Also, impoverished people are more likely to come from single (or absent) parent families, and are never taught how to cook. And, cheap food is bad for you, with the exception of plain whole grains and beans, which require some skill to make appetizing. Getting healthy will save you money, but having money makes it much easier to be healthy. It could be the chicken or the egg, as long as it’s not the McNugget.
    .-= B Kinch´s last blog ..home, home on the ranch =-.

  66. Hey Baker, I really admire you putting yourself out there like this.

    I could intimately relate with the not doing videos, worried about conference, etc. I feel like if I put myself out there more, it would be inauthentic, because somehow my weight would make me less of an authority, or would make people less likely to take me seriously.

    You nailed all those issues, and more, and I think your posterous idea is awesome. Talk about telling those around you you need support. You just did that in a huge way! 🙂

  67. It’s impossible to eat a healthy non-vegetarian diet and be overweight. I don’t get this point.

    The comment was “It is impossible to eat a healthy vegetarian diet and be overweight”. This is because healthy vegetarian foods are so nutrient dense that the body is satiated with nourishment and has no need to over eat in an effort to get the missing nutrients that come from an unhealthy vegetarin diet. Also, healthy vegetarian foods aren’t addictive, so your hungry you eat your full you stop, no craving. Everybody has experienced this with pizza. You can eat almost an entire pizza (typical white flour crust pizza) and still not feel full, but you could never eat that much brown rice and beans.

    An unhealthy vegetarian diet would inlude no plant sources of protein, little fruit and vegetables, small amounts of beans and lentils, little to no raw nuts and seeds, and would be deficient in olive oil and flax seed oil, but be heavy on white flour , processed sugar and hydrogenated oils.

    Anyway, I’m really excited for you and wish you the best of luck.

  68. I would rather be in debt. The changes in behavior that are required for building a solid financial foundation are easier to transition to than the behaviors for losing weight.

    After working on my debt for about 1.5 years, I decided to devote some of my focus to becoming healthier. Since Jan 1, I have lost about 14 lbs.

    I tackled debt $1 at a time and fat 1 lb. at a time. Don’t ignore the little things you can do.

    Good Luck!

  69. Man, just when I thought that you wouldn’t be able to top your last post (or one of your more recent posts I should say: “Bend Over… I’ll Show You Where You Can Stick Your ‘Rewards’.”) and the next thing you know I turn around and you already have more comments on this post than you do on the other one!

    Awesome job and I love that you grabbed the domain name ManvsFat.com to further build your “Man vs.” brand (I run a website with tools for finding good domain names also on the side over at http://www.DomainSuperstar.com so I am admittedly somewhat of a nerd when it comes to choosing good domain names lol) as I think that ManvsFat.com is a perfect complement to this site.

    I wish you the best and I know that if you can apply some of the same discipline that you have demonstrated in your financial matters to your fitness and weight goals then you are bound to succeed! I will look forward to seeing your progress – Joel
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Wells Fargo Expected to Raise Credit Card Interest Rates 3% =-.

  70. Jusat found your blog – what a great post to keep me coming back! I am fat AND in debt…..and of the two, I’d rather be in debt 🙁 Realistically, it should take me about 6 months to lose the weight and a few years to lose the debt, but the weight thing *weighs* more heavily on me 🙂 I’ll be checking out your manvsfat site – good luck to you!!

    jen 🙂

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  72. Having been both, sometimes at once, I’ll take fat. I can lose weight when I stick to a diet and exercise plan, and each pound that I lose is positive reinforcement. There’s also no interest on fat, as opposed to debt. The psychological effects of carrying debt far outweigh the effects of carrying some extra poundage. I’ve always been able to lose weight faster than getting out of debt. The former takes months, while the latter can take years.
    .-= Corporate Barbarian´s last blog ..Living in the Past =-.

  73. I’d rather be in debt, as much as I hate debt. But my health is more important to me than finances, and with such a colorful family medical history (cancer, heart problems, and a lot of family members with diabetes), I have to watch myself.

    My number one recommendation to people trying to become more active is to try everything out there until you find something that isn’t about the workout. I practice Ashtanga yoga for a million reasons, and the incredible workout my body gets is just a side effect. I loved martial arts the same way. I will never, ever love a treadmill like that, so it’s not a part of my routine.

    Also, since you don’t want to count calories, learn to feel when your body is full. Again, for me, yoga was what put me more in tune with my body, but so long as you can learn to listen to yourself when your body says it’s full, you shouldn’t need to count every calorie. Experiment with new foods–quinoa is great if you haven’t tried it, and super quick and easy to make.

    Best of luck on your new goal. It took me a while to figure out how to lose and maintain the loss of 20 pounds I gained in college. Now I’m trying to learn how to let go of the fear that I’ll gain it back. The human psyche is a biatch.

  74. Mr. Baker,

    Stripping off fat is one of the most difficult challenges that you will face in your life. I applaud your efforts. As such, I thought I might share some tips for you that will probably be in contrast to what many ppl on here have posted.

    1. Don’t shoot for a huge caloric deficit. A 500 calorie deficit over the course of one week will not necessarily equal 1lb of fat lost per week. Our bodies are a bit more complicated than that. Moreover, a 1000 calorie deficit is overkill and will likely result in overtraining and fat loss comin to a halt. If it was as easy as simply not eating much, losing fat would be very easy.

    2. A calorie is not a calorie. Macronutrient ratios matter, and a 2500 calorie diet of 70 % carbs, 20% protein, and 10% fat will have drastically different effects on the body than a 40% protein, 40% carb, 20% fat diet; the latter being much more suited to your cause.

    3. By looking at your diet, you are undereating, eating way to many carbs, and not eating the right carbs. Berries and apples are a much better choice than bananas in your quest to lose weight.

    4. Invest in protein powder if you are a vegetarian and strive to get at least 1gram per pound of lean body weight. (if your bodyfat percentage is 25% and you weigh 200lb, eat 150 grams of protein per day).

    5. Try to get around 40-50 grams of fat per day. Olive oil, nuts (peanuts are a terrible choice, they are legumes, not nuts); and most importantly, fish oil). If you cannot ingest fish oil, flax seed oil will suffice, although not ideal.

    6. Visit http://www.t-nation.com for some great tips. Not the most subtle site, but they have a wonderful beginners section.

    7. When in doubt, up your energy expenditure rather than cut calories. Only after increased energy expenditure has run it’s course do you cut calories. Again, you are currently undereating.

  75. I can’t say I agree with CorporateBarbarian. There IS interest on fat: it’s called your health. Being overweight can weight on you just as much as being in debt can weigh on you. If you don’t have your health, you can’t attack your debt.

    Of course, there will always be exceptions (eg 5 pounds overweight vs. $100k in debt – the debt will weigh on you more heavily, but 100 pounds overweight vs $5k in debt – the extra weight will be more detrimental in that case).
    .-= Caitlin´s last blog ..More Lessons in Perfectionism =-.

  76. I am also a vegetarian, heading toward Vegan. I am guilty of telling my friends who are 50 or more pounds overweight that if they were vegetarian their problems with weight would vanish. This is a public apology. Excess weight is not really about excess food and Debt is not really about excess spending. That is so difficult to grasp for me, but I “know” that a more balanced approach to all of life, keeps ones finanaces balanced, and ones weight stable and healthy.
    So, I would “choose” neither weight nor debt (I realize we are not actually choosing 🙂 ) Instead I would choose (and am trying to on a more consistant level) to sleep more, avoid people who “stir the pot” just to see what comes up, take walks, really work when I am working, make dates with my best friends, and focus on all the fun, kick-ass activities that I enjoy!
    I am on a cash-only basis right now….credit card debt in the amount I’m dealing with, would never be considered part of a balanced life. I admire that you are so willing to be so
    transparent. It’s refreshing and very helpful, to many of us I’m sure.
    The single, best piece of diet advice I’ve ever heard, or seen written, is so simple.
    I go up 15 lbs…down 10…up 10..well, you get it. This one little piece of apple advice has been very sobering and useful.
    thanks for a great blog!

  77. It appears that the single best piece of diet advice (according to me, of course :)) might not have made it into my comment above.

    TaaDaa! If you are not hungry enough for an apple, then you are not really hungry.

  78. That’s easy – I’d rather be fat. Remember the old saying “I may be fat, but you’re ugly and I can diet”? Well, debt is ugly and I’ve dieted, and once I lost the weight I didn’t have to worry about someone putting it back again. Once you’ve lost the weight it’s going to stay off unless you revert to consuming more calories than you burn again. However, your nest egg could disappear in a moment after you’ve spent years saving, and you could be downsized from your job with no notice, but no one has ever been “upsized” and most people don’t have to worry about sudden increases in cash reserves.
    Great website!

  79. I would say fat, but I am biased because I was lucky enough to have received a rather fast metabolism.

    I must say…Congrats on taking such a huge step! I can’t believe you put yourself out there like that, but like you wrote “I wanted to ensure I had NO excuses.” Eat lots of berries & drinks lots of water. Cheers!
    .-= Casey´s last blog ..SITE IS COMING SOON! =-.

  80. Hi, I have just started reading this blog from a link on Get Rich Slowly. I have been overweight, obese, fat since I was eight, I am now 37. I have been on many many diets and still weigh almost 300 pounds.

    I have always been active though and this year I set myself a challenge. In one month I am travelling to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp. It will be 15 days of hiking. To do this I have completed bush walks at least once a fortnight up to five hours in time and 17km in length (not sure what that is in miles).

    Since July (when I got pneumonia!!!!) I have done boxing classes on a Monday, Yoga on Tuesdays, Boot Camp on Wednesday and Fridays, stair walking (up to 1600 stairs up now) on Thursdays and altitude training sessions in the gym two to three nights a week.

    For the past seven weeks I have been on a strict 1200 calorie a day diet, with one of those companies that delivers the food to you. Now, I thought that the weight would drop off me, but no. I lost 6 pounds the first week, then have put back on 2 pounds.

    Not sure why, but have accepted the fact that this is how I am meant to be. I am the fittest I have ever been and now am on the final countdown of training.

    Good luck with your weight loss, but please don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t lose enormous amounts of weight.

    Oh, and the question about what I would rather be, fat or in debt, I pick fat, cause I already am my life is pretty good!

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  82. I would rather be in debt than fat (and as a matter of fact, I am) but only because, as others have said, it’s easier to get out of debt than it is to manage overweight. You have gotten a lot of great advice and I haven’t had time to read it all, but in case no one else has mentioned this, the FIRST thing I would advise is to not drink anything that comes in a bottle, except milk; and the SECOND thing I would advise is to begin looking at food volume. You said you don’t want to count calories, and I don’t blame you … it’s tedious and annoying. But you might find it helpful to study, just for a couple of weeks, what the calorie counts are in the food you regularly eat, then look at the volume of food. Generally, trainers advise to keep your food volume at each meal about the size of your fist. Obviously, if you eat a big salad, there’s a lot of water and air in there, so the real volume is much lower than it seems. If you eat a big bowl of soup, again it’s a lot of water. If you eat a double cheeseburger, on the other hand, that’s pretty solid stuff.

    Keeping a food diary is a very useful tool for a lot of people because it helps you establish your baseline and not kid yourself. You’re kind of doing that with the slideshow idea, so while you’re recording what you eat, also make a mental note about how (fast? slow? savoring each bite?) and why (really hungry? bored?) and under what circumstances (sitting down & talking with your wife? sitting in front of the computer?), and then how you felt after you ate.

    Good luck!
    .-= chacha1´s last blog ..the james bond orgy continues =-.

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  86. SO F*CKING PROUD OF YOU! I am in the same boat. Currently reading The 4 Hour Body and although it hurts my feeling on multiple levels because it means I’ve done this to myself, it also is changing my paradigm in a happy way. lol

    You. Rock!

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  88. I had a good friend who was tired of being fat. So he decided to start slow with doing P90X! I laughed and said, “That is Slow?!” He said he was just trying to do it for ten minutes a day and even though he felt he could do more he didn’t want to overdue it and start hating working out. Then he also realized he was drinking a lot of sugar filled soda callories. So he put up a white board that said “Days Without Soda _x__”. After five months he had gone through P90X 4 times, was up to the full time of the videos, began running and had not drank soda for 130 some days. In 8 months he has lost 80lbs and looks great! Baby Steps Baby!

  89. I realize I’m posting this way late but you can definitely do it. Just bring that competitive drive that you use in the business world to your weight loss goals. Not sure how you plan on doing it, but here’s my two cents:
    Too many of us seem to get caught up on one method. They say that Cardio is most important, or diet is most important, or strength training is most important. The truth is, they’re all very important for different reasons. They’re a team, and they each have different contributions to make.

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