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chore vs hobby

January 2nd, 2012 at 09:34 pm

Read this interesting article about weight loss last Sunday. Since weight loss and saving money are aligned a bit, hear me out because this blog post has a lot to do about money.

The article was particularly interesting to me because I appear to be one of those rare persons who has managed to keep the weight I've lost, um lost. Although I can't seem to lose lots of weight in one smooth movement, I seem to lose the 10lbs, then plateau, then wait for some change to lose 10lbs, ...rinse and repeat several times. I'm right now at 166.6 (40 lbs down since November 2005) and have managed to survive this year's holiday carb-fest.

Anyway, much of the article described what it takes for others (and me, frankly) to sustain the weight loss. Basically near constant monitoring, food and exercise diary, treating yourself as a data point. In a sense, the weight loss maintenance takes on its own place in the calendar. Its really become a hobby, something that requires energy, attention, thought, discussion.

Thinking about that, I had my first epiphany: most people think of eating as a hobby, and exercise as a chore . Most of us vary our eating, can tell you where good restaurants are, and hate cooking themselves because that's a chore. The weightloss sustainers inverted this - they essentially try to make eating as much a chore as possible. They cook at home, they try eat as consistently as possible and measure it. On the other hand, they try to exercise as much as possible - walk, garden, gym, bike and try to mix it up. Vary it, talk about it, measure it and journal it. They try to turn it into a hobby.

My second epiphany came when I thought about saving and spending because they parallel weight loss. Most Americans spend as a hobby, save as a chore. I mean when we blog about others buying that 50K countertop, well what are they doing? Spending as a hobby. They save (or try to) as a chore. Pay yourself first - try to make it automatic ... which works mechanically, but boy not very much fun.

The thing that gets me about the bloggers at saving advice is that we all try to think of saving as a hobby - play games, try different things, journal and discuss what we do or what we've discovered. We also try, at least, to put some aspects of chore into spending. Spend on needs first, then wants .... and not just any wants, needed wants if that makes any sense.

And then investing. You are turning the spending hobby on its head by saving, but buying money.

Now the chore piece ... I don't really want to discount it, make it sound awful because its really not. Chores are important they are necessary and they can even be semi-fun. Just not as fun as a hobby.

7 Responses to “chore vs hobby”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    First= awesome job on losing it and keeping it off. I have to agree that losing is a chore...and keeping it off, even more of a challenge. I hope this year is a turning point for me. So ready to lose the weight for good. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Upon reading this, I was trying to work Marshall McLuhan's tetradic model of technology into an extrapolation of figure/ground bloat/reduction mindful/habitual dichotomies and reversals, but it occurred to me that the coked-up spammer monkeybots might make more sense at this hour than I would. My mind will be gnawing on this meaty bone of perspective reversal.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I'm with Paulette! Must reread this bit of insight when I'm better rested. At a glance, very interesting.

  4. EarlyRetirementJoy Says:

    baselle - Congratulations! You have indeed had an epiphany! I had always likened being active to brushing your teeth . . . it was simply something you needed to do each day for optimal health. I like your revised viewpoint much better.

    To your point, it is definitely true at this point that my sports of choice would all qualify as hobbies that I very much enjoy doing. From running and having breakfast with my club each Saturday morning, to my wonderful lady tennis partners, and energetic, talkative hiking club, the exercising happens almost without my being aware because I'm so enjoying the company I'm keeping. (The hobby part vs the chore part)

    Here's an interesting irony I've noticed among exercise enthusiasts in general - my friends and I talk constantly about food when we are in motion, and about nothing but where we are going to run or hike next when we are eating!

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    Good point!

    I think another point with all this is we need to keep goals realistic!!

    I LOVE to work out and I LOVE to eat. So I can very easily maintain a reasonable weight with the work out side and a higher than average metabolism, but I have never understood the mentality to "always want to lose 10 more pounds." To set a lower weight goal would probably just set me up for failure. I work with my body - it likes to be 145 pounds - so be it. Then I can be happy with the low maintenance size/weight. My psychological mindset is different from most any woman I have met in my life. For reference, I have several friends who weight about 120 who "just want to lose 10 more pounds." They ALWAYS are intent on losing 10 more pounds, no matter what. IT strikes me as significantly unnatural - and I don't see the point of all the effort. (Why I am this way psychological comes from a variety of factors).

    Saving money is the same way though. Ironically, I have always loved saving money about as much as I love exercise. The unrealistic goals when it comes to money are also pretty widespread. Need the perfect house, the new car, etc., the day you graduate college? Unrealistic and sets you up for some serious failure.

  6. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I clicked on the link. I've read the article. I am familiar with the conundrum of reducing, yet creeping back, not just with weight, but with debt. A friend and I have surmised a correlation among hoarding/overspending/high BMI. Planning, taking small steps, recognizing the small steps are key to success, maintenance, and having a long-term goal in mind are key. I also have to figure out how to make exercise fun. I don't mind it if I am aware of other benefits: e.g. "I am walking a mile round-trip, and because I am going to pick up a library book and shop for groceries at discount prices I will enjoy it."

  7. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Thought provoking post - thanks!

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