I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Chris is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. While nutrition counseling and financial management might seem like worlds apart on the career spectrum, our messaging is essentially one and the same. In fact, we basically have the same job. Below are practices we both recommend.
Avoid the Lure of the Quick Fix
Weight loss schemes, restrictive dieting and day trading to beat the market. It is tempting to fall prey to the lure of the quick fix. You may see results in the short term—a 20-pound weight loss or $500 gain—but 99% of the time your progress typically peters out and you are back to square one (or worse). In the end, true progress is made one step at a time—but that 1% chance is ever-temping despite the poor odds. Avoid falling for the quick fix. Slow and steady is your best bet.
Variety and Diversification
Just as there is no one miracle food or supplement and no one food group that you must to completely eliminate from your eating pattern, there is no one perfect sector in which to invest all your assets. All food works together in synergy to provide all of the nutrients your body needs. Investing across the asset classes ensures safety in uncertain times. Eating a variety of foods in moderation is like diversifying your investment portfolio. Don't put all of your proverbial eggs in one basket. Benefit from the mix.
Hoarding money does not buy happiness. As the old saying goes, "You can't take it with you". On the other hand, if you spend all of your money without putting aside a percentage of your income, retirement will be nothing but a fantasy. Likewise, if you deprive yourself of your favorite foods in the quest for the perfect diet, you miss out on one of the great enjoyments of life; however, if you eat and drink with abandon, overindulgence will likely take its toll on your health. Enjoy life while staying within your means.
Create Healthy Habits
You can be a knowledge powerhouse when it comes to nutrition or finance, but your actions are what truly matters. Skip the 12-oz soda every day and save over 50,000 calories per year (as long as you don't sub it out for something equally calorically dense). Bring your lunch to work rather than eating out and you will save about $1,500 per year (and likely get a big nutrition bonus, too). Small changes in our habits have a huge impact in the long term for both our financial and physical well-being.
Will Power is Way Overrated
Too many people rely on pure will power when aiming to move towards healthier spending and eating behaviors—and then beat themselves up when they don't stay the course. Whether aiming for health or financial goals, the real power to achieve success is motivation. Keep your goals at the top of your mind when making your choices each day. Support, accountability and budgeting are big players here, too. Have a plan. Know your wants, needs and limits. Don't hesitate to seek support when you need help and encouragement.
It's Not Just About the Food...or the Money
Good nutrition does not exist in a vacuum. It is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to health and well-being. Activity, stress management, social engagement and having purpose in life are equally important components of a healthy lifestyle. Likewise, don’t confuse money with wealth as there are unhappy millionaires and there are unhappy billionaires. There is no magic number to hit, understand the word enough, embrace an abundance mindset and reject a scarcity mindset. Cover all of your bases to ensure health, happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind.
Focus on Ways to Do Good
One of the mantras I like to share with my patients is "what have you done to take care of your body today?" So often people are focused on negative aspects surrounding food—guilt, worry, deprivation. I often encourage each patient to focus on giving his/her body what it needs each day instead of obsessing about what they shouldn't eat or drink. Likewise, Chris often asks he clients, "what great things can you do with your money within your budget? How can you spend it to do good in this world or to live out your dreams?" Food and money are two powerful tools we can use to shape are lives for the better.
Beware of the Sharks
There are millions of sharks out there that use the desire for beauty, health and wealth to dupe the vulnerable with unsound advice. Get your information from a reputable source. Seek out a RDN or a CFP® to give you honest trustworthy advice that is in your best interest—not theirs.
In the end, while we have different areas of expertise, Chris and I both have the same principles in practice: Provide trustworthy information to help our clients make educated decisions; collaborate to develop realistic individualized plans rather than a canned one-size-fits-all pseudo-solution; problem-solve to find practical solutions to their challenges; and support them as they shift behaviors towards healthier habits...and we love it!
Sherise Cortese is a super mom of four great kids. Despite the challenges of moving every 2-3 years as an Air Force brat and spouse of an Air Force Officer & FSO, she found ways to contribute to our world as a business owner, dietitian, writer, chef, CLO, political assistant, control officer, DS investigator, adjunct professor and much more. Please like our page on Facebook so you don’t miss our content geared to Foreign Service, military and federal government employees.