Using What I Have Learned About Becoming Debt Free To Lose Weight

Today is a big day for me. Today starts the beginning of a 3-month adventure that will hopefully turn into a lifetime of health and happiness. I just recently joined a team of five, four of the five being fellow bloggers, and we are trying to get our physical fitness under control the way we have our finances.

The team of bloggers are Baker from Man Vs Debt, Paul from Fiscal Geek, Jessie from PF Firewall, and myself, and we are planning on winning the competition, which will pay the winning team $10,000!! I am excited! There is a fifth member of our team, Darren, but he doesn’t have a blog to link to.

As many of you know, I wrote a post recently called When I Am Sick of Being Fat I’ll Lose Weight. This is something I have really struggled with over the years, and the problem for me isn’t not knowing what to do. I know exactly what I need to do. I even know why I need to do it, but for some reason I still struggle with the habit part of that process. I need a swift kick in the butt, and some accountability wouldn’t hurt either. That’s why I didn’t hesitate to join this team in hopes that it would encourage me enough to get the ball rolling. Just like with my finances, all I need is to get the ball rolling. Once that happens I am a machine and can’t be stopped.

I am looking at this as a long-term process but will be taking it one day, week, and month at a time. This contest lasts 3 months but I fully intend on coming up with a master plan to continue what ever I start, and my wife is fully on board with this plan. We are going to do it together and we are going to take full advantage of this incentive.

Adam Baker, from Man Vs Debt recently wrote a post titled, Getting Paid to Lose Weight with HealthyWage, and I was a bit shocked at some of the negativity the post seemed to unravel from some of the folks leaving comments. Is it not a good thing to lose weight and be healthy, NO MATTER how you get to that point? Notice I said “and be healthy”, so I fully understand the issues with speedy weight loss done with magic pills, starvation, and fad diets. So what’s the issue with joining something that will help me get the ball rolling? I don’t see a problem with it at all unless of course I forget the ultimate goals I am looking to accomplish here, and return back to my old unhealthy ways.

What do I want to accomplish?

  • Lose weight (duh) πŸ˜€
  • Lower my sodium intake
  • Drink more water than any other beverage
  • Get off of my medication (blood pressure and cholesterol)
  • Severely limit my sugar intake
  • Eat more fresh fruit and veggies
  • Eat for nutrition rather than pleasure or comfort
  • Exercise daily (even if for only 15-20 minutes)
  • Replace diet soda with decaffeinated unsweetened tea
  • Avoid fried foods COMPLETELY
  • Eat more chicken, fish (especially salmon), turkey
  • Oh and I want to win $10,000 too. πŸ˜‰

I have read many books on nutrition and weight loss. If you went by the number of books I have read or counted the number of books on CD that I have devoured, you’d think I was an expert. I could be, but I have failed numerous times on the actual application of what I have learned. My problem is more about behavior than it is knowledge. Sound familiar?

Readers of this blog have heard me go on and on about how getting your finances in order is more about behavior than knowing how to add and subtract. It’s about applying what you know to your lifestyle and for me, that is the part I struggle with. I tend to let time beat me into submission and when you feel you are out of time, convenience steps in and rules the day.

I have mastered my budget! I have mastered changing my financial habits! I have even mastered and sent my debt packing enthusiastically! How did I do all of that?


Some people go on and on about how you have to give yourself a break. “Don’t be too hard on yourself” they say. In my world that’s like telling someone who needs to stop drinking cold turkey to just cut back. That doesn’t work for me. When I quit smoking—cold turkey. The times I have actually lost weight—cold turkey. Anything that I have ever stopped doing I did it cold turkey. I’ll worry about control and moderation once I have my habits under control. The main thing I need to focus on AFTER I get the ball rolling, is give 500% to the process of sticking to my plan. I am going to eat intensity and crap results! (that sounds like something Rocky’s trainer Mickey would say doesn’t it?)

My intensity was a beast when we started this money thing, and I need to transfer THAT SAME INTENSITY to the process of losing weight. If I could just lose and keep off this undesirable weight, I know my life would be so much more exciting. There is nothing fun about being overweight.

I remember how I felt when I quit smoking cigarettes. AMAZING!!

I remember how I felt when I took control of my money. FREE!!

I remember how I felt when I lost 150 pounds. INCREDIBLE!!

I remember how I felt when we became debt free. LIKE A SUPER-HERO!!

So to wrap this up, I want you to know that I fully intend on accomplishing this goal. I will definitely keep you posted on my progress by writing an update post once about every two weeks. I have tried my very best to be an example to my children with my finances and other aspects of life, but now I need to be the example in health and fitness. I feel if I don’t do it now my children will struggle with this issue for most of their life. Fortunately for me, I have not always been overweight so I don’t know what it is like to go through school dealing with the bullies of obese children, nor do I wish for my children to have to. I do know that kids are cruel and that my children are following in my footsteps. I need to give them some well-grounded footsteps to follow.

My “official” weigh-in is today at 1:00 EST!

Wish me luck…I really and truly need ALL OF THE SUPPORT you can give! Please give me a shout out in the comments section to let me know you are with me!

UPDATE: Enemy of Fat has just been REBORN! You can also follow me on Twitter. I will be sharing updates here on Enemy of Debt but if you would like to follow my journey more closely this is where you can do so. AGAIN, THANK YOU so much for the support!

About Brad Chaffee

35 Responses to “Using What I Have Learned About Becoming Debt Free To Lose Weight”

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  1. Kams says:

    Good luck in your quest for good health! I’m starting one of my own as well – I have about 60lbs to shed to get me back down to my healthy pre-baby weight. What I’m doing – making every meal the same. Just like how I knew what I was doing with all my money every time I got a paycheck when I was getting out of debt, I know what every meal is going to be before it comes up – no thinking, and no chance to stray. Breakfast is cereal or toast. snacks are fruits or veggies. Lunch is salad, and dinner is a small portion of what I’m cooking for my family. It seems to be working so far πŸ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Kams thank you so much for the inspiration! It definitely sounds like you have a good system in place. I have read before that eating the same meals every day is a great plan. In fact they said the more meals each day that are the same the better, and it sounds like you are eating the same thing everyday with the exception of dinner. That is awesome! Please keep me updated on your progress.

      Maybe we can keep each other motivated along the way!

      WE CAN DO IT KAMS!! πŸ˜€

  2. ctreit says:

    All the best to you and to the others! I like your motivational post and the feelings you listed, when you accomplished other difficult challenges. I got the funny idea now that you will feel “incredible” soon again!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks so much for the support my friend! To get this ball rolling all I need to do is hit that special switch that turns me into the machine I need to be to make this happen. I think I have relied too heavily on hoping that I would just reach that point from being sick and tired but it has not proven to be the case.

      I need to make it to that turning point by being completely and insanely focused on flipping that switch by pushing myself!

      It starts TODAY!

  3. Bucksome says:

    Brad, it sounds great. Can be on your team vicariously? I love your goals (and may steal your list).

    Be aware though you might not be able to get off all your medication even though you lose the weight. I lost 40 pounds a couple of years ago and still had to take my blood pressure medication. It’s all back and thanks to a wake up call from my doctor went back to WW Saturday.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Luckily for me, I have been taken off of the medication before. Assuming I have not taken my blood pressure and cholesterol past the point of no return I am hoping to be done with this medication inside of 6 months. πŸ˜€

      WW is a good system! I like that one the most of all the weight loss systems.

  4. Tanya says:

    Hey Brad!
    I know you can do it if you put the same gazelle intensity into it as you did with your finances. Keep your motivation at the forefront…I’m rooting for you!!

  5. Jeanette Balder says:

    Brad, You’ve made a very good decision — you can have all the money in the world, but you don’t have much if you don’t have good health. I highly recommend Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Health & Healing newsletter. He has helped me protect my health for about 20 years now. I would never take a Statin drug, and I avoid high fructose corn syrup and aspartame especially. The South Beach Diet book helped me lose about 10 lbs. and I try to follow what I learned from that on occasion to lose weight. I also try to weigh myself EVERY DAY (I know “they” say not to do that. If I am up 1-2 lbs., I know I have to watch what I eat that day so I go back down. I hope you stay motivated and maintain a healthy way of life. You’ll have less colds, flu and other major health issues and your children will learn from your example.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks for the support Jeanette! You are absolutely right about the health and money reference. Money doesn’t really matter much if you aren’t around to enjoy the benefits of having it. πŸ™‚

  6. I’m with you, buddy! I actually got chills when I read your goal about getting off of your blood pressure and cholesterol medication. I know we are around the same age, and you are way too young to have to think about that kind of medication. I sincerely look forward to the day when you tell me your doctor said you don’t need them anymore. And it all starts today.

    And I just love this:

    “I am going to eat intensity and crap results!”

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I know what you mean Dustin. I don’t have too many friends that have to take blood pressure and cholesterol medication. The great news for me is that I know I can get off of them, which is not always the case.

      A few years ago I lost about 50 pounds (gained it all back though in about a year) and my Doctor at the time even called me a machine. It was a great day when he said “you’re done with your medication”!

      I need to hear those words again but more importantly I need to lose this weight and KEEP IT OFF. I’ve learned that going three months isn’t enough time for you to build solid habits as far as eating goes.

      Eating intensity and crapping results is totally what I need to do. LOL

      Thanks for the support my friend!

  7. Pedro Miguel says:

    Wish you well,

    and suggest you add to your list “limited grains (aka insuline boosters)”. I lost 20 lbs in 1 month by just eating non-processed foods (like all grains) and trying to eat “foods of one ingrediet (eggs, vegfies, chicken, salmon, fruits, walnuts,etc)

    Luck is for the non-focused so i wish you success.

    Pedro Miguel

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Avoiding processed foods is big on my list of priorities Pedro! I have done so before and the difference in how I felt was amazing! One of my favorite weight loss tips when going grocery shopping is to stay on the perimeter. All of the processed crap is in the middle of the store.

      Thanks for the good wishes my friend!

  8. Jay says:

    Just discovered your site… very interesting. I find that the relationship people have towards money is very similar to the one they have with food; I’ve always lived within my means and I always eat within my means. I’ve never really abused easy credit, and I’ve never really abused easy foods (prepared, processed, fast, etc). Sure I use a credit card and have been to McDonalds, but both were paid off as soon as I received the bill – for fast/junk food, I’d ease up on my calorie intake for a few days after until my body felt like the ‘debt’ was paid. Guess the saying ‘if you watch the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves’ can be applied to food too… it works for me. Good luck to you!

  9. Jesse says:

    We are gonna rock this thing Brad!!! No more meds, special shoes, or any of that other crap that comes from being overweight. On top of that, I also plan for this to be a life change and never want to be overweight again. That’s a thing of the past starting today!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I am riding this energy full steam ahead until I am where I want to be in every way. I am not stopping until I am confident that my habits aren’t just a phase.

      Let’s rock this dawg!!

  10. Marcie says:

    Great Post. I could almost hear myself in your words. There is almost no weight loss or personal budgeting book I haven’t read and yet the knowledge and the practice are so different. I’m trying to come up with some realistic accountability model in both my weight loss and financial life. They are both so similar.. meaning primarily, they can both be in or out-of-control based on MY behaviors. My financial life right now is mostly automated and I give myself a small cash allowance for food and fun. Recently I realized that I should focus on a way to be ACCOUNTABLE for my financial and weight loss life. There’s nothing “new” to learn except how to practice the good habits. Any thoughts as to how you’re going to do it? You seem to have figured out a way to master accountability for your financial life, what (if any) are the ways you will be accountable to your weight loss goals. Just a question for someone looking for the same answer.

    • Pedro Miguel says:

      Brad, what about πŸ™‚

      • Brad Chaffee says:

        Thanks for the inspiration to get that site back up and running! LOL I used that blog about two years ago but failed and became embarrassed so I took it off the web. πŸ˜€

    • Jesse says:

      Not to speak for Brad, but being part of this team, I feel the strongest accountability for us 5 is that to our team mates. If any one of us fail, that costs the whole team $10,000. We basically signed a contract with eachother that will keep us all on track and moving in the right direction.

      By the way, this competition is open to anyone that wants to join and has 4 friends to join with. There are more details on Bakers post, or at

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks Marcie!! I must say you came to the right place for some accountability. As far as your financial life have you ever read the Total Money Makeover? It is THE best book on getting out of debt out there. It’s the process we used and we are so glad we did.

      Then you can use what you learned from that and work on the weight loss. It sure is funny how similar the two things really are. They take exactly the same habits and characteristics.

      Good luck on your journey as well! I’ll keep you posted! πŸ™‚

  11. KelsaLynn says:

    Oh dude, you have my complete support here! I’m so pumped for you! Whatever you need to do to get started on this journey, I say GO FOR IT! This contest sounds like a great idea! The accountability part of the team-dynamic is crucial for you! I think this will be the jump start that you need to make this a lifestyle commitment.

    If you have any questions on exercise, it’s definitely one of my favorite things to do. I’d love to give you ideas or a swift kick in the you-know-what if you need it πŸ™‚

    Just last night I took a picture of our shopping cart (posted it on Twitter) and thought “Wow, what a difference from 2 years ago.” Sometimes we grab a box of Hamburger Helper and just laugh b/c we would eat that kind of stuff ALL the TIME! And now, I don’t even miss it. Sticking to unprocessed stuff (i.e. doesn’t come in a box) is the way to go! You’ll feel so much better!

    Can’t wait to see the progress you make!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Oh I so knew you would be! haha! I actually meant to send a little tweet your way! I am gonna do this this time Kelsa Lynn!! I definitely need a swift kick in the you know what from time to time, and after reading your blog I know you’re the right person to do it. πŸ™‚

      To keep a closer eye on me, I brought ENEMY OF FAT back to life.

      Thanks for the support and I am seriously gonna rock this out!!

  12. Jeff Kosola says:

    On paper on purpose. Sound familiar?? Set up your food budget and exercise budget and don’t go over. Think of it like a cash envelope system πŸ™‚

    I’m a believer that getting out of debt and losing weight take the same type of mental focus. You’ve shown us that you can kick some ass destroying your debt, now it’s time to kick your own ass until it looks like Brad Pitt’s.

    Just sayin’

    Good luck Brad, you know I’m in your corner and I won’t tempt you with any pizza.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Sounds oh so painfully familiar my friend!! LOL

      “You’ve shown us that you can kick some ass destroying your debt, now it’s time to kick your own ass until it looks like Brad Pitt’s.”

      YEAH BABY!!! Brad Pitt isn’t gonna have nothing on this. πŸ™‚

      LOL, no pizza for me for a while, unless of course we chose our one-time free meal a month to get some pizza. LOL I am still going to stay away from burgers and fries (fast food) for those once-a-months but pizza I think will due just fine. LOL

  13. Just weighed in a few hours ago and I’m stoked to get going. Thankfully I have 6 weeks of hockey to build from so I won’t injure myself out of the gate. This is just like debt reduction you are so right. I’ve killed that, this is next. What’s more is I’ve been there already but this time I’m not going to leave! Here we go guys, great post now I know what I’m writing tonight.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hockey is a great sport for getting in shape too, which means you have a great head start! Let’s do this Paul!! I am so pumped up, I can already envision the $2,000 heading to my emergency fund! Haha!

  14. financialwizardess says:

    Congratulations on taking this big step! I am going through something similar! I finally decided that I have spent a good 20 years worrying about my financial future and now that it’s secure, I need to make sure I’m around to enjoy it! So I downloaded the (free) app LoseIt for my iPod and have found it AMAZING! I am only looking to lose 10 lb, but I want to eat more healthful foods. I want to reduce my sugar intake and monitor my sodium and saturated fats (which so far are at GREAT levels). I also want to be motivated to exercise regularly, which this app does for me. Once I expend my allotted calories for the day, I have to exercise in order to earn more. Just like financial budgeting!!! BINGO! I have finally found a way for me to get in shape using my financial discipline. I think of exercise as income (and I have a high income, and calories as spending. Voila! Can’t wait to hear your progress!!!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks a lot financialwizardess for the support and words of encouragement. Finances and weight loss or even fitness in general are the same as financial weight loss. In fact, I am creating an excel weight loss budget in excel right now. It’s coming along slow but I think it is going to rock when I am done. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  15. James says:

    after all this is a mental game. Are you mentally stronger than your adversaries? Exercise all the time and eat health but make it hurt if you want to win and eat less food.

    just destroy your calories burned vs. calorie intake.

  16. Forest says:

    Hey Brad, awesome stuff…. Good luck.

    Intense exercise and healthy eating will do what you need. I have been doing Beachbody’s Insanity and it’s going really well. I don’t have a whole lot of weight to lose now but another slow 10lbs to drop and i’ll be perfect i think.

    I’ll be looking forward to updates here as well as on enemy of fat i hope.

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