Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Stole From My Kids

When I was 90 pounds overweight I always felt like there was no option to lose the weight. Buying healthy food that I actually like was expensive. Joining a weight loss program was expensive. Joining a gym was expensive. Buying workout videos to do at home was expensive. So it was just too much money to spend on something that I was probably not going to be successful at anyhow.

Spending money on losing weight seemed to me like throwing money down the drain. I wanted a free guide to successful weight loss. Yes you can lose weight without joining a program or buying a workout video. However there is still the cost of eating differently, or buying running shoes or workout clothes, somehow money is always involved!

When I was ready to try again I had to seriously look at the cost. Finances in our home were very tight. Due to the downturn in the economy at the time our family budget had taken considerable cuts. Disposable income was non-existent in our home. I also had 3 young children and I lived in a small town which meant that the option to go to a gym or weight loss support group was not only a financial cost of joining and monthly dues but also extra gas and a time issue. I decided I had to find a way to change my life at home, at the lowest cost possible. Like I've talked about before, I was advised to try Wii FitPlus. That's great but I didn't have a Wii and we certainly didn't have hundreds of dollars to get a Wii.

So here was my excuse again, I can't afford it. My initial reaction was "maybe in a few months, or years I'll have the money for that". But this time I felt compelled to find a way to get the money. It took days of thinking and considering different options. Several times I thought about giving up, but I had reached a point where I realized I couldn't afford NOT to do something. My health and the safety of my children was too important.

One day while looking at the bank statement it occurred to me that we did have the right amount of money to get the program I had decided on, but the money was in my kids' college savings accounts. It wasn't much, but it was almost the exact amount I needed. I wrestled with this idea for several days. I was scared to even bring it up to my husband. We had worked hard to put that little amount away and because of our budget cuts we hadn't been able to add to their accounts for quite a while. I knew that if I took the money out of their accounts there was a huge possibility that I wouldn't be able to replace it for several years.

The thought that kept going through my mind was "What is going to be more important to your kids 15 years from now? The money that is in their account now? Or having their mom here? If I die or get sick or something because I'm overweight and unhealthy are my kids going to be glad I had left them the money or are they going to wish I had used it to prolong my life?" Well of course I hoped the answer would be that they would rather have me around and healthy, so finally I approached my husband with the idea.

We discussed it and his main concern was that if I used that money I had to stick with it and not give up on myself, not "waste" the money. I felt like I was stealing from my own children. Still to this day I have not been able to put that money back in their accounts and so that is a huge motivator to keep the weight off and stay healthy! How would I explain to my kids one day that I had "stolen" their college tuition to lose weight but I hadn't been strong enough to keep the weight off and stay healthy.

My point is that, "When there's a will there's a way". We've all heard that before and I think many of us brush it off...but it's the absolute truth. If you want something bad enough you will find a way to do it. Yes, losing weight can cost money, there is almost always an initial investment that you feel is out of reach financially. Especially in this day and age. But looking back on it I can tell you that it has been worth every penny. Even if I never get that money put back in my kids accounts it was still worth it. Why? Because I can build memories with them now that are far more precious than any dollar amount! I can spend time with them and I know that in the long run that is going to be far more precious to them than any amount of money.

If you are letting money hold you back from getting healthy and losing weight I urge you to look again at your finances. Is there something you can cut so that you can invest that money in a better life for yourself? Is there some money tucked away that would serve a better purpose being put to use now if it prolongs your life? Even if it didn't prolong your life (accidents still happen unexpectedly, there is no guarantee) but it improved the quality of your life now? Money is a stumbling block, I know! I stumbled over it for a long time! You don't have to go out and spend thousands of dollars, there are options! But be honest with yourself. Don't let money hold you back. Maybe you need to save up for a little while. Don't buy those cookies, put the money in your piggy bank instead!
If you truly are ready to make your life better you can find the necessary funds to invest in yourself. Think of it as an investment, because that truly is what you are doing, investing in yourself!

Yes, I stole money from my kids college fund, but I am giving them a healthy and happy mom instead!

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