Why the Crash Diet Is A Lot Like a Financial Crisis

Can you compare a crash diet and the biggest financial crisis of our time. And no, it's not because both are painful and leave you hungry and frustrated!

Now, let me be clear straight away ... if you think I'm going to make a joke here about "taking stock" of your Big Macs (or how your Freddie Mac and Cheese ends up on your Fannie Mae), think again ... this is serious stuff!

What I'd like to do is make some comparisons about how the global financial fiasco can maybe help you learn how a crash diet affects your body, and in turn, can help you improve your results in your weight loss efforts and, of course, make you richer in the process.

I'm going to switch between finance and nutrition here - I know, they're two almost identical subjects but, try to bear with me.

And keep in mind when you read this, I'm no finance whiz. If something isn't quite right, don't shoot the messenger!

1 - The Boom Era

Your body is designed to store fat. It's how we've lasted as a species so many millenia. When famine came, those people who could best store and use fat were the ones who survived. Evolution is not concerned about the potential for muffin-top when it loaded our bodies with expandable fat cells.

So when times were good (like in the housing market a few years back), those fat cells were pumping up like like crazy! Everybody was seeing their house values (read: waistlines) expand.

Now, greed is not just going on in the financial markets - you can bet it happens at the dinner table too. The less regulation there is, i.e. portion and food quality control, the more things start to get wobbly and the more likelihood there is for gluttony.

Some people bought houses beyond what they could afford, which is a parallel to some people eating the junk food (i.e. pretty much anything that comes directly to you through a window). It seriously compromises your health in the long term.

Put it another way, eating at a cheeseburger place is a bit like getting an variable rate loan, you're ok for the first little while, but suddenly WOWA ... your rate goes up and it's time to bust out the fat pants.

But you know, during those first few years of your Variable Rate Mortgage, life feels swell. You may not look like you're gaining a lot of fat (it's all settling into the gaps between your internal organs) or setting up your financial markets for a crash until the moment of truth hits.

Then the balloon payment comes due, your mortgage rockets and you start blowing out the seams on your fat pants.

The internal mechanics of your system have been so corrupted by deregulation (and coagulation) that your markets can hardly function. Your blood pressure is going up faster than a bank manager's retirement bonus because your body is loaded with too much debt around your waistline.

2 - The Crash

So it's time to crash diet. And you want to lose that fat FAST. So you immediately cut your calories to near starvation level. Of course, in the stock market, a strict diet looks a lot like a crash. Your body views it like that, for sure.

Panic starts up. Just as the stockbrokers start selling off shares, your body starts ridding itself of things it doesn't want to carry around.

And, of course, the more panic that sets in, the dumber the brokers (and your body) get. When you crash diet, your body tends to burn MUSCLE more than fat. Just like a broker selling off the worthy stocks that can help him recover from a crash.

It's the FAT you want to sell off, not the muscle.

But a mega crash diet, which resulted from the previous gluttony [the result of excess deregulation, just like asking a toddler to guard the birthday cake], you're now attempting to accomplish very quickly what should normally happen over a longer period of time.

If you were to experience a slow economic downturn, your capacity to ditch the fat is much better, allowing you to streamline your portfolio smartly rather than just trying to get rid of everything all at once. You reduce your calories, increase your activity and gradually lose the fat.

3 - Unstable Markets

If you've got savings or a pension for your retirement and you've looked at it recently, you've probably seen how the graph goes up and down just like the numbers on the scale of a yo-yo dieter.

The crash is followed by a binge of people buying cheap stocks (because the price is so low and because that deep-fried mars bar just looks so good), followed by another crash diet, followed by another binge. And so it continues.

This constant cycle of crashing and rebounding does nothing to stabilize the economy. It only makes you want to eat more and makes you fatter.

4 - The Great Depression

Now you're really feeling bad about yourself. You've gained back all the weight you lost when you crash dieted only you lost muscle and gained back fat.

You're in the middle of a great depression. What's it going to take to snap out of it?

5 - The Two Magic Words

I'm talking BAIL OUT, right! Government to the rescue, right! WRONG.

Look at how well the bail-out worked. The stock market keeps tanking and keeps yo-yo dieting. Until the government takes high fructose corn syrup out of the food-lobby pyramid, you can be pretty sure the government isn't going to solve your flabby problems. Now come the REAL two little magic words that will make everything okay… Personal Responsibility.

I am VERY sure there are predatory lenders out there who convinced people that they could afford homes that they really couldn't just as I'm sure there are food manufacturers trying to convince you that Fish and Chips are healthy because cod contains omega 3!

When you get down to it, nobody is forcing you to eat that last chunk of garlic bread with extra cheese. Just because something is in front of you doesn't mean you HAVE to scoff it (or sign the paperwork that says you're fine with 5% APR increase on your mortgage when it resets).

When you put Personal Responsibility into practice, you take CONTROL over your finances and your nutrition. You realize that the world does not owe you a lean body - it's something you have to work for and make an effort for, just like it takes work and effort and discipline to pay your bills every month.

If it sounds too good to be true ... well, you know how the rest of THAT goes…

In this case, it's a lesson Wall Street should learn from Sesame Street. Like Cookie Monster says, cookies are a "sometimes" food - meaning if you're greedy all the time, it's going to eventually catch up to you and you'll have to pay for it (unless you're AIG or Northern Rock, apparently, in which case you've got a license to keep on partying without any hint of accountability - I guess the parallel to that would be liposuction!).

So how do you take the next step?

Glad you asked! I've got links to a number of excellent fat loss programs you can use to take control over your life and put that new found Personal Responsibility to work!

Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss by Nick Nilsson

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