What High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Portion Sizes, and Budgeting Have in Common.

Fine. I’ll start.

I made a New Year’s resolution in 2009:

I want to get my body fat percentage to 9%

It’s been flat since then at, I’m guessing, around 16 percent.

So one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011? Get my body fat percentage to nine percent.

But now I have a really good plan. And that, as Robert Frost would say, “has made all the difference.”

I’m avoiding the following foods for the first 100 days of 2011:

  • Dairy
  • Any non-whole grain
  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup

I have to pay my brother-in-law $50 per infraction. He has to pay me $50 if he has an infraction. I’ll tell you, I’m not the slightest bit tempted to eat something that’s a violation.

(Why only the first 100 days? I’m looking forward to the re-tooling of my palate, where after 100 days, my desire for the foods that contain the offending ingredients will have plummeted to something entirely manageable.)

The Mocking Begins

When I share this resolution with friends, neighbors, and random passers-by, I get–almost across the board–the exact same response. It’s either a declarative statement, or a declarative question: “That’s a bit extreme”, or “Why did you pick something so extreme?” The best response:


People tell me that cutting out all sugar is extreme. It is. But maybe that’s right where I should be.

Define Extreme…

Check out the graph of high fructose corn syrup intake from 1970 to 2005 found at PubMed.

So what’s extreme here really? Hasn’t the dial just moved over the past 40 years?

What about portion sizes? They just keep getting bigger.

Is it extreme to ask for a takeout box with your meal, and immediately put half of it away for tomorrow?

Extreme to eat half a muffin? A quarter of a bagel?

Is it extreme to be debt free?

Why might people call you extreme if you decide you’re going to bust out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, pay cash for your next car, get out of credit card debt, and set money aside for big expenses (like your kids’ eventual weddings and gasp next year’s Christmas)?

You can find many instances where behaving to the “extreme” paid off.

I suppose the norm isn’t always the wise thing to do.

If you’re doing average things with your money it means you:

  • Live paycheck to paycheck
  • Have over $6,000 of credit card debt and
  • Drive more debt to and from work every day.

2011 is the year to be extreme with your money. Do some really crazy things that will incite mocking from your peers (that are likely internally boiling over with jealousy that you’re seizing your money problems by the horns and wrestling them to the ground).

If you’ve started with YNAB but fell off the bandwagon, get back on. Get going. Set it up today. Take one of our live online classes to help you get started.

YNAB is extreme. We’ve found the average (extreme) YNAB user pays of hundreds of dollars in debt in a single month and adds hundreds more dollars in savings within three months.

Extreme results.

Welcome to your new normal.