The Check-In – A Necessary Evil


The Check-In – A Necessary Evil

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you know that I have struggled with my weight for years. After I gave birth to my son, I didn’t lose as much weight as I would like; and I ballooned to over 200 pounds. Five years ago, I finally decided to make a concerted effort to lose the weight, and after 8 months, I reached my goal weight of 150 pounds.

It felt phenomenal to achieve such a big goal; however, I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t rest on my laurels and that I would always struggle with the battle of the bulge. I stepped on a scale regularly when I was trying to lose the 50 pounds; however, after achieving my goal, I avoided the scale more than confronted it.

I rationalized that stepping on the scale would only make me feel bad about myself because every pound that I gained back would feel like a minor failure. I figured that as long as I fit in my skinny clothes and felt good about my overall appearance, I didn’t need to face the scale.

Avoiding the Check-In Leads to Trouble

Almost two months ago, I needed to take a picture for a project and despite the fact that we tried various camera angles and locations, every picture looked awful to me. I told my hubby and son that there was no way that I was the fat woman in the picture. After almost 20 failed photo ops, I finally decided to step on the scale and I was shocked at the number looking back at me.

The last few months had been personally and professionally stressful for me, and while I knew that I was eating and drinking more, I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I stepped on the scale. Immediately seeing the bad results, I had a pity cry, and then vowed to make a change. Despite the low moment of seeing the weigh-in results, I felt renewed with purpose around a goal that I knew I could accomplish.

Bad News Leads to a Good Plan

I signed up for My Fitness Pal and began the journey of accountability towards my goal; despite the fact that I knew I had a vacation and my birthday in the near future. I know that I would not have been near as committed to my goals if I didn’t have that awful number staring up at me from the scale.

I am now six weeks into this journey and I have lost 8.8 pounds. I still have about 10 to go, and I wish more than anything that the weight would disappear overnight, but it’s just not reality.

So why do I share my story now? Because my weight loss struggles give me a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy for my clients who have financial struggles. Just like me, they don’t want to weigh-in and face the reality of their financial situation; and the worse the numbers get, the more you want to avoid them.

The Importance of the Check-In

On Friday’s podcast, I’m talking to Elle Martinez from Couple Money about the importance of money dates and step one to a money date is the check-in or financial weigh-in. You need to see the assets, the liabilities and your net worth, and you need to see this about once a month. I know there are times where you won’t like the number looking back at you; however, it’s not going to change your reality.

I wish more than anything that I was 20 pounds lighter when I stepped on that scale, but that wasn’t my reality. My reality is that I slipped and stopped paying attention to the numbers and when I did, they just got worse. Now that I am aware and engaged, I can put together a plan and make sure I stick to it.

I am weighing myself every other day now and some days are better than others, but I know now that if I slip, I have to work harder to catch up to myself. I wouldn’t know how hard I had to work, though, if I didn’t check-in.

Face Your Reality Head On

If you haven’t done a financial check-in recently, I highly suggest that you take the time and review where you are. Add up all of your assets (bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, etc.) and all of your liabilities (credit cards, student loans, mortgages, cars, etc.) and determine if you are better off or worse than the last time you checked.

If you are doing better, think about ways you can continue to improve your financial health (it can always get better); and if you are doing worse, have a pity cry like me and then get your head out of the sand and put a plan together to get out of it.

It will not be easy and it will take time, but I promise you that it will be well worth your time and energy. Don’t let the fear of reality keep you from achieving your financial goals; and remember you are not alone. I’m struggling along with you, but celebrating my small successes and looking forward to achieving the big goal sooner than later.

Do you schedule money check-ins? How frequently do you review your financial picture?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Congratulations on your weight loss progress, Shannon! I’ve struggled with my weight on and off for years, and I know how painful it can be to finally weigh in. I’ve experienced a similar type of disappointment when it comes to checking in on my food spending for the month. Eating healthy isn’t cheap, but hopefully it will pay off in the long run.

  2. I feel your pain Shannon. Since I started my new job, it’s been REALLY tough not to have my weight creep up. I keep battling the same 5 pounds! Plus as I get older it gets ever tougher! I think this is why I check my net worth as often as I do. I’m not crazy worried about the stock market, it’s just my only way of keeping myself in check to keep working towards the bigger picture.

  3. Congrats on the weight loss! It’s an area I’ve struggled with too. I need to get back on track myself. As far as budget we try and have check-ins at least monthly. Tracking our net worth gives us the build in check up point.

  4. Thanks for the reminder to have a check-in with my wife. This is LONG overdue. I agree with your weight loss analogy. If you don’t face the music now it may be much worse down the road. Great post!!

  5. I feel ya! I gained some weight after my vacation and am not loving how I feel. Also, my finances feel crappy right now. I got hit with a higher tax bill that nearly wiped me out. I feel like I’m at ground zero but will be making the changes I need in my diet and finances to prepare for the future and be happy.

  6. This is a really good analogy for finances. We are probably the financial eating disorder equivalents who might even check in too often. But I know if we weren’t doing okay, we’d be avoiding the topic. The truth can be scary, but ignoring it doesn’t change it. Congrats on meeting your weight goal!

  7. Congrats on the weight loss. I’m good with checking in with my finances…not so much with my weight. My wife is pregnant and checks her weight often and my toddler thinks it’s fun so he does it too. Then he makes me do it too and I hadn’t checked in a long time hoping that it just stayed steady. Nope…I was in denial and sometimes you need to face reality and check in to see the truth.

  8. Man, I put on a ton of weight during this most recent pregnancy, and I’m having to work really hard to get it off. One thing that’s nice with both weight and finances is that once you’re fit, it’s much easier to stay fit… of course, the check-in really keeps you honest (both financially and with weight/fitness generally).

    The biggest weakness for me and Rob is justifying spending that we maybe shouldn’t justify which is why the bi-weekly or monthly check in can be so helpful!

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