Here in my home state of Michigan, it's clear that we have a weight problem - but not a problem with waiting.
According to the "F as in Fat" report by the Trust for America's Health, Michigan is the fifth fattest in the nation with 31.3 percent of us obese, with a body mass index of more than 30.
OK, so we need to buy XXL T-shirts and stretch jeans. The good news is that at least we save up to buy them.
Dollars to doughnuts
Comparing the two surveys, it strikes me that the fattest states tend to be the least in debt, while those skinny states (and don't you just hate them?) have slender waists but thicker credit-card bills.
Porkiest of all the states, Mississippi (34.9 percent obese population) is third-best for debt ($13,512 per person). The most indebted state was Delaware, with total debt of $20,233, but the state ranked 19th in obesity, at 28.8 percent. In a comparison of the 10 fattest vs. the 10 most debt-laden states, only Alabama showed up on both, ranking fourth for obesity (32 percent) and barely making the debt list at tenth place ($16,591).
My big suspicion? All the folks in the slender states are whipping out Visa and MasterCard to pay for Slim-Fast and liposuction.
Chew on some savings
My unscientific take doesn't prove any correlation between weight and debt. But solving either one of those issues comes down to the same thing: controlling your appetite, whether that's having steak once a week instead of nightly, or having steak once a week instead of nightly.
If you've managed to lose weight, then you've pretty much got the tools for a money diet. You need to make a budget for dollars instead of calories, control your portions and know the real long-term cost of what you consume. As with a weight-loss diet, avoid empty purchases that plump up your debt just as if they were empty calories that plump up your butt.
Debt-reduction and dieting also come together in one of the mainstays of financial advice: packing your own lunch and eating out less. Brown-bagging a salad, cottage cheese and an apple turns out to be just as healthy for your wallet as your waistline.
The best advice for sticking to a budget is to make all of your discretionary spending with cash. That way you won't lapse into using credit cards, and studies find that paying with real money instead of plastic causes people to spend less. Just like a diet, it works best when you eat your greens.
(Brian J. O'Connor is an award-winning columnist for The Detroit News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)