How I Lost 80 Pounds and Saved Money in the Process
by Diana Bergman
The Anti-Diet Lifestyle
My Story: Frugal, Simple Weight Loss
Can Losing Weight Save You Money?
Do you have a lot of weight to lose and the prospect of another diet leaves you feeling hopeless and hungry? Do you believe that you can't help being overweight because you can't afford all the expensive diet foods? Have you tried time and time again to lose weight only to give up because of the stress of constant hunger?
I understand how you feel because I was where you are two years ago. I was very discouraged at the mere thought of dieting. I have been overweight almost my whole life. I came from a family that thought pancakes with apple pie filling topped with whip cream was an after dinner snack.
After trying every diet out there, I finally figured out a system with which I could live. I had to lose a lot of weight and knew I needed a plan that I could manage indefinitely. My plan helped me to lose 80 pounds without feeling hunger pangs and I never counted calories. I hope you will give my plan a try and I'm sure after a month you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
- Learn everything you can about nutrition, paying special attention to the glycemic index and the food guide. Losing weight has little to do with counting calories, but it's all to do with understanding nutrition. I made an appointment with a dietician assuming that I wouldn't learn anything I hadn't heard a millions times before and I was wrong. I left armed with lots of valuable information to help me to succeed. Do consider an appointment with a dietician.
- Remove all junk food from your home. Accept the reality that most of the time you probably eat okay, but all it takes is a few minutes of weakness to eat a bag of cookies. Make certain to keep any foods that tempt you to binge out of your home.
- If your family balks at losing easy access to junk food, point out to them that they can always eat junk food elsewhere. My son struggled with this problem and we solved it by purchasing with his friends just enough goodies for them to consume so there would be no leftovers for me to worry about. After awhile, he learned to prefer healthier choices and doesn't care for sugar the way he used to.
- To control cravings, you need to be well rested, so you don't look to food to give you a quick pick me up. Usually, if you are like me, you pick up something you don't need like a chocolate bar instead of a healthy snack and end up feeling even more tired later.
- Keep a food journal for as long as it takes to change your eating pattern. Some doctors advise you to keep a journal for just a few days to see where you need to improve whereas I had to keep a journal for a year because I discovered a pattern of unconscious eating of which I wasn't aware. I discovered that I ate to relieve boredom and stress in my life. The journal helped me to become self-aware of what I needed to do to stay on track, which meant finding new ways to cope with stress and boredom.
- Don't worry about calorie intake, just make sure you are following the food guide. Your goal should be first to achieve improved eating habits. I remember my first week eating five bananas in a row for an afternoon snack instead of my usual bag of chips and cola. I thought there was no way I'd lose weight, but I did. So often, doctors will tell you that it's impossible to lose weight unless you follow a low calorie diet, under 1500 calories a day, and vigorously exercise on a daily basis. I thought there was no way I could manage such a low calorie diet that I simply gave up hope. Nevertheless, I manage to lose a tremendous amount of weight without being too concerned with calories. Also I have physical limitations and I can only manage walking a few times a week.
Don't believe eating healthy is expensive because it's not. I no longer eat out. All food is prepared at home to save money and to ensure I'm getting the healthiest food. I eat mostly fruit and vegetables, which you can grow yourself or buy at a discount at farmer's markets. I eat about half the meat I used to because I learned that we only need two small portions of protein each day to be healthy. Consider meat alternatives so that you can enjoy variety in your diet. I eat very little cheese because it's loaded in fat. I use it more as a garnish.
Next, I have switched from expensive breakfast cereal to hot whole grain cereal for a big savings at breakfast time. I still use brown sugar to add flavor. However, I don't go crazy with the amount.
Also I drink ice water now instead of pop. I used to drink endless bottles of pop, and one day I figured out that I was drinking one thousand empty calories a day. Water is free and doesn't make you feel hungry the way pop does.
- Ask for support from family and friends. A lot of us have a spouse or friend who feels threatened by our desire for self-improvement and will try to sabotage our attempts. For example, my husband would bring me home from work a bottle of pop and junk food and act hurt if I refused. Don't feel guilty. Let them know you need their help and thank them when they are being supportive. Eventually, my husband gave up and became proud of my achievement.
- Beware of sabotaging your own intentions. Correct yourself anytime you find yourself thinking negatively. Don't allow any self-defeating thoughts to creep in. You might believe it. Be your own best friend and stick up for yourself when you get down on yourself. Eventually your thinking will change for the better.
- Make sure you have enough fiber in your diet by eating plenty of fiber rich foods. Many people eat practically no fiber at all and that's unfortunate because there are so many health benefits. My favorite benefit is that fiber helps me to stay full longer. Start by eating a high fiber cereal for breakfast and a minimum of five fruits and vegetables daily.
- I no longer eat any processed foods, including all deli or processed meats. In fact, deli style meats cost about 3 to 10 dollars a pound. A lovely turkey sandwich is less expensive than a greasy bologna sandwich. Doesn't make sense, does it? I roast or use my slow cooker to prepare all meats. I usually cook turkey or chicken and remove the skin after it's cooked.
- Be patient with yourself. Losing weight takes time. Expect only a two to four pound weight loss per month. Any more than that is unhealthy and unrealistic. You want to get on with living and what you eat should not be on the front burner of every thought.
- Find a new outlet to cope with stress and boredom in your daily lives. I took up writing stories, keeping a diary, and Internet chatting with my sister who lives too far away for me to see very often. We try to offer each other support in our everyday struggles. I try to laugh everyday and see the humor in everything I can.
- Stay out of fast food restaurants because even if you have the best intentions, your resolve may go out the window when you go inside and get a whiff of those French fries. It's best to stay away from temptation. Get together with friends at home and have a potluck, or use your imagination. I like to cook meals in themes. One night may be Chinese; the next time might be Mexican. All get-togethers don't have to be around food. Invite people over for a game of cards. The trick is to use your imagination.
- Try walking 30 minutes at least three times per week to get used to exercise.
These are the steps I used to successfully lose 80 pounds. As a result of improving my eating habits, I have improved my health and saved money, too. Try it! If I can do it, certainly you can.
Discuss "The Right Way to Snack" in The Dollar Stretcher Community
Prices keep rising while my income remains stagnant and I worry I am heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think I am heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, I am not in debt trouble but I am always looking for new ways to help keep my budget on track!
More Money-Saving Lifestyle Tips
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- 6 tips for a fabulously free vacation
- Secrets to living luxuriously for less
- Money-saving secrets of the rich and frugal
- 4 secrets to being a frugal foodie
- 8 social media posts that can cost you
- 4 lessons from the Back to the Land movement
- Hair care on the cheap
- This week's Readers' Tips