Frugality and Weight Loss

scaled perspective
photo credit: billaday

Many bloggers like to compare personal finance and weight loss. It is an easy analogy to make. Both usually involve setting a goal and working toward it. There are fairly simple rules you have to follow to be successful (spend less than you earn, eat fewer calories than you burn) but yet success can be difficult. Following a strict budget is similar to following a strict diet. Both require a measure of self-discipline. It seems that if you are successful at one you should be successful at the other. This isn’t always the case. I have my personal finances under control but am still struggling to lose weight.

I’m not sure why this is. It might be because it is easy for me to not spend money as I don’t have a strong desire to spend money on most things. I do have a strong desire to eat junk food though. This is hard for me to overcome but I think I might be making some progress. I haven’t eaten fast food or bought any junk food so far this month other than my free Mcdonalds. Of course, it is only the eighth day of the month so this isn’t much of an accomplishment but it is better than usual and I feel that I will be able to forego eating junk food this month. What is working now is just thinking of the negative consequences of eating the junk food. This still seems like deprivation though. I want to get in the mindset where eating healthy is its own reward and something I look forward to. I don’t really get excited about eating healthy foods. If you have any ideas on how to change this mindset I would like to hear them.

8 thoughts on “Frugality and Weight Loss”

  1. You need food to survive. You don’t need money (the things money buys, yes, but not money itself).

    The same analogy is used between food medication/overeating and alcoholism.

  2. Some time ago I had decided to change my diet to lose weight, and keep in good health, but I still wanted to be able to eat anything. I work in a retail pharmacy, and I see the consequences all the time of poor diet and lack of exercise. A majority of the customers coming in through our doors are type 2 diabetics getting several scripts filled every month. Taking care of your health can save you money!

    I’ve lost about 25 pounds by eating more fruits mixed with yogurt at night just before I nosh on cookies, chocolate cover pretzels, ice cream, etc… Fruits satisfy my sweet tooth and are lower in calories. By doing it before I eat my junk food I have less appetite and eat less junk food.

    I do get some exercise, but I’m not a “gym junkie.” Most of my weight loss is from changing my diet. Not “diet” as in calorie restriction. Just changing some of the foods I eat.

    I had to “force” myself to aim for foods that were good for me, and that I would normally not consume, but that I at least didn’t hate. Life is to short to eat foods that I can’t stand, but are good for me. Over time as I did this I actually grew to like some of these foods.

    I’m still trying to eat more vegetables, usually frozen, but I prefer fruits to vegetables.

    I eat steel cut oatmeal most mornings with expensive maple syrup, nuts, and dried fruit. That tastes great, and keeps hunger at bay for a long part of the day. Peanut butter is good for you, and also keeps hunger at bay for a long time as well. Sometimes I’ll do a p.b.and j bagel for breakfast when I’m pressed for time.

    I’ll brown bag my lunch for work and pack in some healthy foods. That makes me eat that for lunch instead of fast food on my lunch break. The sandwich is usually pepperoni or salame, whatever fruit is in season, and yogurt.

    Another trick I use is that I gave up most sodas. When I do go to fast food joint I order my burger and fries separately and ask for a cup of water. It’s just as filling, somewhat lower in calories, and about 15 to 30 cents cheaper. By the way I’ve noticed that most of the overweight customers buy diet soda. I suspect that diet soda does not help with weight loss, and I avoid it like the plague.

  3. This winter, I “decided” to weigh 20 pounds less, and tailored my actions to be in concert with my goal. Each time you reach for junk food, ask yourself it it’s going to help you achieve your goal. Another tactic that I’ve read about is to eat whatever kinds of food that you want, but just eat less of it. I haven’t tried this approach yet; I find I’m better off going cold turkey.

  4. Alex – Good point.

    Dan Tech – I have mostly given up soda. I often have sweet tea instead so I’m probably not gaining much by that switch except I don’t drink as much sweet tea as soda. I’m keeping junk food out of the house but I’m not eating especially healthy food. It is just healthier than the fast food and other junk food I usually eat.

    Corporate Barbarian – I don’t think the eating whatever foods I want approach would work for me. For example, I’ve tried cutting back on soda in the past and always ended up drinking as much as always. I’ve found it easier to give it up completely than just drink less of it. That approach might work on foods I don’t like to the same degree as soda.

  5. Good luck. Find whatever works for you. Use the power of small- I find if I take a few moments for myself and make a conscious decision to eat well it works better. But you have to give yourself the time to concentrate on it.

  6. I’m doing the Man v. Debt weight loss challenge too. It’s kind of difficult, I’ll give you that. I’m using three main points:

    1. Track it. You have to track calories. I tried for years to lose weight without it. And, technically, you can. Very, very, very slowly. Once you see it in black and white, all added up, it’s kind of scary. It also makes you more prone to not eat that bag of chips so that you can have a bigger dinner without worry. (And you know that whatever you eat, you have to write it own. Big factor.) At any rate, doing this also just makes you more aware of calories that are in things. I actually have a grudge against fast food now because I read up on the calories and fat count. It ruined most fast food for me. I mean, I knew it was BAD but…yeesh! More importantly, knowing the calories/fat will help you make decisions about what you eat. If you know that you’re supposed to stick to 2000 calories a day and you want something that’s 1,000…. You probably will talk yourself out of it. Or have less, at the least.

    2. Alli. It keeps me honest. If you have too much fat (too much here being over 19 grams/meal, pretty reasonable, I think) you’ll suffer intestinal, er, distress for it. Let’s just keep it at that euphemism, shall we? It also helps boost a little extra weight loss. But, for me, it’s about staying away from high-fat foods. I’m an emotional eater, so rather than try to logic myself out of things (which doesn’t work) I simply employ Alli as a sort of food nany.

    3. Be prepared to fail. Not as in, overall. But as in: Hey, eventually you’re going to crave something from the fast food persuasion. (Just don’t take an Alli after it!) I think half of dieters fail simply because they can’t let themselves fail. Wow, that’s a weird sentence. Hopefully, you know what I mean. The minute we stray from our diet we go into a shame spiral for having broken our diet. That makes us want to eat more, which makes us feel worse, ad inifinitum…

    When you go on a diet, you need to think of it as something you’re learning. That while you want to try to avoid eating fast food, there will be a day when you simply can’t take it anymore. And that doesn’t make you a failure or a bad dieter. It makes you human.

    One of my favorite diets was actually called the weekend diet. Because the woman who created it realized when she was home all day on the weekends, she snacked like crazy. So her deal with herself was: be good on weekdays, eat anything you want on weekends. With the taboo lifted, she didn’t feel the need to binge; and knowing she could have treats at the end of the week kept her line Mon through Fri.

    I think it’s about realism. We all want to lose weight for the long term, but we tend to create diets that are only tenable for the short-term: no cookies, no candy, whatever.

    So I load up on junk-food-like substances that won’t kill my diet — Dryer’s Slow Churned is FABULOUS and I can usually have two servings and stay under my calories for the day, and I stocked up on Jello pudding cups while they were on sale. And on special occasions, I will have something that’s not completely good for me. I just know that it means I have to be really careful te rest of the week.

    Okay, that’s my ridiculously long two bits.

    • Abigail – Thanks for all the info. I’m not a participant in the weight loss challenge though, I heard about it too late to sign up. 1. I’ve tracked my calories on and off at The Daily Plate and it does work. I’m just lazy about doing it consistently. 2. I won’t be trying Alli. My intestines are distressed often enough without this. 3. I do keep some indulgences in my diet. I still eat mostly what I want to eat. I’ve just given up my Dr Pepper and am limiting my fast food meals.

Comments are closed.