The challenge presented was the quickest, easiest, and most entertaining way to lose weight. And it must be free. Thanks to the internet, many tools are now very inexpensive or even free. In my mind there are several parts to an effective weight loss plan. What you eat, how you choose to add movement and importantly, what you use to help motivate yourself throughout the process. I believe that each aspect can be addressed for a minimal cost thanks in large part to giving podcasters, the internet, and ultimately to Steve Jobs who insisted on something better than the walkman (remember those?)
It has been found that 80% of your success with weight loss is garnered from your diet. What you put in your mouth is pretty much the thing that determines success or failure to lose weight. The trick is discovering what causes you (not your friend) to lose weight, gain weight or prevents weight loss. I, personally, gain weight from fried chicken, Chinese take out, pizza, donuts, and ice cream. Fitday or Spark can help you make the connection from what you are eating to what happens with your body. Even without purchasing measuring cups and a food scale, just writing down what you ate can help you understand what is going on with your body. Also, make a note of when you feel good and when you feel bad. Does eating certain foods give you headaches or indigestion? Does alcohol always make you gain weight, no matter how little calories you ate? Does eating soy slow down your weight loss? Does protein powder make you gain weight? I always put on weight with those foods. You may notice similar kinds of issues but with foods that bother your body, that may be an entirely different list from my list.
Often people whine and complain about the cost of healthy food. After all, Top Ramen is like 10 cents! Well, you just found a very cheap source of calories. The question is, what did it do for you? It filled your belly. How long after that were you hungry again? Did you have to add something to it? Look, I'm not saying top ramen is evil, but consider those inexpensive veggies you can add to your diet, improve the nutrition going into your body, and still not break the bank. Be honest, how much did you spend on coffee? Those fancy coffee drinks are not cheap. But, guess what, cabbage, carrots, and fruit in season is cheap. And, what little money you spend now is much less than the price of doctor visits when you have poor health from being undernourished and obese at the same time. Visit Sandra Ahten's podcast the Reasonable diet or 6 minutes of sanity to learn more about inexpensive diet options. (I'm not paid by her for the 'endorsement', it was free.)
Last night I bought a head of lettuce for $1.29. Its a beautiful red leaf lettuce packed full of nutrition and flavor. If you buy your nuts on sale like I do at Raley's, you can get almonds in bulk for $3.99 a pound. Its not always that cheap, but their nuts are good and fresh. Thats a whole pound! Thats 16 servings. Do the math. Its 25 cents per serving. For the lettuce its about 4 servings which is about 32 cents a serving. (I'm rounding) Add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper, guess what you just had lunch. You can add protein if you want. Thats up to you.
Exercise: walking or jogging. In theory you can just go out the front door. But, we all know there are potential issues that can crop up. I do have a small kit of things that help me with my walking, hiking and jogging. Other inexpensive options are jump rope or calisthenics. Netflix is an excellent source for workout dvds. Yoga Today.com is a free streaming source for new yoga workouts off the internet. I'm assuming that you have internet access because you are reading this.
Meditation, while more relaxation than activity, helps tremendously with your mental outlook and health. We all need a mood boost and when we aren't using food for emotional support we must get it elsewhere.
My favorite podcasts for motivation are Inside Out Weight Loss with Renee Stephens, The Reasonable Diet with Sandra Ahten, Motivation to Move with Scott Smith and Joy, Pheddipidations, and The Two Gomers run a marathon. All are free. Yippee! I love the free. Well, except you do need a mp3 player, computer, and internet access. So, in a way its free. The content is free. I find motivation on Spark people reading other people's blogs. Those are free!
The tools I use most of the time that are not free:
1. Digital food scale. I got mine on sale, it was $30 at Target. The price varies.
2. iPod Shuffle. Mine says "rapid breath" because thats what I do in yoga. Cool, right?
3. Wrap around ear buds are awesome because your buds don't fly out of your ears when you are jogging.
4. Sweat band (dollar store). I really hate sweat in my eyes.
5. cuddl-dudz workout pants ($15 Target for two pair.)
6. sunglasses (Dollar store)
7. Trainers: shoes from Ross or Sports Authority on sale. I have several pair for different activities.
8. Digital Bathroom scale
9. DVD player for my videos.
10. My circuit step for aerobics.
11 Lots of workout dvds. I may be a Cathe Friedrich addict, I'm not sure.
Maybe the most important things are the ones I don't buy. I don't have a gym membership. I don't have a personal trainer. I don't buy the super expensive name brand shoes. I do buy nice socks. Those matter. But, the truth is if you watch what you eat, journal, and do simple exercise like walking and stretching, the weight will probably come off if the macronutrients are in check. The exercise is just there to buoy your metabolism up and to keep you from being in a plateau. It helps with mood and most people experience a dip in mood during dieting/weight loss. I do.
Thats all for now, tune in next time for the EDH Diet Soap Box!