The low-cost ways
to lose a pound of flesh (or 10)
holiday feasts of turkey, ham, chocolates and pies have already
hit your waist, and diet is on your lips as you greet the new year.
You'd almost think Alan Greenspan would get involved
here, somewhere. After all, the basic issue in weight loss sounds
a lot like a well-known principle of economics: supply and demand.
Supply less food than your activity demands and your body burns
its reserves and shucks pounds.
Whether you want to drop 10 pounds to make that bathing
suit fit just right or you need to drop 100 to take the stress off
a pair of weary knees, the drill is the same. It is only the time
frame that changes.
That is, if you take the healthy approach. The Federal
Trade Commission warns not to depend on the instant fix trumpeted
on diet supplement bottle labels.
"Claims that you can eat all you want and lose
weight effortlessly are not true," the agency proclaims. "To
lose weight, you must lower your calorie intake or increase your
calorie use through exercise. Most experts recommend doing both."
The basic tools
The things you need most to lose weight are real bargains: Determination
and patience are free.
But there can be other costs. Organizations that supply
moral support along with guidance on food and diet charge fees for
their services. Some also charge for special, prepackaged foods
that form the core of their weight-loss systems.
If you are an independent sort, you may be able to
take a cheaper path. A trip to the public library can supply all
the nutrition and calorie-counting information you need to get started.
Once you've read up on the subject, plan. Use your imagination.
Eat things you like, but concentrate on the items
with the fewest calories and the easiest preparation methods. Bulk
up your meals with fruits and vegetables. Consider portion sizes.
Mayonnaise is not evil by definition, but too much of it will kill
you -- or at least make you resemble Elvis (the later years).
Eat everything in moderation, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention admonishes.
If you don't have time for all this thinking and planning,
consider joining one of the diet organizations. The people there
will lay the groundwork for you. All you have to do is fall in step.
Speaking of steps ...
The more you move, the more you can safely eat. It's
all part of that supply and demand thing.
Exercise can be as cheap or expensive as you make
it. That length of rope slung over the rafters in the garage might
make a good -- free -- jump rope. And a nearby swimming hole won't
charge admission. Neither will your buddies if you egg them into
a game of flag football.
If you enjoy team sports, many cities and towns offer
low-cost recreation programs. Municipal swimming pools will usually
let you in without draining off your last dollar.
A good pair of walking shoes will cost some money,
but will pay off over the months you use them. At the higher end,
fitness clubs and community organizations like the YMCA offer membership
that give you rights to use their exercise equipment.
Just as you won't lose weight by trying to force yourself
to eat foods you hate, you won't get exercise by trying to do things
that bore you. Choose something you like. If you don't like anything
you've tried, try something new.
Experts say frequent, moderate exercise is the way
to go. So you have a lot of time to find something you can live
Reaching your weight goal can be an exhilarating experience, but
if you don't continue to pay attention you won't stay there.
Eating well and being good to your body have to be
lifelong endeavors, experts say. But the rewards are tremendous.
And just think of the money you will save when you no longer have
to buy a succession of new wardrobes because your weight is climbing.
It just might be enough money to pay for that annual
Sample pricing information
for diet organizations and exercise gear and memberships
Calif.: Free registration and starts from $9.95 a week
Ill.: Free registration and starts from $9.95 a week
Weight Loss Program: Free membership and counseling;
$54.95 plus shipping and handling/week for food. Contact no.
(800) 891 3381
versaport DMX max, women's walking shoe: $69.99
MW755, men's walking shoe: $79.99
|Weslo Pursuit 719 Recumbert
|Icon Image 15.0 Q Treadmill:
|Editor's note: Inclusion in this list is not
meant to endorse any particular product or service, but simply
to give consumers an idea of availability and costs. The prices,
culled from the organizations' and vendors Web sites, can change
at any time. Visit the Web sites for additional information
-- Updated: Jan. 3, 2003