Guest Post: Losing Weight: Pure Vanity or Money Saver?

by A Guest Writer · 15 comments

in Guest Posts

This is a guest post from Nicole of Breaking Even, Inc. If you enjoy this post, please subscribe to her feed!

My quest for weight loss started in the usual fashion. I realized that I only fit into a fraction of the clothes I owned. I hadn’t worn some of my clothes in a couple of years and apparently had some weight sneak up on me.

Alcohol, desserts, lack of exercise and age can catch up to us all. It seems like it happens all of a sudden but really it’s creeping on for months or years on end. Like many Americans, it is time for me to lose weight. Now I’m not (at least I don’t think) what anyone would call fat, but my BMI was 25 and I was winded going for a hike. I’ve been making a concerted effort to lose some weight since my epiphany and I’m down about eight pounds. I still have a little ways to go.

It’s clear that eating less will cause me to spend less on groceries (or perhaps I will buy less food but better food, evening out costs) but can losing weight really save money? This article says we have the potential of saving $2,500 a year from being a healthy weight, though some of the figures like life insurance savings and employer incentives don’t really apply to me. It does appear that eating nutritional poor convenience foods and visiting the doctors for weight-related health problems would be costs that apply to everyone. Another article takes the valid position that time spent and results achieved from exercising keeps you from spending money out of boredom or to achieve happiness.

In the meantime, it may be necessary to spend a little money to get that healthy return on your investment: A gym membership may help motivate you to work out a few times a week. I’ve been going to the local Y twice a week mostly for strength training. Many women are afraid to look bulky doing this but muscle actually burns more calories than fat and strength training, unlike doing just cardio, continues to burn calories after you finish your workout. The key is to do both.

Motivation may come from external rewards you give yourself. Apparently motivation in the way of money has proved to help people in this weight loss study. Buying myself a new workout outfit or some other nonfood reward for reaching a goal has helped me in the past.

You need some clothes that fit while you are working on reaching your goal. Have a clothes swap with some friends (I’ve hosted a couple of these and they are fun!) or go to SwapThing to swap online. You can also buy yourself a few pieces you can mix and match to get you through. Don’t shove yourself in clothes that don’t fit for punishment; if you’re anything like me, it’ll only discourage you. It took awhile to put on the weight and it’ll take awhile for it to come off, and do you really think you deserve to be uncomfortable for several months?

Anyway best of luck to those of you trying to reach a healthy weight. Apparently we are not alone (based on all those infomercials out there anyway!). If you have any tips or ideas, feel free to share. One way or another, a healthy weight is not only the healthy thing to do but it’ll save you money in the long run. And you are so worth it!

What are your frugal weight loss tips? Do you belong to a gym? Use exercise videos? Or simply park in the back corner of the parking lot?


1 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins November 14, 2008

My big tip would be that if you are a student, take advantage of free access to student facilities. Right now I can go to the student pool and swim laps (mine is very nice and they even provide free towels and lockers!), the gym and use weight machines, the track and run, not to mention all the great cardio machines they have at the gym. I don’t have to pay a dime, and I am trying to take advantage of that while I still can!

2 bouncing back betty November 14, 2008

I think it’s part vanity and part money saver. What it really is about is being healthy. Losing weight ( in most cases) comes down to eating less food and expending more calories-kinda like being a debt reduction plan, spend less, save more. If you have gained weight, dropping the weight means you don’t have to buy new clothes.
A regular exercise program and a healthy diet can help people avoid heart disease, diabetes, etc, and a regular excerise can also help ward off depression (think all those endorphins!)
I belong to a local gym. The time spent there is not only good for my body, but good for my soul. It’s my three to four times a week treat to myself. I get a work out in, I take a nice hot shower and take a sauna and go home relaxed and refreshed!

If you can’t afford a gym or if one is not near your home, the best tip I can give you is to just even take a walk-before you go to work, at lunch, after dinner, just get moving!

bouncing back betty´s last blog post..Maybe It’s The Full Moon

3 Amie November 14, 2008

I am in the same boat with the efforts to lose about 5 years worth of weight gain.

I have going to our community centre to use their excercise facilities. I've also started parking further from the door and doing stairs while the kids are at their sporting activities.

<abbr>Amie´s last blog post..Advent Calendar Idea from Martha</abbr>

4 Rae November 14, 2008

On the frugal-fitness side, many YMCA’s offer a sliding scale/financial aid/ scholarship program to help with the costs of membership. I process the applications for the Y where I work, and we’re able to help many people this way. People interested can call their local Y and see if they can help!

Rae´s last blog post..Once Upon a Time…

5 Kelly November 14, 2008

I recently cancelled my gym membership; I NEVER went. Instead, now, I’m trying to fit in little bits of activity where I can- climbing four flights of stairs to the classroom instead of taking the elevator, running for the tram instead of telling myself I can just get the next one, forgoing the endless circling of the parking lot looking for a closer spot. It’s as good as it gets for me at the moment I’m afraid! I do need to work on preparing a healthy packed lunch in advance, so that I don’t just grab whatever is on hand.

6 Sarah H. November 14, 2008

Thanks for the encouragement! I am also trying to lose some weight (as you said, it’s been slowly creeping up on me over the years). So far I’ve been mostly exercising (treadmill) but I’d also like to start dieting too. I love all your points about how being fit and healthy can save money!! I also am encouraged about my wardrobe…I currently have a few dresses that don’t fit anymore and I’d love to wear them again!

Sarah H.´s last blog post..Don’t be tricked by toothpaste: Three money-saving tips

7 Vintage Mommy November 14, 2008

My gym membership is worth its weight in gold; I would otherwise be spending money on therapy and/or anxiety medications!

<abbr>Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Mommy Moment or Senior Moment?</abbr>

8 Emma November 15, 2008


Going to gym is the most conventional way of loosing weight and it doesn't work for everyone. I hate gym. Luckily I know it – so I don't have to buy membership and wait a year to see that I never use it.

@ Everyone:

Every sports you start doing has to pass the test of time – if you have done it for a couple of months, then you have a chance of making it your routine, otherwise it simply "isn't you". So I'd say try a few things – swimming, riding a bike, rollerblading, walks at the beach until you find what's your kind of sports. You can always sell the bicycle or the rollerblades. It's OK to spend a little on this research because that is a once-in-a lifetime kind of thing and it's to do with the most precious asset you've got- YOUR HEALTH.

<abbr>Emma´s last blog post..Working mom: get a nervous breakdown or … get a nanny! (part 2)</abbr>

9 Kelly November 15, 2008

Great points Emma! There are a few things in life that are worth going through pain and suffering to enjoy… health and children are the first two that come to mind!

10 Gypsie November 15, 2008

While I do have a few pounds to lose, I have some other tips as well. Do you have a dog? My dogs love going for walks and without those walks they have too much energy and get bored! Or if you dont have a dog, volunteer at your local animal shelter. They usually need people to help clean and socialize the animals and that can also translate into exercise.

Oh, and women do not have the ability to "bulk up" from weights without the help of steroids, so there goes that myth!

Plus, planning your lunches for the week is extremely helpful. DH and I both take our lunches to work 90% of the time. Sometimes it is sandwiches, sometimes chicken and rice…

11 Cyndie November 15, 2008

I am a big believer in the wisdom of focusing on adding healthy things to your routine like 5-9 fruits and veggies a day…….it keeps you pretty full and satisfied. 3 glasses of water before each meal helps keep you hydrated and not craving other calorie laden beverages. The Pur water filter is inexpensive and healthier than bottled( no plastic) . It makes tap water taste better and so I drink more of it. Also if the filter ever malfunctions the Pur company will send you a new one with a free filter just to keep you happy,,,,,they have done this 3 times now for me. Walk Away the Pounds exercise tapes done with weights are the ticket for me. I do three miles before my little ones are up, ( sometimes they use their alphabet blocks as weights and do it with me) no gym memberships, no gas to burn, no excuses. I lost 10 pounds without even trying( I mainly do it for stress reduction) and with no change in my eating habits.When I am really tryingto tighten up, I add a Callanetics tape to the mix a few times a week, the results are amazing! I hope this helps someone.

12 JR November 16, 2008

I did Body for Life and for me it was a pretty sane way of losing weight. It may not be the cheapest because you are eating a lot of food but it was worth it to me because the focus is on putting good, quality food in to your body. The program also focuses on the cardio/lifting heavy weight combo which women should definitely not be afraid of. There are a line of protein bars, etc. that go along with this program but you definitely don’t have to use them as long as you eat something else with the same carb/protein requirements. I did the program almost a year ago and was very pleased with the progress I made. I haven’t been able to go to the gym lately but I’m still losing weight because of the muscle mass I built up.

13 Ana November 19, 2008

Losing weight CAN save you money. The idea is simple: eat less. When my husband and I cook a big meal, we make sure to note how many servings our recipe should feed. We take out only our own servings and put the rest in the fridge for lunch the next day. Even with this plan, we often find we eat less than what the recipe calls a serving. We don’t have to buy anything special for lunch, or pay high prices to eat out. We enjoy the good food we made the night before. The benefit: by not overeating, we don’t waste food by turning into extra pounds we’ll have to burn off later. We stay trim and save money. Voila.

14 rjleaman November 21, 2008

For sure, walking is good frugal exercise… and a real stress-reliever, by the way! Those of us who work at a desk and/or struggle through a dark northern winter will get extra benefit from taking our exercise outdoors, too. And on top of that – you’re not spending gas money to drive to a gym!

But I mostly just wanted to drop a note to say I love Gypsie’s extra bonus tip, about going to a local shelter to walk the shelter dogs. A dog is great to have along if you’re not completely comfortable about walking alone, and it’s been proven that hanging out with animals is good for the spirits and stress level.

If you have kids, taking them along to the shelter with you would be a fantastic family outing – not only encouraging them to be active, but also modelling volunteerism and good citizenship values. And if the the kids have been begging for a pet but you’re not quite ready to commit, walking the shelter dogs is a great way for the kids to learn a bit about the responsibilities of pet ownership too.

rjleaman´s last blog post..President Bartlet on the Butterball Hotline

15 Emma November 22, 2008

This idea of walking the shelter dogs ROCKS! Seriously, it makes great exercise, it’s fun, it teaches the kids about giving and the dogs are great company. My son has the best time when we bring our dog to picnics or walks.

Walks have been our main exercise lately, we walk twice a day one hour each time. A great way to burn calories, get some fresh air and notice what kind of renovations the neighbors are doing. Love the walks!

Emma´s last blog post..Childproofing – a guest post at Almost Frugal

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