Before you pay for another new diet system or piece of workout equipment, here are some things that can save you a lot of time, money and frustration on a plan that will work better for you for the long term.
It’s the Best Diet and Exercise Equipment?
Everybody hold your horses. Take a deep breath and think about what you are doing before you pay for another new diet system or piece of workout equipment! Advertisers are pushing the sales on diet and workout products everywhere and they sure look tempting but be careful! We all know many people who have tried that new diet who, after 2-3 weeks have given up. The joke that an expensive piece of exercise equipment sure does make a nice clothes rack is all too true. Some of those people who tried and failed may have been ourselves.
I recently talked on the phone to a woman who was so excited because she had spent $75 (not including the extra amount she needed to spend on special powders and food) on this year’s newest diet. She told me how different it was and how it really works. When I asked her what was different about it, her answer was, “Well, they send you a book and dvd about how to eat healthy and exercise.” I tried to be nice and did my best not to choke and sputter in her ear.
Please don’t spend money to have someone tell you how to eat healthy and exercise. I’m sorry but most diets work in one way. If you notice, each one has strict control over how much you eat and what you eat. You can do that on your own.
It all goes back to portion control and eating a well balanced meal. That is pretty much what most diets are if you really get down to what makes them work. I know that some people say if you eat only this or that food item or this combination of food, you will build muscle or speed up your metabolism or whatever but I figure God knows our bodies better then anyone and He said it is okay to eat all the things He has given us. Now the one thing we don’t like to think about that He does say is gluttony is wrong. Ouch. As I slowly raise my hand pleading guilty.
We have just come out of the holiday season where most of us have pigged out so badly we are really feeling awful. We have eaten way too much and haven’t been eating balanced meals. As we do in most areas of life, we now are swinging way to the other side of the pendulum and are going to put ourselves on an extremely strict diet. This usually means buying tons of special foods and books, joining gyms and buying equipment. Please don’t do this.
We make these things so involved and complicated when they don’t need to be. You can do it on your own. You know what a proper portion is (about 1/2 cup of anything or the size of your fist). You just need to do it. You know what is healthy and what is not. If you don’t, you have been living in a cave for many decades because even my 8 year old grandson can tell you what is healthy and what is not. Like you, he may not want to eat the healthy stuff but he knows the difference. If you really don’t know then just get one good book from the library on nutrition or Google it.
Before we move on, let me touch on this really quickly. So often, people write asking, “How can I afford to eat healthy?” I have never been able to figure this question out.
During all the years when money was the most tight for us, we ate healthier than the times when we had more money, mainly because I couldn’t afford for us to eat more than our allotted portion for each meal. I couldn’t afford to buy the extra things like pop, cookies, chips, convenience foods and candy and I couldn’t afford to go out to eat.
Healthy food doesn’t really cost more. A 10 lb. bag of potatoes costs the same as a bag of potato chips and I can get more meals out of the potatoes. Granola (even homemade granola) costs much more than feeding my family a bowl of oatmeal with a little banana and apple and/or a couple of tablespoons of nuts in it. You get the same nutrients and, with the oatmeal and you usually get fewer calories. A bag of apples costs the same as a box of fruit roll-ups and you get many more servings from the apples and, once again, fewer calories. I could go on and on but I think you get my point.
We need to look at exercise equipment and gym memberships in the same way, too. I think one of the funniest pieces of exercise equipment that someone made a fortune selling was the stair stepper. People paid a bunch of money for an item to step up and down on. When I see one, I stand there looking at the thing wondering, “Why in the world don’t people just pick a step in their house and step up and down and up and down on it and it would be free?”
You don’t need to pay to exercise. Take a walk. All doctors agree on this one thing– that walking is the best exercising but so many people are frantically running, jogging and bouncing on equipment they paid a bunch of money to buy or to use. I know sometimes the weather is bad or you can’t get out to walk but eons ago in the olden days, we were just taught to walk in place to burn calories and guess what — it worked.
I had a gym teacher in junior high who gave us girls five exercises to do. She said we may hate doing them at the time but to always remember them and, as we got older and had babies, to do all five exercises each day. If we did, we would never have a weight problem and would be always be fit. I was 110 lbs. and 21 years old when my first baby was born. After her birth, as soon as I got the doctor’s OK, I started doing my five exercises every day. They would take about 15 minutes. Some days I didn’t have 15 minutes to do them all at once but I would do 20 crunches while waiting for the family to get to the table or waist bends while waiting for the dog to do his business outside or 15 pushups while waiting for something to boil on the stove. For 30 years I stayed at 110 lbs. and it wasn’t until I had some major surgery that messed up my stomach muscles and age and my CFS hit all at the same time that I had to stop exercising and I gained weight.
I realize that it is harder for some people to control their weight. Sometimes there is more involved (like genetics) than just what you eat. My kids are the perfect example of this. Even though I fed my kids the same meals, my son could eat anything and everything including junk food and he was still a bean pole where poor Tawra, who ate much healthier, has always had to fight tooth and nail with her weight. Even so, when she watches how much she eats, she does much better.
In closing, think about this. The average American would save at least 50% on their groceries each month if they really got serious and controlled the portion size their families ate. We need so much less than we think. Not only that, by controlling their portions, we will save on “special” diets and food and exercise equipment and, because we are healthier, most of us will save on medical bills.
Who would have thought that something as simple as controlling your portions could save you hundreds of dollars a year?
P.S. I had so many readers ask what exercises I did, so here is what I would usually do:
- 20 crunches
- 15-20 push ups
- 25 of waist bends
- 50 leg lifts on each side
- and an arm exercise or extra waist bend exercise.
Of course I would add to or take away depending on what was going on at the time. When I am sick I don’t do as much when I am better I do more.
Another thing that I think has helped me quite a bit without my realizing it is I have always had stairs and stairs that I had to use a lot. For example, the other day I made 12 trips up and down my stairs in one hour. So a person who is trying to watch their weight and get healthier might think about putting something like their computer in a far corner of the house. For many years, my phone was upstairs and I spent most of my time working downstairs so each time the phone rang I had to make a mad dash up the stairs. Sometimes, I had to go all the way from the basement to the second story.
I do other things too. I rarely go through the drive-through window for medications, at the bank or other places. Instead I park and walk in. Like I said sometimes I do things differently when I am especially sick.
Here are some other related articles in which I go into more detail:
- Children, Wasting Food and Portion Control
- Watching What You Eat But Still Overweight?
- Healthy Eating
- Stretching Your Food and Reducing Your Waste