I’ve officially had my fill of advertisers reminding me — and all of you — that we’re all too dumb to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle on our own.
The ironic part is after the 15 second “identify with me” hard sell spiel is over, we’re misled into believing their product is going to melt away the pounds or solve all of our fitness woes. Problem is, we’re also supposed to shell out $50 a month for miniature TV dinners or some miracle diet drug that will never get FDA approval because their product uses the “better product through marketing” approach.
I mean, how dumb to advertisers think we are? Are we really this gullible?
Truth is, it really doesn’t matter what you eat if your goal is to lose weight. What does matter is how many calories you actually stuff down your pie hole everyday.
So regardless of whether your dietary preference is to eat all carbs, eat low carb, or even decide to go vegetarian, your diet’s success resides only in how many calories you consume versus how much you burn off. I’m sure that’s not a novel concept to anyone who was skeptical about the Atkins diet or currently wondering why Kirstie Alley is still a blimp.
That said, aside from all the health benefits living an active and healthy lifestyle can bestow upon you, it can also save you a lot of cash.
- Save money on insurance. If you’re 30lbs overweight, smoke two packs of cigarettes, and you’re blood pressure is over 150/90, chances are fairly high a doctor will tell you that you’re at a higher risk patient. In the insurance business, greater risk means greater chances they will have to pay out on a future claim. That means, your monthly payments will be higher than average.
- Eliminate your bad habits. You may think your 4 o’clock sugar rush or lunchtime cigarette are necessary evils, but they really aren’t. If you’re an avid coffee, soda or cigarette user, you may spend $100 or more each month just to satisfy your legal drug habit. Caffeine, nicotine and even the seemingly benign high fructose corn syrup are detrimental to your health and since they provide little to no nutritional value, they do nothing but act as cash flow leeches that suck money directly out of your wallet.
- Home cooked meals trump the 99 cent heart attack meals any day. When you prepare a meal for you and your family, you can control the amount of salt, fat, and everything else that would otherwise pollute your food. I love buffalo wings, pizza and pitchers of cheap beer as much as the next guy, but once you pass the age of 25, the morning after effects become more noticeable. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, make a little extra at dinnertime and take the leftovers to work so you don’t have to spend additional money for your lunch.
- Bike/walk to work as much as possible. During the first quarter of 2009, more self powered bikes were sold in the U.S. than cars and trucks. Far be it from me to consider this a microtrend in the making, but it is positive news if you’re green living advocate, you hate the Big Three Automakers, or you’re a concerned taxpayer irritated about how many people will need diabetes drugs once their Medicare kicks in. If you live in a city, going carless (see testimonial) can really boost your monthly cash flow since you have no monthly payments, no car insurance or don’t pay for gas.
- Do the manual labor jobs yourself. Many people who live in the western world live a sedentary lifestyle, so it makes sense to do the easier manual labor jobs yourself in order to get some exercise, but also to save yourself a few bucks. Mow your lawn yourself instead of paying someone to do it for you. Shovel the snow out of your driveway. Plant your own shrubbery instead of contracting it out to a gardener.
- Your wardrobe will always fit. If you stay the same weight throughout your life, you never have to worry about buying a new wardrobe because your pants no longer fit. I’ve got a few pairs of beaten up Levi’s blue jeans that are 10 to 15 years old, and if I suddenly woke up tomorrow 20lbs overweight, I would lose weight for no other reason than just to wear them ASAP. They’re that comfortable (or so I’ve deluded myself to believe).
- A home gym trumps a gym membership any day. Most gyms memberships are fairly expensive, you have to wait in line to use the equipment, and gyms these days seem to double equally well as a meat market. Gyms serve a useful purpose if you’re willing to invest 90 minutes or more to workout, but buying a secondhand treadmill or a Bowflex from Craigslist is far more efficient in my humble opinion. By the time it takes to drive to the gym, I’m already done with my 20 to 30 minute daily workout.
- Fewer illnesses equals fewer prescription drugs you take each day. We all know at least one person who has to take 3 or more pills a day because of a combination of illnesses. If you live a relatively healthy lifestyle and maintain an average body weight, your chances of heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes are greatly reduced which means more of your income stays in your wallet than that of Big Pharma.
- Growing your own food is far cheaper than paying for it. Instead of paying $2 for lettuce or $5 for fresh herbs, growing your own vegetables will likely cost pennies on the dollar. It just takes a few seeds, a little bit of water, and a few minutes of your time each week. You also get the added benefit of pesticide free veggies.
- Regular exercise is a natural stress reducer. Few things can counteract a stressful day of work like an hour of mindless exercise. Whether it be a pickup basketball game at your neighborhood outdoor court or a low impact walk through the park, your brain will release a series of neurotransmitters than act as natural pain relievers, depression fighters, and even stress reducers. Not that a few beers at happy hour can’t do the same thing, but most people will agree than consuming a few beers after work isn’t as healthy (or cheap) as taking a walk around the block.
Got any other ways that you live healthy on the cheap? Please share them below.