save money and lose weight

Save Money And Lose Weight

Surely, it can’t be true, can it be? We all have heard that a good diet can help you lose weight more efficiently than exercise, but is it really possible with money savings? The answer is yes! Before we get into the money saving aspect of weight loss, we must first debunk the myths that have been surrounding it for decades.

Healthier People Simply Exercise more

While it’s true that exercise of any kind does burn calories, the notion that fitter people simply exercise more is not true. Consider this extensive study into the matter by Herman Pontzer, who set out to Tanzania to research one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer tribes on earth, the Hadza.

Healthier People Simply Exercise
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Given the nature of their daily lives, the Hadza are some of the most active people on the planet; the men set out daily to hunt, chasing animals and climbing trees to collect honey, while the women gather plant food from bushes and underground tubers. The two sexes walk an average of 8.4 km, or 5.4 miles a day (3.6 miles for women, and 7.1 miles for men), much more than an average American.

And yet, at the end of study, Pontzer and his team came to a startling conclusion. Despite the Hadza being some of the most active people on earth, their total energy expenditure per day was not more than the people in the U.S and Europe! Think about that for a second. The average American walks 5117 steps, or 2.4 miles per day. That’s less than half what the Hadza cover, and yet, both sets of humans burn the same amount of calories.

While this study was on a smaller sample size, it did help destroy the myth that people who lost major amounts of weight did so by simply becoming more active.

Exercise alone can Result in Major Weight Loss

Continuing on from the last point, it’s worrying to see how many gym instructors and health care professionals will tell you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight, as long as you’re getting enough exercise. This is simply not true!

Exercise alone can Result in Major Weight Loss
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Make no mistake about it, exercise is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body and your mind. Studies have linked regular exercise to numerous health benefits like reduced blood pressure, lower triglycerides in the blood, and even a reduced risk of stroke, and heart attack.

But, without a change of diet, those are the only benefits you’ll see from regular exercise. Study after study has proven that the effects on weight loss from exercise are only modest to begin with, and will get less noticeable over the long term.

I Burn most of my Calories Daily from Exercise

I Burn most of my Calories Daily from Exercise
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In truth, only about a third of all calories burned daily come from exercise. The majority of our energy expenditure comes from our basal metabolic rate, which we have no control over. This is basically the energy being used to keep up your basic functioning during the day, and to fire all activities when you’re asleep at night.

So, What can We Do to Lose Weight?

The first thing to understand is that while it’s extremely healthy for your mind and your body, exercise itself can actually be counterintuitive to weight loss. How, you ask?

Lose Weight
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Have you ever indulged in rich, high calorie food after exercising, simply because you felt like you burned a lot of calories in the previous workout session? You’re certainly not alone, and this is one of the ways exercise isn’t helpful to weight loss. In fact, an entire study was done on the matter, and the results showed that people generally tend to overestimate their calorie burn from an hour’s worth of exercise. They then end up undoing all their good work, by snacking on a slice of pizza, or a similarly high calorie meal.

With that established, the next important thing to understand is that it’s actually the calories going in to your body that are making you fat. If you can begin to control these, you’re on the right path to finally slimming down, or maintaining your current weight.

A Better Diet

The first step on the road to a healthier lifestyle is a better and more balanced diet. According to experts, a balanced diet contains various foods from all 5 major food groups i.e. fruits, vegetables, grains, protein rich food, and dairy. Ask yourself if your current diet contains enough of all five groups.

Image by Mike Mozart

If you feel you’re having trouble coming up with a diet plan that gives you the required nutrients daily, while still keeping the food healthy and delicious, you could look into specific diet plans, such as those offered by Nutrisystems. These plans are based on your height, weight and age, and cater for any condition like diabetes, blood pressure etc. The meals are also delivered straight to your doorstep, saving you the hassle of going out to the market without prior knowledge on what to shop for.

Restrict your Calorie Intake

Restrict your Calorie Intake
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As we mentioned before, the excess calories going into your system are what causing the problems. A study of 629 women and 155 men showed that by simply monitoring their intake and adding a bit of exercise daily, the participants managed to lose an average of 30 kg (66 lbs), and sustained a weight loss of 13.6 kg (30 lbs) over the next 5 years.

Use this calorie counter to take a rough estimate of how many calories you should be consuming daily to maintain your current weight. Once you have a figure, simply cut down on those calories, and watch as your waist starts to shrink. Once again, having your daily meals already portioned is a great way to ensure you don’t over eat.

Watch your Weight Weekly

Majority of overweight people are scared of weighing themselves, simply out of fear that a quantitative result would confirm their horrors. Once you begin the process of losing weight, it’s extremely crucial that you don’t get distracted. Weighing yourself weekly would help give you a nice dose of motivation to go on, as you could see the weight loss in action.

Watch your Weight Weekly
Image by Matthew Cheatle

This becomes especially important for people who have lost weight, and would now like to maintain it. A weekly measurement would tell them how well they’re doing, and what changes they need to make.

Understand the Importance of Water

There are countless studies on how beneficial a larger intake of water can be, when looking to lose weight. Make sure to drink one glass of water before every meal. Not only does this help with digestion, it’ll also aid you feel a little more full before you even take a bite, resulting in you eating a smaller portion of food.

Understand the Importance of Water
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Water becomes especially beneficial when you start to cut out sodas and other high calorie fluids from your life. Remember, water has zero calories (compared to the 200+ contained in most soda cans), and makes up 70% of your bodily composition.

And Finally, Money Savings

A better diet assists you save money in more ways than you can imagine. While it’s true that healthy food tends to be more expensive than junk food here in the United States, it’s also essential to remember that you’ll be eating smaller portions as part of a diet plan. We tend to constantly munch on junk food during the day, and that adds up to a higher cost over time than 2 – 3 healthy meals per day. The savings from shifting to water (from soda) alone will startle you.

Lastly, it’s also significant that you do not forget the health benefits associated with a better diet. The harmful effects the junk food has on the body are well documented, and healthier food will save you thousands in trips to the hospital.

Featured image by freepik

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