If you have ever struggled with weight loss and any one of the vast arrays of diets, programs, trainers, etc., you already know this can become an expensive process -- if you let it. Of course, one who never dealt with this would think, "But eating less should cost less!" Just not so...
One little Slim Fast bar costs plenty of that hard-earned pocket change. Gastric by-pass surgery (stomach stapling) costs tens of thousands of dollars. Lump all diet products/solutions/gimmicks together and they cost us billions yearly. In addition, take into account all the counseling programs, supplements, drugs, thing-a-ma-jigs, special foods etc. that claim to be the key to permanent weight loss.
If you now have a weight problem, it is important to do something about it before you cross the line into obesity. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. It is more important that you begin a weight loss diet ASAP -- and that means deciding which approach is best for you. That is one loaded question! Begin researching and you'll feel defeated before you begin any program!
First, see your physician for a recommended approach to dieting. He or she can access your medical history and discuss the safest and healthiest approach for you. Once that is decided, your work comes into play - or your wallet.
Do you need to spend the cost of a major purchase to lose weight? The answer depends on you. Some people need more; some need less and some manage with little to no extra cost. They simply come to realize weight is affecting their lives in a negative way and that they can change it by themselves. Don't fall for the line of thought that the more you spend the better your weight loss success will be - that's ridiculous. Health clubs rake in more cash from the people that sign up, show up once or twice and never come back.
Today's trendiest plans often involve eating more costly food that may or may not be better for you. For example, Dr. Robert Atkins' program restricts carbohydrates and instead steers you to protein foods, which cost more than foods like pasta or cereal.
If you choose steaks instead of chicken on Atkins, you find your grocery bill climbing even higher. If your wallet is slim these days, take this into consideration when making your diet choice.
Let's take a look at a the cost of some most commonly used weight loss regimes:
- Weight Watchers online (cost of local meetings varies)
- Diet and exercise with a registered dietitian -- annual cost: $500.00-$1,500.00.
- Doctor supervised program (not just a recommendation, but long-term supervision) -- annual cost $3,000.00-$7,500.00.
- Drug therapy (Meridia or Xenical) with no additional counseling -- annual cost $1,000.00-$1,600.00.
- Gastric bypass surgery -- annual cost $25,000 and rising, although a one-time cost only.
Suggested plan of action
Ask your doctor what diet or dieting approach he or she would recommend for you. Always take into consideration any and all health restrictions that may pertain to you. This is very important to your overall health as well as your success on your diet.
Educate yourself. Learn how to cook foods that are diet friendly, what foods you should avoid, etc. Think of a manner of exercise you feel you can live with right now. Even walking your dog for ten minutes a day is better than nothing is. Exercise doesn't have to cost more than the cost of a good pair of walking shoes.
Grab a notepad, diary or notebook and keep track of both your eating and your exercising. (See: Weighty Words). Do this for three to four weeks and be brutally honest. Then sit down and seriously assess your habits. Find ways you can make changes you can live with, foods you know you can do without, etc. Look at the foods you seem to eat the most and learn how to prepare them in a healthier manner, or if they are really "bad", decide on a food you think you could substitute for them and still feel satisfied.
Do NOT rush weight loss. Aim for a one to two pound loss a week. Weight lost slowly will be more likely to stay off and will not be all water weight, as is so often the case. In addition, when you lose weight too fast, you lose important, metabolism-boosting lean muscle mass - something you do not want to lose!
Good luck! With a safe approach that is right for you, you can do it!
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