It all started this summer when I realized that I only fit into a fraction of the clothes I owned. I hadn’t worn them since moving to Vinalhaven two years earlier (and it’s really not a trouser kind of place) and I clearly was unable to wear them. I had apparently had some weight sneak up on me.

Beer, 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 your 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.

In my new year and a little before, I’ve been making a concerted effort to lose some weight. I’m down about three pounds but the past week or so, I’ve seemed to have reached a bit of a plateau.

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 bad for your convenience foods and doctors visits for weight-related health problems would apply to everyone.

Another article takes a hard to quantify but equally 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 big return on your investment:

1) 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, contiues to burn calories after you finish your workout. The key is to do both. I also walk with some ladies at work during our lunch break for cardio.

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

3) 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 in our resolution. If you have any tips or ideas, feel free to share. I’m pretty excited for both vanity and budget reasons about my new goal.

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