It’s Cheaper to Gain Weight than it is to Lose it (part 2 of 2)

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This is the second of a two part post.

In the first part, we explained why it is cheaper to gain weight than it is to lose it. The price of taste and convenience has fallen mightily to unprecedented levels in the past 50 years. As a result people are now fatter than ever.

Today we’ll show you that it’s not necessarily more expensive to eat healthy.

If you can’t pay more, and don’t want to sacrifice taste, yet still want to eat healthy, you will have to inconvenience yourself just a tad. You’ll have to invest more thought and time into food than you do today. But heck, if you have time for 3 hours of TV and 2 hours on the web daily, surely you can find some time to take care of your body.

Here are some strategies to eat more healthily and pay less. (Annual savings are for  a family of four).
1. Go H 2 O. Cut soft drinks from your shopping list. Tap water is safe to drink in the US. If you have babies and toddlers, get them used to water from an early age. DO NOT fall for the baby juice enticements, your child does not need them. Savings: $500.

2. Part time vegetarian. Once or twice a week switch from meat to eggs/legumes as a source of protein. That’s 60 pounds less per person per year. Eggs and beans are cheap and healthy sources of protein that can be prepared in endless healthy variations. Savings: $300-$800.

3. Help your self restraint. It’s hard to stop snacking if you’re pantry is full of junk food. So start at the supermarket – limit the amount of snacks you purchase to one or two favorites a week. At home, prepare in advance for attacks of the munchies by having home made goodies at hand – precut carrot sticks, unbuttered popcorn, a handful of nuts, and similar unprocessed items that provide additional benefits to your bodies. Savings:

4. Cook at home. The food industry makes its profit by processing basic ingredients into finished foods. along the way it adds unwanted chemicals in order to increase shelf life and compensate for loss of flavor. You get a mediocre product at a higher price than if you had prepared it yourself. Start with soup – make your own and see how easy and tasty it is. Savings: vary.

5. Train your tongue. the less you rely on processed foods, the more you can control the levels of sweet and salt in your food. Over the course of a month or two, start adding less and less salt or sugar to your food and hot drinks. You will actually be reprogramming your taste buds to enjoy lower levels of sugar and sodium without feeling a sacrifice in taste. While salt is very cheap, reducing intake can help lower blood pressure and lower risks of hypertension. And table sugar is just extra calories with no nutritional benefits.

6. Grow your food. Millions of households can turn just a small yard into a vegetable patch and save $200-1000 in grocery bills by growing tomatoes, peppers, carrots, peas, herbs, etc…Turn gardening into a family project and teach your kids where ketchup really comes from. Gardening is also a mild form of exercise, in itself helpful for maintaining health.

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  • Rhomboid

    I think an important part to the self restraint aspect of number 3 is to avoid eating while doing other things. If you crack open a bag of chips and dip and eagerly plow through them as you watch the latest episode of Lost (or whatever) then it’s very easy to become distracted and forget that you have gone way past being full.

    I found myself falling into this trap because I came to associate the soothing taste of unhealthful junk food with the excitement of a new episode of my favorite programs. It got to the point where the two became so linked that I found myself compelled to buy this unhealthful crap because it felt like a viewing requirement.

    When you make eating its own dedicated activity and isolate it from TV, movies, reading, computer browsing, homework, lounging in bed, etc. it’s a lot harder to space out and vacuum down huge amounts. Try eating a whole tub of ice cream while sitting in silence at the dining room table — it’s a lot harder than you might think. But we’ve all done it on occasion while doing some other activity, and we all know from the resulting stomach ache that we ate way too much without really realizing it.

    It may sound a bit extreme to restrict eating to the dining room only, and without any noise or external activities going on at the same time. But it forces you to concentrate on the food. I don’t have a cite but I seem to recall reading that science has confirmed that our “fullness sense” that naturally tells us when to stop eating only really functions when we are consciously thinking about eating, not when we mechanically shovel it in while mentally engaged in something else.

  • Jose Valenzuela

    I always try to gain weight but i never do !!! i eat 6 times a day tons of fruits vegetables and chicken and work out 30 min a day and run 30 min and i cant seem togain any weight plese tell me how to!

    • staff

      Jose, best to see a dietitian who can work together with you on a nutrition plan that suits your weight gain goals.