Frugal Living Leads to Weight Loss

Since getting on board with our new frugal lifestyle I’ve notice that my wallet is getting a little thicker, and my gut is getting a little thinner. It made me wonder if there is a correlation between frugal living and losing weight. After reflecting on my progress over the last few months a few ideas stood out as possible explanations for why my weight has dropped.

I started eating like a kid again. Sounds like weird advice doesn’t it? No, I am not advocating eating hot dogs and ice cream three times a day, as that would surely have an opposite effect on my waistline. What I am recommending is using smaller plates, smaller drinking cups and therefore smaller portions. When selecting a large dinner plate, or tall glass for our dinner beverage of choice, the natural inclination is to fill them up. If you are like me and enjoy a cold soft drink or sweet tea with dinner filling a large glass can add up to quite a few liquid calories. By using a smaller glass I am reducing the caloric intake with my evening meal and increasing the life of that 2-liter bottle of Sprite.

We scaled way back on television viewing. My wife and I recently agreed to drop our cable service down to the basic package only. We had already eliminated digital cable last year, but further reduced the channel offerings and our monthly bill. The $11 bare-bones service provides us access to local channels, the Fox affiliate and PBS. The benefits, other than the reduced cable bill, are that we have had to find other things to occupy our time. Back when I was a couch potato I frequently snacked while watching television. For some reason the two activities just seemed to go together. Big game on? Let’s get some buffalo wings. A good movie on tonight? Let’s order pizza. With the television turned off there are less opportunities to sit down and snack. Reading a copy of The Total Money Makeover just doesn’t produce the same cookie dough ice cream craving as watching the new episode of Lost.

We only see the inside of a restaurant once a week, and it is usually a Subway. Eating out is a sure-fire way to destroy a food budget. It is tough for a for a family of four to leave Outback Steakhouse spending less than $50 for meals, drinks and a tip. When you compare that to the frugal grocery choices available for $50 you realize you are trading several days worth of food for one evening out. Besides the obvious financial benefits to eating in, your health will improve as well. Fast food, and food served in typical restaurants is loaded with calories, saturated fats and sodium.

By preparing food at home you control the nutritional content. Our weekly splurge is a visit to a nearby Subway where on Sundays they offer a “two footlongs for $8″ special. Like any good frugal dad, I resist the temptation to eat the entire thing that night and take the other half for lunch the next day, spreading the cost over two meals.

Has anyone else experienced a slim down thanks to focusing on a frugal lifestyle?

acai burn

Comments

  1. Interesting points. Also, if you are like me, by turing off the TV you tend to do more physcial activity with the kids. This is especially true as we get to spring and summer when it stays light later. We are always outside riding bikes, playing ball, etc. All great calorie burners.

  2. I haven’t noticed a weight loss per se (I’m so thin it might be dangerous as it is) but it makes sense. When I see people going out every day (the way I used to), I can see how they get used to stuffing themselves to “get their money’s worth.”

    Now that I’ve been able to cook tasty meals I’m off that whole mindset. And I love it. I’m saving money and spending time with my fiancée while we cook. Win win.

  3. Frugal Dad, yes, indeed my hubby and I have lost weight as a result of becoming more frugal. Two major areas for us were:

    1. Eating at home more means less fatty, rich restaurant food. I don’t fry anything, and we eat a lot of fish and game that my husband rustles up. Much better for us!

    2. Less alcohol. When we first went through our budget we realized that we were spending well over $300 a month on wine, beer, and drinks while at the restaurant. OMG!! That’s a whole lot of moula! So we both agreed to pare down on the liquor to $50 per month (a few bottles of wine and a 12 pack of beer).

    As a result of the above, in the first two months we did this, I lost ten pounds and the hubby lost five (he’s skinnier to start with). It’s the only changes we made in those first months, and it definitely had an impact on us.

    Hooray for frugality!

  4. Shan-Oh, thanks for visiting Frugal Dad! It is amazing the amount of money one can save eating in, and your point about the drinks is very well made. I didn’t think to include that in my original post, but having drinks out is clearly not a frugal move.

    If you haven’t already done so, I hope you will subscibe to Frugal Dad’s RSS feed, or our email delivery service, to receive future articles. Thanks.

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