If you're like most people, losing weight and saving more money were probably two of your New Year's resolutions this year, right? How's that working out for you so far? Now you can do both.
Experts have weighed in on the issue and have, indeed, found that slimming down your body can fatten your wallet. The Center for Disease Control revealed that an obese person spends $1,429 more on annual medical costs than someone of a healthy weight. Overweight families are at greater risk for many health conditions, which translates into more frequent doctor visits and hospitalizations, resulting in more money spent on medical co-payments and medications.
Your family's physical health also has an impact on your life insurance rates. The higher the number on the scale, the higher the rates can go. Here's a tip for women: Don't switch health insurance companies during a pregnancy or right after giving birth.
Being overweight might also affect hiring and promotions, especially in a tough economy. According to Barbara O'Neill, a professor and specialist in finance resource management at Rutgers University and co-author of "Small Steps to Health and Wealth," "Studies have found that discrimination based on weight in the workplace is more prevalent for women than men, especially white women in professional occupations."
To help strengthen your resolve, here are some helpful websites that offer free help and tons of resources for you and your family:
www.exercisefriends.com - Find workout buddies in your home town or online.
www.sparkpeople.com - Offers virtual support to live healthier.
www.fitlink.com - A health and fitness community.
www.healthywage.com - You can get paid to lose weight! Track your progress and earn money when you lower your BMI by the end of one year! It's for real!
www.fitday.com - Provides a free diet journal.
www.startyourdiet.com - Offers a free diet calendar and meal plans.
www.buddyslim.com - free recipes, calorie counter, ideas.
The following are a dozen simple tips that will have you shedding weight and beefing up your bank account in no time. Get your family involved to help you reach your goals.
1. Measure portions
Teach children to use measuring cups and a cooking scale until they can eyeball correct serving sizes better. An even cheaper rule of thumb is to literally use your thumb! Your hand can be an effective portion guide:
· Thumb = 1 ounce or 1 Tablespoon (cheese, salad dressing, peanut butter, sour cream)
· Fist = 1 cup (fresh fruit, soups, salads, beverages, cereal)
· Palm = 3 ounces (meat, fish, poultry)
· Fingertip = 1 teaspoon (butter, oil, mayonnaise)
· Cupped hand = 2 ounces or ½ cup (pasta, rice, beans, potatoes, ice cream)
· Thump tip = 1 Tablespoon
2 . Split your dinner in half when you dine out
. Either share it with your dining partner or take the other half home for leftovers the next day. Your dining bills and calories will instantly be cut in half.
3 . Eat slower
. They say it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. Eating slower will allow you to eat less to be full. Spend more time talking at the dinner table to slow down the food consumption.
4 . Drink more water
Drinking a full glass of water before and after you eat will allow you to eat less and still be satisfied. People often mistake hunger for thirst. Keep a water bottle at each child's desk where she does her homework to remind her to drink more water.
5 . Buy in season
. Prices always come down when you buy fruits and veggies in their prime growing season. Have your family grow a garden this spring.
6. Buy in bulk
The high price of certain foods is often from the packaging costs that are passed on to the consumer. Big chain grocery stores will usually have lower prices on health foods than actual health food stores.
7. Brown bag it
Going out to lunch costs a lot more money than if you bring your lunch from home, not to mention the extra calories and time. As a family, make everyone's lunch together the night before school and work.
8. Make your own health food
. Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. You can find some terrific recipes to help you pack healthier lunches for you and the kids.
9. Skip the vending machines
You're paying too much money on junk food by not planning ahead. Teach children to keep a bag of healthy snacks in their backpacks.
10. Choose smart fast food
You can find calorie counters and how certain fast foods rate on the health scale at: www.calorieking.com
Here are some useful mobile apps that also provide that service.
· Calorie Counter by Fat Secret
· Calorie Counter
· Weight Watcher
11. Limit the purchase of processed foods
You're overpaying for packaging and convenience. Encourage your kids to join you in the kitchen to learn how to prepare food from scratch.
12. Move more
The weight will come off faster if it can't catch up to your body because you're constantly in motion. Group deal sites like Groupon and Living Social often offer discounts to local gyms. Also, you might check out annual pass discounts sold at places like Costco. Some less expensive alternatives are using your local Parks & Recreation fitness facilities, your company's workout room, the YMCA or even a nearby high school's gym. Find the right gym for you in your area at:
It's always more fun to share goals as a family so get everyone involved. Your waist and wallet will thank you.